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Fundamentals of Oil and Gas Reservoirs

Oil and Gas Reservoirs Series


In this first program of the Oil and Gas Reservoirs Series, Fundamentals, you will learn about the fundamentals of oil and gas reservoirs, including sedimentary rock formation, reservoir pressure, and factors affecting profitability.

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Oil and Gas Reservoirs: Fundamentals


Summary
Fundamentals is the first program in the Oil and Gas Reservoirs series. This program covers the nature and formation of the traps in which oil and gas have collected. You will learn about the formation of sedimentary rocks, the significance of porosity and permeability in the development of a reservoir, the migration of oil and gas during the formation of a reservoir, and the kinds and effects of reservoir pressures. Your understanding of the nature of the reservoir will aid you in maintaining reservoir pressure and in interpreting the significance of changes in pressure and composition of fluid during production.

Section I Introduction to Oil and Gas Reservoirs


The Oil and Gas Reservoir Density Viscosity

Section II Sedimentary Rock Formation


Sedimentary Rocks Original Porosity Changed Porosity

Objectives

Describe the characteristics of an oil and gas reservoir. Describe the density of a fluid. Define the viscosity of a fluid. Describe how sedimentary rocks are formed, compacted, and cemented. Define "porosity" and describe how it originates in sedimentary rock. Describe how porosity in sedimentary rock can be changed. Define "permeability" and explain "effective porosity." Define "hydrostatic pressure" and the effect it has on reservoirs. Describe the effect of expanding fluids on reservoir pressure. Define the effect of pressure and temperature on a flowing well. Describe the effect of compaction on reservoir fluid pressure. Describe how a reservoir's size and depth impact profitability. Describe how impurities affect reservoir productivity. Describe how viscosity, permeability, and pressure of a reservoir affects profitability.

Permeability

Section III Reservoir Pressure


Hydrostatic Pressure Reservoir Pressure and Temperature Pressure From Expanding Fluids Pressure from Reservoir Rocks

Section IV Factors Affecting Profitability


Size and Depth Impurities Viscosity , Permeability, Pressure

Overview

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

In this section, you will learn how oil and gas reservoirs are formed and how fluid accumulates within them. You will learn about: Oil and gas reservoirs. Density. Viscosity.

The Oil and Gas Reservoir

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

An oil or gas reservoir is a porous rock formation. The fluids in the producing formation are trapped between two nonpermeable formations. In the reservoir, the fluids may separate out according to their different densities, with the gas rising above the oil and the water settling below the oil. The oil, gas, and water trapped in these reservoirs have been compressed and heated over millions of years.

Geological compression and heat cause the fluids in a reservoir to have stored pressure.

True. False.

Density

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

When oil accumulates in a puddle of rainwater, the oil floats on top of the puddle. This is because oil weighs less than water. For example, a pint of oil weighs less than a pint of water. Volume is the amount of space a substance occupies (in this case, the pint is the volume). So when the volume is the same, oil weighs less than water.

Here's another example. The container of water and the container of oil each weigh one pound. But, the container of oil has a greater volume.

density of oil.

These two containers have the same volume, but the container of oil weighs less than the container of water. The density of a substance is its weight per unit of volume. Because water weighs more than the same volume of oil, the density of water is greater than the

If you want to compare the densities of oil and gas, you must compare equal volumes of oil and gas. If you find that the weight of the oil is greater than the weight of the gas (and the volumes are the same), you know that the density of oil is greater than the density of gas.

This diagram represents a slice into the earth's crust, exposing the rock layers to view. Throughout these rock layers, the gas displaces the oil downward and the oil displaces the water downward. Oil and gas are less dense, so they keep moving through the water and displacing the water downward. Because oil and gas have different densities, they can migrate upward through

the rocks for many miles. If the openings in the rocks are not filled with water, oil will settle into low places by gravity. For oil to migrate upward, it must have water to float upon.

All oil readily migrates through water.

True. False. Keep in mind that there are many different types of oils, displaying a wide range of density. High density oils are usually thick and sluggish and do not flow easily.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Viscosity

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS Viscosity is a measure of how readily a liquid flows. Fluids with a high viscosity can be thought of as "thick." For example, oils are generally more viscous than water. However, some oils are thin and can flow like water. These oils have low viscosity.

Thick lubricating oils have a _______ viscosity.

High. Low. Thin oils have low viscosity.

As more gas is dissolved in oil, the density decreases and the oil becomes less

viscous. The viscosity and density of oil has an important effect on flow. It is easier to produce oils with: Low viscosity. Low density. Dissolved gas.

Both the density and viscosity of a fluid affect how difficult it is to produce the fluid from a well.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Review

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

In this section, you learned how oil and gas reservoirs are formed and how fluid accumulates within them, including: Oil and gas reservoirs. Density. Viscosity.

You learned that density is the weight of a unit of volume of a substance and that oil displaces water downward because oil is less dense. You also learned that: Oil displaces gas upward because oil is denser than gas. Oil and gas migrate through water-filled rocks for many miles because of a difference in density. Oil is more viscous when it moves sluggishly. When oil contains dissolved gas, it is much less viscous.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Section 2

Sedimentary Rock Formation

The following learning objectives apply to this section: Describe how sedimentary rocks are formed, compacted, and cemented. Define "porosity" and describe how it originates in sedimentary rock. Describe how porosity in sedimentary rock can be changed. Define "permeability" and explain "effective porosity." Overview OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

In this section, you will learn about sedimentary rocks, including: How sedimentary rocks are compacted and cemented. The original porosity of sedimentary rocks. The changed porosity of sedimentary rocks. The permeability of rocks.

Sedimentary Rocks

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

Sediments are the loose crystals and grains of minerals that are deposited by water or air. For example, seawater contains dissolved mineral matter, like salt and lime. When there is more salt and lime than the water can hold in solution, some of it crystallizes and is dropped on the ocean floor as sediment. Waves and currents along shorelines or in rivers also carry grains of mineral matter, like sand and clay. When there is more sand and clay than the waves can carry, some of it falls through the water to the bottom as sediment. Even the dust that drops from air is sediment. And, sand along a beach is sediment. Sediments form sedimentary rocks after the sediments have been: Compacted. Cemented.

Compacted Sediment Compacted sediments are those that are packed together at the bottom of a large sediment formation. Sediments are deposited in water century after century, and they continue to pile up in layers. In fact, hundreds of feet of sediment may be piled up layer upon layer. The weight of the upper layers creates pressure on the lower layers, packing the lower layers closer and closer together. As more sediments are packed on top, they apply more and more pressure to the lower layers, packing the sediments still closer. Cemented Sediment Cemented sediment are those that are "stuck" together by coated mineral matter. For example, most sediments are deposited in seawater. So, seawater usually fills all the spaces between the grains or crystals of the sediment. Cementing occurs when mineral matter in the seawater comes out of solution and coats the individual grains of the sediment. Sedimentary rocks are formations that have been compacted and cemented.

When layers of sediments are packed together, they are being:

Cemented. Compacted. Cementation is the process of binding the sediments together after compaction has occurred. Because sediments are cemented in layers, sedimentary rocks are formed in layers.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Original Porosity

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS Porosity is a measure of the percentage of openings within a rock. Sedimentary rocks have pores (holes or openings), and sometimes water, oil, and gas fill these holes. The pores originate when the sedimentary rock is formed. The pores occur between the crystals and the grains that have been compacted and cemented together.

A porous rock is a rock that has many pores (openings). Porosity in rocks ranges from 0% to 40%, but most rocks have porosity between 5% and 25%. So a rock that has 25% porosity has good porosity. In the oil industry, good porosity means that there are many openings in the rocks and that they are large enough for oil and gas to flow into and out of them. Most oil-bearing rocks are originally deposited as layers of sediment in the ocean and at the mouths of rivers. Water fills the pores in the sedimentary deposits from the start, so even the smallest pores are filled with water. While the sediments are being changed into rock by compaction and cementation, the pore space is reduced. Most, but not all of the water is squeezed out. Grains of rock attract water and draw it to them. So even though oil and gas later displace most of the water, a thin film of water still clings to the grains. This means that the total pore space is not available for

the storage of oil and gas. Sandstone is a sedimentary rock made of cemented sand grains. It has many, many pores between the grains of sand. Round grains of sand can be packed together in different ways. For example, A has grains that are directly above one another and has larger pores than B.

These grains of sand are not round, but angular.

When angular grains are packed under pressure, their edges crush. The pieces help fill the pores. So, rocks made of angular grains tend to become less porous than rocks made of round grains. When grains of different sizes occur together, the smaller grains tend to fill in the pores between the larger grains and

decrease porosity.

A rock made up of large grains has _______ pores than a rock made up of smaller grains.

Larger. Smaller. The size and shape of the pores vary because of two different factors: The way the grains are packed together. The shape and

size of the grains. Cementing materials can fill the pores and decrease the porosity. And, if clay is deposited with sand grains, there may be little or no porosity. Clay particles are so tiny that the pores between them are too small for oil, water, and gas to flow into and out of them.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Changed Porosity

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS The original porosity of a rock can be changed by different factors, including: Settling and movement of the earth's crust. Vug formation. Dolomitization. Deposited mineral matter.

Whenever different factors change the original porosity, the shape, size, and distribution of the original pores are changed. Settling and Moving of the Earth's Crust All rocks are breakable and can be fractured by settling or movement of the earth's crust. The fractures and joints increase the porosity of the limestone. Vug Formation A "vug" is an enlarged pore. Ground water circulating through a limestone formation enlarges the fractures, joints, and pores. In other words, when water that is not already saturated with dissolved minerals flows through a limestone formation, the fractures and joints expand. Sometimes, the fractures and joints become caves and caverns because so much of the limestone has dissolved. Fossil shells in rocks dissolve quite easily. When they dissolve, they leave vugs in the rocks that contained them. Dolomitization Dolomitization is the process of limestone chemically changing to dolomite.

Limestone dissolves easily and also changes chemically when its calcium is exchanged for the magnesium in seawater. Dolomite is a rock that contains both calcium and magnesium. When a dolomite particle replaces a limestone particle, there is some space leftover because the dolomite particle takes up less space than the limestone particle. When dolomite replaces many limestone particles, many spaces are left over. So, dolomitization results in increased porosity. Deposited Mineral Matter As water saturated with dissolved minerals deposits mineral matter as it circulates through the pores of the rocks, the original porosity decreases. In some oil wells, what starts out as good porosity later becomes clogged with residues, precipitates, or deposits which fill the pores and decrease production.

Which change results in a decrease in porosity?

Dolomitization. Mineral deposits. Fractures and joints. Vug formation. Dissolving, fracturing, and dolomitization of rocks results in an increased porosity. Mineral deposits decrease porosity. Ground water can also reduce or destroy porosity by depositing mineral matter in the pores of the rocks.

When rocks are buried deeply, they have:

High porosity. Low porosity. After rocks are formed, they can still be compacted by a very great weight, decreasing their porosity.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Permeability

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

Permeability is the potential for the movement of fluids. A rock is permeable when: The openings are large enough to permit the flow of fluid. The openings are connected so that oil, gas, or water can flow from one to another.

If a rock only has a few openings that are not connected, the rock has poor permeability and porosity. Some rocks may have good porosity, but if the pores are unconnected, they have no permeability.

Porosity refers to the potential for the _______ of fluids.

Storage. Movement. Porosity refers to the potential for the storage of fluids. Permeability refers to the potential for fluid movement.

Some rock formations have good permeability without much porosity. The fractures, or cracks in the nonporous rock permit oil movement through it.

This drawing of a block of sandstone shows the rounded grains of sand and the pore space between them. Sandstone has good permeability.

If a rock has pores that are connected but too small for fluid to flow through, the rock:

Is permeable. Is not permeable. For example, shale is a rock made up of tiny clay particles so closely packed together that the pores between the clay particles are too small for oil and gas to flow through them. Shale may have good porosity, but it has poor permeability.

Effective Porosity When pores have passages from one to another that permit flow, the rock formation has effective porosity. It is only the effective porosity, or porosity with permeability, that permits the migration of oil and gas. For migration, oil and gas use only the effective porosity of a rock formation. The factors that affect porosity, like compaction, also effect permeability. Rocks that are very deeply buried are under such pressure that the effective porosity is greatly reduced. The pressure at depths tends to close fractures and joints. Without permeability, oil and gas cannot migrate through the rocks.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Review

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

In this section, you learned about sedimentary rocks, including:

How sedimentary rocks are compacted and cemented. The original porosity of sedimentary rocks. The changed porosity of sedimentary rocks. The permeability of rocks.

You also learned that sea water contains minerals in solution. When there is more mineral matter than the water can keep dissolved, the minerals come out of solution and are deposited on the bottom. Waves and currents deposit grains of sand and clay on the bottom. Loose mineral grains or crystals deposited in layers are called "sediments." The weight of layers of sediment results in compaction and sediments may be cemented together by mineral matter coming out of solution. The rocks resulting from these processes are called sedimentary rocks. Sedimentary rocks are sediments which have been compacted and cemented, and are usually layered. The percentage of opening in the rock is the porosity, and good porosity means the rock contains many openings, which are large enough for oil and gas to enter. The shape and size of the pores depends on the shape and size of the grains and the way they are packed together. Original porosity can be changed from settling rocks, dissolving limestone, dolomitization, and mineral deposits. All pores are filled with water because the sediment was formed in water. When oil and gas displace water from the pores, a thin film of water remains on the surface of the grains. When openings in the rock are connected so that oil and gas can flow through the rock, the rock is permeable: Sandstone has good permeability. Shale has pores that oil and gas cannot enter, so it has poor permeability. Permeability is the potential for fluid to move, porosity is the potential for fluid to be stored. Oil production depends on effective porosity, which is both porosity plus permeability.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Section 3

Reservoir Pressure

The following learning objectives apply to this section: Define "hydrostatic pressure" and the effect it has on reservoirs. Define the effect of pressure and temperature on a flowing well. Describe the effect of expanding fluids on reservoir pressure. Describe the effect of compaction on reservoir fluid pressure.

Overview

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

In this section, you will learn about reservoir pressure, including: Hydrostatic pressure: Hydrostatic pressure results from the weight of a column of water extending from the water table down to the water in the reservoir. Hydrostatic pressure is greater in deep wells than in shallow wells. Compaction: Loose reservoir sediments that are compacted by the weight of overlying sediments or rocks increases pressure.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Hydrostatic Pressure

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS A reservoir is a porous and permeable rock formation in which oil, gas, and water accumulate. One source of reservoir pressure is the weight of water in the ground and rocks. This diagram shows the level of the water table a short distance below the ground surface. A fresh water stream is an example of the water table touching the surface. When drilling a water well, you must drill below the water table.

Except for oil and gas reservoirs, wherever there are openings or pores in the rocks below the water table, these openings are filled with water. The rocks in the deepest wells are saturated with water. The heavy weight of the water creates downward pressure. The weight of the water above creates pressure on the water below. Imagine a wide column of ground water extending from the water table deep into the earth. The weight of this column of water increases with depth. So, the water pressure increases with depth. Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure applied by the weight of any column of liquid. When a reservoir is under hydrostatic pressure, there is usually some kind of permeable path to the surface. A column of ground water cannot press down on the water below if there is no path for it to flow down from the surface. The permeable path to the surface may be miles and miles long, and it may be very crooked. When it is straight, gases may escape to the surface. In some reservoirs, a complex system of fractures and joints provide the permeable path to the surface. These are called open reservoirs.

Open reservoirs: Are under hydrostatic pressure from the weight of the water column extending down from the water table. Have the weight of the ground water applying pressure on the water in the reservoir, which in turn transmits pressure to the oil above it.

Closed reservoirs: Do not have a permeable path to the surface. Are not under hydrostatic pressure.

Hydrostatic pressure is approximately 45 pounds of pressure per square inch for each 100 feet of water column. A reservoir 10,000 feet deep has a hydrostatic pressure of _______ pounds per square inch.

An open reservoir at 9,000 feet is under _______ pressure than an open reservoir at 6,000 feet.

Less. Greater.

The weight of the column of oil and gas in the well-bore also applies hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure varies with the density of a fluid in a column. In other words, hydrostatic pressure depends on the depth of the fluid column and the density of fluid.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Reservoir Pressure and Temperature

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS:

FUNDAMENTALS Reservoirs behave predictably regarding both: Pressure Temperature

Pressure
Reservoir fluids tend to move from areas of greater pressure to areas of lower pressure. Typically, you are accustomed to seeing liquids flow downhill, because of gravity. But at great depths, the pressure sometimes forces liquids to flow upward into areas of lower pressure. When a well is drilled into a reservoir, the well itself becomes an area of low pressure, and the gas, oil, and water all migrate toward the well. The oil flows toward the well because of the: Low pressure area created by the wellbore. The gas above expands and pushes down on the oil. The water below pushes up on the oil.

Then, the gas and oil enter the well and are often pushed all the way to the surface by the reservoir pressure. A flowing well is one that can push reservoir fluids to the surface. In the early years of oil production, some wells would spout high into the air because of the great pressure in the reservoir. Eventually, reservoir pressures decline so that there is no longer enough pressure to push the fluids to the surface. Then, pumps or other mechanical devices are used to bring the oil to the surface. The reservoir pressure may force the gas into the oil solution. When the pressure is very high, more gas is forced into solution. So, more gas is forced into solution when the reservoir is very deep. When the oil is brought toward the surface, the pressure is greatly reduced, and much of the dissolved gas separates from the oil. Then, the oil becomes more viscous and moves sluggishly.

Gas will continue to dissolve in oil until the oil cannot hold any more gas. At that point, the oil is saturated with gas. It takes more gas to

saturate oil in ________ reservoirs.

Shallow. Deep. Gas is more likely to separate out of oil taken from deep reservoirs.

If the oil is saturated with gas, the extra gas that cannot be dissolved in the oil accumulates above the oil in a gas cap. So the very presence of a gas cap indicates that the oil below is saturated with gas. And, the oil is as thin (less viscous) as it can be.

If a gas cap is on top of the oil, the oil is:

Undersaturated with gas. Saturated with gas. If the oil is undersaturated with gas, there is no gas cap above the oil.

Temperature
Temperature increases toward the center of the earth. Deep coal mines are noticeably warmer than the air near the surface. For example, the Gulf Coast increases by 1 F for every 60-foot increase in depth. In a reservoir 12,000 feet deep, the rocks are about 200 F warmer than the average surface temperature. If the average surface temperature is 70 F, then the reservoir temperature at 12,000 feet would be 270 F. This is much higher than the boiling point of water at the surface.

When oil is heated, it becomes:

Less viscous. More viscous. Heat decreases the viscosity of oil and water. So, the heat in a reservoir makes the oil and water less viscous.

Pressure From Expanding Fluids

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

A closed reservoir experiences pressure from the expansion of reservoir fluids. For example, sandstone lenses are usually buried in shale. Water cannot flow through shale, so sandstone lenses are closed reservoirs. In a closed reservoir, pressure results from the expansion of reservoir fluids. Reservoir fluids include gas, oil saturated with dissolved gas, and salt water or brine saturated with dissolved gas. Gases are always compressible and liquids are only slightly compressible. Liquids in the reservoir are made more compressible than ordinary liquids dissolved by gas. In a closed reservoir, the fluids have been compressed under very high pressure by fluids driven in from the surrounding formation. Fluids are squeezed out of sediments as the sediments are compacted into the rock. When the sand in a lens is compacted into the sandstone and the surrounding clay is compacted into shale, some of the fluids in the clay are squeezed into the sandstone lens. The fluids that are forced into the sandstone lens from the surrounding shale increase the compression of the reservoir fluids. This compression of reservoir fluids provides reservoir pressure.

A reservoir with no permeable path to the surface is a(n) ______ reservoir.

Open. Closed. A closed reservoir has no permeable path to the surface and is not affected by the hydrostatic pressure of the ground water. In reservoirs under hydrostatic pressure, expanding reservoir fluids help maintain pressure while the oil and gas are being removed.

2004, Resource Development Company, LLC.

Pressure From Reservoir Rocks

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

Normally, reservoir rocks are thoroughly compacted and cemented and can support the weight of the overlying rocks. Typically, reservoir fluids do not help support the weight of the rocks. However, in young reservoirs that may be undergoing compaction, the reservoir fluids do help support the weight of the rocks. In a closed reservoir, this places abnormally high pressure on the reservoir fluids and builds up high reservoir pressure.

When is reservoir fluid pressure abnormally high?

When the rocks are undergoing compaction. When the rocks are thoroughly compacted.

Review

OIL AND GAS RESERVOIRS: FUNDAMENTALS

In this section, you learned about reservoir pressure. You learned that: Reservoir pressures force oil, gas, and water to flow upward into areas of lower pressure (like those created by the well-bore). And, as oil and gas are removed from the reservoir, reservoir pressure is gradually lowered. Reservoir pressures force varying amounts of gas into solution in the oil. A gas cap accumulates above the oil after the oil is saturated with gas. The oil in deep reservoirs has more gas in solution because the reservoir pressure is greater. As rocks are buried deeper and deeper, there is an increase in reservoir temperature. Deeply buried reservoirs contain oil that is less viscous than oil at the surface. When oil is brought to the surface, it becomes cooler, its pressure decreases, the dissolved gas content decreases, and it becomes more viscous.