Unsteady Spherical Flow in Petroleum Reservoirs
- A.T. Chatas (Iranian Oil Exploration And Producing Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- June 1966
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 102 - 114
- 1966. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.3 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics
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A description of the geometrical characteristics of spherical reservoir systems, a discussion of unsteady-state flow of such systems and examples of engineering applications are presented as background material. The fundamental differential equation, a description of average spherical permeability and the introduction of the Laplace transformation serve as theoretical foundations. Engineering concepts are investigated to indicate particular solutions of interest, which are analytically obtained with the aid of the Laplace transform. These are numerically evaluated by computer, and presented in tabular form.
A tractable mathematical analysis of unsteady fluid flow through porous media generally requires incorporation of a geometrical symmetry. The simplest forms include the linear, cylindrical (radial) and spherical. Most analytical endeavors have concentrated on cylindrical symmetry because it occurs more often in petroleum reservoirs. Nevertheless, some reservoir systems do exist that are better approximated by spherical geometry. Review of technical literature revealed but a single reference to unsteady spherical flow in petroleum reservoirs. The motive and purpose of the present work was to remove this gap in technical information, and to provide the practicing engineer with some useful analytical tools. The mathematical details associated with the particular solutions of interest involved use of the Laplace transformation. Hurst and van Everdingen previously demonstrated the efficacy of this operational technique, and in many respects the present treatment was patterned after their earlier work.
Geometrically, a spherical reservoir system is defined at any instant of time by two concentric hemispheres whose physical properties of interest vary only with the radial distance. Every physical property is thus restricted to be a space function of only one variable: the distance along a radius vector emanating from the center. Such a system is composed of an outer region and an inner region, separated by a defined internal boundary. The inner region simply extends inward from this boundary, whereas the outer region extends outward from it to an external boundary. The position of the internal boundary is presumed fixed, so that the size of the inner region remains constant. On the other hand, the position of the external boundary at any given instant of time is determined by the distance into the system that a sensible pressure reaction has occurred. Thus, the external boundary may change position with time. It initially emerges from the inner region and advances outward to its ultimate position. When this ultimate position coincides with a geometric limit, the reservoir system is said to be limited. When it coincides with points subject to pressure gradients furthest removed from the internal boundary, yet short of a geometric limit, the system is said to be unlimited. In this investigation two different boundary conditions are imposed at the ultimate boundary of limited systems. The first requires that no fluid flow occur across this boundary; the second that the pressure remain fixed at this boundary.
In a strict sense virtually all flow phenomena associated with a reservoir system are unsteady-state. The transient behavior of these phenomena requires accounting, however, only when time must be introduced as an explicit variable. Otherwise, steady-state mechanics may be used. Analytically, steady-state conditions prevail in a reservoir system only over that portion of its history when this relation is satisfied:
c p = 0 ...........................(1) k t
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