Multiphase transport has become a key technology in the development of subsea oil and gas production. Robust and safe design of offshore installations requires reliable predictive models for multiphase flows, models which to a large extent rely on relevan t empirical data. IFE's Well Flow Loop, together with other research labs, has been instrumental in this respect. Driven by the industries demand for more accurate and mechanistic models, we have seen that the models become increasingly more advanced, acc ounting more directly for multidimensional effects, thermal issues and more complex fluid behaviour. There is now a gap between the potential capability of the models and the physical understanding of important mechanisms needed to close the models. It is hard to remedy this without new and relevant data.
At present there are no facilities, national or international, where a wide range of multiphase flow issues of industrial relevance can be studied in such detail that fundamental mechanisms can be bett er understood.
We therefore propose a major upgrade of IFE's existing Well Flow Loop. There are several important industrial issues that cannot be addressed using the present facility; heavy oils, particle laden flows, and phenomena (wax and hydrates) wh ere thermal control is important. The upgrade will include new piping and process equipment, and development and investment in new instruments.
The infrastructure, organised as a national competence centre, will give researchers from academia and indust ry access to a world class facility consisting of well controlled flow loops, unique instrumentation and a highly skilled staff. The scientific goals for the work in the centre are to improve the basic understanding of the mechanisms that control the spat ial and temporal distributions of fluids, particle velocities and turbulence in multiphase flows, which will safeguard Norway's international leadership in multiphase pipe flow experimentation and measurement.