Oil Sands Slurry Flow in Flexible Pipe


Production cost and efficiency optimization for the Athabasca oil sands is a key to securing North America's energy supply. Current oil sands production cost is about $13/bbl compared with $1.25/bbl for conventional crude oil. The effort to reduce production cost must focus on truck haulage because it contributes the dominant component of the production cost of about 26%. Toward this objective, hydraulic transportation has become a competitive means for materials handling. There is a desire to extend the hydraulic transport system to production faces using mobile train of flexible pipelines to optimize the system efficiency and cost. This flexible arrangement introduces a unique set of hydraulic transport problems, which must be addressed through rigorous modeling and analysis. This paper provides multiphase oil sand slurry models in flexible pipelines. New mathematical models are developed to characterize the multi-phase flow of oil sands slurry. The models combine the effects of dispersed particles and the carrier continuous phases. The coupled equations of each field are solved numerically for flexible pipe configuration. The models yield the productivity and deliverability of bitumen slurry between two mine facilities. The flexible arrangement allows modeling in elbow-type joint at different angles and in conventional linear pipelines, enabling adaptation of pipelines to various mine outlays. Numerical examples are presented to show the applicability of the new model and to ascertain optimum operational conditions of the flexible pipes in mine layouts.


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Crude Oil; Disperse Systems; Flow Simulation; Oil Technology; Pipe Flow; Slurries; Multiphase flow; Sand

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2004 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2004