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SPE 5434

Ijpt forum

Estimating the Viscosity of Crude Oil Systems

Viscosity values of crude oils and crude oils containing lations for dead or gas-free crude oil as a function of API
dissolved natural gas are required in various petroleum gravity and temperature, and for live oil viscosity as a
engineering calculations. In evaluation of fluid flow in a function of dissolved gas and dead oil viscosity. A de-
reservoir, the viscosity of the liquid is required at various scription of the data used, which were obtained from Core
values of reservoir pressure and at reservoir temperature. Laboratories, Inc., is given in Table 1.
This information can be obtained from a standard labora- The correlation for dead oil viscosity was developed by
tory PVT analysis that is run at reservoir temperature. plotting IOglo (T) vs loglo log 10 (/LaD + 1) on cartesian
There are cases, however, when the viscosity is needed at coordinates. The plots revealed a series of straight lines of
other temperatures. The most common situation requiring constant slope. It was found that each line represented oils
viscosities at various pressures and temperatures occurs in of a particul~ API gravity. The equati9n developed is
the calculation of two-phase, gas-liquid flowing pressure
traverses. These pressure traverses are required in /LaD = lOx - 1, ~ . . .(1)
tubing-string design, gas-lift design, and pipeline design. where
Calculation of these pressure traverses involves dividing x = Y T-l.l63
the flow string into a number of length increments and Y = 10 z
calculating the pressure gradient at average conditions of
pressure and temperature in the increment. Calculation of
Z = 3.0324 - 0.02023 'Yo.
pressure gradients requires knowledge of oil viscosity. In The correction of the dead oil viscosity for dissolved
many cases, the only information available on the fluid gas was developed by taking advantage of the fact that a
properties are the separator gas gravity and stock-tank oil linear relationship exists between IOglO /LaD and IOglOJ.L for
gravity; therefore, correlations requiring a knowledge of a particular value of dissolved gas, R s . Live oil viscosity
crude oil composition are not applicable. may be calculated from
The most popular methods presently used for predicting
oil viscosity are those of Beall for dead oil and Chewand J.L = A /LaD B, (2)
Connally2 for live or saturated oil. Beal correlated dead oil
viscosity as a function of API gravity and temperature.
TABLE 1 - DESCRIPTION OF DATA USED
Chew and Connally presented a correlation for the effect
of dissolved gas on the oil viscosity. The dead oil viscosity Variable Range
and the amount of dissolved gas at the temperature and Solution GOR, scf/STB 20 to 2,070
pressure of interest must be known.
When these correlations were applied to data collected
Oil gravity, API
Pressure, psig
Temperature, OF

16 to 58
to 5,250
70 to 295
for a study of dissolved gas and formation volume factor, Number of oil systems = 600
considerable errors and scatter were observed. These Number of dead oil observations = 460
data, therefore, were used to develop new empirical corre- Number of live oil observations = 2,073

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1140 JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY


TABLE 2 - STATISTICAL COMPARISON OF CORRELATIONS presents a statistical comparison of the correlations
Average Error Standard Deviation of Beal, Chew and Connally, and our findings.
(percent) of Percent Errors
Dead oil data used to Nomenclature
develop this correlation R s = dissolved GOR, scf/STB
Seal -19.64 21.86
This study - 0.64 13.53 T = temperature, OF
Dead oil data ILoD = viscosity of gas-free oil at T, cp
collected from J.L = viscosity of gas-saturated oil at T, cp
literature (93 cases) 'Yo = oil gravity, API
Seal 378.46 1,568.09
This study 114.27 530.00 References
Live oil data used to
develop this correlation 1. Beal, C.: "Viscosity of Air, Water, Natural Gas, Crude Oil and Its
Chew and Connally 25.35 35.70 Associated Gases at Oil-Field Temperatures and Pressures, " Trans.,
This study - 1.83 27.25 AIME (1946) 165, 94-115.
2. Chew, J. and Connally, C. A.: "A Viscosity Correlation for Gas-
Saturated Crude Oils," Trans., AIME (1959) 216, 23-25.
where 3. Lohrenz, J., Bray, B. G., and Clark, C. R.: "Calculating Viscosities
A = 10.715 (R s + 100)-0.515 of Reservoir Fluids From Their Compositions," J. Pet. Tech. (Oct.
B = 5.44 (R s + 150)-0.338 1964) 1171-1176; Trans., AIME, 231. .
4. Houpeurt, A. H. and Thelliez, M. B.: "Predicting the Viscosity of
Hydrocarbon Liquid Phases From Their Composition," paper SPE
Development of these correlations neglects the depen- 5057 presented at the SPE-AIME 49th Annual Fall Meeting, Hous-
dence of oil viscosity on composition, since oils of widely ton, Oct. 6-9, 1974.
varying compositions can have the same gravity. Viscos- 5. Little, J. E. and Kennedy, H. T.: "A Correlation of the Viscosity of
ity does depend on composition, and if the composition is Hydrocarbon Systems With Pressure, Temperature and Composi-
tion," Soc. Pet. Eng. J. (June 1968) 157-162; Trans., AIME,243.
available other correlations 3-5 exist that should be used for
greater accuracy. However, the correlations presented H. D. Beggs, SPE-AIME
here are easy to use and give fair accuracy and precision J. R. Robinson, *SPE-AIME
over a wide range of oil gravity, temperature, and dis- U. of Tulsa
solved gas. As is the case with any empirical study, Tulsa, Okla.
extrapolation outside the range of the data used to develop
the correlations should be done with caution. Table 2 *Now with Marathon Oil Co., Littleton, Colo.

SEPTEMBER,1975 1141