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J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 1 1


Production Technology
Performance of Flowing Wells
Professor Bahman Tohidi
Institute of Petroleum Engineering
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh EH14 4AS
Scotland
Tel: +44 (0)131 451 3672
Fax: +44 (0)131 451 3127
Email: B.Tohidi@hw.ac.uk
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 2 2
Learning Objectives
Inflow Performance Relationship (IPR)
Single phase
Two phase
Vertical Lift Performance
Single phase
Two phase
Flow Through Chokes
Matching Inflow and Tubing Performances
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 3 3
Introduction
Production by natural flow
Need for better understanding of various
concepts which define well performance.
Pressure loss occurs in:
the reservoir
the bottom hole completion
the tubing or casing
the wellhead
the flowline
the flowline choke
pressure losses in the separator and export
pipeline to storage
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 4 4
Introduction
Production is generally limited by the pressure in
the reservoir and difficult to do something about it.
A major task is to optimise the design to maximise
oil and gas recovery.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 5 5
Production Performance
Production performance involves
matching up the following three
aspects:
Inflow performance of formation fluid flow
from formation to the wellbore.
Vertical lift performance as the fluids flow
up the tubing to surface.
Choke or bean performance as the fluids
flow through the restriction at surface.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 7 7
Fluid Flow Through Porous Media
The nature of the fluid flow
Time taken for the pressure change in the
reservoir
Fluid to migrate from one location to another
For any pressure changes in the reservoir, it might
take days, even years to manifest themselves in
other parts of the reservoir.
Therefore flow regime would not be steady state
Darcys law could not be applied
Time dependent variables should be examined
2
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 8 8
Idealised Flow Pattern
They are:
Linear, Radial, Hemi-spherical, and Spherical
The most important cases are linear and
radial models, both used to describe the
water encroachment from an aquifer.
Radial model is used to describe the flow
around the wellbore.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 9 9
Characterisation and Modelling of Flow
Patterns
The actual flow patterns are usually complex,
due to:
1. The shape of oil formations and aquifers are
quite irregular
2. Permeability, porosity, saturations, etc are
not homogeneous
3. Irregular well pattern through the pay zone
4. Difference in production rate from well to
well
5. Many wells do not fully penetrate the pay
zone, or not fully perforated.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 10 10
Well Inflow Performance
Q
L
A
P
1
P
2

A
L
P P
Q
2 1

=
A
L
P P
K Q
2 1
Darcys Law
L
P K
L
P P K
A
Q
U
2 1

= =
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 12 12
Darcys Law
Definition
One Darcy is defined as the permeability which will
permit a fluid of one centipoise viscosity to flow at a
linear velocity of one centimeter per second for a
pressure gradient of one atmosphere per centimeter.
Assumptions For Use of Darcys Law
Steady flow
Laminar flow
Rock 100% saturated with one fluid
Fluid does not react with the rock
Rock is homogeneous and isotropic
Fluid is incompressible
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 13 13
Radial Flow for Incompressible Fluids
Reservoir is horizontal and of
constant thickness h.
Constant rock properties and K.
Single phase flow
Reservoir is circular of radius r
e
Well is located at the centre of the
reservoir and is of radius r
w
.
Fluid is of constant viscosity .
The well is vertical and completed
open hole
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 14 14
Characteristics of the Flow Regimes
Steady-State; the pressure and the rate distribution in
the reservoir remain constant with time.
Unsteady-State (Transient); the pressure and/or the
rate vary with time.
Semi-Steady State (Pseudo Steady-State); is a
special case of unsteady state which resembles
steady-state flow.
It is always necessary to recognise whether a well or
a reservoir is nearest to one of the above states, as
the working equations are generally different.
3
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 15 15
Radial Flow for Incompressible Fluids
Two cases are of primary interest:
Steady state: The reservoir conditions does not
change with time.
Flow at r=r
e
Semi steady state or pseudo steady state:
Reservoir conditions changes with time, but dP/dr is
fairly constant and does not change with time.
No flow occurs across the outer boundary
Fluid production of fluids must be compensated for by the
expansion of residual fluids in the reservoir.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 16 16
Coping with Complexities
There are essentially two possibilities:
1. The drainage area of the well, reservoir or aquifer is
modelled fairly closely by subdividing the formation
into small blocks. This results in a complex series of
equations which are solved by numerical or semi-
numerical methods.
2. The drained area is represented by a single block in
such a way that the global features are preserved.
Inhomogeneities are averaged out or substituted by a
simple pattern. Here the equations of flow can be
solved analytically.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 18 18
Steady State - Radial Flow of an
Incompressible Fluid
r
dr
Kh 2
q
dP
dr
dP K
rh 2
q
A
q
U
rh 2 A
r
r r

= =
=
Can be integrated between the limits of:
inner boundary i.e. the wellbore sand face: r =r
w
P =P
w
outer boundary i.e. the drainage radius: r =r
e
P =P
e
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 19 19
Steady State - Radial Flow of an
Incompressible Fluid
[ ] )
r
r
ln(
Kh 2
q
P P
r
dr
Kh 2
q
r
dr
Kh 2
q
dP
w
e r
w e
r
r
r
r
r
r
P
P
e
w
e
w
e
w

=

[P
e
- P
w
] is the total pressure drop across the reservoir and
is denoted the drawdown.
q
r
is the fluid flowrate at reservoir conditions.
If the production rate measured at standard conditions at
surface i.e. q
s
then q
s
.B =q
r
[ ] )
r
r
ln(
Kh 2
B q
P P
w
e s
w e

=
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 20 20
Steady State - Radial Flow of an
Incompressible Fluid
If the production rate measured at standard conditions at
surface i.e. q
s
then q
s
.B =q
r
[ ] )
r
r
ln(
Kh 2
B q
P P
w
e s
w e

=
In field units, i.e., P and q
s
in psi and STB/day
[ ] )
r
r
ln(
Kh
B q
10 x 082 . 7
1
P P
w
e s
3 w e

=

J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 21 21
Steady State - Radial Flow of an
Incompressible Fluid
Highly supportive reservoir pressure maintenance
with water injection or gas reinjection.
Reservoir production associated with a substantial
expanding gas cap.
[ ] )
r
r
ln(
Kh
B q
10 x 082 . 7
1
P P
w
e s
3 w e

=

4
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 22 22
Semi Steady State Radial Flow of a
Slightly Compressible Fluid
If there is no flow across the outer boundary, flow
occurs solely as a result of the expansion of fluid
remaining within the reservoir. The reservoir is
frequently defined as being bounded.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 23 23
Semi Steady State Radial Flow of a
Slightly Compressible Fluid
C is the isothermal coefficient of compressibility.
) t ( f P
t tan cons )
dr
dP
(
0 )
dr
dP
(
e
e
r r
r r
=

=
<
=
P
V
.
V
1
C

=
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 25 25
Semi Steady State Radial Flow of a
Slightly Compressible Fluid
The application of Darcys law with the system
compressibility equation applied to cylindrical reservoir
volume, results in an equation which needs to be solved
analytically to give :
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 26 26
Semi Steady State Radial Flow of a
Slightly Compressible Fluid
P
e
has no physical significance.
Volumetrically averaged reservoir pressure should be
used.
q=constant
P
e
P
wf
r
w
r
e
r
P
h
P
ave
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 27 27
Radial Flow Theory for Single Phase
Compressible Fluids
Oil, in most cases, can be considered as only
slightly compressible.
Gases, however, are highly compressible.
The prediction of inflow performance for gas wells is
more complex due to:
Gas viscosity is dependent upon pressure.
Gas compressibility is highly dependent upon pressure.
Q
R
in bbls/day
Conversion to SCF/day
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 30 30
Steady State Radial Flow for a Gas
Approximate solution - average pressure or P
2
approach.
Q
s
SCF/day
Q
s

MSCF/day
2
5
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 31 31
Steady State Radial Flow for a Gas
Approximate solution - average pressure or P
2
approach.
2
wf
P wf
P
Flow Open Absolute Q
AOF
=
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 33 33
Semi-Steady State Flow for a Gas System
Using the bounded reservoir assumption and the
definition of isothermal compressibility:
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 34 34
Multiphase Flow within the Reservoir
Only single phase flow, so far.
Most oil reservoirs will produce at a bottom hole
pressure below the bubble point, either:-
Initially where the reservoir is saturated
Or after production where the pressure in the pore space
declines below the bubble point, resulting in 2-phase flow
Saturations in pore space S
o
+S
w
+S
g
=1.0
Critical saturation S
c
Connate water S
wc
Residual saturation S
or
Absolute permeability K
Relative permeability k
ro
=k
o
/K
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 35 35
Multiphase Flow within the Reservoir
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 36 36
2-Phase Flow, Vogels Equation
2
r
wf
r
wf
max o
o
)
P
P
( 8 . 0 )
P
P
( 2 . 0 1
q
q
=
A simplified solution was offered by Vogel. He simulated the PVT
properties and cumulative production from different wells on
computer to produce many IPR curves. These were then normalised
for pressure and producing rate. The curves produced represent
many different depletion drive reservoir. A single curve can be fitted
to the data with the following equation.
This equation has been found to be a good representation of many
reservoirs and is widely used in the prediction of IPR curves for 2-
phase flow. Also, it appears to work for water cuts of up to 50%.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 37 37
Vogels Equation, Example-1
b/d 211 )
2400
800
( 8 . 0 )
2400
800
( 2 . 0 1 250 ) ( 8 . 0 ) ( 2 . 0 1
psi 800 P For
b/d 250
)
2400
1800
( 8 . 0 )
2400
1800
( 2 . 0 1
100
) ( 8 . 0 ) ( 2 . 0 1
psi 1800 P
b/d 100 q
psi 2400 P
: data following given the psi, 800 P for q and q Find
2 2
max
2 2
max
wf
o
wf o omax
=

=
=
=

=

=
=
=
=
=
r
wf
r
wf
o o
r
wf
r
wf
o
o
r
P
P
P
P
q q
P
P
P
P
q
q
6
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 38 38
Vogels Equation, Example, Cont.
If other values of P
wf
are chosen, sufficient
q
o
s can be generated
to plot the curve, e.g.:
P
wf
q
o
800 211
1200 175
1600 128
2000 69
IPR
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
0 100 200 300 q
o
P
w
f
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 39 39
Vogels Equation, Combined Single Phase Liquid and 2-
Phase
In this case there is a single
phase liquid which exists
above the bubble point. Below
the bubble point the system
becomes 2-phase.
The figure opposite shows the
IPR, which is a combined
linear-Vogel plot (i.e., straight
line above Pb and Vogel
below Pb with Pb substituted
for Pr).
P
b
P
r
q
b
q
max
q
P
wf
Straight line above P
b
Vogel below P
b
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 40 40
Vogels Equation, Example-2
psia 1000 b. psia 2500 a. : of P for q iii)
P below IPR Vogel assuming , q )
q i)
: Find
)
4
3
(ln
) ( 10 08 . 7
cp 0.68 2 . 1 B 0 S
ft 0.4 r ft 2000 r ft 60 h
md 30 k psia 2000 P psia 3000 P
: data following Given the
wf o
b max
b
3
o
w e
b
ii
r
r
B
P P h k
q
w
e
o
o
wfs r o
o
o
r


=
= = =
= = =
= = =

J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 41 41


Example-2, Solution

=
=
+

=

2
max
b
3
3
) ( 8 . 0 ) ( 2 . 0 1
P beyond Vogel using ii)
b/d 2010
) 0
4
3
4 . 0
2000
(ln 2 . 1 68 . 0
) 2000 3000 ( 60 30 10 08 . 7
)
4
3
(ln
) ( 10 08 . 7
: used is equation inflow radial fore there
point, bubble the above PI given no is There i)
r
wf
r
wf
o o
w
e
o
o
wfs r o
o
P
P
P
P
q q
r
r
B
P P h k
q

J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 42 42


Example-2, Solution
b/d/psi 01 . 2
2000 3000
2010
P at PI therefore
8 . 1
P
PI ) Vogel ( q
P
8 . 1
q
P
P 6 . 1
P
2 . 0
q
dP
q d -
PI P P at and
P
P 6 . 1
P
2 . 0
q
dP
q d -
P
P 6 . 1
P
2 . 0
q
dP
q d
PI. the gives it ated differenti is
equation s Vogel' if IPR, the of slope the is PI the that membering Re
b
b
max o
b
max o 2
b
b
b
max o
wf
o
b wf
2
r
wf
r
max o
wf
o
2
r
wf
r
max o
wf
o
=

=
=

+ = = =

+ =

=
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 43 43
Example-2, Solution
b/d 3573 1563 2010 q q q
b/d 1563 )
2000
1000
0.8( )
2000
1000
( 2 . 0 1 q q
P i.e. psi, 1000 P b.
b/d 1005 ) 2500 3000 ( 01 . 2 ) P P PI( q
, P i.e. psi, 2500 P a. iii)
b/d 4243 2233 2010 q q q
b/d 2233
8 . 1
2000
01 . 2
8 . 1
P
PI q
o(Vogel) b o(total)
2
) Vogel max( o(Vogel)
b wf
wf
r
b wf
) vogel max( b ) total max(
b
) vogel max( o
= + = + =
=

=
< =
= = =
> =
= + = + =
= = =
7
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 44 44
Vogels Equation, Problems-1&2
IPR the Plot
b/d/psi 2 PI
psi 3000 P
psi 4200 P
psi. 2500 P for q and , q , q find data, following the Using
2 - Problem
_________ __________ __________ __________
psig 1000 P b/d 150 q
psig 1600 P psig 1600 P
: data following the for IPR plot and q Find
1 - Problem
b
r
wf max(total) b
wf o
b
r
omax
=
=
=
=
= =
= =
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 45 45
Two Phase Flow: Effect of GOR
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 47 47
Productivity Index (PI)
Productivity index is a measure of the capability of a
reservoir to deliver fluids to the bottom of a wellbore.
It relates the surface production rate and the pressure
drop across the reservoir, known as the drawdown.
To take into account the effect of the thickness of
producing interval and comparison of various wells,
the Specific Productivity Index is defined as:
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 49 49
Oil Wells Productivity Index
The Productivity Index (PI) is the ratio of
production to the pressure draw down at the
mid-point of the production interval
rate flow oil Q presure
presure reservoir average
o
= =
=

=
flowing P
P
P P
Q
PI
wf
R
wf R
o
The productivity index is a measure of the oil well potential or ability
to produce and is a commonly measured well property.
PI is expressed either in stock tank barrel per day per psi or in stock
tank cubic metres per day per kPa.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 50 50
Practical determination of PI
The static pressure (P
R
) is measured by:
- prior to open a new well (after clean up)
- after sufficient shut in period (existing wells)
In both cases a subsurface pressure gauge is run into
the well
The flowing bottom hole pressure (P
wf
) is recorded
- after the well has flowed at a stabilised rate for a
sufficient period (new wells)
- prior to shut in for the existing wells
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 51 51
Decline of PI at High Flow Rates
In most wells the productivity index remains
constant over a wide range of variation in
flow rate. Therefore, the oil flow rate is
directly proportional to bottom hole
pressure draw down.
However, at high flow rate the linearity fails
and the productivity index declines, which
could be due to:
1- turbulence at high volumetric flow rates
2- decrease in relative permeability due to the
presence of free gas caused by the drop in
pressure at the well bore
3- the increased in oil viscosity with pressure
drop below bubble point
Flow rate
PI
Drawdown
Q
o
PI
8
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 53 53
PI for Gas Reservoir in SS Flow
For gas wells, the equations commonly involve a P
2
term, hence the PI is redefined in terms of this.
Parameters, assuming no
change in the fluid and
reservoir properties, should
remain constant. Hence, J
should be a constant.
2
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 54 54
Gas Wells: Potential Curve
The productivity of a gas well is expressed by the
potential curve (or back pressure curve).
data. flow point stabilised one from calculated is C
flow). (turbulent 0.5 and flow) state - steady (laminar 1 between varies n
paper. log - log a on Q vs ) P (P of plot the of slope the is
n
1
C ) Q log(
n
1
) C log(
n
1
) Q log(
n
1
) P log(P
) P nlog(P log(C) log(Q)
constants are n" " and C" " pressure face sand flowing P
pressure reservoir in - shut P rate flow volumetric Q
) P C(P Q
2
wf
2
wi
' 2
wf
2
wi
2
wf
2
wi
wf
wi
n 2
wf
2
wi

+ = =
+ =
=
= =
=
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 55 55
Gas Wells: Potential Curve
Potential Curve
1
10
100
1000
10000
1 10 100 1000 10000
q
P
w
i
^
2
-
P
w
f
^
2
Slope=1/n
Zero sand face pressure
Absolute
Open
Flow (AOF)
C
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 56 56
Potential Curve: Practical
Determination
The potential curve is obtained either through a back
pressure test or an isochornal flow test.
A back pressure test consists of succession of four
increasing flow rates. The pressures are measured at
the end of a flow period at a given rate, after which the
rate is changed immediately to a new value without
closing the well.
Back pressure tests are used for formations with good
permeability, where the measured pressure at the end of
each flow period reaches a stabilised value.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 57 57
Potential Curve: Back Pressure Test
q
1
q
2
q
3
q
4
q
t
t
P
wf
P
wf1
P
wf2
P
wf3
P
wf4
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 58 58
Potential Curve: Practical
Determination
In low permeability formations where stabilised flow
conditions would be attained in a prohibitive time,
isochronal tests give better results.
An isochronal test consists of flowing the well at four
flow rates for period of equal duration. After each period
the well is shut-in for sufficiently long time in order to
reach static conditions with a satisfactory approximation.
An additional point is used from a run with an extended
flow period approximating stabilised conditions. A line
drawn through this point, with correct nrepresents the
true stabilised potential curve.
9
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 59 59
Potential Curve: Isochronal Test
q
1
q
2
q
3 q
t
t
P
wf
q
4
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 60 60
Example 1
From a well test, it has been determined that
the performance constant, C of the well is
0.0037 (for q
sc
in MMSCF/D) and n=0.93.
Determine the flow rate when P
r
=3000 psia
and P
wf
=1850 psia. What is the Absolute
Open Flow (AOF) potential.
( ) ( )
( ) mmscf/d 86 . 10 ) 0 ( ) 3000 ( 0037 . 0 AOF
mmscf/d 96 . 6 ) 1850 ( ) 3000 ( 0037 . 0 P P C q
93 . 0
2 2
93 . 0
2 2
n
2
wf
2
r
qc
= =
= = =
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 61 61
Example 2: Isochronal Test
Duration of
Test
(hours)
Sand-face
Pressure
(psia)
Flow Rate
(MMSCF/D)
Shut-in bottom
hole pressure
(psia)
Shut-in 2200 0 2200
6 1892 2.8 2200
6 1782 3.4 2200
6 1647 4.8 2200
6 1511 5.4 2200

Analyse the following isochronal well test data
Afterwards, the well continued to produced at 6 mmscf/d and
reached a stabilised flowing sandface pressure of 1180 psia.
Plot the deliverability curve and determine flow index and the
performance constant.
Determine AOF
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 62 62
Example 2: Isochronal Test-
Solution
Pwf
(psia)
qsc
(MMSCF/D)
Pwf
2

(psia)
2
Pr
2
-Pwf
2

(psia)
2

2200 0 4.84 x 10
6
0
1892 2.8 3.58 x 10
6
1.26 x 10
6

1782 3.4 3.18 x 10
6
1.66 x 10
6

1647 4.8 2.71 x 10
6
2.13 x 10
6

1511 5.4 2.28 x 10
6
2.56 x 10
6

Stabilised point
1180 6.0 1.39 x 10
6
3.45 x 10
6


The following table is prepared
Plot (P
r
2
-P
wf
2
) v q
sc
on log-log paper.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 63 63
Example 2: Isochronal Test- Solution
0 . 1 n 0 . 1
) 10 2 . 2 log( ) 10 8 . 8 log(
) 10 0 . 1 log( ) 10 0 . 4 log(
n
1
6 6
6 6
= =


=
MMSCF/D 4 . 8 AOF
10 84 . 4
0 ) 2200 ( P P
6
2 2
wf
2
r
=
=
=
6
0 . 1 6
n 2
wf
2
r
sc
10 74 . 1
) 10 45 . 3 (
6
) P P (
q
C

=

=

=
MMSCF/D 42 . 8
) 0 2200 (
10 74 . 1 AOF
0 . 1 2 2
6
=
=

1.00E+06
1.00E+07
1.E+06 1.E+07 Q(SCF/D)
P
r
2
-
P
w
f 2

(
p
s
i
a
2
)
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 64 64
Perturbations from Radial Flow Theory for
Single Phase Flow
IPR were derived on the
assumption that radial
flow occurred
The formation was
assumed to be isotropic
and homogeneous.
However the basic
process of drilling and
completing a well will
cause changes in the
condition of the physical
flow process.
10
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 65 65
Perturbations from Radial Flow Theory for
Single Phase Flow
These perturbations to radial flow may comprise the
following:
A zone of permanent or temporary permeability
impairment around the borehole due to mud,
completion fluid, and possibly cement filtrate
invasion.
A large number of wells are cased off and then
perforated.
Often, only a small section of the reservoir is to be
perforated (fluid convergence and vertical
permeability).
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 67 67
Perturbations from Radial Flow Theory for
Single Phase Flow
Perturbations from radial flow theory will generate an
extra pressure drop component which will affect the
the actual bottomhole flowing pressure, P
wf
.
where P
wf actual
is the actual bottom hole flowing
pressure and P
wf
ideal is the idealised bottomhole
flowing pressure which assumes true radial flow.
And P
SKIN
is the additional pressure loss associated
with the perturbation(s). It should be noted that most
of the perturbations will cause the P
SKIN
to be
positive and accordingly
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 68 68
Perturbations from Radial Flow Theory for
Single Phase Flow
It should be noted that most of the perturbations will
cause the P
SKIN
to be positive and accordingly
The pressure drop associated with these near
wellbore phenomena is termed a SKIN and is defined
as a dimensionless skin factor, S:
For fractures, acid stimulations and for deep
perforations, there will be less resistance to flow and
hence
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 69 69
Skin Factor
Pressure drop associated with these near wellbore
phenomena is termed a SKIN and is generally
defined as a dimensionless skin factor, S:
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 70 70
Skin Factor
The actual drawdown across the reservoir when a
skin exists, P
actual
, can be related to the ideal
drawdown predicted from radial flow theory P
ideal
and the skin pressure drop P
SKIN
by:
In field units
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 72 72
Skin Factor
We can simply add the P
SKIN
to the radial flow
expressions developed earlier e.g. for steady state
flow of an incompressible fluid, by adding in the skin
pressure drop:
For compressible fluids
11
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 73 73
Tubing Performance
The pressure loss in the tubing can be a significant
proportion of the total pressure loss. However its
calculation is complicated by the number of phases
which may exist in the tubing.
It is possible to derive a mathematical expression
which describes fluid flow in a pipe by applying the
principle of conservation of energy.
The principle of the conservation of energy equates
the energy of fluid entering in and exiting from a
control volume.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 86 86
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 87 87
Single Phase Turbulent Flow
Frictional pressure loss for single phase turbulent
flow will still be a function of velocity as in the case
for laminar flow, but the proportionality will be more
complex and a function of the relative roughness.
It can be seen that
the pressure
gradient dP/dL is a
function of:
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 88 88
Single Phase Turbulent Flow
In flowing to surface,
the fluid will:
lose pressure
Expansion for high
compressibility fluids
lose heat to the
surrounding
formations
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 89 89
Dry Gas Flow
Effect of Pressure
Gas is a low viscosity, low density fluid with a very
high coefficient of isothermal compressibility, e.g.,
C
g
=300 x 10
-6
vol/vol /psi
As the gas flows to surface, its pressure will decline
and it will undergo the following changes:
the density will dramatically decline
the potential energy or hydrostatic pressure gradient will
decline proportionally.
the gas will expand, resulting in an increase in velocity.
the frictional pressure gradient will increase
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 90 90
Dry Gas Flow
For most gas production wells, the flow regime in
the tubing will be transitional or turbulent.
The relative
contribution of both
the frictional and
hydrostatic pressure
gradients as a
function of gas
flowrate
12
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 92 92
Single Phase Liquid Flow - Oil or Water
Effect of Pressure
In general, crude oil can be classified as slightly
compressible, the degree of compressibility being
dependent on the crude oil gravity - a light crude oil
with an API gravity of, say, 35 would be more
compressible than a heavier crude oil with an API
gravity of 20 API. A typical oil compressibility (C
o
)
would be 8 - 12 x 10
-6
vol/vol/ psi.
Water is even less compressible and is frequently
considered to be incompressible (C
w
=6 - 8x10
-6
vol/vol/psi).
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 93 93
Single Phase Liquid Flow - Oil or Water
For the flow up tubing of a single phase
liquid, the following will occur:
As the liquid flows upwards, the density will
decline by the order of 0.5 - 1.0% for every 1000
psi drop in pressure. The effect on hydrostatic
pressure gradient is minimal.
As pressure declines, the viscosity will decrease
slightly. Hence, for oil or water, the impact of flow
on the physical properties of the fluid will be
negligible and hence the increase in frictional
gradient will remain almost constant.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 94 94
Single Phase Liquid Flow - Oil or Water
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 96 96
Procedure, Single Phase Flow
The pressure drop equation must be integrated in
order to calculate the pressure drop as a function of
flow rate (or velocity) and pipe diameter.
It should be combined with a continuity equation and
an equation of state to express velocity and density in
terms of pressure.
The equation can be integrated numerically by
dividing the pipe into small increments and evaluating
the gas or fluid properties at average pressure and
temperature in the increments. Small increments will
improve the accuracy.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 97 97
Multiphase Flow in Vertical and Inclined Wells
The behaviour of gas in tubing strings is markedly
different. The flow of a gas-liquid mixture would be
more complex than for single phase flow.
Each of the phases, have individual properties such
as density and viscosity which is a function of P&T
and hence position in the well.
Some types of multiphase flow are:
Gas-Liquid Mixtures
Liquid-Liquid Flow
Gas-Liquid-Liquid
Gas-Liquid-Solid
Gas-Liquid-Liquid-Solid
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 98 98
Gas-Liquid Mixtures
In the production of a
reservoir containing oil
and gas in solution, it is
preferable to maintain
the flowing bottom hole
pressure above the
bubble point so that
single phase oil flows
through the reservoir
pore space.
13
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 101 101
Flow Regimes in Vertical 2-Phase Flow, Cont.
As the liquid moves up the tubing, the
pressure drops and gas bubbles
begin to form. This flow regime where
gas bubbles are dispersed in a
continuous liquid medium is known
as bubble flow.
As the fluid moves further up the
tubing, the gas bubbles grow and
become more numerous. The larger
bubbles slip upward at a higher
velocity than the smaller ones,
because of the buoyancy effect.
Single Phase
Liquid Flow
Bubble
Flow
Slug or Plug
Flow
Annular
Flow
Mist
Flow
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 102 102
Flow Regimes in Vertical 2-Phase Flow, Cont.
A stage is reached where these large bubbles
extend across almost the entire diameter of the
tubing. As a result, slugs of oil containing small
bubbles are separated from each other by gas
pockets that occupy the entire tubing cross section
except for a film of oil moving relatively slowly along
the tubing wall. This is Slug or Plug Flow.
Still higher in the tubing, the gas pockets may have
grown and expanded to such as extent that they are
able to break through the more viscous oil slug. Gas
forms a continuous phase near the centre of the
tubing carrying droplets of the oil up with it. Along
the walls of the tubing there is an upward moving oil
film. This is Annular Flow.
Single Phase
Liquid Flow
Bubble
Flow
Slug or Plug
Flow
Annular
Flow
Mist
Flow
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 103 103
Flow Regimes in Vertical 2-Phase Flow, Cont.
Continued decrease in pressure with resultant
increase in gas volume results in a thinner and
thinner oil film, until finally the film disappears and
the flow regime becomes a continuous gas phase in
which oil droplets are carried along with the gas,
i.e., Mist Flow.
Not all these flow regimes will occur simultaneously
in a single tubing string, but frequently 2 or possibly
3 may be present.
In addition to flow regimes, the viscosity of oil and
gas and their variation with pressure and
temperature, PVT characteristics, flowing bottom
hole pressure (BHP), and tubing head pressure
(THP) affect the pressure gradient.
Single Phase
Liquid Flow
Slug or Plug
Flow
Bubble
Flow
Annular
Flow
Mist
Flow
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 104 104
Flow Regimes in Vertical 2-Phase Flow, Cont.
These flow patterns have been observed by a
number of investigators who have conducted
experiments with air-water mixtures in visual flow
columns.
The conventional manner of depicting the
experimental data from these observations is to
correlate the liquid and gas velocity parameters
against the physical description of the flow pattern
observed.
Such presentations of data are referred to as flow
pattern maps. The map is a log-log plot of the
superficial velocities of the gas and liquid phases.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 105 105
Flow pattern map
for a gas/water
mixture
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 106 106
Practical Application of Multiphase Flow
Multiphase flow correlations could be used for:
1. Predict tubing head pressure (THP) at various rates
2. Predict flowing bottom hole pressure (BHP) at various rates
3. Determine the PI of wells
4. Select correct tubing sizes
5. Predict maximum flow rates
6. Predict when a well will die and hence time for artificial lift
7. Design artificial lift applications
The important variables are: tubing diameter, flowrate, gas
liquid ratio (GLR), viscosity, etc.
14
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 109 109
Flow Characteristics for Hydrocarbon
Reservoir Fluids Systems
Dry Gas
Since no liquid phase will be present under
any pressure conditions, the flow will be
monophasic.
Wet Gas
A wet reservoir gas will have small quantities
of liquid associated with it. As the gas flows to
surface, the pressure will decline to the dew
point, hence mist of particles in a continuous
gas phase.
Subsequent liquid deposition will emerge as
mist.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 110 110
Flow Characteristics for Hydrocarbon
Reservoir Fluids Systems
Gas Condensate
At low liquid concentration at the dew point,
the liquid phase could be present as a mist
and as an annular filmor subsequently a
slugat higher concentrations.
However, as flow continues up the tubing, the
gas will expand dramatically and any liquid will
transfer from slug to annular film to mist.
The above flow phenomena may be
particularly exacerbated if the fluid is a
retrograde condensate where liquid dropout in
the tubing may revaporise as it flows up the
tubing and the pressure declines.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 111 111
Flow Characteristics for Hydrocarbon
Reservoir Fluids Systems
Volatile Oil
A volatile oil is characterised by a high GOR and thus
as it flows to surface it may pass through all of the flow
patterns above, including the single phase regime if
P
wf
>P
BPt
.
The range of patterns developed will depend on the flow
velocity and the GOR.
Black Oil
A black oil has a very low GOR and accordingly is
unlikely to progress beyond the bubble and slug flow
regimes into annular flow.
Heavy Oil
Heavy oil normally has a very low (or nonexistent) GOR
and as such it will vary from single phase oil to the
bubble flow regime.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 115 115
Flow Patterns
in a Horizontal
Pipe
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 118 118
Fluid Parameters in Multiphase Flow:
Slippage
If a gas-liquid mixture flows up a tubing string, the
effects of buoyancy on the phases will not be equal.
The lighter of the phases will rise upwards at an
incrementally higher rate compared to the oil.
The slip velocity, V
s
, is defined as the difference in
velocities of the two phases, ie, for a gas-oil system.
V
s
=V
g
- V
o
Particularly in the flow slug regime, the impact of
slippage is to assist in lifting the heavier phase (oil).
However if slippage is severe it can promote
segregated flow particularly in the low velocity
bubble flow regime.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 119 119
Fluid Parameters in Multiphase Flow:
Holdup
Holdup is a term used to define the volumetric ratio
between two phases which occupy a specified
volume or length of pipe.
The liquid holdup for a gas-liquid mixture flowing in a
pipe is referred to as H
L
:
H
L
therefore has a value between zero and one.
Similarly, the gas holdup H
g
is defined as:
15
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 120 120
Fluid Parameters in Multiphase Flow:
Fluid Velocity
A difficulty arises as to how to define the
velocity of a specific phase. There are two
options:
The first option is to define velocity based upon
the total cross-sectional area of the pipe.
The velocity in this case is termed the superficial
velocity.
A more accurate value for the velocity of each
phase is to correct for the holdupof each phase.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 123 123
Practical Application of Multiphase Flow
There are two choices in conducting two
phase flow calculations in calculating vertical
lift performance of a well:
1. Computer - recommended if time and
location permits
2. Working curves (pressure traverse or
pressure gradient curves) - for initial
estimation or when computer programme is
not available.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 125 125
Multiphase Flow Models
Most of the multiphase flow correlations can
be used with the following general procedure:
Use will be made of the general equation:
Hold up
Flow regime
accel frict elev Tot
)
dL
dP
( )
dL
dP
( )
dL
dP
( )
dL
dP
( + + =
m elev
)
dL
dP
( =
d g 2
v f
)
dL
dP
(
c
m m m
frict

=
dL
) v (
g 2
)
dL
dP
(
2
m
c
m
accel

=
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 126 126
Pressure Transverse or Gradient Curves
A, B, C=Different
Tubing Head
Pressures
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 127 127
Pressure Transverse or Gradient Curves
By shifting the curves
downwards, he found that,
for a constant GLR,
flowrate and tubing size,
the curves overlapped
Then, a single curve could
be utilised to represent
flow in the tubing under
assumed conditions.
The impact was in effect to
extend the depth of the
well by a length which,
would dissipate the tubing
head pressure.
A, B, C=Different
Tubing Head
Pressures
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 128 128
Gradient Curves
Gilbert was then able to
collect all the curves for a
constant tubing size and
flowrate on one graph,
resulting in a series of
gradient curves which
would accommodate a
variety of GLRs.
He then prepared a series
of gradient curves at
constant liquid production
rate and tubing size.
16
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 129 129
Gradient Curves
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 130 130
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 131 131 J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 132 132
Positive or Fixed Choke
This normally consists
of two parts:
A choke which consists
of a machined housing
into which the orifice
capability or "bean" is
installed.
A "bean" which consists
of a short length 1-6", of
thick walled tube with a
smooth, machined bore
of specified size.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 133 133
Valve Seat with Adjustable Valve Stem
In this design, the orifice
consists of a valve seat
into which a valve stem
can be inserted and
retracted, thus adjusting
the orifice size.
The movement of the
valve stem can either be
manual or automatic
using an hydraulic or
electrohydraulic
controller.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 134 134
Rotating Disc Choke
17
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 135 135
Choke Flow Characteristics
Chokes normally operate in multiphase
systems. Single phase can occur in dry gas
wells.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 136 136
Critical Flow through Chokes
R=P
2
/P
1
The value of R at the
point where the
plateau production
rate is achieved is
termed the
critical pressure ratio
R
c
.
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 137 137
Critical Flow through Chokes
Critical flow behaviour is only exhibited by highly
compressible fluid such as gases and gas/liquid
mixtures.
For gas, which is a highly compressible fluid, the
critical downstream pressure P
c
is achieved when
velocity through the vena contracta equals the
sonic velocity
this means that a disturbance in pressure or flow
downstream of the choke must travel at greater
than the speed of sound to influence upstream flow
conditions.
In general, critical flow conditions will exist when
R
c
=<0.5
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 138 138
Critical Flow through Chokes
For a two-phase compressible mixture, say, oil and
gas, the sonic velocity will generally be lower than
that for a gas system, i.e., R
c
=0.5 - 0.6

1 1.00
2 0.98
3 0.95
4 0.90
5 0.80
6 0.70
7 0.60
8 0.50
9 0.40
=Q
g
/(Q
o
+Q
g
)
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 139 139
Multiphase Flow through a Choke
A number of researchers have published studies on
multiphase flow through chokes.
Some of the studies relate to correlation of field
measurements.
P
TH
=tubing head flowing pressure in psia
C
d
=constant
R =gas liquid ratio (MSCF/bbl)
Q =oil flowrate (STB/d)
S =bean size in 1/64"
Gilbert (435 is reported in some literature)
Achong (R in SCF/bbl)
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 140 140
18
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 141 141
10
20
64
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 142 142
Matching the Inflow and Tubing Performance
Method 1 - Reservoir
and tubing pressure
loss convergence in
predicting bottomhole
flowing pressure
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 143 143
Matching the Inflow and Tubing Performance
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 144 144
Matching the Inflow and Tubing Performance
Method 2 -
cumulative pressure
loss from reservoir
to separator
J anuary04 Performance of Flowing Wells 145 145