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PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients

Theory
of
Pressure Transient Propagation

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Flow through Porous Media
The dynamics of flow through porous media are governed by three laws:
Darcys law, which relates the flow rate through a specific geometry to the
permeability and the pressure differential.
The continuity equation (or conservation of mass), which states that what flows
into an area must equal what flows out.
The equation-of-state for a compressible fluid, which relates the rate of change
in fluid density to the variations in pressure.

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Darcys Law

Q= K P
L
or, defining Ur as the flow in the longitudinal direction r:

p
Ur= kr
r

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Continuity Equation
From location 1 to location 2:

mD =(Av)1(Av)2
The mass conservation equation will be written as:

() 1 (rUr)
=
t
r r

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Equation-of-State of a Compressible Fluid
The compressibility is defined as the rate of variation of volume (density) with
respect to pressure:

1
Ct =
p

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


The Diffusivity Equation
By eliminating the density and flow rate parameters between the three previous
equations, one obtains (after making a number of simplifying assumptions):

Ct p
p 1 p
=
+
k t
r r
r

This equation describes the variations of pressure in time and space as functions of
environmental parameters k, , , and Ct.

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


The Diffusivity Constant

Ct p
p 1 p
=
+
k t
r r
r
At a specific distance, the rate of propagation in time is inversely proportional to the
diffusivity constant,
D =

k
Ct

Mobility
D is the ratio between the mobility, k , and the storativity, Ct : k = Storativity

On that basis, it is easy to picture concrete cases that are favourable and unfavourable
to propagation of pressure in oil and gas reservoirs.
Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

September 2002

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Validity of the Diffusivity Equation
In order to derive simple solutions to the diffusivity equation applicable to practical
situations, the following assumptions have to be made:
Isothermal conditions.
Negligible gravitational effects.
The flowing fluid is a single phase.
The reservoir is homogeneous, isotropic, incompressible, of a constant
porosity.
The flow is laminar (the velocity has no component normal to the flow).
The permeability is independent of pressure.
The fluid viscosity is constant and independent of pressure.
The pressure gradients are small.
September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Initial, Inner and Outer Boundary Conditions
In order to describe a physical problem, the diffusivity equation has to be
complemented by a set of conditions.
Initial conditions. The pressure throughout the reservoir must be known at a
given time. It is usually taken as P = Pi for t = 0.
Inner boundary condition. This covers the production condition of the well:
Darcys law adapted to the well geometry (slanted, fractured etc...). Important
parameters in this formulation are the wellbore volume (storage) and the skin.
Outer boundary conditions. These describe the outer geometrical limits of a
reservoir. For example, a sealing fault (no flow beyond this limit), or a constant
pressure condition (an aquifer, or a waterflood front).
Reservoir model (homogeneous, layered, fissured etc...).

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Dimensionless Variables
In order to solve the diffusivity equation in typical situations applicable to all possible
values of the physical parameters, one uses dimensionless variables defined as
follows:
Dimensionless distance:

r D= r
rw

in which rw is the wellbore radius.

Dimensionless pressure:
pressure.

pD=2 kh (pi p)
q

Dimensionless time:

tD =

k
t
Ctrw

in which pi is the initial

in which t is the elapsed time.

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Drawdown Solutions to the Diffusivity Equation
In what follows, the diffusivity equation will be solved for Drawdown cases.

A Drawdown is here defined as the opening to production of a well that has never
produced before. The reservoir pressure has been equal to Pi for an infinite length of
time.
The initial condition is that P = Pi for t = 0.

Build-up (shut-in) situations cannot be solved directly because they imply


knowledge of the previous well production history.

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


The Line Source Solution (Theis)
The diffusivity equation is usually solved
in the Laplace space, by using Fourier
transforms.
One of the earliest, historical solutions was
proposed by Theis for the case of a line
source well in a homogeneous, infinite
reservoir.

The Line Source solution involves a


wellbore collapsed to its axis, hence having
no volume (and hence no storage). The
length of the source is equal to the
thickness of the producing interval, h.

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


The Exponential Integral
The Line Source solution to the diffusivity equation is called the Exponential
Integral:

( )

pD=E rD
4t D

where

u
e
E(x)= du
u
x

In physical coordinates:

70.6q 948Ctr
E
p(r,t)= pi

kh
kt

For low values of x, E(x) can be approximated by Log(x).

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Infinite Acting Radial Flow (Drawdown)
The Exponential Integral solution of the diffusivity equation for IARF is

pD= 1 ln tD +0.80907
2 r D

which gives the pressure at any point (tD, rD) in space and time in the reservoir during
a drawdown.

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Radius of Investigation
The Exponential Integral solution to the diffusivity equation for the IARF case allows
to calculate the radius of investigation of a pressure disturbance as a function of time:

ri =

kt
948Ct

Alternatively, the time taken for a pressure disturbance to reach distance ri is:

948Ctri
t=
k

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Radius of Investigation Example
Calculate the radius of investigation of a 10-hour well test performed in a reservoir
with the following characteristics:
k = 100 mD, = 25%
= 1 cP
Ct = 3E-5 psi-1
What is the radius of investigation if the permeability is of only 1 mD?
How much time to we need to test to investigate to a 1000 ft radius?

ri =
September 2002

kt
948Ct

t=

948Ctri
k

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Sandface Pressure during IARF (Drawdown)
The Exponential Integral solution of the diffusivity equation for IARF

pD= 1 ln tD +0.80907
2 r D

gives the pressure at any point (tD, rD) in space and time in the reservoir during a
drawdown. At the sandface (rD = 1), the solution approximates to

pD= 1 [Ln(tD)+0.80907]
2
and in physical terms:

162.6q

k
log(t)+log
3.2275
p(t ) pi

kh
Ctrw

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Pressure Derivative and IARF
The solution of the diffusivity equation for IARF is:

pD= 1 [Ln(tD)+0.80907]
2
Then

dpD 1
pD'=
=
dLn(tD) 2

When IARF is reached, the pressure derivative levels off to a plateau on the log-log
plot. The corresponding value of PD is 0.5. Again, this characteristic leveling off of
PD upon reaching IARF is one of the most conspicuous features of the log-log plot in
well test interpretation.

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Wellbore Storage Constant
One defines the wellbore storage constant:

C=VwCfw
in which Vw is the volume of the wellbore, and Cfw is the compressibility of the
wellbore fluid.
Because the composition of the wellbore fluid usually changes during a well test, C is
never truly a constant. In particular, C (and hence the pressure response at early
times) is affected by phase redistribution affects as often take place when testing in
light oil and gas condensate reservoirs.
The sandface flow rate qsand is related to the surface flow rate q (brought to downhole
conditions) by:

dpwf
qsand =q+24C
dt

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel

PRACTICAL PRESSURE TRANSIENT TESTING

Propagation of Pressure Transients


Modeling of the Wellbore Storage in Well Testing
The sandface flow rate qsand is related to the surface flow rate q (brought to downhole
conditions) by:

dpwf
qsand =q+24C
dt

In dimensionless coordinates, one defines:

qsand
qD=
q

CD= 0.8936C
Ctrwh

and

The solution then becomes:

dpwfD
qD=1CD
dtD

September 2002

Gamma Experts
Petroleum Engineering

Yves Chauvel