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Category Archives: Inflow & Outflow Performance

Pressure and depth:


“Pressure and Depth” is the FUNDAMENTAL relationship in the oil industry. Your understanding of the
concept is crucial. The easiest way to calculate pressure from depth is to use the pressure gradient of the
given fluid.

Pressure gradients for incompressible fluids have units of pressure/depth. For example, psi/ft, bar/m.

Pressure gradient seems difficult, but it is simply using the density of the fluid and converting units:

The density of pure water is 1000 kg/m3. To convert to gradient:

1 kg = 2.2 pounds
1 m = 39.37 inches
1 m = 3.28 feet

0.433 is the gradient for pure water (SG = 1) in Imperial units, remember it.

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The Composite Inflow Performance Relationship is based on the combination of PI model, presented in
the previous articles “Well Inflow Performance”, and “Vogel’s inflow performance relationship”. As per the
aforementioned articles, PI model could be used if the well producing a single phase flow with no gas in
the solution (Pwf > Pb). In the other hand, Vogel’s IPR could be used when the well’s flowing bottomhole
pressure (Pwf) is below the bubble point pressure (Pb) and if the produced fluid is pure oil.

If the Pwf is below Pb and well’s produced fluids is a mixture of oil, water, and gas, the inflow
performance could be described by the Composite IPR. In this case, IPR curves are somewhere between
the curves valid for pure oil (Vogel model) and the one valid for Pwf > Pb (PI model).

The following graph shows the differences between these methods in graphical form:

In 1968, Vogel established an empirical relationship ( Vogel’s inflow performance relationship )for flowrate

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prediction of a solution gas-drive reservoir in terms of the wellbore pressure based on reservoir
simulation results.

Vogel’s Model compared to PI Model…


The PI model works very well for single phase fluid (water, oil, or water/oil) flowing into a wellbore, even
though water and oil are two separate phases, they are considered as a single phase since they are both
liquid.

But what happens when gas comes out of solution?

Compared to liquid, gas has much higher permeability and much lower viscosity. These two factors will
give the gas a much higher flow rate than liquid inside the reservoir, so that:

QG >> QL

Below the bubble point pressure, the solution gas escapes from the oil and become free gas. The free gas
occupies some portion of pore space and reduces flow of oil. This effect is quantified by:

A decrease of oil Relative permeability


An increase of oil viscosity (as its solution gas content drops)

Therefore, the combination of the relative permeability effect and the viscosity effect results in lower oil
production rate at a given bottom-hole pressure.

Graphically, it would looks like this:

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The productivity of the well depends on an efficient use of the compressional energy available in the
reservoir allowing the reservoir fluids to flow toward the production separator. As an introduction to IPR
and VLP, this article will introduce two key relationships (IPR and VLP) used in the design of the
production system.

Introduction to IPR and VLP:


Inflow Performance Relationship (IPR) is defined as the well flowing bottom-hole pressure (Pwf)
as a function of production rate. It describes the flow in the reservoir. The Pwf is defined in the
pressure range between the average reservoir pressure and atmospheric pressure. A typical inflow
performance relationship is presented in the following graph:

The intersection of the PI plot with the x-axis is the flow rate corresponding to a Pwf equal to zero. This
point in the IPR plot is known as the Absolute Open Flow (AOF) potential of the well.

The following video shows more details about reservoir inflow performance:

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Vertical Lift Performance Relationship (VLP), named also Outflow, describes the bottom-hole
pressure as a function of flow rate. The VLP depends on many factors including fluid PVT
properties, well depth, tubing size, surface pressure, water cut and GOR. It describes the flow from
the bottom-hole of the well to the wellhead.

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Well Inflow Performance represents the relationship between pressure and flow rate at the well face of an
individual well. The scientist Darcy was the first studied extensively the relationship between pressure and
flow rate. His experimental studies consist on creating a pressure differential across a porous media and
measured the resulting flow rate.

Darcy’s experiments result in what is known as “Darcy’s law”. For general flow through a porous media:

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Categories

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API & ISO Standards (4)


Artificial Lift (59)

Beam Pump (6)


Equipment & Technology (1)
Fundamental Principles (3)
ESP (46)

9 Step Design Procedure (11)


Application Engineering (4)
Equipment & Technology (30)
Monitoring and Troubleshooting (1)

Gas Lift (3)


Drilling (5)

Inflow & Outflow Performance (5)


Integrated Field Modeling (1)

Miscellaneous (2)
Petrophysics (2)

Process Engineering (1)


Process Safety Management (1)

PVT (5)
Well Completion (4)
Well Integrity (2)
Well Logging (2)

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