PhD Studentship: Oil-Water Slug Flow in Export Pipelines with Shallow Inclined Elevations – Experimental Investigations

Cranfield University

Application Deadline: ASAP
Start Date: between 25th Sept 2017 -  5th Feb 2018
Eligibility: UK or EU national, full-time only
Duration of award: 3 years 
Supervisors: Dr. Liyun Lao , Professor Gioia Falcone

Sponsored by BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd, via the Consortium on Transient and Complex Multiphase Flow and Flow Assurance (TMF), and the Cranfield Industrial Partnership PhD Scholarships Scheme (CIPPS), this studentship will provide a bursary of £18,000 p.a.  (tax free) plus fees* for three years

The focus of this project is oil-water pipelines. Continuing from a previous TMF study at small scale, this PhD will experimentally investigate larger diameter pipes, the influence of oil viscosity and the transition from stratified and wavy stratified oil-water flows to slug flow. The test facilities selected to support this work include 1 inch and 3 inch loops already existing at Cranfield University. This project will benefit from significant academic and industrial exposure via the TMF consortium and BP’s regular engagement.  

The Transient and Complex Multiphase Flows and Flow Assurance (TMF) consortium, led by Imperial College London, comprises a number of oil-and-gas companies, software- and design-houses, and three university partners: Imperial, Cranfield, and Nottingham.

This project focuses on oil-water pipelines in which the water segregates to form a discrete phase rather than being emulsified with the oil. The two-phase oil-water flow may adopt one of the following flow regimes: (i) stratified flow, (ii) wavy stratified flow (as was studied in a previous TMF project) (iii) dispersed flow, (iv) oil-water slug flow. The experimental investigations will focus on determining whether conditions can be found under which oil-water hydrodynamic (rather than terrain-induced) slug flow occurs. It is recognised that using laboratory equipment and fluids the conditions under which slug flow may occur could be different from the conditions under which slug flow occurs in field operating conditions. It is possible that the slug flow observed in oil pipelines is initiated by terrain effects and is not purely hydrodynamic in origin.

The purpose of this PhD is to examine scale up to larger diameter pipes and the influence of oil viscosity by measuring the flow parameters (velocity, water cut, viscosity) that give rise to the onset of oil-water slug flow in horizontal and inclined pipes.

Based at the Cranfield University’s Oil and Gas Engineering Centre, the experimental work will be carried out in Cranfield’s Process Systems Engineering Laboratory, which is equipped with industrial-scale single phase and multiphase flow facilities.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have at least a 2.1 first degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as engineering or physics. The ideal candidate should have some prior knowledge in the area of two-phase flow and practical experience with laboratory work and industrial service delivery. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills with an interest for industrial research.


* To be eligible, applicants must be a UK or EU national.

How to apply:

For further information: Prof. Gioia Falcone, E:, T: +44 (0) 1234 75 8390

If you are eligible to apply, please complete the online application form

Further information:

T: 44 (0)1234 758082

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