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Drive Mechanisms

Prepared By : Tahseen Ali

Reservoir Drive Mechanisms

l Definition
ä A reservoir drive mechanism is a source of
energy for driving the fluids out through the
ä 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

Reservoir Drive Mechanisms

l The various drive mechanisms come from the

impact of a number of phenomena:
ä Expansion of reservoir fluids, oil, gas & water
ä Liberation, expansion of solution gas
ä Expansion of reservoir rock and reduction of
pore volume.
ä Gravity forces.

Reservoir Drive Mechanisms

l There are a number of drive mechanisms:

ä Depletion drive
u Solution gas drive
u Gas Cap drive
ä Water drive
ä Compaction drive
ä Gravity drainage drive
ä Combination drive

Depletion Drive Reservoirs
l A depletion drive reservoir is one in which the
hydrocarbons are NOT in contact with a
supporting aquifer.

Water Drive Reservoirs

l A water drive reservoir is a reservoir in

contact with a supporting aquifer.
l Two types:
ä due to expansion of water as reservoir is
ä due to artesian flow from an outcrop.

Water Drive Reservoirs
l Expansion of an active aquifer

Active aquifer

Key issue-relative
size of aquifer to

1 V
V P

Water Drive Reservoirs

l Artesian Flow

Key issues:

Mobility of
water in

Barriers to flow

Compaction Drive
l Not a common
drive mechanism.
l Characteristics
can be dramatic
as a result of
increase in net
overburden stress
as pore pressure
l Nature of the rock
or its consolidation
determines extent
of mechanism

Gravity Drainage Drive

l Due to the relative density of the fluids and high
vertical permeabilities.
l Fractured reservoirs

Depletion Type Reservoirs

l Energy comes from the expansion of fluids in

the reservoir and its associated pore space
l Two types:
ä Solution gas drive
ä Gas cap drive

Solution Gas Drive

u Two stages of drive:
l Above the bubble point.
Y Fluid production comes from the effective
compressibility of the system:
ä Oil
ä Water
ä Pore space
ä Compressibility drive
l Below the bubble point

Solution Gas Drive
l Above bubble point:
l Low compressibility of
oil, connate water and
pore space.
l Rapid decline in
l Impact of water and
pore space should not
be neglected

Solution Gas Drive

l When bubble point reached:
l Expanding gas provides force to drive oil.
l Solution gas drive
l Dissolved gas drive

Solution Gas Drive
l Liberated gas can also migrate vertically and
form secondary gas cap
Secondary gas cap


Liberated solution gas

Depletion Drive - Gas Cap Drive

l Where there is already
free gas in the reservoir.
l Compared to the initial
undersaturated condition
for solution gas drive.
l Energy from very high
compressibility of gas
l Some energy from
solution gas drive which
is also present.
l Oil expansion is very low

Water Drive Reservoirs

l Two types
l Edge water drive
l Bottom water drive

Combination Drive

l Rare for reservoirs to fit into the simple pure

drive classification
l Many have a combination of drives during
production period.

Reservoir Performance

l The production characteristics of reservoirs.

l Oil-gas ratio
l pressure decline
l water production
l can give indications of drive mechanism

Reservoir Performance-Solution Gas Drive

When bubble point reached gas comes out of solution.

Initially no flow of gas since critical gas saturation not achieved

Solution Gas Drive
Initial pressure drop rapid due to low compressibility of system
Pressure continues to decline and solution gas drive becomes
Reduced oil
production due to
decreasing pressure
and reducing relative
permeability to oil
Gas production
increases as gas comes
out of solution and
moves ahead of
associated oil due to
favourable relative

Solution Gas Drive

l Distinctive feature of solution gas drive is the
producing gas to oil ratio- Rp
Above bubble point all gas in solution Rp =Rsi
At bubble point initial
gas produced below
critical gas
saturation. Rp<Rsi
Gas becomes
mobile and moves
ahead of its oil
Maximum GOR as
oil produced with a
low GOR

Solution Gas Drive
l By definition should be
no water production.
l Due to rapid pressure
drop artificial lift
required in early years.
l Expected oil recovery,
low, 5-30% STOIIP.
l Well locations low to
encourage vertical gas

Gas Cap Drive

l Initial condition free gas in gas cap.
l Gas contact will be at bubble point.
l Gas has considerable compressibility.
l To get flow gas comes out of solution at producing
interval. Some degree of solution gas drive.

Gas Cap Drive Pressure
Oil Production Production of fluids
Has a significant decline but less than largely due to high
solution gas drive. compressibility of gas
Decline due to reducing pressure and cap.
solution gas drive Pressure declines
slowly depending on
gas cap size.
Gas-Oil Ratio
Early stages GOR
Slowly impact of
solution gas drive
increases Rp
Low gas viscosity>high
gas mobility
Gas by-passing oil

Gas Cap Drive Water Production

Like solution gas
drive negligible
water production.

Well behaviour
Longer, depends on
gas cap size

20-40% STOIIP

Well Locations
Away from gas oil
Not too close to
water oil contact

Water Drive
l Majority of water drive reservoirs energy from
compressibility of aquifer.
l Effectiveness depends on ability of water to replace
volume of oil produced.
l Key issue- size and permeability of aquifer.
l For compressibility to be effective the relative size
needs to be very large.
l Challenge to reservoir engineer is to predict
behaviour prior to production.
l Difficult to justify exploration costs to determine the
size of a water accumulation

Water Drive - Rate Sensitivity

l The features of a natural water drive are strongly
influenced by the rate sensitivity of these
l Can the water replace the rate of voidage loss
due to oil production?
l If not the pressure will drop and another drive
mechanism will also be effective. e.g. solution
gas drive,

Water Drive - Artesian flow
Oil flowrate is less than
potential flow of water from

Producing GOR Rp
Remains constant since
at oil water contact
Plateau phase possible.
Decline due to water
Water cut, determines when abandonment of well occurs

Water Drive - Compressibility of aquifer .

Oil flowrate is less than potential flow
of water from aquifer
Producing GOR
Remains constant since reservoir
Declines as

remains high.
Reduces as
water production

Solution Gas Drive

l Characteristics l Trend
u Reservoir pressure ä Declines rapidly
u Gas-Oil Ratio ä First low then rises through a maximum
u Production rate ä First high, then declines rapidly
u Water production ä None
u Well behaviour ä Requires artificial lift early
u Expected recovery ä 5-30% STOIIP

Gas Cap Drive

l Characteristics l Trend
u Reservoir pressure ä falls slowly and continuously
u Gas-Oil Ratio ä Rises continuously
u Production rate ä First high, then declines gradually
u Water production ä Absent or negligible
u Well behaviour ä Long flowing life depending on gas cap
u Expected recovery ä 20-40% STOIIP

Water Drive

l Characteristics l Trend
u Reservoir pressure ä Remains high
u Gas-Oil Ratio ä Steady
u Water production ä Early and increases to large amount
u Well behaviour ä Flow until water production excessive
u Expected recovery ä up to 60% STOIIP