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HP/HT CHALLENGES

Accurate Gas-Viscosity Correlation for Use at HP/HT


Conditions Ensures Better Reserves Estimation

High-pressure/high-temperature (HP/ and mixed hydrocarbons revealed limi- it is considered reliable for predicting
HT) gas reservoirs have pressures great- tations in terms of experimental condi- the viscosity of natural gases below
er than 10,000 psia and temperatures tions, data quantity, and in some cases HP/HT conditions.
higher than 300F. Modeling the per- accuracy. The full-length paper details
formance of these reservoirs requires many of these limitations. A review Viswanathan Correlation. This cor-
understanding gas behavior at elevated of available gas-viscosity correlations relation is a modified LGE correlation
pressure and temperature. Gas viscos- also was performed, which showed based on NIST values of viscosity of
ity is used to model the gas mobility in that these correlations were devel- pure methane at pressures from 5,000
the reservoir and can have a significant oped from experimental data taken at to 30,000 psia and temperatures from
effect on reserves estimation during low-to-moderate pressures and tem- 100 to 400F. However, these results
field-development planning. Accurate peratures and that their applicability at cannot be extrapolated directly to situ-
measurements of gas viscosity at HP/HT conditions could be limited. ations in which impurities exist in the
HP/HT conditions are extremely diffi- gas. The Viswanathan correlation can
cult. Public-domain databases of hydro- Available Correlations be used with confidence whenever the
carbon-gas viscosity were reviewed for National Institute of Standards NIST values are assumed to be valid.
validity of gas-viscosity correlations and and Technology (NIST). NIST devel- For HP/HT conditions, the validity of
their applicability range. oped computer software to predict both NIST values and the modified
thermodynamic and transport proper- LGE correlation must be proved against
Introduction ties of hydrocarbon fluids. The soft- actual measurements.
The growing demand for natural gas ware program uses the principle of
is driving the search for new deeper extended corresponding states and Gas Viscosities Measured
sources of gas, many of which encoun- was developed from pure-component at HP/HT Conditions
ter HP/HT conditions. Among gas and mixture data. The maximum pres- A project to characterize the viscosity of
properties, viscosity is seldom mea- sure and temperature that can be used gas at HP/HT conditions was initiated.
sured in the laboratory and, typically, in the program are 44,100 psia and Two types of gases were used: nitrogen
is estimated by use of correlations. At 1,340F, respectively. The NIST gas- as a calibration fluid and pure methane.
HP/HT conditions, reservoir fluids will viscosity values closely match most The investigation was performed with
be very lean gases, typically methane of the published data, and the pre- a device that works on the basis of the
with some level of impurity, and there- dictions generally are reliable for falling-body principle.
fore the gas properties may be different HP/HT conditions in the absence of real All performed tests were compared
from those of gases at lower pressures HP/HT gas-viscosity measurements. with the reported NIST values. At high
and temperatures. pressure, all measured viscosities were
A review of large databases of pub- Lee, Gonzalez, and Eakin (LGE) lower than the NIST values, although in
lished viscosity data for pure methane Correlation. The LGE correlation is the moderate range (3,000 to 8,000 psia),
based on measured data of pure-com- values match exactly. These results were
This article, written by Senior Technology ponent gases and eight natural gases expected because the NIST values were
Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights with specific gravities less than 0.77. calculated from existing databases with
of paper SPE 124734, More-Accurate The correlation can be used to estimate very few points above 15,000 psia.
Gas-Viscosity Correlation for Use at HP/ gas viscosity, provided that the molecu- Fig. 1 compares measured data from
HT Conditions Ensures Better Reserves lar weight and density at the relevant this project with NIST values and other
Estimation, by Ehsan Davani, SPE, conditions are known. existing databases for nitrogen at 134F.
Kegang Ling, Catalin Teodoriu, SPE, The LGE correlation can be used to Test 1 was run from low to high pres-
William D. McCain Jr., SPE, and Gioia predict gas viscosities at temperatures sure, while Test 2 was run from high
Falcone, SPE, Texas A&M University, from 100 to 340F and pressures from to low pressure. Between 3,000 and
prepared for the 2009 SPE Annual 100 to 8,000 psia. Although this cor- 8,000 psia, a good match exists between
Technical Conference and Exhibition, relation does not take into account measurement and NIST values. At high-
New Orleans, 47 October. The paper natural gases containing high quanti- er pressure, the measured viscosities
has not been peer reviewed. ties of nonhydrocarbon components, were less than those provided by NIST,

For a limited time, the full-length paper is available free to SPE members at www.spe.org/jpt.

76 JPT APRIL 2010


Temperature=134F
0.05
High-
pressure
0.045 error

0.04
Good correlation
Viscosity, cp

with NIST values


0.035

0.03

Study Data (Test 1)


0.025
Study Data (Test 2)

0.02 Other Investigators Data

NIST Data. T=134F


0.015
0 1,500 3,000 4,500 6,000 7,500 9,000 10,500 12,000 13,500 15,000
Pressure, psi

Fig. 1At pressures between 3,000 and 8,000 psia, there is a good match between study measurements and
the NIST values. However, at higher pressure, study data fall below the NIST values.

although they show a similar trend. The On the basis of these measurements, At increased temperature, the differ-
same behavior was observed for more it can be inferred that the maximum ence between project data and the
than 100 tests conducted at the time error against the NIST values is 7.48% NIST values decreased.
this paper was written. at pressures greater than 20,000 psia.
Sensitivity water flow was simulated, and the peratures cannot be extrapolated confi-
The effect of gas-viscosity uncertainty runs were performed assuming isother- dently to HP/HT conditions.
on cumulative field production was mal conditions. Gas-viscosity correlations that are
investigated by use of numerical reser- A small difference in gas viscosity available to the petroleum indus-
voir simulations performed for a simple between NIST values and actual mea- try were derived from data obtained
synthetic case consisting of one well surements influenced estimates of with gases having limited impurities.
in a pure-methane-gas reservoir having cumulative gas production from the sim- Therefore, their accuracy for use with
homogeneous rock and fluid proper- ple HP/HT gas reservoir. An interesting gases containing large quantities of
ties. Viscosity was defined as an input result was that underestimating the gas impurities is unknown.
function of pressure and temperature. viscosity yielded slightly worse results The laboratory investigations with
The input values were set equal to the than overestimating the gas viscosity. nitrogen showed a consistently nega-
NIST values and then perturbed by 1% A 10% error in gas viscosity pro- tive error compared with the reported
to 10%. The aim was to investigate duced an 8.22% error in cumulative NIST values, with a maximum error
how the difference between NIST values production. A +10% error in gas viscos- of 7.48% at 134F. On the basis of
and measurements at HP/HT conditions ity yielded a 5.5% error in cumulative the results from a synthetic HP/HT
could affect reserves estimates. The production. These preliminary results gas-reservoir model, a 10% error in
simulator performs an interpolation of suggest that an inaccurate estimation gas viscosity would produce an 8.22%
the discretized input viscosity values to of gas properties may have a significant error in cumulative production, and
obtain a continuous viscosity function effect on the predicted reservoir perfor- a +10% error in gas viscosity would
of pressure and temperature. The uncer- mance of an HP/HT gas field. lead to a 5.5% error in cumulative
tainty associated with this interpolation production. These preliminary results
process can be minimized by providing Conclusions stress the importance of obtaining an
a sufficiently large number of input val- Accurate measurements of natural-gas exhaustive range of measurements of
ues, as was the case for this study. viscosity under HP/HT conditions are the viscosity of natural gases under
The software package uses an implic- yet to be obtained. Gas-viscosity cor- HP/HT conditions to ensure better
it-calculation procedure and black-oil relations derived from data obtained reserves estimation. To this aim, fur-
modeling of the fluid properties. No at low-to-moderate pressures and tem- ther tests are ongoing. JPT