SPE 28000
This papar was prepared for pre.entation allhe University of Tulsa Centennial Petroleum Engineering Symposium held in Tulsa, OK, U.S.A., 29-31 August 1994.
This paper was selec1ed for presentalion by an SPE' Program Commrt1&e f'otlowing review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(t). Contents of the paper.
as ptssenled. have not bean reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The matarial, 8S prS$8ntad , does not necessarily reneet
any posit ion of the Sociaty at Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society
of Petroleum Engineers. Permission 10 copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment
of where and by whom Ihe paper is presenled. Write Librarian. SPE, P.O. Box 833838, Richardson, TX 750833836, U.S.A Telex, 163245 SPEUT.
Abstract Introduction
This paper describes methods for calculating the one-dimensional, The fonnulation for calculating compositional varlallon under the
vertical variation in composition with depth caused by gravity and force of gravity for an isothermal system was first given by Gibbs.
thennal gradients. The . Peng-Robinson (PR) and Soave-Redlich The condition of equilibrium is satisfied by the constraint
Kwong (SRK) cubic equations of state (EOS) are used as
thennodynamic models. Examples of calculated compositional
J.lj(po.zo,T) = J.lj(p,z,T) + Mig(h-ho), i=I,2 ... N (I)
gradients are given for reservoir fluid systems ranging from black oils where J.I; is the chemical potential of component i. ZO is a
to near-critical oils. homogeneous (single-phase) mixture at pressure pO at a reference
A solution algorithm is suggested for solving the isothennal depth hO. p is the pressure and z is the mixture composition at depth
gravity/chemical equilibrium (GeE) problem. The algorithm is simply h. The entire system is at constant temperature (dT/dh=O).
an adaptation of a method proposed by Michelsen' for calculating In 1930, Muskat3 provided exact solutions to Eq. (I) for a
saturation pressure. The problem of false (unstable) solutions is simplified equation of state (ideal mixing). Numerical examples based
discussed, and the subsequent need for applying phase stability on this oversimplified EOS led to the misleading conclusion that
analysis to identify such false solutions. Finally, an algorithm is given gravity has negligible effect on compositional variation in reservoir
for detennining the location of a gas-oil contact (GOC). systems.
A model for treating both gravity and thennal gradient has been In 1938, Sage and Lacel evaluated Eq. (I) using a more
used to quantify the potential effect of thennal diffusion on realistic EOS model. The authors provide examples showing
compositional grading. The model used was proposed by Belery and significant variations of composition with depth for reservoir mixtures.
da Silva 2. Unfortunately, the physics and thennodynamics of thennal Furthennore, they made the key observation that systems in the
diffusion are not well understood. This model is only one of several vicinity of a critical condition should be expected to have significant
approaches which have been suggested for treating thennal diffusion. compositional variations.
Examples given in our paper show that thennal diffusion can have a From 1938 until 1980 the petroleum literature is apparently void
marked effect on compositional grading, with the possibility of of publications regarding the calculation of compositional gradients.
enhancing, reducing, or completely eliminating gradients caused by Several references during this period do, however, mention reservoirs
gravity alone. exhibiting compositional variation. Most of these references are cited
We illustrate the potential danger of using gradient calculations by SchulteS in 1980.
for defining original hydrocarbon distributions (oil and gas in place) Schulte appears to be the first to solve Eq. (I) using a cubic
when limited fluid samples and PVT data are available. Furthennore, equation of state. This classic paper illustrates that significant
guidelines are given for when to use gradient calculations, and how compositional variation can result from gravity segregation in
to develop an EOS fluid characterization for reservoirs exhibiting petroleum reservoirs. Schulte gives examples showing the effect of oil
compositional variation. type (aromatic content) and interaction coefficients (used in the
mixing rules of a cubic EOS) on compositional gradients. He also
compares gradients calculated using the PR and SRK equations.
443
2 COMPOSITIONAL GRADIENTS IN PETROLEUM RESERVOIRS SPE 28000
In 1980 significant compositional gradients were reported in the Belery and da Silva2 present a formulation describing the
Brent field, North Sea 5 -7 In the Brent formation of the Brent field a combined effects of gravity and thermal diffusion for a system of zero
significant gradient in composition was observed, with the transition net mass flux. After assessing various approaches for treating thermal
from gas to oil occurring at a saturated GOe. These papers also diffusion, they selected the method of Dougherthy and Drickamer IS.
describe the unusual transition from gas to oil in the absence of a Belery and da Silva extend this formulation (which was originally
saturated gas-oil contact. The transition occurs instead at a depth valid only for binary systems) to multicomponent systems. A field
where the reservoir fluid is a critical mixture, with a critical example using EOS characterization and measured gradient data from
temperature equal to the reservoir temperature and a critical pressure the Ekofisk Field (North Sea) was used to illustrate the
less than the reservoir pressure (i.e. at an undersaturated GOC). gravity/thermal model. Because measured PVT gradients were very
Apparently the Statfjord formation in the Brent field is an example of scattered (probably due to sampling problems), the comparison is not
a reservoir with an undersaturated GOe. quantitatively accurate (with or without thermal diffusion). However.
In 1983 Holt, Lindeberg, and Ratje8 presented a formulation of the calculations show qualitatively the effect of thermal diffusion, and
the compositional gradient problem including thermal diffusion. they are the first such calculations reported for multicomponent
Example calculations in this paper were, unfortunately, limited to systems.
binary systems. Wheaton l6 discusses an isothermal GCE model including the
Numerous publications on the subject of compositional gradient influence of capillary pressure. The addition of capillary forces was
were presented at SPE Technical Conferences in 1984 and 1985. 9 ,10. apparently justified in an effort to assist in the initialization of
Most of these were field case histories, and in fact a special session reservoir simulators. Simulators use capillary pressure curves to
of the 1985 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition was initialize saturation and pressure distributions discretely in the vertical
dedicated to this subject. 11-13 direction.
Hirschberg9 discusses the influence of asphaltenes on Results of the calculated examples in Wheaton's paper suggest
compositional grading. He uses a simplified two-component model, that neglecting compositional variations in a gas condensate reservoir
with one component representing asphaltenes and the other may result in potentially large errors in the initial hydrocarbons in
representing the remaining deasphalted oil. The observation is made place. Obviously these results are primarily a consequence of
that compositional grading in heavier oils (Yo>O.85 or YAPI<35API) neglecting the compositional variation due to gravity/chemical
can be strongly influenced by the amount and properties of equilibrium. Quantitatively similar results would have been obtained
asphaltenes. It is implied that quantitatively accurate estimates of with or without the inclusion of capillary pressures.
compositional grading due to asphaltenes is extremely difficult Finally, Wheaton's observation that neglecting compositional
because of the strong dependence of calculated results on physical gradients will lead to incorrect specification of initial oil and gas in
properties of the oil and asphaltene(s). Finally, Hirschberg discusses place, is equally applicable to both gas condensate and oil reservoirs
two mechanisms for the development of a tar mat. (i.e. practicallr any petroleum reservoir).
Riemens, Schulte, and de Jong lO present an interesting evaluation Chaback 7, in his comments to Wheaton ' s paper, makes the
of the compositional grading in the Birba Field, Oman. It is shown, observation that non-isothermal effects can be on the same order of
based on isothermal GCE calculations and field measurements of PVT magnitude as gravity effects. More importantly, he notes the fact that
data, that a significant compositional gradient exists. The authors also a non-isothermal system will never reach equilibrium (zero energy
evaluate the possibility of injecting gas into the undersaturated oil flux), even though a stationary (steady-state) condition of zero net
zone where multicontact miscibility can develop. mass flux is reached.
Montel and Gouel 14 suggest an algorithm for solving the Montel 18 gives a discussion of compositional grading, including
isothermal GCE problem. The procedure is only approximate because comments about treating thermal diffusion. He provides an equation
it calculates pressure using an incremental hydrostatic term instead of for calculating the Rayleigh-Darcy number which is used to indicate
solving for pressure directly. They discuss the effect of fluid if a fluid/rock system will experience convection ("mechanical
characterization on compositional grading, and the effect of reservoir instability").
temperature and pressure. FinaUy, the authors suggest that including Pavel 19 gives an extensive discussion and formal mathematical
thermal diffusion may improve the reliability of calculated treatment of compositional grading, including gravity, thermal, and
compositional gradients (though they choose not to include this effect capillary forces. The treatment yields complicated expressions which,
in their study). in a few cases, are solved for simple conditions (idealized EOS and
Metcalfe, Vogel, and Morrisl2 report measured variation of binary systems). Many of the results are similar to those given by
composition and physical properties of reservoir fluids in the Muskat. No examples are given for multicomponent mixtures using
Anschutz Ranch East Field, Overthrust Belt (USA). These authors use a realistic thermodynamic model.
an EOS to characterize the PYT behavior of the entire range of fluids Recently, Faissat et aL 20 gave a theoretical review of equilibrium
sampled from the reservoir. However, instead of calculating the formulations including gravity and thermal diffusion. Most of the
compositional variation using gravity/chemical equilibrium and the formulations are mentioned in the Belery and da Silva paper, though
developed EOS characterization, they correlate compositional variation Faissat et al. formalize the thermal diffusion term in a generic way.
graphically based on measured data. Unfortunately, calculations are not provided for comparing the
Creek and Schrader 1I report compositional grading data for different formulations.
another Overthrust Belt reservoir, the East Painter Field. Considerable
data are presented, together with comparison of measured and Isothermal Gravity/Chemical Equilibrium (GCE)
calculated compositional gradients using the isothermal GCE model. Eq. (I) gives the condition for isothermal gravity/chemical
They report difficulty in matching observed saturation pressure and equilibrium (sometimes written in differential form as d~i+Migdh=O,
GOR gradients. Finally, the authors indicate that most reservoirs along i=I,2,... N). This condition represents N equations. Together with the
the Overthrust Belt have varying degrees of compositional grading. constraint that the sum of mole fractions z(h) must add to one,
444
SPE 28000 C.H. WHITSON & P. BELERY 3
N pressure at h are simply values at the reference depth, z{l )(h)=zo and
LZ,{h) = I . . .. .. . .. .... . . ....... .. . .. .... .. . (2) p(l )(h)=po.
;.1 Calculate fugacities of the composition estimate z at the pressure
it is possible to solve for composition z(h) and pressure p(h) at a estimate p. Calculate mole numbers from Eq. (7). Calculate fugacity
specified depth h. ratio corrections,
Chemical potential can be expressed as I!j=RTlnfj+lli(T), where
fj(p o,z 0) N I
R is the gas constant, fj is the fugacity (sometimes expressed in terms ri = --;:-;---;:- ( L yr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (9)
of the fugacity coefficient <i>j' where fj=<l>jZjp), and lIi(T) is the fj(p,z) j= I J
temperature-dependent ideal-gas contribution to chemical energy. Eq. Update mole numbers using
(I) can now be expressed in terms of fugacity,
y(n.l) = y~n)[r(n)A . . . ..... . ....... .. . .. .. ... ... (10)
I I I
In fj(p o,l o,T)=ln fj(p,z,T)
_1_Mjg(h_h 0), i= 1,2... N ....... (3)
+
RT where four iterations use successive substitution (),,=I) followed by a
For convenience we define fj(h)=fj(P(h),z(h),T) and fj(hO)=fj(pO,zO,T), GDEM promotion with )" given by
yielding b
),,= 1--11-1
M g(h - h 0) (4) bll - bOI
f,.(h) = f(h 0) exp[ I RT ] " i= I 2... N . . .. . .. ..... .. . (I I)
I
N N
The method of volume translation is widely used for correcting bOI = r r(n)r(n-I) . b r
~rj
(n-I ) (n-I)
rj
~ j j 'II
jz l j=1
volumetric deficiencies of the original SRK and PR equations. The
(n+l) (n+I) .
method involves calculating a linearly-translated volume v' by adding Calculate Zj from Y j using
a constant c to the molar volume v calculated from the original EOS,
N
v'=v+c. Peneloux et aL21 show that the volume shift modifies the zi = Y;I(LY ) .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .. . .. .. (12)
j
component fugacity as fi=fj1:xp[cj(p/RT)] . This correction must be j =1
included in the fugacity expressions used for gradient calculations. Update the pressure estimate using a Newton-Raphson estimate,
The correction must also be included in the pressure derivative of
fugacity used in the recommended algorithm for solving the p(n.l) = pen) _ O(n) .. .... .. .. .... . ... . . .. . .. (13)
isothermal GCE problem. (OQlCJp)(n)
Based on the Gibbs-Duhem equation, it is guaranteed that where
combining the condition of mechanical equilibrium, dp/dh=-pg, with
N (af/Op)
the condition of gravity/chemical equilibrium, Eq. (I), automatically LYiri _ _ _ .. ... . .. . . . . .. . . .......... . (14)
satisfies the condition that i.1 fj(p,z)
h Check for convergence using the following two tolerances
p(h) = p(h ~ + Jp(h)gdh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. (5) N
II-LY;! < 10- 13
hO
j.1
Interestingly, the isothermal GCE equations are still valid and satisfy . ..... . . . ... .. ... .. . .. . .. . . (15)
[i~ Inl(~:;~j) J
this condilion when a saturated gas-oil contact is located between hO 8
and h (i.e. even when P(h) is not a continuous function). < 10-
Iterate until convergence is achieved.
Isothermal GCE Algorithm
Eqs. (I) and (2) represent equations similar to those used to calculate After finding the composition z(h) and pressure P(h) satisfying
saturation pressure. Michelsen I gives an efficient method for solving Eqs. (I) and (2), a phase stability test23 must be made to establish if
the saturation pressure calculation which has been modified here to the solution is valid. A valid solution is singe phase
solve the GCE problem, (thermodynamically stable). An unstable solution indicates that the
calculated z and p will split into two (or more) phases, thereby
N
making the solution invalid.
O(p,z) = I - Lzj[fj(p o,z O)/fj(p,z)]
j=1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. (6) If the gradient solution is unstable, then the stability-test
N composition y should be used to reinitialize the gradient calculation.
I - LY j The starting pressure for the new gradient calculation can be pO, or
j=1
preferably the converged pressure from the gradient calculation which
where lead to the unstable solution. Note that unstable gradient solutions
Y j = Zj [fj(p o,z 0) I (fj(p,z)] ... . .. . ..... . . .. . . .. ... . (7) usually occur only a short distance beyond a saturated GOC.
445
4 COMPOSITIONAL GRADIENTS IN PETROLEUM RESERVOIRS SPE 28000
solutions exist over a large part of the reservoir thickness. On the For reservoir engineering purposes, this fluid system can be
other hand, once a non-trivial stability condition is found then either modelled as a dry gas with uniform composition in equilibrium with
method can be used efficiently to determine the saturated GOC. a constant-GOR (constant-bubblepoint) oil.
If an undersaturated GOC exists (i.e. a transition from gas to oil
through a critical mixture), only a search based on saturation pressure Slightly Volatile 011 Example
calculations can be used. The following algorithm is recommended for This example is taken from a reservoir with field data which
locating both saturated and undersaturated GOCs. suggested significant bubblepoint and solution-GOR variation with
First, calculate the composition and pressure at the top (lor and depth. Calculated results shown here are reasonably close to (but
PT) and the bottom (zB and PB) of the reservoir, followed by the somewhat underpredict) observed variations.
calculation of saturation pressures PsT and PsB. If the saturation types The degree of undersaturation at reference depth of -2700 m was
(bubblepointldewpoint) are the same at the top and bottom, then no about 30 bar, as shown in Fig. 5. Solution GOR at the reference depth
GOC exists. Otherwise, a search for the GOC (hooc ) is made. is about 150 Sm3/Sm 3, compared with 180 Sm 3/Sm 3 at the GOC (Fig.
A straight-forward search algorithm would be interval halving 6). The variation in solution GOR in the oil zone has entered as a
based on the saturation type. At iteration n, a solution with a dewpoint primary variable in the evaluation of miscible gas injection.
at depth h(n) would replace the top depth hfn+I)=h(n) for the next Liquid yield of the gas cap varies from 90 Sm 3/Sm 3 at the GOC
iteration, and a solution with a bubblepoint at a given depth would to 7S Sm 3/Sm 3 200 m above the GOc. Because the reservoir has
replace the bottom depth h~n+I)=h(n). The depth estimate for a given significant dip, the variation in liquid yield in the gas cap has been an
iteration is calculated from h(n)=0.5[h~n)+hfn)]. The number of important factor in determining the initial condensate in place. Alse,
iterations required to meet a tolerance oh would be the phase behavior of mixing dry injection gas with a varying
I.5ln[(h T-h B)/oh). For example, only 13 gradient and saturation reservoir gas composItion has required special attention
pressure calculations would be needed to achieve oh=O.1 m for a total (revaporization of liquid condensed upon mixing).
thickness (h-r-hB)=5OOm. This example is used to study the importance of EOS fluid
More efficient algorithms for locating the GOC can probably be characterization on predicting compositional variation. To do so, it has
developed, particularly if a non-trivial stability solution can be been assumed that two production tests (DST I and DST 4) provided
located. Alternatively, Michelsen's critical point algorithm,2S or his two insitu representative samples. DST I sampled an undersaturated
new method 26 for calculating accurate approximations for saturation reservoir oil, and DST 4 sampled an undersaturated reservoir gas.
pressure and temperature may provide a good starting point for Compositions through C7+, properties M7+ and 17+' and some PVT
developing an improved algorithm. data were available for both samples (constant composition expansion
data). The PVT "data" were generated using the same SRK EOS
characterization used to generate the original compositional gradient.
Example Applications
The compositions and PVT data for the two samples were
Four reservoir fluid systems are presented. Compositions and physical
characterized with a single set of EOS properties for five C 7 +
properties of oil samples from the four systems are given in Table I.
fractions using the PR EOS. Saturation pressures of the two samples
Reference conditions are also given. The oil samples represent four
were matched with the PR EOS characterization by modifying the C ,-
reservoirs in the North Sea. All but one example considers
C7+ binary interaction parameters.
compositional variation both in the oil zone and an overlying gas
Isothermal gradient calculations were made using the DST I oil
zone.
(-2700 m). Results are shown in Figs. 7 and 8. The GOC predicted
The black oil (BO) and the slightly volatile oil (SVO) samples
was 5 m lower than the original ("true") GOC. Bubblepoint and
were characterized using the Pedersen et a!. 27 procedure with 12 C7+
dewpoint gradients are in good agreement with the original gradients.
fractions (SRK EOS). The volatile oil (VO) and near-critical oil
GOR is also in good agreement for the oil, and the slight error in
(NCO) systems were characterized using the Whitson et a1. 28 -30
GOR in the gas zone is due mostly to the difference in EOS
procedures with 5 C7+ fractions (PR EOS). EOS characterizations for
predictions.
the examples can be obtained from the author.
Isothermal gradient calculations were also made using the gas
sampled from DST 4 (-2300 m). The same PR EOS characterization
Black 011 Example
is used here as in the DST I oil calculations. Here the predicted GOC
This example considers a saturated, low-GOR oil in equilibrium with
was 13 m too shallow (see Fig. 9). Predicted bubblepoint pressures
a gas cap at initial reservoir conditions. Fig. I shows the saturation
are too low, mainly because the GOC is in error.
pressure variation with depth. Fig. 2 shows solution GOR as a
As seen in Fig. 10, the PR EOS overpredicts the GOR at the
function of depth.
sampling depth even though the composition is exactly the same as
The gradients in dewpoint and bubblepoint (expressed as a
predicted with the original SRK calculations. This simply indicates
cumulative term (Psooc - Ps) / (hGOC - h are about 0.045 bar/m and that the two EOS characterizations are different.
0.03 bar/m, respectively (see Fig. 3). Interestingly, the dewpoint Fig. II shows predicted compositional gradients from the original
gradient is larger than the bubblepoint gradient. SRK EOS characterization, and from the PR EOS characterization
Fig. 3 can be used for order-of-magnitude estimates of saturation starting at both reference depths (DST I and DST 4). The largest
pressure gradients. For example, the bubblepoint pressure of a discrepancies are oil compositions predicted from gradient calculations
"volatile oil" 100m below a saturated GOC would be expected to using DST 4 gas.
have a bubblepoint about (0.2 bar/m)(IOO m)=20 bar less than at the Fig. 12 shows the liquid dropout curve from a CVD experiment
GOC; the value 0.2 bar/m was read from Fig. 3. for gases at -2300 m (DST 4 sample depth). The original SRK and PR
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this example is the DST 4 samples are identical (through C 7+), and the difference in
variation in GOR in the gas zone. The variation in composition is dropout curves stems solely from the EOS fluid characterizations. The
expressed in terms of liquid dropout curves in Fig. 4 (T=5C). Liquid gas predicted from the PR EOS using DST I sample and gradient
dropout is an important fluid property for design and pressure-loss calculations is not significantly different than the PR EOS prediction
calculations in seabed pipelines. with the DST 4 gas sample (i.e. the correct gas composition).
446
SPE 2SOOO C.H. WHITSON & P. BELERY 5
We are currently studying how much PYT data and The system having a slightly undersaturated GOC has similar
compositional information from the collected samples are required to gradients to the system with a near-critical saturated GOC, except
tune the PR EOS characterization such that the DST I and DST 4 very near the GOCs. The system with a saturated near-critical GOC
gradient predictions "overlay" the original SRK gradients. has a gradient that approacheS infinity at the GOC; the saturation
pressure gradient for the system with a slightly undersaturated GOC
Volatile 011 Example drops abruptly to zero at the GOC. For the most undersaturated
The current example is taken from the paper of Belery and da Silva. system in Fig. 23, saturation pressure gradient is fairly constant far
The reservoir oil is from the Ekofisk Field, North Sea. It is highly away from the GOC, decreasing gradually towards a zero gradient at
undersaturated (more than 100 bar), and fairly volatile with a solution the GOC.
GOR of about 300 Sm 3/Sm] The effects of thermal diffusion were
made originally by Belery and da Silva, and are merely reproduced Effect of Heptanes-Plus Split
in this example. The effect of C7+ split on gradient calculations was studied for
Figs. 13-15 show the variation in bubblepoint, solution GOR, and the slightly undersaturated near-critical oil. The number of C 7+
composition with depth. The solid lines show results of the isothermal components was varied from 5 to 25 using equal mass fractions with
GCE calculations. Varying degrees of thermal diffusion are used by an exponential distribution (gamma distribution parameters a=1 and
adjusting the Soret effect (thermal diffusion coefficient DT). 11=90). Fig. 24 shows the resulting saturation pressure gradient. The
The effect of thermal diffusion is dramatic on bubblepoint dewpoint calculations are affected most, though still very little.
pressure, solution GOR, and composition. It appears that methane The isothermal gradient calculations using 25 C 7+ fractions were
gradients are reduced (nearly reversed) at shallower depths, and analyzed to study the variation in molar distribution parameters as a
greatly enhanced at depths below the reference depth. These trends function of depth. At each depth the calculated 25 C7+ mole fractions
arc readily understood by studying the variation in thermal diffusion were fit to the gamma distribution model. 29,31 The results are shown
ratio kT (Fig. 16). kT is used in the relation for calculating the in Fig. 25, indicating that relatively small changes occur in the
contribution to compositional gradient due to thermal diffusion, distribution parameters, even for this near-critical system. Similar
analysis of the black-oil system was made with the result that
dZ j = -k . dinT . .. ...... ... . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .. ... (16) distribution parameters in the oil and gas zones differ somewhat (e.g.
dh T'dil a g=0.6 and a o =l), but they remain very constant within each zone.
Below the reference depth the combined effect of large positive
thermal diffusion ratios for methane and large negative thermal Effect of Volume Translation
diffusion ratios for heavier components results in a significant As mentioned earlier, the method of volume translation is used
reduction in methane content (and consequently, bUbblepoint pressure widely to improve volumetric predictions of the original SRK and PR
and solution GOR; see Figs. 13 and 14). equations of state. For most phase equilibria calculations (isothermal
Somewhat above the reference depth , thermal diffusion ratios are flash , stability test, and saturation pressure) this method has no affect
smaller by almost one order of magnitude. The direction of on compositional results because the correction term exp[cj(p/RT)]
compositional gradient for methane is opposite to the gravity-induced cancels.
gradient (kT<O), and the resulting methane concentration becomes For the GeE problem, fugacity of the reference mixture is at a
almost constant for more than 200 m. different pressure than the mixture at depth h. The correction term
does not therefore cancel. Fig. 26 shows the difference in gradient
Near-Critial Oil Example results with and without volume translation.
This example illustrates one of the most extreme conditions of
compositional grading that can be expected in a reservoir system. The Effect of Passive Thermal Gradient
reservoir oil is near critical at the initial reference conditions (i.e. the Faissat et al. 20 define "passive thermal gradient" as the result of
oil critical temperature is only slightly greater than reservoir a system with thermal gradient but in the absence of thermal diffusion
temperature). The reference oil is undersaturated by about 20 bar. (obviously a theoretical system). Fig. 27 shows the results of passive
Figs. 17 and IS show the saturation pressure and GOR variations thermal gradient. Dewpoint pressures are affected only slightly. In
with depth based on the isothermal GCE model. About 35 m above fact, compositional gradients are almost identical for the different
the reference depth an undersaturated GOC is found. A transition thermal gradients, and the observed variation in saturation pressures
from oil to gas occurs through a critical mixture with a GOR of about are due almost entirely to the temperature dependence of saturation
SOO Sm 3/Sm] A very large gradient in GOR is seen in Fig. IS, with pressure.
the maximum gradient occurring at the undersaturated GOC. Based on this example, it is reasonable to conclude that inclusion
Figs. 19 and 20 show the same fluid system, but with a lower of a passive thermal gradient term in the gravity/chemical equilibrium
in itial reference pressure of 469 bar (compared with 4S3 bar in Figs. model will have little effect. Furthermore, the introduction of such a
17 and IS). A near-critical saturated GOC is found about 10m about term necessitates a numerical integration of the resulting equations.
the reference depth. Large saturation pressure and GOR gradients are Because compositional gradients are not affected greatly by passive
observed near the GOC (similar to the slightly undersaturated system thermal gradients, even for this near-critical example, it doesn't seem
shown in Figs. 17 and IS). The saturation pressure gradient exceeds worthwhile to abandon the isothermal GCE formulation which can be
I bar/m near the GOC (see Fig. 3). solved exactly.
Montel and Gouel 14 suggest that after solving the isothermal
Degree of Undersaturation GCE problem, that variation in properties such as saturation pressure
The effect of higher initial reference pressure is shown in Figs. be calculated including temperature variation . Although this appears
21 and 22 . For systems that are significantly undersaturated, the to be a reasonable suggestion, it may cause problems for the
compositional gradients are greatly reduced. This is shown clearly in initialization of a reservoir model that includes vertical temperature
Fig. 23, where the saturation pressure gradient is plotted versus
distance from the GOC.
447
6 COMPOSITIONAL GRADIENTS IN PETROLEUM RESERVOIRS SPE 28000
variation (where the input composition-depth variation is based on For the sample taken at the bottom of the reservoir (-3200 rn),
isothermal GCE calculations). gradient calculations gave very poor results. An undersaturated GDC
was located at about the right depth, but with a saturation pressure 40
Effect of Thermal Diffusion to 50 bar too low; GORs in the gas zone were severely
Including a thermal diffusion contribution to the compositional underpredicted.
gradient problem may result in non-physical solutions to the set of To obtain a consistent EOS characterization based on the three
zero-mass-flux equations. The condition of mechanical stability (onset samples in this example, and eventually PVT data for these samples,
of convection) is given by a Raleigh-Darcy number l8 of 40. If a special characterization procedure must be followed. Only with a
mechanical instability is developed, the one-dimensional set of zero- truly consistent characterization is it possible to reproduce the "true"
mass-flux equations can no longer be used. Instead, a compositional gradient and fluid properties of the original system. A
multidimensional treatment is required for the gravity/thermal problem procedure for developing such a fluid characterization is discussed
including convection (requiring a numerical solution). below.
In this example the slightly undersaturated near-critical oil was
subjected to varying degrees of thermal diffusion, with the results Developing an EOS Fluid Characterization
shown in Figs. 28 and 29. Fig. 28 ~l\ows the v~riation in saturation ~h~ recommended procedure for developing an EOS fluid
pressure versus depth. Not 01>\ i6US fi!o~ the figure is th'l a compl~e c~aracterization of a reservoir with compositional variation is based
phase inversion occurs for the .systems with 10% or mor of the total on\obtaining a match of measured PVT data for several fluid sampl es.
thermal diffusion term. Phase inversion means that c .mpositions Th~se fluid samples should cover the entire range of compositions
above the reference depth are bubblepoint oils, and compositions which have been sampled from the reservoir.
somewhat. below the reference depth are dewpoint gases (the "oil/gas" The EOS characterization should consist of a single set of EOS
transition occurs at the maximum in saturation pressure). parameters that apply to all fluid samples. The C7+ (C IO+' etc.)
Fig. 29 shows the reservoir pressure gradient (i.e. density) versus splitting procedure must be flexible enough to allow each sample to
depth, indicating that non-physical solutions are obtained for the have different plus properties (e.g. M7+ and Y7+)' yet still resulting
systems with 10% or more of the total thermal diffusion term. in a single set of common properties of the split fractions that apply
Obviously convection would be induced for systems with negative to all samples. Whitson et al. 29 have developed a procedure
density gradients. Even the system with only 5% of the thermal specifically for this purpose.
diffusion term may experience convection if the Rayleigh-Darcy The next step is to tune the EOS to measured PVT and
number exceeds 40 (even though the system has a positive density compositional data. Critical properties of the C 7+ fractions and binary
gradient). interaction parameters are typically modified to improve the EOS
match to measured data.
Effect of Fluid Characterization Having developed an EOS characterization that satisfactorily
The slightly undersaturated near-critical oil was chosen to illustrate matchesPVT data for all of the samples, isothermal gradient
the importance of developing a comprehensive and consistent fluid calculations can be made for each sample separately. Reference
characterization before making gradient calculations. conditions (depth, pressure, and temperature) must be defined for each
First, isothermal GeE calculations were made. Results are shown sample. a task which may be difficult because of multiple perforation
as solid lines in Figs. 30 and 31. These results and the properties of intervals.
fluids at various depths calculated using the "original" PR EOS The gradient calculations from each sample should be compared.
characterization (i.e the one used to generate the compositional If the fluid gradients are similar (and hopefully similar to the
gradient) are assumed to represent "true" field data. These "data" are measured gradient), then the EOS characterization is probably
available from samples at three depths in the reservoir. adequate. If the gradients from each sample are very different, several
The three samples collected were (I) at the top of the reservoir explanations can be given:
(-2900 m), (2) in the middle of the reservoir (-3020 m), and (3) at the
bottom of the reservoir (-3200 m). Exact compositional analyses I. The EOS characterization is not sufficiently unique; i.e. it may
through C 7+ were obtained at each depth, together with properties fit all measured PVT data, but additional data covering a larger
M7+ and Y7+' In this example, no "measured" PVT data were made p-z space are needed to fine-tune the EOS.
available (i.e properties calculated with the original PR EOS
characterization ). 2. The reference conditions are not sufficiently accurate. Reference
Each sample was characterized separately using the SRK EOS depths are often difficult to define precisely.
with the Pedersen C 7+ characterization procedure (the Pedersen
splitting method does not allow several fluids to be characterized with 3. The fluid samples are not in communication because of sealing
a single set of EOS parameters). faults or shale barriers. The fluids may not even have the same
The gradient calculations of the sampled gas at -2900 m source rocks, in which case it may be impossible to determine a
predicted reasonably well both the dewpoint pressures and GORs single EOS characterization that describes all fluids.
above the datum depth. A saturated aoc was found at -3040 m.
Predictions of oil properties below the GOC were not very accurate. 4. The isothermal (or non-isothermal) gradient model is not
Bubblepoints were overpredicted by 10 to 15 bar, while solution appropriate. Convective mixing may have occurred, regional
GORs were underpredicted by about 100 Sm 3/Sm 3. temperature gradients may exist, etc.
Gradient calculations using the critical mixture at -3020 m
resulted in an undersaturated GOC slightly below the actual GOe. It can be difficult to modify the EOS characterization to match
Dewpoint pressures are predicted reasonably well, even though GORs measured PVT data from multiple samples in the reservoir, and to
in the gas zone are underpredicted by several hundred Sm 3/Sm 3. match measured variation of properties with depth. However, the task
Below the GOC, bubblepoints were overpredicted and solution GORs is more likely to succeed when both PVT and compositional data are
were underpredicted.
448
SPE 28000 C.H. WHITSON & P. BELERY 7
available for the samples included in the EOS tuning, and when these opposite to the segregation of methane under gravity. The net result
samples cover the entire range of compositions existing in the will be a reduced methane concentration gradient, and possibly even
reservoir. a gradient reversal.
Apparently, negative thermal diffusion ratios of methane are not
Conclusions uncommon. The tendency is for these ratios to increase with depth,
The following conclusions apply to results of compositional grading eventually becoming positive and enhancing the methane gradient
studies based on isothermal gravity/chemical equilibrium (GCE) caused by gravity.
calculations for reservoir fluids ranging from black oils to near-critical
oils. 8. Significant methane movement downwards (caused by negative
thermal diffusion ratios) will tend to create a mechanically unstable
I. Expected gradients in saturation pressure range from 0.025 bar/m condition. The consequence may be convection. If convection occurs,
for black oils 10 a maximum of about I bar/m for near-crilical oils the equilibrium problem is no longer one dimensional and another
approaching a GOC. Volatile systems exhibil large non-linear approach must be used for studying the compositional gradient
saturation pressure gradients, and particularly near a gas-oi I contact. problem.
Black oil systems have nearly-conslant saturation pressure gradients
as a function of depth. 9. There appears to be no consensus for how to formulation the non-
isothermal gradient problem. Several adhoc approaches based on zero
2. For systems exhibiting a GOC, the dewpoint and bubblepoint net flux have been suggested. Only one has been evaluated in this
pressure gradients on each side of the GOC are nearly symmetric, study. The alternative formulations should be tested, and perhaps the
with the dewpoint gradient usually being somewhat larger than the fundamental treatment of non-isothermal compositional gradients
bubblepoint gradient. This applies to saturated GOCs and should be reexamined.
undersaturated GOC (where the transition from gas to oil occurs
through a critical fluid) . Nomenclature
bOI coefficient in calculating A
3. Compositional grading is reduced significantly if the system is b ll coefficient in calculating A
highly undersaturated. However, large compositional gradients may c volume shift parameter, m 3/kmol
still exist for slightly undersaturated, near-critical systems. For most D molecular diffusion coefficient, m 2/s
systems. gradients are inversely proportional to the degree of DT thermal diffusion coefficient = DkT
undersaturation. fj fugacity of component i, Pa
g acceleration due to gravity, mls 2
4. The effect of EOS fluid characterization on compositional grading h vertical height. m
has been studied. It is recommended based on these results that the kT thermal diffusion ratio
EOS tuning procedure should include all samples from the reservoir, M molecular mass of component i, kglkmol
or at least samples representing the entire range of compositions M7+ molecular mass of C 7+, kglkmol
measured in the reservoir. P absolute pressure, Pa
Furthermore, it is highly recommended that a single consistent Pb bubblepoint pressure, Pa
set of EOS properties be determined such that PVT data from all Pd dewpoint pressure, Pa
samples are matched simultaneously. Only after such a tuning PR reservoir pressure, Pa
procedure can compositional gradient calculations be made reliably. Ps saturation pressure, Pa
Q function for solving the GCE problem
5. The effect of the number of C 7+ fractions used in the EOS fluid fugacity ratio correction
characterization is insignificant when using five or more fractions, R universal gas constant
even for near-critical systems. Furthermore, the C 7+ molar distribution v molar volume, m 3/kmol
changes very little as a function of depth, also for near-critical v' corrected molar volume, m 3/kmol
systems. For black-oil systems, the molar distribution in the gas zone y stability test phase molar composition
may be different than the distribution in the oil zone, but in either z molar composition
zone the distributions remain constant.
a shape factor in molar distribution model
6. In the absence of thermal diffusion effects, temperature gradients YAPI stock-lank oil specific gravity, API
as high as 0.055C/m resulted in insignificant compositional gradients Yo stock-tank oil specific gravity, water=1
compared with isothermal GCE calculations. Y7+ C 7+ specific gravity, water=l
T] minimum molecular weight in molar distribution model
The following conclusions are based on studies of compositional p density, kglm 3
grading in systems with temperature gradients where the effect of A acceleration parameter in GDEM method
thermal diffusion, based on the model proposed by Belery and da chemical potential (Gibbs energy) of component i
Silva, is included in the analysis. ideal-gas contribution to chemical potential of component i
fugacity coefficient of component i
7. The tendency of thermal diffusion may be to enhance, reduce,
balance, or completely reverse the compositional gradients calculated Subscripts
by a model based on isothermal gravity/chemical equilibrium. B bottom of the reservoir
Methane will migrate towards higher temperatures when the OOC gas-oil contact
thermal diffusion ratio is negative 2 This migration downwards is ref reference condition
449
8 COMPOSITIONAL GRADIENTS IN PETROLEUM RESERVOIRS SPE 28000
450
SPE 28000 C.H. WHITSON & P. BELERY 9
Slightly Near
Component! Black Volatile Volatile Critical
Property 011 011 Oil 011
N2 0.262 0.270 0.930 0.550
CO2 0.367 0.790 0.210 1.250
C1 35.193 46.340 58.770 66.450
C2 3.751 6. 150 7.570 7.850
C3 0.755 4.460 4.090 4.250
iC 4 0.978 0.870 0.910 0.900
C4 0.313 2.270 2.090 2.150
iC s 0.657 0.960 0.770 0.900
Cs 0.152 1.410 1.150 1.150
C6 1.346 2. 100 1.750 1.450
FI 4.779 3.297 5.381 4.885
FZ 4.374 2.981 5.866 3.200
F3 4.003 2.696 5.003 2.300
F4 10.084 6.633 3.519 1.663
Fs 7.728 3.430 1.992 1.052
F6 5.922 4.008
F7 4.538 2.072
Fs 4.445 3.079
F9 3.117 2.058
FlO 3.020 1.641
FII 2.527 1.493
FI2 1.689 0.991
Reference Conditions
hO (m) 1550 2635 3160 3049
T (0C) 68 95 130 132
pO (bara) 160 263 492 483/469
Pb (bara) 160 246 383 462
GOR a (Sm 3/Sm 3) 62 156 299 560
Yo' 0.887 0.860 0.825 0.827
a. Single-stage separator.
451
10 COMPOSITIONAL GRADIENTS IN PETROLEUM RESERVOIRS SPE 28000
P.
-1400 1400 1400
Fig. 1 Saturation pressure variation for Black Oil Fig. 1 Gas-oil ratio variation for Black Oil system
system using isothermal GCE. using isothermal GCE.
Qj
a: o-'
>
s: w 0.2
is. -100 >
~ i=
CC
-'
w
a:
-200
-' D.l
(5
Isothermal
-300 L-~~~~~~~L-~L-~~~~~~~~~ Cons'.nl CompnlUon EXpllnsJons
0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 0.0
Cumulative Saturation Pressure Gradient, bar/m
o 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
Fig. 3 Cumulative saturation pressure gradient Fig. 4 Liquid dropout curves for reservoir gases
versus depth relative to saturated GOc. at various depths for Black Oil system.
452
SPE 28000 C.H. WHITSON & P. BELERY II
-'
-'
(/)
-'
II) Goe 2500
II)
(/)
(/) 2500 II) 2500
E E E
:r;-
~
ti:W 2600
~
Q..
W
2600 2600 a.
w
0 0 0
Fig. 5 Saturation pressure variation for Slightly Fig. 6 Gas-oil ratio variation for Slightly Volatile
Volatile Oil system using isothermal GCE. Oil system using isothermal GCE.
E
-2500 GOC:25CMm ____ GOC:2509m II) -2500
GOC:2509m
------
E
X
l-
e.
w
-2600 t:W -2600
0 o
2700 .2700 _. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - _. 05n
-2800 P. -2800
- SRK: Orlglnol
- - PR:DST!
-2900 -2900
200 250 300 102 103 10'
Fig. 7 Comparison of saturation pressure Fig. 8 Comparison of gas-oil ratio variation for
variation for original SVO fluid and the original SVO fluid and the DST I sample.
DST I sample.
453
12 -COMPOSITIONAL GRADIENTS IN PETROLEUM RESERVOIRS SPE 28000
2400 2400
...J ...J
GOC: 2491 m
f/)
f/) 2500 GOC: 2504m
_ _ _ _ GOC: 2491 m f/)
f/) 2500 ,-----------------------
E E GOC: 2109 m
.z .z
l-
b:
W
2600 n.
w
2600
Q Q
2800 2800
- SRK: Original
- - PR:DST4
2900 2900
200 250 300 102 103 10'
2400 "i!-
1.0
C7+
S
/-:- --:: :-:---:: :-:---:::-:- - :~
2500 -a:
Q
/ Q
/ 5
-2600 o
/ ::::i
/ Q 0.5
>
2700 ---1 ------------------- OSTl CJ
I
/
2800 / - SRK: Original 1
~ I. . - - - - PR:DST1
- - PR:05T4
1
454
SPE 28000 C.H. WHITSON & P. BELERY 13
3300 3300
3400 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
3400
250 300 350 400 450 500 550 o 100 200 300 400 500
Fig. 13 Effect of thermal diffusion on saturation Fig. 14 Effect of thermal diffusion on gas-oil ratio
pressure variation for Volatile Oil system. variation for Volatile Oil system.
\
\
-I
rJ)
3000
-I
rJ)
3000
\
\
\
1- .1 1_ 0
- - 25'11.0.
rJ) rJ)
E J
,1 E
3100 -3100
~ " ~
~
Q.
W
PA,.......92 bare
-.------ t::W \
--\-------
0
/. Q
,
\
/ ,.
3200 / : -3200
\
\
,, / \
,, I
/ I
3300 , / 3300 I
Fs Fs C1 C1
3400 3400
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 10 -8 -6 -4 2 0 2 4 6 8 10
Fig. IS Effect of thermal diffusion on methane and Fig. 16 Variation in thermal diffusion ratio for
C,+ compositions for Volatile Oil system. methane and heaviest C,+ fraction (Fs) for
Volatile Oil system.
455
14 COMPOSITIONAL GRADIENTS IN PETROLEUM RESERVOIRS SPE 28000
-2900 -2900
p.
..J ..J
en -3000 en -3000
en en
E PR,reI=483 bar E PR,reI=483 bar
--------- ------ --- ----
~
X-
.....
0.
W
Q
-3100 ~ -3100
-3200 -3200
Isothermal Isothermal
-3300 -3300
400 450 500 o SOO 1000 1S00 2000
Fig. 17 Saturation pressure variation for Near Fig. 18 Gas-oil ratio variation for Near Critical Oil
Critical Oil system using isothermal GCE; system using isothermal GCE; slightly
slightly undersaturated GOc. undersaturated GOC.
-2900 -2900
..J ..J
rJ) -3000 rJ) -3000
rJ) rJ)
E E
~
W -3100
~-
~ -3100
Q
-3200 -3200
Isothermal Isothermal
-3300 L-_"--_"--_-'-_-'-_..L._~_~_~_~._._.J -3300
400 450 500 o 500 1000 1500 2000 2500
Fig. 19 Saturation pressure variation for Near Fig. 20 Gas-oil ratio variation for Near Critical Oil
Critical Oil system using isothermal GCE; system using isothermal GCE; saturated
saturated GOc. GOc.
456
SPE 28000 C.H. WHITSON & P. BELERY 15
\ \
-3200 \ \ -3200
Isothermal Isothermal
-3300 L...............'-'-..L..--'-~..L'-'-...............J...._'_'__'_.L_l...........'-'-____.l_'_.............o......J -3300 L-~~~~~~~~-L~~'-'-'-'--L_,_-,---,-~
400 450 500 550 600 650 700 o SOD 1000 1500 2000
PRESSURE, bar GAS-OIL RATIO, Sm 3/Sm 3
457
16 COMPOSITIONAL GRADIENTS IN PETROLEUM RESERVOIRS SPE 28000
S
- - 10
se,. ,.
- - ~ 5
,
i
: -
; - -
P".,.., z483 bar (unde"aturated Goe)
PA,N,=46' bar (Mturaled GOC)
Isothermal
-2900 -2900
\
\
\
..J ..J
"\
\
en
en
-3000 en
en
-3000
", '
E E ....
~ ~
""
b: b: ", \
~ -3100 ~ -3100
,
\
,
\
\
\
-3200 -3200 \
\
Isothermal
-3300 3300
400 450 500 0.90 0.92 0.94 0.96 0.98 1.00 1.02 1.04 1.06 1.08 1 .10
PRESSURE, bar MOLAR DISTRIBUTION PARAMETERS
Fig. 24 Effect of number of C 7+ fractions on the Fig. 25 Variation of molar distribution parameters
saturation pressure variation for NCO for NCO system using isothermal GCE;
system using isothermal GCE; slightly slightly undersaturated GOe.
undersaturated GOe.
-2900 ~ p
-2900 ~.
No Thermal Diffusion -,
- - 1..._ '
- dT/dh-O.0182 OCIm
~
..J ..J
en -3000 en -3000 - - - dT/dh-O.03M
en en - - dTl_._
E E
~
~
W -3100
b:
w -3100
Q Q
-3200 3200
Isothermal
-3300 -3300
400 450 500 400 450 SOD
PRESSURE, bar PRESSURE, bar
Fig. 26 Effect of volume translation on the Fig. 27 Effect of passive thermal gradient on the
saturation pressure variation for NCO saturation pressure variation for NCO
system using isothermal GCE; slightly system using isothermal GCE; slightly
undersaturated GOe. undersaturated GOe.
458
SPE 28000 C.H. WHITSON & P. BELERY 17
/
/
-'
-'
- -' '.
.,
I I
/ \,
-3200 -3200
/ I ,
3300 3300
300 350 400 450 500 0.025 0.035 0.045 0 .055 0.065
Fig. 28 Effect of thermal diffusion on saturation Fig. 29 Variation in pressure gradient (density) for
pressure variation for NCO system; slightly different degrees of thermal diffusion for
undersaturated GOe. NCO system.
e e
~w .. '
t:w
o -3100
.,, , o -3100
,,
,
I
-3200 3200
Isothermal Isothermal
-3300 3300
400 450 500 o SOO 1000 1500 2000
Fig. 30 Saturation pressure variation for original Fig. 31 Gas-oil ratio variation for original NCO
NCO system and for samples taken at system and for samples taken at different
different depths. depths.
459