Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Committee Chair

Burt Todd

First Advisor

Todd Hoffman

Second Advisor

Mary North-Abbott

Third Advisor

Dario Prieto


Most gas wells produce either condensed water or liquid hydrocarbons, which over time build up in the wellbore and eventually kill the well – a phenomenon called “liquid loading”. Industry operators have used a criterion based on Stoke’s Law (the Turner criterion) for predicting when liquid loading will begin to occur. However, this approach does not account for multiphase flow effects in the wellbore, causing the Turner criterion to give inconsistent results when applied in the field. This research proposes a 4-stage flow behavior model for gas-dominant flow based on flow morphology changes observed during two experiments conducted in 2.0-inch and 1.0-inch inner diameter flow tubes of the Montana Tech Vertical Flow Loop. The proposed flow behavior model quantifies the fluid morphology changes that lead to liquid loading and ultimately enables a more accurate prediction of when liquid loading will occur in small diameter pipes.


A thesis submitted for partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering

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