Rapid Flash Calculations for Compositional Simulation
- Yinghui Li (U. of Texas at Austin) | Russell T. Johns (U. of Texas Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- October 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 521 - 529
- 2006. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 5.4.9 Miscible Methods, 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 5.2.2 Fluid Modeling, Equations of State, 5.5 Reservoir Simulation, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 5.2 Fluid Characterization, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements
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The computational time for conventional flash calculations increases significantly with the number of components, making it impractical for use in many fine-grid compositional simulations and other applications. Previous research to increase flash-calculation speed has been limited to those with zero binary interaction parameters (BIPs) or approximate methods based on an eigenvalue analysis of the binary interaction matrix. Practical flash calculations, however, nearly always have some nonzero BIPs. Further, the accuracy and speed of the eigenvalue methods varies depending on the choice and number of the dominant eigenvalues.
This paper presents a new and simple method for significantly increasing the speed of flash calculations for any number of nonzero BIPs. The approach requires the solution of up to six reduced parameters regardless of fluid complexity or the number of components and is based on decomposing the BIPs into two parameters using a simple quadratic expression. The new approach is exact in that the equilibrium-phase compositions for the same BIPs are identical to those with the conventional flash calculation; no eigenvalue analysis is required. Further, the new approach eliminates the Rachford-Rice procedure (1952) and is more robust than the conventional flash-calculation procedure. We demonstrate the new approach for several example fluids and show that speedup by a factor of approximately 3 to 20 is obtained over conventional flash calculations, depending on the number of components.
Gas injection into oil reservoirs results in complex interactions of flow with phase behavior that often are not modeled accurately by black-oil simulation. This is especially true for miscible or nearly miscible floods in which significant mass transfer occurs between the hydrocarbon phases. Such floods are best modeled by compositional simulation.
A significant disadvantage of compositional simulation, however, is that it is much more computationally intensive than black-oil simulation. The primary reason for the increased computational time is the result of solving repeated flash calculations with cubic equations of state (EOS). Research has shown that EOS flash calculations can occupy 50 to 70% of total computational time in compositional simulations (Stenby and Wang 1993; Chang 1990). This is also true for other applications, such as multiphase flow in pipelines.
The use of fewer pseudocomponents can reduce the flash computation time, but fewer components results in less accuracy (Hong 1982; Liu 2001; Egwuenu et al. 2005). This is especially true in multicontact miscible displacements, in which miscibility is developed by a combined condensing/vaporizing drive process (Zick 1986; Johns et al. 1993; Egwuenu et al. 2005). Fluid characterization by pseudocomponent models can be improved by tuning to the analytical minimum miscibility enrichment or minimum miscibility pressure (Johns et al. 1994), but those models still require significant computational time, even for fewer pseudocomponents.
Another way to reduce computation time is to reduce the number of gridblocks. With coarse grids, however, numerical dispersion is large, which may cloud the results (Solano et al. 2001). Ideally, fine grids should be used that better match the level of dispersion found at the field scale.
More recently, methods have been examined to find reduced parameters for flash calculations. Michelsen (1982a, 1982b, 1986) significantly increased flash-calculation speed by finding three reduced parameters, regardless of the number of components. His method, however, assumes zero BIPs, which is too restrictive for real fluid characterization. Michelsen also gave a practical method for stability calculations using the tangent plane distance (TPD) (Michelsen 1982b).
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