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OPTIMIZATION OF THE MATERIAL BALANCE EQUATION

A. MIRANDA R. RAGHAVAN

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RECOVERY TECHNOLOGY Optimization of The Material Balance Equation Angela Miranda* and R. Raghavan,** Stanford University Abstract
The material balance equation is usually optimized on the basis of the original oil or gas in place. In this paper, an alternate basis for optimization is presented. This involves using reservoir withdrawals as the basis for optimization. Two hypothetical reservoir examples are examined: (I) an oil reservoir with a gas cap;and (ii) a gas reservoir under water drive. It is shown that for reservoirs with a large gas cap (no wa-ter drive), available methods
are inadequate and optimization on the basis of cumulative reservoir withdrawals rather than oil-in-place is a more satisfactory approach to determining system parameters. For the gas reservoir examined in this study, it is shown that the approach suggested in this paper compares favourably with. arrangements suggested in the literature.
The effect of system parameters and degree of reservoir depletion, as well as uncertainties in reservoir pressure, are presented. Introduction THE ZERO-DIMENSIONAL material balance equation has been the historical basis for performance-matching
estimation of the initial oil-in-place, the ratio of the initial gas-cap volume to the initial oil-column volume and the quantitative nature of water influx. Generally, the material balance equation proposed by Schilthuis(" is arranged as a straight-line equation. This was first recognized by van Everdingen, Timmerman and McMahon". The straight-line method involves plotting one group of variables (the dependent variable, ex- pansion) versus another group (the independent vari- able, withdrawals). The specific terms in each group, of course, are dependent on the problem under consideration. Havlena and Odeh"I provide an excellent documentation of the
straight-line approach and examine its application to various hypothetical oil and gas reservoirs.
The straight-line technique implicitly assumes that all of the uncertainty in data is in the dependent variable. Thus, as pointed out by McEwen"', the ma- terial balance equation must be arranged so as to in- sure that this condition is satisfied. (Agarwal, Al- Hussainy and Ramey"I have also pointed out that some forms of the material balance equation are more re- liable in the computational sense than others.) In
most practical cases, however, both the dependent a,d
'Now with Petrobras, Brazil. **Now at the University at Tulsa. R.
Raghavan is currently at the Department of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Tulsa, in Tulsa, Okla- homa, as an Associate Professor. His interests include conducting research in areas of well-test analysis, reser- voir engineering and rock compaction.
Dr. Raghavan obtained his Ph.D. degree from the De- _ partment of Petroleum Engineering at Stanford Univer- sity. He spent two years at the Stanford Faculty and then joined the Reservoir Mechanics Section
of Amoco Production Company Research Center at Tulsa. At Amo- co, be worked on single-phase and multi-phase flow through porous media as related to oil and gas reservoirs 54 independent variables are subject to error. In order to account for both the dependent and independent variables, WLll and Craven-Walker"I proposed an alternate straight-line method whereby both the vari- ables in the material balance equation can be subject to error.
The straight-line approach suggested in Ref. 2 uses i-he oil (,)r ga@3) in place as one of the parameters for optimization. The principal
disadvantage of this ap- proach is thall no observed values of this parameter, which incidentally happens to be the principal para- meter of ititeri@st, are available. To eliminate this limit- ation, Tehrani"I proposed that cumulative reservoir withdrawals rather than the original oil-in-place I)e used as the b@isis for optimization. This proposal has the advantage of using observed values as the basis for optiniizatioii. However, he has not presented de- tailed cilculatlions using either real or hypothetical reservoir @ystems to demonstrate that the use of re- servoir ctimul;ative
withdrawals is more advantageous than the convi@ntional al)proach.
The ot).j@@ti,ie of this paper is to examine Tehrani's proposal foi- using the cumiilative reservoir with- drawals @is th(@ basis for optimization and demonstrate the utility of this approach to two hypothetical re- ',iervoir systems. First, we examine the application of this method to a gas reservoir subject to water drive.
This example is identical to the hypothetical gas re- servoir chosen by MeEwen"). Our aim is to compare Tehrani's"-' a])proach with the conventional approach.
The determination of reservoir
parameters for this problem requ';@res the simultaneous solution of non- linear equations. We shall use the Newton technique (see Jenson and Jeffreys"').
The s(icond problem considered is an oil reservoir with a lirge iras cap (no water influx). The available methods are ivoefully inadequate, as the conventional approach yiel(Is answers which are insensitive to the ratio of gas-cap volume to oil-column volume (for example, see -Fig. 2 of Ref. 9). Using a hypothetical reservoii- sysilem, Frye"" showed that the available methods may be applied only after a substantial amount of th(@
recoverable oil has been produced. Ac- cordingl@,, he concluded "that most approaches sug- gested for this particular type of reservoir are useful only during lhe latter stages of depletion". In this paper, it will ))e shown that the use of cumulative with- drawals as the optimization parameter appears to provide a bet-ter method of determining both the oil- in-place and the ratio of gas-cap to oil-column volume.
This is the principal contribution of this study. It is emphasized tlqat the original idea for the basis of this paper was presented in Ref. 7. _
For both reservoirs
investigated in this study, we examine(i the effect of uncertainties in reservoir pres- sure and the degree of depletion of the reservoir on the parameters of interest (gas or oil in place, water influx, ratio (if gas-cap to oil-column volume, etc.). As previous studies have indicated that the volume of free gas plays a dominant role, we also studied the effect of the ratio .3f gas-cap to oil-column volume on the determination of oil in place. The Journal of Canadian Petroleum