Coupled Capillary-Pressure and Three-Phase Flash Models Simulate Liquid Blockage
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 58 - 60
- 2018. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 43 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 190242, “Simulation of Water and Condensate Blockage and Solvent Treatments in Tight Formations Using Coupled Three-Phase Flash and Capillary-Pressure Models,” by Sajjad S. Neshat, SPE, Ryosuke Okuno, SPE, and Gary A. Pope, SPE, The University of Texas at Austin, prepared for the 2018 SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference, Tulsa, 14–18 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Water and condensate blockage near production wells in unconventional reservoirs can reduce oil- and gas-production rates significantly. This paper presents a new approach for more-accurate modeling of liquid blockage in tight oil and gas reservoirs and investigates the use of solvents for blockage removal.
In this paper, coupled three-phase flash and capillary-pressure models are presented for simulation of tight oil and gas reservoirs. The capillary pressure between each phase pair (e.g., oil/gas or oil/aqueous) is calculated with a general three-phase capillary-pressure model that integrates the effect of important petrophysical properties including pore-size distribution, phase saturations, and different wettability conditions. The capillary-pressure function is integrated with three-phase flash calculations to define the equilibrium state between oil, gas, and aqueous phases under reservoir conditions. The criterion for selection of cubic equation-of-state (EOS) roots is extended for three-phase mixtures. This method minimizes the global Gibbs free energy (GFE) of the whole mixture instead of minimizing the free energy of each phase separately. The models are then used for simulation of primary production and solvent enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) processes in tight formations. Using rock and fluid properties for tight oil and gas reservoirs, the effect of water and condensate blockage and capillary pressure on production is simulated. The use of solvents to remove liquid blockage and to increase production rates is extended to tight formations with high capillary pressure.
Coupled Three-Phase Flash and Capillary-Pressure Models
At three-phase equilibrium conditions, the chemical potential of each component must be equal in all three phases. In the presence of capillary pressure, the chemical potentials are calculated at corresponding phase pressures.
Capillary pressure across a two-phase interface is a function of the surface curvature and interfacial tension (IFT). The variation in pore size and interfacial curvature can be accounted for by saturation-dependent functions. In the presence of a third phase, the interface between any two phase pairs would shift toward either larger or smaller pores depending on wettability conditions. A general three-phase model that can be used to define the capillary pressure between any phase pairs under the entire range of wettability conditions has been coupled with a three-phase relative permeability model with three-phase hysteresis and compositional consistency and was validated through measured three-phase relative permeability data.For the applications discussed in this study, it is assumed that the gas phase is always the most nonwetting phase, while a mixed wetting condition for oil and aqueous phases is assumed.
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