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# RESERVOIR DRIVE MECHANISMS

DEFINITION
The driving force for production of reservoir fluids (oil, water, gas) and rock matrix which are contained under high temperatures pressures; they are compressed relative to their densities at standard temperatures and pressure. 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.

## DRIVING FORCE FOR PRODUCTION

Definition of compressibility says that any reduction in pressure on the fluids or rock will result in an increase in the volume.
c = 1 V V P T hence V = c.V.P (at cons tan at temp)

Applying to the reservoir, when a volume of fluid (dV) is removed from the system through production, the resulting drop in pressure (dP) will be determined by the compressibility and volume of the components of dV = [ c o Vo + c g Vg + (fluids c w Vw ]dP plus rock matrix). the reservoir system

where dV = underground withdrawal of fluids from the reservoir (oil, water, gas); and compressibility of the rock is negligible.

## DRIVING FORCE FOR PRODUCTION

Permeability ranges (relatively):
c o = 10 x 10 6 20 x 10 6 psi 1 c g = 500 x 10 6 to 1500 x 10 6 psi 1 c w = 3 x 10 6 to 5 x 10 6 psi 1

Gas has a much higher compressibility than oil, and therefore expands by a relatively large amount for a given pressure drop. As reservoir fluids are withdrawn (i.e. production occurs), ant free gas present expands readily to replace the voidage, with only a small drop in reservoir pressure. If only oil and water were present in the reservoir system, a much greater reduction in reservoir pressure would be experienced for the same amount of production.

## NATURAL DRIVE MECHANISM TYPES

Depletion drive reservoirs Solution gas drive Gas cap drive Water drive reservoirs Compaction drive reservoirs Gravity drive reservoirs

Depletion Drive Reservoirs When the hydrocarbon reservoirs are NOT in contact
with a large body of permeable water bearing sand.

The reservoir is virtually totally enclosed by porous media and the only energy comes from the reservoir itself. system The hydrocarbons are enclosed in isolated sand lenses which have been generated by a particular depositional environment. Over geological time the hydrocarbons have found their way into the porous media. The surrounding rocks may have permeability but it is so low as to prevent energy transfer

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.

In solution gas drive reservoirs the initial condition is where the reservoir is undersaturated, i.e. above the bubble point. Production of fluids down to the bubble point is as a result of the effective compressibility of the system. When considering pressure volume phase behaviour, we observed a small increase in volume of the oil for large reductions in pressure, for oil in the undersaturated state. Associated connate water also has a compressibility as has the pore space within which the fluids are contained. This combined compressibility provides the drive mechanism for depletion drive above the bubble point. Perhaps this part of the depletion drive should be called compressibility drive. The low compressibility causes rapid pressure decline in this period and resulting low recovery.

## Solution Gas Drive Reservoirs

Solution Gas Drive Reservoirs Of the three compressibilities, although it is the oil

compressibility which is the larger, the impact of the other compressibility components, the water and the pores, should not be neglected. 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. Gas has a high compressibility

## Gas Cap Drive Reservoirs

Another kind of depletion type is where there is already free gas in the reservoir, accumulated at the top of the reservoir in the form of a gas cap, as compared to the undersaturated initial condition for the previous solution gas drive reservoir. This gas cap drive reservoir, as it is termed, receives its energy from the high compressibility of the gas cap. Since there is a gas cap then the bottom hole pressure will not be too far away from the bubble point pressure and therefore solution gas drive could also be occurring. The gas cap provides the major source of energy but there is also the expansion of oil and its dissolved gas and the gas coming out of solution.

Gas Gap Drive Reservoirs The oil expansion term is very low and is within the
errors in calculating the two main energy sources.

The two significant sources of driving energy are ; Gas cap expansion Expansion of gas coming out of solution

Water Drive Reservoirs 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: the driving energy comes primarily from the expansion of water as the reservoir is produced, as shown. 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, as shown. 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.

The water drive arising from the compressibility of an aquifer is the more common.

Water drive reservoirs are also of two types: There is an edge water drive reservoir. The reservoir is thin enough so that the water is in contact with the hydrocarbons at the edge of the reservoir.

The other type of water drive reservoir is the bottom-water-drive reservoir; where the reservoir is so thick or the accumulation so thin that the hydrocarbons are completely underlain by water.

## Not a common drive energy.

Compaction Drive

Compaction drive occurs when the hydrocarbon formation is compacted as a result of the increase in the net overburden stress as the reservoir pore pressure is reduced during production. The nature of the rock or its degree of consolidation can give rise to the mechanism. For example a shallow sand deposit which has not reached its minimum porosity level due to consolidation can consolidate further as the net overburden stresses increase as fluids are withdrawn. The impact of the further consolidation can give rise to subsidence at the surface. This phenomena of compaction with increasing net overburden stress is not restricted to unconsolidated sands, since chalk also demonstrates this phenomena.

One of the occurrences of compaction drive is that associated with the Ekofisk Field, in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. This is a very undersaturated chalk reservoir. The field was developed on the basis of using depletion drive down to near the bubble point and then to inject sea water to maintain pressure During thisbubble period point. of considerable pressure decline, the net above the overburden stress was increasing, causing the formation to compact to an extent that subsidence occurred at the seabed. In an offshore environment such uniform subsidence can go undetected, as was the case for Ekofisk. The magnitude of the subsidence has been such that major jacking up of the structures has been required.

## Gravity Drainage Gravitational

segregation or gravity drainage can be considered as a drive mechanism where the natural density segregation of the phases can be responsible for moving the fluids to gas to migrate up and the oil to drain The tendency for the the well bore.will be influenced by the rate of flow of the down clearly fluids as indicated by their relative permeabilities. Gravity drainage is generally associated with the later stages of drive for reservoirs where other drive mechanisms have been the more dominant energy in earlier years. Gravity drainage can be significant and effective in steeply dipping reservoirs which are fractured. Gravity Drive typically is active during the final stages of a depletion reservoir.

## Combination Drives Pure types of reservoirs are

those reservoirs where only one drive system operates.

In many of them a combination of drive mechanisms can be activate during the production of fluids. In the case, 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

RESERVOIR PERFORMANCE OF DIFFERENT DRIVE Oil Production SYSTEMS Gas / Oil Ratio
Pressure Water Production Well Behaviour Expected Oil Recovery the We need to examine Well Location respective characteristics in relation to production, recovery and pressure decline issues. The performance of different types of reservoirs in relation to the daily production, gas/oil ratio and water production can give some indication of the type of drive mechanism

## Solution Gas Drive In the first part of solution gas drive:

in what we termed compressibility drive, within the reservoir no production of gas occurs and the fluid moves as a result of decompression of the three components oil, water and pore space. the pressure reduction is rapid in relation to volumes produced. The gas to oil ratio produced at the surface is constant since the reservoir at this stage is above its bubble point pressure.

In the second part of solution gas drive: 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

as the increase in saturation of gas increases at the expense of oil saturation, the relative permeabilities move in the same directions giving rise to reduced well productivity to oil and increased productivity to gas, figure below. 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.

Production Phase 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 techno-economics 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

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

(1) Oil Production After a well is drilled and production starts for a solution gas drive reservoir, the pressure drops in the vicinity of the well. The initially 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 the champagne bottle opened by a champion to spray the contents over enthusiastic supporters - a short lived high production scenario followed by rapid decline!

(2) Gas/Oil Ratio The distinctive characteristic of the solution gas drive mechanism is related to the producing gas to oil ratio. When the reservoir is first produced the GOR being produced may be low corresponding to the RSi value of the reservoir liquid. If the reservoir is highly undersaturated there will be a period when a constant producing GOR occurs 1-2 in figure. 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 2-3 in figure. 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

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 3-4 in figure. 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 to earlier gas production 4-5 in figure. contributed 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

(3) Pressure At first the pressure is high but as production continues the pressure makes a rapid decline. (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

## Gas Cap Drive

Whereas for a solution gas drive reservoir where we have a reservoir initially in an undersaturated state, for a gas cap drive reservoir, the initial condition is a reservoir with a gas cap. Since the gas oil contact will be at the bubble point pressure the pressures within the oil accumulation will not be higher this only so with far as relates to the density gradient of the than It is the gas cap, its fluid. considerable compressibility, which provides the drive energy for such fields, hence the name. To get flow in the wells it is likely that gas will come out of solution in the near well bore vicinity and therefore some degree of solution gas drive will also take place. A good analogy for this type of reservoir is the plastic chemical dispenser fitted with a pump to maintain gas pressure above the

(1) Oil Production The producing characteristics for a gas cap drive reservoir are illustrated in Figure. Although the production may be high as in the solution gas drive, the oil production still has a significant decline but not as rapid as for solution gas drive. This decline in oil production is due to the reducing pressure in the reservoir but also from the impact of gas drive on to the relative permeability around solution If the well is allowed the well bore. produce at too fast a rate, the very favourable mobility characteristics of the gas, arising from its low viscosity compared to the oil, are such that preferential flow can cause gas breakthrough into the wells and the well is then lost to oil production. Indeed it is this condition which will determine well

(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, a gas cap for thea fluid remains till later in the life of but The with pressure drop the gas reservoir. 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) Gas/Oil Ratio During the early stages of replacement of oil by gas a 100% replacement takes place. Later on gas by-passes oil and a reduced displacement efficiency. In the early stages the GOR remains relatively steady increasing slowly as the impact of solution gas drive generates gas from oil still to reach the well bore. The increasing mobility of the gas is such that there is an increasing GOR both from dissolved gas and by-pass gas and eventually the well goes to gas as the gas cap (4) Water Production, Well Behaviour, breaks through. 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 oil-in-place. 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
The majority of water drive reservoirs predominantly get their drive energy from the compressibility of the aquifer system. The effectiveness of water drive depends on the ability of the aquifer to replace the volume of the produced oil. The key issues with a 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!

(1) Rate Sensitivity The characteristic features of natural water drive reservoirs are strongly influenced by the rate sensitivity of these reservoirs. If oil production from the formation is greater than the replacement flow of the aquifer then the reservoir pressure will drop and another drive mechanism will contribute to flow, for example solution gas drive. Three sketches below illustrate the various types of production profiles for different aquifer types and the influence of rate sensitivity. In the next figure 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 gas-oil ratio also remains constant since the reservoir is undersaturated. These reservoirs will enable a plateau phase, however as in

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 below 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 Clearly total system this pressure , the oil reservoir and the aquifer. 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

Figure below 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 reservoirs supports the flow. If this pressure drops below the bubble point then solution gas drive will occur, as evidenced by an increase in the gas-oil ratio. Cutting back oil production to a rate to less than the water encroachment rate restores the system to When water drive, with the gas-oil ratio going back to its two drive undersaturated level. as mechanisms function 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

(2) Water Production Because there is a large aquifer associated with the oil reservoir unlike depletion drive systems, water production starts early and increases to appreciable amounts. This water production is produced at the expense of oil and continues to increase until the oil/water ratio is uneconomical. Total fluid production remains reasonably steady. The expected oil recovery from a water drive reservoir is likely to be from 35 to 60% of the original oil-in-place. Clearly these recovery factors depend on a range of related aspects , including reservoir characteristics for (3) History Aquifer Characteristics exampleMatching the heterogeneity as demonstrated by large variations inof the formation. permeability Predicting the behaviour water drive reservoirs in particular the rate of water encroachment is not straightforward. The topic is covered in a later chapter, but a significant perspective as mentioned previously is that data is required of the aquifer to carry out the calculations. In particular the size and geometry of the aquifer and its permeability and compressibility characteristics.

Since such information is generally not available during the exploration and development phase, the characteristics of the aquifer are only determined once production has been operational and the support from the aquifer can be calculated from production and pressure data. (History Matching). Getting such information may require producing a significant proportion of the formation say 5% of the STOIIP. RFT surveys have provided a very effective way of determining the aquifer strength as well as the communicating layers of the formation. Pressure depth surveys taken in an open hole development well after production has started will give indications of pressure support in the formation 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

(4) Well Locations Well locations for water drive reservoirs are such that they should be located high in the structure to delay water breakthrough.

Water-drive -pressure declines slowly and abandonment occurs when the water cut is too-high at around 50% of recovery, but depends on local factors. Gas-cap 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 oil-in-place. Gas/Oil Ratio 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. Gas-cap 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

## SUMMAR Pressure and RecoveryY

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 5-30% of original oil-in-place

## GAS CAP DRIVE RESERVOIRS

Characteristics 1. Reservoir Pressure 2. Gas/oil ratio 3. Production Rate gradually 4. Water Production 5. Well Behaviour depending on size 6. Expected Oil Recovery place Trend Falls slowly and continuously Rises continuously First high, then declines Absent or negligible Cap Long flowing life of gas cap 20 to 40% of original oil-in-

## WATER DRIVE RESERVOIRS

Characteristics 1. Reservoir Pressure 2. Gas/Oil Ratio 3. Water Production 4. Well Behaviour production gets 5. Expected Oil Recovery place. Trend Remains high Remains steady Starts early and increases to appreciable amounts Flow until water excessive up to 60% original oil-in-