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COMPRESSIBILITY OF

RESERVOIR ROCKS
COMPACTION OF SEDIMENTS
Porosity is reduced by compaction
Porosity reduction is determined by maximum
burial depth
Principal effects are:
Changes in packing
Pressure solution
Recrystallization
Deformation of rock fragments
Compaction effects are not reversed by
erosional unroofing (hysteresis effect)
MECHANICS OF COMPACTION
Pressure Solution
Rotation and Closer Ductile Grain Breakage of At Grain
Packing Deformation Brittle Grains Contacts

Platy Grains
(e.g., clays)
Non-Platy Grains
(e.g., qtz., feldspar)
Ductile Framework
Grain, e.g., Shale Rock
Fragment) Modified from Jonas and McBride, 1977
Relationship of Original Formation
Porosity to Overburden Pressure
50

40
Sandstones
Porosity, %

30

20

Shales
10

0
0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000
Overburden pressure, psi
Isothermal Compressibility
General Definition
The relative volume change of matter per unit
pressure change under conditions of constant
temperature
Usually, petroleum reservoirs can be considered
isothermal (an exception: thermal stimulation)
Increasing pressure causes volume of material to
decrease (compression) - e.g. reservoir fluids
Decreasing pressure causes volume of material to
increase (expansion) - e.g. reservoir fluids
Isothermal Compressibility
General Equation 1 V
C
C:
V p
Coefficient of Isothermal Compressibility
ALWAYS positive value
oilfield units: 1/psia
V: Volume
oilfield units: ft3
p: Pressure exerted on material
oilfield units: psia
Negative sign in equation determined by V/p term, to force the coefficient
C to be positive
Volume is a function of pressure only (temperature is constant, and amount
of material is constant)
Formation Compressibility
Importance
Formation compressibility can have a significant impact on
reservoir performance
Subsidence can have significant environmental impact
Types
Matrix Compressibility ( Cm ): relative change in volume of
solid rock material (grain volume) per unit pressure change
(usually Cm 0).
Pore Compressibility ( Cf ): relative change in pore volume
per unit pressure change.
Bulk Compressibility ( Cb ): relative change in bulk volume
per unit pressure change ( usually Vb Vp). Significant
decrease in bulk volume can cause subsidence.
FORMATION COMPRESSIBILITY
1 Vp
Cf
Vp p
FO

Under static conditions, downward


1. overburden force must be balanced by
upward forces of the matrix and fluid in
F M F
F pores

2. Thus: F F
o m
F f

AND
p p p
o m

4.
3.
As fluids are produced from reservoir, fluid pressure (p) usually
Pressure Gradients, decreases while overburden is constant, and:
Normal Reservoirs: (a) force on matrix increases ( net compaction pressure,
pm=po-p)
dpo/dZ = 1.0 psia/ft
(b) bulk volume decreases, and
dp/dZ = 0.465 psia/ft (c) pore volume decreases.
Formation Compressibility
Equation 1 Vp
C f
Cf : Formation Compressibility
pVolume
Vp (Pore Comp.)
ALWAYS positive value
oilfield units: 1/psia
Vp: Pore volume
oilfield units: ft3
p: Pressure of fluid in pores
oilfield units: psia
Positive sign in equation determined by Vp/p term, to force Cf to be
positive
Pore volume is function of pressure only (temperature is constant, amount of
reservoir rock is constant)
Subsidence and Bulk Compressibility
Process of subsidence
Bulk volume decreases as fluids are produced
Area is constant
Formation thickness decreases (causing subsidence of strata above)
Porosity: = Vp/Vb = 1-(Vm/Vb); where Vb=Vp+Vm
Net compaction pressure: pm = po - p
Overburden (po) is constant dpm= -dp
As net compaction pressure increases
Bulk volume decreases; Cb = -1/Vb (Vbpm)
Pore volume decreases; Cf= -1/Vp (Vppm)
Matrix volume decreases; Cm= -1/Vm (Vmpm)
Substituting from definitions above
Cb = (-1/Vb) [(Vppm) + (Vmpm) ]
Cb = (-1/Vb) [(- Cf Vp) + (- Cm Vm)]
Cb = Cf + (1-)Cm; usually Cm << Cf
Formation Compressibility
Calculation of Pore Volume Change

1
Separate C f dp dVp
Vp
p2 Vp2
1
and Integrate p Cf dp V Vp dVp
1 p1

Two common approaches for constant value of Cf


Exact Integration
1st Order Approximation
Formation Compressibility
Pore Volume Change - Continued

Exact Integration C f p
p2
p1
ln(Vp ) V Vp2
p1

Exponentiating (Inverse of Natural Logarithm) and


rearranging
Vp2 Vp1e Cf (p 2 p1 )


OR
Vp Vp1 e Cf (p 2 p1 ) 1
Formation Compressibility
Pore Volume Change - Continued

1st Order Approximation

1 dVp 1 Vp
C f
Vp dp Vp p
1 Vp2 Vp1
Cf
Vp1 p 2 p1
Vp Vp1C f (p 2 p1 )
Vp2 Vp1 1 C f (p 2 p1 )
Laboratory Determination of Cf
In reservoirs, overburden pressure is constant and
the pressure of fluid in pores changes, resulting in
pore volume change
In the laboratory, we change the confining
pressure on the core plug (overburden) while
holding the pore pressure constant
Remember that the net compaction pressure on the
matrix is the difference between the overburden
and pore pressures
This allows us to obtain useful results in the laboratory
Laboratory Determination of Cf
Laboratory Procedure
Core plug is 100% saturated with brine
Core plug is placed in rubber or soft copper sleeve
As pressure outside sleeve is increased, pore volume
decreases and the volume of expelled brine is measured

pconfining
Hysteresis Effect - Formation Compressibility
Hysteresis: The lagging of an effect behind its cause, as when the
change in magnetism of a body lags behind changes in the magnetic
field. (definition from dictionary.com, 2002)
Hysteresis is used by Petroleum Engineers to describe the effects of
path dependence and irreversibilities we observe in reservoir behavior
For example, if we decrease reservoir pressure from initial conditions, pore
volume decreases. If we then increase reservoir pressure back to the initial
pressure, pore volume does not increase all the way back to the initial pore
volume.

Initial
Conditions

Pore Volume

Pore Pressure