You are on page 1of 9

SPE 145803

Slippage Effect and Quasi Starting Pressure in Low Permeability Water-


bearing Gas Reservoirs
Xiaojuan Liu, Jian Yan, Xi'an Shiyou University; Yi Liu, Changqing Oilfield Company

Copyright 2011, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Reservoir Characterisation and Simulation Conference and Exhibition held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 9–11 October 2011.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

Abstract
Lab tests were carried out to study the gas slippage and quasi starting pressure in water-bearing gas reservoirs of low
permeability. The permeability of the testing cores is mainly lower than 1 mD. The testing results indicate that: for similar
water saturation, the lower the permeability is, the more serious the gas slippage is. For similar permeability, with the
increasing of water saturation, the gas slippage effect increases first and then decreases. The turning point is called critical
water saturation (Sw)c1. The relationship between the critical water saturation and the core coefficient is binomial, where the
core coefficient is the ratio between permeability and porosity. By curve fitting, it was found that, when the water saturation is
lower than a critical value, gas slip factor is a logarithmic function of the ratio of core coefficient and water saturation; when
water saturation is higher than the critical value, the gas slip factor is a logarithmic function of the multiplication of core
coefficient and water saturation. The quasi starting pressure gradient may exist when the gas flow in porous media that
contains water. The reason is that the increase of capillary resistance is larger than gas slippage as the water saturation rises. In
further, it was concluded that there is another critical water saturation (Sw)c2. When the water saturation is larger than the
critical value (Sw)c2, the quasi starting pressure gradient exists. The relationship between the quasi starting pressure gradient
and the ratio of core coefficient and water saturation is a power function. Further more, the relationship between the critical
water saturation and absolute permeability is also a power function.

Introduction
The important physical characteristics of gas flow are that the gas slippage effect exists when the gas flows through the porous
media, and the slip factor is used to describe the degree of slippage effect. According to the former studying, the slip factor is
affected by the absolute temperature, permeability, gas type, water saturation, and pore pressure and so on. At present, the gas
slippage in dry cores has reached agreement: the slippage effect reduces with the decrease of permeability and the increase of
temperature. But most of the gas reservoirs found in China are water-bearing gas reservoirs, with the change of the water
saturation, the capillary force will also changes, which affects the gas slippage effect. However, the experiment and the
mechanism study about which are few, and there are still some disputes: according to Klinkenburg theory, the slippage effect
is more obvious when the water saturation increases in water-bearing condition. While Rose and Fulton got the contradict
condition. In addition, when the water saturation increases, the capillary force rises too. So only when the driving pressure
gradient reaches a certain value, the gas can flow. Sometimes we called this value “starting pressure gradient”. However,
whether this starting pressure exists or not and how to determine it have not been reached agreement. This paper studied the
gas slippage effect and the quasi starting pressure gradient in water bearing gas cores by lab testing.

Lab test conditions and methods


Mechanisms
Klinkenburg conceived a simple porous media capillary model in 1941. Combining with the experimental results, the
relationship expression between gas log permeability Kg and absolute permeability K∞ was gained, that is Klinkenburg
equation:
⎛ b⎞ (1)
K g = K ∞ ⎜⎜1 + ⎟⎟
⎝ p⎠
Where, b is gas slip factor; p is the average pressure; Kg is gas log permeability; K∞ is absolute permeability of gas.
From Eq. 1, it can be seen that the relationship between gas log permeability and reciprocal average pressure is linear.
2 SPE 145803

According to experimental results, the testing gas log permeability and reciprocal average pressure can be drawn in the
coordinate system, and then the gas slip factor can be determined by slope and intercept of the straight line. Here, K∞ is the
absolute permeability of gas in certain water saturation.
When there is no starting pressure, the gas flow should obey the following relationship:
q 10 K ∞ ( P12 − P02 ) (2)
v= =
A 2 P0 μ L
Where, v is the flow rate; q is quantity of flow; A is flow area; P1 is inlet pressure; P0 is outlet pressure; μ is viscosity of
fluid; L is length of core.
From the Eq. 2, it can be seen that the relationship between v and (P12-P02) is a straight-line passing through original
point, when the gas flow is Darcy flow. However, when there is starting pressure, the relationship between them is no longer a
straight-line. The expression is as following:
v = α ( P12 − P02 ) − β (3)
Where, α, β are constants.
Given v=0, then the quasi starting pressure is:
1
⎡β ⎤2 (4)
Pλ = ⎢ + P02 ⎥
⎣α ⎦
Where, Pλ is quasi starting pressure.
So the quasi starting pressure gradient is:
1
⎡β ⎤2
⎢ + P02 ⎥ − P0
P −P α
λ= λ 0 =⎣ ⎦ (5)
L L
Where, λ is the quasi starting pressure gradient.
Methods
Select cores taking from Sulige gas field of low permeability to carry out the physical simulation experiments. The
permeability of the cores is 0.026-4.661 mD. The formation of different water saturation was realized by “water increading
method”; the gas was nitrogen; the testing pressure is lower than 1.0 MPa, the outlet pressure is atmosphere, temperature is
25 . During the tests, the effective pressure maintains 4.5MPa. To avoid the water saturation changes obviously, wet adding
device was used to control it, so the error of estabishing water saturation is lower than 5 percent.
The common method to build the water saturation is gas driving or microwave, the water saturation is from high to low,
but these methods have a shortcoming: because the fluid used to saturate the cores is formation water, so the phenomena of
salt out may be occurred when the water saturation is becoming low, worse of all, the salt may block some pores or pore
throats, which brings some error to the testing results. While the method referred in this paper is water increasing method. The
method is adding certain amount of water gradually, then put the cores into closed container for 1 to 2 days, then absorbs the
redundant water on the surface of the cores, finally weigh the weight and calculate the water saturation. Though this method
costs a bit longer time, but it makes good of those common methods.
The experimental flow is shown in Fig. 1.

Gas slippage effect


The capillary force has the leading function and the slippage effect is weak in high water saturation, but the slippage effect still
exists in low water saturation, so the slip factor was analyzed in this paper. Some experimental results are shown in Fig. 2.
From Fig. 2, it can be seen that with the increase of water saturation, the slip factor rises first then drops. The reason is
that there is higher irreducible water saturation for low permeability cores. When the water saturation is lower than irreducible
value, the raise of water saturation is mainly increasing the thickness of water film that absorpted on the rock surface, so the
fluxible pore throats decreases. It can be known from the Klinkenburg theory that the smaller the throat is, the more serious the
slippage effect is. Though the capillary force increases with the increasing thickness of water film, the increasing degree of
slippage effect is larger than that of capillary force; as a result the slippage effect increases with the rising of water saturation.
However, when the water saturation is larger than irreducible water saturation, the raise of water saturation is mainly to
increase the capillary water in pore throat, it increases the capillary force greatly, which inhibits the slippage effect, so it
reflects that the slip factor drops with the increase of water saturation. At the same time, it can be seen that the slippage effect
enhances, but the absolute permeability of gas decreases with the increase of water saturation.
As we can see from the results, there is critical water saturation (Sw)c1. It is an inflection point that the gas slip factor
changes: when the water saturation is lower than (Sw)c1, the gas slip factor rises with water saturation, but under the contray
condition, the gas slip factor decreases. At this point, the slope of the curve is zero. So the critical water saturation can be
determined as shown in Fig. 3. The core coefficient here is defined as the ratio of absolute permeability and porosity.
SPE 145803 3

From Fig. 3, it can be seen that the critical water saturation and core coefficient have the good binominal relationship:
2
⎛K ⎞ ⎛K ⎞
( S w )c1 = −0.0455 ⎜ ∞ ⎟ + 1.0234 ⎜ ∞ ⎟ + 16.324 (6)
⎝ φ ⎠ ⎝ φ ⎠
For different cores, if the absolute permeability and porosity have been known, the critical water saturation can be
determined by the Eq. 6.
However, it is easy to find that the gas slippage not only has relation with permeability and porosity, but also with water
saturation. To find the relationship among them, curve fitting was carried out below the critical water value and above it. The
results are shown in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5.
The curve fitting results show that: the gas slip factor is logarithm to the ratio of core coefficient and water saturation,
while it is logarithm to the multiplication of core coefficient and water saturation. So the gas slip factor in water-bearing cores
can be described as following:
⎧ ⎛K ⎞
⎪b = −0.0372 ln ⎜ ∞ ⋅ S w ⎟ + 0.084,S w ≥ ( S w )c1
⎪ ⎝ φ ⎠
⎪ (7)
⎪ ⎛ K∞ ⎞
⎨b = −0.0248ln ⎜ ⎟ + 0.2044,S w < ( S w )c1
⎪ ⎝ φ ⋅ Sw ⎠
⎪ 2
⎪( S ) = −0.0455 ⎛ K ∞ ⎞ + 1.0234 ⎛ K ∞ ⎞ + 16.324
⎪⎩ ⎜ ⎟ ⎜ ⎟
⎝ φ ⎠ ⎝ φ ⎠
w c1

Quasi starting pressure


Parts of results are shown in Table 1. From the experimental results, it can be find that only when the water saturation reaches
certain value, there is quasi starting pressure. The reason is that the flow characteristics of gas are the comprehensive results
are on the comprehensive function of capillary resistance force and gas slippage motive power. The relationship between them
is: one decreases, the other increases. When the water saturation reaches certain value, the capillary force takes hold, so the
quasi starting pressure exists.
Then select the experimental results of four cores with close water saturation. The comparison is shown in Table 2.
From Table 2, it can be seen obviously that: with the decrease of permeability, the quasi starting pressure gradient also
decreases till disappears in the close water saturation.
To explain this phenomenon, we can analyze from two factors that affect the two phase flow in low permeability cores:
Firstly, the formation water in pore causes capillary force in certain water saturation, which blocks the gas flow. With the
decrease of permeability, the capillary radius decreases too, which causes the increase of capillary resistance. Secondly, the
other factor that affects the gas flow is the gas slippage. From the experimental results, it is known that the gas slip factor
increases when permeability reduces. Combining these two factors, we can know that: when the permeability reduces, the
effect of gas slippage increasing is more obvious than capillary resistance increasing. The effect of gas slippage takes main
role. So with the decrease of permeability under the condition of close water saturation, the quasi starting pressure also
decreases till disappearing.
From the experimental results, it is also known that the quasi starting pressure gradient decreases till disappears with the
decrease of water saturation for the same permeability. For this phenomenon, we can explain from the micro flow
mechanisms. It is known that low permeability reservoirs have these characteristics: the heterogeneity of is often strong; the
pore throat is long but narrow, pore throat ratio is large; water saturation is high and so on, and the gas flow in the pore is
affected by capillary force and gas slippage at the same time. While the effect of capillary force and the gas slippage is
contradiction. The formation water detained in pore in the late period of gas reservoir formation exists mainly in the form of
water film and capillary water. Water film and capillary water can block the gas flow; we call it “threshold pressure effect”.
When water saturation decreases, the additional resistance of formation water reduces, while the gas slippage effect increases,
so the starting pressure decreases and disappears ultimately.
Obviously, there is a critical water saturation (Sw)c2 for a certain core, only when the water saturation reaches this value,
the quasi starting pressure gradient exists. Through curve fitting, the relationship between critical water saturation (Sw)c2 and
core efficient is got. It is shown in Fig. 6.From figure 6, it can be seen that the critical water saturation (Sw)c2 is negative linear
to the core coefficient: the better the core physical property is, the lower the (Sw)c2 is.
It is known from the flow mechanisms of gas and water phase that the existence of formation water makes the contact
relation more complicated. The gas not only touches the surface of pore throat, but also touches with the formation water in
pore. So the gas must overcome the capillary resistance caused by irreducible water, that is to say, if the gas want to keep
constant flow, it should overcome the threshold pressure effect, which shows starting pressure. While in the high permeability
reservoirs, the gas slippage effect has little effect on the gas flow, when the little water saturation may make the threshold
pressure effect take main role in gas flow. Smaller critical water saturation may cause the existence of quasi starting pressure
gradient. However, in the low permeability reservoirs with the characteristics of high heterogeneity, long pore throat but
narrow and large pore throat ratio, the gas slippage effect has obvious effect on the gas flow. It needs high water saturation to
make the quasi starting pressure gradient exist.
4 SPE 145803

However, the quasi starting pressure gradient not only is related with core physical property, but also with the water
saturation. So we fitted the relationship between quasi starting pressure gradient and the ration of core coefficient and water
saturation according to the experimental results. The fitting result is shown in Fig. 7.
So the quasi starting pressure gradient in water-bearing formation can be described as Eq. 8:
⎧ ⎛ K ⎞
−1.2245

⎪λ = 0.0881⎜ ∞ ⎟ ,S w > ( S w )c 2
⎪ ⎝ φ ⋅ Sw ⎠
⎪ (8)
⎨λ = 0,S w ≤ ( S w )c 2

⎪( S ) = −10.697 ⎛ K ∞ ⎞ + 83.562
⎪ w c2 ⎜ ⎟
⎩ ⎝ φ ⎠

Summary and Conclusions


To study the gas slippage effect and the quasi starting pressure gradient in water-bearing formations and provide certain
theoretical basis for the reservoir simulation. This paper carried out lots of experiment, and got some recognition as follows:
For a core with certain permeability, there is a critical water saturation (Sw)c1, the relationship between the critical water
saturation and core coefficient is binomial. When the water saturation is lower than (Sw)c1, gas slip factor is a logarithmic
function of the ratio of core coefficient and water saturation; when water saturation is higher than (Sw)c1, the gas slip factor is a
logarithmic function of the multiplication of core coefficient and water saturation.
The quasi starting pressure may exist when the gas flow in water-bearing cores. The reason is that the increase of
capillary resistance is larger than gas slippage as the water saturation rises.
There is also a critical water saturation (Sw)c2. When the water saturation is larger than (Sw)c2, the quasi starting pressure
gradient exists. The relationship between the quasi starting pressure gradient and the ratio of core coefficient and water
saturation is a power function.
However, the above results are got by the cores in Sulige gas field and in the common experimental conditions, whether
they are suited to real formation condition still needs to be further studied.

Acknowledgement
We would like to thank College of Petroleum Engineering in Xi’an Shi You University for providing experimental conditions,
and also thank Changqing Oilfield Company for supporting researching funds. In addition, it is supported by the science and
technology fund item “specific flow laws of low permeability gas reservoirs”.

Nomenclature
Kg — gas log permeability, mD; K∞ — absolute permeability, mD
b — gas slip factor, MPa p — average pressure, MPa
v — is the flow rate, m/s q — quantity of flow, m3/s
A — flow area, m2 P1 — inlet pressure, MPa
P0 — outlet pressure, MPa μ— viscosity of fluid, mPa.s
L — length of core, m α, β — constants
Pλ— quasi starting pressure, MPa λ— quasi starting pressure gradient, MPa/m
K ∞ — core coefficient, mD Sw— water saturation, %
φ
(Sw)c—critical water saturation, % Ф — porosity,%

References
1. K Sampath, C William Keighin. Factors Affecting Gas Slippage in Tight Sandstones of Cretaceous Age in the Uinta Basin. JPT, 1972,
24:120-124
2. Kewen Li, Roland N. Horne. Gas Slippage in Two-phase Flow and the Effect of Temperature, SPE 68778, 2001:1-8
3. Tuegay Ertekin, Gregory R King, Fred C. Schwerer. Dynamic Gas Slippage: A Unique Dual-Mechanism Approach to the Flow of Gas in
4. Tight Formations, SPE Formation Evaluation, 1986:43-52
5. Yu-Shu Wu, Karsten Pruess, Peter Persoff. Gas Flow in Porous Media with Klinkenberg Effects, Transport in Porous Media 1998,
32:117-137
6. W Kast, C-R. Hohenthanner Mass Transfer within the Gas-phase of Porous Media. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 2000,
43(5):807-823
SPE 145803 5

Fig. 1 Experimental flow of gas slippage and quasi starting pressure gradient testing

0.1 K∞=0.300mD
experimental point
0.08
fitting curve

0.06
b(MPa)

2
0.04 y = -2E-05x + 0.0008x + 0.0685
2
R = 0.9508
0.02

0
0 20 40 60 80
Sw (%)

(a)

0.12 K∞=0.438mD
0.10 experimental point
fitting curve
0.08
b(MPa)

0.06
2
0.04 y = -0.0002x + 0.0074x + 0.0367
2
0.02 R = 0.762
0.00
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
Sw (%)

(b)
6 SPE 145803

0.14 K∞=0.878mD

0.12 experimental point


fitting curve
0.10

b(MPa)
0.08
2
0.06 y = -6E-05x + 0.0027x + 0.0823
2
0.04 R = 0.7862
0.02
0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Sw (%)

(c)

0.06 K∞=1.125mD

0.05 experimental point


fitting point
0.04
b(MPa)

0.03 2
y = -4E-05x + 0.0018x + 0.0345
0.02 2
R = 0.9527
0.01

0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Sw (%)

(d)

0.10 K∞=3.028mD

0.08

0.06
b(MPa)

2
y = -8E-05x + 0.0025x + 0.0644
0.04 2 experimental point
R = 0.7571
fitting curve
0.02

0.00
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
Sw (%)

(e)
SPE 145803 7

0.14 K∞=4.661mD
0.12
experimental point
0.10
fitting curve

b(MPa)
0.08
0.06 2
y = -8E-05x + 0.0013x + 0.1159
0.04 2
R = 0.8328
0.02
0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50
Sw (%)

(f)
Fig. 2 Relationship curves between water saturation and slip factor

30 y = -0.0455x2 + 1.0234x + 16.324


R2 = 0.7818
25

20 experimental point
(Sw )c1 (%)

15 fitting curve

10

0
0 10 20 30 40
-3 2
K∞/φ(×10 μm )

Fig. 3 Relationship curve between critical water saturation and core coefficient

0.25

0.20 y = -0.0248Ln(x) + 0.2044


R2 = 0.8364
experimental point
0.15
b(MPa)

fitting curve
0.10

0.05

0.00
0 50 100 150 200
K∞/(φ.Sw )

Fig. 4 Fitting curve of slip factor below the critical water saturation
8 SPE 145803

0.25

0.20 y = -0.0372Ln(x) + 0.084


R2 = 0.8511
0.15

b(MPa)
experimental point
fitting curve
0.10

0.05

0.00
0 2 4 6 8 10
K∞/φ.Sw

Fig. 5 Fitting curve of slip factor above the critical water saturation

90
y = -10.697x + 83.562
80 2
R = 0.9225
70
60 experimental point
(Sw )c2 (%)

50
fitting curve
40
30
20
10
0
0 2 4 6 8
-3 2
K∞/φ(×10 µm )

Fig. 6 Relationship curve between critical water saturation (Sw)c2 and core coefficient

0.08
0.07 -1.2245
y = 0.0881x
0.06 2
R = 0.9533
0.05 experimental point
λ(MPa/m)

0.04 fitting curve

0.03
0.02
0.01
0
0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0
K∞/(φ.Sw )

Fig. 7 Relationship curve between quasi starting pressure gradient and the ration of core coefficient and water saturation
SPE 145803 9

Table 1 Part of results about quasi starting pressure gradient


λ(quasi starting
K∞(absolute
Core number Sw(water saturation), % pressure
permeability), mD
gradient),MPa/m
31.10 0.385341
1 0.4991
9.16 0
59.34 0.626879
2 0.3734 29.35 0
11.73 0
33.67 0.054769
3 0.115 23.37 0
15.51 0
80.71 0.791925
4 0.042 34.16 0
23.83 0
70.15 0.109678
68.43 0.030054
57.39 0
5 0.026 47.84 0
36.18 0
26.58 0
17.02 0

Table 2 Quasi starting pressure gradient of different permeability cores


λ(quasi starting
K∞(absolute
Core number Sw(water saturation),% pressure
permeability),mD
gradient),MPa/m
1 0.4991 31.10 0.385341
3 0.115 33.67 0.054769
4 0.042 34.16 0
5 0.026 36.18 0