Effect of Pore-Size Distribution on Phase Transition of Hydrocarbon Mixtures in Nanoporous Media
- Lei Wang (Colorado School of Mines) | Xiaolong Yin (Colorado School of Mines) | Keith B. Neeves (Colorado School of Mines) | Erdal Ozkan (Colorado School of Mines)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- December 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,981 - 1,995
- 2016.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- pressure depletion, pore size distribution, nanoconfinement, capillary pressure, Phase behavior
- 7 in the last 30 days
- 618 since 2007
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Pore sizes of many shale-oil and tight gas reservoirs are in the range of nanometers. In these pores, capillary pressure and surface forces can make the phase behavior of hydrocarbon mixtures different from that characterized in pressure/volume/temperature (PVT) cells. Many existing phase-behavior models use a single pore size to describe the effect of confinement on phase behavior. To follow up with our earlier theoretical studies and experimental observations, this research investigates the effect of pore-size distribution. By use of a vapor/liquid equilibrium model that considers the effect of capillary pressure, we present a procedure to simulate the sequence of phase changes in a porous medium caused by a pore-size distribution. This procedure is used to simulate depressurizations of a light oil and a retrograde gas confined inside nanoporous media, the pore-size distributions of which are characteristic of tight reservoirs. The fluid compositions are representative of typical reservoir fluids. Predictions of the model show that phase transition in nanoporous medium with pore-size distribution is not described by a single phase boundary. The initial phase change in the large pores alters the composition of the remaining fluid, and, in turn, suppresses the next phase change. For the two cases studied, models with and without capillary pressure gave similar predictions. For light oil, capillary pressure still noticeably increased the level of supersaturation, and the critical gas saturation had a strong influence on the properties of produced fluids. For retrograde gas, the effect of capillary pressure was insignificant because of the low interfacial tension (IFT). Despite the choice of fluids, calculations indicate that the smallest pores are probably always occupied by hydrocarbon liquid during depressurization.
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