Use of a Reservoir Simulator To Interpret Laboratory Waterflood Data
- John S. Archer (Imperial Oil Ltd.) | S.W. Wong (Imperial Oil Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- December 1973
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 343 - 347
- 1973. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 5.5 Reservoir Simulation, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.5.8 History Matching
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Relative permeability curves calculated from laboratory waterflood history by the method of Johnson, Bossler and Naumann (JBN) are often poorly defined or anomalous at low and intermediate poorly defined or anomalous at low and intermediate water saturations. Poor definition can be encountered with strongly water-wet homogeneous cores when the displacement is piston-like. Anomalous curve shapes are associated with laboratory-observed water breakthrough ahead of the main flood front and are common in cores that have contrasting permeability streaks. The JBN technique, although permeability streaks. The JBN technique, although valid for the conditions assumed in its development, is unsatisfactory for the conditions specified above.
A reservoir simulator has been used to model laboratory tests and thereby provide an alternative interpretation procedure. The simulation uses core properties and trial-and-error relative permeabilities. properties and trial-and-error relative permeabilities. The shapes of the relative permeability curves are adjusted until calculated oil recovery and relative injectivity curves match those obtained from the laboratory displacement tests.
The technique has been used successfully to obtain meaningful relative permeability curves for piston-like displacement, mixed wettability systems, piston-like displacement, mixed wettability systems, and heterogeneous carbonates. The technique has also been used in evaluating empirical equations for calculating relative permeability.
Numerical reservoir simulators are finding increasing application in production history matching and performance predictions. Because of the degree of sophistication reached with these models, it is mandatory that the fluid flow properties be of the highest possible quality. Of all the rock and fluid properties required in predicting performance, it is properties required in predicting performance, it is often the relative permeability characteristics that are the most critically important. These data are usually obtained from laboratory waterflood tests using reservoir core samples.
The laboratory waterflood test is an attempt to represent the linear displacement behavior of the oil/water/reservoir-rock system. The wettability properties of the rock system should be preserved properties of the rock system should be preserved in the laboratory core sample if reliable results are to be obtained. Furthermore, the viscosity ratio and surface tension of the oil/water system in the laboratory test should ideally be made the same as those in the reservoir.
In interpreting laboratory waterflood tests the unsteady-state equations are usually solved by methods of Buckley-Leverett, Welge and Johnson, Bossler and Neumann (JBN). These interpretations are sometimes inadequate for defining relative permeability curves for heterogeneous reservoir permeability curves for heterogeneous reservoir rock systems or for water displacing a very light oil in a homogeneous sandstone. For example, a number of writers have observed anomalous changes in the relative permeability to water during the flooding of heterogeneous carbonate core samples. The relative permeability to water does not increase smoothly with increasing water saturation, but increases stepwise or even humps. Such behavior appears to reflect small-scale local heterogeneity in the core sample and is likely to be insignificant on a field scale. The heterogeneity is often indicated in the laboratory by an observed water breakthrough at the core-sample production face ahead of the main flood front.
The time of water breakthrough is an important measurement used in the calculation of relative permeability by the JBN method. If the breakthrough permeability by the JBN method. If the breakthrough time observed is not that of the main flood front but is a little early, then the relative permeabilities calculated will not represent the properties of the bulk of the core sample. It is under these conditions that anomalous relative permeability curves usually occur.
We suggest in this paper that, in many cases, the small changes in pressure and in oil and water production rate that accompany anomalous relative production rate that accompany anomalous relative permeability curves can be smoothed to reflect permeability curves can be smoothed to reflect properties more consistent with the bulk behavior properties more consistent with the bulk behavior of the core sample. In essence, we are saying that together the smoothed oil and water production history and the pressure history of the laboratory core sample represent a unique property of that sample.
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