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22 Properb'es of Nslorsl Gases and Condensate Syslems

Oil rerervoirr Candenrate Gas rerervoin


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Fig. 2.2 Pressure-temperature phase diagram of a reservoir fluid
Fig. 2 3 Phase daagrarns of a cap gas and oil lone fluid showing ( a) retrograde capgas and
(b) nanretrograde cap gas. (After Craft and Hawkins.)
begins from the reservoir and pressure declines, no change in the state of the
reservoir fluids occurs until the dew point pressure is reached at 2700 psia, point
r). - .
Below this pressure a liquid condenses out of the reservoir fluid as a fog or
dew. This is not considered to be a normal situation since, for most hydrocarbon
fluids, a pressure reduction tends to increase the amount of gas. Therefore, this
behavior is usually referred to as retrograde condensation, signifying that vapor-
ization generally occurs during isothermal expansion rather than condensation.
The condensation leaves the-gas phase with a lower liquid content. As the
condensed liauidadheres to thewallsofthe wresoacesof the rock. it isimmobile.
* .
Thus, the gas produced at the surface will have a lower liquid content, and the
producing GOR will rise. As the liquefiable portions of the reservoir fluids are
usually the most valuable components, the loss of part of these fluids could
substantially reduce the ultimate income from the property, which must be
considered in an economic evaluation.
Exmination of Fig. 2.2 will show that for a reservoir fluid to exhibit the
phenomenon of retrograde condensation, the initial conditions of pressure and
iemperature must exist outside the phase envelope to the right of themitical point
C and to the left of ooint Tor within the ohase envelo~e in the reeion marked X.
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The point T is cal i d the cricondentherm and is the'maximum temperature at
which two phases can exist in equilibrium (300F for the example). The process of
retrograde condensation continues until a point of maximum liquid volume is
reached, 10% at 2250 psia (point E).
In some cases, a sufficient volume of liqu~d will be condensed in the reservoir
to ~rovide mobilitv of the liauid ~hase. In such cases the surface fluid comoosition
depends on the relative mobilities of the vapor and liquid in the reservoir. As
production continues from point E to the abahdonment pressure 3., vaporization
of the retroarade liauid occurs. This revaoorization aids liauid recoverv and mav
be evidenceh by decreasing GOR on th; surface.
This example assumesihat the reservoir fluid composition remains constant.
Unfortunatelv. as retroaade condensation occurs. the reservoir fluid comwsi-
tion changes and the P-?envelope shifts, increasing retrograde liquid condinsa-
tion. Generally, for a particular initial hydrocarbon fluid, retrograde loss in-
creases at lower reservoir temperature, higher abandonment pressure, and for
greater shifting of the phase envelope to the right.
As a finalillustration, considera reservoir;nitiall) at 350F and 3600 psia,
revresented bv voint 4, in Fia. 2.2. Since theinttialreservoirconditionsexist tothe
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right of the criti'calpoint Cand outside the phase envelope, the reservoir fluid will
be 100% gas. Furthermore, since the reservoir temperature exceeds the cricon-
dentherm T, at no point in the isothermal depletioncycle (alongpath4,-4.) is the
phase envelope crossed. Therefore, the fluid in the reservoir never changes
composition; it is always in the gaseous state.
However, after the reservoir fluid leaves the reservoir and enters the well-
bore, the temperature, as well as the pressure, will decline until surface tempera-