Miscibility Relationships in the Displacement of Oil By Light Hydrocarbons
- W.M. Rutherford (Shell Development Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- December 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 340 - 346
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.3.3 Aspaltenes, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow
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A knowledge of the limits of miscibility between reservoir oil and possible injection fluids is required for selection of the optimum miscible-injection fluid. Limits of miscibility can be estimated from the results of equilibrium phase-behavior experiments. They can also be determined by means of displacement experiments conducted in a high-pressure sandpack. This paper describes the equipment and procedure which have been developed for determining miscibility conditions by stable displacement. A systematic series of displacements of a West Texas reservoir oil was carried out. The results indicate that, at constant pressure, miscibility is a function only of the pseudo critical temperature of the injection gas. This fact, together with improved experimental methods, makes the displacement technique a rapid, reliable means for determining miscibility conditions. In conjunction with the displacement experiments, phase diagrams were constructed for the oil with dry gas and propane and with dry gas and ethane. Phase behavior of the methane-ethane-propane system was determined at 110 degrees F. The experimental work demonstrates the feasibility of using ethane-rich gases to reduce cost and pressure requirements for miscible displacement.
In recent years, interest in the miscible displacement of oil by light hydrocarbon mixtures has been high. Many pilot and a few field scale projects have been started. These projects have made use of various methods for achieving miscibility: (1) the LPG-slug process, (2) the enriched-gas-drive process and (3) the high-pressure gas-drive process. Some field projects have been successful; the results of others are debatable. In general, projects which have performed best have involved the injection of an appreciable fraction of a pore volume of miscible material. Economical application of miscible displacement depends strongly on the cost of the miscible-injection fluid. If an appreciable fraction of a pore volume of material is required for successful application of these methods, a precise knowledge of the minimum requirements for miscibility in terms of composition of injection fluid is essential. Therefore, reliable experimental methods for determining miscibility conditions are important, and a procedure for estimating these conditions from the composition of the reservoir fluid is highly desirable. The subject of this paper is the problem of determining conditions which result in miscible displacement of oil by light hydrocarbon mixtures. Miscibility conditions can be estimated by means of equilibrium experiments conducted in a PVT cell, or they can be determined by means of high-pressure displacement experiments. This paper describes the equipment and procedure which have been developed for the determination of miscibility by high-pressure displacement experiments. These methods have been applied to the displacement of a West Texas reservoir oil with mixtures of dry gas, ethane and propane. In conjunction with the displacement experiments, triangular phase diagrams have been constructed for mixtures of the oil with dry gas and propane and with dry gas and ethane. The effect of injection-gas composition on conditions for miscible displacement in high-pressure sandpacks and cores has been the subject of several published papers. The experimental methods used in these investigations were such that displacements were unstable, and the effects of fingering and/or gravity layover are clearly evident in the results. Miscibility conditions were probably correct in spite of the instability phenomena, but the experiments evidently were time-consuming, and limited data were reported. Systematic high-pressure flow studies which would support a correlation of miscibility conditions have not been reported; however, Wilson has proposed the use of pseudo critical temperature of the injection gas as a parameter and Benham, et al, have based a miscibility correlation on observed and calculated equilibrium data.
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