Reservoir Engineering B
HeriotWatt University
Acknowledgements
Thanks are due to the members of HeriotWatt, School of Energy Geoscience
Infrastructure and Society who planned and generated this material.
1 INTRODUCTION
4 SUPERPOSITION
4.1 Effects of Multiple Wells
4.2 Principle of Superposition and Approximation of Variable
Rate Pressure Histories
4.3 Effects of Rate Changes
4.4 Simulating Boundary Effects
(Image Wells)
5 SUMMARY
LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
Having worked through this chapter the student will be able to:
Understand the nature of fluid flow in a porous medium and the relation
between time, position and saturation
Describe the characterisation of the reservoir flow regime on the basis of time
Apply the solutions of the diffusivity equation to steady state flow, semisteady
state flow and transient flow
Calculate the effect of multiple wells and multiple flow rates on reservoir
pressure
From measured bottom hole pressures use the line source solution to determine
the reservoir permeability and skin factor
1 INTRODUCTION
The ability to determine the productivity of a reservoir and the optimum strategy to
maximise the recovery relies on an understanding of the flow characteristics of the
reservoir and the fluid it contains. The physical means by which fluid diffuses through
a rock (or any other porous medium) depends on the interaction between the fluid (and
its properties) and the rock (and its properties). In terms of energy, the process may at
first sight appear to be similar in concept to the application of the general energy
equation to flow through pipes, although in this case the container through which the
fluid flows is made of very small tubes. It is precisely because of the geometry and
dimensions of the tubes that the application of the general energy equation would be
impossible: the description of a real pore network in a whole reservoir would be too
complex. Coupled with this is the interaction between the material of the tubes (or
pores) and the fluids. Surface chemistry effects start to dominate the flow when very
small tubes are considered and when multiphase flow occurs in them. Thus, complex
force fields are produced from not only the viscous pressure drop but also the effects
of surface tension and capillary pressure.
The combination of these factors dictates the nature of the fluid flow and one of the
initially unusual aspects is the time taken for pressure to change in the reservoir or for
fluid to migrate from one location to another. For instance, if a large body of water,
such as a swimming pool were drained, for all intents and purposes, the level of water
in the swimming pool would be the same as the water drained out. It would take an
appreciable amount of time for the water to drain (i.e. it would not be instantaneous),
but the pressure or level of the water in the pool would be the same at all locations of
the pool. The pressure in the pool would equilibrate almost immediately. Contrast this
with, for example, a water saturated reservoir rock in which the water could flow, but
where the permeability of the reservoir and the compressibility and viscosity of the
water dictated that the transfer of the water through the reservoir was not instantaneous
(as in a swimming pool), but took an appreciable time. In this case pressure changes in
one part of the reservoir may take days, even years to manifest themselves in other
parts of the reservoir. In this case, the flow regime would not be steady state while the
pressure was finding its equilibrium and a major problem, therefore, would be that
Darcys Law could not be applied until the flow regime became steady state. In some
way, the diffusion through the reservoir needs to be examined: Darcys Law is one
expression of that diffusion process, but time dependent scenarios must also be
examined.
To illustrate this, consider the following model of a radial reservoir with a well at the
left side (Figure 1). The model represents a radial slice of reservoir from wellbore to
external boundary.
Figure 1 Model of a radial reservoir and the pressure response measured after different times
Each tube contains water, the height of which represents the pressure at that part of the
reservoir. The tubes are connected to each other at the base by a small diameter tube
which restricts the flow. Under initial conditions, the height of the fluid is identical in
each of the tubes (assuming the model is level). The outlet at one end is at a lower
level than the model and when it is opened the fluid immediately drains from the
model and the level of the water in the tubes decreases. The energy to drive this
system is the potential energy stored in the height of the water columns: there is no
high pressure inlet to the model. As is shown in Figure 1, to reduce the pressure in the
model, the fluid needs to be expelled, but because of the permeability of the rock (the
restrictions in the bottoms of the tubes) it takes time for the fluid in the tubes nearest
the outlet to move (or expand in the case of pressurised fluid in a reservoir) and
therefore it takes time for the pressure to change. When the flow is started from the
outlet, there is an immediate reduction in the pressure in tube 1 and this pressure
perturbation moves through the rest of the fluid at a rate dictated by the rock
permeability and fluid properties. This produces a variation in the pressure along the
model. The pressure profile takes time to develop from the outlet (at tube 1) to the tube
farthest from the outlet (tube 10) and at time, t=1, the pressure in tube 10 is still equal
to the pressure at the initial time, t=0. This is termed a transient flow condition as the
fluid is trying to reach pressure equilibrium. When the fluid in tube 10 starts to expand
and flow, all of the fluid in the whole model is now expanding and flowing to the
outlet. Tube 10 represents the limit of the fluid volume: there are no more tubes behind
to supply fluid at the initial pressure. Therefore, as the pressure perturbation moves
through the model from tube 1 to tube 10, the rate of pressure change in the fluid is not
limited by the volume of the fluid: it is as if the volume of fluid was infinite in extent.
During the transient period, the reservoir is often referred to as infinite acting.
On inspection, a profile has been developing across the tubes during the transient
period. At the end of the transient period, the fluid in all of tubes is expanding
producing a decline in the pressure in all of the tubes. The shape of the pressure profile
across all of the tubes remains essentially constant and as time continues, the profile
sinks through the model until the water in the tube nearest the outlet empties. During
this time, the water in the model has not been replaced so steady state conditions have
not been achieved, however, since the gradient between the pressures in each adjacent
tube is not changing, the system can be considered to be in pseudosteady state or
semisteady state: the pressure gradient is constant but the absolute pressure is
declining. This mimics the situation in a real reservoir where the pressure is perturbed
around a well and the pressure disturbance moves out into the rest of the reservoir until
it reaches the outer boundary. If this is sealing and no flow occurs across the boundary,
then the reservoir pressure will decline (neglecting any injection into the reservoir) in a
pseudosteady state manner. If the boundary is nonsealing (i.e. it is the water oil
contact and the aquifer water is mobile) then the aquifer water will flow into the
reservoir and a steady state will be achieved if the flowrates match.
The flow described in this model is trivial, but it illustrates the problem of applying
Darcys Law to real reservoirs: the effect of time on flow may be considerable and if
only steady state flow relationships were available then either permeability of the
reservoir would remain unknown or unrealistic flow periods would be required to
measure an essentially simple rock property.
The actual flow patterns in producing reservoirs are usually complex due mainly to the
following factors:
(i) The shapes of oil bearing formations and aquifers are quite irregular
(ii) Most oilbearing and water bearing formations are highly hetereogenous with
respect to permeability, porosity and connate water saturation. The saturations
of the hydrocarbon phases can vary throughout the reservoir leading to different
relative permeabilities and therefore flow patterns
(iii) The wellbore usually deviates resulting in an irregular well pattern through the
pay zone
(iv) The production rates usually differ from well to well. In general, a high rate well
drains a larger radius than a lower rate well
(v) Many wells do not fully penetrate the pay zone or are not fully perforated
There are essentially two possibilities available to cope with complexities of actual
flow properties.
(i) The drainage area of the well, reservoir or aquifer is modelled fairly closely by
subdividing the formation into small blocks. This results in a complex series of
equations describing the fluid flow which are solved by numerical or semi
numerical methods.
(ii) The drained area is modelled by a single block to preserve the global features
and inhomogeneities in the rock and fluid properties are averaged out or
substituted by a simple relationship or pattern of features (such as a fracture set,
for example). The simplifications allow the equations of flow to be solved
analytically.
There are a number of idealised flow patterns representing fluid flow in a reservoir:
linear, radial, hemispherical, spherical. The most important cases are the linear and
radial models since both of them can be used to describe the water encroachment from
an aquifer into a reservoir, and the radial model can be used to describe the flow of
fluid around the wellbore.
In the following sections, dealing mainly with oil, the compressibility of the flowing
fluid may depend on the pressure. It will always be assumed that the product of
compressibility and pressure, cP, is smaller than one, i.e. cP<<1. If it is not (as in the
case of a gas) then the pressure dependence of compressibility must be taken into
account.
Consider the coordinate system shown in Figure 2. The X and Y coordinates form a
horizontal plane with the Z coordinate perpendicular to this plane. The flow velocity,
U, is a vector with components Ux, Uy, Uz.
Ux = (kx/)(P/x)
Uy = (ky/)(P/y)
Uz = (kz/)(P/z+g) (2.1)
where
k = permeability (m2) in the direction of X, Y, Z. The Z direction has an elevation
term, g, included to account for the change in head
P = pressure (Pa)
= viscosity (Pas)
= density (kg/m3)
g = acceleration due to gravity (m/s2)
U = flow velocity (m/s) = (m3/s/m2)
These components are similar to Darcys law in each of the three directions.
In this geometry, the flow is considered to be along the axis (in the x direction) of a
cuboid of porous rock. The total length of the cuboid is L and fluid flows into the rock
at the left end (x=0) and exits at the right end (x=L). There is no flow in the other
directions at any time i.e. Uy = Uz =0 for all values of x, y, z and time, t (in a real
reservoir, there may be flows in different directions in different parts of the reservoir
and there may be cross flows from different layers within the reservoir). The rock is
100% saturated with the fluid.
(2.2a)
(2.2b)
where
kx = permeability (in the X direction), (m2)
= density, (kg/m3)
Ux = flow velocity (m/s)
t = time (s)
= porosity
= viscosity, Pas
P = pressure, Pa
x = distance, (m)
The latter equation is obtained from a mass balance as follows (Figure 3):
In Figure 3, fluid flows into the end of the cuboid at position x=0, through the rock
only in the X direction and out of the cuboid at x=L. In the middle of the cuboid, an
element from position x to position x+dx is examined. The bulk volume of the element
is the product of the area, A and the length, dx, i.e. the bulk volume = A*dx. The pore
volume of the element is therefore the product of the bulk volume and the porosity, ,
i.e. the pore volume = A*dx*. If the flow was steady state then the flowrates into and
out of the volume (qin and qout) would be identical and Darcys Law would apply. If
the flow rates vary from the inlet of the volume to the outlet, i.e. q in qout then either
the fluid is accumulating in the element and qin > qout or the fluid is depleting from the
element qout > qin (which is possible in a pressurised system since the pressure of the
fluid in the element may reduce causing it to expand and produce a higher flow rate
out of the element). Therefore, there is a relationship between the change in mass, m,
along the cuboid and the change in density, , over time as the mass accumulates or
depletes from any element. In terms of mass flowrate,
The mass flow rate out of the element is also equal to the rate of change of mass flow
in the element,
i.e.
i.e. if the change in mass flowrate is positive it means the element is accumulating
mass; if the change is negative it is depleting mass.
This must equal the rate of change of mass in the element with a volume = A*dx*
hence
or
(2.2b)
(2.3)
Equation 2.3 shows the areal change of pressure is linked to the change in density over
time. Realistically, it is pressure and time that can be measured successfully in a
laboratory or a reservoir, therefore a more useful relationship would be between the
change in pressure areally with the change in pressure through time. The density can
be related to the pressure by the isothermal compressibility, c, defined as:
1 dV
c= ( )
V dP T
Since
(from above)
then
(2.5)
This is the partial differential equation for the linear flow of any single phase fluid in a
porous medium which relates the spatial variation in pressure to the temporal variation
in pressure. If it were applied to a laboratory core flood, it could describe the pressure
variation throughout the core from the initial start of the flood when the flowrate was
increased from zero to a steady rate (the transient period) as well as the steady state
condition when the flow into the core was balanced by the flow out of the core.
Inspection of the equation shows that it is nonlinear because of the pressure
dependence of the density, compressibility and viscosity appearing in the coefficients
simple solutions can be found, i.e. the equation must be linearised. A simple form of
linearisation applicable to the flow of liquids such as undersaturated oil is to assume
their compressibility is small and constant. More complex solutions are required for
more compressible fluids and gasses.
Assuming that the permeability and viscosity terms do not depend on location (i.e.
distance along the cuboid), then
(2.6)
c(P/x)2 + (2P/x2)
Usually (P/x)2 is neglected compared to 2P/x2 since the pressure gradient is small,
and substituting gives
(2.7)
The assumption is made that the compressibility is small and constant, therefore the
termed the diffusivity constant. For liquid flow, the above assumptions are reasonable
and have been applied frequently, but can be applied only when the product of the
compressibility and pressure is much less than 1, i.e. cP <<1.0. Thus the requirement
for small and constant compressibility. The compressibility in this case is the
saturation weighted compressibility, i.e. the effect of the oil, water and formation
compressibilities:
where
c is the saturation weighted compressibility
co is the compressibility of oil
cw is the compressibility of the connate water
cf is the compressibility of the formation (pore volume)
So is the oil saturation
Swc is the connate water saturation
The solution of the equation requires initial conditions and the boundary conditions.
Solutions of the linear diffusivity equation are needed when dealing with linear flow
from aquifers. For solutions dealing with well problems a radial model is required.
Figure 4 illustrates the geometry of this model in which the flow occurs in horizontal
planes perpendicular to the Z axis (i.e. in planes parallel to the XY plane) within a
layer of constant height, h. The flow is radial and is either towards the Z axis or away
from it.
U = q/2rh (2.9)
From Darcys Law (taking account of the flow direction and the coordinate
direction):
(2.10)
(2.11)
Eliminating U and q through equations 2.9 to 2.11 gives the nonlinear equation:
(2.12)
(2.13)
To apply the diffusivity equation to real reservoirs requires careful consideration of the
boundary conditions. It will be shown that for most practical purposes, the solutions to
the diffusivity equation can be grouped according to the flow regime that they
Steadystate refers to the situation in which the pressure and the flow rate distribution
in the reservoir remain constant with time. Unsteady state is the situation in which the
pressure and/or the flow rate vary with time. Semisteady state is a special case of
unsteady state that resembles steadystate flow. These differences in the flow regimes
have ramifications in practical reservoir engineering since working solutions to the
diffusivity equation are usually limited to a particular flow regime. For instance, in a
pressure build up test in a well, the determination of an accurate average reservoir
pressure will depend strongly on the flow regime the well is in and therefore which
working solution is used.
If a well is produced at a constant flow rate, q, and if the pressure at the external
radius, re is maintained constant, flow will finally stabilise to steady state conditions.
i.e. flowrate, q = constant and the pressure gradient, for all values of radius, r
and time, t
(3.1)
q re
Pe Pw ln (3.2)
2kh rw
which is identical to the relationship described for a radial system by Darcys Law. In
this case, the pressure at the external radius of the reservoir is required and the only
way to measure it in the reservoir would be to drill a well at the external radius. This is
uneconomic, therefore a mean reservoir pressure,P , is used. It is found from routine
bottom hole pressure measurements and well tests conducted on the wells in a
reservoir, it includes the effect of the area of influence of each well. In simple terms,
the volume drained by each well is used to weight the bottom hole pressure
measurements made in the well; all of the weighted pressures of all of the wells in the
reservoir are then averaged. Figure 5 shows a well in a reservoir and its area of
influence. Volumetrically, this volume is drained by the well and the mean reservoir
pressure,P , is related to the pressure, P of elements of volume, dV being drained.
The total volume is V.
(3.4a)
(3.6)
r 2w
assuming 4 is negligible
(3.7)
Figures 6a and 6b show the response of a reservoir at a wellbore when a flow rate, q, is
suddenly applied. The pressure of the flowing fluid in the wellbore, Pwf falls from the
initially constant value, Pi (static equilibrium) through time and the constant terminal
rate (CTR) solution of the diffusivity equation describes this change as a function of
time. The CTR solution is therefore the equation of Pwf versus t for a constant
production rate for any value of the flowing time. The pressure decline, Figure 6(b),
can normally be divided into three sections depending on the value of the flowing time
and the geometry of the reservoir or part of the reservoir being drained by the well.
This figure represents the pressure change at the wellbore through time which is
equivalent to the pressure change (or change in the height of water) in the cylinder
nearest the outlet in the model represented in Figure 1.
Initially, the pressure response can be described using a transient solution which
assumes that the pressure response at the wellbore during this period is not affected by
the drainage boundary of the well and vice versa. This is referred to as the infinite
reservoir case, since during the transient flow period, the reservoir appears to be
infinite in extent with no limits to the fluid available to expand and drive the system.
The transient period is followed by the latetransient when the boundaries start to
affect the pressure response. This is analogous to the pressure disturbance having
moved along the line of tubes in the model in Figure 1. The nature of the boundaries
affects the type of solution used to describe the pressure change since a well may drain
an irregularly shaped area where the boundaries are not symmetrical or equidistant
from the well.
The next phase in the pressure decline is termed semisteady state or pseudo steady
state where the shape of the pressure profile in the reservoir is not changing through
time and the wellbore pressure is declining at a constant rate. It is analogous to the
model depicted in Figure 1 where the level of water in all of the tubes is falling and no
additional water is being added to tube 10 to maintain absolute pressure profile. If the
pressure profile developed in the reservoir around the well had remained constant, true
steady state conditions would have occurred and the steady state solutions as
mentioned in the previous section would have applied.
This solution assumes that the radius of the wellbore is vanishingly small relative to
the mean radius of the reservoir. It allows the calculation of the pressure at any point
in an unbounded reservoir using the flowrate at the well. The benefits are clear in that
no flow rates other than those measured in the producing well are required and from
which the pressure at any location can be calculated. The disadvantage is that the
solution works for infinite acting reservoirs only and if barriers are met, then the
solution fails to represent the true flow regime. The technique of superposition can be
used to combine the effect of more than one well in an infinite acting reservoir and this
technique can represent the effect of a barrier. The barrier is equivalent to the pressure
disturbance produced by a second, imaginary well producing at the same rate and
having the same production history as the real well with both these wells in an infinite
acting reservoir. This solution has found a lot of use in well test analysis.
(3.8)
The term Ei(y) is the exponential integral of y (the Ei function) which is expressed as
yn
Ei(y) lny
n!n
( 1.781= e e0.5772157)
Solutions to the exponential integral can be coded into a spreadsheet and used with the
line source solution. Practically, the exponential integral can be replaced by a simpler
logarithm function as long as it is representative of the pressure decline. The limitation
The equation can be applied anywhere in the reservoir, but is of significance at the
wellbore (i.e. for well test analysis) where typical values of wellbore radius, r w, and
reservoir fluid and rock parameters usually means that y<0.01 very shortly after
production starts. Therefore the line source solution can be approximated by
q cr 2
P Pi (ln )
4kh 4kt
q 4kt
P Pi (ln 2) (3.9)
4kh cr
q 4kt
Pwf Pi (ln 2) (3.10)
4kh crw
The values of exponential integral have been calculated and presented in Matthews
and Russels Monograph and are produced in Table 1. The table presents negative
values, i.e. Ei(y). For values of y<0.01, the ln approximation can be used. For values
>10.9, the decline in pressure calculated is negligible.
The line source solution has limitations on its application: it cannot represent the initial
flow into a wellbore since the assumption that the wellbore is a line is obviously not
the case and some time has to elapse for the relative size of the wellbore to have a
negligible effect on the flow and expansion of the fluid in the majority of the reservoir.
The reservoir must also be infinite acting. Analysis of real reservoir performance has
shown that the line source solution is valid for:
where rw is the wellbore radius. The value of 100 has been derived form the analysis of
the responses of real reservoirs; it can be varied according to the nature of a specific
well and reservoir. The time involved here is not the same as the dimensionless time,
tD calculated for other models of fluid flow in a reservoir.
where re is the external radius. The reservoir boundaries begin to effect the pressure
distribution in the reservoir after this time, the infinite acting period ends and the line
source solution does not represent the fluid flow.
The analysis of fluid flow encountered thus far has assumed that a constant
permeability exists within the reservoir from the wellbore to the external boundary. In
reality, the rock around the wellbore can have higher or lower permeability than the
rest of the reservoir. This results from formation damage which may occur during
drilling and completion (where the wellbore fluids alter the wettability of the near
wellbore formation as fluid leaks off into it, or solids suspended in the drilling fluids
are deposited in the pore spaces and become trapped thereby physically hindering the
flow of fluid and reducing the permeability) or during production (where sand or
precipitates from the hydrocarbon fluids or from formation brines can alter wettability
and plug pore spaces). Alternatively, wellbores intersecting fractures may exhibit
enhanced permeabilities as the fractures offer much greater conductive paths to the
fluids around the wellbore, thus enhancing the permeability. This situation may also be
required as part of the reservoir management: hydraulic fractures or acidising
workovers are performed on wells to bypass zones of reduced permeability which
have developed during production.
In these cases, the line source equation fails to model the pressure drop in these wells
properly since it uses the assumption of uniform permeability throughout the
drainage area of the well up to the wellbore. Figure 7 shows the effect of a reduction
in permeability around a wellbore. The skin zone does not affect the pressures in the
rest of the formation remote from the wellbore, i.e. it is a local effect on the pressure
drop at the wellbore.
Figure 7 Variation of the permeability around the wellbore changes the local pressure profile
It can be shown that if the skin zone is considered equivalent to an altered zone of
uniform permeability, ks, with an outer radius, rs, the additional drop across this zone
(Ps) can be modeled by the steadystate radial flow equation. It is assumed that after
the pressure perturbation caused by the start of production has moved off into the rest
of the formation, the skin zone can be thought of as being in a steady state flow
regime. The pressure drop associated with the presence of a skin is therefore the
difference in the bottomhole flowing pressures at the well when skin is present and when
skin is not present, i.e.
(3.13)
Equation 3.13 simply states that the pressure drop in the altered zone is inversely
proportional to the permeability, ks rather than to the permeability, k of the rest of the
reservoir and that a correction to the pressure drop in this region must be made.
When this is included in the line source solution it gives the total pressure drop at the
wellbore:
q q k r
Pi Pwf Ei(y) Ps Ei(y) 2 1ln s (3.14)
4kh 4kh k s rw
If at the wellbore the logarithm approximation can be substituted for the Ei function,
then:
(3.15)
(3.16)
(3.17)
Equation 3.17 shows that a positive value of skin factor will indicate that the
permeability around the well has been reduced (by some form of formation damage).
The absolute value reflects the contrast between the skin zone permeability and the
unaltered zone permeability and the depth to which the damage extends into the
formation. Part of the essential information from a well test is the degree of formation
damage (skin factor) around a well caused by the drilling and completion activities.
Alternatively, a well may have a negative skin factor, i.e. the permeability of the skin
zone may be higher than that of the unaltered zone, caused by the creation of highly
conductive fractures or channels in the rock. The extent of the damage zone cannot be
predicted accurately and there may be variations vertically in the extent of the damage
zone therefore this simple model may not characterise the near wellbore permeability
exactly.
An altered zone near a particular well affects only the pressure near that well, i.e. the
pressure in the unaltered formation away from the well is not affected by the existence
of the altered zone around the well.
Once the initial pressure perturbation produced by bringing a well onto production has
moved through the reservoir and met the boundaries, the infiniteacting nature of the
fluid changes to become finite acting. As stated previously, this is termed pseudo
steady state or semi steady state because the pressure drop with time is the same at all
points around the flowing well, i.e.
and where there is no flow across the outer boundary at r = re of the drainage zone, i.e.
In a similar manner to the steady state flow regime, the pressure difference between
the wellbore and, say, the external radius, or the pressure difference between the
wellbore pressure and the initial pressure, or the pressure difference between the
wellbore pressure and the average reservoir pressure can be calculated depending on
the physical measurements which have been taken. Usually, an average pressure is
known in a reservoir and this is used to determine the pressure drop. Figure 8 shows
the pressure profile in the reservoir and the values which may be relevant.
Figure 8 Pressure profile in a reservoir under semi steady state flow conditions
Under semi steady state conditions, the pressure profile can be averaged over the volume of
the reservoir. This gives the average reservoir pressure at a particular time in the stage of
depletion of the reservoir. If there are several wells in a reservoir, each well drains a portion
of the total volume. For stabilised conditions, the volume drained by each well is stable and
in effect the whole reservoir can be subdivided into several portions or cells. The average
pressure in each cell can also be calculated from the stabilised pressure profile. The
calculation of the average pressure is determined from the material balance of the initial
pressure and volume of fluid and its isothermal compressibility.
q re 1
Pe Pwf ln s (3.18)
2kh rw 2
q re 3
Pr Pwf ln + s (3.19)
2kh rw 4
The study of fluid flow so far has related the pressure drop expected as a result of a
flow rate from a well in a reservoir. If the appropriate parameters, such as porosity,
permeability and fluid viscosity are known, then for a particular flow regime, such as
unsteady state, the pressure drop at a certain distance from the well at a certain time
after production starts can be calculated.
In reality, only flow rates and pressures at wells can be measured directly, and the
most important unknown factor in the diffusivity equation is the permeability.
Therefore, rather than calculate a pressure drop for a given set of conditions, the
pressure drop can be measured continuously and the permeability calculated.
This is part of the objectives of well testing and for illustration, the following example
calculates the permeability and skin factor for a well in a reservoir. It is important to
note that these examples all assume that an initially undisturbed reservoir is brought on
production, i.e. that there has been no previous production in the reservoir therefore
the pressure is at its initial value. In well test analysis, the previous history of a well
must be accounted for. The section on superposition will introduce the concepts of a
multirate history for a well.
To illustrate the use of the relationship, the following example of a well test is
considered:
A well is tested by producing it at a constant flow rate of 238stm3/day (stock tank) for
a period of 100 hours. The reservoir data and flowing bottomhole pressures recorded
during the test are as follows:
Data
porosity, 18%
formation volume factor for oil, Bo 1.2rm3/stm3
net thickness of formation, h 6.1m
viscosity of reservoir oil, 1x103 Pas
compressibility, c 2.18 x109Pa1
wellbore radius, rw 0.1m
initial reservoir pressure, Pi 241.3bar
well flowrate (constant) 238stm3/day
The time and bottomhole pressure have been recorded as shown in the table:
The objective is to calculate the permeability and the skin factor. Looking at the test
description, this is the first time the well has been put on production and the reservoir
pressure will decline at a rate dictated by the solutions of the diffusivity equation. The
pressure decline has been recorded at the wellbore (as in the table of data) and it is
expected that there will be an unsteady state (transient) period initially followed by a
semi steady state or steady state flow period. It is thought to be an isolated block
therefore there would be a depletion of the reservoir pressure under semi steady state
conditions expected. The initial unsteady state or transient flow period can be used to
determine the permeability and skin factor of the well, and the subsequent semi steady
state flow period can be used to detect the reservoir limits. SI units will be used at
reservoir conditions, therefore flowrates are in m3/s and the formation volume factor
for oil is used to convert from stock tank to reservoir volumes. The pressure related
items are in Pascal.
The permeability and skin factor can be determined from the initial transient period
using the line source solution:
Inspection of the equation shows that there is a linear relationship between bottomhole
flowing pressure and logarithm of time such that
From this, the unknown value, i.e. the permeability, k, can be calculated. Once the
permeability is known, equation 3.20 can be rearranged to determine the other
unknown, the skin factor, as:
Any coherent set of data points can be used to determine the permeability and skin,
however, it is not clear when the data represent the line source solution. Therefore all
of the pressure data are plotted and a linear fit attached to those data which show the
linear relationship between the bottom hole flowing pressure, Pwf and the logarithm of
time, lnt. Therefore taking the logarithm of time, the data table becomes:
And when these data are plotted, there is a linear section and a curved section. The
linear section must contain the data where the line source solution is applicable (i.e.
transient flow) and a therefore gradient can be determined.
Figure Ex16a
The plots of bottomhole flowing pressure show that the transient period (for which the
logarithm approximation is valid) lasts for approximately 4 hours and from the plot,
the slope, m, can be determined to be 1.98bar/log cycle. Substituting this into the
equation gives:
(converting from stock tank cubic metres/day to reservoir cubic metres/second and
from bar to Pascal producing a permeability in terms of m2 which is then converted to
mD).
Now that the permeability is known, the equation should now balance, i.e. the pressure
drop should equal the right hand side of the equation. If it doesn't it means that there
has been an extra pressure drop that is attributed to the skin factor, s around the well.
To determine the skin factor, the slope, m, of the line is theoretically extrapolated to a
convenient time. This is usually a time of 1 hour. The bottomhole pressure associated
with this time is calculated and this is used to determine a pressure drop (Pi  Pwf )
during the time (t1 hour  t 0). This is then equal to the pressure drop calculated from the
ln function plus an extra pressure drop caused by the skin. In this case, a real pressure
measurement was recorded at time 1 hour. This is not necessarily the same number as
calculated from the extrapolation of the linear section of the relationship since the real
pressure recorded at time 1 hour may not be valid for use with the Ei function.
Although it was recorded, it may have been too early for the Ei function to accurately
approximate the reservoir flow regime.
In this case P1 hour =201.2bar and therefore (by rearranging equation 3.20)
2s=20.2513.02 = 7.23
s=3.6
This would indicate that there has been an extra pressure drop around the well giving a
skin factor of 3.6. Analysis of the drilling and completion plan will give insight as to
the reason (perhaps mud filtrate invasion, partial penetration of the reservoir section,
etc.)
4 SUPERPOSITION
In the analyses so far, the well flow rate has been instantly altered from zero to some
constant value. In reality, the well flowrates may vary widely during normal
production operations and of course the wells may be shut in for testing or some other
operational reason. The reservoir may also have more than a single well draining it and
consideration must be taken of this fact. In short, there may be some combination of
several wells in a reservoir and/or several flowrates at which each produce. The
calculation of reservoir pressures can still be done using the previous simple analytical
techniques if the solutions for each rate change, for example, are superposed on each
other. In other words, the total pressure drop at a wellbore can be calculated as the sum
of the effects of several flowrate changes within the well, or it may be the sum of the
effects caused by production from nearby wells.
There is also the possibility of using infinite acting solutions to mimic the effects of
barriers in the reservoir by using imaginary or image wells to produce a pressure
response similar to that caused by the barrier.
These two properties form the basis for generating the constant terminal rate case. The
solutions may be added together to determine the total effect on pressure, for example,
from several applications of the equation. This is illustrated if a typical problem is
considered: that of multiple wells in a reservoir.
In a reservoir where more than one well is producing, the effect of each wells
pressure perturbation on the reservoir is evaluated independently (i.e. as though the
other wells and their flow rate/ pressure history did not exist), then the pressure drop
calculated at a particular well at a particular time is the simple addition of all of the
individual effects superimposed one effect upon the other. Consider 3 wells, X, Y and
Z, which start to produce at the same time from an infinite acting reservoir (Figure 9).
(PiPwf)Total at Well Y
= (Pi P)Due to well X + (PiP)Due to well Y
+ (PiP)Due to well Z
Assuming unsteady state flow conditions, the line source solution can be used to
determine the pressure in well Y. It is assumed here that the logarithm function can be
used for well Y itself and that there will be a skin around the well. The effects of wells
X and Z can be described by the Ei function. There is no skin factor associated with
the calculation of pressure drop caused by these wells, since the pressure drop of
interest is at well Y (i.e. even if wells X and Z have nonzero skin factors, their skin
factors affect the pressure drop only around wells X and Z). The total pressure drop is
then:
(4.1)
where
qY is the flowrate from well Y
qX is the flowrate from well X
qZ is the flowrate from well Z
rwY is the radius of well Y
rXY is the distance of well Y from the X well
rZY is the distance of well Z from the X well
the rest of the symbols have their usual meaning
This technique can be used to examine the effects of any number of wells in an infinite
acting reservoir. This could be to predict possible flowing well pressures amongst a
group of wells, or to deliberately use the interaction between wells to check reservoir
continuity. These interference tests and other extended well tests are designed to
characterise the reservoir areally rather than to determine only the permeability and
skin factor around individual wells.
The previous section illustrated the effect of the production from several wells in a
reservoir on the bottomhole flowing pressure of a particular well. Of equal interest is
the effect of several rate changes on the bottomhole pressure within a particular well.
This is a more realistic situation compared to those illustrated previously where a well
is simply brought on production at a constant flowrate for a specific period of time.
For instance, a newly completed well may have several rate changes during initial
cleanup after completion, then during production testing then finally during production
as rates are altered to match reservoir management requirements (for example limiting
the producing gas oil ratio during production). A simple pressure and flowrate plot
versus time would resemble Figure 10.
The well has been brought on production at an initial flowrate, q1. The bottomhole
flowing pressure has dropped through time (as described by the appropriate boundary
conditions and the flow regime) until at time t1, the flowrate has been increased to q2
and this change from q1 to q2 has altered the bottomhole flowing pressure (again as
described by the boundary conditions and the flow regime). The total (i.e. the real
bottomhole flowing pressure) is calculated by summing the pressure drops caused by
the flowrate q1 bringing the well on production, plus the pressure drop created by the
flowrate change q2  q1 for any time after t1. During the first period (q1) the pressure
drop at a time, t, (i.e. the time, t is less than time t1 when the rate changes) is
described by
(4.2)
For times, t, greater than t1 the additional pressure drop is added to give
(4.3)
This approach can be extended to many flowrate changes as illustrated in Figure 11.
For the case where the well is shut in at a certain time and the pressure builds up, an
additional term is added to reflect this.
q1  crw2 q 2 q1 crw2
Ei  Ei
4k tt shutin
Pi Pws =
4kh 4kt 4kh
where
Pws is the shut in bottomhole pressure
tshutin is the total producing time before shut in
t tshutin is the closed in time from the instant of shut in
q1 is the first drawdown rate
q2 is the second buildup rate i.e. in this case q2 = 0
is assumed that the reservoir is in unsteady state flow regime and the line source can
be used to describe the pressure drop caused by the flowrate changes. In this case, the
first flow rate change is when the well is brought on production, so the change from
zero to q1 causes the first pressure perturbation to move into the reservoir.
It is the bottomhole flowing pressure, Pwf, that is of interest, and it can be calculated
using the line source solution. There is the possibility of a skin zone around the well,
so this must be accounted for. If no other flowrate change occurred, then eventually
unsteady state would give way to either semi steady state or steady state conditions
and the bottomhole flowing pressure would either decline at a steady rate or (if steady
state) would remain constant at some level. Assuming that this did not occur and that
unsteady state conditions still existed when the flowrate was changed to q2 then the
change q2  q1 would cause a second pressure perturbation that would move out into
the reservoir, following the first one created when the well was put on production. The
reservoir is still in unsteady state conditions i.e. the first pressure perturbation has not
met any barriers so the reservoir fluid still reacts as if it were an infinite volume and
this behaviour is still causing a decline in the pressure at the wellbore even though a
second pressure perturbation has been created and is moving out into the reservoir.
The pressure drop due to this flowrate change can be calculated by the line source
solution and added to that produced by bringing the well onto production.
Eventually at time t2, the flowrate is changed again. This time, the pressure
perturbation caused by q3 q2 follows the first and second perturbations into the
reservoir, and again, as long as the reservoir fluid still behaves as if it were infinite in
volume, the pressure drop created by this flowrate change can be added to the changes
produced by the others to give the total pressure drop. This situation can be thought of
as throwing 3 stones Into a large pool of water. The first stone creates waves that move
off from the point of impact, then after a time, the second stone is thrown into the pool
and it creates a series of waves that move off through the pool. So although the first
stone has sunk to the bottom of the pool and is no longer creating waves, its effect
when it was thrown into the pool still exists as the waves are moving outwards to the
edge of the pool, now followed by the second set of waves from the second stone. And
so on with the third stone. The main point is that the effect of the rate changes in the
wellbore are still present in the form of the pressure disturbance they create moving
out through the reservoir.
The pressure drop produced by bringing the well onto production is calculated by the
logarithmic approximation of the Ei function (it is assumed that the checks have been
made to the applicability of the Ei function and its logarithmic approximation).
The next pressure drop is that produced by the flowrate change q2  q1 at time, t1. It is
still the bottomhole flowing pressure that is to be determined, therefore any skin zone
will still exist and still need to be accounted for. The second pressure drop is:
The total pressure drop at the wellbore caused by all of the flowrate changes is
(Pi  Pwf )= P1 + P2 + P3
Once the boundaries are detected, there is a definite limit to the volume of fluid
available and the pressure response changes to match that of, for example, semi steady
state or steady state flow. This assumes that the pressure perturbation reaches the areal
boundary at the same time, i.e. if the well was in the centre of a circular reservoir, the
pressure perturbation would reach the external radius at all points around the
circumference at the same time (assuming homogeneous conditions). If the well was
not at the centre then some parts of the boundary would be detected before all of the
boundary was detected. This means that some of the reservoir fluid is still in unsteady
flow whilst other parts are changing to a different flow regime. This would appear to
render the use of the line source solution invalid, however, the effect of the nearest
boundary in an otherwise infinite acting reservoir has the same effect as the interaction
of the pressure perturbations of two wells next to each other in an infinite acting
reservoir.
Therefore if an imaginary well is placed at a distance from the real well equal to twice
the distance to the boundary, and the flowrate histories are identical, then the principle
of superposition can be used to couple the effect of the imaginary well to the real well
in order to calculate the real wells bottomhole flowing pressure. Figure 13 illustrates
the problem and the effect of superposition. Figure 14 shows a simplification of the
model.
Figure 13 The pressure effect of the barrier in the real reservoir can be represented by an
imaginary well
the actual well. No flow occurs across the plane midway between the two wells in the
infiniteacting system, and the flow configuration in the drainage area of each well is
the same as the flow configuration for the actual well. Pressure communication crosses
the drainage boundary, but there is no fluid movement across it and the problem of the
flow regime has been resolved: the real well can be thought of as reacting to the
flowrate in it and to the pressure drop produced by the imaginary well on the opposite
side of the fault. The pressure drop is therefore:
where the symbols have their usual meaning, and L is the distance from the real well
to the fault. The skin factor is used in the actual well, but not in the other (image) well
since it is the influence of this image well at a distance 2L from it that is of interest.
5 SUMMARY
Simple analytical solutions to the diffusivity equation can be used to determine the
pressure in the reservoir In different flow regimes and for different times. The
equations can be used to model quite complex rate changes and well interference.
Ei(y),0.000<0.209,interval=0.001
y 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
0.00 + 6.332 5.639 5.235 4.948 4.726 4.545 4.392 4.259 4.142
0.01 4.038 3.944 3.858 3.779 3.705 3.637 3.574 3.514 3.458 3.405
0.02 3.355 3.307 3.261 3.218 3.176 3.137 3.098 3.062 3.026 2.992
0.03 2.959 2.927 2.897 2.867 2.838 2.810 2.783 2.756 2.731 2.706
0.04 2.681 2.658 2.634 2.612 2.590 2.568 2.547 2.527 2.507 2.487
0.05 2.468 2.449 2.431 2.413 2.395 2.377 2.360 2.344 2.327 2.311
0.06 2.295 2.279 2.264 2.249 2.235 2.220 2.206 2.192 2.178 2.164
0.07 2.151 2.138 2.125 2.112 2.099 2.087 2.074 2.062 2.050 2.039
0.08 2.027 2.015 2.004 1.993 1.982 1.971 1.960 1.950 1.939 1.929
0.09 1.919 1.909 1.899 1.889 1.879 1.869 1.860 1.850 1.841 1.832
0.10 1.823 1.814 1.805 1.796 1.788 1.779 1.770 1.762 1.754 1.745
0.11 1.737 1.729 1.721 1.713 1.705 1.697 1.689 1.682 1.674 1.667
0.12 1.660 1.652 1.645 1.638 1.631 1.623 1.616 1.609 1.603 1.596
0.13 1.589 1.582 1.576 1.569 1.562 1.556 1.549 1.543 1.537 1.530
0.14 1.524 1.518 1.512 1.506 1.500 1.494 1.488 1.482 1.476 1.470
0.15 1.464 1.459 1.453 1.447 1.442 1.436 1.431 1.425 1.420 1.415
0.16 1.409 1.404 1.399 1.393 1.388 1.383 1.378 1.373 1.368 1.363
0.17 1.358 1.353 1.348 1.343 1.338 1.333 1.329 1.324 1.319 1.314
0.18 1.310 1.305 1.301 1.296 1.291 1.287 1.282 1.278 1.274 1.269
0.19 1.265 1.261 1.256 1.252 1.248 1.243 1.239 1.235 1.231 1.227
0.20 1.223 1.219 1.215 1.210 1.206 1.202 1.198 1.195 1.191 1.187
Ei(y),0.000<2.09,interval=0.01
0.0 + 4.038 3.335 2.959 2.681 2.468 2.295 2.151 2.027 1.919
0.1 1.823 1.737 1.660 1.589 1.524 1.464 1.409 1.358 1.309 1.265
0.2 1.223 1.183 1.145 1.110 1.076 1.044 1.014 0.985 0.957 0.931
0.3 0.906 0.882 0.858 0.836 0.815 0.794 0.774 0.755 0.737 0.719
0.4 0.702 0.686 0.670 0.655 0.640 0.625 0.611 0.598 0.585 0.572
0.5 0.560 0.548 0.536 0.525 0.514 0.503 0.493 0.483 0.473 0.464
0.6 0.454 0.445 0.437 0.428 0.420 0.412 0.404 0.396 0.388 0.381
0.7 0.374 0.367 0.360 0.353 0.347 0.340 0.334 0.328 0.322 0.316
0.8 0.311 0.305 0.300 0.295 0.289 0.284 0.279 0.274 0.269 0.265
0.9 0.260 0.256 0.251 0.247 0.243 0.239 0.235 0.231 0.227 0.223
1.0 0.219 0.216 0.212 0.209 0.205 0.202 0.198 0.195 0.192 0.189
1.1 0.186 0.183 0.180 0.177 0.174 0.172 0.169 0.166 0.164 0.161
1.2 0.158 0.156 0.153 0.151 0.149 0.146 0.144 0.142 0.140 0.138
1.3 0.135 0.133 0.131 0.129 0.127 0.125 0.124 0.122 0.120 0.118
1.4 0.116 0.114 0.113 0.111 0.109 0.108 0.106 0.105 0.103 0.102
1.5 0.100 0.099 0.097 0.096 0.094 0.093 0.092 0.090 0.089 0.088
1.6 0.086 0.085 0.084 0.083 0.081 0.080 0.079 0.078 0.077 0.076
1.7 0.075 0.074 0.073 0.072 0.071 0.070 0.069 0.068 0.067 0.066
1.8 0.065 0.064 0.063 0.062 0.061 0.060 0.060 0.059 0.058 0.057
1.9 0.056 0.055 0.055 0.054 0.053 0.052 0.052 0.051 0.050 0.050
2.0 0.049 0.048 0.048 0.047 0.046 0.046 0.045 0.044 0.044 0.043
2.0<y<10.9,interval=0.1
y 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
2 4.89x102 4.26x102 3.72x102 3.25x102 2.84x102 2.49x102 2.19x102 1.92x102 1.69x102 1.48x102
3 1.3x102 1.15x102 1.01x102 8.94x103 7.89x103 6.87x103 6.16x103 5.45x103 4.82x103 4.27x102
4 3.78x103 3.35x103 2.97x103 2.64x103 2.34x103 2.07x103 1.84x103 1.64x103 1.45x103 1.29x103
5 1.15x103 1.02x103 9.08x104 8.09x104 7.19x104 6.41x104 5.71x104 5.09x104 4.53x104 4.04x104
6 3.60x104 3.21x104 2.86x104 2.55x104 2.28x104 2.03x104 1.82x104 1.62x104 1.45x104 1.29x104
7 1.15x104 1.03x104 9.22x105 8.24x105 7.36x105 6.58x105 5.89x105 5.26x105 4.71x105 4.21x105
8 3.77x105 3.37x105 3.02x105 2.70x105 2.42x105 2.16x105 1.94x105 1.73x105 1.55x105 1.39x105
9 1.24x105 1.11x105 9.99x106 8.95x106 8.02x106 7.18x106 6.44x106 5.77x106 5.17x106 4.64x106
10 4.15x106 3.73x106 3.34x106 3.00x106 2.68x106 2.41x106 2.16x106 1.94x106 1.74x106 1.56x106
4 SUMMARY
4.1 Pressure and Recovery
4.2 Gas / Oil Ratio
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Having worked through this chapter the student will be able to:
Describe briefly with the aid of sketches solution gas drive distinguishing
behaviour both above and below the bubble point.
Describe briefly with the aid of sketches the rate sensitivity aspect of water
drive reservoir.
Summarise the characteristics of solution gas drive, gas cap drive and water
drive reservoirs.
In the previous chapter we have considered the physical properties of the porous
media, the rock, within which the reservoir fluids are contained and the properties and
behaviour of the fluids. In this chapter we shall examine the various methods used to
calculate the performance of different reservoir types, we will introduce the various
drive mechanisms responsible for production of fluids from a hydrocarbon reservoir.
In this qualitative description of the way in which reservoirs produce their fluids we
will see how the various basic concepts come together to give understanding to the
various driving forces responsible for fluid production. One of the main
preoccupations of reservoir engineers is to determine the predominant drive
mechanism, for dependant on the drive mechanism, different recoveries of oil can be
achieved.
1 DEFINITION
A reservoir drive mechanism is a source of energy for driving the fluids out through
the wellbore. It is not necessarily the energy lifting the fluids to the surface, although
in many cases, the same energy is capable of lifting the fluids to the surface.
There are a number of drive mechanisms, but the two main drive mechanisms are
depletion drive and water drive. Other drive mechanisms to be considered are
compaction drive and gravity drive. These drive mechanisms are natural drive
energies and are not to be confused with artificial drive energies such as gas injection
and water injection.
In Figure 2 is illustrated another depletion type reservoir where a mature reservoir has
been subjected to faulting, resulting in the isolation of a part of the reservoir from the
rest of the accumulation. In a total field system, such a situation can give rise to parts
of the reservoir having different drive mechanism characteristics.
A water drive reservoir is one in which the hydrocarbons are in contact with a large
volume of water bearing sand. There are two types of water drive reservoirs. There
are those where the driving energy comes primarily from the expansion of water as the
reservoir is produced, as shown in Figure 3 The key issue here is the relative size and
mobility of the water of the supporting aquifer relative to the size of the hydrocarbon
accumulation.
Water drive may also be a result of artesian flow from an outcrop of the reservoir
formation, Figure 4. In this situation either surface water or seawater feeds into the
outcrop and replenishes the water as it moves into the reservoir to replace the oil. The
key issues here are the mobility of the water in the aquifer and barriers to flow from
the outcrop to the reservoir. It is not often encountered, and the water drive arising
from the compressibility of an aquifer, Figure 3, is the more common.
Of the drive mechanisms mentioned the major drive mechanisms are depletion drive,
which are further classified into solution gas drive and gas cap drive and water drive.
Gravity Drive typically is active during the final stages of a depletion reservoir.
As pressure is reduced, oil expands due to compressibility and eventually gas comes
out of solution from the oil as the bubble point pressure of the fluid is reached. The
expanding gas provides the force to drive the oil hence the term solution gas drive. It
is sometimes called dissolved gas drive (Figure 7). Gas has a high compressibility
compared to liquid and therefore the pressure decline is reduced. Solution gas drive
only occurs once the bubble point pressure has been reached.
It is rare for reservoirs to fit conveniently into this simple characterisation. In many of
them a combination of drive mechanisms can be activate during the production of
fluids. Such reservoirs are called combination drives, Figure 11. In the case in Figure
11, which is not unusual, we have a gas cap with the oil accumulation underlain by
water providing potential water drive. So both free gas and water are in contact with
the oil. In such a reservoir some of the energy will come from the expansion of the
gas and some from the energy within the massive supporting aquifer and its associated
compressibility.
Sometimes it may be only water drive in the above situations. If the hydrocarbons are
taken out at a rate such that for every volume of oil removed water readily moves in
to replace the oil, then the reservoir is driven completely by water. On the other hand
there may be only depletion drive. If the water does not move in to replace the oil,
then only the gas cap would expand to provide the drive.
Having considered the basic aspects of the drive types we will now examine their
respective characteristics in relation to production, recovery and pressure decline issues.
Once the bubble point is reached gas comes out of solution. Initially the gas bubbles
are small and isolated. The size and number of the bubbles increase until they reach a
critical saturation when they form a continuous phase and become mobile. At this
stage the gas has relative permeability. The impact of the first bubbles of gas on the
oil is very significant. The relative permeability to the oil is reduced by the presence of
the non wetting gas. As the increase in saturation of gas increases at the expense of oil
saturation, the relative permeabilties move in the same directions giving rise to
reduced well productivity to oil and increased productivity to gas, Figure 12. That is
the oil relative permeability decreases and the gas relative permeability increases. The
gas although providing the displacing medium is effectively leaking out of the system.
Not only does the gas progress to the wellbore, depending on vertical permeability
characteristics it will move vertically and may form a secondary gas cap. If this
occurs it can contribute to the drive energy. Well location and rate of production can
be used to encourage gas to migrate to form such a gas cap as against being lost
through production from the wellbore.
We will now review the various production profiles, specific to the drive mechanisms
but before doing so we will review the various phases of production.
The first phase, production build up, which may exist or not depending on the drilling
strategy is the increased production as wells are brought on stream. Clearly, as in some
cases, wells might be predrilled through a template and then all brought on stream
together when connected to production facilities, such a build up of production will,
therefore, not occur. The next stage represents the period when the productivity of the
production facility is at its design capacity and the wells are throttled back to limit
their productivity. This period is called the plateau phase when production is
maintained at the design capacity of the facilities. Typical production rates for the
plateau period cannot be presented since it depends on the technoeconomics of the
field. Clearly for a field with a very large front loaded capital investment there is an
incentive to have a high production rate during the plateau phase, say 20% of the
STOIIP, whereas for a lower cost onshore field 5% might be acceptable. Governments
will also impose their considerations on this aspect as well.
A time will come when the reservoir is no longer able to deliver fluids to match the
facilities capacity and the field goes into the decline phase. This phase can be
delayed by methods to increase production. Such methods could include artificial lift,
where the effort required to lift the fluids from the reservoir is carried out by a
downhole pump or by using gas lift to reduce the density of the fluid system in the
well.
There comes a time when the productivity of the reservoir is no longer able to generate
revenues to cover the costs of running the field, This abandonment time again is
influenced by the size and nature of the operation. Clearly a single, stripper well,
carrying very little operational costs, can be allowed to produce down to very low
rates. A well, as part of a very high cost offshore environment however, could be
abandoned at a relatively high rate when perhaps the water proportion becomes too
high or the productivity in relation to all production is not sufficient to meet the
associated well and production costs.
After a well is drilled and production starts for a solution gas drive reservoir, the
pressure drops in the vicinity of the well. The initial pressure drop is rapid as flow
results from the low compressibility of the system above the bubble point. Pressure
continues to decline and solution gas drive becomes effective as gas comes out of
solution. Mobility of gas occurs and the reduced mobility to oil and resulting
decreasing oil relative permeability further causes the pressure to decline and
productivity to oil flow decrease. Initially when all wells are on stream the oil
production is high but the production rapidly declines and there is a short plateau and
decline phase until an economic limit is reached.
A good analogy for this type of reservoir is a bottle of carbonated water when opened 
a short lived high production scenario followed by rapid decline!
When the bubble point is reached in the near well vicinity, the initial gas which comes
out of solution is immobile and therefore oil entering the wellbore is short of the
previous level of solution gas. Theoretically at the surface the producing GOR level is
less than the original GOR (points 23) in Figure 15.
As the pressure further reduces the released gas becomes mobile and moves at a
velocity greater than its associated oil due to the relative permeability effects. Oil
enters the well bore, with its below bubble point solution GOR value, but also gas
enters the well bore from oil which has not yet arrived. The net effect is that at the
surface the producing GOR increases rapidly as free gas within the reservoir, which
has come out of solution, moves ahead of the oil (points 34) in Figure 15.
As the pressure continues to decline the productivity of the well continues to decline
from the combined impact of reducing relative permeability and drop in bottom hole
pressure. The production GOR goes though a maximum as oil eventually is produced
into the well bore with a low solution GOR and the associated gas which has come out
of solution has progressed much faster to the well and contributed to earlier gas
production 45 in Figure 15.
When the pressure drops below the bubble point throughout the reservoir a secondary
gas cap may be produced and some wells have the potential of becoming gas
producers.
3.1.3 Pressure
At first the pressure is high but as production continues the pressure makes a rapid
decline.
3.1.4 Water Production, Well Behaviour, Expected Oil Recovery and Well
Location
Since by definition there is little water present in the reservoir there should be no water
production to speak of. Because of the rapid pressure drop artificial lift will be
required at an early stage in the life of the reservoir. The expected oil recovery from
these types of reservoirs is low and could be between 5 and 30% of the original oilin
place. Abandonment of the reservoir will depend on the level of the GOR and the lack
of reservoir pressure to enable production. Well locations for this drive mechanism are
chosen to encourage vertical migration of the gas, therefore the wells producing zones
are located structurally low, but not too close to any water contact which might
generate water through water coning, Figure 16.
3.2.2 Pressure
With an associated gas cap a loss of volume of fluids from the reservoir is associated
with a relatively low drop in pressure because of the high compressibility of the gas.
In solution gas drive much of the driving gas is produced, but with a gas cap the fluid
remains till later in the life of the reservoir. The pressure drop for a gas cap system
therefore declines slowly over the years. The decline will depend on the relative size
of the gas cap to the oil accumulation. A small gas cap would be 10% of the oil
volume whereas a large gas cap would be 50% of the volume.
3.2.4 Water Production, Well Behaviour, Expected Oil Recovery and Well
Locations
Like solution gas drive there should be negligible water production. The life of the
reservoir is largely a function of the size of gas cap but it is likely to be a long flowing
life. The expected oil recovery for such a system is of the order of 20 to 40% of the
original oilinplace. The well locations, similar to solution gas drive, are such that
the production interval for the wells should be situated away from the gas oil contact
but not too close to the water oil contact to risk water coning.
water drive reservoir are therefore the size of the aquifer and permeability. This is
because the only way for a low compressibility system to be effective is for its relative
size to the oil accumulation to be large, and the permeability of the aquifer to water to
enable flow though the aquifer and into the oil zone. These key issues set a
considerable challenge to the reservoir engineer since to predict water drive behaviour,
requires such information, which in pre production periods can only be obtained from
exploration activity to determine the extent and properties of the aquifer. It is difficult
to obtain justification to expend such exploration costs in determining the size of a
water accumulation!
Three sketches below illustrate the various types of production profiles for different
aquifer types and the influence of rate sensitivity. In Figure 19 we have the artesian
type aquifer where there is communication to surface water though an outcrop. In this
case if oil is produced at a rate less than the aquifer can move water into the oil zone,
then the reservoir pressure, as measured at the original oil water contact, remains
constant. The producing gasoil ratio also remains constant since the reservoir is
undersaturated. These reservoirs will enable a plateau phase, however as in all water
drive reservoirs the decline of the reservoirs is not due to productivity loss through
pressure decline but the production of water. The encroaching aquifer with perhaps its
favourable mobility will preferentially move through the oil zone and if there are high
permeability layers will move through these. Eventually the watercut, the proportion
of water to total production becomes too high and the well is abandoned to oil
production.
Figure 20 illustrates a more typical water drive reservoir where the drive energy comes
from the compressibility of the aquifer system. In this case if the oil withdrawal rate is
less then the rate of water encroachment from the aquifer then the reservoir pressure
will slowly decline, reflecting the decompression of the total system , the oil reservoir
and the aquifer. Clearly this pressure decline is related to the size of the aquifer. The
larger the aquifer the slower the pressure decline. As with all water drive reservoirs
productivity of the wells remains high resulting from the maintained pressure,
however the productivity of the well to oil reduces as water breakthrough occurs. So a
characteristic of water drive reservoirs is the increasing water production alongside
decreasing oil production.
Figure 21 illustrates the rate sensitive aspect of water drive reservoirs. If the oil
withdrawal rate is higher than the water influx rate from the aquifer then the oil
reservoir pressure will drop at a rate greater than would be the case with aquifer
support alone, as the compressibility of the oil reservoir supports the flow. If this
pressure drops below the bubble point then solution gas drive will occur, as evidenced
by an increase in the gasoil ratio. Cutting back oil production to a rate to less than the
water encroachment rate restores the system to water drive, with the gasoil ratio going
back to its undersaturated level.
When two drive mechanisms function as above then we have what is termed
combination drive ( water drive and solution gas drive).
Water drive reservoirs have good pressure support. The decline in oil production is
related to increasing water production as against pressure decline.
Because water drive, through pressure maintenance provides the most optimistic
recoveries, artificial water drive is often part of the development strategy because of
the uncertainties of the pressure support from the associated aquifer. In the North Sea
for example many reservoirs have associated aquifers. The risk of not knowing either
the extent or activity of the aquifers is such that many operators are using artificial
water drive systems to maintain pressure so that solution gas drive does not occur with
the consequent loss of oil production.
4 SUMMARY
The following summaries and tables give the main features associated with the various
drive mechanisms.
Waterdrive pressure declines slowly and abandonment occurs when the water cut
is toohigh at around 50% of recovery, but depends on local factors.
Gascap drive  the pressure shows a marked decline and economic pressures are
reached around 20% of the original pressure when about 30% of the oil is recovered.
Solution gas drive  the pressure drops more sharply and at 10% of the pressure,
reaches an uneconomical level of recovery at about 10% of the oilinplace.
Water drive  the curve for a water drive system shows a gas/oil ratio that remains
constant. Variations from this indicate support from solution gas drive or other drive
mechanisms
Gascap drive  for this drive the gas/oil ratio increases slowly and continuously.
Solution gas drive  the curve for a solution gas drive reservoir shows that the
gas/oil ratio increases sharply at first then later declines.
Characteristics Trend
1. Reservoir Pressure Declines rapidly and continuously
2. Gas/Oil Ratio First low then rises to a maximum and
then drops
3. Production Rate First high, then decreases rapidly and
continues to decline
4. Water Production None
5. Well Behaviour Requires artificial lift at early stages
6. Expected Oil Recovery 530% of original oilinplace
Characteristics Trend
1. Reservoir Pressure Falls slowly and continuously
2. Gas/oil ratio Rises continuously
3. Production Rate First high, then declines gradually
4. Water Production Absent or negligible
5. Well Behaviour Long flowing life depending on size of gas cap
6. Expected Oil Recovery 20 to 40% of original oilinplace
Characteristics Trend
1. Reservoir Pressure Remains high
2. Gas/Oil Ratio Remains steady
3. Water Production Starts early and increases to appreciable
amounts
4. Well Behaviour Flow until water production gets excessive
5. Expected Oil Recovery up to 60% original oilinplace.
Figures 22 and 23 give the pressure and gasoil ratio trends for various drive
mechanism types
Figure 22
Figure 23
2 IDEAL SOLUTIONS
2.1 Raoult's Law
2.2 Dalton's Law
2.3 Ideal Equilibrium Ratio
5 SEPARATOR PROBLEMS
5.1 Gas/Oil Ratio
5.2 Oil Formation Volume Factor
5.3 Optimum Pressure of Separator System
5.4 Example Of Separator Problem
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Having worked through this chapter the Student will be able to:
Discuss the use of equations for vapourliquid equilibrium calculations for real
systems and explain the application of the equations.
Discuss and explain the use of equations to determine the dew point pressure
and bubble point pressure of a fluid mixture.
Describe in general terms the impact of separator conditions on the gasoil ratio
and oil formation volume factor.
Predicting the relative amount of the phases and their respective physical properties is
an essential element in all of the above operations. The topic of vapourliquid
equilibria is also at the heart of many subsequent and other process operations and
therefore there have been a range of approaches into the solution of the problem.
Figures 1, and 2 illustrate the complex nature of oil and gas production where,
particularly in a major offshore province, as well as onshore, a number of reservoirs
produce into a common transport line and associated treatment facilities (Figure 1).
Each of the fields with their unique composition clearly contribute to a compositional
blend entering a treatment facility (Figure 2), where further separation occurs.
The allocation of revenue based on quality of product and oil injected into a common
pipeline provides a considerable challenge to metering and compositional analysis.
To the reservoir engineer, the main issues are the multiphase behaviour in the
formation and the relationship between the fluids in the reservoir and those produced
at surface conditions.
The critical element in reservoir simulation is the grid block where the saturations and
flow behaviour of the respective fluids, gas, oil and water, are required. The grid
block therefore can be considered as a separator and vapourequilibrium calculations
are required to determine the relative amounts of the phases which lead to saturation
values and relative permeability of the phases, and the composition of these phases
which lead to important physical property values of density, viscosity and interfacial
tension.
In the previous chapter the considerations of the relative amounts of gas and liquid
were considered in the simplistic two component black oil approach. In this chapter
we will consider approaches to vapourliquid equilibrium from a compositional model
consideration both from an ideal behaviour perspective and then the consideration of
real systems.
If a sample of bubble point fluid is brought to surface to separator conditions, the fluid
enters the two phase region at a temperature and pressure much lower than reservoir
conditions. In the separator the liquid and gas phases, in equilibrium, are withdrawn
separately. Large volumes of gas are formed at these separator conditions, and the
liquid volume shrinks substantially because of decreased temperature and conversion
of some of the fluid into the gas phase. The separator liquid is collected in the stock
tank, at which additional temperature and pressure drop may occur, more gas may be
released depending on the separator conditions to stock tank conditions.
If Vo is the volume of liquid at reservoir conditions and Vst is the volume of stock tank
oil. The oil formation volume factor Bo is :
Vo
Bo =
Vst
If Vg and Vst are the total volume of gas and oil collected from the separator and stock
tank. The solution gas to oil ratio is :
Vg
Rs =
Vst
The volume factors can be determined directly in the laboratory or from equilibrium
calculations.
In addition to separator calculations, vapour liquid equilibrium data can be used for:
Reservoir calculations
Process calculations
2 IDEAL SOLUTIONS
Before we consider the behaviour of real systems we will first examine the behaviour
of an ideal solution, where no chemical interaction occurs and where no inter
molecular forces occur when mixing components.
These ideal solutions result in no heating effects when ideal solutions are mixed and
the volume of the mixture equals the sum of the volumes the pure components would
occupy at the same pressure and temperature.
pj = xjpvj (1)
where pj is the partial pressure of component j in the liquid with a composition xj and
pvj is the vapour pressure of the pure component j.
pj = yjp (2)
where yj is the composition of the vapour and p is the pressure of the system
yjp = xjpvj
yj pvj
Equilibrium ratio, K j
xj p
i.e. the ratio of the component in the vapour and liquid phases is given by the ratio of
the vapour pressure of the pure component to the total pressure of the system. This
ratio is termed the Equilibrium ratio, Kj .
If n is the total number of moles of mixture and zj is the mole fraction of component j
in the mixture.
where nL and ng are the moles of liquid and gas such that nL + ng = n
From equation 4.
(6)
xj by definition = 1.0
(7)
Similarly:
c c
zjn
yj = j =1 n +
p
= 1.0
j =1
g .nL
pvj (8)
(9)
(10)
Using these equations in a trial and error method the compositions of vapour and
liquid streams in a flash separation can be determined.
The equilibrium ratio Kj is defined as the ratio of the composition of j in the vapour
to liquid phase, i.e.
yj
Kj =
xj (11)
Other names for Equilibrium ratio, include Kfactors, Kvalues, equilibrium vapour 
liquid distribution ratios.
Fugacity
Lewis introduced the concept of fugacity, for use in equilibrium calculations, to
extrapolate or correct vapour pressures. This is required since a pure component only
has a vapour pressure up to its critical point. The fugacity is a thermodynamic quantity
defined in terms of the change in free energy in passing from one state to another.
For an ideal gas, the fugacity is equal to its pressure, and the fugacity of each
component is equal to its partial pressure. The ratio of fugacity to pressure is termed
the fugacity coefficient, . For a multicomponet system,
(12)
All systems behave as ideal gases at very low pressures, therefore when P is a
few tens of psia
fg = fL. (13)
The fugacity coefficient, of a pure component can be calculated from the following
general equation (Danesh).
(14)
The ratio of the fugacity at the state of interest to that at a reference state is called the
activity i = fi/fio
Different methods have been developed for treating vapourliquid equilibrium for non
ideal systems.
The previous K value is based on both ideal and non ideal solutions laws. To extend
the principle of equilibrium ratio to multicomponent hydrocarbon mixtures to the
pressures and temperatures relevant to petroleum engineers, methods of treating non
ideal systems need to be established.
The subject of non ideal equilibrium ratios are treated later in the text. We assume in
this section that K values are available either from whatever source, experimental,
NGPSA data charts, or from equations of state and other predictive methods.
The equilibrium equations which are used for a process separator are the same as those
within a grid block or element of a reservoir simulator.
It is common to express the feed F as 1.0 or 100 moles and express L and V as
fractions or percentages of F.
i.e. F = 1 = L + V (16)
For component j
yj
Kj =
xj (18)
By definition:
m m m
x j = yj = zj = 1
j =1 j =1 j =1 (19)
zj = xjL + xjKjV
zj = xj (L + KjV)
zj
xj =
L + K jV (20)
and:
(21)
m m
zj
x = L + K V = 1.0
j =1
j
j =1 j
similarly:
m m
zj
y = V + L K
j =1
j
j =1
= 1.0
j (21a)
m
zj
L =V
j =1 + Kj
V (22)
m
zj
L
=V
j =1 +1
K jV (22a)
These equations are the key equations in vapourliquid equilibrium calculations and
their use is the same whether in those calculations to determine phase behaviour in a
separator or those which take place within the numerous grid blocks of a reservoir
simulator. Clearly in the latter the amount of calculations is considerable since each
grid block can be considered a separator. In a large compositional based simulation
study, thousands of grid blocks will be used.
(1) Select Kj for each component at the temperature and pressure of the system;
(For the determination of K see the later section.)
(2) Assume a vapour liquid split i.e. V&L such that V + L = 1.0;
(4) Either:
(i) check V&L calculated against assumed V or L;
(ii) determine if xj or yj = 1.0;
(5) Repeat the calculation until assumed value is calculated value or until xj
and yj = 1.0.
This phase equilibrium perspective can also be used to calculate the reservoir
saturation pressures for a particular temperature, ie. the dewpoint and bubble point
pressures.
zj = yj (22)
or: zj = xjKj
m m
zj
xj =
j =1 j =1 K j
= 1.0
(23)
zj = xj (24)
or:
yj
zj =
Kj
The mixture at the bubble point is therefore in equilibrium with a quantity of vapour
having a composition defined by the above equation.
Also:
m m
y = z K
j =1
j
j =1
j j = 1.0
(25)
The dewpoint and bubble point when either temperature or pressure are known are
determined by trial and error techniques until the above relationships are satisfied.
The dewpoint pressure or bubble point pressure are estimated, K values obtained and
equations 23 or 25 checked. If the summation 1, different pressure values are tried
until convergence is reached. When convergence is reached the respective dew point
or bubble point pressure has been obtained.
5 SEPARATOR PROBLEMS
Each condition of pressure and temperature at which vapour and liquid are separated is
called a stageseparation. Hence a process using one separator and a stock tank is a
two stage process a three stage process has two separators and one stock tank. (Figure
6).
Separator calculations are performed to determine the composition of products, the oil
formationvolume factor and the volume of gas released per barrel of oil and to
determine the optimum separator conditions for the particular conditions of fluid.
nST is the moles of liquid in stock tank for n1 moles into first separator:
(26)
m = number of stages
Li = mole fraction of liquid off ith stage
n1 = moles of feed to first stage
If n1 = 1
then:
(27)
If nj = 1
(28)
Total gas volume per mole of feed =ngT Vmcu ft where Vm is the molar volume
(29)
(30)
If the feed to the first stage is a singlephase liquid into its point of entry into the
production stream then Bo can be calculated.
(31)
where
lb.res. fluid
Mres = molecular weight of reservoir fluid =
lb.mole. fluid
and
lb.mol. stock tank fluid
nST =
lb.mol.res. fluid
Figure 7 Effect of separator pressure in a twostage separation process (Amyx, Bass &
Whiting).
Equilibrium flash calculations, which the above are called, are used in many other
applications. In reservoir engineering, flash calculations are at the core of
compositional simulation.
Calculate the gastooil ratio, stocktank oil gravity and formationvolume factor
which will result from a twostage separation of the hydrocarbon mixture below. Use
separator conditions of 76F and 100 psig. Assume that the mixture is a liquid at its
bubble point at reservoir conditions of 2,695 psig and 220F.
Step 1: Calculate the composition and quantities of separator gas and liquid using
equation 21.
zj
x = L + K V = 1.0
j
j
The summation equals 1.0 when V = 0.4291 and L = 0.5709 and the compositions of
the separator gas and liquid are:
Step 2: Calculate the compositions and quantities of stock tank and liquid using
equation 21, noting that the composition of the feed to the stock tank is the
composition of the liquid from the separator.
The summation equals 1.0 so VST = 0.1351 and LST = 0.8649 and the compositions of
the stock tank gas and liquid are:
Step 3: Calculate the density and molecular weight of the stock tank oil.
220.656 lb
= 53.73
Density of propane plus = 4.1069 cu ft
0.181
= 0.001
Weight fraction ethane in ethane plus = 220.837
0.026
= 0.0001
Weight fraction methane in STO = 220.863
141.5
o
API =  131.5 = 32.8
0.861
Similarly:
RT = RST + RSP
(2130)(0.4291)(53.73) SCF
RSP = = 450
(0.5709)(0.8649)(220.9) STB
(2130)(0.4291)(53.73) SCF
RSP = = 450
(0.5709)(0.8649)(220.9) STB
SCF
RT = 531
STB
Step 5: Calculate the density and molecular weight of the reservoir liquid at reservoir
conditions.
114.205 lb
= 52.33
Density of propane plus = 2.1825 cu ft
2.089
= 0.018
Weight fraction ethane in ethane plus = 116 .294
5.405
= 0.044
Weight fraction methane in reservoir oil = 121 .699
thermal expansion correction 49.19  3.86 = 46.04 at 220F and 2710 psia.
(121.7)(53.73)
Bo =
( 46.04)(220.9)(0.5709)(0.8649)
res bbl
Bo = 1.302
STB
1 SCOPE
2 SAMPLING
2.1 Subsurface Sampling
2.2 Surface Sampling
4 APPARATUS
6 PVT TESTS
6.1 Flash Vaporisation
6.2 Differential Vaporisation
6.3 Separator Tests
6.4 Viscosity
6.5 Hydrocarbon Analysis
12 MERCURY
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Having worked through this chapter the Student will be able to:
Describe the impact of well flow interruption on the sampling of wet and gas
condensate systems.
List and describe the five main PVT tests for oils systems and their application.
The gasoil ratio and oil formation volume factor at the bubble point pressure.
Determine the bubble point pressure from a set of P vs. V relative volume test
data.
Determine the total formation volume factors above and below the bubble point.
Determine the oil formation volume factors and gasoil ratios for pressures
below the bubble point pressure.
1 SCOPE
Reservoir fluid analysis provides some of the key data for the petroleum engineer.
The quality of the testing, therefore, is important to ensure realistic physical property
values are used in the various design procedures. As important is the quality of the
samples collected to ensure that the fluids tested are representative of the field.
Clearly, any subsequent high quality testing is of little value if the sample is not
representative.
c The effect of separator pressure and temperature on oil formation volume factor,
gas/oil ratio etc;
The physical properties measured depend on the nature of the fluid under evaluation.
For a dry gas, the key parameters are, the composition, the specific gravity, the gas
formation volume factor, compressibility factor, z , and viscosity as a function of
pressure. The isothermal gas compressibility can be determined from the z value with
pressure variation.
For a wet gas, then all of the above parameters for a gas are required. However there
are some variations because of the production of liquids with gas. The formation
volume factor used is the gas condensate formation volume factor, Bgc, which is the
reservoir volumes of gas required to produce one stock tank volume (barrel or m3) of
condensate. The composition, specific gravity and molecular weight of the produced
condensates and produced gas are required. The composition and apparent specific
gravity of the reservoir gas are obtained by recombining the values for the gas and
condensates.
For an oil system, the following information is required; the bubble point pressure at
reservoir temperature, the composition of the reservoir and produced fluids, the
formation volume factor, the solution gas to oil ratio, the total formation volume
factor, and viscosity, all as a function of pressure. The coefficient of isothermal
compressibility of oil. The impact of separation on the above properties. The impact of
operating below the bubble point on the formation volume factor and solution GOR.
For a gas condensate system, properties measured reflect those for both wet gas and oil
analysis. The related property to the saturation pressure for the oil, the bubble point
pressure, for a gas condensate is the dew point pressure. Above the dew point the
compressibility characteristics of the gas are required, and the impact of allowing the
reservoir to drop below the dew point is another important evaluation.
2 SAMPLING
Subsurface samples can only be representative of the reservoir contents when the
pressure at the point of sampling is above or equal to the saturation pressure. If this
condition is not fulfilled, one should take a surface sample. Even at pressures close to
the saturation pressure there is a serious possibility of sample integrity being lost as a
result of the system going two phase during transfer to the sample chamber.
A simple test can be carried out in the field at the well site to find out whether a
reliable sample has been obtained. In this test the sample cylinder is pressurised either
by using a piston cell or using mercury as the displacing fluid. Whereas mercury was
the most common fluid to be used as a pressure transfer and volume change fluid,
because of toxic and other concerns its use is diminishing. From the relation between
injection pressure and volume of mercury injected, the following properties are
derived:
1 The pressure existing within the sampler when it is received at the surface;
2 The compressibility of the material within the sampler;
3 The bubblepoint pressure of the contents of the sampler.
If two or three samples taken at short time intervals show the same measured
properties, it is highly probable that good samples have been obtained.
In recent years there have been considerable advances on downhole fluid sampling.
The contents of the sampler are transferred by means of a mercury pump into a high
pressure shipping container. Two fillings of a sampler of 600 ml capacity are usually
sufficient for a complete PVT analysis. In recent years mercury has been replaced
using the application of piston cells by some companies.
In the case of two or three stage separation the samples are taken from the high
pressure separator.
3.1 Introduction
The use and value of any PVT study or other analysis of a reservoir fluid is dependant
on the quality of the sample collected from the reservoir. Many PVT reports show a
variation of results from fluids from the same well. Sampling wet gas and gas
condensate fluids can give rise to errors. During the sampling procedure it is often
possible to alter the conditions such that the fluids sample are not representative of
those within the reservoir, the characteristics of which are being assessed during the
PVT report. It is important, therefore, in sampling reservoir fluids to ensure that the
conditions during which the samples are being taken are not altered to give rise to false
samples.
At a particular point within the envelope the composition of each component in each
phase is constant. The separation of oil and gas as predicted by the phase diagram
results in each phase itself having a phase diagram. These phase diagrams intersect at
the separation temperature and pressure, the oil will exist at its bubble point and the
gas at its dewpoint. Therefore, for example, in the separator, gas will be separated and
produce gas at its dewpoint and the oil separated will be at its bubble point.
For a given system, therefore, a change in the temperature or pressure within the phase
envelope will result in alteration of the system and therefore alteration in the
characteristics of the two phases produced. The behaviour just described, therefore,
will have implications on the way samples are taken and on the techniques used to
collect the sample, for example, from the separator.
The bottom hole sample where the fluid is in single phase, probably, would be an ideal
situation. Present technology, however, is such that it is often difficult to produce a
single phase sample representative of the fluids bottom hole. The necessary pressure
drop to get the fluid from the bottom hole into the sample container can often give rise
to a two phase situation and an unrepresentative collection of these two phases.
Bottom hole samples are also more costly to collect. The wellhead from a cost point of
view could be the most suitable location point, however, again the question of the
representative nature of the sample is a concern. As a result of the lower pressure and
temperature it is likely that the single phase fluid at the bottom of the well has gone
into the two phase region at the wellhead and therefore the relative proportions of
liquid to gas would be unknown and their sampling would be difficult to produce a
representative sample. The most common sample location is the separator.
Considerable care, however, has to be taken to ensure that the samples taken from the
separator are those representative of the reservoir from which the fluids derive.
The well behaviour can significantly influence the nature and characteristics of the
fluids which eventually arrive from the separator. For example, Figure 9 in a flowing
well, gas condensate entering the wellbore as it travels to the surface will experience a
drop in pressure likely to give rise to retrograde liquid behaviour in the wellbore. The
flow must be sufficient to lift this uniform liquid and gas fluid to the surface. If the
flow is slow it is possible that some liquid may fall back therefore altering the overall
composition moving up the wellbore.
If the reservoir is shut in after flow then considerable changes can rise in the
composition of the fluid in the wellbore. The reservoir gas flowing into the wellbore
sets up a new equilibrium with condensed retrograde liquid which has rained down
within the wellbore. This separation in the wellbore gives rise to a lean gas near the
top of the well with a more than rich mixture at the bottom of the well. Figure 10.
When the well is flowing after a shutin period, Figure 11 and sampling takes place
there will be a variation in the compositions produced at the surface and therefore
unrepresentative samples collected from the separator. For example, in the early period
after shutin the lean gas at the top of the well enters the separator producing a fluid
with a GOR higher than that representative of the reservoir. As the fluids at the bottom
of the well move to the surface, much richer as a result of the liquid having collected
at the bottom of the well, they are produced with a GOR lower than that of the
representative reservoir fluid. It is important, therefore, for the well to be flowed for a
sufficient period for all the fluid within the well to have been displaced and also fluid
in the near wellbore region which also could have been influenced by the pressure and
compositional changes experienced during the shutin period.
In assessing whether good samples have been taken it is important to know how long it
will take for unrepresentative samples to be displaced from the separator, the wellbore
and the near wellbore reservoir zone. For example, for a 12ft x 5ft diameter separator
with a liquid flowrate of the order of 200 barrels per day, it could take 1 hour to
displace an 8.4bbls. If a contaminant enters a separator then the time to reach 1% of
the original concentration could be over 4.5 hours. For example, if the tubing is 4
inches in diameter with a length of 9000ft and an average tubing pressure of 5000psi
and a temperature of 170F and a gas flowrate of 5MM/scf/day, the volume in the
tubing would be 0.23MM standard cubic feet and the time to displace this gas would
be just over 1 hour.
A very practical aspect is often ignored in the design of separators and in particular in
relation to the sampling points associated with them. These sampling points are often
located primarily in relation to accessibility rather than the representative nature of the
fluids which can be extracted from them. For example, in the gas line, Figure 12a the
sampling valve might be located on the lower portion of the valve. It is likely that
entrained liquids in the gas stream could collect at this point giving rise to a very rich
gas composition if these entrained liquids were collected in the sample containers.
Similarly sampling valves in the liquid line Figure 12b could be located on the upper
portion of the line any gas which is carried through the line again will collect in the
dead volume of the sampling valve such that when samples are taken the gas will enter
the gas bottle of the container giving rise to an unrepresentative sample. An alternative
would be to locate both of these sampling valves on the side of the pipe rather than at
the top or bottom of the line. Figure 12c.
In taking samples there are some obvious aspects which are often ignored. Clearly
details in relation to the sample should be taken in particular: the date and the time of a
sample, the identification of the cylinder into which the sample is to be collected, the
location of where the sample was taken, the temperature and pressure at which the
sample was taken, details of any other aspects which will be important for those
subsequently handling the sample, for example, the presence of any H2S etc. The
details of the sample including, for example, the gas to oil ratio during the separation
will be transmitted with a sample to the laboratory which will carry out the analysis.
For example, if the sample identification cylinder has not been noted then if sample
details become separated from the sample cylinder then the sample would be wasted.
Prior to any liquid samples being transported to the laboratory it is important to reduce
the pressure within the container to a value below the bubble point to ensure that a two
phase mixture is transported. Very high pressures can occur as a result of a
temperature rise on a single phase liquid sample. Such pressures could go over safe
working pressures of the vessel!
4 APPARATUS
The GOR given by the field refers to the separator tank gasoil ratio. In order to
recombine the separator gas and the separator oil in the correct ratio, the volumetric
ratio between stock tank oil and separator oil is determined in the laboratory
85% of the cylinder containing separator oil is occupied by oil. There is a gas cap on
top. This precaution is taken in view of the long transport time and the risk of great
fluctuations in temperature involved.
After the gas cap has been dissolved by pressing water into the cylinder at a pressure
higher than the separator pressure a given quantity of oil is then flashed at pressure and
room temperature through a separator operating under the same conditions as the stock
tank in the field i.e. at the same pressure and temperature. The collected stock tank oil
is weighed and the density determined, after which the volume of oil is known. The
volume and the density of the liberated gas (stock tank gas) are also determined. From
the above measurements, the stock tank gas/stock tank oil ratio is also known. If the
volume of stock tank oil is lower than the corresponding quantity of separator oil we
speak of shrinkage, in the opposite case of expansion; shrinkage occurs when a large
quantity of gas is produced and expansion occurs when a small quantity of gas is
dissolved in the separator oil. When the shrinkage or the expansion is known,
recombination can take place on a stock tankoil basis.
6 PVT TESTS
At this stage we should remind ourselves of the main applications of the PVT data.
The three main application areas are;
To provide data for reservoir calculations,
To provide physical property data for well flow calculations
For surface facility design.
Although all are cited as users of the data, the reservoir calculation requirement has
provided the main driving force for the tests to be carried out. In surface facility design
for example the more simplistic black oil approach around which the PVT analysis is
structured is considered too limiting, and the main data for this application is the
compositional analysis of the fluids.
Over recent years, as the data is subsequently applied to computer based simulation
tools, the ability to handle more complex descriptions of the fluids has led to more
extended compositional analysis, beyond the C7+ limit which was the basis for many
years. It is common practice in some PVT laboratories to measure coposition to C28
and then define a C29+ component
In reservoir calculations the PVT tests and subsequent report provides the source of
the reservoir engineering properties necessary to describe the behaviour of the
reservoir over its development and production. The tests conducted therefore have to
take into consideration the processes going on both above and below the saturation
pressure.
There are five main PVT tests for oil systems plus associated compositional analysis:
i The flash vaporisation or relative volume tests.
ii The differential test.
iii The separator tests.
iv Viscosity measurements
v Compositional measurements.
The flash vaporisation test gives the relationship between P & V of a reservoir liquid at
constant (reservoir) temperature. Liberated gas remains in equilibrium with the oil.
By plotting the volume of the system versus pressure a break is obtained in the slope.
This occurs at the Bubble Point pressure.
To carry out a relative volume test run, the PV cell is set up as in Figure 16.
The PVT cell is filled with a certain quantity of reservoir liquid at a pressure above the
estimated bubble point and room temperature. After the PV cell has been filled (about
90 ml), it is immersed in a temperature bath and heated to reservoir temperature.
where:
V2 = volume of the oil at reservoir temperature T2
V1 = volume of the oil at room temperature T1
The thermal expansion factor is expressed, for example, in C1. The pump reading
taken at the moment when the pressure became constant is the first reading for the PV
curve. The pressure is now reduced by gradually withdrawing small quantities of
transfer fluid from the PVT cell and after each withdrawal equilibrium is established
by shaking the cell. After each equilibration the pressure and the volume are read. By
plotting the pressures against the volumes a curve is obtained showing a break at the
bubble point (Pb). Figure 16.
The saturation pressure or bubble point pressure is that pressure below which gas is
liberated. Hence, a twophase system is formed, whereas above the bubble point
pressure a one phase system is present (undersaturated liquid).
The compressibility of the oil phase above the bubble point can now be calculated
from the graph.
V2  V1
c=
V2 ( P2  P1 )
where:
V2 = volume at pressure P2
V1 = volume at pressure P1
The main objectives of the flash vaporisation test are to provide the reservoir bubble
point pressure and together with the information from the separator test, the formation
volume factors above the bubble point.
The differential vaporisation differs from the flash in that the liberated gas is
removed from the cell stepwise. At each step below the bubble point the quantity of
gas, oil volume, density, gas expansion and gas compressibility are determined. The
objectives of the differential test therefore are to generate PVT data for conditions
below the bubble point. Figure 17 below indicates the differential process.
The bubble point Pb is the starting pressure for the differential test. The next step is to
reduce the pressure in the PV cell by expansion of the PV cell volume. The reduction
of pressure causes the system to go two phase. All the gas phase is removed at
constant pressure by reducing the cell volume as gas is withdrawn. The volume of the
remaining oil is then determined. The cell pressure is then again dropped by expansion
of the PV cell and the above process repeated until the cell pressure has been dropped
to atmospheric pressure. The pressure steps for the tests cover a range of around 810
steps. All the above steps have taken place at reservoir temperature. The final stage is
to reduce the cell to 60F keeping the pressure at atmospheric pressure. The final oil
volume is measured. This remaining all is termed residual oil to distinguish it from
stock tank oil which although at the same pressure and temperature conditions has got
there by a different process.
The cumulative weight of the amounts of gas withdrawn are used in the calculation of
the densities of the oil phase in the differential vaporisation process. These densities
can also be determined directly if a pressure pycnometer is available.
Flash liberation is considered to take place between the reservoir and through the
separator.
Differential liberation tests are carried out therefore to obtain oil formation volume
factors and GORs that can be used to predict the behaviour of a reservoir when the
pressure has dropped below the bubble point pressure.
With the equipment available, a single test or a multiple separation test can be carried
out.
The procedure for the separation test is as follows. The starting point is oil in the PVT
cell at its reservoir bubble point, ie. the same starting condition as the differential
test. Fluid is displaced from the PVT cell ensuring that the PVT cell contents remain
at bubble point pressure. The gas and liquids are collected from the separation
stage(s) and their respective properties measured. The final stage is at stock tank
conditions. The resulting fluid is termed stock tank oil.
A single separator test is carried out by flashing reservoir liquid at bubble point
pressure and reservoir temperature through the separator operating at the average
annual temperature and at pressures which may be expected in the field. The
difference in results when using a single or a double separator is that in the former
case the total gas/oil ratio is higher, the shrinkage is greater and the density of the tank
oil is higher than in the latter case.
The main objectives of the separator test are in combination with the flash vaporisation
and differential tests to provide formation volume factor and solution gasoil ratios
over a full pressure range above and below the bubble point. In quoting these values it
is important to recognise that the values are separator condition specific.
In the sketch Figure 18 oil formation volume factor Bob is equal to Vres/L2 reservoir
volumes/stock tank volumes.
The solution to gasoil ratio, Rsb, is equal to (V1 + V2)/L2 Standard cubic volume
(SCF or SM3)/Stock Tank volumes (STB or STM3).
6.4 Viscosity
The viscosity is measured at reservoir temperature and at different pressures both
above and below saturation pressure. It is important for viscosity measurements below
the bubble point to generate the fluid for study by a differential mode to simulate the
nature of the fluid that would exist at these conditions.
Viscosity measurements were largely carried out with a rolling ball high pressure
viscometer consisting of a highly polishedsteel capillary of 1/4" dia. which can be
closed at the top by means of a plunger and is provided at the bottom with a contact
which is connected with an amplifier. A steel or platinum ball rolls in the capillary, its
diameter hence slightly smaller than that of the capillary. When the ball reaches the
bottom, it makes contact between the wall of the capillary and the point of contact, as
a result of which a circuit is closed and a whistling sound is heard. The time of rolling
is a measure of the viscosity.
In recent years the pressure drop along a capillary tube of known length and internal
dimensions has been used. The viscosity being calculated using the Poiselle equation,
the laminar flow pressure drop equation for a pipe of a particular diameter and length.
Although being used it is clearly restricted by operating under a fixed flow regime,
laminar and velocities to ensure that there is a sufficient pressure drop to measure and
not too large to influence physical properties.
In some cases the fluids produced in the final separation stage are identified to a higher
C number together with aromatic and napha components.
Compositions are also made of the produced gases from the various tests.
The formation of solid deposits during oil production is a concern. Some heavy
hydrocarbons as mentioned above at low temperatures can form solid phases waxes
and in transfer lines and process facilities. The wax formation temperature is therefore
an important measurement. Ashphaltene, is another solid phase of concern.
Asphaltenes are large molecules largely of hydrogen and carbon with sulphur, oxygen
or nitrogen atoms. Asphaltenes do not dissolve in oil but are dispersed as colloids in
the fluid.
From this rough indication constant temperature flows are taken at temperatures just
above and below the indicated WCT to give a more precise value. A plot of
differential pressure vs. flow indicates a more precise value of the WCT. Figures 19 &
20 below from a PVT report provided by Core Laboratories (UK) Ltd gives the plots
used to determine the WCT for a separator oil sample.
2 Compressibility coefficient
1 dV
c = (specify unit of pressure change)
V dP
10 Liquid density:
15 Tankgas/tankoil ratio.
Figure 21 below illustrates the volume relationship of fluids in an oil PVT tests to the
black oil description of volumes in a reservoir. In PVT analysis the basis of reference
is the bubble point, Figure 21a whereas for the black oil system the reference state is
surface or stock tank conditions, Figure 21c. The relationships between the two are
given in Figure 21b.
Having considered the various aspects of PVT analysis we will now consider the PVT
report and examine how we can generate the various reservoir engineering parameters
of interest. We will remind ourselves of the reason for the report and then using a PVT
report go through the main tests and interpret the detail.
Although the PVT report can be a source of information for a variety of applications
from reservoir, through well to surface facility calculations, the reservoir engineering
application has provided the main basis and structure of the report. The report is
structured to provide the much of the black oil model information together with
limited compositional data. The material balance equation which is covered in a latter
chapter also provides a basis for the PVT report. It is the PVT report which is the
source of much of the data embodied in the material balance equation. Thus, some of
the tabular information is set up to satisfy that need.
The PVT report can be used for a range of purposes from its use in determining the
potential prospects of a hydrocarbon accumulation to history matching a reservoir
which has been on production for some time. The report should therefore cover all
past, present and future situations which may require calculations. To do this with a
minimum of tables and curves, the data are normalised to a reference state and only
data for the reference state given. In PVT data reporting as indicated in earlier the
reference state is the bubble point. The petroleum engineer must then work back
from the reference state to the particular situation.
As described previously, the laboratory tests are carried out in an attempt to simulate
the processes which take place in a reservoir and through the production system.
These will include the flash equilibrium separation of gas and oil in the surface traps
during production and for an oil below the bubble point the differential equilibrium
separation of gas and oil in the reservoir during pressure decline. In interpreting the
data the engineer needs to use both sets of data to provide the information for reservoir
calculations.
The PVT report is clearly specific to a particular fluid, collected from a specific well
under specific conditions. This sample may not be representative of the total field
system and therefore using subsequent reports it may be necessary to to adjust the data
for field application. In a PVT report therefore detail is given as to the manner of
obtaining the sample and the conditions that existed at the sampling time. Also, the
compositional analysis of the sample is given so that equilibrium calculations can be
made for conditions other than studied in the laboratory. In this area there has been
considerable progress in compositional analysis and although the report used in this
section only goes up to C7+ it is now common practise to characterise to higher C
numbers, even as high as C29.
We will now examine a PVT report for an oil sample and is commonly used in
textbooks to illustrate the interpretation of a PVT report. The report is provided by
Core Laboratories. Ltd.
The first report is for an undersaturated oil from Texas field attributed to the Good Oil
Company. The report is given at the end of this chapter. Although not covered in this
report there may be a number of data sheets reporting the validation of the samples
used and selected in the PVT report. These sheets would include the various gas to oil
ratios when taking the samples and other information as part of the sample validation.
A text description is usually given to the report describing the various tests conducted
and the principal observations. The source of these principal observations and
calculations will be covered as in the following sections. The pages of the report often
include processed data.
To determine black oil parameters of oil formation volume factor and gas to oil ratios
as a function of pressure, a combination of tables of the report is required. We will
first look at the separator tests the results of which provide the basis for the Bo and
GOR values.
Column 1 and 2 give the pressuretemperature conditions of the surface trap tests that
were investigated. These should be specified by the reservoir engineer at the time the
test is planned. A difficulty here is that the engineer specifying to the PVT service
company these separation conditions is unlikely to be involved in the ultimate
optimised surface separation conditions if the field ultimately is developed.
EXERCISE PVT 1.
What is the solution gasoil ratio and formation volume factor resulting from the
separator test, at first stage of 300 psig and 2nd stage 0 psig and both at 75oF?
SOLUTION
This exercise illustrate the results using one of these tests, a twostage separation; a
primary trap operating at 300 psig and 75F followed by a stock tank operating at 14.7
psia (0 psig) and 75F.
When one barrel of bubble point oil; defined as oil saturated at 2620 psig and 220F in
footnote 3, on page 7 of 15 is flashed (processed) through this separation arrangement,
the stock tank has a quality of 40.1API (column 5). The formation volume factor of
the bubble point oil, Bob = 1.495 B/BSTO (column 6). This would have been the
volume of oil displaced from the PVT cell divided by the volume collected at the final
stage and then corrected for the thermal reduction from 75F to 60F. The source of
this bubble point pressure value will be indicated later.
Columns 3 and 4 show the surface gasoil ratio from the first stage and the tank. The
first stage ratio of 549 ft3/BSTO ( column 4) and the tank stage gas amount to 246
ft3/BSTO. It is important to read the footnotes of the report. Column 3 gives the results
in relation to the volumes at indicated P & T whereas column 4 gives the volumes with
respect to stock tank conditions of 14.65 psia and 60F. The solution gasoil ratio at
bubble point conditions (2620 psig and 220F), is therefore Rsb is 549 + 246 = 795 ft3/
BSTO when flashed through this surface trap arrangement.
If we compare these results for the 50psig, 0psig arrangement we obtain a Bob of 1.481
B/BSTO and a solution GOR of 778 ft3/ BSTO.
Clearly therefore Rsb, Bob, API all vary with the separation pressuretemperature
situation. There is not one unique result. When reporting Bo and GOR data for a
reservoir therefore it is important to report that these are for a specific separation route
or averaged for a series of tests. The latter is not so useful since it is not so
straightforward to calculate the result for a different separation route using VLE
methods.
The results from the separation test are based on the bubble point condition and to
obtain volumetric information at other pressures we require the results from other
tests.
Remember in this test, the contents of the cell at reservoir temperature have been
expanded and the volumes measured. None of the contents has been removed, the
system has remained constant. In the style presented here the expansion of the fluid as
measured has been plotted and then the intersection of the two slopes of the liquid
phase expansion and the two phase, gas/liquid phases, has been interpreted as the
bubble point pressure and bubble point volume. All the volumes have then been
normalised to this bubble point condition and presented as a relative volume. (column
2).
The first and second columns of the Reservoir Pressure Volume Relations Data on
page 4 give the pressure volume relations of the original fluid at 220F. Note that the
data are presented in terms of a unit volume at the bubble point condition.
This flash vaporisation test gives us therefore the reservoir temperature bubble point
pressure, which in this case is 2620psig. i,e the point where the relative volume is 1.0.
Column 2 gives the volume of the system at pressure per unit system volume at 2620
psig and 220F. These are listed as relative volumes, relative to the bubble point.
Column 3 presents what is called the Y function, this function should provide a
straight line or a slight curve and can be used to pick out anomalous data.
We will now see how we can use the relative volume data to provide us with some
formation volume factors above the bubble point.
EXERCISE PVT 2.
What is the formation volume factor and the density of the oil at the last reservoir
pressure measured.
SOLUTION
The well characteristics give the last reservoir pressure as 3954 psig. @ 8500 ft: We
obtain the oil formation volume at 3954 psig by multiplying the formation volume
factor at the bubble point by the relative volume (to the bubble point). Why multiply?
Because:
vol reservoir oil vol bubble point oil vol reservoir oil
Bo = =
vol stock tank oil vol stock tank oil vol bubble point oil
and the reference bubble point oil volume cancels out. Therefore Boi, the initial
formation volume factor is 1.495 x 0.9778 = 1.4618 when the 300 psig primary trap is
involved. It is a different value if another separation pressure is used. The 0.9778 was
obtained by interpolation between 3500 and 4000 psig in column 2.
Reservoir oil density at pressures greater than 2620 psig also make use of the relative
volume data of column 2, page 4. The added information we have is the density of the
bubble point oil. This is given in the summary data on page 3 of the report. We see
here that the specific volume at the bubble point, vb = 0.02441 ft3/lb. This comes from
direct weightvolume measurements on the sample in the PVT cell. We can now
calculate the density, oi, of the initial reservoir oil as:
The compressibility of the oil above the bubble point can also be obtained from the
relative volume test. The definition of compressibility is:
It makes no difference whether the volume units in the equation are relative volumes
to the bubble point, formation volumes, or specific volume values. To evaluate CO at
pressure p it is only necessary to graphically differentiate the pvrel data in columns 1
v
and 2 to get p at the pressure and divide by vrel. A less accurate value can be
obtained
by the assumption:
For example, to get Co at 4500 psig using relative volume values of 500 psi on each
side of 4500 psig:
1 (0.9639  0.9771)
co =
0.9639 + 0.9771 (5000  4000 )
2
The report also lists some compressibility numbers on page 3. These are not the same
as indicated above because they are changes in volume (in the pressure interval
indicated) per unit volume at the higher pressure. For example, the value of 13.48 (10
6
) for the 5000 and 4000 psi interval is obtained as:
1 ( 0.9771  0.9639)

0.9639 (5000  4000)
The compressibility data on page 2 are set up in this manner because of the way they
are used in one form of the material balance.
11.3 Total Formation Volume of Original Oil Below The Bubble Point
Pressure.
In the liquid properties chapter we introduced the total formation volume factor, Bt.
This factor is of little practical significance since it describes the volume of an oil and
its associated gas both above and below the bubble point, when the system does not
change. In reality below the saturation pressure the system changes as gas and oil have
different mobilities. In some forms of the material balance equation Bt is used however
to express oil volumes. We have just seen that to calculate the formation volume factor
of the oil above the bubble point we multiply the bubble point formation volume by
the relative volume given in column 2, page 4. If we multiply Bob by vrel at pressures
less than pb, we also get a formation volume factor, the total formation volume B t, of
the original system. That is at p < pb we will have two phases and the Bt is the volume
in relation to both gas and liquid phases in equilibrium at pressure p.
One form of the material balance equation makes use of the expansion of the original
oil between the initial system pressure and any subsequent pressure. This expansion is
given by the term:
Eo = N(Bt  Boi)
where N is the initial stock tank barrels in the reservoir and (Bt  Boi) is the expansion
per unit stock tank oil. Eo is, therefore, the expansion (bbl) of the original oil system.
Sometimes we see the expansion equation written:
Eo = N(Bt  Bti)
Figure 28 below illustrates the change of Bt and Bo with pressure over the total
pressure range.
Figure 28 Shape of Total Formation Volume Factor Bt and Oil Formation Volume Factor Bo
The standard PVT report includes data referred to as the differential data. These are
gas solubility and phase volume data taken in a manner to model what some people
believe happens to the oil phase in the reservoir during pressure decline. Basically, the
argument that differential liberation tests model the subsurface behaviour comes
primarily from two things:
1 the reservoir pressure changes are not violent and large as are the pressure
changes in entering surface separators. The subsurface changes are more gradual
and might be considered to be a series of infinitesimal changes.
The differential data are reported on page 5. Note that the table is headed by the title
Differential Liberation at 220F. Probably the best way to understand these data is to
explain again the manner of obtaining the values.
To begin with, the laboratory starts with a known volume of the original system in the
PVT cell. This may be of the order of 100200cm3. The volume at the bubble point
pressure (2620 psig in this instance) is determined accurately as it is a reference for all
subsequent measurements.
Referring to page 5, we see that the first pressure step was to 2350 psig. At this
pressure the original system will be in two phases. Its volume would be at b on the
adjoining sketch. Figure 29.
The first step in altering the overall system composition is made at 2350 psig by
removing the gas phase from the PVT cell while maintaining constant pressure. The
quantity of gas removed is determined by collecting it in a calibrated container. The
volume that the gas phase occupied in the cell is determined by the amount of mercury
or non contacting fluid injected during the removal process. Also, the gas gravity is
measured on the sample bled off. The volume of liquid remaining in the cell is shown
at b' in the sketch.
The above procedure is repeated by taking the 2350 psig saturated liquid to 2100 psig
(point c) and removing a second batch of gas at that pressure. Again the volume of the
displaced gas in the cell at 2100 psig is determined as is the gravity of the removed
gas. The volume of liquid phase remaining after the second gas removal step is
illustrated by point c' in the sketch.
This process of removing batches of equilibrium gas continues until the cell pressure
at the last displacement is 0 psig. As indicated by the differential data on page 5, there
were ten equilibrium removals, all at 220F. The final volume of liquid phase
remaining in the cell at 0 psig and 220F is corrected by thermal expansion tables (or
by cooling the cell) to 0 psig and 60F. This 0 psig/60F liquid is called residual oil.
Note that residual oil and stock tank oil are not the same fluids. They are both
products of the original oil in the system but are generated by different pressure
temperature routes.
Having now got to residual oil the data obtained are recalculated and presented on the
basis of a unit barrel of residual oil. By the time 0 psig and 220F had been reached,
the original system had liberated 854ft3/B residual oil. Column 2 expresses the amount
of gas in solution at the various pressures. This is the difference of the 854ft 3 total
liberated and the amount liberated between the original bubble point pressure and that
pressure.
It is important to understand why the solution gasoil ratio determined from surface
flash by taking oil at its bubble point directly to separator and surface conditions
compared to differential removal will be different, although the starting and finishing
conditions are the same. It is because the process of obtaining residual oil and stock
tank oil from bubble point oil are different. The first is a multiple series of flashes at
the elevated reservoir temperature ( the differential test); the second is generally a one
or twostage flash at low pressure and low temperature (flash tests). The quantity of
gas released will be different and the quantity of final liquid will be different because
the changing composition of remaining liquid at each stage will influence the
distributions of components between the phases. Also, the quality (gravity) of the
products will be different (compare API of residual oil vs API of stock tank oil). The
only thing that will be the same for the two processes is the total weight of end
products.
Column 3 are the relative volumes of the liquid phase measured during the differential
liberation of gas. Note that (per the footnote) these volumes at pressure p are expressed
per unit volume of residual oil. Again, these relative volumes must not be confused
with formation factor volumes because formation factor volumes are specified per
barrel of stock tank oil. Note on page 5 that relative volumes start at 1.000 at 0
psig/60F and that the value of 1.075 at 0 psig/220F is the thermal expansion of
35.1API residual oil from 60F to 220F.
Above 2620 psig, the original bubble point, the system remained constant in
composition. Therefore, the relation of the relative oil volume at p to the bubble point
value, 1.600, must be the same as the relative volume in numbers in column 2, page 4
of the report.
The other data on page 5 are differential liberation that refer to the oil and gas phases
in the reservoir at 220F. Column 8 shows that the gravity of the gas liberated between
2620 psig and 2350 psig was 0.825. The next batch between 2350 psig and 2100 psig
was 0.818. The gas deviation (compressibility) factor of the first liberated gas was
0.846 at 2350 psig. The oil density at 2350 psig/220F was 0.6655 gm/cc.
Now we understand the basic difference between flash and differential data as given in
the standard PVT report, we can calculate flash solubilities and oil formation volume
factors below the bubble point from a combination of the differential and flash data. It
is important to appreciate that there are two separation stages in separating the oil from
its original solution gas when the fluid in the reservoir has dropped below the bubble
point. The drop of the reservoir pressure from the bubble point pressure to a lower
pressure is considered to be by a differential process. The separation of gas from the
reservoir pressure to the surface is then by the flash process.
b The flash solubility of the bubble point oil for four different surface trap
situations, where these vary from 778ft3/B stock tank oil to 795ft3/B stock tank
oil for a 300 psig primary traptank situation. These are shown on the sketch.
Figure 30.
The 59 ft3/B difference in values is not experimental error but is a result of the
total differential process of the test. In reality there is only a small differential
element in the early stages of depletion.
The pressure depletion starts at the bubble point and the solution GOR is that from the
flash separator tests. We now need to develop the GOR curve below this value.
We will use the 300 psig primary  0 psig tank situation and will examine the GOR
for the reservoir pressure of 1850 psig.
EXERCISE PVT 3
Calculate the solution GOR at 1850 psig using the 300/0psig separator data.
SOLUTION.
Looking at the differential liberation data in column 2, page 5, we see that 242ft 3 of
gas has come out of solution, per barrel of residual oil, when the pressure declined
from 2620 psig to 1850 psig. 854  612. In other words, we can say that the 1850 psig
saturated oil contains less gas by this amount. If this liquid were taken to the surface
and processed through the traps, it would also show somewhat less gas solubilities
than the 795ft3/B stock tank oil that the bubble point oil shows; but it would not be
242ft3 less because we now have a different oil base.
(2)
(3)
ft 3
= ( Rs ) flash
B Stock Tank Oil (4)
B Residual Oil 1
=
In equation (2) B Bubble Point Oil 1.600
B Residual Oil
= 1.495
In equation (3) B Stock Tank Oil
Therefore:
and
Figure 31 Comparison of differential data with flash for volume factor volumes.
The result from the separator test is the correct value, since it is based on stock tank
volumes. The differential data is used to calculate the change in this separator value
below the bubble point.
We can see that the relative oil volume and the formation volume factor at pressure p
can be related by transferring to the common point the bubble point.
Let:
Then:
Therefore:
Bob
Bo = V VR .
Vb VR
EXERCISE PVT 4
SOLUTION
At 1850 psig we would have: from page 5 relative volume of 1.479 B/B residual oil
12 MERCURY
Historically the transfer fluid in PVT tests has been mercury. It has proved to be a very
effective fluid to generate variable volumes in PVT apparatus as well as being non
contamination with respect to the hydrocarbon fluids. Unfortunately health and safety
concerns with respect to personnel exposed to increased levels of mercury, and its
incompatibility with certain materials e.g. Aluminium, are such that mercury is being
replaced by alternate systems. Such alternate systems are not as simple to replace the
"flexible metal" which mercury has proved to be. Although in these notes we refer to
mercury, the principles are the same, where for example the mercury is replaced by a
rigid piston driven by a safe fluid e.g. Water.
2. LIST OF SYMBOLS
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Having worked through this chapter the Student will be able to:
Demonstrate the linear form of the MB equation for an oil reservoir with and
without a gascap
Given the equation be able to identify the component parts of the MB equation,
eg. gas cap expansion etc
Apply the material balance to calculate STOIIP, production etc. for a given
pressure decline
the MB equation.
Given the MB equation be able to present it in a short hand form as a basis for
use in linear forms.
Using the various linear forms with sketches illustrate the MB equation for use
for:
Comment with the aid of sketches the impact of water drive on the application of
MB equation in linear and other forms.
1. INTRODUCTION
In the chapter on Drive Mechanisms we reviewed qualitatively the various drive
energies responsible for hydrocarbon production from reservoirs. In this and
subsequent chapters we will introduce some reservoir engineering tools used in
calculating reservoir behaviour. The petroleum engineer must be able to make
dependable estimates of the initial hydrocarbons in place in a reservoir and predict the
future reservoir performance and the ultimate hydrocarbon recovery from the
reservoir. In this chapter the material balance equation is presented.
The material balance equation is one of the basic tools in reservoir engineering.
Practically all reservoir engineering techniques involve some application of material
balance. Although the principle of conservation of mass underlies the material balance
equation, custom has established that the material balance be written on a volumetric
basis, because oilfield measurements are volumetric and significant factors can only be
expressed volumetrically.
The equation was first presented by Schilthuis1 in 1936 and many reservoir
engineering methods involve the application of the material balance equation. Since
the equation is a volumetric balance, relating volumes to pressures, it is limited in its
application because of any time dependant terms. The equation provides a relationship
with a reservoirs cumulative production and its average pressure. However when
combined with fluid flow terms, we have a basis to carry out predictive reservoir
modelling, for example to put a time scale to production figures.
Over recent years, as increasingly powerful computers have enabled the application of
large numerical reservoir simulators, some have looked down on the simple material
balance equation and the tank model of the reservoir which it represents.
Reservoir simulators however apply the material balance approach within each of their
multidimensional cells. The value of this classical tool is that it enables the engineer
to get a feel of the reservoir and the contribution of the various processes in fluid
production. A danger of blind application of reservoir simulators is that the awareness
of the various components responsible for production might be lost to the engineer
using the simulation output in predictive forecasting.
When fluids (oil, gas, water) are produced from an oil reservoir, which may or may
not have a primary gas cap, the pressure in this reservoir will drop below the original
value. As a consequence of this pressure drop, a number of things will happen:
The question is now: if we start off with a given reservoir, and after some time we
have produced certain quantities of oil, gas and water, what can we say about the
average pressure in the reservoir, and what can we say about the average saturation
distribution? The answer to these questions can be obtained by considering our
reservoir at two stages:
(b) when we have produced certain amounts of oil, gas and water, by which time the
average pressure has declined to p (to be calculated).
Besides these natural phenomena the equation also has to be capable of handling other
factors affecting behaviour, for example injecting gas and or water.
There are a number of ways of developing the equation. We will look at two
approaches, the first examining the equation as applied to specific reservoir types and
then a simple volumetric expansion approach.
NOTE:
2. LIST OF SYMBOLS
Other subscripts
i at initial conditions
b at bubble point
Bw may be unknown. In this case assume it equals 1.0. Bw may be omitted from
material balance equations and the reader must assume its value equals 1.0.
The simplest material balance equation is that applied to gas reservoirs. The
compressibility of gas is a very significant drive mechanism in gas reservoirs. Its
compressibility compared to that of the reservoir pore volume is considerable. If there
is no water drive and change in pore volume with pressure is negligible (which is the
case for a gas reservoir), we can write an equation for the volume of gas in the
reservoir which remains constant as a function of the reservoir pressure p, the volume
of gas produced SCF, the original volume of gas, SCF, and the gas formation volume
factor.
A representation of the equation for a gas drive reservoir with no water drive is given
below.
Bg  based on z, p, T
N.B:
pV = znRT
If the gas reservoir is supported by water drive then as gas is produced water will
encroach into the gas pore space, and some of this water may be also be produced.
Figure 2 below illustrates the contact with a supporting aquifer. Because the mobility
of gas is far greater than water, evidence in the form of produced water may be
delayed as the water keeps to the gas water contact. The support from the water would
be evidenced however by the pressure support given to the reservoir. In earlier years
this may not be so easy to detect.
(3)
If gas was ideal a plot of Gp vs p would be a straight line. It is often practice to do this
and get a relatively straight line, but caution has to be taken, since deviation from a
straight line could indicate additional energy support.
This procedure is often used in predicting gas reserves. Often the influence of water
drive is ignored resulting in a serious error in reserves.
This simple analysis method for gas reservoirs has gained wide acceptance in the
industry as a history matching tool, to determine for example an estimate of initial gas
reserves based on production data. This figure, (Figure 3), can then be compared to
estimates from exploration methods. It can also give indications of gas to be produced
at abandonment pressures.
3. The calculation compares the state of the reservoir initially with the state after
some time. During any time interval, if the pressure drops from its initial
value, Pi, to a lower value, P every phase as oil, gas, water and rock will
expand. The total expansion must be equal to the underground withdrawal
since the total reservoir volume is practically fixed. There is no need to
investigate intermediate steps, i.e. this is an analysis of cumulative production.
NBoi NBo
Figure 4a Figure 4b
If N is known (stock tank oil initially in place, STOIIP) then Np may be calculated
from PVT data. This is production forecasting. If the cumulative production at
pressure P is known, the STOIIP may be estimated. This is the analysis of past
performance.
Material Balances based on the above ideas have the following drawbacks:
1. In general, it is not possible to forecast the production of both oil and gas. A
simple volume balance is insufficient to predict the behaviour of a reservoir if
several phases occur simultaneously. In that case more data are needed.
2. A one tank model cannot take account of the well pattern, the inhomogeneities
of the reservoir and the possibility that different parts of the pay zone may be
produced by different mechanisms.
These disadvantages may be partly overcome by splitting the reservoir into many
blocks and setting up differential material balances for each block to take account of
the flow of oil and gas and water to the adjacent blocks. The block parameters are
chosen so that the past performance of each producing well can be matched closely
(history matching).
The available data may be insufficient to permit a unique determination of the relevant
parameters. This may be the case for one tank material balance history matching as
well as for multitank models. The history match may fail because the model is
inadequate or too detailed, e.g. a one tank MBE for a reservoir with a long production
history may yield reasonable results, whereas the corresponding multitank MBE fails.
Sensitivity
Material balance by one tank model is important in furnishing basic data for complex
simulation studies using modern computer techniques. In many cases, global analysis
provides quite reliable values for oil and gas initially in place and allows prediction of
future water influx into the reservoir from an adjacent aquifer.
original WOC
Aquif er
The general material balance equation is simply a volumetric balance which states
that since the volume of a reservoir is constant, the algebraic sum of the volume
changes of the oil, free gas, water and rock volumes must be zero, e.g. if both the oil
and the gas volumes decrease, the sum of these two decreases must be balanced by an
increase of equal magnitude in the water volume. If the assumption is made that
complete equilibrium is attained at all times in the reservoir between oil and its
solution gas, it is possible to write a generalised material balance expression relating
the quantities of oil, gas and water produced, the average reservoir pressure, the
quantity of water which may have encroached from the aquifer and the initial oil and
gas content of the reservoir.
1. The initial reservoir pressure and average reservoir pressure at successive time
intervals after start of production.
2. The stock tank volume of oil produced at any time period or during any
production interval.
3. The total standard volume of gas produced. With gas injection facilities,
injected gas must be taken into account.
5. The gas and oil formation volume factors and the solution gas oil ratios.
These are obtained as functions of pressure by lab measurements on samples
by differential and flash liberation methods.
6. The quantity of water produced. With water injection facilities, the injected
water must be taken into account.
In general, the material balance is a linear relationship between three basic variables
and may be stated as:
System Expansion = [oil + associated gas] + [gascap gas] + [connate water]  [pore
volume]
Oil: N stm3 will occupy NBoi rm3 at the initial pressure. At the lower
pressure, P , the oil volume is NBo, Bo is the formation volume factor at P .
Gas: Initially, the oil is in equilibrium with the gascap, therefore the oil is at
bubble point pressure. Reduction in the pressure will liberate solution gas.
Rsi is the initial solution gas oil ratio (st.m3/s.t.m3) at Pi, Rs the solution GOR
at P .
Therefore, the N stm3 of oil has NRsi stm3 in it at Pi and NRs at P . The gas
volume liberated from Pi to P = N (Rsi  Rs) Bg rm3.
Total expansion oil and associated gas = N[(Bo  Boi) + (Rsi  Rs) Bg] rm3
mNBoi
At P , this volume will occupy Bg rm3
Bgi
mNBoiBg
( Bgi )  (mNBoi)
Bg
= mNBoi(  1) rm3
Bgi
3. Connate Water
HCPV
Total pore volume = (1  S )
wc
HCPV Swc
Connate water volume = (1  S )
wc
(1 + m)NBoi 1 V
(1  Swc) . Swc . Cw . P (Compressibility = V P at constant Temperature)
(1 + m)NBoi
Original pore volume = (1  S )
wc
(1 + m)NBoi
Contraction = 
(1  Swc) . Cf . P
Withdrawals
2. Gas: NpRp stm3 of gas which incorporates NpRs stm3 of solution gas.
Therefore the volume of liberated gascap gas = Np(Rp  Rs) Bg rm3 (at the
reduced pressure P )
Influx
Bg
Np(Bo + (Rp  Rs ) Bg )= N(Bo  Boi) + N(Rsi  Rs)Bg + mNBoi(B  1)
gi
CwSwc + Cf
+ (1 + m)NBoi( (1  S ) ) P + (We + Wi  Wp)Bw + GiBg
wc
That is,
CwSwc + Cf
+ (1+ m )( (1  S ) ) P ]
wc
This is the general material equation which can be modified for specific cases.
1. Undersaturated Reservoirs
Above bubble point P > Pb. No gascap, m = 0 and gas oil ratio is constant, i.e.
Rsi = Rs = Rp
assuming that there is no water injected and that there is no gas injected.
or Y = AX
N p Bo Y
N= P or A = X
C S Cf
( Bo Boi ) Boi ( w wc
(1 S wc )
Y1 Y2 Y3 Yn
A = X1 = X2 = X3 = ... Xn
This is seldom the case, but the best fit straight line through the data will yield
A. This can be done graphically (plot points and eyeball best line) or by least
 AXj)2 becomes a minimum.
This leads to the equation
dS(Yj  AXj)2
dA = 0 with the solution:
SXjYj
A = XjXj
e.g.
j Xj Yj XjYj XjXj
1 1 3 3 1
2 3 11 33 9
3 8 20 160 64
196 74
196
i.e. A = 74
dGp
Rp is the cumulative produced GOR. R is the producing GOR ( dNp .)
The producing GOR changes as the reservoir pressure declines from above P b
to below as the following figure shows:
Pb
Pi R
Gas Oil R atio
Pressure and
R si
Time
Provided the reservoir pressure remains above Pb, R will equal Rsi since no
gas is liberated in the reservoir. If P drops slightly below Pb, R may be
smaller than Rsi because some of the liberated gas may build up an immobile
phase until the critical gas saturation is reached. After this, R will build
rapidly as the liberated gas moves faster to the wells than the oil. Ultimately,
R will decrease sharply since most of the originally dissolved gas has been
produced. The shape of the R graph will depend on several factors. If the
production rates are low and the reservoir is steeply dipping, part of the
liberated gas may flow up dip to form a secondary gas cap at the top of the pay
zone. This process of gravity segregation may be prevented by
inhomogeneities and by capillary trapping. Therefore closing a well in
temporarily to allow gas oil separation to occur may have little effect in
reducing the producing gas oil ratio.
Again, STOIIPs and water influx may be calculated by the appropriate choice
of data. Checks for solution gas drive can be made to ensure neither gascap
nor waterdrive mechanisms are in effect. Future performance may be
analysed in terms of reducing gas production to improve recovery.
The presence of an initial gas cap means that the compressibility functions of
the general MBE may be neglected since the gascap is much more
compressible than the formation or connate water.
The expansion term will involves the solution gas drive since it is still active.
Often in gascap drive reservoirs, the ratio, m, is the lest precisely determined
value, and plots of withdrawals against expansions can reflect the value of m.
Pi
Producing Gas Oil
Producing
GOR
Pressure and
Ratio
R =Rsi
Time
The expansion of the gascap as the pressure declines is less severe than in
solution gas reservoirs. The oil recovery is better, 2535%. The peaks in the
GOR are caused by controls on the GOR (production rate etc).
As the gascap expands the updip wells will become gaswells and as such
will be shut in or completed as gas injectors.
In recent times the computing power behind other reservoir engineering tools like
numerical simulation, has cast a shadow of a lack of confidence in the old material
balance approach. One reason for perhaps a lack of appreciation of the equation might
be the immediate impression of complexity through its many terms. A significant
step forward in the equation which had been originally presented by Schilthuis was by
Odeh and Havlena, who examined the equation in its various linear forms.
Havlena and Odeh presented a method that consists of rearranging the material
balance equation to result in an equation of a straight line. The method requires the
plotting of a variable group versus another variable group with the variable group
selection depending on the drive mechanism.
Their technique is useful in that if a linear relationship does not exist for a particular
interpretation of the reservoir, then this deviation from linearity suggests that the
reservoir itself is not performing as anticipated and other mechanisms are involved.
Once linearity has been achieved, based on matching pressure and production data
then a mathematical model has been produced. This technique is referred to as history
matching, and the application of the model to the future enables predictions of the
reservoirs future performance to be made.
(1)
In some instances water formation volume factors are not included, i.e. Wp, We and in
some they are WiBw
Havlena and Odeh simplified the equation into a short hand form:
The left hand side of equation 2 represents the production terms in reservoir volumes
and are denoted by F, i.e.
(i) the expansion of the oil and its originally dissolved gas, Eo, where:
(ii) the expansion of the pores and connate water Efw where:
(5)
(6)
With the above terms the material balance equation can be written:
Using this equation as a basis, Havelena and Odeh manipulated the equation making
different assumptions to produce a linear function.
F = NEo (8)
i.e. a plot of F vs Eo should produce a straight line through the origin (Figure 5). This
is the simplest relation and is just a plot of observed production against determined
PVT parameters. The slope of the line gives the oil in place N.
6.1.2 Gas Cap Drive Reservoirs, No Water Drive and Known Gas Cap
Although We is zero, the gas cap has a volume as given by m, and the equation 7
becomes:
A plot of F vs (Eo + mEg) should produce a straight line through the origin with a slope
N. Figure 6. If m is not known then by making assumptions for m a number of plots
can be generated with the linear slope being the correct value for m.
Figure 6 F vs (Eo +mEg) Gas Drive, With Known Gas Cap, But No Water Drive.
6.1.3 Gas Drive Reservoirs with No Water Drive, N and G Are Unknown
If there is uncertainty in both the size of the oil and gas accumulation then Havlena
and Odeh suggest the following form of the material balance equation, by dividing
both sides by Eo.
F E
= N +G g (10)
Eo Eo
where:
Boi
G = Nm
Bgi
A plot of F/Eo vs Eg/Eo should be linear with an intercept of N and a slope of mN.
Figure 6.
Eo +Efw
F We
=N+ ....STB
Eo + E fw Eo + E fw (12)
The right hand side has two unknowns, N and We, and the MB in this form is a
powerful tool in assessing whether there is a supporting aquifer or not by plotting
F/(Eo+Efw) vs Np, or time or pressure drop, p. The plot will take different shapes
depending on the energy support . Figure 7 illustrates this.
The examples above in Figure 7 give various scenarios as a result of plotting regular
production Figures. in curve A, the horizontal line, indicates that the left and right
hand side of the equation are constant, ie. We =0. and the pore compressibility is
constant. This is a solely depletion drive where the energy comes from the
compressibility of the oil and its originally dissolved gas. The intercept on the y axis
is also the constant term, N, the oil in place, the STOIIP. The other plots indicate that
pressure support is also coming from elsewhere, water drive, or abnormal compaction
or a combination of both. Perhaps in C there is a water drive from an infinite aquifer,
where the aquifer boundary has still to feel the pressure. Curve B might be for a finite
aquifer, where later in production, there is less support from the aquifer. Another
feature of this presentation is that back extrapolation of the B and C curves also gives
the STOIIP volume, N.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Having worked through this chapter the Student will be able to:
Calculate the total water influx resulting from a known aquifer volume in terms
of total aquifer compressibility and pressure drop over the aquifer.
Sketch and describe the Schiltuis steady state model and the Van Everdingen and
Hurst Unsteady State Model for Water.
Explain how a constant boundary pressure profile solution can be used for
declining pressure aquifer/ reservoir pressure.
Calculate given prerequisite equations the water influx as a function of time for a
declining pressure profile.
Describe and sketch the short hand linear forms of the MB equation for water
drive reservoirs for:
In the preceding chapters on drive mechanisms and material balance we identified the
positive characteristics of water drive. In this chapter we will examine the various
methods which can be used to predict the amount of natural water drive.
The driving force for water drive comes from the response to pressure being lowered
as a result of oil production, and since the aquifer is part of this system it also responds
to this declining pressure. As pointed out in the material balance equation chapter,
fluid production is a response to the compressibility of the oil reservoir and the same is
true in most cases for aquifer water drives. The porous system representing the
hydrocarbon reservoir and the aquifer are compressible. All its elements:
hydrocarbon, water and rock expand as pressure declines. It is on the basis of this
compressibility that water encroachment is understood and calculated.
(a) Expansion of the water due to pressure drop within the aquifer
(d) Artesian flow, if any, where the outcrop is located structurally higher than the
hydrocarbon accumulation, and the water is replenished at the surface
The amount of water flowing into the hydrocarbon reservoir is also influenced by
other factors:
(a) The cross sectional area between the water zone and the hydrocarbon
accumulation
(b) The permeability of the rock in the aquifer
(c) The viscosity of the water
The decline in pressure resulting from oil or gas production moves with a finite
velocity ( related to fluid flow) into and through the aquifer. The reduction in pressure
causes the aquifer, water and rock to expand. As long as this moving pressure
disturbance has not reached the external limits of the aquifer, the aquifer will continue
to provide expansion water to the hydrocarbon reservoir. In describing the size of
aquifers we refer to infinite and finite aquifers. Clearly there is not an aquifer which
extends to an infinite extent! The terminology indicates, where in the time
considerations of the analysis, the pressure disturbance has not reached the external
limits of the aquifer.
Although natural water drive provides very effective recovery characteristics there
are still more uncertainties attached to this subject in reservoir engineering, than to
any other. This is simply because one seldom drills wells into an aquifer to generate
reservoir characteristics. Instead these properties have frequently to be inferred from
what has been observed in the reservoir. Even more uncertain is the geometry and
the areal continuity of the aquifer itself. The reservoir engineer should therefore
consult both production and exploration geologists. Due to these inherent
uncertainties the aquifer fit obtained from history matching is seldom unique and the
aquifer model may require frequent updating as more production and pressure data
becomes available. Dake 1978.
The compression of the void spaces in the reservoir and aquifer rock as a result of
pressure decline in the pore spaces can affect reservoir performance and contribute to
water influx from an aquifer. The compression of the void spaces results in a reduction
in the pore volume of the reservoir as withdrawals continue.
From a practical standpoint it is usually difficult to separate the water expansion from
the rock compression. Therefore, these two effects, which are additive, are usually
combined into one term which, for convenience, is referred to as effective water
compressibility. The compressibility of water, as well as the compressibility of other
liquids, will vary slightly, according to the pressure and temperature imposed on the
water. Increasing the pressure will reduce the compressibility of water and increasing
the temperature will increase the compressibility of water. The compressibility of
fresh water at one atmosphere pressure and 60F is 3.3 x 106 bbl/bbl/psi.
We = cWi(pip) (1)
where:
The main problem facing the reservoir engineer is determining the characteristics of
the aquifer; its geometry, size and flow characteristics.
The following example illustrates the water influx impact of a relatively low
compressibility oil reservoir aquifer system.
Before examining the different models we will review the development of equations
which enable the pressure, time and distance solution to be obtained
The flow rate at any radius r + dr is q, Figure 3. The rate of flow at radius r will be
larger by the amount dq caused by:
(ii) Expansion of the fluid in the element due to pressure changing with time dp/dt
Volume of element
V = 2rh dr (2)
dV =  cV dp =  c 2rh dr dp (3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
Differentiating
(7)
Dividing by r gives
(8)
This is the diffusivity equation and describes the flow of a slightly compressible fluid
in porous media. The pressure with respect to distance and time is related by the
parameters c and k.
(9)
(10)
The name diffusivity equation comes from its application to the flow or diffusion of
heat. The equation is also applied in range of flow systems, heat, electricity as well as
flow in porous media as is the application in a reservoir situation.
constant; when this occurs the system is termed pseudo steady state and fluid
expansion can be obtained from a tank model concept.
All aquifers are finite in size, however there is a period of time when a pressure
disturbance created by production from a well has not travelled far enough and
reached the boundary of the aquifer. During this time the aquifer behaves as being
infinite and unsteady state flow applies. After the boundary influences the behaviour
of the system pseudosteady state flow starts.
The diffusivity equation demonstrates that the states of flow are influenced by the
initial conditions and the boundaries, the outer boundary having a significant
influence. In analysing behaviour, the two boundary conditions must be specified: the
inner boundary the oilwater interface, and the outer boundary the limit of the aquifer.
Conditions may be constant pressure, constant rate, closed boundary etc. The initial
condition describes the condition of the system at time, t=0, where a uniform pressure
distribution exists. To solve the equation for water encroachment we need to specify
the boundary and initial conditions.
In general for water influx calculations, the most common conditions are a closed
system, no flow at the outer boundary of the aquifer and constant rate or constant
pressure at the inner boundary. In general constant pressure is used in aquifer
modelling, whereas in reservoir behaviour constant rate is assumed at the inner, well
bore boundary.
We will now consider the various aquifer models in light of the above discussion.
In this model, the aquifer tank pressure remains constant, and could represent an
artesian type aquifer recharged with water or an aquifer large compared to the
reservoir.
The reservoir is considered to be relatively small in size with high permeability such
that a flat pressure profile exists. The relative sizes should be at least 1020:1 .
Initially both aquifer and reservoir tanks are at the original reservoir pressure and as
the reservoir is produced at constant rate the pressure in the reservoir drops. At any
instant, when the reservoir pressure has dropped to a value p, the rate of water influx
by Darcys law, will be proportional to the permeability of the sand in the pipe, the
crosssectional area of the pipe, and the pressure drop (pi  p); and inversely
proportional to the water viscosity and the length of the pipe, provided the pressure of
the aquifer tank remains constant. The maximum rate of influx occurs when p=0. If
this rate is greater than the reservoir production rate then at some intermediate pressure
the rate of influx will be equal to the rate of production and the pressure will stabilize,
at a steadystate value. This is an analog of steadystate water influx into a reservoir as
expressed analytically by the Schilthuis equation in which the constant, C, depends
upon the permeability and dimensions of the aquifer rock and the average viscosity of
the water in the aquifer.
(11)
C is the aquifer constant and contains the unchanging components of Darcys Law,
(units vol/time/pressure).
dWe
= C( pi  p )
dt (12)
Hurst in 1943 proposed an equation which recognised that at least part of the aquifer
flow was transient.
(13)
where B is the water influx constant in barrels per pounds per day per square inch, p
is the pressure decrement in pounds per square inch, and Q(t) is the dimensionless
water influx, which is a function of the dimensionless time. This equation will be
discussed later.
The unsteadystate hydraulic analog is shown above where the reservoir tank on the
right is connected to a series of tanks of increasing size which are connected by sand
filled pipes of constant diameter and sand permeability, but of decreasing length
between the larger tanks. Initially all tanks are at a common level or pressure Pi
representing the original pressure across the system As production occurs, the
pressure in the reservoir tank drops causing water to flow from aquifer tank 1, and a
resulting lower pressure in tank 1. This pressure drop in tank 1 in turn generates flow
from tank 2, and so on. Clearly the pressure drops in the aquifer tanks are not uniform
but vary with time and production rate, and are progressive across the reservoir. An
illustration of these pressure profiles in a radial aquifer are shown in Figures 6 and 7
for a constant rate of water influx and for a constant boundary pressure. Even if there
is an infinite number of aquifer tanks, it is evident that reservoir pressure can never
fully stabilise at constant production rate, because an everincreasing portion of the
water influx must come from an everincreasing distance.
Figure 6 Pressure Distributions in an aquifer at several time periods, for a constant rate of
water influx at Rw
Figure 7 Pressure distributions in an aquifer at several time periods for a constant boundary
pressure Rw
The water analog can also be illustrated by the series of concentric circles in the Figure
8 below. The Figure represents the cylindrical elements in an aquifer surrounding a
circular reservoir. An analysis of the pressure in each element will enable the amount
of expansion of water each element can produce as a result of effective compressibility
in a pressure decline from pi to zero.
3. PERFORMANCE PREDICTION
Although a consideration of the nature of various aquifers lends support to the
analytical expressions presented above, there is no certainty beforehand that any one
of the three will adequately represent the water influx into a particular reservoir, and
studies must be made to determine the most suitable expression.
For active water drive reservoirs, the use of steady state water influx equation will not
usually result in reliable predictions of reservoir performance. As the pressure drop
due to water expansion moves out further into the aquifer, the expanding water will
not move into the hydrocarbon reservoir at the same rate, because for a given pressure
drop the water has to move a greater distance in order to enter the oil or gas zone. The
favoured approach of analysis is the unsteady state model of Van Everdingen & Hurst.
From the analog above it is clear the exact solution for water influx is the unsteady
state solution, where to access the water production we need to determine the pressure
time distance profile across the aquifer.
The diffusivity equation in radial form expresses the relation between pressure and
radius and time for a radial system such as drainage from an aquifer, where the driving
potential of the system is the water expandability and the rock compressibility :
(8)
This diffusivity equation is the same basic equation as has been used to calculate heat
flow and electrical flow, as well as fluid flow through porous media. The term is
usually defined as the diffusivity constant () and will be essentially constant for any
given reservoir.
where:
An exact analytical solution of the diffusivity equation for specified boundary and
initial conditions define this pressure time profile and therefore will allow the
calculation of the rate of water influx into a reservoir, provided the proper data are
available. Van Everdingen & Hurst did this in 1949.
Their analysis was for two cases:
(a) The Pressure case, where the pressure at the inside boundary is known and the
outside boundary is closed, or the reservoir is infinite; and we want to calculate
the water influx.
(b) The Rate case, where the rate is known at the inside boundary. At the outside
boundary there is no flow or the pressure is constant or the reservoir is infinite,
and we want to calculate the total pressure drop.
To enable their analysis to be applicable for different reservoirs they produced a more
general solution of the diffusivity equation by generating dimensionless functions.
Dimensionless time, tD, in place of real rime, t, and dimensional radius, rD, which is
re/ro where re is the radius of the aquifer and ro is the radius of the oil reservoir.
(14)
where:
(15)
Since only basic equations have been utilised, the units for the above quantities are:
tD = time, dimensionless
t = time, seconds
k = permeability, darcy
= viscosity, centipoise
= porosity, fraction
c = effective aquifer compressibility, vol/vol/atmosphere
ro = reservoir radius, centimetres
(16)
The solution of equation 14 with constant terminal rate boundary conditions is used in
well testing. Hurst and Van Everdingen also derived the constant terminal pressure
solution which is used in water influx calculations.
(17)
It is the change in rate from zero to q due to a pressure drop p applied at the outer
hydrocarbons reservoir boundary, ro , at time t=0.
(18)
(19)
Where:
We = cumulative water influx
Q(t) = dimensionless water influx
(20)
This equation gives the cumulative water influx for a fixed pressure drop p. The
equation applies in Darcy units. However, when oilfield units are used the following
equation applies.
(21)
where;
(22)
where:
B = 1.119cr2oh (23)
This term B can be considered to be an aquifer characteristic, where the terms do not
change during the decline.
Van Everdingen and Hurst's paper presented the solution of equation 8 in the form of
dimensionless time, tD, and dimensionless water influx Q(t). Their solution of the
diffusivity equation can therefore be applied to any reservoir where the flow of water
into the reservoir is essentially radial in nature. They provided solutions for external
boundaries of an infinite extent and for those of limited extent. Tables 1 and 2 show
the tabulated form of their solutions. In addition to being presented in tabular form the
dimensionless water influx as a function of dimensionless time, Dake1 also reproduced
Van Everdingen & Hurst data solutions in graphical form. The graphs are presented in
Figures, 9ae
Dimensionless water influx and dimensionless pressures for infinite radial aquifers (courtesy of SPE)3
tD Qt pD tD Qt tD Qt tD Qt
1.0 x 102 0.112 0.112 1 . 5 x 1 03 4.136 x 102 1.5 x 107 1.828 x 106 1.5 x 1011 1.17 x 1010
5.0 x 102 0.278 0.229 2.0 x 103 5.315 x 102 2.0 x 107 2.398 x 106 2.0 x 1011 1.55 x 1010
1.0 x 101 0.404 0.315 2.5 x 103 6.466 x 102 2.5 x 107 2.961 x 106 2.5 x 1011 1.92 x 1010
1.5 x 101 0.520 0.376 3.0 x 103 7.590 x 102 3.0 x 107 3.517 x 106 3.0 x 1011 2.29 x 1010
2.0 x 101 0.606 0.424 4.0 x 103 9.757 x 102 4.0 x 107 4.610 x 106 4 . 0 x 10 1 1 3.02 x 1010
2.5 x 101 0.689 0.469 5.0 x 103 11.88 x 102 5.0 x 107 5.689 x 106 5.0 x 1011 3.75 x 1010
3.0 x 101 0.758 0.503 6.0 x 103 13.95 x 103 6.0 x 107 6.758 x 106 6.0 x 1011 4.47 x 1010
4.0 x 101 0.898 0.564 7.0 x 103 15.99 x 103 7.0 x 107 7.816 x 106 7 . 0 x 10 1 1 5.19 x 1010
5.0 x 101 1.020 0.616 8.0 x 103 18.00 x 103 8.0 x 107 8.866 x 106 8.0 x 1011 5.89 x 1010
6.0 x 101 1.140 0.659 9.0 x 103 19.99 x 103 9.0 x 107 9.911 x 106 9.0 x 1011 6.58 x 1010
7.0 x 101 1.251 0.702 1 . 0 x 1 04 21.96 x 102 1.0 x 108 10.95 x 106 1.0 x 1012 7.28 x 1010
8.0 x 101 1.359 0.735 1 . 5 x 1 04 3.146 x 103 1.5 x 108 1.604 x 107 1.5 x 1012 1.08 x 1011
9.0 x 101 1.469 0.772 2.0 x 104 4.679 x 103 2.0 x 108 2.108 x 107 2.0 x 1012 1.42 x 1011
1.0 1.570 0.802 2.5 x 104 4.991 x 103 2.5 x 108 2.607 x 107
1.5 2.032 0.927 3.0 x 104 5.891 x 103 3.0 x 108 3.100 x 107
2.0 2.442 1.020 4.0 x 104 7.634 x 103 4.0 x 108 4.071 x 107
2.5 2.838 1.101 5.0 x 104 9.342 x 103 5.0 x 108 5.032 x 107
3.0 3.209 1.169 6.0 x 104 11.03 x 104 6.0 x 108 5.984 x 107
4.0 3.897 1.275 7.0 x 104 12.69 x 104 7.0 x 108 6.928 x 107
5.0 4.541 1.362 8.0 x 104 14.33 x 104 8.0 x 108 7.865 x 107
6.0 5.148 1.436 9.0 x 104 15.95 x 104 9.0 x 108 8.797 x 107
7.0 5.749 1.500 1.0 x 105 17.56 x 104 1.0 x 109 9.725 x 107
8.0 6.314 1.556 1.5 x 105 2.538 x 104 1.5 x 109 1.429 x 108
9.0 6.861 1.604 2.0 x 105 3.308 x 104 2.0 x 109 1.880 x 108
1.0 x 101 7.417 1.651 2.5 x 105 4.066 x 104 2.5 x 109 2.328 x 108
1.5 x 101 9.965 1.829 3.0 x 105 4.817 x 104 3.0 x 109 2.771 x 108
2.0 x 101 1.229 x 101 1.960 4.0 x 105 6.267 x 104 4.0 x 109 3.645 x 108
2.5 x 101 1.455 x 101 2.067 5.0 x 105 7.699 x 104 5.0 x 104 4.510 x 108
3.0 x 101 1.681 x 101 2.147 6.0 x 105 9.113 x 104 6.0 x 109 5.368 x 108
4.0 x 101 2.088 x 101 2.282 7.0 x 105 10.51 x 105 7.0 x 109 6.220 x 108
5.0 x 101 2.482 x 101 2.388 8.0 x 105 11.89 x 105 8.0 x 109 7.066 x 108
6.0 x 101 2.860 x 101 2.476 9.0 x 105 13.26 x 105 9.0 x 109 7.909 x 108
7.0 x 101 3.228 x 101 2.550 1.0 x 106 14.62 x 105 1.0 x 1010 8.747 x 108
8.0 x 101 3.599 x 101 2.615 1.5 x 106 2.126 x 105 1.5 x 1010 1.288 x 109
9.0 x 101 3.942 x 101 2.672 2.0 x 106 2.781 x 105 2.0 x 1010 1.697 x 109
1.0 x 102 4.301 x 101 2.723 2.5 x 106 3.427 x 105 2.5 x 1010 2.103 x 109
1.5 x 102 5.980 x 101 2.921 3.0 x 106 4.064 x 105 3.0 x 1010 2.505 x 109
2.0 x 102 7.586 x 101 3.064 4.0 x 106 5.313 x 105 4.0 x 1010 3.299 x 109
2.5 x 102 9.120 x 101 3.173 5.0 x 106 6.544 x 105 5.0 x 1010 4.087 x 109
3.0 x 102 10.58 x 101 3.263 6.0 x 106 7.761 x 105 6.0 x 1010 4.868 x 109
4.0 x 102 13.48 x 101 3.406 7.0 x 106 8.965 x 105 7.0 x 1010 5.643 x 109
5.0 x 102 16.24 x 101 3.516 8.0 x 106 10.16 x 106 8.0 x 1010 6.414 x 109
6.0 x 102 18.97 x 101 3.608 9.0 x 106 11.34 x 106 9.0 x 1010 7.183 x 109
7.0 x 102 21.60 x 101 3.684 1.0 x 107 12.52 x 106 1.0 x 1011 7.948 x 109
8.0 x 102 24.23 x 101 3.750
9.0 x 102 26.77 x 101 3.809
1. 0 x 1 03 29.31 x 101 3.860
Table 47 Dimensionless water influx for finite outcroping radial aquifer (courtesy of SPE)3
1.0 x 101 0.395 1.75 x 101 0.553 3.5 x 101 0.829 8.0 x 101 1.363 2.00 2.427 3.00 3.170 5.0 4.454
1.1 x 101 0.414 2.00 x 101 0.597 4.0 x 101 0.897 9.0 x 101 1.465 2.20 2.574 3.25 3.334 5.5 4.727
1 1 1
1.2 x 10 0.431 2.25 x 10 0.638 4.5 x 10 0.962 1.00 1 . 56 3 2.40 2.715 3.50 3.493 6.0 4.986
1.3 x 101 0.446 2.50 x 101 0.678 5.0 x 101 1.024 1.25 1 . 79 1 2.60 2.849 3.75 3.645 6.5 5. 23 1
1.4 x 101 0.461 2.75 x 101 0.715 5.5 x 101 1.083 1.50 1 . 99 7 2.80 2.976 4.00 3.792 7.0 5.464
1.5 x 101 0.474 3.00 x 101 0.751 6.0 x 101 1.140 1.75 2.184 3.00 3.098 4.25 3.932 7.5 5.684
1.6 x 101 0.486 3.25 x 101 0.785 6.5 x 101 1.195 2.00 2. 35 3 3.25 3.242 4.50 4.068 8.0 5.892
1.7 x 101 0.497 3.50 x 101 0.817 7.0 x 101 1.248 2.25 2. 50 7 3.50 3.379 4.75 4.198 8.5 6.089
1 1 1
1.8 x 10 0.507 3.75 x 10 0.848 7.5 x 10 1.229 2.50 2. 64 6 3.75 3.507 5.00 4.323 9.0 6. 27 6
1.9 x 101 0.517 4.00 x 101 0.877 8.0 x 101 1.348 2.75 2. 77 2 4.00 3.628 5.50 4.560 9.5 6. 45 3
2.0 x 101 0.525 4.25 x 101 0.905 8.5 x 101 1.395 3.00 2.886 4.25 3.742 6.00 4.779 10 6.621
2.1 x 101 0.533 4.50 x 101 0.932 9.0 x 101 1.440 3.25 2.990 4.50 3.850 6.50 4.982 11 6.930
2.2 x 101 0.541 4.75 x 101 0.958 9.5 x 101 1.484 3.50 3.084 4.75 3.951 7.00 5.169 12 7.208
1 1
2.3 x 10 0.548 5.00 x 10 0.982 1.0 1.526 3.75 3.170 5.00 4.047 7.50 5.343 13 7.457
2.4 x 101 0.554 5.50 x 101 1.028 1.1 1.605 4.00 3.247 5.50 4.222 8.00 5.504 14 7.680
2.5 x 101 0.559 6.00 x 101 1.070 1.2 1.679 4.25 3.317 6.00 4.378 8.50 5.653 15 7.880
2.6 x 101 0.565 6.50 x 101 1.108 1.3 1.747 4.50 3.381 6.50 4.516 9.00 5.790 16 8.060
2.8 x 101 0.574 7.00 x 101 1.143 1.4 1.811 4.75 3.439 7.00 4.639 9.50 5.917 18 8.365
3.0 x 101 0.582 7.50 x 101 1.174 1.5 1.870 5.00 3.491 7.50 4.749 10 6.035 20 8.611
1 1
3.2 x 10 0.588 8.00 x 10 1.203 1.6 1.924 5.50 3.581 8.00 4.846 11 6.246 22 8.809
3..4 x 101 0.594 9.00 x 101 1.253 1.7 1.975 6.00 3.656 8.50 4.932 12 6.425 24 8.968
3.6 x 101 0.599 1.00 1. 2 9 5 1.8 2.022 6.50 3.717 9.00 5.009 13 6.580 26 9. 09 7
3.8 x 101 0.603 1.1 1. 3 3 0 2.0 2.106 7.00 3.767 9.50 5.078 14 6.712 28 9. 20 0
4.0 x 101 0.606 1.2 1. 3 5 8 2.2 2.178 7.50 3.809 10.00 5.138 15 6.825 30 9.283
1
4.5 x 10 0.613 1.3 1. 3 8 2 2.4 2.241 8.00 3.843 11 5.241 16 6.922 34 9.404
5.0 x 101 0.617 1.4 1. 4 0 2 2.6 2.294 9.00 3.894 12 5.321 17 7.004 38 9.481
6.0 x 101 0.621 1.6 1. 4 3 2 2.8 2.340 10.00 3.928 13 5.385 18 7.076 42 9.532
7.0 x 101 0.623 1.7 1. 4 4 4 3.0 2.380 11.00 3.951 14 5.435 20 7.189 46 9.565
8.0 x 101 0.624 1.8 1. 4 5 3 3.4 2.444 12.00 3.967 15 5.476 22 7.272 50 9. 58 6
2.0 1.468 3.8 2.491 14.00 3.985 16 5.506 24 7.332 60 9. 61 2
2.5 1.487 4.2 2.525 16.00 3.993 17 5.531 26 7.377 70 9.621
3.0 1.495 4.6 2.551 18.00 3.997 18 5.551 30 7.434 80 9.623
4. 0 1.499 5.0 2.570 20.00 3.999 20 5.579 34 7.464 90 9. 62 4
5. 0 1.500 6.0 2.599 22.00 3.999 25 5.611 38 7.481 100 9.625
7.0 2.613 24.00 4.000 30 5.621 42 7.490
8.0 2.619 35 5.624 46 7.494
9.0 2.622 40 5.625 50 7.497
10.0 2.624
Figure 9a Graphical form of Qt vs. tD for infinite and finite reservoirs. Dake1.
Figure 9b Graphical form of Qt Vs. tD for infinite and finite reservoirs. Dake.1
Figure 9c Graphical form of Qt Vs. tD for infinite and finite reservoirs. Dake.1
Figure 9e Graphical form of Qt Vs. to for infinite and finite reservoirs. Dake1.
Although the solutions are for a radial system the solution can be applied where the
influx is not full radial but can be considered a segment of such. One of the simplest
modifications which can be made is to determine the fraction of a circular area through
which water is encroaching, and the equation is modified to:
B = 1.119fcr2ohf
(24)
where:
The graphical solutions demonstrate clearly the finite time it takes for a pressure
disturbance to reach the limit of the aquifer, when in the Figures Q(t) becomes
constant. Dake' has indicated that this maximum value of Q(t) depends on the size of
the aquifer and is equal to:
It is significant to note that when these values for Q(t) are put in equation 20 for a full
radial system the following expression results.
(27)
Examination of this equation indicates that it is the total water influx resulting from
from the p being instantly communicated throughout the aquifer.
Clearly for infinite acting radial aquifers there is no maximum Q(t) value since the
effect of the pressure drop is continually moving out into the aquifer. For an infinite
linear aquifer there is no plot of Q(t). The water influx can be directly calculated using
the equation below: Dake1.
(ccs) (28)
(bbls) (29)
Table 3 lists the summary of expressions for Hurst and Van Everdingen for both radial
and linear system1.
Table 3 Summary of equations and constants for Van Everdingen and Hurst water influx
model
Van Everdingen & Hurst proposed a method of calculating the results of a series of
successive pressure drops and adding the solutions together. By superimposing the
effects of a series of fixed pressure drops a steady declining pressure can be simulated.
The method is illustrated in the Figure 13 where the progressive impact of a series of
fixed pressure drops is illustrated.
In order to use the unsteady state method it is necessary to assume that the boundary
reservoir pressure declines in a series of steps. For example in Figure 13 above it is
assumed that at the end of the first time period T1 the pressure at the reservoir aquifer
boundary drops suddenly from pi to p1. It is further assumed that the pressure stays
constant for another time period, at the end of which it again drops suddenly
throughout at the reservoir aquifer boundary to p2. These stepwise decreases in
reservoir pressure are continued for the length of time desired in the water influx
calculations.
If the boundary pressure in the reservoir is suddenly reduced from pi to p1, a pressure drop,
will be imposed across the aquifer. Water will continue to expand and the new reduced
pressure will continue to move outward into the aquifer. Given a sufficient length of time
the pressure at the outer edge of the aquifer will finally be reduced to p1.
If some time after the boundary pressure has been reduced to p1 a second pressure p2
is suddenly imposed at the boundary, a new pressure wave will begin moving outward
into the aquifer as a result of the decompression resulting from the second pressure
drop, decompressing further that decompressed from the first pressure drop. This new
pressure wave will also cause water expansion and therefore encroachment into the
reservoir. However, this new pressure drop will not be pi  p2 but will be p1  p2. This
second pressure wave will be moving behind the first pressure wave. Just ahead of the
second pressure wave will be the pressure at the end of the first pressure drop, p1.
Since these pressure waves are assumed to occur at different times, they are entirely
independent of each other. Thus, water expansion will continue to take place as a
result of the first pressure drop, even though additional water influx is also taking
place as a result of one or more later pressure drops. In order to determine the total
water influx into a reservoir at any given time, it is necessary to determine the water
influx as a result of each successive pressure drop which has been imposed on the
reservoir and aquifer.
The aquifer term, B is usually a constant for a given reservoir. Thus where the water
influx must be calculated for several different pressure drops, each of which has been
effective for varying lengths of time, instead of calculating the water influx for each
pressure step, the total water influx as a result of all the pressure steps can be
calculated as follows:
We1 = B x p1 Q(t)1
We2 = B x p2 Q(t)2
Wen = B x p3 Q(t)n
(30)
Rather than use the entire pressure drop for the first period a better approximation is to
consider that one half of the pressure drop, eg. 1/2 (pi  p1), is effective during the
entire first period. For the second period the effective pressure drop then is onehalf of
the pressure drop during the first period, 1/2 (pi  p1) plus onehalf of the pressure drop
during the second period, 1/2 (p1  p2), which simplifies to:
1
/2 (pi  p1) + 1/2 (p1  p2) = 1/2(pi  p2)
Similarly, the effective pressure drop for use in the calculations for the third period
would be onehalf of the pressure drop during the second period, 1/2(p1  p2) plus
onehalf of the pressure drop during the third period, 1/2 (p2  p3), which simplifies to
1
/2 (p1  p3). The time intervals must all be equal in order to preserve the accuracy of
these modification.
In the material balance equation chapter we discussed the Havelena and Odeh
approach to history matching using a linearisation approach. We will now continue
this in the context of reservoirs with a water drive, using their basic equation:
We have seen that water influx is due to expansion of the aquifer water and rock as a
result of a decline in pressure. Simply, a drop in reservoir pressure due to fluid
production is transmitted through the aquifer and the compressibility of the water
albeit small causes the water to expand and flow into the hydrocarbon reservoir.
As we have seen this equation is generally not sufficient to describe water influx
behaviour, in particular for reasonably sized aquifers, because of the finite time
required for the pressure effect to be felt throughout the aquifer. In water influx
calculations therefore it is necessary to include this time dependency as a result of
fluid flow. In Havlena and Odehs paper they recognise this time dependant water
influx perspective, where they use the dimensionless water influx term to express We,
ie:
We = BpQt (30)
They then apply their short hand MB equation to examine different reservoir senarios
as follows:
(32)
A plot of F/Eo vs. should give a straight line, as shown in Figure 15.
This line will be straight if the aquifer characteristics, B, and the radius of the aquifer
are correct. The intercept will be the oil in place, N, the slope B. Havalena and Odeh
suggest four other plots. Complete scatter, suggesting the calculations or basic data is
in error. A systematically upward or downward curve suggesting that pQtDis too
small or too large (this means that re/ro and/or tD is too small or too large). An S
shaped curve indicates that a better fit might be obtained by assuming linear water
influx.
Once the assumed values give realistic behaviour then the model, which has been
obtained by history matching, can be applied in predicting future reference reservoir
performance. The assumption is taken in such a situation that the reservoir and
associated aquifer continue to behave as before. Because of this large assumption and
that no aquifer model is likely to be unique the validity of the model should be updated
as more pressure and production data becomes available.
This linearisation approach has been used as a means of determining the extent of a
supporting aquifer. In Figure 16 below the curves show the results for a range of
dimesionless radii for a field in the North Sea. The results show a straight line fit with
an infinite aquifer.
We = B p (33)
where: p = pi  p
(35)
A plot of F/Eo vs p'/Eo should give a straight line of slope B and intercept N.
Havlena and Odeh point out that the points on this graph will plot backwards as in
Figure 17 below. This is because Eo increases faster than p, therefore p/Eo
decreases as the pressure decreases. In some situations a steady state water influx sets
in after a certain period. In this case the points plotted for the unsteady state period
will plot in forward sequence but when the steady state exists then the plotted points
reverse the plot backwards.
(36)
where We = BpQt
Again this gives a straight line function ,Figure 18, if the geometry of the aquifer and
time are assumed correct. If the line is not straight then assumptions regarding the
aquifer need to be modified as for water drive systems without a gas cap.
Figure 18 Havalena and Odeh plot for water drive and known gas cap.
(37)
Figure 19 Havlena and Odeh plot for small aquifers and known gas cap.
1 INTRODUCTION
4 DISPLACEMENT THEORIES
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Buckley Leverett Theory
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Having worked through this chapter the Student will be able to:
1 INTRODUCTION
The topic of water drive in the chapter on drive mechanisms showed that this drive
mechanism provided the highest recovery factor in relation to reservoir depletion. For
this reason therefore water drive provided by intervention, that is when water is
injected into the reservoir through injection wells, is common practise in oilfield
operations.
Most of the reservoir engineering texts cover this topic. The author considers that
Dake and the text of Chierici provide excellent detailed analysis of the topic. In the
next sections we will review some of the reasons for using water injection, then review
some of the basic properties used in prediction, derive the fractional flow equation and
then examine procedures used to determine the movement and displacement of fluids
within a reservoir.
2.2 Permeability
A characteristic of a number of offshore oil producing regions, for example the North
Sea, is the moderate to high permeabilities, which enable production wells to be very
productive reducing the required number of wells. Since the major cost in offshore
production is the offshore structures then minimising well slots results in minimising
the number of platforms. Maintaining high productivity through pressure maintenance
can be obtained through water injection when good injectivities can be achieved.
(1)
In sectors like the North Sea, Dake points out that relatively low oil viscosities lead to
high flow rates and the favourable oil viscosity compared to water gives a mobility
ratio for some North Sea reservoirs of less than 1. This means that at least at
microscopic level the water cannot move faster than the oil and therefore displaces the
oil in a piston like manner. If M is greater than one, the case where oil viscosities are
higher, then the higher velocity of the water causes an increasing instability and water
fingers through the oil and breaks through early compared to piston like behaviour.
The behaviour is illustrated in the sketch below, Figure 2. As pointed out this
behaviour only relates to the microscopic scale, and at reservoir scale the various
heterogeneities and the influence of gravity will have a big impact on the reservoir
flooding behaviour.
permeability variation and communication between the various sand layers, Figure 3.
As more development wells are drilled pressure surveys continue to confirm the
layering of the formation (Figure 4). This powerful application of pressure surveys to
determine the communication characteristics of a reservoir enables waterfloods to be
planned and simulated much more effectively.
period.
Figure 4 Application of deviated wells from one structure to reach limits in the reservoir.
The handling of water is a major technical challenge in the oil industry particularly in
offshore operations, where many operators as fields mature find themselves handling
more water than oil. This technical challenge is also increasing as water disposal
options in relation to reducing oil emissions become more limited. Those involved in
providing associated production and treating facilities require important information
from the reservoir engineer. A schematic layout of a typical offshore water injection
scheme is shown in Figure 6. Some key information required is: when will water
breakthrough to the producing wells, and how much water will be increasingly be
produced? The water handling facilities required are not insignificant and therefore
good forecasts are important. A more demanding challenge to the reservoir engineer
and outside the scope of this text is how can we manage the reservoir to reduce water
production.
Dake points out an equation which links the reservoir engineer to the production
engineer which is:
If water breaksthrough prematurely then, since the water injection rate has to be
maintained to maintain the reservoir pressure, there is an inevitable reduction in oil
production.
The injected water in the reservoir provides two functions maintaining pressure and
displacing oil. Until breakthrough, only oil is produced, after water breakthrough an
increasing watercut occurs.
qwp
fws =
qo + qwp where s denotes surface conditions. (3)
Expressing the equation in terms of water production and substituting in (2) gives:
fws
qwp = qo
1  fws (4)
and
(5)
Behind these commercial calculations is the importance for the reservoir engineer to
predict the producing watercut as a function of oil recovery.
3.1 Introduction
Before examining the various methods used in predicting the behaviour of reservoirs
under a constant injection process, such as water drive or gas injection, we will review
some of the important basic properties relevant to the application. The method
presented is applicable to both water injection and gas injection where an immiscible
displacement process occurs. An immiscible displacement process is where there is
no mixing of the respective injection and displaced phases at the pore level through
mass transfer of components. This is distinguished from a miscible displacement
process where the injected phase mixes with the displaced phase by mass transfer of
the components from the respective phases, for example in a CO2 enhanced oil
recovery process.
As in many reservoir engineering processes we are combining properties,
measurements and application over a huge range of physical scales. Such an example
of this is in immiscible displacement calculations in oilfield oil recovery predictions. It
is important to keep this relative scale perspective in mind so as not to make an
unrealistic "jump" in application of data beyond its significance. In wateroil
displacement considerations we are dealing with a process which takes place at a range
of scales. At pore level or the microscopic scale, where the isolation and movement of
the respective phases is dependant on fundamental properties such as interfacial
tension, wettability, viscosity, pore size and shape to name the obvious. At a
significant larger scale, the macroscopic scale, we measure behaviour and generate
properties at the laboratory level where fluid movement and displacement are
examined at core plug scale, such as permeability, relative permeability and capillary
pressure. The field scale,or behavioural scale, where the impact of characteristics at
another quatum leap level of scale will impose behaviour on those measured at
microscopic and macroscopic scale. For example the heterogeneous characteristics of
the various layers of the formation giving rise to different mobilties within the layers
and the large thicknesses of the layers resulting in vertical segregation perspectives.
An illustration of these different perspectives is shown in Figure 7, where the oil water
displacement process is illustrated at microscopic and reservoir behaviour scales. This
scale up perspective is considerable and should not be forgotten, if not "giant leaps of
faith might be made using data beyond its range of applicability. The engineering of
sub surface behaviour such as a water injection process can be compared to the
engineering of an oil refining plant. In the later, the process takes place in vessels and
pipes of centimetres and metres size over an area of a some hectares. In a reservoir, the
pipes and vessels, "the pores are of micron dimensions and are considerable in
number to cover depths of hundreds of metres with an area perhaps of tens of square
kilometres.
Over recent years, considerable effort has been put into scaleup considerations in
relation to reservoir simulation, where rock properties at microscopic level can be
combined with geological characteristics at various scales to provide greater
confidence in field scale predictions. This topic is covered in the Geoscience and
Reservoir Simulation modules.
Figure 7 (a) microscopic displacement (b) Residual oil remaining after a water flood.
(6)
in relation to Figure 8.
This equation is for single phase flow only and does not apply to flow resistance when
two phases (for example oil and water) are present. For this purpose the concept of
relative permeability is used, which is a measure of the permeability of one of the
phases and is a function of the phase saturations.
kew
krw =
k (7)
where kew is the effective permeability to water calculated from Darcys law when oil
and water are present, and k is the absolute permeability (single phase).
Darcys Law in linear flow for the two fluids allowing for gravity effects in an inclined
configuration, Figure 9, is
(8)
The relative permeabilities are a function of saturation and reflect the surface, and
wettability forces of the fluidrock system. An example of relative permeabilitiy
curves for a water oil rock is given in Figure 10.
Identified on the curves are the two conditions at the limiting saturation of the
respective phases, the end point relative permeabilties for oil and water k'ro and k'rw.
k'ro the relative permeability to oil in the presence of irreducible water saturation and
k'rw the relative permeability to water in the presence of residual oil saturation.
Dake reminds his readers that rock relative permeabilities are obtained from one
dimensional core flooding experiments, where often a cleaned core is flooded with oil
and then the oil displaced with water. Two types of experiments are then used. A
viscous displacement of oil with water or a steady state experiment with coinjection
of water and oil at increasing ratios of water to oil.
Dake also notes that the relative permeability data, used in subsequent reservoir
engineering calculations are unlikely to be representative of field characteristics. They
have probably been carried out at flow rates orders of magnitude higher than in the
reservoir, often using a synthetic oil not necessarily representative of the reservoir
fluid, and with wetting characteristics probably different than in the reservoir.
In the viscous displacement experiment the injected water, starting at the irreducible
connate water level, Swc, where the water is immobile, generates increasing saturations
in the core as a result of displacing oil. This increases until the saturation in the core,
where there is no more oil mobile in the core, to water is 1Sor, where Sor is the
residual oil saturation.
If we express the volume of the pores in the core plug as the pore volume, PV, then the
oil displaced from the core flood experiment, is the movable oil volume, MOV, which
is;
The importance of end point relative permeabilities was presented earlier in this
chapter in the context of mobility ratio, M, where ;
(1)
At the end point conditions this represents the maximum velocity of the water flow
compared to the maximum velocity of the oil.
qw
fw =
qw + qo (9)
qo = qt  qw (10)
If the Darcy equations for water and oil are subtracted and rearranged (using field
units P in atmos.) the equations become;
(11)
where;
Pc po pw
= 
x x x which is the capillary pressure variation in the direction of flow
and,
If values for flow rates using Darcys Law are now substituted in fraction flow
equation (equation 9) it becomes;
(12)
1 G
fw =
m k
1 + w ro
mo krw where G is a positive gravity number; (13)
The above term not only considers gravity effects but also includes a velocity term v,
which is qt/A
The angle of dip. If water is being injected up dip then the gravity term,
gsin/1.0133x106 will be positive, reducing the fractional flow of water and it
would be positive for gas being injected downdip in a gas displacing oil senario. The
density difference in gas displacing oil systems is larger and therefore the significance
is greater. If the dip angle is zero, ie. horizontal flow, then the gravity term is zero.
The impact of capillary pressure, is illustrated from the slope of the capillary
pressure and saturation with distance curves, Figure 12 since;
i.e. the capillary pressure term is also positive increasing the fractional flow, for a
water displacing oil system as the two function gradients are negative. The capillary
pressure term is often neglected because the saturation with distance profile is
unknown being the objective of the displacement calculation, which we will consider
later.
Velocity. This velocity is the superficial velocity, the rate divided by the cross
sectional area,A. The actual velocity is larger because of the impact of porosity. The
impact of velocity is small. Dake notes that the value for G for an edge water drive,
typical of the North Sea, is 0.22kro and a comparative bottom water drive is 10.29kro.
This demonstrates the stability of the bottom water drive, where piston like
displacement will inevitably occur.
If both the angle of dip, and capillary pressure effects are neglected the fractional flow
equation becomes;
1
fw =
m k
1 + w ro
mo k rw
(15)
The fractional flow equation enables a fractional flow versus saturation curve to be
generated from relative permeability data. This curve is influenced by a number of
parameters not least the viscosity of the respective phases. Its shape varies but can
have a shape as given by Figure 12 below.
The capillary pressure curve represents the transition zone saturation profile associated
with the advancing imbibition process as a result of water injection. If a well is located
at A, the well will only produce oil since although the water saturation is 10%, the
relative permeability to water is zero. At B, the 45% saturation level the well will
produce both water and oil with a water cut of 50%. At location C, the advancing
water has isolated an irreducible oil saturation and the well produces only water.
4 DISPLACEMENT THEORIES
4.1 INTRODUCTION
To model the displacement process a number of theories have been successfully
applied. These theories are aimed at providing the important predictions of reservoir
performance including the proportion of hydrocarbons recovered. In the methods
presented there are a number of assumptions.
The displacement is incompressible, which implies that steady state conditions exist,
that is the pressures within the reservoir at any point remain constant.
qt=qo+qw=qi
where
Diffuse flow conditions exist. Diffuse flow means that the saturations at any point in
the direction of linear displacement are uniformly distributed over the thickness. This
diffuse flow assumption enables a one dimensional simple analysis to be used for the
displacement modelling. In a simple core flooding relative permeability test such an
assumption is not unreasonable. Diffuse flow can also be encountered in a reservoir
where the injection rates are high preventing the establishing of vertical equilibrium
and for low injection rates where the thickness of the reservoir is small compared to
the thickness of the transition zone.
Consider the linear system in which water is displacing oil. The systems has a porosity
of and we are considering the principle of conservation of mass around a volume
element of length, dx. Therefore;
Mass flow rate in mass flow rate out =rate of increase of mass in the volume.
(16)
or
(16b)
This becomes
(17)
(18)
Sw S
dSw = dx + w dt
x t t x (19)
Then
Sw S dx
= w
t x x t dt sw (20)
Also
(21)
(22)
For incompressible flow, the total injection rate, qt is constant, and the water flow rate
is the total rate times the fractional flow, qw=qt x fw. Rearranging equation 22
therefore gives:
(23)
Chierici has presented a very thorough analysis of the displacement process for three
fractional flow curves.
and the equation is then integrated a general solution to the displacement process is
obtained which enables the calculation of Sw in terms of x and t.
(25)
This equation describes a series of straight lines, the characteristics, with an initial
The velocity of saturation is therefore maximum where Sw is just greater than Swi and
decreases to a minimum at Sw=1Sor, Figure 15C. The progression of water profiles are
shown in Figure 16 and shows the fraction of water at breakthrough at the producing
end. As can be seen the breakthrough saturation is just greater than Swi and explains
why for a very viscous oil breakthough occurs with low water saturations and then
gradually increases until the saturation reaches an unacceptable level.
Figure 16 Progressive saturation profile for a concave downwards fractional flow curve
Figure 17 Displacement of oil by water for a concave upwards fractional flow curve
(light oil displacement). A = concave upwards fractional flow curve.
B = velocity of water saturation. C = characteristics of water saturations Sw.
The implications of this are that the highest velocity is for the highest water saturation,
Sw=1Sor and that saturations less than this cannot exist since they would be overtaken
by the Sw=1Sor saturation, Figure 17C There is therefore a quick build up of a shock
front with a saturation, Swf=1Sor. The producing characteristics are shown in Figure
18, where , until the shock front arrives waterfree oil is produced and thereafter only
water is produced. The oil remaining in the reservoir with a saturation of Sor.
Figure 18 Progressive saturation profile for a concave upwards fractional flow curve.
The development of the saturation would be such that there would be a steady increase
in the velocity of the increasing saturation, but this would reach a maximum at a
saturation Swf, where Swi<Swf<(1Sor). Behind this the velocities would decrease with
decreasing Sw, Figure 19C.
The impact on the process is such that a shock front is developed, at the value S wf, the
saturations greater than this moving at a lower velocity; behind this shock front there
is a steady increase in the saturations moving at decreasing velocity. This process is
illustrated in Figure 20, which shows that water free oil is produced until breakthrough
at a saturation of Swf, and a breakthrough fractional flow of fwbt. The saturation then
climbs until it reaches the irreducible oil saturation level when only water is produced.