Evaporative Cleanup of Water Blocks in Gas Wells
- Jagannathan Mahadevan (U. of Tulsa) | Mukul Mani Sharma (U. of Texas at Austin) | Yannis C. Yortsos (U. of Southern California)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- June 2007
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 209 - 216
- 2007. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 5.8.1 Tight Gas, 1.8 Formation Damage, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 4.3.4 Scale, 3.2.6 Produced Water Management, 4.6 Natural Gas, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 4.1.4 Gas Processing, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media
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The flow of a gas toward the wellbore of a production well will result in the evaporative cleanup of water blocks, if the latter exist. This occurs primarily due to gas expansion. This paper presents for the first time a model to calculate the rate at which such water blocks are removed, for either fractured or unfractured gas wells. The model allows us to compute the impact of evaporative cleaning on well productivity.
The removal of water first occurs by gas displacement. Evaporative cleanup is caused by gas expansion. The resulting saturation profile is qualitatively different for low- or high-permeability rocks. As a consequence, the increase in gas relative permeability, or the well productivity, with time can vary depending on the rock permeability and the well drawdown. High-permeability (e.g. fractured) rocks clean up significantly faster. By contrast, low-permeability unfractured wells may require a very long time to clean up. Large pressure drawdowns, as well as the use of more volatile fluids, such as alcohols, also result in faster cleanup.
A distinctive feature of the work presented is that the model equations are formulated and solved completely without the assumption of skin factors for the damage zone. Thus, the prediction of cleanup rates can be made more accurately.
Water blocks in low-permeability rocks clean up much more slowly than those of higher permeability because of the smaller pore sizes and the consequent higher capillary entry pressures (Mahadevan et al. 2003). In particular, water blocks in tight gas sands are not easily cleaned up, especially in cases where the reservoir pressures are too low to initiate flow.
Past studies (Tannich 1975; Holditch 1979, Parekh and Sharma 2004) have reported the effect of water displacement by gas in the cleanup of water blocks in gas wells. They showed that when the drawdown in the gas well is significantly larger than the capillary pressure, cleanup is faster. However, in cases where the drawdown becomes comparable to the capillary pressure, as is the case in depleted tight gas reservoirs, displacement alone is not sufficient to remove water from the near-wellbore region. Subsequent water removal occurs by evaporation. The flow of a fully saturated compressible gas through a water-saturated porous rock induces evaporation. Roughly, this is because the volume of the gas, and hence its capacity for water content, increases as pressure declines. In past studies, the impact of evaporation caused by the flow of gas has been neglected. The focus of this paper is precisely on this regime in gas wells, in which the drawdown is comparable in magnitude to the capillary entry pressure, and cleanup of water blocks is by evaporation.
|File Size||1 MB||Number of Pages||8|
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