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subtitle]

POROUS MEDIA

Apostolos Kantzas, PhD P. Eng.

1. CHAPTER 1........................................................................................................................................... 11

INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................................... 11

2. CHAPTER 2........................................................................................................................................... 15

THE POROUS MEDIUM............................................................................................................................ 15

HOMOGENEITY ................................................................................................................................... 16

ANISOTROPY ....................................................................................................................................... 18

POROSITY ............................................................................................................................................ 18

PORE SIZE DISTRIBUTION .................................................................................................................... 28

SPECIFIC SURFACE AREA ..................................................................................................................... 32

COMPRESSIBILITY OF POROUS ROCKS ................................................................................................ 33

PERMEABILITY ..................................................................................................................................... 37

SATURATION ....................................................................................................................................... 50

FORMATION RESISTIVITY FACTOR ...................................................................................................... 53

MULTI-PHASE SATURATED ROCK PROPERTIES ................................................................................... 60

RELATIVE PERMEABILITY ................................................................................................................... 100

3. CHAPTER 3......................................................................................................................................... 171

MOLECULAR DIFFUSION ....................................................................................................................... 171

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 171

Fick’s Law of Binary Diffusion ........................................................................................................... 171

Diffusion Coefficient ......................................................................................................................... 174

4. CHAPTER 4......................................................................................................................................... 204

Immiscible Displacement ...................................................................................................................... 204

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 204

Buckley-Leverett Theory, .................................................................................................................. 204

Water Injection Oil Recovery Calculations........................................................................................ 215

Vertical and Volumetric Sweep Efficiencies...................................................................................... 230

5. CHAPTER 5......................................................................................................................................... 242

Miscible Displacement .......................................................................................................................... 242

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 242

FLUID PHASE BEHAVIOR.................................................................................................................... 245

First Contact Miscibility Process ....................................................................................................... 255

1

Multiple Contact Miscibility Processes ............................................................................................. 257

Determination of Miscibility Condition............................................................................................. 267

Fluid properties in miscible displacement ........................................................................................ 277

The Equation of Continuity ............................................................................................................... 305

The Equation of Continuity in Porous Media .................................................................................... 306

2

Figure 1-1: World supply of primary energy by fuel type. .......................................................................... 11

Figure 1-2: Simplified Illustrations of Vertical and Horizontal Wells .......................................................... 12

Figure 1-3: Elementary Trap in Sectional View ........................................................................................... 14

Figure 2-1: Dependence of Permeability on Sample Volume ..................................................................... 16

Figure 2-2 –A Probability Density Function can be used to find the homogeneity or heterogeneity type of

a porous medium ........................................................................................................................................ 17

Figure 2-3 – Microscopic Cross Section Image of a Porous Medium .......................................................... 18

Figure 2-4 – Dead-end pore ........................................................................................................................ 20

Figure 2-5 - Storage and connecting pore model for shale or any other type of rock with interconnected

pore systems ............................................................................................................................................... 20

Figure 2-6 - The Various Cross-Sections of Connecting Pores .................................................................... 21

Figure 2-7 – a) Three-dimension distribution of connecting; b) Complete storage-connecting pore

system. ........................................................................................................................................................ 21

Figure 2-8 – Typical ordered porous medium structures ........................................................................... 23

Figure 2-9 – Effect of sorting and grain size distribution on porosity......................................................... 24

Figure 2-10 – Porosimeter Based on Boyle - Mariotte’s Law ..................................................................... 27

Figure 2-11 – Colored Thin Section Microscopic Image.............................................................................. 27

Figure 2-12 - Schematic Shape of pore and Pore Throat ............................................................................ 29

Figure 2-13 – Sieve Analysis Tools .............................................................................................................. 29

Figure 2-14 - Schematic representation of pores. ...................................................................................... 31

Figure 2-15 – Tomographic image. ............................................................................................................. 32

Figure 2-16 – Specific Surface Area............................................................................................................. 32

Figure 2-17 – Porosity Reduction as an Effect of Compaction Increment by Depth .................................. 34

Figure 2-18 – a) Experimental Equipment for Measuring Pore Volume Compaction and Compressibility 36

Figure 2-19 – a) Formation Compaction Component of Total Rock Compressibility ................................. 36

Figure 2-20 – Flow through a Pipe .............................................................................................................. 38

Figure 2-21 – Metallic cast of pore space in a consolidated sand .............................................................. 39

Figure 2-22 – Schematic Drawing of Darcy Experiment of Flow of Water through Sand ........................... 39

Figure 2-23 – Linear Flow through Layered Bed ......................................................................................... 42

Figure 2-24 – Linear Flow through Series Beds........................................................................................... 44

Figure 2-25 – Plot of Experimental Results for Calculation of Permeability ............................................... 46

Figure 2-26 – Permeability of Core Sample to Three Different Gases and Different Mean Pressure ........ 48

Figure 2-27 - Effect of Permeability on the Magnitude of the Klinkenberg Effect ..................................... 48

Figure 2-28 – ASTM Extraction Apparatus .................................................................................................. 53

Figure 2-29 - The Influence of Pore Structure on the Electrical Conductivity ............................................ 55

Figure 2-30 – Formation Resistivity Factor vs. Porosity .............................................................................. 56

Figure 2-31 - Apparent Formation Factor vs. Water Resistivity for Clayey and Clean Sands ..................... 57

Figure 2-32 - Water-Saturated Rock Conductivity as a Function of Water Conductivity ........................... 58

Figure 2-33- Illustration of surface tension (Surface molecules pulled toward liquid causes tension in

surface). ...................................................................................................................................................... 60

Figure 2-34- Simplified Models for Interfacial Tension Determination. ..................................................... 62

Figure 2-35- Pressure relations in capillary tubes....................................................................................... 62

3

Figure 2-36- Illustration of Wettability ....................................................................................................... 63

Figure 2-37- Equilibrium of Forces at a Liquid-Gas-Solid Interface. ........................................................... 64

Figure 2-38- Rock-Fluid-Fluid Interactions Effect on the Contact Angle..................................................... 66

Figure 2-39- liquid drop spreading on a solid surface ................................................................................ 67

Figure 2-40- Amott Wettability Test ........................................................................................................... 68

Figure 2-41- Amott Index Ternary Diagram ................................................................................................ 69

Figure 2-41- Amott Index Calculation ......................................................................................................... 69

Figure 2-42- USBM Index Calculation ......................................................................................................... 70

Figure 2-43- Pressure Relation in capillary Tube ........................................................................................ 72

Figure 2-44- Dependency of Water Column to (a). Capillary Radius, (b). Wettability................................ 73

Figure 2-45- Principle radii for wetting fluid and spherical grain ............................................................... 74

Figure 2-46- Wetting and non-Wetting fluid distribution about inter grain contact of sphere. ................ 75

Figure 2-47- Non-Wetting fluid entering the capillary tube. ...................................................................... 76

Figure 2-48- Non-Wetting fluid entering the non-uniform capillary tube. ................................................. 76

Figure 2-49- Non-Wetting Fluid enter to a bubble and exit it. ................................................................... 77

Figure 2-50- Capillary Pressure versus wetting phase saturation .............................................................. 78

Figure 2-51- Variation of Capillary Pressure with Permeability .................................................................. 79

Figure 2-52- Flow into a Constriction (cone). ............................................................................................. 79

Figure 2-53- Flow out of a Constriction ...................................................................................................... 80

Figure 2-54- Flow in a Capillary Tube. ......................................................................................................... 81

Figure 2-55- porous diaphragm capillary pressure device.......................................................................... 83

Figure 2-56- Centrifugal apparatus ............................................................................................................. 84

Figure 2-57- Mercury Injection Method ..................................................................................................... 85

Figure 2-58- Pore size distribution from mercury injection test................................................................. 86

Figure 2-59- Dynamic Measurement of Capillary pressure. ....................................................................... 87

Figure 2-60- Capillary Pressure Curve. ........................................................................................................ 88

Figure 2-61- Contact Angle Hysteresis during the Displacement ............................................................... 89

Figure 2-62- Dynamic Contact Angle Behavior. .......................................................................................... 89

Figure 2.63: Static values of advancing and receding contact angles at rough surfaces versus values at

smooth surfaces (where E refers to smooth surface measurements........................................................ 90

Figure 2-64- Non-Wetting fluid Enter to a capillary tube with square cross section. ................................ 91

Figure 2-65- Side view after snap-off .......................................................................................................... 91

Figure 2-66- Trapping in a porous media. ................................................................................................... 92

Figure 2-67- Typical non-wetting phase trapping characteristics of some reservoir rocks. ....................... 92

Figure 2-68- Pore Doublet Model. .............................................................................................................. 93

Figure 2-69- Imbibition and Drainage mechanisms in a pore doublet model ............................................ 94

Figure 2-70- Pore doublet model for illustration for displacement and trapping of oil. ............................ 95

Figure 2-71- Trapping of a droplet in a capillary tube. ............................................................................... 97

Figure 2-72- J-function correlation of capillary pressure data in Edwards Jourdanton field...................... 99

Figure 2-73- Typical relative permeability curve. ..................................................................................... 103

Figure 2-74- Typical Gas-Oil Relative Permeability Curve......................................................................... 105

Figure 2-75- Relative Permeability Curve, (a) Drainage, (b) Imbibition .................................................... 105

4

Figure 2-76- Hafford Relative Permeability Apparatus ............................................................................. 107

Figure 2-77- Fluid Saturation during Steady-State Test ............................................................................ 108

Figure 2-78- Unsteady state apparatus. ................................................................................................... 109

Figure 2-79- (a) Unsteady State Water Flood Procedure, (b) Typical Relative Permeability Curve ......... 110

Figure 2-80- (a) Average Water saturation vs. Water Injection, (b) Injectivity Ratio ............................... 111

Figure 2-81: Amott Ternary Wettability Diagram ..................................................................................... 119

Figure 2-82: Comparison between capillary pressure and relative permeability curves ......................... 122

Figure 2-83 Relative permeability curves of Berea Sandstone. Strongly Water-wet conditions (Sankar

1979) ......................................................................................................................................................... 125

Figure 2-84 Relative permeability of water wet and oil wet systems. ..................................................... 134

Figure 2-85 Comparison between experimental and predicted values (after 3). .................................... 140

Figure 2-86 Compare with results of Corey et al. (after 11) ..................................................................... 145

Figure 2-87 Compare with results of Dalton et al. (after 11).................................................................... 145

Figure 2-88 Stone’s Method 2 predictions and Corey et al.’s experimental data (after 12) ................... 146

Figure 2-89 Stone’s prediction of Sor and Holmgren-Morse’s data (after 12) ........................................ 146

Figure 2-90 Effect of capillary number on relative permeability (after 9) ................................................ 153

Figure 2-91 Low IFT systems (after 21) ..................................................................................................... 155

Figure 2-92 High IFT systems (after 21) .................................................................................................... 155

Figure 2-93 Effects of viscous force on Swir (after 22). .............................................................................. 156

Figure 2-94 Effects of flow rate on relative permeability (after 22) ......................................................... 158

Figure 2-95 Effect of viscosity on relative permeability (after 26) ........................................................... 160

Figure 3-1 - Simple diffusion experiment.................................................................................................. 172

Figure 3-2 – Diffusion across a thin film ................................................................................................... 173

Figure 3-3 – Prediction overall diffusion from intrinsic diffusion ............................................................. 177

Figure 3-4 – Diffusion process in a control volume with a concentration dependent diffusion coefficient

.................................................................................................................................................................. 178

Figure 3-5 – In a porous medium fluid generally flowing at about 45o with respect to average direction

of flow ....................................................................................................................................................... 180

Figure 3-6 – Pressure decay test cell. ....................................................................................................... 182

Figure 3-7 - Refraction of light at the interface between two media. ...................................................... 183

Figure 3-8 - Sample of light refraction results a) initial time b) after diffusion occurred ......................... 184

Figure 3-9 - (a). Hydrogen nuclei behave as a tiny bar magnets aligned with the spin axes of the nuclei.

(b). Spinning protons with random nuclear magnetic axes in the absence of an external magnetic field.

.................................................................................................................................................................. 185

Figure 3-10 – Line up nuclear spins in an external magnetic field............................................................ 186

Figure 3-11 – Polarization/Relaxation curve. ............................................................................................ 187

Figure 3-12 – the Tipping process. ............................................................................................................ 187

Figure 3-13 – Net magnetization return to equilibrium by turning off the B1, (the arrow represent net

magnetization) .......................................................................................................................................... 188

Figure 3-14 – de-phasing (loss of phase coherence) during T2. ............................................................... 189

Figure 3-15 – Spin-echo sequence. ........................................................................................................... 190

Figure 3-16 – CPMG pulse sequence. ....................................................................................................... 191

5

Figure 3-17 - The amplitudes of the decaying spin echoes yield an exponentially decaying curve with

time constant T2. ....................................................................................................................................... 191

Figure 3-18 - The echo train (echo amplitude as a function of time) is mapped to a T 2 distribution

(porosity as a function of T2). .................................................................................................................... 192

Figure 3-19 – Typical NMR spectrum for pure bitumen, pure solvent, and a mixture of them. .............. 194

Figure 3-20 – two samples of NMR calibration for bitumen-solvent mixture,. ........................................ 195

Figure 3-21 – Diffusion coefficient as a function time, NMR experiment result. ..................................... 197

Figure 3-22 - Schematic view of CAT scanning using x-ray. ...................................................................... 199

Figure 3-23 – Calibration curves for the CAT scanner, (a) Liquid calibration curve, (b)Liquid-solid

calibration curve. ...................................................................................................................................... 199

Figure 3-24 – Image sample of diffusion process ..................................................................................... 200

Figure 3-25 – Medium Domain ................................................................................................................. 201

Figure 3-26 - Sample of diffusion in sand saturated with oil. ................................................................... 202

Figure 3-27 - Average diffusion coefficients for pentane, hexane and octane in heavy oil. .................... 202

Figure 3-28 - Comparison of the diffusion coefficients of pentane in heavy oil in absence/presence sand.

.................................................................................................................................................................. 203

Figure 4-1 – Semilog plot of relative permeability ratio versus saturation .............................................. 205

Figure 4-2 – Fractional flow curve ............................................................................................................ 206

Figure 4-3 – Horizontal bed containing oil and water. ............................................................................. 207

Figure 4-4 – Cubic reservoir under active water drive.............................................................................. 208

Figure 4-5 – Water fractional flow ant its derivative ................................................................................ 209

Figure 4-6 – Fluid Distribution at 60, 120, 240 days ................................................................................. 210

Figure 4-7 - Water saturation distribution as a function of distance, prior to breakthrough .................. 211

Figure 4-8 - Tangent to the fractional flow curve from Sw = Swc ............................................................... 212

Figure 4-9 – xD vs. tD for a linear waterflooding. ....................................................................................... 213

Figure 4-10 – Saturation Profile at tD = 0.28 ............................................................................................. 214

Figure 4-11 – Saturation History at xD = 1, producing face of the medium .............................................. 214

Figure 4-12 - Saturation distribution after 240 days................................................................................. 215

Figure 4-13 - Application of the Welge graphical technique to determine: (a) The front saturation, (b) Oil

recovery after breakthrough .................................................................................................................... 219

Figure 4-14 - Water saturation distribution as a function of distance between injection and production

wells for (a) ideal or piston-like displacement and (b) non-ideal displacement ...................................... 219

Figure 4-15 - (a) Microscopic displacement (b) Residual oil remaining after a water flood .................... 221

Figure 4-16 – (a) Relative Permeability Curves, (b) Fractional Flow Curve............................................... 223

Figure 4-17 – Graphical determination of front saturation and water fractional flow. ........................... 223

Figure 4-18 – ............................................................................................................................................. 224

Figure 4-19 – dimensionless pore volume oil recovery vs. dimensionless pore volume water injection 225

Figure 4-20 - Fractional flow plots for different oil-water viscosity ratios ............................................... 227

Figure 4-21 - Water Saturation Distributions in Systems for Different Oil/Water Viscosity Ratios ......... 228

Figure 4-22 - Typical injection/production well configurations and associated flooding patterns .......... 229

Figure 4-23 - Schematic representation of the two components of the volumetric sweep: (a) areal

sweep; (b) vertical sweep in stratified formation. .................................................................................... 231

6

Figure 4-24 – a) Bottom coning at oil-water or gas-oil contact, b) Edge coning at oil-water or gas-oil

contact ...................................................................................................................................................... 237

Figure 4-25 - Stable Cone. ......................................................................................................................... 237

Figure 4-26 – Flow rate versus time.......................................................................................................... 239

Figure 5-1 – Miscible Displacement, a) secondary recovery, b)Tertiary recovery. .................................. 243

Figure 5-2 - A typical phase diagram for a pure component. ................................................................... 245

Figure 5-3 – Typical P-T diagram for a multicomponent system. ............................................................. 246

Figure 5-4 – (a). Phase diagram of ethane-normal heptane, (b) Critical loci for binary mixtures. ........... 246

Figure 5-5 – Typical P-X diagram for the Methane-normal Butane system. ............................................ 248

Figure 5-6 – Pressure-composition diagram for mixture of C1 with a liquid mixture of C1-nC4-C10. ..... 249

Figure 5-7 – ternary phase diagram for a system consisting of components A, B, and C which are miscible

in all proportions. ...................................................................................................................................... 251

Figure 5-8 – All mixture of M1 and M2 would be along line . ...................................................... 252

Figure 5-9 – Example 5-2 a) Ternary diagram, b) Chemicals to be mixed. ............................................... 252

Figure 5-10 - Error! Reference source not found...................................................................................... 253

Figure 5-11 – Ternary Phase Diagram. ...................................................................................................... 254

Figure 5-12 – Pressure effect on the miscibility, P1<P2<P3. .................................................................... 255

Figure 5-13 – Determination of miscible condition from ternary diagram. ............................................. 255

Figure 5-14 – First Contact Miscibility. ..................................................................................................... 256

Figure 5-15 – Miscibility and immiscibility illustration using well-mixed cells [1]. ................................... 257

Figure 5-16 – schematic of vaporizing gas drive process .......................................................................... 258

Figure 5-17 – Schematic of an immiscible displacement .......................................................................... 259

Figure 5-18 – Minimum Miscibility Pressure. ........................................................................................... 260

Figure 5-19 – Schematic condensing gas drive. ........................................................................................ 261

Figure 5-20 – Schematic of an immiscible displacement .......................................................................... 262

Figure 5-21 – schematically concept of Minimum Miscibility Enrichment (MME)................................... 262

Figure 5-22 – Pseudoternary diagram, Error! Reference source not found.. ........................................... 263

Figure 5-23 - Example 5-4. ........................................................................................................................ 264

Figure 5-24 – Vaporization of component groups in contacted oil at injection point with the ratio of

injected volume to contacted oil volume [2]. ........................................................................................... 265

Figure 5-25 – Displacement of a C4/C10 mixture by pure CO2, representation on a ternary diagram [5]. 266

Figure 5-26 – Schematic diagram of Slim Tube Apparatus. ...................................................................... 268

Figure 5-27 –a) Slim tube recovery versus applied pressure b) Slim tube recovery as a function of solvent

enrichment. ............................................................................................................................................... 269

Figure 5-28 – Oil, Water and gas in RBA at start of test ........................................................................... 271

Figure 5-29 – Bubble Behavior of Vaporizing Gas Process ....................................................................... 272

Figure 5-30 – Bubble behavior for Condensing Gas Drive [13]. ................................................................ 273

Figure 5-31 – Schematic of Multiple Contact Experiment. ....................................................................... 275

Figure 5-32 – Areal sweep efficiency as a function of mobility ratio........................................................ 287

Figure 5-33 – displacement front for a miscible displacement process with unfavorable mobility ratio.

.................................................................................................................................................................. 288

Figure 5-34 – simplified model of frontal instability................................................................................. 288

7

Figure 5-35 – Estimated breakthrough recovery as a function of viscosity ratio [32]. ............................. 290

Figure 5-36 – Impact of viscous instability on secondary CO2 flood oil recovery efficiency .................... 291

Figure 5-37– Gravity segregation in displacement processes. A) Gravity override ρo<ρs. b) Gravity

Underride ρs<ρo ....................................................................................................................................... 292

Figure 5-38 – Flow regimes for miscible displacement in a vertical cross section. .................................. 292

Figure 5-39 – Flow regimes in a two-dimensional, uniform linear system (Schematic) [29]. .................. 293

Figure 5-40 – volumetric sweep efficiency at breakthrough as a function of the viscous/gravity force

ratio. .......................................................................................................................................................... 294

Figure 5-41 - Model for determining stability criterion in a dipping reservoir ......................................... 295

Figure 5-42 - Schematic of the experimental apparatus. ......................................................................... 298

Figure 5-43 - Plot of mole fraction of solvent in the effluent as a function of the pore volumes of solvent

injected. .................................................................................................................................................... 299

Figure 5-44 - Cumulative recovery for rate reduction and pressure pulsing as a function of pore volumes

of solvent injected .................................................................................................................................... 300

Figure 5-45 - Mole fraction of solvent in the effluent as a function of the pore volumes of solvent

injected. Rate reduction and pressure pulsing case. ................................................................................ 301

Figure 5-46 – profile of the solvent effluent concentration produced from a capillary tube in an equal

viscosity and density. ................................................................................................................................ 301

Figure 5-47 – Concentration profile for injection of a slug of solvent to displace oil. .............................. 302

Figure 5-48 – Mixing of solvent and oil by longitudinal and transverse dispersion. ................................ 303

Figure 5-49 – dispersion porous medium being viewed as a series of mixing tank. ................................ 304

Figure 5-50 - Stagnant volume models ..................................................................................................... 304

Figure 5-51 - The effects of capacitance. .................................................................................................. 305

Figure 5-52 – Dispersion caused by variation of flow paths in a porous medium.................................... 305

Figure 5-53 Development of the mixing zone as a function of time during laminar flow in a capillary

(after Nunge and Gill, 1970)...................................................................................................................... 309

Figure 5-54 Summary of the regions of applicability of various analytical solutions for dispersion in

capillary tubes with step change in inlet concentration as a function of dimensionless time and Peclet

number (from Dullien, 1992). ................................................................................................................... 311

Figure 5-55 Dependence of dispersion coefficient on Peclet number in different flow regimes. The scales

on the axes depend on porous medium and other factors. The curve shown approximates longitudinal

dispersion in unconsolidated random packs (after Perkins and Johnston, 1963). ................................... 313

Figure 5-56 Dependence of Peclet number on Reynolds number for an aqueous system (from Perkins

and Johnston, 1963).................................................................................................................................. 315

Figure 5-57 Range of dispersion coefficients for various sandpacks. The lower curves are for coarse sand

packed to a porosity of about 34%. The upper curves are for finer sand or looser packings (porosity >

34%). Fine sand 200-270 mesh, medium sand 40-200 mesh, coarse sand 20-30 mesh (after Blackwell,

1962). ........................................................................................................................................................ 315

Figure 5-58 Concentration as a function of transformed distance for different values of dispersion

coefficient or time, calculated from eq. (5-72), infinite system. .............................................................. 319

Figure 5-59 Typical probability plot for determination of longitudinal dispersion coefficient. ............... 320

8

Figure 5-60 Effluent concentration profiles for a range of Peclet numbers, calculated from eq. (5-78),

infinite system........................................................................................................................................... 321

Figure 5-61 Effluent concentration profiles for a range of Peclet numbers, finite system with Danckwerts’

boundary conditions (Brenner, 1962)....................................................................................................... 323

Figure 5-62 Effect of boundary conditions on solutions to the convection-dispersion equation at

different Peclet numbers. ......................................................................................................................... 324

Figure 5-63 The effects of capacitance. ................................................................................................... 326

Figure 5-64 Typical shape of a Langmuir adsorption isotherm. ............................................................... 330

Figure 5-65 Effect of adsorption model parameters on adsorbate effluent concentrations. .................. 332

9

PREFACE

The purpose of this manuscript is to provide the reader with the basic principles of flow in

porous media and their association to hydrocarbon production from underground formations.

The intended audience is undergraduate and graduate students in petroleum engineering and

associated disciplines, as well as practicing engineers and geoscientists in the oil and gas

industry.

The material draws from the experiences of the authors in the Western Canadian Sedimentary

Basin and, wherever possible, draws from unconventional resources.

10

1 . C H A P T E R 1

INTRODUCTION

Beginning with the industrial revolution of the early nineteenth century, man has turned more and more to

the use of mineral fuels to supply the energy to operate his machines. The first commercial well drilled

solely for oil was completed in the United States in 1859. Following the success of this well petroleum

production and processing rapidly grew into a major industry in United States. Today, in satisfying the

world’s energy needs, fossil fuels playing the prominent role. Although their share in the energy mix is

expected to fall, it remains over 80% throughout the period to 2030. The leading role in the energy mix

will continue to be played by oil, with its share remaining above 30%, albeit falling over time (Figure

1-1).

Today petroleum is used not only as a fuel but as a raw material for many industrial materials such as

paint, plastic, rubber, lubricants, and so forth.

What is Petroleum? Petroleum is a mixture of naturally occurring hydrocarbons which may exist in

the solid, liquid, or gaseous state, depending upon the pressure and temperature to which it is

subjected. Virtually all petroleum is produced from the earth in either liquid or gaseous form, and

commonly these materials are referred to as either crude oil or natural gas, depend upon the state of

hydrocarbon mixture.

1

http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/

11

Since the vast majority of oil and gas bearing formations are several hundred meters to several

thousand meters beneath the earth’s surface, the oil well offers the only tool for accessing the reservoir

from the surface. The well-bore region and the collected core (if any) offer a snapshot of the reservoir

properties, in a fashion similar to a line drawn in a three dimensional volume. In other words, results

from core tests do not describe the reservoir accurately but they do help describe the physics.

Up until the late 1980s there was practically no variability in the manner in which a well was drilled.

However, horizontal drilling (a Soviet invention of the 1920s) revolutionized the drilling industry as it

allowed for one well to access a formation at several horizontal locations (Figure 1-2).

Origin of Oil

Many theories of the origin of petroleum have been advanced. The theories of the origin of petroleum

can be classified as either organic or as inorganic. The inorganic theory attempts to explain the

formation of petroleum by assuming chemical reaction between water, carbon dioxide and various

inorganic substances such as carbonates, in the earth. The organic theories assume that petroleum

evolved from the decomposition of vegetable and animal organisms that lived during previous

geological ages. Organic theories are commonly acceptable.

Source beds as organic rich formations are the necessity of petroleum generation. Petroleum migration

occurs after formation from source beds toward the reservoir or storage beds. Reservoir rocks have void

spaces and are permeable to fluids, in other words they have interconnected void spaces.

Lithology

Reservoir rocks are categorized as either sandstone or carbonate. Sandstones are formed from grains

that have undergone sedimentation, compaction and cementation. The major characteristics of

sandstone reservoirs are as follows:

Composed of silica grains (mainly quartz and some feldspar),

Consolidated or unconsolidated formations,

May contain shale,

12

May contain minerals (such as iron oxide and iron sulfides),

May include clays (Note: Clays have a negative effect on the reservoir quality).

Carbonates are formed from the remnants of hard-shelled organisms that existed in coral reef

environments. The major characteristics of carbonates are:

Limestone (CaCO3) and/or dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2),

May contain shale,

Minerals, such as pyro-bitumen and anhydrite

Pore space is comprised of areas of dissolution (vugs), fractures and inter-crystalline spaces.

About 60% of the conventional oil reservoir rocks are sandstones and about 39% of them are

carbonates.

Trap

External forces such as buoyancy which force the petroleum to migrate from source rock to reservoir

rock could push oil to reach the surface. So presence of a barrier over the reservoir formation is vital in

accumulation of oil in the reservoir rocks. This barrier is known as “trap” in petroleum engineering.

Traps associated with oil fields are complex. Different reservoir according to type of their trap can be

classified as follows (Figure 1-3):

Convex Trap reservoirs which are surrounded by edge water and the trap is due to convexity alone,

Permeability trap reservoir that the barrier is due to the loss of permeability in reservoir rock,

Pinch out trap reservoir, which the periphery partly defined by edge water and partly by the margin

due to the pinch out of reservoir bed,

Fault trap reservoir that has a fault boundary.

13

Convex Trap Pinchout Trap

Figure 1-3: Elementary Trap in Sectional View

14

2 . C H A P T E R 2

Porous materials are encountered literally everywhere in everyday life, in technology and in nature.

With the exception of metals, some dense rocks, and some plastics, virtually all solid and semi-solid

materials are “porous” to varying degrees. A material or structure must have these two properties in

order to qualify as a porous medium:

1. It must contain spaces, so-called voids or pores, free of solids, imbedded in the solid or semi-

solid matrix. The pores usually contain some fluid, such as air, water, oil or a mixture of different

fluids.

2. It must be permeable to a variety of fluids, i.e., fluids should be able to penetrate through one

face of a sample of material and emerge on the other side.

There are many examples where porous media play important roles in technology and, conversely,

many different technologies that depend on porous media. Among the most important technologies

that depend on the properties of porous media are:

1. Hydrology, which relates to water movement in earth and sand structures, such as water flow to

wells from water-bearing formations.

2. Petroleum engineering which is mainly concerned with petroleum and natural gas exploration

and production.

The petroleum engineer is concerned with the quantities of fluid content within the rocks,

transmissibility of fluids through the rocks, and other related properties. These properties depend on

the rock and frequently upon the distribution of character of the fluid occurring within the rock.

Knowledge of the physical properties of the rock and the existing interaction between the hydrocarbon

system (gas, oil and water) and the formation is essential in understanding and evaluating the

performance of a given reservoir.

Rock properties are determined by performing laboratory analyses on cores from the reservoir to be

evaluated. The cores are removed from the reservoir environment through the well during the drilling

operations. There are primarily two main categories of core analysis tests that are performed on core

samples regarding physical properties of reservoir rocks. These are:

Porosity

Permeability

Saturation

Capillary pressure

Relative permeability

15

Wettability

Surface and Interfacial Tension

Electrical Conductivity

Pore size Distribution

These properties constitute a set of fundamental parameters by which the rock can be quantitatively

described. They are essential for reservoir engineering calculations as they directly affect both the

quantity and the distribution of hydrocarbons and, when combined with fluid properties, control the

flow of the existing phases (i.e., gas, oil, and water) within the reservoir.

HOMOGENEITY

Homogeneous usually means describing a material or system that has the same properties at every

point in space; in other words, uniform without irregularities. It also describes a substance or an object

whose properties do not vary with position. To apply this term on a porous medium we should define a

“macroscopic system”. A few sand grains cemented together constitute a microscopic rather than

macroscopic porous medium. The properties of a microscopic sample are not expected to be

representative of the macroscopic porous medium from which it was removed.

Let us suppose that a macroscopic pore structure parameter such as porosity or permeability is

determined in a series of samples of increasing size, taking from a large porous sample, and the result is

plotted against the sample’s size. It could be seen that initially the calculated properties change with

sample size and there are some fluctuations in the results with increasing sample size. With increasing

sample size the amplitude of these fluctuations decreases and gradually diminishes until finally a

smooth line is obtained after a certain sample size (Figure 2-1). By definition “the sample said to be

macroscopically representative whenever the macroscopic measured property (such as porosity and

permeability) is not fluctuating any more when including more material around the initial sampling

point, but its variation can be represented by a smooth line”2. When the properties of a porous medium

do not change with changes in the macroscopic representative sample the medium is said to be

macroscopically homogeneous.

2

F.A.L. Dullien (1979)

16

Assume we run a test to determine the homogeneity of the porous medium. In this test along an

arbitrary direction we choose different macroscopic samples and we measure their macroscopic

properties. By increasing the number of samples we can plot a probability density function (PDF) for the

measured properties. The PDF plot could have different shapes according to the homogeneity or

heterogeneity of the medium. The simplest case is when the PDF is a delta function (vertical line) that

shows the property is constant regardless to the sampling position (Figure 2-2.a). Thus we can confirm

the homogeneity of the medium. While proceeding in an arbitrary direction in the medium, we may find

that the measured macroscopic property first remains constant but it suddenly changes to a different

but constant value. In this case the medium is said to be “macroscopically heterogeneous in the

discontinuous sense” (Figure 2-2.b). Processing in any chosen direction in the medium, we may find that

the property continuously changes according to the position of the samples. In this case the medium is

said to be “macroscopically heterogeneous in continuous sense” (Figure 2-2.c). Finally it may happen

that the function that representing the variation of parameter with position is piecewise continuous. In

this case the medium is said to be “macroscopically heterogeneous in both continuous and

discontinuous sense” (Figure 2-2.d).

F F

(P) (P)

(a) (c)

P P

(As a special macroscopic property) (As a special macroscopic property)

F F

(P) (P)

(b) (d)

P P

(As a special macroscopic property) (As a special macroscopic property)

Figure 2-2 –A Probability Density Function can be used to find the homogeneity or heterogeneity type of a porous medium3

a) Macroscopically Homogeneous System; b) Macroscopically Heterogeneous in Discontinuous Sense

c) Macroscopically Heterogeneous in Continuous Sense; d) Macroscopically Heterogeneous In both Continuous and

Discontinuous Sense

3

Greenkorn and Kessler (1970)

17

ANISOTROPY

Anisotropy means that some properties of the porous medium do not have the same value in different

directions. In an anisotropic porous medium, the permeability, formation resistivity factor, and

breakthrough capillary pressure depend on the direction. In the most general case these properties are

function of both location in the medium and orientation. Thus the probability density function for each

property can be described with five independent variables (x, y, z) for location and ( , ) for

orientation. If the probability density distribution is independent of the angular coordinates, the

medium is isotropic, otherwise it is anisotropic. In the reservoir formation generally anisotropy can be

caused by periodic layering. So generally we have different properties such as permeability at z direction

compare to the x and y direction.

POROSITY

The rock texture consists of mineral grains of various shapes and sizes and its pore structure is extremely

complex. The most important factors of the pore structure are how much space there is between these

grains and what their shapes are. That is because the spaces between these grains serve to either mainly

transport fluids forming connecting pores, or to store the fluids forming storage pores.

From the reservoir engineering standpoint, porosity is one of the most important rock properties, a

measure of space available for storage of hydrocarbons. Quantitatively, porosity is the ratio of the pore

volume to the total volume (bulk volume). This important rock property is determined mathematically

by the following generalized relationship (Figure 2-3):

(2-1)

Where φ = porosity

Grain

Pore

As the sediments were deposited and the rocks were being formed during geological times, some void

spaces that developed became isolated from the other void spaces by excessive cementation. Thus,

18

many of the void spaces are interconnected while some of the pore spaces are completely isolated. This

leads to two distinct types of porosity, namely:

Absolute porosity

Effective porosity

Absolute porosity

The absolute porosity is defined as the ratio of the total pore space in the rock to that of the bulk

volume. A rock may have considerable absolute porosity and yet have no conductivity to fluid for lack of

pore interconnection. The absolute porosity is generally expressed mathematically by the following

relationship:

(2-2)

Effective porosity

From the standpoint of flow through a porous medium only interconnected pores are of interest, hence

the concept of effective porosity defined as the percentage of interconnected pore space with respect to

the bulk volume, or

(2-3)

The effective porosity is used in all reservoir engineering calculations because it represents the

interconnected pore space that contains the recoverable hydrocarbon fluids. Transportation of fluids is

controlled mainly by connected pores. For intergranular materials, poorly to moderately well cemented,

the total porosity is approximately equal to effective porosity. For more cemented materials and some

carbonates, significant difference in total porosity and effective porosity values may occur. Another type

of pores that seem to belong to the class of interconnected pores but contribute very little to the flow,

are dead-end pores or stagnant pockets (Figure 2-4). These pores have just a constricted opening to the

flow path so the fluid in them is practically stagnant. In certain mechanisms of flow such as diffusion and

dispersion it is important to pay attention to the effects of dead-end pores.

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Dead-end pore

Figure 2-4 – Dead-end pore

A pore-structure concept for rocks (Figure 2-5) was presented (Katsube and Collett, 1973) in the 1970s,

which consisted of total connecting porosity ( C) for connecting pores that contribute mainly to fluid

migration and of storage porosity ( S) for storage pores that contribute mainly to fluid storage, where

their sum is effective porosity ( e):

S+ C= e (2-4)

The storage pore shapes can be characterized by vugular or intergranular, as shown in Figure 2-5.

Figure 2-5 - Storage and connecting pore model for shale or any other type of rock with interconnected pore

systems4

There are two major types of connecting pores: sheet-like, circular and/or tubular pores. Many more

types of connecting pores can be considered, but these are most representative for describing the

extreme differences between their types. For example, the cross-section of connecting pores can have

many shapes (Figure 2-6). A representative cross-section of a sheet-like pore is shown in Figure 2-6.a.

Cross-sections of circular and/or tubular pores can take many shapes (Figure 2-6.b). The total connecting

porosity ( C) value of a rock includes connecting pores in all three directions (Figure 2-7.a). However,

when considering fluid or electrical current flow through the rock, only pores in two directions are

4

T.J. Katsube (2010)

20

considered for sheet-like pores (Figure 2-7.a), and only in one direction for circular and/or tubular pores

(Figure 2-7.b).

a) Tortuous Sheet-Like Pore; b) Various Shapes of Tubular Pores

The fluid flow in a rock is controlled mainly by connecting pores. The term “connecting pores” implies all

pores except for isolated pores. However, some of these connecting- or storage- pore systems can be

dead-end. The connecting pores that contribute to electrical current- or fluid flow through the rock have

to be interconnected from one end of the rock to the other, and not include dead-end pores. These are

distinguished as end-to-end connecting pores. The actual porosity of the end-to-end connecting pores

should be smaller than the value of C, since it does not include the porosity of the dead-end pores. The

storage-connecting pore system and its porosity descriptions are shown in Figure 2-7.b for a rock section

that includes vugular storage and isolated pores. The end-to-end connecting porosity of the pore system

in Figure 5 is represented by CF.

Where:

5

Bowers and Katsube (2002)

21

Total Porosity , Storage flow porosity

Effective Porosity , Storage blind (Dead-end) porosity

Storage porosity , Connecting flow porosity

Blind porosity , Connecting storage porosity

Connecting porosity , Connecting blind porosity

Porosity may be classified according to the mode of origin as “original” and “induced”. The original

porosity is that developed in the process of deposition that forms the rock, while induced or secondary

porosity added at a later stage by some geologic and chemical process. The inter-granular porosity of

sandstones and the inter-crystalline and oolitic porosity of some limestones typify original porosity.

Induced porosity is typified by fracture development as found in shales and limestones and by the vugs

or solution cavities commonly found in limestones. Rocks having original porosity are more uniform in

their characteristics than those rocks in which a large part of the porosity is included. Materials having

induced porosity such as carbonate rocks have complex pore configuration. In fact two or more systems

of pore openings may occur in such rocks. The basic rock material is usually finely crystalline and is

referred to as the matrix. The matrix contains uniformly small pore openings which comprise one system

of pores. One or more systems of larger openings usually occur in carbonate rocks as a result of leaching

or fracturing of the primary rock material. Fractures and vugs are highly variable in size and distribution.

Therefore even more than for intergranular materials, laboratory measurements are required for

quantitative evaluation of porosity.

For direct quantitative measurement of porosity, reliance must be placed on formation samples

obtained by coring. Many porous media are made of discrete large and small grains or particles that are

loose (unconsolidated porous media). Consolidated sedimentary rocks are derived from initially

unconsolidated grains that have gone significant cementation at areas of grain contact. Early

investigations of the porosity were conducted to a large extend by investigation in the fields of ground

water geology, chemical engineering, and ceramics. Therefore much interest was centered on the

investigation of the porosity of unconsolidated materials.

The porosity of unconsolidated materials depends on:

Grain shape

Grain packing

Grain sorting

Grain size distribution

Compaction

The porosity of consolidated materials depends mainly on the degree of cementation and consolidation

but also on the above mentioned parameters.

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Grain shape and packing

Consider simple models, such as a regular packing of uniform sphere or rods. Graton and Fraser (1935)

analyzed the porosity of variable packing arrangements of uniform spheres. The least compact

arrangement of uniform spheres is that of cubical packing with a porosity of 47.6%. The most compact

packing of uniform spheres is the rhombohedra or close-packed, where the porosity is 26.0%. In these

and other cases of sphere of equal size, the porosity is independent of the radius of spheres. Cross view

of the unit cell of two of the mentioned packing are shown in Figure 2-8.

Often porous materials with spherical grains have lower porosity than materials composed of non-

spherical grain.

Example 2-1

Calculate the cubic packing of uniform spheres porosity (Figure 2-8).

Solution

The unit cell is a cube with sides equal to 2r where r is the radius of sphere. Therefore

The interesting point is that the radii cancel in the formula and the porosity of packing uniform spheres

is a function of packing only.

Naturally occurring materials are composed of a variety of particle sizes. The particle size distribution

may appreciably affect the resulting porosity, as small particles may occupy pores formed between large

particles, thus reducing the porosity (Figure 2-9-a). On the other hand sometimes porosity increases

during a phenomenon called bridging (Figure 2-9-b).

23

a) Porosity reduction (well sorted) b) Porosity increase (bridging)

In naturally occurring materials porosity increases by decreasing the grain sizes. An increase in range of

particle size tends to decrease porosity.

During the cementation process in consolidated rocks as the pore space is filled with cementing

material, significant reduction in porosity may take place.

Because compaction forces vary with depth, porosity will also vary with depth especially in clays and

shales. Krumbein and Sloss (1951) indicate a reduction in sandstone porosity from 52 to 41% and in

shale from 60 to 6% as depth increases from 0 to 2000m. Most of the pore reduction is due to the

inelastic, hence irreversible, effects of intergranular movement. Reservoir rocks may generally show

large variations in porosity vertically but do not show great variations in porosity parallel to the bedding

planes.

A great many methods have been developed for determining porosity, mainly of consolidated rocks

having intergranular porosity (encountered in oil reservoir). Most of the methods developed have been

designed for small samples. From the definition of porosity it is obvious that common to all methods is

the need to determine two of three volumes: total or bulk volume of the sample, its pore volume,

and/or the volume of its solid matrix. The various methods based on such volume determination, called

“direct methods”, differ from each other in the way these volumes are determined. Other methods are

available, called “indirect methods” based on the measurement of some properties of the void space.

Examples of such properties are the electrical conductivity of electrically conducting fluid filling the void

space of the sample, or the absorption of radioactive particles by a fluid filling the void space of the

sample. The porosity of the larger portion of rock is determined statistically from the results obtained on

numerous small samples.

Bulk volume

The simplest direct method for determining bulk volume of a consolidated sample with a well design

geometric shape is to measure its dimensions. The method is applicable to cylindrical core with

smoothed flat surfaces. The usual procedure is to determine the volume of fluid displaced by the

sample. This method is particularly desirable for irregular shaped samples. The fluid volume that the

24

sample displaces can be determined volumetrically or gravimetrically. In both methods the displaced

fluid should be prevented from penetrating the pore space of the sample. There are 3 strategies to do

that:

Coating the rock sample with paraffin

By saturating the rock with the fluid into which it is to be immersed

By using mercury, which according to its surface tension and wettability characteristics does not

tend to enter to small pores of most intergranular samples?

Gravimetric determination of the bulk volume can be accomplished by measuring the loss in the weight

of sample when it is immersed in the fluid or observing the change in the weight of pycnometer when is

filled with mercury and when is filled with mercury and core sample.

Example 2-2

Bulk Volume Calculation of coated sample immersed in water.

A = weight of dry sample in air = 30.0 g

B = weight of the sample after coating with paraffin = 31.8 g; Paraffin density = 0.9 g/cm3

C = weight of paraffin = B – A = 1.8 g

D = volume of paraffin = 1.8 / 0.9 = 2cm3

E = weight after immersing of the coated sample in the water = 20 g, water density = 1 g/cm3

Volume of water displaced = (B – E) / water density = 11.8 cm3

Bulk volume of rock = volume of water displaced – volume of paraffin = 9.8 cm3

Example 2-3

Calculate the volume of a dry sample immersed in mercury pycnometer.

A = weight of dry sample in air = 30 g

B = weight of pycnometer filled with mercury at 20oC = 360 g, mercury density = 13.546 g/cm3

C = weight of pycnometer filled with mercury and sample at 20oC = 245.9 g

D = weight of sample + weight of mercury filled pycnometer = A + B = 390 g

E = Weight of mercury displaced = D – C = 144.1 g

Bulk volume of rock = E/mercury density = 144.1 / 13.546 = 10.6 cm3.

Grain volume

The grain volume can be determined from the dry sample weight and the grain density. For many

purposes, result with sufficient accuracy can be obtained by using the density of quartz (2.65 g/cm3) as

the grain density.

25

A method of determining the gain volume is crushing the sample after determining the bulk volume,

thus removing all pores including the non-interconnecting ones. The volume of solids is then determined

by fluid displacement in a pycnometer.

Pore volume

There are methods to measure the pore volume of the rock sample directly with no need to determine

the grain volume. Actually, all these methods measure effective porosity. The methods are based on the

extraction of a fluid from the sample or intrusion of a fluid into the pore space of the rock sample.

Both the bulk and pore volume are determined in this method. The tested sample is placed in a chamber

filled to a certain level with mercury, with a known volume of air at a known pressure (e.g. atmospheric

pressure) above it. The volume of mercury displaced by the sample gives the bulk volume. When the

pressure of mercury is increased by a volumetric pump, the mercury penetrates the pore space of the

sample. Total effective pore volume could be determined by gradually increasing the pressure. In

general the method is not suitable for low permeability samples as very high pressure are required.

This method is based on the Boyle-Marriote Gas Law. It may be the most widely used method for

determine porosity. The test usually carried out at the constant temperature. Basically two chambers

with known volumes are connected by a valve (Figure 2-10). The tested sample is placed in the chamber

of volume V1. The pressure in this chamber is P1. The second chamber (volume V2), initially at pressure

P0, is connected to the first one by opening the valve between them, thus permitting the gas to expand

isothermally. If the final pressure is P2, from Boyle-Marriote law we have:

, (2-5)

Usually, for simplification, helium as an approximately ideal gas, at low pressure, is used and according

the ideal gas assumption Z=1;

26

P1 P2

V1 V2

Gas inlet

Valve

Test Sample

Imbibition method:

Reservoir rocks have the ability of imbibe water spontaneously. This property is used to determine

effective porosity of the rock. In this method the weight of a dry sample is measured and then the

sample is immersed under vacuum in water or any other fluid that rock has the tendency to imbibe.

After enough time, up to several days, the saturated sample is weighted. Utilizing the density of the

liquid we can find the imbibed fluid volume and subsequently the effective porosity of the sample.

Optical methods:

The porosity of a sample is equal to the “areal porosity” provided that pore structure is random. The

areal porosity is determined on polished thin sections of a sample. It is often necessary to impregnate

the pore with some material such as wax, plastic, color, or wood’s metal in order to make pores more

visible and/or distinguishing interconnected pore from the isolated pores (Figure 1-1). When

impregnating the sample with a resin only the interconnected pores will be invaded. Whenever there

are very small pores present along with large ones, it is very difficult to make sure that all the small

pores have been accounted for by the measurement. This is one of the reasons why the porosity

measurements by the optical methods may differ significantly from the results obtained by other

methods.

27

Statistical methods:

A pin is dropped many times in a random manner on an enlarged photomicrograph of a section of

consolidated porous material, the porosity of which is to be determined. It can be shown that the

probability of a random point falling within the pore space of this section is equal to the porosity.

Therefore, as the number of tosses increases, the number of times the pin’s point falls in the pore space

to the total number of tosses approaches the value of the porosity.

ADD TEXT

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WELL LOGGING

Well logging, also known as borehole logging is the practice of making a detailed record (a well log) of

the geologic formations penetrated by a borehole. The log may be based either on visual inspection of

samples brought to the surface (geological logs) or on physical measurements made by instruments

lowered into the wellbore (geophysical logs). Well logging is done during all phases of a well's

development; drilling, completing, producing and abandoning. Logging measurements are quite

sophisticated. The prime target is the measurement of various geophysical properties of the subsurface

rock formations. Of particular interest is porosity. Logging tools provide measurements that allow for

the mathematical interpretation of porosity. There are different types of well logging that used to

estimate the porosity of the formation around the well, such as:

CNL (compensated neutron) logs: also called neutron logs, determine porosity by assuming that the

reservoir pore spaces are filled with either water or oil and then measuring the amount of hydrogen

atoms (neutrons) in the pores. These logs underestimate the porosity of rocks that contain gas.

FDC (formation density compensated) logs: also called density logs, is a porosity log that measures

electron density of a formation and determine porosity by evaluating the density of the rocks. Because

these logs overestimate the porosity of rocks that contain gas they result in "crossover" of the log curves

when paired with Neutron logs.

NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) logs: may be the well logs of the future. These logs measure the

magnetic response of fluids present in the pore spaces of the reservoir rocks. In so doing, these logs

measure porosity and permeability, as well as the types of fluids present in the pore spaces.

There is not a unique definition of “pore diameter” or “pore size”. Every method of pore size

determination defines a pore size in terms of a pore model which is best suited to the quantity

measured in the particular experiment. There is the same situation for the definition of void space. For

simplicity it is usually restricted to the pore space enclosed between “solid” surfaces. Given that the

28

pore space consists of an irregular network of pores, there are terms to distinguish between pore spaces

that are relatively narrow and the interconnected relatively larger spaces. The narrow constrictions that

interconnect relatively larger spaces are called pore throats or pore necks, with pore throats being the

more common term. While the relatively larger pore spaces are called pore bodies, node pores or bulge

pores, with pore bodies being the most commonly used term (Figure 2-12).

Pore Throat

Pore body

In the vast majority of porous media, the pore sizes are distributed over a wide spectrum of values,

called “pore size distribution”. On the other word pore size distribution is a probability density function

giving the distribution of pore volume by a characteristic pore size. If the pores were separated objects

then each pore could be assigned a size according to some consistent definition, and the pore size

distribution would become analogous to the particle size distribution obtained, for example, by sieve

analysis. A sieve analysis (or gradation test) is a practice or procedure used to assess the particle size

distribution (also called gradation) of a granular material. A sieve analysis is performed on a sample of

aggregate in a laboratory. A typical sieve analysis involves a nested column of sieves with wire mesh

cloth (screen) (Figure 2-13). A representative weighed sample is poured into the top sieve which has the

largest screen openings. Each lower sieve in the column has smaller openings than the one above. At the

base is a round pan, called the receiver. The column is typically placed in a mechanical shaker. The

shaker shakes the column, usually for some fixed amount of time. After the shaking is complete the

material on each sieve is weighed. The weight of the sample of each sieve is then divided by the total

weight to give a percentage retained on each sieve. The size of the average particles on each sieve then

being analysis to get the cut-point or specific size range captured on screen.

A mechanical shaker used for sieve analysis Sieves used for sieve test

Figure 2-13 – Sieve Analysis Tools

29

The pore in the interconnected pore space, however are not separated objects, and the volume

assigned to a particular pore size depends on both the experimental method and the pore structure

model used.

Methods of measurement

The most popular methods of determining pore size distribution are mercury intrusion porosimetery

sorption isotherm and image analysis. The first of these is used mostly but not exclusively to determine

the size of relatively larger pores whereas sorption isotherms are best suited in the case of smaller

pores. The use of imaging to analyze section of a sample has some advantages over the other two

methods, but the most complete information on pore size distribution may be obtained if all three

methods are used jointly.

Mercury porosimetry:

Mercury porosimetry characterizes a material’s porosity by applying various levels of pressure to a

sample immersed in mercury. The pressure required to intrude mercury into the sample’s pores is

inversely proportional to the size of the pores, so at the same times it finds pore size distribution.

Theory and key assumption: a key assumption in mercury porosimetry is the pore shape. Essentially all

instruments assume a cylindrical pore geometry using a modified Young-Laplace equation:

( ) (2-6)

It relate the pressure difference across the curved mercury interface (r1 and r2 describe the curvature of

that interface) to the corresponding pore size using the surface tension of mercury ( ) and the contact

angle between solid and mercury. The real pore shape is however quite different and cylinder pore

shape assumption may lead to major differences between reality and analysis. As indicated in equation

(2-5), we need to know surface tension and contact angle for the given sample and then measure the

pressure and the intruded volume in order to obtain the pore volume-pore size relation. Mercury is

completely non wetting phase for each sample and in general, the surface tension of mercury is not of

any great concern with respect to errors in the determination of pore size distribution. A value 0.485

N/m at 25oC is commonly accepted by most researchers. The contact angle is a parameter which clearly

affects the analysis results and numerous paper have demonstrated the wide range of contact angle

between mercury and various different or even very similar solid surface. However in most practical

situations and out of convenience users often apply a fixed value irrespective of the specific sample

material, e.g. 130o or 140o.

Mercury porosimetry also has limitations. One of the most important limitations is the fact that mercury

porosimetry does not actually measure the internal pore size, but it rather determines the largest

connection (throat or pore channel) from the sample surface towards that pore. Thus, mercury

porosimetry results will always show smaller pore sizes compare to the image analysis method results.

For obvious reasons it can also not be used to analyze closed pores, since the mercury has no way of

entering that pore. The smallest pore size, which can be filled with mercury, is limited by the maximum

30

pressure, which can be achieved by the instrument, e.g. 3.5 nm diameter at 400 MPa assuming a contact

angle of 140°.

Isolated Pore Dead end pores Cross linked pores Throat pores

Sorption Method:

Sorption (Adsorption – Desorption) measurements involve the measurement of the surface area and the

small size pores of a given medium. This method is based on the commencement of condensation with

increasing capillary pressure (Note: condensation starts in the smallest pores and proceeds to

increasingly larger pores). There are many models available for the adsorption of gases onto solids

where the volume adsorbed is a function of pressure with constant temperature.

Basic equation and method: the fundamental equation to find the pore size distribution from capillary

condensation isotherms is follow:

∫ (2-7)

Where VS is the volume of adsorbate at saturation vapor pressure (equal to the total pore volume), V

the volume of adsorbate at intermediate vapor pressure P”, L(R)dR the total length of pores whose total

length fall between R and R + dR, R pore radius, and (t) the multilayer thickness that is built up at

pressure P”. This equation states the fact that the volume of adsorbed at pressure P” is equal to the

volume of pores that has not yet been filled.

Micro-tomography:

A modern tool for the determination of pore properties is x-ray micro-tomography. With this technique

as small sample (less than 1cm in diameter) is exposed to x-rays and a three dimensional reconstruction

of the sample is created typically at a resolution of ~1 micron (Figure 2-15). From the three dimensional

object information about the pore space, connectivity, total porosity and mineral content can be

obtained. The limitation of the technique is related to the resolution of the created images. There are

very powerful micro-tomography systems associated with synchrotron facilities and bench top devices.

Other image analysis methods

31

Figure 2-15 – Tomographic image.

The specific surface of a porous material is defined as the interstitial surface area of the voids and pores

either per unit mass (S) or per unit bulk volume (SV) of the porous material (Figure 2-16). The specific

surface based on the solid volume is denoted by SO.

For example the specific surface of a porous material made of identical spheres of radius R in a cubic

packing is:

It thus becomes obvious that the fine materials will exhibit much greater specific surface than will

coarse materials. Some fine porous materials contain an enormous specific area. For example the

specific area of sandstone may be in the order of . Carman (1938) gives the range of

for specific surface of the sand.

The specific area of a porous material is affected by porosity, by mode of packing, by the grain size and

by the shape of the grains. For example disc shaped particles will exhibit a much larger specific area than

will spherical ones.

Specific surface plays an important role in a variety of different application of porous media. It is a

measure of the adsorption capacity of various industrial adsorbent; it plays an important role in

determining the effectiveness of catalysts and filters. In petroleum and rheology study it is related to the

fluid conductivity or permeability of porous media.

32

Obviously the specific surface of natural porous media can be determined only by indirect or statistical

methods such as:

Statistical method:

A needle of length “L” is drop at random a great many times on an enlarged photomicrograph of a

section of porous material. A count is kept the number of times ( ) the pin’s end point falls within the

void space and the number of times ( ) the pin intersects the perimeter of pores. The specific surface is

then found from:

(2-8)

This method is considered one of the best methods. Many other matrix properties can be derived with

it.

Adsorption Method:

These are based on the adsorption of a gas or a vapor by solid surface. The solid’s surface area is

determined from the quantity of gas adsorbed on it, assuming the gas covers the entire surface of the

solid with a uniform monomolecular film.

Fluid Flow:

This method suggests a relation between permeability of a medium and its specific area. Using this

relationship one can obtain the specific area by conducting the experiments leading to the

determination of the permeability of the medium.

Under natural conditions, a porous medium volume at some depth in a ground water aquifer or in an oil

reservoir is subjected to an internal stress or hydrostatic pressure of the fluid saturation the medium,

which is a hydrostatic pressure that has the same values at different direction, and to an external stress

exerted by the formation in which the particular volume is surrounded and may have different value at

different directions. The external stress of the formation can lead to the compaction of the porous

medium that is a function of the formation depth. Krumbein and Sluss (1951) showed that porosity of

the sedimentary rocks is a function of the degree of compaction of the rock (Figure 2-17).

33

60 Shales

50 Sandstones

40

Porosity (%)

30

20

10

0

0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000

Depth of burial, ft

Compaction effect on the porosity that leads to porosity reduction is principally due to the packing

rearrangement after compaction. The porosity of shales is greatly reduced by compaction largely

because “bridging’ is eliminated by the greater forces. Addition to the effect of compaction on the grain

arrangement, rocks also are compressible. Three kinds of compressibility must be distinguished in rocks:

Rock matrix compressibility

Rock bulk compressibility

Pore compressibility

Rock matrix compressibility is the fractional change in volume of the solid rock materials (grains) with a

unit change in pressure. Rock bulk compressibility is the change in volume of the bulk volume of the rock

with a unit change in pressure. Pore compressibility is the fractional change in the pore volume of the

rock with a unit change in pressure.

The depletion of fluids from the pore space of a reservoir rock results in a change in the internal

pressure in the rock while the external pressure in constant, thus results a change in the net pressure.

This change in the net stress could leads to a change in grain, pore and bulk volume of the rock. Pore

volume change is an interesting subject to the reservoir engineer. Bulk volume change is an important

subject in the areas that surface subsidence could cause appreciable property damage. Volume change

under the pressure effect can be expressed as compressibility coefficient. The coefficient of solid matrix

compressibility, pore compressibility and bulk compressibility are defined for of a saturated porous

medium as the fractional change in the volume with a unit change in the pressure:

(2-9)

(2-10)

(2-11)

34

The value of (in some literature mentioned as as rock compressibility) can be determined by

saturating the rock with a fluid, immersing the rock in a pressure vessel containing the saturating fluid,

then imposing a hydrostatic pressure on the fluid and observing the change in the volume (or ) of

the rock sample. The compressibility of solid matrix ( or ) is considered for most rock to be

independent of the imposed pressure.

But reservoir rocks are under other conditioning of loading than this experiment. A rock buried at depth

is subjected to an overburden load due to the overlying sediments which is in general greater than the

internal hydrostatic pressure of the formation fluids. (Figure 2-18.a) shows an experimental apparatus

that simulate this condition for a sample rock. A core sample is enclosed in a copper jacket which is then

immersed in a pressure vessel and connected to a Jurguson sight glass gauge. The hydraulic pressure

system is arranged so that a saturated core can be subjected to variable internal (or pore) pressure and

external (or overburden) pressure. The resulting internal volume change is indicated by the position of

the mercury slug level in the sight glass. Typical curve are obtained shown if (Figure 2-18.b). The

ordinate is the reduction in pore space resulting from a change in overburden pressure. The slop of the

curve is the compressibility of the form

( )( ) (2-12)

It may be noted that the slop of the curves can be considered constant over most of the pressure range

above 1000 psi. Hall (1953) ran some similar tests. He designate the compressibility term (2-12) as

formation compaction component as total rock compressibility and develop a correlation of this

function with porosity (Figure 2-19.a). Also he investigated ( ) ( ) at constant overburden

pressure. This he designated as effective rock compressibility and correlated with porosity (Figure

2-19.b). In Figure 2-19.a and b, it may be noted that compressibility decreases as the porosity increases.

The value of can be determined by measuring the change in the bulk volume of a jacketed sample by

varying the external hydrostatic pressure while maintaining a constant internal pressure. For sandstones

and shale it can be shown that:

(2-13)

(2-14)

35

(a) (b)

Figure 2-18 – a) Experimental Equipment for Measuring Pore Volume Compaction and Compressibility

b) Rock compressibility test result6

(a) (b)

b) Effective reservoir rock compressibility7

6

Carpenter and Spencer (1940)

7

Hall (1953)

36

eq. (2-14) provided that Cr is much less than CB. Therefore

(2-15)

This equation states that total change in volume is equal to the change in the pore volume.

Geertsma (1957) stated that in reservoir only the vertical component of overburden pressure is constant

and the stress components in horizontal plane are characterized by boundary condition that there is no

bulk deformation in those directions. For these boundary conditions he developed the following

approximation for sandstone:

(2-16)

Thus, the effective pore compressibility for reservoir rocks under the depletion of pore pressure is only

one-half of that determined by present methods in the laboratory.

In summary it can be stated that the pore volume compressibilities of consolidated sandstones are of

the order of reciprocal psi.

PERMEABILITY

Permeability is a property of the porous medium that measures the capacity and ability of the formation

to transmit fluids. The rock permeability, k, is a very important rock property because it controls the

directional movement and the flow rate of the reservoir fluids in the formation. This rock

characterization was first defined mathematically by Henry D’ Arcy in 1856. By analogy with electrical

conductors, permeability represents reciprocal of residence which porous medium offers to fluid flow.

Poiseuille’s equation for viscous flow in a cylindrical tube is a well-known equation

(2-17)

Where:

= fluid velocity, cm/sec

= tube diameter, cm

= pressure loss over length L,

= fluid viscosity, centipoise

= length over which pressure loss is measured, cm

A more convenient form of Poiseuille’s equation is

(2-18)

If assume that the rock is consist of a lot of tube in different group with different radius, total flow rate

from this system by using the equation (2-18)

37

= number of tubes of radius

∑

= number of groups of tubes of different radii

Example 2-4

Derive Poiseuille’s equation for viscous flow in a horizontal cylindrical tube.

Solution

Consider a horizontal flow in a circular pipe. Assume a disc shape element of the fluid in the middle of

the cylinder that is concentric with the tube and with radius equal to rw and length equal to . The

forces on the disc are due to the pressure on the upstream and downstream face of the disc and shear

force over the rim of the element Figure 2-20.

Flow

P (P+P)

r

rw

(2-19)

After simplification

(2-20)

(2-21)

(2-22)

According to the shear stress definition and using equation (2-21) and then rearranged and integration

on both side

(2-23)

(2-24)

( ) ̅

(2-25)

From (2-21), (2-24) and (2-25)

38

̅

(2-26)

: Poiseuille’s equation

A cast of the flow channel in a rock formation is shown in (Figure 2-21). It is seen that the flow channels

are of varying sizes and shapes and are randomly connected. So it is not correct to use the Poiseuille’s

equation for flow in the porous media.

In 1856, D’ Arcy (commonly known as Darcy) developed a fluid flow equation that has since become one

of the standard mathematical tools of the petroleum engineer. He investigated the flow of water

through sand filter for water purification. His experimental apparatus showed schematically in (Figure

2-22)

Figure 2-22 – Schematic Drawing of Darcy Experiment of Flow of Water through Sand9

8

Amyx (1960)

39

Darcy interpreted his observation so as to yield result essentially as following equation:

(2-27)

Here Q represents the volume rate of flow of water downward through the cylindrical sand pack of cross

sectional area A and height h and K is a proportionality constant. The sand pack was assumed to be fully

saturated with water. Later investigator found that Darcy’s law could be extended to other fluid as well

as water and that the constant of proportionality K could be written as . The final form of the Darcy

equation for horizontal linear flow of an incompressible fluid is established through a core sample of

length L and a cross-section of area A is

(2-28)

Where:

K = Proportionality constant or permeability, Darcy’s

= Viscosity of flowing fluid, cp

This is a linear law, similar to Newton’s law of viscosity, Ohm’s law of electricity, Fourier ‘s law of heat

conduction, and Fick’s law of diffusion.

Substituting the relationship = Q/A, in equation (2-28) results in

(2-29)

The velocity, , in Equation 2-29 is not the actual velocity of the flowing fluid but is the apparent velocity

determined by dividing the flow rate by the cross-sectional area across which fluid is flowing.

“Darcy” is a practical unit of permeability (in honor of Henry Darcy). A porous material has permeability

equal to 1 Darcy if a pressure difference of 1 atm will produce a flow rate of 1 of a fluid with 1 cP

viscosity through a cube having side 1 cm in length. Thus

( )

(2-30)

( )

One Darcy is a relatively high permeability as the permeabilities of most reservoir rocks are less than

one Darcy. In order to avoid the use of fractions in describing permeabilities, the term millidarcy is used.

As the term indicates, one millidarcy, i.e., 1 md, is equal to one-thousandth of one Darcy. The negative

sign in equation (2-29) is necessary as the pressure increases in one direction while the length increases

in the opposite direction.

9

Hubbert (1954)

40

Example 2-5

Solution

Multiply both side of equation (2-28) by density so we have a mass flow equation:

But because of isothermal flow, which “b” is as a “base condition”. For ideal gas at

constant temperature: . Therefore

(2-31)

(2-32)

̅ (2-33)

There for flow rate of ideal gas could be found from the Darcy’s law for the incompressible fluid when

the flow rate defined at the algebraic mean pressure.

The foregoing flow equations were all derived on the basis one continuous value of permeability

between the inflow and out flow face. It is rare to encounter a homogeneous reservoir in actual

practice. Most formations have space variations of permeability. They are more variable than porosity

and more difficult to measure. Yet an adequate knowledge of permeability distribution is critical to the

prediction of reservoir depletion by any recovery process.

In many cases, the reservoir contains distinct layers, blocks, or concentric rings of varying permeabilities.

Also, because smaller-scale heterogeneities always exist, core permeabilities must be averaged to

represent the flow characteristics of the entire reservoir or individual reservoir layers (units). The proper

way of averaging the permeability data depends on how permeabilities were distributed as the rock was

deposited. There are three simple permeability-averaging techniques that are commonly used to

determine an appropriate average permeability to represent an equivalent homogeneous system. These

are:

Weighted-average permeability

41

Harmonic-average permeability

Geometric-average permeability

Weighted-Average Permeability:

This averaging method is used to determine the average permeability of layered-parallel beds with

different permeabilities. Consider the case where the flow system is comprised of three parallel layers

that are separated from one another by thin impermeable barriers, i.e., no cross flow, as shown in

Figure 2-23. All the layers have the same width w with a cross-sectional area of A.

The flow from each layer can be calculated by applying Darcy’s equation in a linear form as expressed by

equation (2-28), to give:

Layer 1

Layer 2

Layer 3

The total flow rate Qt is equal to the sum of the flow rates through each layer or:

42

So:

General expression for average permeability of a parallel layered formation with n layers is:

∑

(2-34)

The presented general formula for a parallel layered formation which each layer has its own width (‘w’

in Figure 2-23) is as follows:

∑

: cross-sectional area of layer j

: width of layer j

Harmonic-Average Permeability

Permeability variations can occur laterally in a reservoir as well as in the vicinity of a well bore. Consider

Figure 2-24 which shows an illustration of fluid flow through a combination of series beds with different

permeabilities. For a steady-state flow, the flow rate is constant and the total pressure drop is equal

to the sum of the pressure drops across each bed, or

Substituting for the pressure drop by applying Darcy’s equation, i.e., Equation (2-28), gives:

After simplification

⁄ ⁄ ⁄

General expression for average permeability of a series layered formation with n layer is:

∑

(2-35)

∑ ⁄

43

Figure 2-24 – Linear Flow through Series Beds

For radial systems with series layers the following general equation can be produced for average

permeability:

⁄

( ⁄ ) (2-36)

∑ [ ]

Fractured Systems

In many sand and carbonate reservoirs the formation frequently contains solution channels and natural

or artificial fractures. These channels and fractures do not change the permeability of the matrix but do

change the effective permeability of the system. In order to determine the contribution made by a

fracture or channel to the total conductivity of the medium, it is necessary to express their conductivity

in terms of Darcy’s law.

Channels:

Recalling Poiseuille’s equation for fluid conductivity of capillary tubes:

(2-18)

(2-28)

44

(2-37)

Fracture:

For flow through slots of fine clearance and unit width, Buckingham reported that

(2-38)

(2-39)

Measurement of Permeability

The permeability of a porous medium can be determined from the samples extracted from the

formation or by in place testing such as well logging and well testing. Measurement of permeability in

the case of isotropic media is usually performed on linear, mostly cylindrical shaped, “core” samples.

Cores are cylinders with approximately 3.81cm (1.5 inch) diameter and 5 cm (2 inch) length. Sometimes

the permeability tests run on a whole core samples about 30-50 cm long. The experiment can be

arranged so as to have horizontal or vertical flow through the sample. Permeability is reduced by

overburden pressure, and this factor should be considered in estimating permeability of the reservoir

rock in deep wells because permeability is an anisotropic property of the porous rock, that is, it is

directional. Routine core analysis is generally concerned with plug samples drilled parallel to bedding

planes and, hence, parallel to the direction of flow in the reservoir. These yield horizontal permeabilities

(Kh). The measured permeabilities on plugs that are drilled perpendicular to the bedding planes are

referred to as vertical permeability (Kv). Both liquids and gases have been used to measure permeability.

However liquids sometimes change the pore structure and therefore the permeability. For example

injection of water to a sample with some amount of clay leads to decreasing permeability due to

swelling of the clays. There are several factors that could lead to some of error in determining reservoir

permeability. Some of these factors are:

Core sample may not be representative of the reservoir rock because of reservoir heterogeneity.

Core recovery may be incomplete.

Permeability of the core may be altered when it is cut, or when it is cleaned and dried in preparation

for analysis. This problem is likely to occur when the rock contains reactive clays.

As core samples usually contain water and oil, it is necessary to prepare the core samples for the test.

Cores are dried in an oven or extracted by a Soxhlet extractor and then they are subsequently dried. The

residual fluids are thus removed and the core samples become 100% saturated with air. In principle

45

measurement at a steady single flow rate permits the “routine” calculation of the permeability from

Darsy’s law. The core is inserted in a core holder. A pressure applied on the surface of the core as

confining pressure. An appropriate pressure gradient is adjusted across the core sample and the rate of

flow of air through the plug is observed. The permeability could be found from either equation (2-32) or

(2-33). However there is considerable experimental error in this experiment so the requirement that

permeability be determined for conditions of viscous flow is best satisfied by obtaining data at several

flow rates and plotting the flow rate versus pressure drop, as shown in Figure 2-25. A straight line is

fitted to the data points. According to the Darcy’s law, the slope of this line is ⁄ , and this line must

pass through the origin. But at ultralow flow rates, the flow rate is not proportional to pressure drop.

Darcy’s law should not be extrapolated to the origin. Deviation from the straight line at high flow rates is

an indication of turbulent flow (Figure 2-25). This deviation shows that the pressure drop in turbulent

flow is higher than viscous flow. By increasing the pressure drop we can reach to a maximum flow rate

capacity of the medium, after that flow rate will not increase by increasing the pressure drop.

4

Turbulent Flow

3

𝑄̅ ⁄𝐴

2

1

Viscous Flow

0

0 0.5 1 1.5

𝑃 𝑃 ⁄𝐿

Figure 2-25 – Plot of Experimental Results for Calculation of Permeability

The same experiment can be done with water or other liquids. In this case the core sample should be

fully saturated with the testing liquid. When liquid is used as the testing fluid, care must be taken that it

does not react with the solids in the core sample. The permeability of a core sample measured by

flowing air is always greater than the permeability obtained when a liquid is the flowing fluid.

Klinkenberg (1941) postulated, on the basis of his laboratory experiments, that liquids had a zero

velocity at the sand grain surface, while gases exhibited some finite velocity at the sand grain surface.

This resulted in a higher flow rate for the gas at a given pressure differential.

Correction can be applied for the change in permeability because the reduction in confining pressure on

the sample.

Example 2-6

The following data obtained during a routine permeability test at 70oF. Find the permeability.

Flow rate = 2000 cc of air at 1 atm in 400 sec

Downstream pressure = 1atm

Viscosity of air at test temperature = 0.02 cP

Core cross sectional area = 3 cm2

Core length = 5 cm

46

Upstream Pressure = 1.75 atm

Solution

̅

̅̅ ̅ ̅

̅

̅

Measurements of permeability on large core samples generally yield better indication of permeability of

limestone than do with small core sample. Rocks which contain fractures in situ separate along natural

plane of weakness when cored. Therefore the conductivity of such fractures will not be included in the

laboratory data.

While water used as testing liquid in permeability determination, in samples with clay material water act

as a reactive liquid in connection with permeability determination. Reactive liquids alter the internal

geometry of the porous medium which causes permeability change. The effect of clay swelling in

presence of water when water used as testing fluid in permeability test is the most known effect of a

reactive testing fluid. The degree of swelling is a function of water salinity. While the fresh water may

cause swelling of the cementation material in the core it is a reversible process. Highly saline water can

pass through the core and return the permeability to its original value.

Klinkenberg (1941) reported a variation in the permeability test results with the pressure when gas is

used as testing fluid. Klinkenberg found that for a given porous medium as the mean pressure increased

the calculated permeability decreased. Mean pressure is defined as follow:

(2-40)

This variation caused by “gas slippage” phenomenon. The phenomenon of gas slippage occurs when the

diameter of the capillary opening approaches the mean free path of the gas. As mentioned before in

flowing of the gas through the porous media the velocity at the solid wall cannot, in general, be

considered zero, but a so called “slip” or “drift” velocity at the wall must be taken into account. This

effect becomes significant when the mean free path of the gas molecules is of comparable magnitude as

the pore size. When the mean free path is such smaller than the pore size, the slip velocity becomes

negligibly small. As in liquids the mean free path of molecules is of the order of the molecular diameter,

so the no-slip condition always applied in liquid flow.

The mean free path of a gas is a function of molecular size and the kinetic energy of the gas. Therefore

the “Klinkenberg Effect” is a function of the gas that is used as testing fluid and the conditions of the test

47

like as pressure and temperature. Figure 2-26 is a plot of the permeability of the porous medium as

determined at various mean pressures using hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon monoxide as the testing

fluids.

Carbon dioxide

Nitrogen

Permeability

Hydrogen

⁄

Figure 2-26 – Permeability of Core Sample to Three Different Gases and Different Mean Pressure

Note that for each gas a straight line is observed for the observed permeability as a function of

⁄ . The data obtained with lowest molecular weight gas yields the straight line with greater slop,

indicative of a greater slippage effect. All the line when extrapolated to infinite mean pressure,

⁄ , intercept the permeability axes at a common point. This point is the equivalent liquid

permeability, .

It is established that the permeability of a porous medium to a single phase liquid is equal to the

equivalent liquid permeability.

The magnitude of the Klinkenberg effect varies with the core permeability as well as type of the gas used

in the experiment as shown in Figure 2-27.

Low Permeability

Intermediate Permeability

High Permeability

Permeability

⁄

Figure 2-27 - Effect of Permeability on the Magnitude of the Klinkenberg Effect

(2-41)

⁄

48

(2-42)

Where:

b = Klinkenberg factor

Kg = measured gas permeability

Pm = mean pressure

KL = equivalent liquid permeability, i.e., absolute permeability, k

m = slope of the line

b = constant for a given gas in a given medium

Klinkenberg suggested that the “Klinkenberg factor” is a function of:

Type of the gas used in measuring the permeability

Pore throat size distribution

Since permeability is, in effect a measure of size opening in porous medium, it is found that b is a

function of permeability. Jones (1972) studied the gas slip phenomena for a group of cores for which

porosity, liquid permeability KL (absolute permeability), and air permeability were determined. He

correlated the parameter b with the liquid permeability by the following expression:

(2-43)

The usual measurement of permeability is made with air at mean pressure just above atmospheric

pressure. To obtain accurate measurement it is required to do approximately 12 flow tests. Permeability

should be determined for 4 flow rates, each at three different mean pressures. This procedure permits

the obtaining three value of permeability at three mean pressure values, from which permeability to

liquid can be graphically determined. In the absence of such data, Equations (2-36) and (2-34) can be

combined and arranged to give:

(2-44)

Equation (2-44) can be used to calculate the absolute permeability when only one gas permeability

measurement (kg) of a core sample is made at pm. This nonlinear equation can be solved iteratively by

using the Newton- Raphson iterative methods. The proposed solution method can be conveniently

written as:

(2-45)

́

Where:

Ki initial guess of the absolute permeability, md

Ki+1 new permeability value to be used for the next iteration

i iteration level

Equation 2-44 as evaluated by using the assumed value of Ki.

́ first-derivative of Equation (2-44) as evaluated at Ki

49

The first derivative of Equation (2-44) with respect to Ki is:

́

Example (2-7)

The permeability of a core plug is measured by air. Only one measurement is made at a mean pressure

of 2.152 psi. The air permeability is 46.6 md. Estimate the absolute permeability of the core sample.

Compare the result with the actual absolute permeability of 23.66 md.

Solution

Substitute the given values of pm and kg into Equations (2-44) and (2-45)

́

Assume ki = 30 and apply the Newton-Raphson method to find the required solution as shown below.

i Ki ́

1 30.000 25.12 3.45 22.719

2 22.719 -0.466 3.29 22.861

3 22.861 0.414 3.29 22.848

After three iterations, the Newton-Raphson method converges to an absolute value for the permeability

of 22.848 md.

All the confining forces release and rock matrix expands when the core is removed from the formation.

Fluid flow path in the rock changes by expansion of the rock’s matrix. Compaction of the core due to the

overburden pressure may cause as much as 60% reduction in the permeability of various formations. So

there is a need to an empirical correlation to correct the surface permeability for overburden pressure.

It is noted that some formations are more compressible than others, so we need more data to develop

this correlation.

Forscheimer Equation

SATURATION

In most oil formation it is believed that the formation was fully saturated with water prior to the oil

migration and trapping in the formation. The less dense hydrocarbons are considered to migrate to

positions of hydrostatic and dynamic equilibrium by displacing the initial water. The oil will not displace

all the water originally occupied these pores. Thus reservoir rocks normally contain both hydrocarbon

and water (frequently referred to as connate water or interstitial water). Saturation is defined as that

fraction, or percent, of the pore volume occupied by a particular fluid (oil, gas, or water). This property is

expressed mathematically by the following relationship:

50

All saturations are based on pore volume not gross volume of the reservoir. The saturation of each

individual phase ranges between zero to 100 percent. By definition, the sum of the saturations is 100%,

therefore

Connate (interstitial) water saturation Swc is important primarily because it reduces the amount of

space available between oil and gas. It is generally not uniformly distributed throughout the reservoir

but varies with permeability, lithology, and height above the free water table. Another particular phase

saturation of interest is called the critical saturation and it is associated with each reservoir fluid. The

definition and the significance of the critical saturation for each phase is described below.

For the oil phase to flow, the saturation of the oil must exceed a certain value which is termed critical oil

saturation. At this particular saturation, the oil remains in the pores and, for all practical purposes, will

not flow.

During the displacing process of the crude oil system from the porous media by water or gas injection

(or encroachment) there will be some remaining oil left that is quantitatively characterized by a

saturation value that is larger than the critical oil saturation. This saturation value is called the residual

oil saturation, Sor. The term residual saturation is usually associated with the non-wetting phase when it

is being displaced by a wetting phase.

Movable oil saturation Som is another saturation of interest and is defined as the fraction of pore

volume occupied by movable oil as expressed by the following equation:

Som 1 Swc Soc

As the reservoir pressure declines below the bubble-point pressure, gas evolves from the oil phase and

consequently the saturation of the gas increases as the reservoir pressure declines. The gas phase

remains immobile until its saturation exceeds certain saturation, called critical gas saturation, above

which gas begins to move.

The critical water saturation, connate water saturation, and irreducible water saturation are extensively

used interchangeably to define the maximum water saturation at which the water phase will remain

immobile.

The methods that are used to measure values of original rock saturation can be classified to two classes:

Evaporation of the fluids in the rock and Leaching out the fluids in the rock by extraction with a solvent.

51

Retort method:

This method takes a sample and heats as to vaporize water and oil, which is condensed and collected in

a small receiving vessel. This method has some disadvantage. First to vaporize all the in situ oil the core

sample should reached to a high temperature around 1100oF. At this high temperature the water of

crystallization within the rock is driven off, causing the water recovery values to be greater than just

interstitial water. The second error is that the oil at this high temperature range tends to cock and crack.

This change in the molecule type causes decreasing in the liquid volume and coats the internal walls of

the core sample. Before using of the retort test calibration curves should be used to correct the errors

resulted from the cocking and cracking at different temperature.

ASTM method:

This method is based on the extracting with a solvent during a distillation process. The core is placed and

a vapor of toluene, gasoline, or naphtha rises through the core and is condensed to reflux back over the

core. This process leaches out oil and water in the core. The water and extracting fluid are condensed

and collect in a graduated receiving tube (Figure 2-28). The water settles to the bottom of graduated

tube because of its higher density. The process continues until no more water is collected in the

graduated vessel. After the process the water saturation can be determined directly. The oil saturation is

an indirect determination. By knowing the weight of core sample before the test, the weight of the dried

sample after the test, and the weight of extracted water we can determine the oil saturation:

(2-46)

Condenser

Graduated

tube

Solvent

Electronic heater

52

Centrifugal method:

The water and oil are extracted from the sample core with solvent as the ASTM method. The difference

is that the extraction force is applied by a centrifugal force. The solvent removes all the water and oil in

the sample under the centrifugal force and the extracted fluid collected in a container to determine the

oil and water saturation in the same way of ASTM method. The use of centrifuge provides a very rapid

method.

Porous media consist of mineral, rock fragments and void space. The solids with exception of certain

clay minerals (such as shaly sands where clay shales produce electrical conductivity) are nonconductive.

Generally the electrical property of a rock depends on void space geometry and the fluids that occupy

the void space. The fluid of interest for petroleum engineers are oil, gas and water. Oil and gas are

nonconductor and water is conductive when contains dissolved salts. Water has electrolyte

conductivity, because electricity conducted by movement of ions. The resistivity term, as the reciprocal

of conductivity, is used to define the ability of a material to conduct current:

(2-47)

Where:

r = resistance, ohm

R = resistivity of, ohm-cm

A = Cross section area, cm2

L = Length, cm

“Formation Resistivity Factor” is the most fundamental concept in considering electrical properties of

rock:

(2-48)

Where:

= Resistivity of fully water saturated rock

= Saturating water resistivity

It is only defines for porous matrices of negligible electrical conductivity. It is evident that F is always

greater than unity in the absence of electrical conductive layers. The formation resistivity factor

measure the influence of pore structure on the resistance of sample. In the absence of a conductive

mineral layer the electrical current can flow only through the fluid in the rock interconnected pores. This

implies that F is related to the porosity of the rock. The influence of pore structure on the electrical

conductivity may be divided into two contributions: the reduction of the cross section which is available

for conduction and the orientation and length of conduction path (Figure 2-29). For isotropic disordered

media, the ratio of the cross section available for conduction to the bulk cross section is equal to the

bulk porosity, i.e. F is inversely related to porosity:

53

Figure 2-29.:

⁄

⁄

⁄

Figure 28.III:

( ) ⁄

⁄ ⁄

54

L = Length of element or model, Le = Effective length of capillary

Measurements showed that F varies more than just in inverse proportion to porosity. The first

relationship between F and was suggested by Archie (1942):

(2-49)

Where m is “cementation exponent” and its value is usually between 1.3 to 2.5 for various types of

rocks. For clean and uniform size sands: a = 1 and m = 2. More general form of the Archie’s law is:

(2-50)

Where a is an intercept. Generally a logarithmic plot of F versus is used to find a and m value for a

special sample (Figure 2-30).

According to the presented formula it can be shown that the following variables have effects on the

resistivity of natural porous media:

Temperature

Water salinity

Porosity

Pore geometry

Formation stress

Rock composition

Degree of cementation

Type of pore system inter-crystalline

Sorting and Packing (in particulate system)

The last six factors have effect through the influence on the conduction path. Confinement or

overburden pressure may cause a significant increase in resistivity by blocking of some conduction paths

55

and reduction in the cross sections which are available for flow. This usually occurs in rocks with low

porosity or that are not well cemented. Older data was collected using measurements in unconfined

core samples. So to have the same condition as in the reservoir resistivity measurements and formation

factors determination under confining pressures are recommended for improved analysis.

1000

100

10

1

0.1 Porosity (Fraction) 1

Several generalized relationships have been reported to relate F and . The widely used ones are:

Table 1 - Generalized Relationships between F and

data from 30 samples – 28 sandstones core plugs, one

Winsauer et al 1952 limestone plug, and one unconsolidated sand sample

Porter and Carothers 1970 Pliocene and four wells from offshore of Texas-Louisiana

Miocene

Porter and Carothers 1970 Pliocene and four wells from offshore of Texas-Louisiana

Miocene

Schlumberger and Shell 1979 For compact rocks, low porosity and non-fractured carbonate

⁄ Schlumberger and Shell 1979 For compact rocks, low porosity and non-fractured carbonate

The clay minerals present in natural rock act as a conductor and are sometimes referred to as

“conductive solids”, but it is actually the water in the clay and the ions in the water that are the

conducting materials. Figure 2-31 shows variation of formation factor with water resistivity for clean

and clayey sands. The effect of the clay on the resistivity of the rock is dependent upon the amount,

type and manner of distribution of the clay in the rock.

56

100

10

1

Comparable Clean Sand

Stevens Sand, California

0.1

0.1 1 10 100

water resistivity

Figure 2-31 - Apparent Formation Factor vs. Water Resistivity for Clayey and Clean Sands

As shown in Figure 2-31 the formation factor for a clay-free sand is constant. However, the formation

factor for a clayey sand increases with decreasing water resistivity and approaches a constant value at a

water resistivity of about 0.1 ·m. The apparent formation factor Fa was calculated from the definition

of the formation factor and observed values of Roa and Rw (Fa = Roa/Rw). Wyllie proposed that the

observed effect of clay minerals was similar to having two electrical circuits in parallel: the conducting

clay minerals and the water-filled pores. Thus,

(2-51)

Where Roa is the resistivity of shaly sand when 100% saturated with water of resistivity Rw. Rc is the

resistivity due to the clay minerals. FRw is the resistivity due to the distributed water, and F is the true

formation factor of the rock (the constant value when the rock contains low-resistivity water).

(2-52)

⁄

From equation (2-52)

Therefore, Fa approaches F as a limit as Rw becomes small. This was observed in Figure 2-31.

The data presented in Figure 2-32 shows the relationship expressed in the previous equation. The plots

are linear and are of the general form:

(2-53)

57

Where C is the slope of the line and b is the y-intercept. Comparing with the equation (2-51), it may be

noted that C = 1/F and b = 1/Rc. The line in which b = 0 indicates a clean sand.

1

Suite 1 no. 40

Suite 2 No. 21

0.8

Suite 1 no.4

Suite 6 no.2

0.6

1/Roa

0.4

0.2

0

0 5 10 15 20 25

1/Rw

RESISTIVITY INDEX, RI

Another fundamental electrical property of porous rocks is the resistivity index, RI. It is defined as:

(2-54)

Where Ro is the resistivity of the sample saturated with electrolyte (salted water) and Rt (true resistivity)

is the resistivity of the sample which is saturated with electrolyte and hydrocarbon. As previously

mentioned hydrocarbons are non-conductive materials. So always . SI value

decreases by increasing the water saturation till unity at fully water saturation. Various empirical

correlations have been found that relate the RI to water saturation in the medium. They are of the form

(2-55)

Where n is the resistivity index exponent (also known as saturation exponent) and c is some function of

tortuosity. Archie’s correlation gives n = 2.0 for consolidated sands, while William’s correlation gives n =

2.7.

Combination of equations (2-50), (2-51) and (2-55) yields:

√ √

√ (2-56)

58

According to equation (2-56) initial water saturation of the formation could be predicted by knowing the

value of Rt, and Rw. Usually Rt and porosity evaluated by the log data and Rw calculated according to

the formation water salinity.

59

MULTI-PHASE SATURATED ROCK PROPERTIES

In the previous sections the physical properties of the rocks are defined in terms of single fluid system.

Such a simplified case that rock in fully saturated with just a single phase is seldom found in actual

petroleum reservoirs. In petroleum reservoirs, generally there are at least two phases in contact with

each other. Simultaneous presentation of more than one phase in the rock requires defining new

properties such as wettability, capillary pressure and relative permeability.

In dealing with multiphase systems, it is necessary to consider the effect of the forces at the interface

when two immiscible fluids are in contact. When these two fluids are liquid and gas, the term surface

tension is used to describe the forces acting on the interface. Surface tension is a property of the surface

of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force and liquid surface acts like a thin elastic sheet. It is

revealed, for example, in floating of some objects on the surface of water, even though they are denser

than water. When the interface is between two liquids, the acting forces are called interfacial tension.

The cohesive forces among the liquid molecules are responsible for this phenomenon of surface tension.

In the bulk of the liquid, each molecule is pulled equally in every direction by neighboring liquid

molecules, resulting in a net force of zero. The molecules at the surface do not have the same other

molecules on all sides of them and therefore are pulled inwards. This creates some internal pressure and

forces liquid surfaces to contract to the minimal area. The unbalanced attraction force between the

molecules creates a membrane like surface with a measurable tension, i.e., surface/interfacial tension

(Figure 2-33).

Figure 2-33- Illustration of surface tension (Surface molecules pulled toward liquid causes tension in surface).

A certain amount of work is required to move a water molecule from within the body of the liquid

through the interface. This work is frequently referred to as the free surface energy of the liquid. Free

surface energy may be defined as the work necessary to create a new unit area of the surface. The

interfacial/surface tension is the force per unit length required to create new surface which is

numerically equal to the surface energy. The surface or interfacial tension has the units of force per unit

of length, e.g., dynes/cm, and is usually denoted by the symbol .

60

Simple models for interfacial tension Determination (IFT):

Soap Film: Consider a liquid film enclosed by a wire loop (Figure 2-34.a) where one side of the loop is

allowed to slide back and forth. A force (f) is applied to counter the contractive force due to the surface

tension of the liquid. Working against the surface tension an incremental increase in the force will do

work W in pulling the slide out a distance dx:

(2-57)

(2-58)

Where, ‘L’ is the length along the slide and the factor of ‘2’ is required to account for the film’s two

sides. Then we relate the surface tension to the change in area (A) of the film via:

(2-59)

Where, ‘dA’ is the increase in area of the surface of the liquid film.

Soap Bubble: Consider a soap bubble of radius r, (Figure 2-34.b), where energy is described by:

(2-60)

Where, is the area of the bubble as a sphere. If the radius is decreased by dr, then the change in

surface energy is:

(2-61)

Since shrinking decreases the surface energy, the tendency to do so must be balanced by a pressure

difference across the film, P, such that the work against this pressure difference is equal to the

decrease in surface free energy. In other words:

(2-62)

So:

(2-63)

Where, P = (Inside pressure) - (Outside pressure). Therefore, the smaller the soap bubble, the larger

the air pressure inside compared to outside.

61

Wire Frame

r

f

L Soap Film dr

dx Movable Wire

(a) (b)

Capillary rise Method: This methodology employs a small bore capillary which is inserted into the liquid

whose surface tension is to be determined (Figure 2-35). The height to which the liquid rises in the tube

is proportional to the surface tension. Assuming the radius of the capillary tube is r, the total upward

force Fup, which holds the liquid up, is equal to the force per unit length of surface times the total length

of surface, or

(2-64)

The upward force is counteracted by the weight of the water, which is equivalent to a downward force

of mass times acceleration, or

(2-65)

Where

g = acceleration due to gravity, cm/sec2

3

w = density of water, gm/cm

3

air = density of gas, gm/cm

Equating eq.(2-64) and eq.(2-65) and solving for the surface

tension gives:

(2-66)

(2-67)

Figure 2-35- Pressure relations in capillary

tubes

62

WETTABILITY

There exists a surface tension between a fluid and a solid, in the same way that a surface tension exists

between two immiscible fluids. Wettability is defined as the tendency of one fluid to spread on or

adhere to a solid surface in the presence of other immiscible fluids. This spreading tendency can be

expressed more conveniently by measuring the angle of contact at the liquid-solid surface. This angle,

which is always measured through the liquid to the solid, is called the contact angle that is known

also as wetting angle. The contact angle has achieved significance as a measure of wettability. As

shown in Figure 2-36, as the contact angle decreases, the wetting characteristics of the liquid increase.

Complete wettability would be evidenced by a zero contact angle, and complete non-wetting would be

evidenced by a contact angle of 180°. There have been various definitions of intermediate wettability

but, in much of the published literature, contact angles of 60° to 90° will tend to repel the liquid. When

one fluid preferentially covers the surface, it is called the wetting fluid, and the other fluid is called the

non-wetting fluid. The origin of these surface tensions arises in the different strengths of molecular level

interactions taking place between the pairs of fluids. For example a quartz sandstone grain generally

develops greater molecular forces between itself and water than between itself and oils. Clean

sandstones are therefore commonly water wet.

When two fluids are in contact with a solid surface, the equilibrium configuration of the two fluid phases

(for example air and water) depends on the relative values of the surface tension between each pair of

the three phases (Figure 2-37). Each surface tension acts upon its respective interface, and define the

angle at which the liquid contacts the surface. Equilibrium considerations allow us to calculate the

wetting angle from the surface tensions:

(2-68)

This equation is known as Young’s equation (1805).

63

Figure 2-37- Equilibrium of Forces at a Liquid-Gas-Solid Interface.

The values of cannot be measured independently in an experiment,

Surface roughness effects are not considered.

To account for surface roughness it was suggested that (Wenzel, 1936):

(2-69)

Where, is the apparent contact angle and fr is a roughness parameter defined as the ratio of the

true area of the solid-liquid interface to the apparent area of the solid-liquid interface. fr > 1 for any

real surface.

Table 2 shows some contact angles and surface tensions for common fluids in the hydrocarbon industry.

Table 2- Contact angles and interfacial tension for common fluid-fluid interfaces

Air-Water 0 1.000 72

Oil-Water 30 0.866 48

Air-Oil 0 1.000 24

Air-Mercury 140 -0.756 480

Spreading Coefficients

When two interfaces are present in a pore and are approaching each other, such as a water/oil interface

and a water/gas interface, there is a point where the fluids are spontaneously redistributed in the pore.

In that, oil spreads between water and gas thus eliminating the water/gas interface and creating an

oil/gas interface. This condition where oil spreads over water in the presence of gas is best treated in

terms of what is referred to as the spreading coefficient, defined by the equation:

⁄ (2-70)

64

Where, ⁄ is the final spreading coefficient of oil over water, are the interfacial

tensions when all three fluids are in thermodynamic equilibrium. The numerical value of the spreading

coefficient, as computed from the above equation, can be a positive or a negative value. The spreading

parameter for non-equilibrium situation is the energy gained when covering one unit area of the water

with a flat oil film of macroscopic thickness. When the spreading coefficient is positive, oil is expected to

spread over water, whereas a negative spreading coefficient indicated that oil will not spread over water

and the situation where the water is covered by the oil film is not favourable. The saturation of a water-

gas interface with a monolayer of oil results in an interfacial value, wg’ which is smaller than the

interfacial tension of pure water against gas, wg, measured at the same temperature and pressure. The

value of the spreading coefficient is an important parameter in some enhanced oil recovery methods.

The spreading coefficient also defined for the gas-liquid-solid system. Positive spreading coefficient

means that the solid is covered by the liquid film and the system gains some energy because of that. For

positive S, in the G-L-S system, the liquid wet the solid completely, in which case a liquid drop will spread

with time after its deposition on the surface, with its initially nonzero contact angle moving towards its

limiting equilibrium, zero value.

According to the definition ‘hysteresis’ occurs when a measured variable depends on the direction of

change of an independent variable. Some factors that may contribute to contact angle hysteresis are as

follows:

Surface roughness,

Solid surface heterogeneity and differential adsorption of wettability aerating compounds,

Surface immobility which prevents fluid motion that is necessary for the system to reach a three-

phase contact point equilibrium. For example, a surfactant desorbing from the solid-liquid interface

into the bulk liquid, and the solid film at the oil-water interface,

Contamination,

Components in different phases equilibrate among the phases. This can occur when surfactants

have solubility in oil and water and adsorb at both interfaces.

The solid phase contains soluble components and/or when oil contains compounds that adsorb onto

solids. The adsorption of oil components is slow and the contact angle changes over hours or

months; systems that are initially water-wet may change to oil-wet.

Figure 2-38 shows the significant effect of rock-fluid-fluid interactions on the contact angle

measurement.

65

Figure 2-38- Rock-Fluid-Fluid Interactions Effect on the Contact Angle

Laboratory Determination

There are several methods for determining wettability of a rock to various fluids. The main ones are:

Microscopic observation: This involves the direct observation and measurement of wetting angles on

small rock samples. One of the most popular methods for measuring the contact angle is the ‘sessile

drop method’, which involves depositing a liquid drop on a smooth solid surface and measuring the

angle between the solid surface and the tangent to the drop profile at the drop edge. In most of the

case the drop is small enough, thus, the gravity action can be neglected. The deposited drop deforms

from its initial spherical shape, flattens to form a small cap of liquid and eventually reaches its

equilibrium state. Figure 2-39 shows a schematic diagram of a liquid drop spreading on a solid surface.

During the spreading process, the liquid drop will form the so-called ‘dynamic contact angle’ with the

solid surface, (t), and spread out along the horizontal axis. With the increase of the contact radius of

the drop, R(t), the drop will become thinner and its central height h(t), will decrease in order to meet a

constant value. The spreading process will continue until the so-called ‘equilibrium contact angle’ is

achieved. This contact angle represents the wettability of the solid–liquid–fluid system and can be

related to the interfacial tensions of the system by the Young equation.

66

h(t)

h(t)

R(t) R(t)

The measurements are extremely difficult, and good data relies more on luck than judgment.

There are several issues that must be addressed when measuring contact angles for determining

reservoir properties:

Surface roughness and history of which fluid first contacted the surface will affect the measured

value of the contact angle.

Rock-fluid interaction (e.g. solubility, pH, ions in the aqueous phase, polar groups in crude oil, etc.)

will affect the value of the contact angle.

Polished solids (quartz, calcite) may not be representative of solid surfaces in porous media.

Time to reach equilibrium (when the contact angle is independent of time) may vary from seconds

to days or years. Consequently, the contact angle measured in the laboratory may not represent

the natural wettability of the system under examination.

Amott wettability measurements: This is a macroscopic mean wettability of a rock to given fluids. It

involves the measurement of the amount of fluids spontaneously and forcibly imbibed by a rock sample.

It has no validity as an absolute measurement, but is industry standard for comparing the wettability of

various core plugs.

The Amott method (Figure 2-40) involves four basic measurements. Figure 2-42 shows how to use

measured Amott test data:

1) The amount of water or brine spontaneously imbibed = the amount of produced oil in step 1, AB.

2) The amount of water or brine forcibly imbibed = the amount of produced oil in step 2, BC.

3) The amount of oil spontaneously imbibed = the amount of produced water in step 3, CD

4) The amount of oil forcibly imbibed = the amount of produced water in step 4, DA

67

Step 1 (A to B) Step 2 (B to C ) Step 3 (C to D) Step 4 (D to A)

Initially the core sample is saturated with oil at initial water saturation (point X in Figure 2-42). The

spontaneous measurements are carried out by placing the sample in a container containing a known

volume of the fluid to be imbibed such that it is completely submerged (steps 1 and 3 in Figure 2-40) for

water and oil respectively), and measuring the volume of the fluid displaced by the imbibing fluid ( step

1 and stp 3 of Figure 2-40). The forced measurements are carried out by injection of the ‘imbibing’ fluid

through the rock sample and measuring the amount of the displaced fluid (steps 2 and 4 in (Figure

2-40)). The important measurements are the spontaneous imbibition steps of oil and water, and the

total (spontaneous and forced) imbibitions of oil and water. Water-wet samples only spontaneously

imbibe water, oil-wet samples only spontaneously imbibe oil, and those that spontaneously imbibe

neither are called neutrally-wet. The wettability ratios for oil (AB/AC) or water (CD/CA) are the ratios of

the spontaneous imbibition to the total imbibition of the each fluid. A water-wet system should have an

Amott Index for water close to 1 and its Amott Index for oil is close to zero. An oil-wet system should

have an Amott index to water close to 1, an Amott index to oil close to zero.

10

Paul Glover

68

Amott Ternary Wettabillity Diagram

0 1

NEUTRAL WET

Water Wetting Index Neutrality

index Serie

s1

WEAKLY WEAKLY

WATER WET OIL WET

MIXED WET

1 WATER WET

OIL WET

0

Oil Wetting Index

In general use the samples to be measured are centrifuged or flooded with brine, and then flooding or

centrifuging in oil to obtain Swi. The standard Amott method is then followed. At the end of the

experiment the so called Amott-Harvey wettability index is calculated:

(2-71)

(2-72)

69

USBM (U.S. Bureau of Mines) method: This is a macroscopic mean wettability of a rock to given fluids. It

is similar to the Amott method but considers the work required to do a forced fluid displacement. As

with the Amott method, it has no validity as an absolute measurement, but is industrial standard

method for comparing the wettability of various core plugs. It is usually done by centrifuge, and the

wettability index W is calculated from the areas under the capillary pressure curves A1 and A2:

(2-73)

where, A1 is the area under the drainage curve and A2 is the area under the imbibition curve as are

shown in Figure 2-43. A water-wet system should have a relatively large positive USBM Index while an

oil-wet system should have a relatively large negative USBM index.

Note that in this case the initial conditions of the rock are Sw=100%, and an initial flood down to Swi is

required (shown as step 1 in Figure 2-43), although either case may be necessary for either the Amott or

USBM methods. Figure 2-43 shows typical USBM test curves for water wet, oil wet and neutrally wet

cores.

Ca

pill

ary

Pre

ssu

re

The contact angle measures the wettability of a specific surface, while the Amott and USBM methods

measure the average wettability of a core.

A surfactant is a polar compound, consisting of an amphiphilic molecule, with a hydrophilic part (anionic,

cationic, amphoteric or nonionic) and a hydrophobic part. As a result, the addition of a surfactant to an

oil-water mixture would lead to a reduction in the interfacial tension. In the past time, the surfactants

were used to increase oil recovery by lowering IFT. Later on, due to the difficulty of initiating imbibition

process in oil-wet carbonate rocks, many researchers have focused on how to alter the oil-wet

70

carbonate to water-wet by using surfactants. The most successful method reported is the surfactant

flooding in the presence of alkaline. There are a number of mechanisms for surfactant adsorption such

as electrostatic attraction/repulsion, ion-exchange, chemisorption, chain-chain interactions, hydrogen

bonding and hydrophobic bonding. The nature of the surfactants, minerals and solution conditions as

well as the mineralogical composition of reservoir rocks play a governing role in determining the

interactions between the reservoir minerals and externally added reagents (surfactants/ polymers) and

their effect on solid-liquid interfacial properties such as surface charge and wettability

CAPILLARY PRESSURE

The capillary pressure characteristics of a given reservoir will impact the choice of recovery method(s)

and displacement mechanisms. For instance, the displacement of oil by water in a water-wet reservoir

requires a totally different process compared to the displacement of oil by water in an oil-wet reservoir.

The capillary forces in a petroleum reservoir are the result of the combined effect of the surface and

interfacial tensions of the rock and fluids, the pore size and geometry, and the wetting characteristics of

the system. Any curved surface between two immiscible fluids has the tendency to contract into the

smallest possible area per unit volume. This is true whether the fluids are oil and water, water and gas

(even air), or oil and gas. When two immiscible fluids are in contact, a discontinuity in pressure exists

between the two fluids, which depend upon the curvature of the interface separating the fluids. This

difference existing across the interface is referred to as the capillary pressure (Pc). In other words

Capillary pressure pc is defined as the pressure difference between the non-wetting phase and the

wetting phase as a function of the (wetting phase) saturation. The displacement of one fluid by another

in the pores of a porous medium is either aided or opposed by the surface forces of capillary pressure.

As a consequence, in order to maintain a porous medium partially saturated with nonwetting fluid and

while the medium is also exposed to wetting fluid, it is necessary to maintain the pressure of the

nonwetting fluid at a value greater than that in the wetting fluid.

Consider Figure 2-44 that a capillary tube in immersed in a beaker of water weather the oil is the other

fluid.

71

Where

= Pressure in oil at point A’

= Pressure in oil at point B

= Pressure in water at point A

= Pressure in water at point B

If the beaker is large the interface at point A’ is flat and capillary pressure is zero. Therefore

(2-74)

At the free water level in the beaker. The pressures at point B in oil and water phase, according to oil

and water density, are:

(2-75)

(2-76)

The pressure difference across the interface at point B is:

(2-77)

This pressure difference (capillary pressure) is the reason of the curvature at the interface of the two

liquid in the capillary tube. By increasing the capillary pressure this curvature increases and vice versa.

The greater pressure is always on the concave side of the interface. Therefore the non-wetting phase in

a porous material is at a higher pressure than the wetting phase. At the free level of the beaker (point

A’) which interface is flat the capillary pressure is neglected.

According to the eq.(2-77) the capillary pressure must be in equilibrium with gravitational forces if the

fluids are in equilibrium and not flowing. Considering eq.(2-67) and eq.(2-77) the expression of capillary

pressure in term of surface force is:

(2-78)

72

This equation shows that capillary pressure is inversely proportional to the capillary tube diameter. This

is the reason that by decreasing the capillary diameter, water column height and curvature in the

interface increase (Figure 2-45.a).

(a) (b)

Figure 2-45- Dependency of Water Column to (a). Capillary Radius, (b). Wettability.

Figure 2-45.a shows the dependency of the equilibrium liquid column to the capillary tube radius. In

addition to change the capillary radius, change in wetting characteristic changes the liquid column

height, such that the greater wettability (adhesion tension) the greater equilibrium height obtained. In

Figure 2-45.b wettability decreases from ‘a’ to ‘c’ (liquid ‘c’ is non-wet).

The interfacial phenomena described above for capillary tubes also exist when bundles of

interconnected capillaries of varying sizes exist in a porous medium. The capillary pressure that exists

within a porous medium between two immiscible phases is a function of the interfacial tensions and the

average size of the capillaries which, in turn, controls the curvature of the interface.

The relation between the pressure difference across an interface and tension can be determined by

displacing the interface an infinitesimal distance in the direction of the normal to the interface. When

the system is in mechanical equilibrium, the work to stretch (or contract) the interface is balanced by

the pressure - volume work done in displacing the interface. The equation for mechanical equilibrium

across a fluid interface is the Young - Laplace equation:

(2-79)

Where

σ is the surface or interfacial tension

H is the mean curvature

Δp is the pressure difference across the interface such that the higher pressure is on the

concave side of the interface.

The mean curvature can be expressed as a function of the radius of curvatures:

73

( ) (2-80)

A general expression of capillary pressure as a function of interfacial tension and curvature of the

interface can be generated by substitution of H in eq.(2-80) into the Young-Laplace eq. (2-79):

( ) (2-81)

Where and are the principle radii of the curvature of the interface that are measured in

perpendicular planes and is the interfacial tension between the fluids. In the case of a curved

interface between immiscible fluids the plus sign is used. In the case of pendular rings (Figure 2-46) the

minus sign is used.

Figure 2-46- Principle radii for wetting fluid and spherical grain

Comparing eq.(2-81) with eq.(2-78) in capillary tube, it is found that the mean radius is defined by

( ) (2-82)

It is impossible to measure the values of and , so they are generally referred to by mean radius of

the curvature and empirically determined from other measurements on a porous medium.

For a fluid-fluid interface in a capillary tube:

(2-83)

Where ‘r’ is the radius of the capillary and is the contact angle.

Wettability determines the fluid distribution in a porous medium. Wetting phase has tendency to

occupy the smaller pores. In a packing bed porous medium 2 different types of wetting phase

distribution can be found, depend on the saturation of the wetting phase. These two types are funicular

distribution and pendular-ring distribution (Figure 2-47). By decreasing the wetting phase saturation

distribution type changes from funicular to pendular. In funicular distribution the wetting phase

completely covers the solid surface and is continues through the system. But by decreasing the

74

saturation this continuity is failed and non-wetting phase is contact with some of the solid surface and

wetting phase occupies the smaller spaces (pendular distribution).

Figure 2-47- Wetting and non-Wetting fluid distribution about inter grain contact of sphere.

By decreasing the saturation and both tend to decrease in size. According to the eq.(2-68)

capillary pressure increases by decreasing the principle radii. So, capillary pressure can be expressed as a

function of rock saturation when the rock is saturated by two immiscible fluids. Also for this specific

medium it is possible to find the pore distribution because capillary pressure would be dependent upon

the area of the various pores for any particular value of the saturation.

SATURATION HISTORY

We will be able to understand capillary phenomena in porous media much better if we see how the

capillary pressure changes in some elementary geometry. Assume there are one wetting and one non-

wetting fluid in the system that is axial-symmetric so the two radii of curvature are equal. Consider first

Figure 2-48 where a non-wetting fluid enters a circular pore from a bulk reservoir. The capillary pressure

will increase with volume until it reaches a limiting value of 2σ/R (R is the principle radius and is equal to

, eq.(2-83)). In other word the capillary tube could be displaced completely by the non-wetting

fluid if:

(2-84)

75

Figure 2-48- Non-Wetting fluid entering the capillary tube.

The next example is a capillary tube with varying diameter. Capillary pressure increases by decreasing

the tube diameter, eq.(2-78). So, the capillary pressure increases by decreasing the wetting phase

saturation and the required pressure to displace the wetting phase increases step by step (Figure 2-49).

Another example is a non-wetting fluid exiting a circular pore and entering a large reservoir filled with

the wetting fluid as in Fig. 5.2. This is similar to blowing bubbles from a glass straw. Suppose the

interface is flat at the exit of the pore after the previous bubble detached. If the non-wetting phase is

pumped with a controlled volumetric rate, the pressure will first increase as the interface increases in a

curvature from zero (flat) to that of a hemisphere. The pressure will then decrease as the interface

expands into a surface of a growing sphere. If the non-wetting fluid was a reservoir with an increasing

pressure rather than at a constant volumetric rate, the bubble (or drop) will first grow slowly

corresponding to the rate of pressure increase until it reaches the maximum pressure upon reaching the

hemispherical shape and then it will suddenly grow in size (Figure 2-50). By continuing the non-wetting

injection and reducing the interface curvature, capillary increases to reach to its maximum at the

entrance of the second capillary tube.

76

Figure 2-50- Non-Wetting Fluid enter to a bubble and exit it.

Figure 2-48 showed the capillary pressure vs. non wetting phase saturation in a capillary tube. As

mentioned by increasing the non-wetting phase saturation by higher than the the capillary tube will

be totally filled with non-wetting phase. Now assume that there is a bundle of capillary tubes with

different radius sizes (r1>r2>…>rn, r: capillary tube radius) that is fully saturated with wetting phase and

we want to displace the saturating fluid with non-wetting phase by increasing the pressure (Figure

2-51.a). Non-wetting phase will not enter to the medium till pressure reaches to , that non-

wetting phase completely swipes the largest capillary tube completely. Decrease in the wetting

saturation is equal to the volume fraction of the largest tube in the bundled. Figure 2-51.b that a finite

capillary pressure must be applied (i.e., the breakthrough capillary pressure, Pc ) during

primary drainage before any appreciable amount of wetting phase drains out of the sample. Then by

increasing the pressure there will not any change in the saturation till the pressure reaches to ,

that the non-wetting phase enters to the second largest capillary tube and the wetting phase saturation

decreases by a value equal to the second largest capillary tube volume fraction in the bundle. By

continuing this process we will end with the following graph (Figure 2-51.b).when the pressure reach to

the the bundle will be fully saturated with the non-wetting phase. As the Figure 2-51.b shows by

increasing the pressure saturation change amount decreases because of decreasing in the volume

fraction of smaller capillary tubes in the bundle.

77

Ca Ca

pill pill

ary ary

Pr Pr

ess ess

ur ur

e e

Wetting Phase Saturation

By increasing the number of capillary tubes with different size to have a continuous spectrum of

capillary sizes, discontinuity in the capillary curve can be eliminated (Figure 2-51.c).

According to this test it is obvious that shape of the capillary pressure curve is affected directly by pore

size distribution and wettability of the porous medium.

Illustrated process is a named “Drainage” that the wetting phase is displaced by a non-wetting phase.

The inverse process is “Imbibition Process” that wetting phase is the displacing fluid. If the non-wetting

phase pressure at the final step of the drainage process (in the bundle of tubes test) decrease to ,

wetting phase will swept the smallest capillary tube (rn) completely. Other capillary tubes could be

swept by wetting phase by continuing decrease in the non-wetting phase pressure. It could be

concluded that the imbibition process starts from flooding the smallest capillary tubes (or pores in the

rocks) in contrast to the drainage that starts from the largest ones.

It is thus seen that the capillary pressure saturation relationship is depend upon:

Size and distribution of the pores,

The fluid and solid that are involved,

The history of the saturation process.

Thus in order to use the capillary pressure data properly, these factors should be considered before the

data are actually applied to the reservoir calculations.

Figure 2-52 is an example of typical oil-water capillary pressure curves. In this case, capillary pressure is

plotted versus water saturation for four rock samples with permeabilities increasing from k1 to k4 . It

can be seen that, for decreases in permeability, there are corresponding increases in capillary pressure

at a constant value of water saturation. This is a reflection of the influence of pore size since the smaller

diameter pores will invariably have the lower permeabilities. Also, as would be expected the capillary

pressure for any sample increases with decreasing water saturation, another indication of the effect of

the radius of curvature of the water-oil interface.

78

50

K = 300 mD

40 K = 100 mD

Capillary Pressure

K = 30 mD

30 K = 10 mD

K = 3 mD

20

10

0

0 20 40 60 80 100

Water Saturation (%)

Capillary pressure is affected by the geometry of a given porous medium. The following section

discusses the effects of flow into and out of a constriction.

In the case of fluid flowing into a constriction (Figure 2-53), pressure is needed to force the non-wetting

phase into the constriction and the wetting phase out of the constriction. According to the figure:

(2-85)

(2-86)

Where, R decreases from left to right (in the direction of flow) resulting in an increased Pc, allowing the

meniscus to move from left to right into the constriction.

Figure 2-54 shows an example of a fluid flowing out of a constriction, Pc decreases with position as

meniscus moves from left to right in the direction shown in this figure. According to the figure:

(2-87)

79

The equation for capillary pressure becomes:

(2-88)

In order to change the position of the meniscus Pnw, Pw or R may be altered (all other parameters are

fixed).

Viscous force is reflected in the pressure gradient generated by the flow through a porous medium. The

pressure gradient is proportional to the viscosity and the fluid velocity and inversely proportional to the

conductivity of the medium. Viscous force in a circular capillary tube can be found from eq.(2-17) or:

(2-89)

Where:

= fluid velocity, cm/sec

= capillary tube radius, cm

= pressure loss over length L,

= fluid viscosity, centipoise

= length over which pressure loss is measured, cm

As mentioned before for a porous medium, the pressure gradient is given by Darcy’s law.

Now, consider the displacement of oil by water from a capillary tube, at velocity (Figure 2-55). For

simplicity let us assume that

80

According to the pressure drop because of viscous

and capillary forces we have

(2-90)

and velocity = 0.3 m/d.

Table 3- Capillary and Viscous Forces for Different Sizes of Pore Radii.

Note that the capillary force is much higher than the viscous force and the downstream pressure is

higher in contrast to one phase flow that the downstream pressure is always lower than the upstream

pressure.

Capillary Number

The capillary number is a dimensionless number that describes the relative importance of viscous forces

to capillary forces during the course of an immiscible displacement. Table 4 offers a fairly

comprehensive list of the various forms of the capillary number as used by different authors. The most

common versions of the capillary number are number 6, 10.

Table 4- Capillary Number or “displacement ratio” correlating groups

81

9 Lefebvre duPrey 1973 Teflon, Steel, and Aluminum ⁄

According to the work of Chatzis and Morrow (1984) the range of capillary numbers over which capillary

displacement is predominant is Nca < 10-5 to 10-4. When the capillary number exceeds a value of 10-4

then the residual oil is mobilized through a stripping process.

Bond Number

The Bond number is the ratio of gravity forces to capillary forces and it is of great importance in vertical

displacements. The Bond number is especially useful for gravity assisted displacement processes and in

centrifuge core analysis, and is often defined as:

(2-91)

Laboratory experiments have been developed to simulate the displacing forces in a reservoir in order to

determine the magnitude of the capillary forces in a reservoir and, thereby, determine the fluid

saturation distributions and connate water saturation. Essentially four methods of measuring capillary

pressure on small core samples are used:

The Porous Diaphragm (or restored capillary pressure) Method

The Centrifugal Method

The Mercury Injection Method

Dynamic capillary pressure method

Differences in wetting characteristics should be taken into account when applying laboratory data to the

field. Thus air-water and mercury-air data obtained on cleaned core will represent a fully water wet

system for the drainage case. They may not adequately describe a mixed or oil wet system. The closest

one can get to this situation, on a routine basis, is with an actual oil water (oil-brine) system when one

would expect to find lower Swi values than a water wet system.

The essential requirement of this method is a permeable membrane of uniform pore size distribution

containing pore of such size that the selected displacing fluid will not penetrate the diaphragm when the

pressure applied to the displacing phase are below some selected maximum pressure of investigation.

Various materials such as fritted glass, porcelain, and cellophane could be used as diaphragm in this test.

The membrane is saturated with the fluid to be displaced (Wetting phase). Any combination of the fluids

82

can be used: gas, oil and/or water. In the gas-water system, gas is the non-wetting phase and water is

wetting phase. Air is used as the gas fluid sample commonly. As the first step saturate the core sample

with wetting phase (water here), then placing the core on a porous membrane which is saturated 100%

with water and is permeable to the water only, under the pressure drops imposed during the

experiment. Air is then admitted into the core chamber and the pressure is increased until a small

amount of water is displaced through the porous, semi-permeable membrane into the graduated

cylinder. Pressure is held constant until no more water is displaced, which may require several days or

even several weeks. By measuring the exited water volume and using rock pore volume, saturation

change in each step could be calculated:

(2-92)

At each step the applied pressure is actually the capillary pressure which was defined as non-wetting

phase pressure (nitrogen applied pressure here) minus wetting phase pressure (water pressure equal to

zero), so the pressure data can be plotted as capillary pressure data versus wetting phase (water)

saturation. Figure 2-56 shows schematically porous diaphragm capillary pressure device.

Complete determination curve of capillary pressure with this method is time consuming owning to the

vanishing pressure differentials causing flow as the core approaches equilibrium at each imposed

pressure. Time to reach the equilibrium increases step by step because of the reduction of displaced

fluid relative permeability as a result of saturation decrease. Most determinations of capillary pressure

by this method are drainage tests.

11

Welge and Bruce (1947)

83

Centrifugal Method

In this method injection pressure (capillary pressure PC) applied through centrifugal force. The high

acceleration in the centrifuge increases the field of force on the fluids, subjecting the core, in effect, to

an increased gravitational force. In other words it relies upon increasing the ‘g’ term in the equation:

(2-77)

When the sample is rotated at various constant speeds, a complete capillary pressure curve can be

obtained. The speed of rotation is converted to capillary pressure using the following equation:

( ) (2-93)

Where:

= radius of rotation of the bottom of core sample

= radius of rotation of the top of the core sample

= rotational speed

For the oil-water drainage cycle, water fully saturated core samples are immersed in oil in specially

designed core holders. Starting at a low rpm setting, the amount of brine expelled from the plug is noted

for a given rate of rotation. A calibrated glass vial is attached to the end of the sample. The volume of

fluid being deposited in this vial can be read while the centrifuge is spinning fast. Thus, the saturation

can be obtained. The rate is then increased in stages and produced water volumes are recorded for each

rotation speed to give the drainage curve. The most important advantage of this method is its speed of

obtaining data. A complete curve may be obtained in a few hours.

Mercury Injection

The mercury capillary pressure apparatus was developed to accelerate determination of the capillary

pressure vs. saturation relationship. These tests can only be carried out on cleaned, dried test plugs.

Mercury is normally a non-wetting fluid. The core sample inserted into a core chamber and evacuated

(Figure 2-58). The pressure in the system, effectively the differential across the mercury/vacuum

interface, is raised in stages to force mercury enter to the core sample. The volume of mercury which

has entered the pores at each pressure (as non-wetting phase saturation) is determined from volumetric

84

readings, and the proportion of the pore space filled can be calculated. This procedure is continued until

the core sample is filled with mercury or the injection pressure reach to some pre-determined value.

These data gives the drainage curve. Further readings can be taken as the pressure is lowered to provide

data for the imbibition case.

(b): Mercury is added while the system remains evacuated

(c): Atmospheric Pressure is applied to the sytem allowing the mercury to enter the larger pores (Macropores)

(d): pressure is raised to 60,000 psi allowing Hg to ener progressively smaller pores.

The drop in the Hg level gives the volume of the pores saturated with Hg at each pressure level

Figure 2-58- Mercury Injection Method12

It is possible from the capillary pressure curve to calculate the average size of the pores making up a

stated fraction of the total pore space. The volume of mercury injected into the pores at a given

pressure is usually expressed as a proportion of the total pore space, and is presented as a pore size

distribution, (Figure 2-59) or converted to oil or gas-brine data using appropriate contact angles and

interfacial tensions. Typical conversions are given below:

(2-94)

(2-95)

(2-96)

(2-97)

12

Paul Glover

85

1

Cumulative Volume os Mercury

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0

0.01 0.1 1 10 100

Pore throat Radius (microns)

0.1

0.08

Fraction of Pore Volume

0.06

0.04

0.02

0

0.01 0.1 1 10 100

Pore throat Radius (microns)

The time for determination is reduced to a few hours

The range of pressure investigation increased (between 0 to 60,000 psi), At 60,000 psia mercury is

forced through pore throat diameters as small as 36 Å.

Two most important disadvantages of this method are

The data obtained apply to a system containing a fully wetting phase and a fully non-wetting phase.

The capillary pressure data obtained will not necessarily apply to pores containing fluids showing

partial wetting preferences.

Permanent loss of the core sample.

86

Dynamic Capillary Pressure Method

Figure 2-60 shows schematically the apparatus used in this method. This involves injecting the two fluids

into a rock core simultaneously, and producing one behind a semi-permeable membrane. Simultaneous

steady state flow of two fluids is established in the core. By the use of special wetted disks (semi-

permeable membrane), the pressure of the two fluids in the core is measured and the difference is

capillary pressure. The saturation is varied by changing the rate of one fluid.

It is generally agreed that the pore spaces of reservoir rocks were originally filled with water, after which

oil moved into the reservoir, displacing some of the water and reducing the water to some residual

saturation. When discovered, the reservoir pore spaces are filled with a connate water saturation and

an oil saturation. All laboratory experiments are designed to duplicate the saturation history of the

reservoir. The process of generating the capillary pressure curve by displacing the wetting phase, i.e.,

water, with the non-wetting phase (such as with gas or oil), is called the drainage process. This drainage

process establishes the fluid saturations which are found when the reservoir is discovered. The other

principal flow process of interest involves reversing the drainage process by displacing the non-wetting

phase (such as with oil) with the wetting phase, (e.g., water). This displacing process is termed the

imbibition process and the resulting curve is termed the capillary pressure imbibition curve. Figure 2-61

shows typical drainage and imbibition capillary pressure curves. The two capillary pressure-saturation

curves are not the same.

13

Brown(1951)

87

Figure 2-61- Capillary Pressure Curve.

As can be seen in Figure 2-61, the reduction of non-wetting phase saturation, Snw, or alternatively an

increase in the wetting phase saturation, Sw, is much less over the same incremental change in pressure

during drainage, i.e., there is capillary pressure hysteresis:

[ ] [ ] (2-98)

On the other hand at the same saturation capillary pressure in imbibition and drainage process are

different. This difference in the saturating and de-saturating of the capillary-pressure curves is closely

related to:

According to the definition ‘hysteresis’ occurs when a measured variable depends on the direction of

change of an independent variable. According to eq.(2-78) contact angle hysteresis will cause hysteresis

in the capillary pressure. Consider a capillary tube containing two immiscible fluids (Figure 2-62):

Case 1: Displacement by drainage

R = receding contact angle (i.e. wetting phase receding)

Occurs when the non-wetting phase displaces the wetting phase by increasing Pnw.

Case 2: Equilibrium

88

Case 3: Displacement by imbibition

Occurs when the non-wetting phase is displaced by the wetting phase by a decrease Pnw

(2-99)

Therefore at the same saturation:

(2-100)

Figure 2-63 shows dynamic contact angle behavior

89

Figure 2.64: Static values of advancing and receding contact angles at rough surfaces versus values at

smooth surfaces (where E refers to smooth surface measurements

PHASE TRAPPING

As the capillary pressure is reduced to zero, the value of Snw does not decrease to zero, but reach to the

non-wetting residual phase saturation, Snwr. As a result, the complete recovery of oil from water-wet oil

bearing reservoirs by imbibition capillary forces is impossible. The same can be said with regard to the

wetting phase, i.e., complete removal of the wetting phase from the porous medium by drainage

displacement mechanism is impossible. Capillarity plays a very important role in the displacement of

one immiscible fluid by another immiscible fluid. The detailed pore structure of the porous medium

(pore geometry and pore topology) governs the fluid-fluid interfaces established within the porous

medium, i.e. the way they interact with one another and the manner of hierarchy of advancement.

Entrapment of one fluid by another immiscible fluid during the course of an immiscible displacement is

the net result of the interaction of capillary forces at the microscopic pore level. Because pores differ in

size and geometry, the presence of a given number of fluid-fluid interfaces does not give rise to the

same capillary pressure value.

There are different trapping mechanisms:

Snap-off

Consider a square capillary into which a non-wetting phase has entered (Figure 2-65). The capillary

pressure at which the non-wetting fluid first enters the square capillary is approximately

90

(2-101)

⁄

As the capillary pressure increases above this value, the Wetting Phase

wetting phase (shaded) will be pushed further into the corners

as the radius of curvature of the interface decreases. (When

the non-wetting phase enters at the above capillary pressure, Non-Wetting

the wetting phase will already be pushed into the corners Phase

compared to Figure 2-65).

Ph

Suppose now the wetting phase is allowed to flow back along

the corners without the end of the drop exiting the capillary. If

the capillary pressure is now then decreased below Pcso, the

capillary pressure of a cylindrical filament that just touches the

capillary walls, Figure 2-65- Non-Wetting fluid Enter to a

capillary tube with square cross section.

(2-102)

The interface will pull away from the walls of the capillary.

The non-wetting phase is now a thin filament that is

unsupported by the walls. The non-wetting phase will neck

down in some places and will swell in other places until it is

supported by the walls of the capillary. The necking down is

unstable and the non-wetting phase will ‘snap-off’ into

droplets or bubbles of disconnected non-wetting phase. Figure 2-66- Side view after snap-off

(Cross section from middle of square)

Now consider a porous media instead of the capillary tube. Suppose the porous medium is made up of

pore bodies and pore necks of many different sizes as shown in Figure 2-67. The medium is initially

saturated with the wetting phase. The non-wetting phase is first allowed to enter only the largest pores

as in Figure 2-67.a and then the capillary pressure reduced to zero. Non-wetting phase will be trapped as

in Figure 2-67.b. With additional cycles with increasing initial non-wetting saturation additional trapping

will occur as in Figure 2-67.d and Figure 2-67.f. according to the previous definition the process in Figure

2-67.a,c,e are drainage and Figure 2-67.b,d,f are imbibition.

91

Figure 2-67- Trapping in a porous media14.

Such an experiment with increasing initial saturation of the non-wetting phase saturation measuring the

residual saturation at each initial saturation generates an initial - residual saturation curve as in Figure

2-68. This curve probes the volume of non-wetting phase trapping sites as a function of entering

increasingly finer pores. This curve can be used to determine the saturation of non-wetting phase that is

trapped at a given saturation if information is available on the maximum non-wetting saturation

attained, i.e., memory of its history is available15.

1

Uniform unconsolidated sand stones

Residual Non Wet Phase Saturation

0.8

Vuggy Carbonates

100% Trapping

0.4

0.2

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Initial N.W.P. Saturation

Figure 2-68- Typical non-wetting phase trapping characteristics of some reservoir rocks16.

14

Stegemeier 1977

15

L. W. Lake

16

Stegemeier 1977

92

Bypassing

According to the Pc equation, at the same condition non-wetting phase tends to invade the larger pores

because of the lower capillary pressure. This tendency leads to special trapping mechanism named

bypassing. The main trapping mechanism in drainage is bypassing although during the imbibition

process non-wetting phase could be trapped by bypassing mechanism but it is not the major trapping

mechanism.

A reservoir rock consists of a complex network of branching and reuniting pore elements of differing

sizes and geometry. Any successful analysis of the displacement process should eventually recognize this

complex network. However one can begin by understanding the processes which take place in the

simpler elements of the network. The mechanisms of drainage displacement and imbibition

displacement are best illustrated by visualization of flow experiments in transparent capillary networks

etched on glass plates. The simplest type of pore system used in such displacement studies is the pore

doublet (Figure 2-69).

Throat

Pore Pore

Throat

93

Smaller throat is invaded first during the imbibition because of higher capillary pressure and larger throat is swept first

Figure 2-70 illustrates the drainage and imbibition mechanisms for the pore doublet model.

(b) Drainage Process, Bypassing in smaller throat

(c) Imbibition Process, Bypassing in larger throat

(d) Imbibition Process, Snap off

(e) Imbibition Process, Snap off in smaller throat and Bypassing in larger throat

94

Figure 2-70- Imbibition and Drainage mechanisms in a pore doublet model

The condition that bypassing happen in the larger pore during the imbibition could be found by using

the capillary and viscous forces formula.

Assume a pore doublet model as in Figure 2-71.

For pore #1:

(2-103)

(2-104) displacement and trapping of oil17.

(2-105)

(2-106)

17

Willhite (1986)

95

(2-107)

(2-108)

( ) (2-109)

( ) (2-110)

The values of v1 needed to make v2 positive are listed in Table 5 for a typical case. At reservoir type

velocities, v2 will not be positive and oil will be displaced only from the smaller pore. Once the water

breaks through at the other end of the pore doublet, the oil in the larger pore is trapped and very

difficult to mobilize.

96

Table 5- Pore doublet model, required velocity in small pore to maintain zero velocity in large pore (r1=2.5 )

⁄ v1, (ft/Day)

2 5315

4 7940

10 9580

20 10090

40 10600

Other pore space models used to understand displacement mechanisms are:

bundle of tubes

network

contact angle

Jamin Effect18

The Jamin effect is defined as that resistance to liquid flow through capillaries which is due to the

presence of bubbles. Presence of bubbles can retard the flow of a liquid as it progresses through a

capillary tube of small diameter. The Jamin effect may be defined as that resistance to flow under

pressure through a capillary tube which is encountered by liquid globules interspaced with large

bubbles. This effect or action is a phenomenon quite apart from frictional resistance and is due to

difference of capillary pressure between two sides of the trapped globule. This effect can be described

more easily by analyzing a trapped oil droplet or gas bubble in a preferentially water wet capillary tube.

In Figure 2-72 assume the system is static with different pressure existence between point A and B

because of capillary forces. The static pressure difference must be exceeded for flow to occur, in other

words the static pressure difference, PA-PB, must be overcome to initiate flow. In Figure 2-72.a the

capillary tube size varies and therefore the radius is smaller on one side of the drop than on the other.

Figure 2-72.b shows a situation that the contact angle is different on the two sides of the drop, which

could result, for example, if the drop displaced in one direction that there will have one Advancing

contact angle and one Receding. In Figure 2-72.c a gas drop is trapped between water and oil. An

assumption is made that the pressure within the oil or gas drop is constant from one end to the other

end of drop. With this assumption we have

( ) ( ) (2-111)

( ) ( ) (2-112)

Subscripts A and B are the values are determined for the interfaces at point A and B.

18

Green and Willhite (1998)

97

(a) (b) (c)

Figure 2-72- Trapping of a droplet in a capillary tube.

Figure 2-72.a: Assume the pressure difference at static condition is

( ) (2-113)

If rA>rB then PA>PB and a pressure drop exists in the direction from point A to point B. this gradient would

have to be exceeded to induce flow into the narrower part of the capillary constriction.

Figure 2-72.b:

(2-114)

For an advancing contact angle at point B and a receding at point A, A > B and . Again

PA>PB and a pressure gradient exist in the potential direction of flow at static, or trapped, condition.

Figure 2-72.c:

( ) (2-115)

In this case IFT and contact angles are different at the two interfaces because of different fluid systems.

If a pressure drop exists from point A to point B when this system is static.

(Leveret J-Function)

Capillary pressure data are obtained on small core samples that represent an extremely small part of the

reservoir and, therefore, it is necessary to combine all capillary data to classify a particular reservoir. The

fact that the capillary pressure-saturation curves of nearly all naturally porous materials have many

features in common has led to attempts to devise some general equation describing all such curves.

Leverett (1941) approached the problem from the standpoint of dimensional analysis. At first, Leverett

made an attempt to convert all capillary pressure data to a universal curve. But, a universal capillary

pressure curve does not exist because the rock properties affecting capillary pressures in reservoir have

extreme variation with lithology (rock type). Realizing that capillary pressure should depend on the

porosity, interfacial tension, and mean pore radius, Leverett defined the dimensionless function of

saturation, which he called the J-function, as

98

√ (2-116)

Where, c is constant.

In fact, The Leverett J-function is an attempt at extrapolating capillary pressure data for a given rock to

rocks that are similar but with differing permeability, porosity and wetting properties. It assumes that

the porous rock can be modelled as a bundle of non-connecting capillary tubes, where the factor √ is a

characteristic length of the capillaries' radii and Leverett interpreted √ as being proportional to the

square of a mean pore radius.

For the same formation, however, this dimensionless capillary-pressure function serves quite well in

many cases to remove discrepancies in the pc versus Sw curves and reduce them to a common curve.

Some authors altered eq. (2-116) by including the :

√ (2-117)

Field Scale example: Browns (1951) considered the j-function (eq. (2-116)) as a correlating device for

capillary pressure data of samples from Edwards formation in the Jourdanton field. () shows the

correlation obtained for all samples available from the field. There is considerable dispersion of data

points, although the trend of correlation is good. If core samples are divided to two different groups

(limestone and dolomites) according to their texture, the correlation will be improved. () shows the

correlations for the limestone and dolomite samples respectively. The dolomite samples show a good

correlation while the limestone sample data shows a scattering of data in the range of lower water

saturation. If the limestone samples are subdivided to micro-granular and coarse-grained samples, the

correlation for each of them will be improved (). Scattering of data for the coarse-grained limestone

samples are greater than other groups of samples. This is to be expected , as the coarse-grained

limestone contains solution cavities, vugs and channels which are not capillary in size, hence deviation

from trends established in capillary-pressure data.

(a) (b)

99

(c) (d)

(b). J curve for Limestone cores

(c). J curve for dolomite cores

(d). J curve for micro-granular limestone cores

(e). J curve for coarse-grained limestone cores

(e)

Figure 2-73- J-function correlation of capillary pressure data in Edwards Jourdanton field.

Example 2-7

A laboratory capillary pressure test was conducted on a core sample taken from the Nameless Field. The

core has a porosity and permeability of 16% and 80 md, respectively. The capillary pressure-saturation

data are given as follows:

Sw Pc (psi)

1.0 0.50

0.8 0.60

0.6 0.75

0.4 1.05

0.2 1.75

The interfacial tension is measured at 50 dynes/cm. Further reservoir engineering analysis indicated that the

reservoir is better described at a porosity value of 19% and an absolute permeability of 120 md. Generate the

capillary pressure data for the reservoir.

100

Solution

Calculate the J-function using the measured capillary pressure data and eq. (2-116).

√ √

Sw Pc (psi) J(Sw)

1.0 0.50 0.048

0.8 0.60 0.058

0.6 0.75 0.073

0.4 1.05 0.102

0.2 1.75 0.169

At the next step, Using the new porosity and permeability values, solve eq. (2-116) for the capillary

pressure Pc.

⁄ √

√

Sw J(Sw) Pc (psi)

1.0 0.048 0.441

0.8 0.058 0.533

0.6 0.073 0.671

0.4 0.102 0.938

0.2 0.169 1.553

RELATIVE PERMEABILITY

The absolute permeability is a property of the porous medium and is a measure of the capacity of the

medium to transmit fluids. The absolute permeability is referred to the rock condition where single

phase saturation is considered in other words the rock is fully saturated with one homogeneous fluid.

Fluid flow in reservoirs typically involves more than one fluid, which means that the general ability of

one fluid to flow is affected by the presence of other fluids in the reservoir. In order to develop

estimates of fluid behavior in reservoirs, this phenomenon needs to be quantified in some way. The

concept of describing this multiphase flow in reservoirs is known as relative permeability, which is

defined as the ratio of the effective permeability of a fluid to the absolute permeability of the rock. The

effective permeability is a relative measure of conductance of the porous medium for one fluid phase in

the presence of other fluid phases.

101

Where,

kro = relative permeability to oil

krg = relative permeability to gas

krw = relative permeability to water

k = absolute permeability

ko = effective permeability to oil for a given oil saturation

kg = effective permeability to gas for a given gas saturation

kw = effective permeability to water for a given water saturation

In the definition of effective permeability each fluid phase is considered to be completely independent

of the other fluids in the flow network. The fluids are considered immiscible, so that Darcy’s law can be

applied to each individually:

( ) (2-118)

( ) (2-119)

( ) (2-120)

Where, s is direction.

Since the fluid is not completely saturating the rock, other factors come into play other than the pore

size distribution. According to experimental evidence, effective permeability is a function of dominant

fluid saturation, saturation history, wettability characteristic and pore geometry. So to determine the

relative permeability for one phase it is necessary to specify the fluid saturation. In contrast to absolute

permeability, relative permeability for each phase is not a unique value and there is a special relative

permeability value for each saturation amount.

Since the effective permeabilities may range from zero to k, the relative permeabilities may have any

value between zero and one. It should be pointed out that when three phases are present the sum of

the relative permeabilities (kro + krg + krw) is both variable and always less than or equal to unity.

When a wetting and a non-wetting phase flow together in a reservoir rock, each phase follows separate

and distinct paths. The distribution of the two phases according to their wetting characteristics results in

characteristic wetting and non-wetting phase relative permeabilities.

102

So for a water-oil system different relative permeability curves exist for:

Water-wet systems

Oil-wet systems, and

Intermediate wettability.

Many reservoir systems fall between the two extremes, which does nothing to make laboratory water-

flood data easier to interpret. However, knowledge of the two extreme cases allows misinterpretation

of intermediate data to be minimized.

It should be remembered that in water-wet systems capillary forces assist water to enter pores, whereas

in the oil wet case they tend to prevent water entering pores. Because of the capillary forces, the

wetting phase occupies the smaller pore openings at small saturations, and these pore openings do not

contribute materially to flow, it follows that the presence of small wetting phase saturation will affect

the permeability of the non-wetting phase only to a limited extent. On the other hand, since the non-

wetting phase occupies the central or larger pore openings which contribute materially to fluid flow

through the reservoir, the relative permeability to the wetting phase is characterized by a rapid decline

in value for small decreases in the wetting phase saturation from original saturation. The relative

permeability to wetting phase normally approaches zero or vanishes at relatively large wetting phase

saturation. This is because the wetting phase preferentially occupies the smaller pore spaces, where

capillary forces are the greatest. The saturation of the water at this point is referred to as the irreducible

water saturation Swir or connate water saturation Swi (Figure 2-74). Irreducible water saturation originally

is higher in consolidated rocks than unconsolidated rocks. Another important phenomenon associated

with fluid flow through porous media is the concept of residual saturations. As when one immiscible

fluid is displacing another, it is impossible to reduce the saturation of the displaced fluid to zero. At

some small saturation, which is presumed to be the saturation at which the displaced phase ceases to

be continuous, flow of the displaced phase will cease. This saturation is often referred to as the residual

saturation. This is an important concept as it determines the maximum recovery from the reservoir.

Conversely, a fluid must develop a certain minimum saturation before the phase will begin to flow. The

saturation at which a fluid will just begin to flow is called the critical saturation. Theoretically, the critical

saturation and the residual saturation should be exactly equal for any fluid; however, often they are not

identical. Critical saturation is measured in the direction of increasing saturation, while irreducible

saturation is measured in the direction of reducing saturation. Thus, the saturation histories of the two

measurements are different.

Figure 2-74 is a typical relative permeability curve for a water-oil system in a water-wet medium.

According to the figure, the non-wetting phase begins to flow at the relatively low saturation of the non-

wetting phase. The saturation of the oil at this point (point A) is called critical oil saturation Soc. Some

references called this point as the “equilibrium saturation”, which the non-wetting phase becomes

mobile. This saturation may vary between zero and 15% non-wetting phase saturation. As Figure 2-74

shows attribution of oil phase to flow reach to 100% in saturation less than 100%. This is the result of

capillary pressure. The capillary pressure force the wetting phase to occupy the smallest pores at low

saturation that have an ignorable contribution to the flow.

103

Figure 2-74- Typical relative permeability curve.

The curve shapes shown in Figure 2-74 are typical for wetting and non-wetting phases and may be

mentally reversed to visualize the behavior of an oil-wet system. Note also that the total permeability to

both phases, krw + kro, is less than 1, in the region of two phase flow.

The following example uses capillary tubes and the HP equation to illustrate the effective reduction in

permeability caused by introduction of second phase.

Example 2-8

Consider five capillary tubes of length L and diameters of 0.0002, 0.001, 0.005, 0.01, and 0.05 cm. the

total pore volume of the four capillary tubes are:

Total flow rate through these capillary tubes because of applying a pressure difference could be

calculated, using the HP equation:

Now assume fluid number 2 with the same viscosity occupied the largest capillary tube, the same as the

non-wetting phase occupied the largest pores at first. It is possible to express the conductive capacity

104

when the two fluids are saturating the system to the conductive capacity when only one fluid saturates

the system. According to eq.() the conductance capacity for fluid number 2 is:

In this example the relative permeability values for the two fluids sum up to one. This behavior is not

true in actual porous media. In real porous medium, there is a minute film of wetting phase that wet the

surface. If consider this film in this example, it would decrease the diameter of the larger tube available

for fluid number 2 to flow, thus reduces the flow capacity for the second fluid, and yet the film itself

would contribute no flow capacity to the wetting phase. Thus the total fluid capacity of the tubes would

be decreased. This is a rather normal feature of most relative permeability curves where sum of relative

permeability values is less than one.

The above discussion may be also applied to gas-oil relative permeability data, (Figure 2-75). Note that

this might be termed gas-liquid relative permeability since it is plotted versus the liquid (water + oil)

saturation. This is typical of gas-oil relative permeability data in the presence of connate water. Since

the connate (irreducible) water normally occupies the smallest pores in the presence of oil and gas, it

appears to make little difference whether water or oil that would also be immobile in these small pores

occupies these pores. Consequently, in applying the gas-oil relative permeability data to a reservoir, the

total liquid saturation is normally used as a basis for evaluating the relative permeability to the gas and

oil. Note that the relative permeability curve representing oil changes completely from the shape of the

relative permeability curve for oil in the water-oil system. In the water-oil system, as noted previously,

oil is normally the non-wetting phase, whereas in the presence of gas the oil is the wetting phase.

Consequently, in the presence of water only, the oil relative permeability curve takes on an S shape

whereas in the presence of gas the oil relative-permeability curve takes on the shape of the wetting

phase, or is concave upward (Figure 2-75). Note further that the critical gas saturation Sgc is generally

very small.

105

Figure 2-75- Typical Gas-Oil Relative Permeability Curve

It is important to note that relative permeability experiences hysteresis effects, so it is critical that the

curves be specified as either imbibition or drainage. Hysteresis effect means that the value of relative

permeability at a given saturation will be different depending on which direction the value is

approached from (increasing or decreasing saturation). Drainage relative permeability refers to a

saturation change where the wetting phase is decreasing from the reservoir rock, while imbibition refers

to a saturation change where the wetting phase is increasing. An example of drainage would be the

displacement of oil by gas during primary depletion. An example of imbibition would be water flooding a

reservoir that is water wet.

(a) (b)

Figure 2-76- Relative Permeability Curve, (a) Drainage, (b) Imbibition

106

Figure 2-76 show typical drainage and imbibition relative permeability curves for a water/oil system. The

arrows indicate the direction of saturation change for each phase.

There are essentially five means by which relative permeability data can be obtained:

Direct measurement in the laboratory by a steady state fluid flow process

Direct measurement in the laboratory by an unsteady state fluid flow process

Calculation of relative permeability data from capillary pressure data

Calculation from field performance data

Theoretical/empirical correlations

Values obtained through laboratory measurements are usually preferred for engineering calculations,

since they are directly measured rather than estimated. Steady state implies just that, values are not

measured until the tested sample has reached an agreed upon level of steady-state behavior.

Subsequently, unsteady-state measurements are taken while the system is still changing over time.

Steady-State Techniques

Steady-State techniques of estimating relative permeability are often considered the most reliable

source of relative permeability data. Since steady state is achieved in these tests, it is possible to use

Darcy’s law to determine the effective permeability for each phase at a given saturation. In the

experimental procedure, two phases are injected simultaneously into the test core at constant rates and

pressures. Once the measured pressure drop across the core remains relatively constant, the system is

assumed to be at steady state. At this point the outlet flow rate of each phase and the pressure drop is

measured, and the subsequent values are used in Darcy’s Law (eq. (2-118, 2-119, 2-120)) to calculate

the effective permeability of the fluid at that saturation. The inlet flow rate ratio is then changed, and

the process repeats itself. In this way, relative permeability curves for each phase can be obtained. The

number of data points can be controlled simply through the number of steady-state levels reached.

Once again, it must be noted that the saturation changes must be all in one direction to avoid hysteresis

effects. The following is a simple schematic diagram of a typical steady-state test apparatus:

107

Figure 2-77- Hafford Relative Permeability Apparatus19

The situation in Figure 2-76 is a 2-phase relative permeability test with gas and oil being the fluids of

interest. Both the gas and oil enters the core simultaneously. A gas meter and oil burette on the other

end record the outlet flow rates. The gas pressure gauge is used to measure the pressure drop across

the core. Following is a simplified diagram indicating the fluid saturation during a typical steady-state

test.

19

Richardson (1952)

108

Figure 2-78- Fluid Saturation during Steady-State Test

In this situation, the test is imbibition displacement for a water-oil case, with water being the wetting

phase. Initially, the core is completely saturated with water. The test begins by injecting just oil until

steady state is reached. At this point the water is at irreducible saturation and theoretically only oil

should be flowing through the core. However, there is evidence that an extremely small amount of

water is still mobile in the system. At this point the flow rate of oil and the pressure drop is measured

and these values are used in Darcy’s law to calculate the effective permeability to oil at the irreducible

water saturation. Next, water is injected into the core simultaneously with oil at point A. A new steady

state level is reached and the outlet flow rates for each phase are measured along with the pressure

drop, and effective permeabilities of each fluid at the given saturation are calculated. The inlet flow rate

ratio is changed (increasing the amount of water) and the process is again repeated. In this stepwise

manner relative permeability curves can be developed for as many points as desired. To obtain the last

end point value for effective water saturation, only water is flowed through the core until irreducible oil

saturation is reached at point D.

The main problem associated with steady state tests, is that it can take an extremely long time for

steady state to be reached at a given saturation level. It may take hours or even days for a single

saturation level to be tested. As such, these tests can be uneconomical to run. However, they are

definitely the most accurate and reliable technique for estimating core permeability. There are

numerous steady-state methods available. Examples of these include the Penn State, Modified Penn-

State and Hassler methods. The only significant difference between them is in how they account for

negating capillary end effects. Capillary end effects are discussed later.

109

Unsteady State Techniques

Experimentally and computationally the unsteady state technique is far more complicated. Following is

a schematic diagram of an unsteady-state test apparatus.

As can be seen, there is only one inlet since only one phase is injected into the core. The major

difference in unsteady state techniques is that saturation equilibrium is not achieved during the test. As

well, fluids are not injected simultaneously into the core. Instead, the test involves displacing in-situ

fluids with a constant rate/pressure driving fluid. The outlet fluid composition and flow rate is measured

and used in determining the relative permeability. Figure 2-80-b shows an example of such a curve from

an unsteady state waterflood experiment. At the beginning of the experiment, the core is saturated with

80% oil, and there is an irreducible water saturation of 20% due to the water wet nature of this

particular example. Point A (Figure 2-80-a) represents the permeability of oil under these conditions.

Note that it is equal to unity, because this measurement has been taken as the base permeability. Point

B represents the beginning water permeability. Note that it is equal to zero because irreducible water is,

by definition, immobile. Water is then injected into the core at one end at a constant rate. The volumes

of the emerging fluids (oil and water) are measured at the other end of the core, and the differential

pressure across the core is also measured. During this process the permeability to oil reduces to zero

along the curve ACD, and the permeability to water increases along the curve BCE. Note that there is no

further production of oil from the sample after kro=0 at point D, and so point D occurs at the irreducible

oil saturation, Sor. Figure 2-80-a is a simplified schematic diagram detailing the fluid saturation in the

core during a typical unsteady-state test.

110

(a) (b)

Figure 2-80- (a) Unsteady State Water Flood Procedure, (b) Typical Relative Permeability Curve

Since steady state is not reached, Darcy’s Law is not applicable. The Buckley-Leverett equation for linear

fluid displacement is the basis for all calculations. The Johnson-Bossler-Naumann (JBN) solution is used

most often for calculating relative permeabilites from unsteady-state displacement tests.

It must be stressed, however, that these curves are not a unique function of saturation, but are also

dependent upon fluid distribution. Thus the data obtained can be influenced by saturation history and

flow rate. The choice of test method should be made with due regard for reservoir saturation history,

rock and fluid properties. The wetting characteristics are particularly important. Test plugs should either,

be of similar wetting characteristics to the reservoir state, or their wetting characteristics be known so

that data can be assessed properly.

JBN Analysis:

The experimental data generally recorded includes:

Qi : Quantity of displacing phase injected

P : Pressure differential

Pi : Pressure differential at initial conditions

Qo : Volume of oil produced

Qw : Volume of water produced

111

These data are analysed by the technique described by Johnson, Bossler and Nauman, which is

summarised below20. Three calculation stages are involved:

The ratio kro/krw.

The values of kro and hence krw.

The value of Sw.

The method is aimed at giving the required values at the outlet face of the core which is essentially

where volumetric flow observations are made.

(a). :

Fractional flow of oil, at the outlet face of the core sample is:

(2-121)

Also we have:

(2-122)

(a) (b)

Figure 2-81- (a) Average Water saturation vs. Water Injection, (b) Injectivity Ratio

(b). kro:

(2-123)

20

Honarpour, M., Mahmood, S.M (1988)

112

kro is obtained by plotting versus :

⁄ (2-124)

⁄

krw can be calculated from eq. (2-121), or:

(2-125)

Unsteady state tests are popular because they require much less time and money than steady state

tests to operate. However, it must be noted that the values obtained from these tests are generally less

reliable. This is for a number of reasons. For one, the system is not at steady state when measurements

are taken. Therefore, properties are still changing at that estimated saturation level. This leads to

repeatability concerns. The relative permeability calculated during one un-steady state run at a certain

saturation level could be quite different from a run performed earlier. For this reason lower confidence

is placed on the actual value determined from displacement tests. Another concern is that the

interpretation techniques introduce many simplifying assumptions. For example, the Welge method

(utilized in the JBN solution) was developed with respect to a homogeneous reservoir, so it might not be

entirely accurate if applied to a heterogeneous one. Also, the Buckley-Leverett equation was developed

for incompressible/immiscible fluids and assumes completely linear displacement. For all these reasons,

values obtained from unsteady state tests should be considered as qualitative, and not representative of

the reservoir. As a note, viscous fingering is a definite concern with the majority of unsteady-state tests,

but it has been found that the centrifuge method can be used to eliminate these problems.

113

Determining Fluid Saturations

The accuracy of relative permeability measurements (regardless of measurement technique) depends

largely on accurate determination of fluid saturation. There are generally two methods to determine the

fluid saturation in the core: external and internal techniques. External techniques involve inferring

saturation from fluid production. A material balance calculation is performed (fluid in – fluid out = fluid

retained in core). The saturation obtained from material balance is an average value for the core.

Another external technique is the gravimetric method, in which the weight of a saturated core is

compared with the weight of a dry core, and the saturation is estimated from the difference in the

weights. Problems associated with external techniques that can affect the material balance are the

possibility of dead volume, evaporation in the core, or difficulties separating the fluid at the outlet.

Internal techniques involve measuring the quantity of fluids in the core directly. This method offers

greater reliability than external techniques. A primary advantage is that it allows for different saturation

levels to be measured along the length of the core, rather than just returning an average value. The

basic premise of internal techniques is that a stimulus is applied to the core, and is then compared

against the response from a completely dry and a completely saturated core. Saturation is then inferred

from this measurement. The most common forms of in-situ fluid saturation determination include x-ray

absorption and electrical resistivity.

Experimental Considerations

Aside from the actual testing of the cores, there are numerous other experimental considerations that

must be accounted for in order to minimize the error associated with measuring core data.

The most common source of error associated with laboratory measurements of relative permeability is

capillary end effects. This problem comes as a result of the saturation of the wetting phase being much

higher at the inlet and outlet of the core. This is caused by the tendency of the wetting phase to remain

in the capillaries, rather than enter a non-capillary space. There have been numerous methods

developed to negate this problem. One of the most common is the Hassler technique21, in which porous

plates of similar wettability to the core sample are placed at the inlet and outlet of the core. The wetting

phase is passed through these plates, while the non-wetting phase is introduced just to the core. The

Penn-State method is quite similar to the Hassler method, the major difference being that both the

wetting and non-wetting fluid are passed through the porous plates.

Sampling Considerations

The accuracy of the laboratory measurements depends greatly on whether or not the core sample has

been damaged in any way. In order to get a representative sample of the reservoir, it is important to

keep the core as close to reservoir conditions as possible. An example of this would be to use a drilling

fluid that does not adversely affect the core sample. As well, taking larger diameter cores (although

21

Honarpour, M., Mahmood, S.M (1988)

114

more expensive) can potentially minimize flushing concerns. Weathering is a definite problem, so once

the cores have been brought to surface they should be sealed and covered as quickly as possible. Once

the core gets to the lab, all handling and cleaning should also be kept to a minimum. It is recognized

that it is completely unrealistic to expect that a core will not be introduced to non-reservoir conditions

from the ground to the lab. However, these damaging effects should be kept to a minimum if accurate

results are desired.

The majority of literature acknowledges that steady state techniques provide more accurate values than

unsteady state techniques. However, the main advantage to using unsteady state techniques is that

they are much faster and more economical to run. Therefore, if time and budget constraints are not a

deciding factor in the test, it is recommended that the steady state technique be performed in order to

obtain the most reliable relative permeability data.

As a result of the difficulties and cost involved in measuring relative permeability values, empirical

correlations and calculations are often employed in order to estimate the values. This is typically done in

areas where no core data is available, or if economics dictate that running laboratory permeability tests

is not feasible. Estimating relative permeability values through calculations is extremely fast, however

the accuracy of the results is debatable. There are numerous methods that are available to estimate 2-

phase relative permeability curves. Since it is such an important topic, numerous individuals have

devoted their lives to developing reasonable methods to estimate relative permeability values. Two of

the more common methods will be discussed here. These are the well-known Corey relations (an

entirely theoretical approach to the problem) and the empirical Hornarpour correlations.

Corey Relations

The often-used Corey relations are actually an extension of equations developed by Burdine et al.

(1953), for normalized drainage effective permeability. The equations shown here are the original

Burdine equations modified for relative permeability calculations:

(2-126)

( ) ( ) (2-127)

( ) (2-128)

(2-129)

Where,

krn = non-wetting phase relative permeability

115

kro = non-wetting phase rel. perm. at irreducible wetting phase saturation

Sw* = normalized wetting phase saturation

𝛌 = pore size distribution index

Sm = 1 - Sor (1 - residual non-wetting phase saturation)

Sw = water saturation

Siw = initial water saturation

The major difference between the Burdine solutions and the equations shown here is in the non-wetting

phase equation, eq. (2-127). The kro term is added to account for the fact that the non-wetting phase

solution must be at irreducible wetting phase saturation. The other modification is the Sm term

proposed by Corey in order to represent the point where the non-wetting phase first begins to flow. This

is known as the critical saturation point. What this means, is that for a period at the beginning of the

non-wetting phase curve, there exists a period where there is no connectivity. At the critical saturation,

a minimum number of pores are connected, at which point flow is possible and the first relative

permeability value can be determined. The Sm term describes the saturation at which flow is first

possible and is necessary in order to calculate realistic relative permeability values.

The λ value (pore size distribution index) seen in equations (2-126) and (2-127) is critical in calculating

relative permeability. The actual number represents how uniform the pore size is in the

sample/reservoir. A low value of λ (i.e. 2) indicates a wide range of pore sizes, while a high value

represents a rock with a more uniform pore size distribution. Using a λ value of 2 in equations (2-126)

and (2-127) results in the well-known Corey equations. This value is considered a general value, and is

thought to represent a wide range of pore sizes. Since a λ value of 2 is so general, it is often used when

nothing else is known about the reservoir. Using a λ value of 2.4 or infinity results in Wyllie’s equation

for 3 rock categories22:

λ = 2 (cemented sandstones, oolotic and small-vug limestones)

λ = 4 (poorly sorted unconsolidated sandstones)

λ = infinity (well sorted unconsolidated sandstones)

Wyllie’s equations are used when there is some general knowledge of the geology of the reservoir.

The Corey and Wyllie equations are sufficient for approximation purposes, but in order to obtain a more

accurate value of the pore size distribution index, λ can be determined empirically from capillary

pressure data. The equation shown here was developed by Brooks and Corey (1964 & 1966), and relates

capillary pressure to normalized wetting phase saturation:

(2-130)

Where,

Pc = capillary pressure

22

(2) M.B. Standing (1975)

116

Pe = minimum threshold pressure

Sw* = normalized water saturation, eq. (2-128)

If capillary pressure data is available, eq. (2-130) can be used to determine the pore size distribution

index. A log-log plot of the capillary pressure vs the normalized water saturation should result in a

straight line with a slope of –1/ λ and an intercept of Pe. This method of determining λ from

experimental data is preferable to using the Wyllie or Corey relations, since the value obtained with eq.

(2-130) can actually be backed up with hard data.

Example 2-923

For a water wet reservoir with Swi=0.16 and residual gas saturation equal to 0.05, use the following

capillary pressure data to find the relative permeability data.

Pc (Sw) Sw Pc (Sw) Sw

0.5 0.965 8 0.266

1 0.713 16 0.219

2 0.483 32 0.191

4 0.347 300 0.16

Solution

Step 1: Calculate Normalized Water Saturation (Sw*), using eq. (2-130)

0.5 0.965 0.958 8 0.266 0.126

1 0.713 0.658 16 0.219 0.070

2 0.483 0.385 32 0.191 0.037

4 0.347 0.223 300 0.16 0.000

100

log (Pc)

10

1

0.01 0.1 1

log(Sw*)

23

International Petroleum Consultants, “Fundamentals of Relative Permeability”, Mobil Oil Indonesia Course

Notes, 1985.

117

Recall eq.(2-130), Slope of the graph is –1/ λ = -1.25, Therefore, λ=0.8

Step 4: Calculating Non-Wetting Phase Relative Permeability at Irreducible Wetting Phase Saturation

(kro),

o

Recall eq. (2-129), kr =0.919 and Sm=0.95=1-Srg.

Step 5: Calculating Relative Perm Values, Recall equations (2-126) and (2-127) to find the relative

permeability of the respective phases at various water saturations:

Sg Sw Sw* krg krw

0.05 0.95 0.940476 0 0.714846005

0.08 0.92 0.904762 0.000389 0.578419139

0.11 0.89 0.869048 0.002044 0.464053818

0.14 0.86 0.833333 0.005592 0.368874458

0.17 0.83 0.797619 0.011529 0.290282915

0.23 0.8 0.761905 0.020236 0.225941893

0.26 0.74 0.690476 0.046977 0.131869218

0.29 0.71 0.654762 0.065306 0.098622548

0.32 0.68 0.619048 0.08702 0.072565567

0.35 0.65 0.583333 0.112108 0.05242819

0.38 0.62 0.547619 0.140514 0.037108863

0.41 0.59 0.511905 0.172151 0.025660479

0.44 0.56 0.47619 0.206906 0.017276687

0.47 0.53 0.440476 0.244653 0.011278614

0.5 0.5 0.404762 0.285259 0.007102021

0.53 0.47 0.369048 0.328595 0.004284901

0.56 0.44 0.333333 0.374538 0.002455538

0.59 0.41 0.297619 0.422983 0.001321065

0.62 0.38 0.261905 0.473843 0.000656515

0.65 0.35 0.22619 0.527057 0.000294425

0.68 0.32 0.190476 0.582591 0.000115008

0.71 0.29 0.154762 0.640441 3.69371E-05

0.74 0.26 0.119048 0.700632 8.79412E-06

0.77 0.23 0.083333 0.763217 1.24991E-06

0.8 0.2 0.047619 0.828271 5.8541E-08

0.83 0.17 0.011905 0.895881 2.97984E-11

Then plot krg and krw vs. Sw in order to display the information in its most typical form:

1

0.8

0.6 krg

kr

krw

0.4

0.2

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Sw

118

Hornarpour Correlations

A different technique was approached by Hornarpour et al. in order to come up with correlations to

estimate relative permeability. Instead of attempting to solve the problem theoretically, Hornarpour

developed an entirely empirical solution to the problem. Data from numerous different fields around

the world was gathered, and stepwise linear regression analysis was used to come up with mathematical

descriptions to match the actual data. Data sets came from Canada, U.S., Alaska and the Middle East.

The data sets were classified as either carbonate or non-carbonate and also broken up into wettability

and property ranges. In this manner, equations were developed for numerous different reservoir

conditions.

In order to use the Hornarpour correlation, a general understanding of the reservoir is required. Namely

the fluids in the system, a rough description of the geology, the wettability and the range of rock

properties and fluid saturations in the reservoir. This information is then used to determine which set of

equations are to be utilized in calculating the wetting and non-wetting phase relative permeability.

Hornarpour’s paper24 provides all the necessary details (tables and equations) that are required for this

method.

Out of the methods discussed here, the most accurate results are obtained from the method in which

the pore size distribution index is determined experimentally, and is then utilized in equations (2-126)

and (2-127) for drainage relative permeability. The other methods (Corey, Wylie and Hornarpor) rely a

great deal on general estimates of the reservoir conditions. For example, in the Hornarpor correlations

the only choices available for geology are either carbonate or non-carbonate. Since the description of

the reservoir in these methods is so vague, it is uncertain how accurate the results obtained from them

can be with respect to the actual reservoir conditions. Conversely, the pore size distribution index is

determined experimentally and there is hard data to back up the results.

Other Methods

Since relative permeability is such an important topic, numerous individuals have devoted their lives to

determining methods to estimate relative permeability values. As such, there are numerous different

techniques and methods that are used to calculate relative permeability. For example, relative

permeability can be calculated through field data and analysis of pressure data. Some of the other

methods not discussed in detail include theoretical models such as Naar-Wygal’s and Naar-Henderson

(1961), which are for imbibition processes. The Burdine equations discussed here are for drainage

calculations only.

As discussed, there are many different ways, in which relative permeability values can be estimated,

from rigorous laboratory measurements, to “quick and dirty” calculations. With all of these methods

available, the question as to which method should be used becomes extremely important. Like most

24

Honarpour et al (1982)

119

things in the reservoir-engineering world, all of the options have their advantages and disadvantages.

The only way to make a sound decision is to see what is best for the given situation, and weigh the

options accordingly. For example, if relative permeability data is required for a major discovery in the

North Sea, then chances are good that you would decide to spend the money to get an excellent core

sample in order to run a rigorous steady-state test on it. Conversely, if data for a mature oil field is

required then a quick calculation or displacement test would be sufficient for your purposes. As always,

economics and practicality will be the overriding factor in deciding what sort of method to use in order

to estimate relative permeability values.

Wettability is measured, in practical terms, through the relative saturation changes in spontaneous

drainage and imbibition. The ratio of the displaced volume through a spontaneous displacement to the

volume displaced by the sum of the spontaneous and forced displacement is called the Amott Index.

For a water/oil system, there can be an Amott Index for oil and an Amott Index for water. Figure 2-82

shows the Amott ternary wettability diagram, where the different wettability indexes are presented.

The log of the area under the drainage curve to the area under the imbibition curve is called the USBM

Index. A water-wet system should have an Amott Index for water close to 1, an Amott Index for oil close

to zero and a relatively large positive USBM Index. An oil-wet system should have an Amott index to

water close to 1, an Amott index to oil close to zero and a relatively large negative USBM index.

Centrifuge technology is often used for the determination of the capillary pressure and the wettability

characteristics of a given reservoir, this technology will be covered in greater detail in the next chapter.

0 1

Neutral Wet

Fractional

Wet

1 0

0 1

Oil Wetting Index

120

Relative Permeability

Chatenever and Calhoun (1952) found that in a system at steady state with two immiscible fluids that

flow simultaneously in a porous medium will establish their own pathways. In their work the

simultaneous injection of oil and water into a porous medium resulted in the creation of pore pathways

fully occupied by one fluid and fluid-fluid interfaces such that the flow channels followed by one fluid

were not influenced by the flow behaviour of the other fluid. This was used as the basis for extending

Darcy’s Law to apply for each of the immiscible fluids:

⃑ ( ) (⃑ ) (2-131)

⃑ ( ) (⃑ ) (2-132)

Where,

ke1 = effective permeability of fluid phase 1

2 = viscosity of fluid phase 2

The effective permeability is a function of the saturation and the saturation history of the sample being

examined. It is customary to express effective permeability as a fraction of some base permeability;

such as the single phase (absolute) permeability, k, of the medium. These fractional permeabilities are

also known as relative permeabilities, kr1, and kr2, and are defined by:

(2-133)

(2-134)

Using the relative permeabilities, the individual phase velocities can then be written as follows:

⃑ ( ) (⃑ ) (2-135)

⃑ ( ) (⃑ ) (2-136)

The pressures values (Pi, where i = 1, 2) of each of the phases at any macroscopic point in the porous

medium are assumed to be related to each other via the capillary pressure, Pc. Let P1 denote the

121

pressure of the wetting phase and P2 denote the pressure of the non-wetting phase. The gradients P1

and P2, are related to each other by the capillary pressure gradient Pc.

(2-137)

In the case of uniform saturation along the length of a core sample, Pc = 0.

Some behaviours to note regarding relative permeability include:

For a given water saturation (Sw) value under water-wet conditions, (kw/ko) is higher for a higher

permeability sample in comparison to (kw/ko) in a low permeability sample.

For a given Sw value under oil-wet conditions, the (kw/ko) ratio is higher for low permeability

samples in comparison to high permeability samples.

The relative conductivity of large pores in a low permeability system is larger than that in a high

permeability system.

Similarities and analogs between capillary pressure and relative permeability curves for a two phase system is

shown in Figure 2-83.

122

Primary Drainage

Secondary Drainage

Primary Imbibition

Pc = Po - Pw

Pressure:

Capillary

Swir 1-Sor 1

Water Saturation

Relative Permeability

Imbibition

Imbibition Drainage

Water Saturation

Pressure

Pc

Length, X

Figure 2-83: Comparison between capillary pressure and relative permeability curves

There are several important points regarding the distribution of fluids in porous media under two-phase flow

condition. The wetting phase seeks to maintain its continuum in the network of pore space involving the relatively

small pore throats connecting pore bodies. While the non-wetting phase seeks to maintain a continuum in a pore

123

network involving the large pore throats. As the non-wetting phase saturation increases, the wetting phase is

“trapped” in the pore spaces accessible through relatively small pore throats. However, as the non-wetting phase

saturation decreases, krnw decreases (i.e. imbibition displacement) the wetting phase imbibes into relatively small

pore throats and pore bodies in a hierarchical manner. This results in the non-wetting phase being trapped in the

relatively large pore bodies and large pore throats connecting trapped oil in pore bodies. Also, in a water-wet

formation at S*or conditions, only water is flowing and kro(S*or) is equal to zero. However, if the formation is oil-

-2

wet, at S*or conditions, kro(S*or) is very small (10 ) but never becomes zero because of wetting “film” flow.

Additionally, if the IFT is very small, there is a significant change in the relative permeability characteristics.

The following summarises some important points about relative permeability and relative permeability curves for

water-wet and oil-wet systems:

Water-wet system:

krw at S*or is less than 0.3 (S*or is the waterflood residual oil saturation),

The amount of connate water saturation, Swc, is usually greater than 20% (Swc 20 to 25% PV) and has an

effect on relative permeability behaviour,

(kro)primary drainage > (kro)imbibition for the same Sw,

The krw curve exhibits no hysteresis (e.g., (krw)pd = (krw)imb),

As permeability increases, (krw/kro) becomes higher for a given saturation.

Oil-wet system:

krw (S*or) > 0.5,

Swc has no effect on relative permeability behaviour, if Swc < 20%,

krw(Sw)|primary drainage > krw(Sw)|imbibition,

kro curve exhibits no hysteresis,

As permeability decreases, (krw/kro) becomes higher for a given water saturation.

For both oil and water-wet systems, the sum of (krw + kro) is always less than 1, when the same base permeability

is used for normalization (i.e., (krw + kro) < 1). The main reasons for this are: 1) dendritic to flow pore space; 2) the

connectivity of the network of each of the phases in the occupied pores is much smaller than that of the porous

medium under single phase flow; and 3) pressure of immobile (trapped) fluids.

In the last forty years, there have been many experimental investigations on relative permeability measurements.

Shankar (1979) gives a detailed discussion on the experimental techniques that apply for these measurements. He

also gives a review of the experimental work done and of some attempts to predict relative permeability up until

the early seventies. McCaffery (1973) also gives a detailed discussion on the proposed methods of prediction of

relative permeability characteristics up until that time.

124

There are certain factors that influence the experimental measurements of permeability and the relative

permeability characteristics in general. These factors are:

The Boundary or End Effects

The Hysteresis Effect

The Migration or Partial Water Saturation Effect

The Flow Rate Effect

The Effect of Gas Expansion

as they were discussed by Geffen et al (1951)and Shankar (1979).

In later research works, the effect of many parameters on relative permeability and/or effective permeability

characteristics was examined. These parameters are:

Wettability

Capillary number

Pore geometry

Heterogeneity of the system

Anisotropy of the system

Fluid viscosity

Interfacial tension (IFT)

Temperature.

(1973) examined its effect on the relative permeability characteristics of porous media made from

Teflon using different fluids in various wetting conditions. Shankar (1979) examined the effect of

wettability in sandstones and he reported experimental results that cover a range of wetting conditions

as well. Some results are shown in Figure 2-83.

The effect of interfacial tension on relative oil/water permeabilities for the case of consolidated porous

media has been investigated by Amaefule and Handy (1982). The samples used were fired Berea cores.

They also tested temperature effects both in steady and unsteady state cases. They have found that

oil/water relative permeabilities are greatly affected at IFT values less than 0.1 mN/m. They provide

some empirical equations that fit their data.

Keelan (1976) examined the gas-water relative permeability characteristics during imbibition. He

reported plots of relative permeability as a function of saturation and its variations due to pore

geometry. He correlated his results using the end-point relative permeability and the trapped gas

saturation.

Early studies by Johnson et al (1959) provided the first calculations of relative permeability based on

data from displacement experiments. Honarpour et al (1982) report empirical equations for the

estimation of two-phase relative permeability in consolidated rocks.

Torabzadeh and Handy (1984) report data for relative permeability for high and low tension systems at

temperatures ranging from 220C to 1750C. They state that temperature affects relative permeability

especially at low IFTs and describe the effects of temperature at low and high IFTs. They also state that

the relative permeability of water and oil will increase with decreasing IFT for constant temperature,

while the rate effect is not important after a critical minimum point.

125

Figure 2-84 Relative permeability curves of Berea Sandstone. Strongly Water-wet conditions (Sankar 1979)

Yadav et al (1984A) (1984B) studied the distribution of two immiscible fluids in the pore space of

sandstones. This distribution can give us information about the percentage of each pore that is occupied

by each phase and therefore the microscopic information that is necessary for relative permeability

studies at the pore level.

Naar and Henderson (1961) correlated relative permeability characteristics during imbibition to the ones

from drainage or drainage capillary curves for two-phase flow. A similar work for three-phase flow is

given by Naar and Wydal (1961).

Downie and Crane (1961) and Odeh (1959) examined the effect of viscosity on relative permeability.

Although their results contradict each other, it is shown that viscosity must be taken into account when

the relative permeability values are calculated. However, this value is a property of the medium and it is

not a function of the fluid viscosity.

Morgan and Gordon (1970) investigated the effect of pore geometry on water-oil relative permeability.

They grouped porous media in categories according to the volume and the interconnectivity of the

pores and they provide characteristic curves for each different case.

126

Morrow and McCaffery (1977) present results of experimental studies of the effect of wettability on

relative permeability, capillary pressure and spontaneous imbibition. They classify the uniformly wetted

systems in Wetted (contact angle O0-620), Intermediately-Wetted (contact angle 620-1330) and Non-

Wetted (contact angle 133 0-1800).

Sigmund and McCaffery (1979) introduced a nonlinear least square procedure to analyse the recovery

and pressure response to two-phase laboratory displacement tests. They state that two-parameter

relative permeability curves determined by a least squares one-dimensional simulation history match

could describe quantitatively the dynamic two-phase flow characteristics of various rock types with

differing degrees of heterogeneity. They determined the relative permeability characteristics in the form

of two saturation exponent parameters. They made simulator calculations and found out that capillary

forces significantly affect the pressure and recovery response data obtained from dynamic displacement

test. Capillary forces are most likely to have influence on low rate displacements in the drainage

direction.

Batycky et al (1981 B) presented a procedure to test the results of the above work. They performed tests

in both high-rate displacement and low-rate displacement and they found out that for low-rate

displacement there has to be consideration of effects due to capillary forces and the "end-effects".

These effects can extend over significant portions of the core in systems with strong wetting

characteristics. They also found that there is high possibility of a significant error in the simulation of

relative permeability curves if the capillary forces are neglected.

Thomeer (1983) proposes a relationship to determine air permeability from the mercury/air capillary

pressure data. Similar relationships are reported by Swanson (1981) for brine permeability.

Bardon and Longeron (1980) studied the influence of IFTs, flow rates and viscosity ratios on

Fontainebleau sandstone. They found out that if the lFT is greater than 0.04 mN/m, the relative

permeability can be predicted through a simulation but, for very low IFTs, there are great changes in

relative permeability values and the prediction is not satisfactory.

The macroscopic anisotropy and the heterogeneities of a porous medium are a common phenomenon

in oil reservoirs. The terms of directional, vertical and horizontal permeabilities appear in many papers

that describe the effect of heterogeneity in permeability and reservoir behaviour. Warren and Price

(1961), Parsons (1972), Rose (1982), and Aguilera (1982) (for the case of naturally fractured reservoirs),

give descriptions and methods on the aspects that govern those systems.

Another area of great interest is the one that deals with low permeability cores. Such cores can be

provided from tight gas reservoirs, but the measurements must take into consideration the Klinkenberg

effect as well as the effect of confining pressure. There have been quite a few papers in this area

although no modeling has been attempted, as far as we know. Reports have been given by Thomas and

Ward (1972), Jones and Owens (1980), Walls (1982) (who suggests that a network approach might be

the most appropriate modelling approach for this kind of media), Kassemi (1982), Keighin and Sampath

(1982) and Freeman and Bush (1983).

Finally, Jones and Roszelle (1978) suggest that some graphical techniques can be used for simple and

accurate determination, of relative permeability.

127

Relative Permeability Simulations

During the past forty years, many investigators tried to simulate the capillary and transport phenomena

in porous media. Many different methods were used. These methods are classified as macroscopic

approaches or pore level (microscopic) approaches.

Greenkom (1981) gives a review of the theoretical advances in the study of flow through porous media

and discusses the phenomenological approaches for phenomena that occur in a porous medium under

steady state conditions. He also provides an extensive list of references. According to Dullien (1979) and

Chatzis (1980), the early models that deal with the porous media are classified as:

Geometrical models (i.e., serial type, parallel type, and serial-parallel type capillaric models), and

Statistical models, "cutting and random rejoining models", (Haring and Greenkom (1970)).

Macroscopic approaches published include Slattery (1968), Casulli and Greenspan (1982), Gilman and

Kassemi (1983) for the case of naturally fractured reservoirs, and Ramakrishnan and Wasan (1984) in

connection with the effect of capillary number.

The pore level or network model approaches are based on the pioneering work ofFatt (1956), who

stated that a network of tubes is a valid model of porous media. He also was the first to state that the

relative permeability characteristics of porous media are a direct consequence of the network structure

of these media. Later, the network principles were combined with the aspects of percolation theory and

gave the stochastic network models.

This approach is the basis of the work of Chatzis (1976) (1980), Chatzis and Dullien (1978) (1982)

(1982B), Larson et al (1981), Mohanty et al (1980), Koplik (1982), Heiba et al (1982) (1984), Mohanty and

Salter (1982), Diaz (1984), and Kantzas (1985). The various models have many similarities but some

crucial differences. Details on the above models are given below.

Approach for Modelling Porous Media

A porous medium can be represented as a random network'of pores. The construction of such a

network must follow some theoretical considerations (e.g., porosity, pore to pore coordination number,

pore shapes and pore sizes, etc.). Many of these aspects are based on the percolation theory and its

applications to flowing porous media. Some introductory information about percolation theory concepts

is given in the sections that follow. For more details on percolation theory and its applications in porous

media, see Shante and Kirkpatrick (1971), Kirkpatrick (1973), Chatzis (1976), (1980), Larson (1977), and

Larson et al (1981).

Percolation Theory

There are many physical phenomena in which a fluid is "spreading" randomly in a medium. The terms

"spreading", "fluid" and "medium" are not necessarily used in their strict sense. Except for the spreading

itself, external causes such as gravity forces, for example, may control the process and affect the

128

random mechanism. The random mechanism may be ascribed to either the medium or the fluid,

depending on the nature of the particular problem. Broadbent and Hammersley (1957) introduced the

term "Percolation Process" for the process that ascribes the random mechanism to the medium. This

term came to distinguish the above mathematical analysis from the ones that are confined to the

random mechanism of a process generally ascribed to the fluid which are labeled as "diffusion

processes". Percolation theory has been a very important tool in the theoretical development of the

conductivity of random mixtures of conducting and non-conducting materials (Kirkpatrick 1973, Shante

and Kirkpatrick 1971).

In percolation theory a new terminology is introduced. The "medium" is defined to be an infinite set of

abstract objects called "atoms", or "nodes", or "sites". A fluid flows from the source site along paths

connecting different sites. These paths are called "bonds", and can be oriented or unoriented. A bond is

defined as oriented when it permits the flow only in a specified direction. The fluid that flows along a

bond will wet its two end points. The latter is used in porous media simulations. The coordination

number, z, of a network of sites connected by bonds is defined to be the weighted average number of

bonds leaving a node in a network (Chatzis 1980).

The random mechanism can be assigned to the medium in two distinct ways, leading to two different

percolation problems. The first is the bond percolation problem in which each bond has a constant

probability of transmitting fluid and the bonds "transmitting" fluid are assigned at random everywhere

in the network. This probability is independent of the existence of other bonds at the level of a site. The

second is the site percolation problem in which a site. A, has a certain probability of allowing, fluid

reaching A to flow on, along bonds leaving A. In this case^every bond between two open sites is to flow

and the random mechanism is assigned to the sites. When a site is missing, all bonds connecting it to its

neighbours are missing too. There are quite a few works that are based on either problem (e.g., Chatzis

(1976), (1980)). In the field of porous media the conventional methods treated drainage as a bond

problem and imbibition as a site problem.

Chatzis (1980) used the site problem for drainage by taking the bonds into account. This is known as the

bond correlated site problem in which the sites are assigned at random and the event of a bond being

open is correlated with the event of two adjacent sites being open. Network models of pore structure

with pore body sizes randomly distributed over the sites and the pore throat sizes-assigned according to

a correlation scheme have been found to be sound models of simulating capillary pressure curves in

sandstones (Chatzis and Dullien (1982), Diaz (1984)). Network models of pore structure obeying the

bond percolation problem have been found to be unrealistic in simulating pore structure and flow

behaviour (Chatzis (1980)). The most important finding of percolation theory is the critical percolation

threshold. This is defined as the minimum fraction of bonds (bond percolation threshold, Pbc)' or tne

minimum fraction of sites (site percolation threshold, Pgc), that must be present in the network so that

the "medium" is conducting to flow. A background to the approach taken in applying percolation theory

to random network models of pore structure at the University of Waterloo is given next.

129

Network Modeling at Waterloo (Waterloo Network Model)

WATNEMO is based on the work done by Chatzis (1976), (1980), the extensions given by Diaz (1984) and

Kantzas (1985). A random network involves three key parameters: the average coordination number z,

the pore body size distribution, and the pore throat size distribution. A 3-D random model is generated

using the cubic lattice as a complete topological representation of an irregular network. The case of 2-D

networks is not considered in this work since, as was pointed out by Chatzis (1976), 2-D networks cannot

be used as physically sound models of real porous media. The main reason for this is that, in a 2-D

network, it is impossible to have nodes and bonds fully occupied by one phase to form a continuum,

while the other phase fully occupies nodes and bonds that a continuum as well (i.e., bicontinua cannot

exist).

Using the fact that the real network of pores in a porous medium is in 3-D, one can create many

different types of 3-D networks characterized by different values of the coordination number. It has

been found that it is very convenient to work-with regular networks that have a cubic lattice

arrangement and a coordination number of six. This simplification introduces the "physical' assumption

that the pores of the medium are well connected, and facilitates straightforward computer algorithms.

Taking the above fact into account, the other parameters to be defined are the size distributions of pore

throats, assigned to the bonds, and of the pore bodies assigned to the nodes of the network.

The network models generated using bond correlated site percolation have been found to bemore

suitable models of pore structure in sandstones (Chatzis (1980), Diaz (1984)). The principle of generating

such networks is simple. The nodes of the network are assigned with indices 1,2 ....n at random. The

nodes assigned the index 1 represent the largest pore bodies and the nodes assigned index n are the

smallest pore bodies. A pseudo-random number generation technique can be used to provide a random

setting of those indices in the sites of the network. The next step is to define the bonds by assigning an

index equal to the larger index of the two nodes it connects. The accessibility properties of random

network models using the bond correlated site percolation scheme have been investigated at Waterloo

with special attention given to cubic networks (Chatzis (1980), Diaz (1984), Kantzas (1985)). Generalized

number based accessibility functions have been obtained and applied to model capillary pressure

saturation relationships for mercury-air systems and water-oil systems with entrapment. Having

specified the number based pore body size distribution, the pore throat size distribution and pore

geometry, there are algorithms available to convert the number based accessibility data to volume

based capillary pressure curve data (Chatzis (1980), Chatzis and Dullien (1982), Diaz (1984), Kantzas

(1985)).

In addition to the simulation of capillary pressure curves, the WATNEMO has been applied successfully

to model the "dendritic" non-wetting phase saturation during primary drainage in mercury-air

experiments (Chatzis and Dullien (1982)) and relative permeability characteristics in mercury-

permeametry experiments. The work of Diaz (1984) expanded the capability of WATNEMO to model

fluid distributions of the non-wetting phase as well as the wetting phase, as a function of saturation and

saturation history, while Kantzas (1985) used the same principles for the simulation of two phase

relative permeabilities as described below.

130

The conductivity properties of random network models of interest to us for the simulation of relative

permeability behaviour in oil-water systems have not been explored in detail. Results presented by

Kirkpatrick (1973) for the cubic networks are limited by the fact that all bonds in the network allowed to

conduct flow had the same conductivity value. There are no analytical methods for the calculation of the

conductivity properties of random networks with size distribution of conductivities or with variable

coordination numbers.

Effective medium theory approximations (Kirkpatrick 1973, Koplik 1982) have been applied by Larson et

al (1981 A), Heiba et al (1982) to two phase flow problems of relevance to relative permeability

behaviour. Mohanty and Salter (1982) have also looked at the application of the conductivity properties

of random networks to simulate relative permeability behaviour, but their simulation results were not in

good agreement with experimental results. Moreover, the information provided in their paper is not

sufficient to warrant a detailed criticism.

In all of the past studies involved with the simulation of relating permeability characteristics, several

tacit assumptions are made. These include: 1) The nodes in the network simulation have no resistance

to fluid flow; 2) Only the bonds in the network carry the information of the resistance to flow in pore

networks; and 3) With the exception of Chatzis and Dullien (1982), a node in the network can be

simultaneously part of the non-wetting phase network as well as part of the wetting phase network

(e.g., Fatt (1956C), Heiha et al (1992), Winterfeld et al (1981)).

In addition to the above assumptions, several inconsistencies arise in transforming the relative

conductivities of random networks into the form of relative permeability curves. For example, for the

conductivity of a pore with diameter D, g(D) may be taken to be proportional to D cubed or D to the

power of four, while the volume of such a pore V(D) is proportional to D to the power of 0.84 instead of

V(D) proportional to D cubed or D squared as it should be (e.g., Heiba et al (1982), Soo and Slattery(

1983)).

Part of this work is devoted to clarify some of these inherent inconsistencies in past studies. To do so,

however, the capability of WATNEMO to model relative permeability behavior had to be developed. This

was the main objective of Kantzas (1985) - the development of software for the investigation of the

conductivity properties of random networks of the bond correlated site percolation type. The following

sections form the basis for understanding the development of this software for simulating immiscible

two-phase flow problems in porous media with applications to predictions of relative permeability

behavior.

The term conductivity is one of the most commonly used terms that appear in all the texts and studies

that deal with flow problems. It describes the difficulty of flow through a certain medium, where the

flow refers to momentum, energy, mass, electricity, etc. The most well known conductivity is the

electrical conductivity, which is described by Ohm's law,

(2-138)

Where,

131

I is the electric current (in Amperes),

V is the voltage drop (in Volts),

G is the electricalconductivity of a resistor (in I/Ohm).

Eq. (2-138) can be rewritten in terms of current density J and charge density F as follows:

( ) (2-139)

Thermal conductivity is also another well-known conductivity and it is defined by Fourier's law,

( ) (2-140)

Where,

The heat flux,

The thermal conductivity,

In porous media, the conductivity to flow (or permeability) is given by Darcy's law. Darcy's law and

equations (2-139) and (2-140)are obviously similar. Many researchers who have seen this similarity tried

to give solutions for the permeability simulation problems using algorithms originally designed for the

electrical conductivity analogs. This strategy is very reasonable. The same strategy is used in Kantzas

(1985).

First, let us consider the case of calculating the overall conductivity of a network of resistors. This can be

done by applying Kirchhoffs' laws

∑ (2-141)

∑ ∑ (2-142)

The second law applies in such cases where we have many sources of electricity within a loop. If we

consider a network that contains only resistors then application of the first law can give

∑ ∑ (2-143)

This says that we have one equation for every node in the network. A group of equations can be formed

that describes the whole network, such that:

132

[ ][ ] [ ] (2-144)

Where,

[ ] The conductivity matrix,

[ ] The voltage drop vector,

[ ] The current vector.

This way of approaching the problem is different from Dodds' approach (1968) that used the resistances

instead of the conductivities resulting in the inverse set of equations:

[ ][ ] [ ] (2-145)

where R is the resistance matrix.

For the optimum numerical solution, eq. (2-145) is preferred because of less memory space and less

execution time requirements (George and Liu (1981)). So, for a network that consists of n nodes, a set of

n linear equations is created in which all the elements of the current vector have the value of zero. The

linear set however, is not positively definite. Therefore, it is not that easy to get a solution for eq.

(2-145), and the solution most probably will not be unique. Also, this solution will not provide any

information for the overall conductivity of the network, which is the main aim of this work. So, it is

necessary to have an additional independent equation that relates the overall conductivity of the

network, Gt, the overall voltage drop, Vt, across the network and the overall current, It. This set up

provides the extra information that relates It, Vt and Gt.

∑ ∑ (2-146)

where e denotes the resistors that connect the network to the external node.

If the value of the overall current (It) is defined, then a linear and positive definite set of equations is

obtained which can be used for obtaining the solution for the voltage vector. If, in addition to the above,

It = 1, then the overall conductivity of the network can be automatically calculated, since

(2-147)

Therefore, if the conductivity of each resistor is known, the overall conductivity of the network can be

calculated. This calculation was performed by Kantzas (1985) and the result was a set of relative

permeability curves that provided a good agreement with experimental results in Berea Sandstone.

Three-phase flow situations occur when gas is injected into a reservoir or when a reservoir is produced

at a pressure below its bubble point. The flow of one phase relative to the other phases is represented

by the relative permeability of that phase. Therefore, relative permeability is an essential variable in the

prediction of reservoir performance in reservoir simulation studies.

133

Relative permeability is a direct measure of the ability of the porous medium to conduct flow of one

fluid when two or more fluids are present. The flow of the fluids in the medium is controlled by the

pore geometry, wettability, fluid distribution, and saturation history. Wettability is a controlling factor in

determining three-phase relative permeability characteristics through its effect on the fluids distribution

and flow of the three phases.

The fluids distribution in water wet and oil wet systems is quite different. When a system is water wet,

water fills all the small pores and exists as a film in the larger pores. When the medium is oil wet, the

reverse is true; oil will occupy the small pores and exists as a film in the larger pores. It is very rare for a

reservoir to be gas wet, so gas wet systems will not be discussed.

It is generally believed that reservoirs are originally water wet. As oil migrates into the reservoir, crude

oils come in contact with the rock surface and adsorption can occur which alters the wettability of the

rock1. This can lead to many different forms of wettability. The wettability of a system can range from

strongly water wet to strongly oil wet. When the rock has equal preference for both oil and water, the

system has neutral or intermediate wettability. Fractional wettability is a condition when different areas

of the core have different wetting preferences. There is also a special case of fractional wettability,

called mixed wettability, where the small pores are water wet and the large pores are oil wet.

There are two methods of evaluating the relative permeability of each phase: steady state and unsteady

state. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, however most researchers say that the

unsteady state method should not be used. The experimental procedure to evaluate relative

permeability of two-phase flow is easy, so a lot of relative permeability data were collected. However,

for three-phase flow, the procedure is quite complicated so not many experiments were carried out.

Therefore, relative permeability characteristics of three-phase system are not fully understood.

Generally, the relative permeability can be obtained for imbibition (wetting phase displacing nonwetting

phase) or drainage (nonwetting phase displacing wetting phase). At the same wetting phase saturation,

the fluid distribution in the pores will be different, thus it is expected that relative permeability in

drainage and imbibition will also be different. Many researchers published contradictory findings, so

hysteresis between drainage and imbibition in three-phase flow is still being studied. Most researchers

have seen that in strongly wetted mediums, the wetting phase and nonwetting phase show very little

hysteresis. However, for the intermediate wetting phase significant hysteresis was seen.

Due to the complex nature of three-phase relative permeability experiments and the lack of agreement

between the limited data, many models were developed to generate three-phase relative permeability

values. These models have often not compared with all the available experimental data.

There were many experiments performed with two-phase flow to study the effects of interfacial

tension, temperature, flow rate, and viscosity on the relative permeability characteristics. Some

researchers found that these parameters affect relative permeability while some reported otherwise.

Experiments on three-phase flow to study the effects of these parameters are very rare to non-existent.

The effects of these parameters on two-phase relative permeability are included in the discussion, since

it is likely that these parameters will affect three-phase flow in a similar manner.

134

The flow of fluid in carbonates is also investigated. Most carbonates are usually oil wet, this means that

relative permeability should be different than that of sandstones, which are usually water wet.Relative

permeability in heavy oil systems is also being studied.

The wetting fluid in a uniformly wetted system is located in the smaller pores and as a thin film in the

larger pores, while the non wetting phase is located in the centers of the larger pores. In general, at a

given saturation, the relative permeability of a fluid is higher when it is the non wetting fluid1. This

means that the water relative permeability is larger in an oil wet system than it would be in a water wet

system. This occurs because the wetting fluid usually travels through the small pores, while the

nonwetting fluid moves through the larger pores, which results in better flow of the nonwetting fluid.

Also, at low nonwetting phase saturation the nonwetting phase will be trapped as discontinuous blobs

in the larger pores which block the flow of the wetting fluid, thus decreasing its relative permeability.

On the other hand, the relative permeability of the nonwetting phase at low wetting phase saturation is

very high since it travels through the center of the larger pores. This nonwetting phase relative

permeability could be as high as the absolute permeability, which indicates that the wetting phase does

not significantly restrict the flow of the nonwetting phase.

In a water-oil system, as the system becomes more oil wet, relative permeability of water (krw)

increases, relative permeability of oil (kro) decreases, and the cross-over point occurs at a lower water

saturation (see Figure 2-85)1.

1

Water Wet

Oil Wet

Relative Permeability

Oil

Water

Oil

Water

0

0 1

Water Saturation

Figure 2-85 Relative permeability of water wet and oil wet systems.

These special characteristics allowed Craig to generalize a few rules of thumb1, which indicate the

differences in the relative permeability of strongly water wet and strongly wet oil cores. These rules are

presented in Table 1 below.

135

Table 6. Craig’s Rules of Thumb for Determining the Wettability

Swc > 20-25 % of PV < 10-15% of PV

Sw when krw = kro > 50% < 50%

krw at max Sw < 30% > 50% (can be 100%)

Exceptions have been found to these rules, therefore wettability experiments should be performed

separately to evaluate the wettability of the reservoir instead of relying only on Craig’s rules of thumb.

Also, Craig’s rules of thumb can only distinguish water wet conditions from oil wet; they cannot identify

the degree of wettability, or neutrally wet, fractionally wet or mixed wet conditions.

Pore geometry can also have a strong effect on the measured relative permeability curves, affecting the

cross over point in two-phase flow and the irreducible water saturation1. If the pore medium consists of

a significant number of small pores, the irreducible water saturation is relatively large. Anderson has

also mentioned the significant differences in Swc found in rocks with large, well interconnected pores

compared to rocks containing smaller and less well connected pores. In the water wet cores, the

smaller pores are filled with water, thus a larger number of small pores increases the irreducible water

saturation, but if these pores are less well connected, the water flow is not better. When comparing

these two samples, the rock with many smaller pores has a larger irreducible water saturation and the

cross-over point for the relative permeability occurs at higher water saturation.

In three-phase systems, there is no obvious distinction in relative permeability of water wet and oil wet

systems. Most researchers can identify the characteristics of the wetting phase and the nonwetting

phase. However, the pattern for the intermediate wetting phase is not fully identified yet. For

fractionally wet, intermediate and mixed wet system, special characteristics of relative permeability are

not known at all.

Most researchers agree that the relative permeability of the wetting phase depends on its saturation

only. Anderson mentioned that many researchers found that in a water wet system, there was a good

agreement between the wetting phase relative permeability of two-phase systems (water in the water

oil tests and oil in gas-oil tests)1. However, there have been some experiments which show that the

wetting phase relative permeability depends on saturations of the other phases. Some researchers even

found that the trapped gas saturation could affect both the water and oil relative permeabilities. There

are other experiments which show that the wetting phase relative permeability was affected by the

nonwetting phase saturation in water wet systems. Most researchers still insist however that the

relative permeability of the wetting phase should be a function of its saturation only. They suggest that

some of these systems that showed significant difference in the relative permeability of the wetting

phase were not strongly water wet.

136

Three-phase relative permeability data for water wet sandpacks have been reported by several people.

However, there is very limited three-phase data for oil wet cores. The data for water wet cores and

sandpacks show generally consistent behavior; gas and water primarily depend on the gas or water

saturation respectively, and are weak functions of the saturations of other fluids present. These data

indicate that a strongly wetting phase (water) and a nonwetting phase (gas) are not affected by the

other phases. However, Schneider et al. reported that the three-phase relative permeability of gas (krg)

values are smaller than the two-phase krg in drainage2. This is because of flow interference between the

gas (nonwetting) phase and the oil (intermediate wetting) phase in a water wet system containing three

phases. Corey et al., however, saw from their experiments that gas relative permeability was essentially

the same in two-phase and three-phase systems3. The intermediate wetting phase (oil) appears to be

influenced by interactions with the other phases, but the nature of the interaction is not very distinctive.

In some cases the dependence of oil relative permeability on the saturations of the other phases is

apparent and in some cases it is not. The experimental data often shows so much scattering that no

conclusion can be reached. Even though the evidence is not as overwhelming as for the wetting phase,

many researchers agree that the relative permeability of the nonwetting phase is a function of its own

saturation only.

In water wet systems with trapped gas present, Schneider et al. found that the maximum value of kro is

larger than the value in the case without gas2. They explained that this is because gas is the nonwetting

phase with respect to oil. Also, the trapped gas saturation resulted in lower krw. This is not consistent

with the general belief that for water wet system; water relative permeability is a function of water

saturation only.

DiCarlo et al. performed three-phase experiments and they have seen other characteristics4:

The permeabilities of the most wetting fluid are always similar. In both cases of water wet and oil

wet media, krw and kro can be described by a power law, kr S, where = 5. However, a lower

saturation is reached in the oil-wet medium than in the water-wet medium. This is consistent with

Craig’s generalization that for oil wet systems Swi is lower than Swi in water wet system. For the

strongly and uniformly water wet and oil wet media, it is expected that the configuration of the

most wetting fluid should be similar in both systems at the same saturation, thus they should have

the same relative permeability characteristics.

At high saturations, the permeabilities of oil (nonwetting phase) in water wet media and water

(nonwetting phase) in oil wet media are similar. Both can be described by a power law, kr S, where

= 4. DiCarlo et al. believed that at high saturations the arrangement of oil filled pores in a water-

wet medium and the water filled pores in oil wet medium are quite similar.

At low saturations, the permeabilities of oil in water wet media and water in oil wet media are very

different. The oil relative permeability remains finite at low saturations while the water relative

permeability drops off quickly and approaches zero. At low saturation phases may remain

connected through wetting layers in crevices in the pore space. It is this connectivity which controls

relative permeability at low saturation. It is possible that the pore scale configuration and

connectivity of oil and water is very different for water wet and oil wet media.

137

The gas relative permeability for the oil-wet medium is approximately half its value in a water wet

medium. In water wet media, the water phase will occupy the smallest pores and crevices while the

gas phase occupies the large pore spaces since gas is more nonwetting than oil. In oil wet media,

the water and gas phases compete for the largest pores. It is possible that at a specific gas

saturations in the oil wet system, the gas is in smaller pathways leading to a lower permeability.

For the fractionally wet sand, the oil, water and gas relative permeabilities are between the oil,

water and gas relative permeabilities in the water wet and oil wet sands.

Schneider et al. mentioned that for systems having no strong wetting preference, characteristics of

three-phase flow can be very different than for two-phase flow2. This suggests that the relative

permeability might be a function of other phases as well.

Many people believe that in strongly wetted systems, the relative permeability of the wetting phase is

usually a function of its own saturation, which means that it is not a function of saturation history.

Anderson reported that the wetting phase relative permeability is very similar for both two and three-

phase in strongly wetted systems at a specific wetting phase saturation. This implies that the wetting

phase distribution in two-phase is very much similar to the one in three-phase systems. Therefore the

hysteresis between the drainage and imbibition of the wetting phase is very small. In three-phase

systems, many people assumed that gas is almost always a nonwetting phase.

There were other experiments, which show that there was hysteresis for the wetting phase in both

water wet system and oil wet system. It is possible that for the cases where hysteresis was seen in the

relative permeability of the wetting phase, the medium was not strongly wet. In general, the majority of

the results show that there is little or no relative permeability hysteresis in the wetting phase.

Most of the results that show significant hysteresis in the wetting phase relative permeability were

obtained from unsteady state methods. Craig and others believe that there are problems with the

unsteady state relative permeability measurement in strongly wetting systems1.

As mentioned before, for the nonwetting phase in a strongly wet medium, many people agree that its

relative permeability is a function of its saturation only, thus there is no hysteresis. However, there was

significant hysteresis seen for the relative permeability of the intermediate wetting phase.

138

Methods of Relative Permeability Measurements

Honarpour and Mahmood provide a detailed assessment of the steady state and unsteady methods of

measuring relative permeability5. They believe that steady state provides the most reliable relative

permeability data. In this method, two or three fluids are injected simultaneously at a constant rate or

pressure drop. The system is then allowed to reach equilibrium. At this point, the saturations, flow

rates, and pressure gradients are measured. Darcy’s law is then used to calculate the effective

permeability of each phase. The injection rate or pressure drop is then changed and the cycle is

repeated again until enough points are collected to plot the relative permeability curve. This method is

very time consuming, because equilibrium at each flow rate may take several hours to days to achieve.

Unsteady state is the quickest method of obtaining relative permeability. In this method, the in-situ

fluids are displaced at a constant rate with the effluent volumes being monitored continuously.

Equilibrium is not achieved, so the entire set of relative permeability curves can be obtained in a few

hours. However, there are many difficulties associated with this method, such as capillary end effects,

viscous fingering and channeling in heterogeneous medium, which cannot be properly accounted for.

Capillary end effect is a phenomenon in which the saturation is high at the inlet or outlet of the core. To

minimize the boundary effect, the fluids can be flowed through the core at high rates to make the

capillary forces insignificant compared to the viscous forces due to the flow of fluids. The fluid

dispersion in the porous media increases with the flow rate, thus minimizing the boundary effect at the

input end6. However, the use of high flow rate can aggregate viscous fingering problems. Also, in this

method viscous oils are usually used to prolong the period of two-phase production (at flow

breakthrough, no more information on relative permeability can be obtained). Again, this will further

enhance the viscous fingering problem.

Craig and other researchers recommend that the unsteady state method not be used with strongly

water wet cores. They believe that the combination of high velocities and high viscosities will cause a

strongly water wet medium to behave as an oil wet system during waterflood. During a waterflood, the

injected water will move rapidly through the larger pores, bypassing a large number of pores that are

filled with viscous oil, causing early breakthrough. Usually, in waterflooding of an oil wet system, it was

seen that breakthrough recovery is low and additional oil can still be recovered. Thus, the performance

of a waterflood with viscous oil is very similar to a waterflood of an oil wet system. Also, in comparison

with the steady state relative permeability of two-phase, the calculated unsteady state relative

permeabilities measured on the same core appear to be more oil wet.

During the process of core cleaning and handling, the wettability of the core can be altered, which can

significantly affect the relative permeability. The cleaned core is usually more water wet than the actual

native state wettability, thus the most accurate relative permeability measurements are obtained on

native state core when the core’s wettability is reserved. When these cores are not available, restored

state core could be used. The process of core wettability restoration must be handle with care since any

error can be resulted in significant wettability alteration.

There are other problems associated with obtaining data from core. Heaviside et al. said that the core

sample might not truly represent the reservoir because the core samples are only a small fraction of the

139

reservoir, and may therefore be statistically unrepresentative7. Also, the sample may not be in the same

state or have the same properties as when it was in the undisturbed reservoir. When the core plug is

brought up to the surface, the light ends hydrocarbon can be liberated, causing the oil to be more

heavy7. Some components can be deposited on the pore surface, making the rock more oil wet.

Due to the complex nature of the experimental process to obtain three-phase relative permeability

data, many models were developed to predict these values instead. These models can be divided into

three catagories: those that are based on bundle of capillary tubes theory, those that are based on

channel flow theory (Stone’s methods and their modifications), and other miscellaneous models.

There are many models which used this theory in the derivation of the relative permeability

model. The models that will be discussed are Corey et al., Naar and Wygal, and Land.

Corey, Rathjens, Henderson and Wyllie: The first model of three-phase relative permeability was

published by Corey et al. in 19563. The model assumed that fluid flow in reservoirs can be represented

by a bundle of capillary tubes. The flow paths through the medium can be approximated by the

equivalent hydraulic radius of the capillary tubes. A tortuosity correction was included to account for

the differences in path length of tubes of different sizes. Corey’s model also assumed that the wetting

and nonwetting phase relative permeabilities are independent of the saturations of the other phases. In

other words, relative permeability of the wetting phase is a function of wetting phase saturation and

relative permeability of nonwetting phase is a function of nonwetting phase saturation.

In this model, the intermediate wetting phase (oil) occupies the pores between those occupied by water

and gas which are intermediate in size. Its flow can be interfered with by both the wetting and

nonwetting fluids. Relative permeability of the intermediate wetting phase is proportional to the area

of the pores occupied by this phase relative to the pores occupied by other phases. Corey also assumed

that the relationship between saturation and drainage capillary pressure is represented by,

( ) (2-148)

( ) (2-149)

Where,

Pb = fitting parameter

Pc = capillary pressure

S = saturation

Slr = residual liquid saturation for gas oil displacement (obtain from experiment)

The model for the intermediate wetting phase (oil) is given as:

140

(2-150)

Where,

Sl = total liquid saturation

Sw = water saturation

The derivation for this model is based on the hypothesis that the residual oil saturation of a system

containing water >= Slr will be zero.

Corey compared the values calculated from his model to the experimental values which he collected

from experiment on Berea sandstone. This is shown on Figure 2-86.

Figure 2-86 Comparison between experimental and predicted values (after 3).

One advantage of this method is that it requires only the value of residual liquid saturation to predict

the oil relative permeability. However, this model does not allow for the adjustment of the end points

of relative permeability in oil-gas and oil-water system. Therefore, its estimation of these end point

relative permeabilities may be very different from the values obtained from the experiments.

Naar and Wygal: This model for imbibition was published in 19618. It is also based on the concept of

flow in straight capillaries. It has random interconnections of pores and storage capacity, which makes

trapping of the nonwetting phase by the invading wetting fluid possible. Again, relative permeabilities

to the wetting and nonwetting phases are considered to depend only on their own wetting and

nonwetting phase saturations, while the intermediate phase relative permeability depends on all three-

phase saturations. The relative permeability to water (wetting phase) can be obtained by assuming that

oil and gas combine to form a single nonwetting phase; thus the system is two-phase. To compute the

141

relative permeability to gas, the system can be treated as a two-phase system with water and oil

forming the single wetting phase. The relative permeability to oil is more complex. When the water

invades the porous medium, part of the oil is blocked and the rest invades the pores that are full of gas.

However, some of the gas phase is blocked while the remainder is pushed out. Because some of the oil

is trapped, the relative permeability of oil decreases. In this model, the oil phase is more wetting than

the gas phase, thus oil exists in smaller pores than gas does. So oil will invades gas in slightly larger

pores first. Since some oil moves from small pores into larger pores, the permeability of oil increases.

This model was derived by assuming that the capillary pressure curve is approximated by

(2-151)

The relative permeability of the intermediate wetting phase can be predicted by:

S o S ob

S of* (2-153)

1 S wi

S w S wi S ob

S *fw (2-154)

1 S wi

2

S S

S ob

1

1 S wi w wi (2-155)

2 1 S wi

Where,

So = oil saturation

Swi = initial water saturation

Sw = water saturation

At the time of the model’s development, Naar and Wygal did not compare the model predictions with

any experimental data.

Land: Land has seen some evidence showing that the initial gas saturation controls the residual gas

saturation, which is trapped after imbibition9. Residual gas saturation was seen to increase with

increasing initial gas saturation. When the initial gas saturation is unity (ie. the reservoir contains only

gas), the residual gas saturation is a maximum.

Land published a model for imbibition in 1968, which takes into account the effect of initial saturations.

This model assumes that the maximum residual hydrocarbon saturation is constant, whether the

hydrocarbon is gas or oil, and that the residual hydrocarbon is related to the initial hydrocarbon

saturation.

Land assumed that in three-phase systems the gas relative permeability is the same as for two-phase

systems. He reasoned that this is because the gas is a nonwetting phase, thus it occupies the same

142

pores regardless of the nature of the liquids present. Also, it was assumed that for a water wet medium,

the imbibition relative permeability to water is the same function of water saturation for both two- and

three-phase systems.

Land’s model is very similar to that of Naar and Wygal. However, Land believed that Naar and Wygal

wrongly placed trapped the gas in the largest pores rather than the smaller pores which are likely to be

invaded first by the wetting phase. Land’s model also includes the dependence of relative permeability

on saturation, saturation history and the capillary pressure.

(max) 1 S hr (max) S gf

Shr

* *

ln * *

*2

kro Sof 1 S gf

2 * 2

S w Sob 2

*

*

2 Shr(max) 1 Shr(max) S gi

(2-156)

C

1

1

S* *

*

*

*

hr(max) 1 Shr(max) S gf Shr(max) 1 Shr(max) S gi

*

1 *

S gf*

2

S g S gc

*

S *

g S gc

*

2

C

4 *

S g S gc

*

(2-157)

S w S wc

S w* (2-158)

1 S wc

Sg

S g* (2-159)

1 S wc

1

C *

1 (2-160)

(S ) gc max

1 *

*

S gc S gi* S gi (2-161)

2

S gi

S gi* (2-162)

1 S wc

Where

*

( S gc ) max =residual gas saturation after imbibition process which started with 100% gas

S

*

hr max =normalized maximum trapped hydrocarbon saturation

*

( S ob is defined earlier in Naar and Wygal)

If water saturation increases and oil saturation decreases while the gas saturation remains constant (or

is increasing), the main equation simplifies to

k ro S of*3 2(S w* S or* ) S of* (2-163)

143

*2 2 * 1 S gr

*

k ro S *3

of 2S *

w S *

of S S gr

*2

of

C

S gr ln *

C S gl

(2-164)

Land did not compare this model’s prediction with any experimental values.

Parker, Lenhard, and Kuppusamy: This model was developed in 1987 and it is very similar to Corey’s10.

However, in this model the flow path is assumed to be proportional to the square of the mean hydraulic

radius of the pores occupied by that phase.

In this model,

k ro S o*1 / 2 1 S w*1 / m 1 S

m

*1 / m m

l

2

(2-165)

With

The fitting parameter n can be obtained by a curve fit of capillary pressure or by fitting two-phase

relative permeability. Therefore this model will tend to give good results for cases where there is a

satisfactory fit of the two-phase data.

Stone’s methods and their modifications: The methods proposed by Stone are the ones most commonly

used for prediction of three-phase relative permeability. Many people have attempted to improve the

estimations of Stone’s methods.

Theory and assumptions used in Stone’s models: Stone’s method 1 and 2 are probability based

models11,12. Both methods are based on the channel flow theory, which states that in any flow channel

there is at most only one mobile fluid. As a consequence, the wetting phase is located in the small pores

and the nonwetting phase in the large pores, and the intermediate phase occupies the pores in

between. Thus at equal water saturations the fluid distributions will be identical in a water-oil system

and in a water-oil-gas system, as long as the direction of change of water saturation is the same in both.

This implies that water relative permeability and water-oil capillary pressure in the three-phase system

are functions of water saturations alone. Also, they vary the same way in the three-phase system as in

the two-phase water oil system. The gas phase relative permeability and gas oil capillary pressure are

the same functions of gas saturation in the three-phase system as in the two-phase gas oil system.

These two models require two sets of two-phase data: water oil displacement and gas oil displacement.

Hysteresis can be taken into consideration by using the appropriate two-phase data.

Stone’s method 1: This method was published in 197011. It assumes that the flow of oil is interfered with

by the presence of gas and water, and that the effects of gas and water are independent. Oil relative

permeability is a function of normalized oil saturation S o , w and g , which depend on the water and

*

144

k k rog

k ro S o* row* S o* w g

1 S w 1 S g

(2-166)

*

Sg

S g* (2-167)

1 S wc S om

S o S om

S o* (2-168)

1 S wc S om

S w S wc

S w* (2-169)

1 S wc S om

Where,

g = probability that an oil filled pore is not blocked by gas

krow = relative permeability of oil in oil water system

krog = relative permeability of oil in oil gas system

Som = minimum residual oil saturation

Sg = gas saturation

So = oil saturation

Sw = water saturation

Swc = connate water saturation = Swir = Swi

Stone mentioned that Som can be expressed as a function of fluid saturation but since sufficient data is

not available to correlate this relationship, a constant value is set for Som instead.

Stone compared the simulated values from the model with the data of Corey et al. and Dalton et al. (see

Figure 2-87 and Figure 2-88).

145

Figure 2-87 Compare with results of Corey et al. (after 11) Figure 2-88 Compare with results of Dalton et al. (after 11)

In Figure 2-87 and Figure 2-88, the dashed curves are obtained with Som = 0.1, while the solid curves

correspond to Som = 0. From the figures it can be seen that the value of Som only has an affect on the

small values of relative permeability. Also, data obtained by Corey et al. has significant scattering, so it

is hard to say whether the match is good or not. Overall, Stone’s method 1 fits the data of Dalton et al.

better than Corey et al.’s data.

Stone’s method: In the three-phase system, the sum of all three relative permeabilities is always less

than or equal to unity. Stone assumes that it achieves its maximum value in the cases where So = 1 - Swc,

Sw = Swc and Sg = 0 and So = 1 - Sgc, Sw = 0, Sg = Sgc. For these cases, kro = 1 and krg = krw = 012.

Where,

krow = relative permeability of oil in oil-water system

krwo = relative permeability of water in oil water system

krog = relative permeability of oil in oil gas system

krgo = relative permeability of gas in oil gas system

Stone claimed that this method predicts better values than method 1, especially at low oil saturations.

It is also not required to estimate Som in this method; the model can predict the value of Sor.

Comparison of Stone’s method 2 predictions with Corey et al.’s data is shown in Figure 2-89.

146

Figure 2-89 Stone’s Method 2 predictions and Corey et al.’s experimental data (after 12)

At low water saturation, the agreement is good. However, at higher water saturation, the predicted

values are too low.

Stone also compared the predicted Sor with Holmgren-Morse residual oil data of sandstone, see Figure

2-90.

Figure 2-90 Stone’s prediction of Sor and Holmgren-Morse’s data (after 12)

These data shows that as the initial free gas saturation increases, residual oil saturation decreases and

residual gas saturation increases. Stone’s method 2 consistently predicts higher Sor.

Dietrich and Bondor: It has been observed in experiments on water-wet systems that the water relative

permeability is approximately a function of water saturation only, and that the gas relative permeability

is a function of the gas saturation. However, the oil relative permeability seems to be a function of both

the water and gas saturation. This model (proposed in 1976) takes into account the reduction in oil

relative permeability caused by the presence of water and gas13.

147

Dietrich and Bondor realized that the oil permeability at connate water saturation predicted by Stone’s

method 2 would be applicable only if krow and krog can be one. However, this is not always possible.

Thus, they rewrite the Stone’s model as,

k ro k rwo k rgo (2-171)

k rocw

Where krocw is the relative permeability of oil at connate water in oil water system.

Hirasaki: Hirasaki modified Stone’s method 1 in 197313. Hirasaki’s model assumes that both water and

gas may be flowing simultaneously in the pore space with the oil. He derives a three-phase oil relative

permeability expression by considering the total reduction in oil relative permeability caused by the

water and gas.

Aziz and Settari: This model was published in 197910. Aziz and Settari suggested the use of the absolute

permeability as the basis for calculating relative permeability and use krocw as a partial normalizing

factor.

For method 1:

k / k k rog / k rocw

k ro k rocwS o* row rocw

1 S w 1 S g

* *

(2-173)

k ro k rocwS o* w g (2-174)

For method 2,

k ro k row k rwo k rog k rgo k rwo k rgo (2-175)

Aziz and Settari said that Stone’s method 2 usually predicts too low oil permeabilities and method 1

usually predicts too high oil permeabilities. They believed that the use of as a free parameter is a

convenient way to improve the predicted permeability.

Fayers and Mathews: This model was published in 198414. Fayers and Mathews believed that the value

of Som should be better predicted to improve the estimations of Stone’s method 1 (Som is a constant in

Stone’s method 1). They suggested the use of a saturation dependent value of Som for Stone’s method 1,

Sg

1 (2-177)

1 S wc S org

148

Where,

Sorg = residual oil saturation in gas oil system

Sorw = residual oil saturation in water oil system

Baker said that this provides an improved fit to the residual oil data.

Aleman: In 1986, Aleman suggested another approximation of Som for Stone’s method 110.

S w S wc Sg

S om S orw S (2-179)

1 S wc S orw 1 S wc S org

org

The free parameters and are used to fit the curvature of the zero oil permeability isoperm

Aleman et al. later developed a statistical structural model for prediction of two-phase relative

permeability based on a local volume average approach to a bundle of capillaries model15. In this model,

pores are randomly distributed but there are no pore interconnections. It assumed that the saturation

change is in the direction of decreasing intermediate wetting phase saturation. All other assumptions

are the same as the ones made by Stone in the development of his methods. Aleman expanded this

model for three-phase flow with the intermediate wetting phase relative permeability:

k ro k ro(I ) (2-180)

Where kro(I) is the relative permeability to oil predicted by Stone’s method 1 and is a correction term.

*

S *o k row 1 k rog

*

1 k row

* *

k rog

k rwo

* *

k rgo

k *

rgo 1 k *

row k *

rwo k *

row

1 k *

rgo k *

rog (2-181)

k row

Where k row

* * * *

, and other parameters such as k rog , k rwo , k rgo are defined in a similar way.

1 Sw*

This model is sensitive to the value of Som, and may predict incorrect oil permeabilities for values of Som

which are too small. The problem may be due to assumptions made in the model about the

distributions of fluids. Larger values of Som give more reasonable predictions. Aleman recommended

that this model should be used only if the predicted isoperms shows reasonable match with

experimental data.

Other methods

Other methods included in this report are the models that were proposed by Baker, Pope, Blunt, and

Moulu et al.

Saturation-weighted interpolation: This method was proposed by Baker in 198810. This is a simple

model of oil relative permeability that is based on saturation-weighted interpolation between water-oil

and gas-oil data.

S w S wc k rwo S g S gr k rog

k ro

S w S wc S g S gr

(2-182)

149

For the wetting and nonwetting phase,

S o S or k rwo S g S gr k rwg

k rw

S o S or S g S gr

(2-183)

S o S or k rgo S w S wc k rgw

k rg (2-184)

S o S or S w S wc

These equations assume that the end points of the three-phase relative permeability isoperms coincide

with the two-phase relative permeability data.

The saturation-weighted interpolation method may give erroneous results if the two-phase relative

permeability curves being interpolated between are very different. This is especially a problem if the

end point saturation (Sorw and Sorg) of the oil-water and oil-gas curves differ significantly.

Pope: Pope published his model in 198816. This model does not require two-phase data:

k ro k rocw a S o 1 S w

1 a S o 1 S g

(2-185)

Where,

1 S w S g S or

So (2-186)

1 S wc S gr S or

S w S wr

Sw (2-187)

1 S wc S gr S or

S g S gr

Sg (2-188)

1 S wc S gr S or

The parameters , , , and a can be obtained by matching the two-phase data, such that

= + = eow, = + = eog, and a=1/2. eow and eog are obtained by curve fitting the oil-water and oil-

gas relative permeability data sets into exponent functions.

Empirical model: This model was developed by Blunt and published in 200017. It is based on the

saturation-weighted averages of the two-phase relative permeabilities, which includes gas and oil

trapping. The model also allows for drainage of oil at low saturations.

In this model, six relative permeability sets are required: krwo and krow from oil-water displacement, krog

and krgo from gas-oil displacement, and krgw and krwg from gas-water displacement.

If the medium is water wet or mixed wet and oil is spreading then layer drainage is also considered. In

this case, the bulk oil relative permeability, kob, is obtained by:

S g S o*

S ol Min * , S o (2-189)

S g

150

*

k rg k rog

k ol * *2

S ol2 (2-190)

k S

rgo o

k ob S ob k rog S o k ol S ol (2-191)

*

Sol represents the oil saturation in layer. S o is the saturation of oil when the layer drainage regime

*

starts, and k rog is the corresponding oil relative permeability. If experimental data does not indicate

layer drainage, it is assumed that S o S orw . S g is the gas saturation when So = S o (all oil resides in

* * *

* *

layers). Note that S o and S g in this model are defined differently than before.

If the medium is not at the condition described above, then kob = krog(So).

When trapping is considered:

S gmax

S gr (2-192)

1 C g S gmax

1 1

Cg (2-193)

S grw S gmax

1

S g S gr S S gr S g S gr

4

S gf

2

g (2-194)

2 Cg

S hmax

S hr (2-195)

1 C h S hmax

1

S h S hr S h S hr 2 S h S hr

4

S hf (2-196)

2 Ch

S ofb min S o S ol , max S hf S gf S ol ,0 (2-197)

a S S oi a g S S k S b S S b S S k S

k rw

o o g gr rwo wf o o oi g g gr rwg wf

S S S S o oi g gr

(2-198)

k ro

S w

S wi ao k row S S S a k S b k S

ofb g gr o ob ofb o rgo ofb

S S S S

w wi g gr

(2-199)

k ol S ol

So

So S g

ao k row S hf bo k rgw S hf

S w S wi S o S oi

k rg

S w S wi a g k row S gf bg k rgw S gf S o S oi a g k ob S gf bg k rgo S ogf

(2-200)

Sg

So S g

a k S b k S

g row hf g rgw hf

151

ai max min

i g0

,1,0 (2-201)

0

bi max min o 0 i

,1,0 (2-202)

0

N cap

crit

max min ,1,0 (2-203)

N cap

crit

N cap

max min 1 ,1,0 (2-204)

N cap

Where,

0 = reference density different between oil and gas

crit

N cap = critical capillary number

Ch is the Land trapping constant for hydrocarbon. In strongly water wet medium, it can be assumed

that Ch = Cg = Co. In other cases, it can be assumed that Ch = min ( Co , Cg).

Mathematical model: Moulu et al. developed a mathematical model to simulate the three-phase flow in

porous media in 199918. The model assumes that the reservoir consists of fractal pores with gas in the

center, and in the case of water wet pores, the water is residing near the wall. A fractal is defined as a

shape made of parts similar to the whole in some way. This model assumes that krw is a function of Sw

only and krg is a function of Sg and Sw. Essentially in this model:

The fluids flow together in the same fractal pore with the wetting phase along the rock walls, the gas

phase in the center and the third phase in between

The flow of each fluid is given by their relative permeabilities, which are analytical functions of a

linear fractal dimension DL

Capillary pressure is taken into account when calculating the relative permeabilities by using DL

DL is the slope obtained from log-log plot of the capillary pressure curve. This plot will give two different

slopes. The sharp slope is used for the wetting phase flow (krw) at the wall and for the intermediate

phase (kro). The other slope is use for gas flow (krg).

For a water wet medium:

4 DL 4 DL

k rw S 2 DL

S 2 DL (2-205)

w wi

152

42 DDL 4 DL

k ro k ro (2 Ph ) S L L S w S or 2 DL (2-206)

k rg k rg max 1 S L

4

(2-207)

1

(2-208)

2 DL

WI 1

m with WI = wettability index

2

k rw mS w S wi (2-209)

The expression for gas relative permeability can still be used in this case since gas always shows its

strongly nonwetting phase behavior.

It is important to note that the values of DL used in krw (and kro) and krg are different.

Comparison

There are many correlations available for the prediction of three-phase relative permeability. These

include the models of Stone, Hirasaki, Corey et al, Naar and Wygal, Land, Aleman, and Parker et al. The

comparison by Baker shows that the models are often not very good predictors of the experimental

data10. This means that there is a need for better relative permeability models of three-phase flow.

Baker has shown that in most cases, saturation weighted interpolation between the permeabilities at

the two-phase data set provided a better fit of the experimental data than other models. Baker has

seen that most of the prediction methods fit the data sets equally well. This shows that each of the

methods is capable of representing three-phase relative permeabilities in the high oil permeability

region. Stone’s method 1, using saturation-weighted interpolation fits better than Stone’s method 2 for

most cases. Hirasaki’s model is one of the worse. Parker’s model is generally equal to or better than

Corey’s, Land’s, Naar and Wygal’s, and Aleman.

Stone’s method 1 usually predicts too high oil permeability at low oil saturation, while Stone’s method 2

predicts too low oil permeability in the same region. With better values Som or the predictions of

Stone’s method can be improved. However, the value of Som or are not always easily determined.

Thus, saturation-weighted method seems to be a good model due to its simplicity and its ability to yield

comparable results with Stone’s methods.

Delshad and Pope claim that the model proposed by Pope agrees with several sets of data, which makes

it more superior than other methods (Corey, Naar-Wygal, Land, Stone’s, Baker and Parker).

153

A comparison of all the methods presented is not seen in the literature, thus it is not known which

method is most superior16.

In the literature, many researchers agree that as the interfacial tension (IFT) is reduced, relative

permeabilities increases. There are people who believe that the relative permeability relationship with

saturation is a linear function and there are people who report otherwise.

Harbert noticed that the flow of low IFT fluids differs from that of conventional gas-oil-water systems in

both sandstones and carbonates. He found that both water and oil relative permeability curves were

found to shift upward, indicating that the two phases interfere less with each other as IFT is reduced19.

This is shown in Figure 2-91.

In this figure, kro appears to be a straight line while krw still maintains its curvature (N in the figure is the

capillary number, which is the same as Nca). Also, the change in krw as IFT changes is not significant.

However, Sor did change; in this case it becomes less than 10%. For the lower capillary number, the

water relative permeability curve is a function of saturation (no hysteresis). Harbert also mentioned

that at the same Nca and IFT, a less permeable core has a higher residual saturation. This is expected

because a core that was less permeability has pores that are not well connected, and the invading fluid

cannot easily displace oil from these pores.

Foulser et al. proposed a model in 1992 for relative permeability at high capillary number for the flow of

two or more phases20. This model allows the residual oil saturation to be reduced as the capillary

number is increased.

As mentioned before, many people conventionally assumed that relative permeabilities are linear

functions of saturations for low IFT fluids. However, this model assumes that relative permeability is

non-linear, as shown in some reports. It also assumes that the flow of two or three phases can be

154

represented by the flow of droplets of fluid through the pore network. The geometry of the pore

network was assumed to consist of capillary tubes.

The relative permeability can then be derived as a function of saturation according to this equation,

And

S* f ( N 1 / f ) / N 2-212

Where,

kr=relative permeability of phase

= viscosity of phase

N = number of droplets

N defines the droplet size relative to the capillary tube length. When N = 1 flow is segregated and the

relative permeabilities are linear functions of saturation. As N approaches infinity, a “mixed flow”

regime is created, in which the droplet size is very small compared to the tube length, giving the relative

permeabilities as a function of saturation.

In this model the relative permeabilities are a function of phase viscosities as well as saturations.

Even though there are contradictory reports about the effects of temperature on relative permeability,

many researchers agreed that as temperature changes, relative permeability also changes. However,

they have not agree on the effect of temperature on the adsorption mechanisms.

Handy et al

Handy et al.’s experimental results on two-phase flow in Berea sandstone indicate that relative

permeability curves are affected by temperature, especially for low IFT cases21. As temperature

increases, relative permeability to oil increases and relative permeability to water decreases at a given

saturation while residual oil saturation decreases and irreducible water saturation increases. This is

shown in Figure 2-92 and Figure 2-93 below.

155

Figure 2-92 Low IFT systems (after 21) Figure 2-93 High IFT systems (after 21)

Figure 2-92 and Figure 2-93 show the effects of temperature on high and low-tension systems

respectively. In both figures, the cross-over point shifts to higher Sw as temperature increases. In

general, as temperature increases oil is able to flow much easier than water can. These results suggest

an increase in water wettability of sandstone with temperature.

The figures also show that temperature effects are more significant for low tension than for high -

tension systems. The residual oil saturation decreases significantly at higher temperature, but only

small changes in irreducible water saturation (Swir) are seen in the high-tension systems. At any

temperature, Swir for the low-tension system is smaller than that observed for the high-tension system.

Relative permeability to oil and water both increase with increasing temperature up to 100°C for the

low-tension system.

For the low tension system, the changes in Swir with temperature are not significant, but Swir values for

low tensions were lower than those at high tensions. This implies that the increase in temperature and

decrease in IFT have opposite effects on Swir; increasing temperature increases Swir but as IFT is

decreases, Swir decreased. Therefore it is possible that Swir in the low-tension system at high

temperatures is controlled by both the IFT and wettability changes due to temperature.

156

For both low IFT and high IFT systems, krw/kro decreases with increasing temperature at a given

saturation (as temperature increases, krw decreases and kro increases, thus krw/kro decreases). Thus

krw/kro shifts toward higher water saturations with increasing temperatures.

Sufi et al.

Sufi et al. found that in the temperature range of 20°C to 85°C, the relative permeability of oil and water

obtained from unconsolidated clean Ottawa sand does not change22. In a separate experiment, they

saw that as temperature increases, Sor decreases. This observation is consistent with Handy et al. Sufi

et al. also said that as temperature increases, the viscosity ratio of the oil water system decreases. This

reduction in the viscosity ratio is responsible for the change of the fractional flow curve as seen in the

second experiment. Thus a change in Sor is not necessarily due to a change in wettability.

They also found that the irreducible water saturation increases as the temperature of the system

increases. This observation is similar to that of Handy et al. The changes in irreducible water saturation

can be illustrated to depend only on the change in the viscous force, irrespective of whether it is caused

by a temperature or a rate change. Figure 10 demonstrates this:

From this figure, it can be seen that the change in Swi due to temperature or flow rate follows the same

pattern. This indicates that changes in irreducible water saturation with temperature can be caused by

changes in viscous forces not necessarily changes in wettability.

Other theories

Nakornthap et al. believed that the adsorbed layer of polar components in crude oil on rock surfaces is

thermodynamically unstable, thus it can be desorbed at high temperature and the rock may become

more water wet23.

From the analysis of three-phase relative permeability data, Maini and Okazawa also found that the

studies of cleaned sand shows that relative permeability does not change as temperature changes. They

157

mentioned that Polikar et al. reported that the temperature effects could be controlled by the

characteristics of the porous medium24.

Theoretically, relative permeability is not a function of flow rate. However, there has been experimental

data which shows that the relative permeability changes as the flow rate changes. In general, the

relative permeabilities for both phases were found to increase with increasing flow rate.

Leverett et al. were the first to report about the influence of flow rate on relative permeability, however

they later attributed this to capillary end effects. Crowell et al. and Greffen et al. found that injection

rate has no affect on the viscous flow of water and gas. Also, Labastie et al. reported that relative

permeabilities were independent of flow rate except near residual oil saturation25. However, there are

many others who reported that relative permeability does change as flow rate changes.

Heaviside et al. believed that for an intermediate wettability medium, at low flow rates the oil segments

would exist in the center of pores, and blocks the flow of water. However, at high pressure gradients or

high flow rates water would be forced through the throats with the oil coating the pore surface. Thus

relative permeability can change with flow rate7.

Heaviside et al. also found that the viscous force does not affect residual oil saturation for strongly

water wet chalk. In the experiment, the pressure gradient is increased but no change in production rate

is seen7.

Handy et al. reported that rate affects relative permeability below 120 cc/hr. Above this rate, no

significant rate effect was observed21. Also, they have seen that the rate effect does not significantly

affect Sor or end point relative permeabilities

Sandberg et al., however, reported that the relative permeability of the water phase increased very

slightly with flow rate. In contrast, the oil phase relative permeability increases significantly. He

reasoned that the rate effect on the oil phase may be a result of some tendency for the oil phase to flow

in slugs6.

Sufi et al. performed a more in depth study regarding the effects of flow rate on relative permeability.

They noticed a trend in the relative permeability curves from the experimental results, which is shown in

Figure 2-95.

158

Figure 2-95 Effects of flow rate on relative permeability (after 22)

This figure shows that the relative permeabilities for oil remain unchanged, while the water relative

permeability curves are low at low flow rate, and become independent of rate when the flow is high

(greater than 240 cc/hr). Therefore, it was assumed by Sufi et al. that the rate of 240 cc/hr represents

the minimum rate required for front stability. As mentioned before, Handy said that in their experiment

when the flow rate is larger than 120 cc/hr, no effect is seen. Thus Sufi and Handy disagree about the

value of the critical stability flow rate.

It was found by Akin et al. that gas relative permeability increases with increasing total flow rate. They

have also seen that the effects on brine and hexane relative permeability are much more compared to

gas relative permeability. The oil and water capillary pressure values for higher flow rates were also

greater at high brine saturation data. Thus it is expected that relative permeability should change with

flow rate25.

Heaviside et al. reported that for strongly wetted systems, at high IFT, there is a negligible rate

dependency, even at very high flow rate. However, in cases of low IFT, rate dependency can be seen7.

Researchers still haven’t reached a conclusion regarding the effect of viscosity on relative permeability.

A number of researchers report that viscosity does not affect relative permeability at all, while others

say that it does.

Sandberg and Gournay studied the effects of oil viscosity on relative permeability of sandstone outcrop.

They reported that the relative permeability of both phases is not a function of the nonwetting phase

viscosity6.

Odeh mentioned that Leverett had shown earlier that the wide range of viscosity had essentially no

effect on relative permeability26.

159

Odeh developed a two-phase flow model which assumed that the porous medium consists of straight

circular capillaries of different radii. He also assumed that there are no interconnections among the

capillaries and no mass transfer across the oil water interface. During waterflooding, a layer of water is

left between the oil and the walls of the capillary26.

The model is as follow:

n

4 o 1 n n rn3

r

k ro S o f k , x w m

1

(2-213)

ro mrm

4

n

nrn

4

r 1

S o f k , x m (2-214)

ro mrm4

1

Where,

kro = relative permeability of oil

o = viscosity of oil

w = viscosity of water

m = total number of capillaries in porous sample

n = number of capillaries through which one phase flow

k = a constant

n = thickness of water film = rc - rn

rc = radius of any capillary

rn = radius of oil phase in the capillary

r r

In Odeh’s model, f k , x is a series in x where rx is the radius of the smallest capillary which is filled

ro ro

with oil at an oil saturation So.

This equation indicates that relative permeability to oil is a function of saturation as well as the viscosity

ratio, the thickness of the molecular layer and pore sizes.

Odeh performed experiments to investigate the effects of viscosity ratio on the relative permeability of

the nonwetting phase (kro). The results are shown in Figure 12.

160

Figure 2-96 Effect of viscosity on relative permeability (after 26)

The figure shows that the maximum differences in relative permeability values due to viscosity ratio

variation occur at the point of minimum brine saturation. This increase tends to a limit as the viscosity

ratio becomes larger.

As mentioned before, Sufi et al. found that as temperature increases, viscosity ratio (oil to water)

decreases, which changes the fractional flow of water and oil22. This in turn changes the relative

permeability curves. Thus it is possible that viscosity ratio does affect the relative permeability curves.

Carbonates

Sandstones are usually being investigated in laboratory, thus the majority of the relative permeability

data shows the effects that are specific to sandstones only. Very little data were obtained on

carbonates in literature.

From the limited literature, Schneider et al. showed that for oil wet carbonate samples, they found no

effect on the oil (wetting phase) relative permeability when comparing two- and three-phase

measurements2. This means that relative permeability of oil is a function of its saturation only. This

observation is consistent with what other people have seen. Also, the water relative permeability was

lowered by the trapped gas, showing the interaction between the two nonwetting fluids.

Schneider et al. also reported that the flow behavior of the uniform porosity carbonate samples tested

was similar to that of consolidated sandstones2. Thus rock type does not seem to influence the flow

relationships other than through its wetting preference. However, due to the surface minerals most of

the time carbonate rocks are oil wet, while sandstones are usually water wet. Also, carbonates usually

have vugs. When large vugs exist in the reservoir, the core sample used in the experiment might not be

representative of the reservoir. When laboratory data of carbonates is being used to predict three-

phase flow, a greater uncertainly has been added. Also, most of the relative permeability models were

derived from the assumption that the medium if water wet. Attention must be paid to the assumptions

of the model to select the appropriate one for carbonates.

161

It is expected that IFT will affect relative permeability and recovery in the same way regardless of the

rock properties since IFT is a fluid property. The effects of temperature on relative permeability in

carbonates have not been reported in literature. It can be expected that a change in temperature will

change the characteristics of relative permeability of fluids in carbonates. However, no data is available

to identify what those changes are. Again, nothing can be said about the effects of flow rate and

viscosity on the flow of fluids in carbonates since there is no data available.

Relative permeability includes contributions from a number of different variables, each causing some

resistance to flow. The resistance to flow of a given phase in a multiphase situation depends primarily

on how this phase distributes itself within the porous medium in the presence of other fluids. The

variables that affect fluid distribution in a two-phase system include: pore structure and pore size

distribution, wettability, saturation history, interfacial tension, interfacial viscosity, viscosity ratio,

density ratio, and flow rate24. For heavy oil systems, it may no longer be safe to assume that the local

fluid distribution at a given saturation depends only on the first three factors listed above, and is

independent of the viscosity ratio and fluid velocity involved as many people have assumed.

Furthermore, while relative permeability of a fluid depends on its own distribution within the pore space

of the medium, this may not be the case in heavy oil systems. Assuming that the residual oil is

distributed within the porous medium in the form of small globules, if the viscosity of the oil is very high,

these globules can behave like solid particles and may plug pore throats more efficiently than globules

of a low viscosity of oil24. Also, the use of relative permeability model must also be carefully chosen

since most of this model does not take viscosity into account.

More experiments with heavy oil are required to shed more light regarding the effect of each parameter

on relative permeability. It cannot be assumed that these parameters will affect relative permeability of

oil in the same way described earlier.

Conclusions

Relative permeability for water wet and oil wet systems is distinctively different for two-phase flow. In

water oil system, as the system becomes more oil wet, relative permeability of water increases, relative

permeability of oil decreases and the cross over point occurs at smaller water saturation. In three-phase

systems where the medium is strongly wetted, the relative permeability of the wetting phase is a

function of its saturation only. There is also some evidence that the relative permeability of the wetting

phase and the non-wetting phase is a function of its own saturation only in strongly wetted medium.

This indicates that the relative permeability of the wetting and non-wetting phase is a function of its

own saturation only. This means that there is little or no hysteresis between drainage and imbibition

relative permeability of the wetting phase and the non-wetting phase. However, for the intermediate

wetting phase, its relative permeability has been seen to be a function of other saturations, as well as

saturation history. Thus significant hysteresis in relative permeability of this phase is seen.

The steady state and unsteady state method can be used to evaluate relative permeability of each

phase. However, the steady state method yields more reliable data. Most people recommend that this

method should always be used.

162

The experiment to find relative permeability of three-phase systems is very complex, thus many models

were developed. Corey et al. published the first three-phase relative permeability model in 1956. This

model was based on the assumptions that the pore space in the medium can be represented by a

bundle of capillary tubes. Other methods that made the same assumption include: Naar and Wygal,

Land, Parker et al. Stone’s models are based on the channel flow theory. He published method 1 in

1970 and method 2 in 1973. Since then many people have modified these models. These people

include: Dietrich and Bondor, Hirasaki, Aziz and Settari, Fayers and Mathews, Aleman, and Parker et al.

There were also other models published by Pope, Baker, Blunt and Moulu et al.

Baker compared the models of Stone, Hirasaki, Corey et al., Naar and Wygal, Land Aleman and Parker et

al. He found that Stone’s method 1 could fit data better if the estimation of Som is good. However, he

found that his own method, which is a simple interpolation between the various set of data, yields the

best fits. Delshad and Pope evaluated the predictions of Corey, Naar and Wygal, Land, Stone, Baker,

Parker and Pope. They found that Pope’s model fits better than the rest. Up to this point, an extensive

comparison of all the models with all the experimental data is not seen in literature, so it cannot be

concluded which model is best. However, Stone’s methods are the most commonly used.

There are some parameters that researchers have seen to affect relative permeability characteristics (of

two-phase systems). Many have seen that as interfacial tension decreases, the relative permeability of

water and oil increases. The reduction in IFT reduces the interference between two phases, making

them able to flow better. The relationship between relative permeability and saturation of low IFT

system is still a point of debate; many say that this relationship is linear, while others say that it is not.

When temperature changes, the relative permeability also changes. Handy et al. reported that the

effect of temperature is more significant in low IFT systems. In both high and low IFT, Sor decreases and

Swir increases with increasing temperature. The cross over point also shifts to higher Sw values. Thus

Handy et al. believed that as temperature increases, the system becomes more water wet. Nakornthap

et al. explained that this increase in water wetness is due to the breakdown of the organic layer on the

surface of the rock. Sufi et al. disagree with this. They believe that the change in relative permeability is

due to the change in viscous forces, not a change in wettability.

Flow rate was seen to affect relative permeability. Handy et al., Sandberg et al. and Sufi et al. reported

that as the flow rate increases, relative permeability of water increases, while relative permeability of oil

decreases. However, Handy and Sufi disagree with the critical stable flow rate.

The effect of viscosity on relative permeability is also investigated. Sandberg said that oil viscosity has

no effect on relative permeability. However, Odeh reported that the effect of viscosity is most

significant at connate water saturation. Also, Sufi et al believed that changes in viscosity lead to changes

in relative permeability.

The studies of relative permeability and the effects of other parameters were mainly done on

sandstones (or sandpacks) with conventional oil. For carbonate systems, if the rock properties are

uniform, the same flow characteristics seen before can be expected. However, carbonates usually are

oil wet while the majority of the models assumed that the medium is water wet. Thus care must be

taken when choosing a model to predict three-phase flow. Also, carbonates have vugs, so the core

sample evaluated might not be representative. With heavy oil systems, the flow characteristics might

be different. The effects of these parameters on relative permeability may be different as well. More

163

experiments must be conducted to investigate the effects of each parameter on relative permeability.

The selection of an appropriate model to predict relative permeability of viscous oil should be made

with care.

164

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High-Capillary Numbers”, SPE 24152.

21. Torabzadeh, S.J. and Handy, L.L., “The Effect of Temperature and Interfacial Tension on Water/Oil Relative

Permeabilities of Consolidated Sands”, SPE 12689.

22. Sufi, A., Ramey, H. And Brigham, W., “Temperature Effects on Relative Permeabilities of Oil-Water

Systems”, SPE 11071.

23. Nakornthap, K. And Evans, R.D., “Temperature-Dependent Relative Permeability and Its Effect on Oil

Displacement by Thermal Methods”, SPE 11217.

24. Maini, B. and Okazawa, T., “Effects of temperature on heavy oil/water relative permeability of sand”,

Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, May-June 1987, 33-41.

25. Akin, S. And Demiral, B., “Effects of Flow Rate on Three-Phase Relative Permeabilities and Capillary

Pressures”, SPE 38897.

26. Odeh, A.S., “Effect of Viscosity Ratio on Relative Permeability”, Trans., AIME (1959) 216, 346-353.

165

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171

3 . C H A P T E R 3

MOLECULAR DIFFUSION

Introduction

If a few crystals of a colored material like copper sulfate are placed at the bottom of a tall bottle filled

with water, the color will slowly spread through the bottle. At first the color will be concentrated in the

bottom of the bottle. After a day it will penetrate upward a few centimeters. After several years the

solution will appear homogeneous.

The process responsible for the movement of the colored material is molecular diffusion that often

called simply diffusion, which is the thermal motion of all (liquid or gas) particles at temperatures above

absolute zero. The rate of this movement is a function of temperature, viscosity of the fluid and the size

(mass) of the particles. In gases, diffusion progresses at a rate of about 5 cm/ min; in liquids, its rate is

about 0.05 cm/min; in solids, its rate may be only about 0.00001 cm/min. This slow rate of diffusion is

responsible for its importance. In many cases, diffusion occurs sequentially with other phenomena.

When it is the slowest step in the sequence, it limits the overall rate of the process. For example,

diffusion often limits the efficiency of commercial distillations and the rate of industrial reactions using

porous catalysts. It limits the speed with which acid and base react and the speed with which the human

intestine absorbs nutrients. The result of diffusion is a gradual mixing of material. Diffusion explains the

net flux of molecules from a region of higher concentration to one of lower concentration, but it is

important to note that diffusion also occurs when there is no concentration gradient.

In gases and liquids, the rates of these diffusion processes can often be accelerated by agitation. For

example, the copper sulfate in the tall bottle can be completely mixed in a few minutes if the solution is

stirred. This accelerated mixing is not due to diffusion alone, but to the combination of diffusion and

stirring. Diffusion still depends on random molecular motions that take place over smaller distances. The

agitation or stirring is not a molecular process, but a macroscopic process that moves portions of the

fluid over much larger distances. After this macroscopic motion, diffusion mixes newly adjacent portions

of the fluid. In other cases, such as the dispersal of pollutants, the agitation of wind or water produces

effects qualitatively similar to diffusion; these effects, are called dispersion.

The description of diffusion involves a mathematical model based on a fundamental hypothesis or

‘‘law’’. Imagine two large bulbs connected by a long thin capillary (Figure 3-1). Both of bulbs are at the

25

“Diffusion, Mass Transfer in Fluid Systems”, E. L. Custler.

172

same pressure and temperature but are filled with two different gases (N2 upper bulb and CO2 lower

one). The concentration of the carbon dioxide in the initially N2 filled bulb is measured with time to find

how fast these two gases will mix. The concentration of CO2 varies linearly with time (Figure 3-1). So the

amount of CO2 transferred could be determined from this graph at each time step. Carbon dioxide flux is

defined as follows:

We can assume that the flux is proportional to the gas concentration difference and we can recognize that

increasing the capillary tube length will decrease the flux, so:

( ) 3-1)

The new proportionality constant D is the diffusion coefficient. Its introduction implies a model for

diffusion, the model often called Fick’s law. There is a similarity between Fick’s law and Ohm’s law for

flux of electrons:

( )( )

The diffusion coefficient D is proportional to the reciprocal of the resistivity. So the general form of

Fick’s law is

(3-2)

Where, j is the diffusion flux, and the minus appears because of the opposite directions of diffusion flux

and concentration gradient.

From eq. (3-2), we see that D has units ⁄ . Since Fick's law is derived for molecules moving in

Brownian motion, D is a molecular diffusion coefficient, which is called Do to be specific. The intensity

(energy and freedom of motion) of these Brownian motions controls the value of D. Thus, D depends on

the phase (solid, liquid or gas), temperature, and molecule size.

It should be considered that the Fick’s Law could not be applied when the capillary is very thin or two

gases react.

Parallel to Fourier’s law for heat conduction Fick’s second law is developed as;

173

( ) (3-3)

for one dimensional unsteady state diffusion, and for the constant area, A, it becomes the more known

Fick’s second law equation:

( ) (3-4)

This equation can be applied only for isotropic media and when the potential for diffusion is only given

by concentration gradients. The diffusion coefficient is also independent of concentration.

Example 3-1

Find the diffusion flux and concentration profile in a steady diffusion across a thin film.

Solution

The objective is to determine how much solvent moves across the film and how the solvent

concentration changes within the film. On each side of the film is a well-mixed solution of one solvent.

The solvent diffuses from the fixed higher concentration, located at x<0 on the left-hand side of the film,

into the fixed, less concentrated solution, located at x>l on the right-hand side. As the first step mass

balance on a thin layer located at some arbitrary position x within the film is written:

( ) ( ) ( )

x

C0

Cl

x

Because the process is in steady state, the accumulation is zero. The diffusion rate is the diffusion flux

times the film’s area A. Thus

(3-5)

Divide this equation by the layer volume:

→ (3-6)

Combining eq. (3-6) with Fick’s law equation (3-2) yields the following equation:

(3-7)

174

Where C = solvent concentration in the layer. There are two boundary conditions for this differential

equation:

(3-8)

(3-9)

Analytical solution of eq. (3-7), according to these two boundary conditions, will be the concentration

profile:

(3-10)

The resulted solution for the concentration profile shows that the profile is independent of the diffusion

coefficient. Base on the Fick’s law the diffusion flux can be found by differentiation of concentration

profile:

(3-11)

Diffusion Coefficient

The diffusion coefficient was introduced as a proportionality constant, the unknown parameter

appearing in the Fick’s law. Often Do is used as the molecular diffusion nomenclature. Mass fluxes and

concentration profiles in many situations can be found using Fick’s law equation and, most of the time,

the results contained the diffusion coefficient as an adjustable parameter. There exist four important

definitions of the diffusion coefficient depending on the nature of the diffusion process26:

Overall Diffusion Coefficient (Mutual Diffusivity): It is denoted by DAB, and it refers to the diffusion of

one constituent in a binary system (A and B). For liquids, it is common to refer to the limit of infinite

dilution of A in B using the symbol, D°AB. Assume a bitumen-solvent vertical system where solvent is on

the top of the bitumen. The diffusion rate of solvent through a unit area is described by eq. (3-2) as

follows:

(3-12)

Where,

= Diffusion coefficient of solvent,

Cs = Solvent concentration,

y = Vertical direction.

As solvent diffuses into the bitumen, a diffusion flux occurs for oil molecules toward the solvent:

(3-13)

26

Perry et al., 1999.

175

Where,

= Diffusion coefficient of solvent,

Cb = Solvent concentration.

According to the volume conservation in the system, the diffusion flux of bitumen should be equal to the

solvent flux, but in opposite direction:

(3-14)

Also:

(3-15)

(3-16)

The overall diffusion coefficient Dbs is a material property that describes the mobility of either

component in the mixture.

Self Diffusion Coefficient: It is denoted by DA’A and is the measure of mobility of a species in itself. Also

when we have a binary system where A and B are the less mobile and more mobile components

respectively, their self-diffusion coefficients can be used as rough lower and upper bounds of the mutual

diffusion coefficient in some systems. That is, DA’A < DAB < DB’B.

Intrinsic Diffusion Coefficient: When there is a considerable difference between the molecule size of

solvent and oil, for example in the previous system of solvent-bitumen, during diffusion of solvent into

bitumen (in the previous system), the small solvent molecules tend to diffuse faster than the large

molecules of bitumen. The intrusion of solvent molecules into bitumen causes a buildup of pressure in

bitumen part. This pressure gradient causes a bulk flow of bitumen solution toward the solvent-rich

part. In this situation the net flow of solvent is the sum of the diffusional flux of solvent ( ) and

the flux of solvent displaced by bulk flow ( ), which ‘u’ is measured in the direction of ‘y’. According

the volume balance solvent, net flow should be equal to the bitumen net flow with diffusion and bulk

flow:

(3-17)

Where,

Bitumen Intrinsic Diffusion Coefficient,

Solvent Intrinsic Diffusion Coefficient,

Bulk Flow Velocity

Intrinsic diffusion coefficient is dependent on the concentration as the overall diffusion coefficient. Bulk

flow velocity could be found from eq. (3-17):

176

(3-18)

When there is not much difference between the molecule sizes of solvent and oil the net flow velocity is

almost zero, because of the equality between intrinsic diffusion coefficient of oil and solvent. Although

for solvent-bitumen system which intrinsic diffusion coefficient of solvent is higher than bitumen,

because of smaller molecular size, bulk flow will be most significant. Eq. (3-19) describe the volume

conservation of solvent in a solvent-bitumen system:

( ) (3-19)

But the net flux of solvent was found with eq. (3-12). Equal eq. (3-12) with eq. (3-19), with attention to

eq. (3-16) to find the following equation:

(3-20)

Substituting eq. (3-18), for ‘u’, into the eq. (3-20) will be ended with the following relation between the

overall and intrinsic diffusion coefficient:

(3-21)

So the overall diffusion coefficient value is equal to the intrinsic diffusion coefficient of solvent in pure

bitumen (Cs = 0) and intrinsic diffusion coefficient of bitumen in pure solvent (CB = 0). Ds and Db are

concentration dependent as Dbs, but there is no way to find the equation of this dependency other than

with experiment. Most of the time a linear relationship between the intrinsic and concentration is

assumed. The minimum value of the solvent intrinsic diffusion coefficient is the overall diffusion

coefficient when solvent concentration is zero and the maximum is solvent self-diffusion coefficient, and

the same for bitumen. By knowing the minimum and maximum of the intrinsic diffusion coefficient of

bitumen and solvent and assumption of a linear relationship between these coefficients and

concentration a relation between overall diffusion coefficient and concentration could be found using

eq. (3-21). Figure 3-3 shows a result for such calculation.

177

6

DS

DBS

2 D

0

0.25 0.50 0.7 1.00

CB 5

Regarding eq. (3-21) and Figure 3-3, the overall diffusivity reaches a maximum at an intermediate

concentration. During the experimental measurement of diffusion coefficient, what we find is the

overall diffusion coefficient.

Tracer Diffusivity: Denoted by DA’B is related to both mutual and self-diffusivity. It is evaluated in the

presence of a second component B, using a tagged isotope of the first component. In the dilute range,

tagging A merely provides a convenient method for indirect composition analysis. As concentration

varies, tracer diffusivities approach mutual diffusivities at the dilute limit, and they approach self-

diffusivities at the pure component limit.

In some cases the diffusion coefficient can be reasonably taken as constant (e.g. dilute solutions) while,

in some others it depends very markedly on concentration.

The diffusion coefficient can be considered constant in many occasions especially when we refer to the

diffusion of gases. However when we move to complex and denser fluids the assumption of constant

diffusion coefficient may become unreal. The assumption of constant diffusion coefficient for the

solvent/heavy oil or bitumen systems should be based on three important conditions that need to be

fulfilled in order to support the hypothesis. If one of the three conditions is not fulfilled it is highly

expected that the diffusion coefficient will be function of concentration. The three conditions are:

Dimensions and shape: The molecular diameter and molecular shape should be similar for the diffusing

components. That means in this case that the molecular diameter and shape of the solvent should be

similar to those of the heavy oil and bitumen. We know that large hydrocarbon chains are present in

heavy oil and bitumen. Thus the assumption of similar size and shape is not valid especially when we

27

“The Diffusion Coefficient of Liquid and Gaseous Solvents in Heavy Oil and Bitumen”, U. E. Guerrero-Aconcha

178

take into consideration that the solvents used in the recovery process are light gases and small

hydrocarbons molecules.

Molecular interactions: The molecular interactions between the diffusing components should be

negligible. That means the attraction and repulsion forces should not interfere in the diffusion process.

However, it has been shown that the repulsive forces play the most important role in the diffusion

process.

Non reacting environment: There should be a non-reacting environment in the system. That means no

transformations of any kind due to the components on the system and/or the system conditions

(pressure and temperature). However the interaction of solvent with heavy oil or bitumen may in some

cases cause organic deposition, mainly asphaltenes.

Based on the concentration dependency of the diffusion coefficient Fick’s second law is modified as

follows:

( ) (3-22)

Example 3-2

Proof eq. (3-22)

Solution

Assume a control volume like as Figure 3-4. There is no source or sink in the control volume. Solvent

diffuses in from left hand side and go out by diffusion from right hand side. Write material balance for

solvent in over the control volume:

( ) ( ) (3-23)

Where:

V = Volume,

A = Area available for diffusion,

C = Solvent concentration,

D = Diffusion coefficient,

= incremental time.

𝑉 𝐴 𝑥

𝜕𝐶 𝜕𝐶

( 𝐷 𝐴 ) ( 𝐷 𝐴 )

𝜕𝑥 𝑥 𝜕𝑥 𝑥 𝑥

x x+ 𝑥

Figure 3-4 – Diffusion process in a control volume with a concentration dependent diffusion coefficient

179

According to the dependency of diffusion coefficient on the concentration , because we

have a diffusion process and the potential for this process is concentration difference between x and

x+ . With a constant area: . Now divide both side of eq.(3-23) by :

( ) ( )

→ ( )

Experiments and field data show that the diffusion process in porous media is slower than that of two

liquids adjacent to each other in a vial. This results from the fact that the diffusion coefficient in porous

media is smaller than the bulk diffusion coefficient; therefore, an effective diffusion coefficient is

proposed, which is based on the average cross-sectional area open to diffusion and the distance

traveled by molecules in porous media.

For a bundle of straight capillary tubes, the effective diffusion coefficient and the bulk diffusion

coefficient are the same. However, the straight capillary model is not a very good representation of

a porous rock. A lot of work has been done to predict the apparent diffusion coefficient in porous

media. Carman (1939) has shown that, in porous rock, fluids must move on the average at about

45o to the direction of flow (Figure 3-5). Hence, when fluid has traveled a net distance, L, it has

traveled an actual average distance of about √ . On the other hand he assumed a tortuosity ( )

equal to √ for the porous medium. Carman proposed the following ratio between the bulk and

effective diffusion coefficients:

(3-24)

√

Where,

Deff = Effective Diffusion Coefficient,

D = Molecular Bulk Diffusion Coefficient.

Here 0.707 is a correction for the actual diffusion process length.

On the other hand in the porous medium the cross section area available for diffusion is not the total

cross section of the medium. By assumption of the equality between areal and volume porosity it can be

concluded that only a portion (equal to the porosity) of the total cross section of the medium is available

for diffusion process. According to this assumption Penman (1940), after some experiments on a packing

of spherical particles, proposed the next equation to relate the bulk and effective diffusion coefficient to

each other:

180

(3-25)

Where, is the porosity. In this formula, 0.66 is the correction for real length of diffusion process and

is the correction for actual area available for diffusion.

Net Path

Real Path

Figure 3-5 – In a porous medium fluid generally flowing at about 45o with respect to average direction of flow

On the other hand grain shapes and sizes of a porous medium are not homogeneous all the time so the

assumption of constant values such as 0.707 or 0.66 is not reasonable to use as the inverse of the

tortuosity, so it could be more sophisticated to use the tortuosity in the formula instead of a constant

value:

(3-26)

A more sophisticated and comprehensive approach was suggested by Brigham, Reed et al. (1961) and

van der Poel (1962). These investigators recognized that there is an analogy between diffusion and the

electrical resistivity factor with the following formula:

(3-27)

Where, F is the formation resistivity factor. Diffusion coefficient in the absence of the porous media, is

sometimes called bulk diffusion coefficient in contrast to the effective diffusion coefficient at the

presence of the porous medium.

In 2004, Alberta’s Oil Sands were recognized by international media, for the first time, as part of global

oil reserves. This established Canada as second only to Saudi Arabia in the hierarchy of potential oil

producing nations. While oil sands extraction is more expensive than conventional sources, continuing

technological advances are reducing the importance of those cost differences. Moreover, conventional

oil production in Canada is declining, underscoring the importance of the oil sands as a vital source of

North American supplies (Timilsina et al., 2005).

To recover these resources steam injection is widely used for heavy oil and bitumen reservoirs. The

advantage of the process is its high recovery factor and its high oil production rate. However, the high

181

production rate is associated with excessive energy consumption approximately 1 million BTU/barrel,

CO2 generation, and expensive postproduction water treatment. Additionally steam injection has

operational restrictions that do not allow its application in all types of reservoirs.

In order to overcome the problems associated to steam injection additional techniques have been

developed to recover the heavy oil and bitumen. Among those techniques the vapor injection process

(VAPEX), the cyclic solvent injection and the co-injection of steam and solvent (SAS, SAP, ES-SAGD and

LASER) are the ones with the most promising future, thanks to the viscosity reduction of the oil phase,

the change in absolute and relative permeability and the upgrading of the oil phase. The above

processes involve the injection of solvent into the oil reservoir. The objective of the solvent is mainly to

reduce the viscosity of the heavy oil or bitumen by mixing with it. This mixing process is a mass transfer

process and its velocity is controlled by the diffusion coefficient. Therefore the diffusion coefficient is

one of the most important parameters for the proper characterization of the solvent based recovery

processes. Accurate diffusion data for these processes are necessary to determine:

- The amount and flow rate of solvent required to inject into a reservoir,

- The portion of reserves that have been affected by the solvent undergo viscosity reduction,

- The time required by the reserves to become less viscous and more mobile as desired,

- The rate of live oil production from the reservoir.

To find the diffusion coefficient value we must depend largely on experimental measurements of these

coefficients, because no universal theory permits their accurate a-priori calculation. Unfortunately, the

experimental measurements are unusually difficult to make, and the quality of the results is variable.

Measurement techniques

It is noteworthy that there is no well-established and universally applicable technique for measuring the

molecular diffusion coefficient. Unlike the measurements of viscosity or thermal conductivity, for which

standardized techniques and equipment are readily available, the measurements of mass transfer

characteristics are often more difficult due to difficulties in measuring point values of concentration and

other issues which complicate this transport process. Considerable efforts were made to determine

diffusion coefficient for diffusion of solvent in the oil experimentally. Different experimental methods

can be classified into direct methods and indirect methods. Also there are some empirical correlations

based on the experimental results that could be used under some condition to find the dispersion

coefficient.

Direct Methods:

Direct methods evaluate the diffusion coefficient by measuring concentration of the diffusing species

(solvent) as a function of depth of penetration. Such methods are often more reliable and include the

wide variety of physicochemical methods like mass spectrometry, radio-active tracer technique,

spectrophotometry etc. The diffusivity is estimated by using compositional analysis techniques (Schmidt

1989). The drawbacks of direct methods are expense, time consumption and many of them are system-

intrusive.

182

Indirect Methods:

Indirect methods measure the changes of one of the system parameters that depend on the diffusion

rate. These parameters could be the rate of change of solution volume or movement of the gas-liquid

interface, rate of pressure drop in a confined cell which is known as pressure decay method, rate of gas

injection from the top to a cell in which the pressure and solution volume are kept constant, magnetic

field characteristics, computed tomography (CT) analysis and dynamic pendant drop analysis. The

advantage of these methods is that they do not need to determine the change in composition. In this

section, the more common and modern methods will be introduced:

Pressure Decay Method: Among indirect methods, the pressure decay method has attracted more

attention due to its simplicity in terms of experimental measurements. In this method, gas (as a solvent)

and oil are injected into a cell (Figure 3-6). The cell content is initially at a non-equilibrium state. As the

experiment progresses, the gas dissolve into the oil and the pressure inside the cell decreases as a

result. By recording the pressure and the level of the liquid in the cell, the amount of gas transferred

into the oil can be determined. From this, the diffusion coefficient is calculated. In cases involving

complex hydrocarbon mixtures with possible multiphase behaviors, the pressure decay method fails.

This method, however, had been discredited by Luo and Gu28. They showed that, minor changes to

assumptions related to boundary conditions led to orders of magnitude differences in reported values.

This method was first applied by Riazi29 and for dissolution of methane in n-pentane. He took the non-

equilibrium gas into contact with n-pentane in a sealed container at a constant temperature. He

determined the final state by thermodynamic equilibrium. However, the time which was required to

reach the final state was determined from the diffusion process in each phase. He assumed that at the

gas-liquid interface, thermodynamic equilibrium exists between the two phases at all times. However

the position of the interface as well as the pressure may change with time. The rate of change of

pressure and the interface position as a function of time depends on the rate of diffusion in each phase

and therefore on the diffusion coefficients.

T = const.

Lg Gas

LT

Lo Oil

28

Luo, P. and Y. Gu, Fluid Phase Equilibria, 2009

29

Riazi, M. R., J. Pet. Sci. Eng. 1996

183

Other researchers have proposed and developed different mathematical solutions by modeling the

interface boundary condition differently.

Modeling the physics of the interface (when the pressure is declining) often requires complex

mathematical solutions, and it is known that more simplified analysis based on assumption of constant

equilibrium concentration at the interface introduces significant error in the estimation of the diffusion

coefficient. To overcome some of these shortcomings different researcher used different models.

Upreti and Mehrotra30 improved the pressure decay method to find concentration dependent diffusion

coefficient. Their experimental apparatus primarily consists of a closed cylindrical pressure vessel used

to hold gas over a layer of bitumen. A pump supplied the gas as a solvent at desired pressure into the

vessel. The vessel was submerged in a constant temperature water bath, the pressure vs. time data

were recorded by a pressure sensor. Using the logged pressure versus time data, the experimental mass

of a given gas diffused into the bitumen was determined. The gas diffusivity was then calculated by

fitting the calculated mass of the gas diffused into bitumen (given by a mass transfer model) to the

experimental mass. The tuning parameter was the diffusion coefficient. Additionally a correlation was

provided for the average diffusivity as a function of temperature.

Refractive Index Method: Refractive index is the ratio of the velocity of wave propagation in a reference

phase to that in the phase of interest. Normally, the refractive index used in diffusion measurement is

taken as the ratio of the velocity of light in vacuum to the velocity of light in the relevant phase:

(3-28)

Where,

c = velocity of light in vacuum,

n = refractive index.

With the velocity of light in vacuum chosen as the reference, the refractive index is always greater than

1. For example, the refractive index of water is 1.33, meaning that light travels 1.33 times as fast in

vacuum as it does in water. As light moves from a medium, such as air, water, or glass, into another it

may change its propagation direction in proportion to the change in refractive index.

30

Upreti, S., Lohi, A., Kapadia, R. and El-Haj, R., 2007

184

Eq. (3-29), Snell's law (also known as the Snell–Descartes law, and the law of refraction), is a formula

used to describe the relationship between the angles of refraction and refraction index, when referring

to light or other waves passing through a boundary between two different isotropic media, such as two

fluid with different concentration of a solvent.

(3-29)

It is noted that, for a solution, different concentrations of a sample substance will lead to different

refractive indices. As a result, from the angle of refraction, the concentration of a solution phase can be

determined. Normally, in experimental measurements of refractive indices, a laser light is emitted

through the diffusion cell and, according to the concentration of the solution at each elevation, the

corresponding refractive angle of the laser beam is determined. As a result, the point at which the laser

beam is captured by a CCD camera will represent the concentration inside the diffusion cell at that

specific elevation. Figure 3-8 shows a sample picture of CCD during the diffusion process.

(a) (b)

Figure 3-8 - Sample of light refraction results a) initial time b) after diffusion occurred

It is noted that the above method is suitable only for transparent fluids. As heavy oil, even when diluted,

is opaque, such a method cannot be employed.

NMR Method: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) was mainly developed for chemical-physical-medical

use. The principle of this method is to calculate the density of hydrogen protons.

NMR is a phenomenon, which occurs when the nuclei of certain atoms are immersed in static magnetic

field and exposed to a second oscillating magnetic field. Some nuclei experience this phenomenon, and

others do not, depending on atomic composition. Based on the nature of magnetic resonance, NMR

measurement can be made on any nucleus that has an odd number of protons or neutrons or both, such

as the nucleus of hydrogen (H), carbon (C), and sodium (Na). For most of the nuclei found in earth

formations, the nuclear magnetic signal induced by external magnetic fields is too small to be detected

with NMR device such as borehole NMR logging tool. However hydrogen as the main atom of water and

other hydrocarbon molecules produces a strong signal. So the strength of the signal could be used as a

scale of the existing hydrogen.

185

Principles of NMR and Processing31,32

Polarization Process:

The nucleus of the hydrogen atom is a proton, which is small, positively charged particle with an

associated angular momentum or ‘spin’. The spin of this proton causes the proton to behave like a tiny

magnet with a north and south poles (Figure 3-9, a). In the absence of an external magnetic field, the

hydrogen nuclear spin axes are randomly aligned (Figure 3-9, b). This results in a net magnetization of

zero. In the presence of an external magnetic field, the nuclear spins attempt to line up with the field

either parallel or anti parallel to the net magnetic field (B0). According to quantum mechanics, the

proton in a net magnetic field is forced into one of two energy states, high-energy or low-energy state.

The protons that their processional axes are parallel to the net magnetic field are in the low energy

state, which is the preferred state. On the other hand the protons are in the high-energy state when

their processional axes are anti-parallel to the magnetic field.

(a) (b)

Figure 3-9 - (a) Hydrogen nuclei behave as a tiny bar magnets aligned with the spin axes of the nuclei.

(b) Spinning protons with random nuclear magnetic axes in the absence of an external magnetic field.

The difference between the numbers of protons with high and low energy level produces the bulk

magnetization ‘M’, which provides signal measured by NMR devices (Figure 3-10). The bulk

(Macroscopic) magnetization ‘M’ is defined as the net magnetic moment per unit volume.

31

Behnaz Afsahi, M.Sc. Thesis, 2007

32

NMR logging, Principle and Application, G.R. Coates, L. Xiao, and M. G. Prammer, Halliburton Energy Services

186

+ + + + + + + + B0

+ + M=0

+ + + + + + M

+ +

+ + + + + +

Figure 3-10 – Line up nuclear spins in an external magnetic field

M is measurable and is proportional to the number of protons, the magnitude B0 of the applied

magnetic field, and the inverse of the absolute temperature.

After the protons are exposed to the static external magnetic field (B0), they are said to be polarized.

Polarization does not occur immediately but rather grows with a time constant, which is the longitudinal

relaxation time, T1:

( ) (3-30)

Where,

t = the time that the protons are exposed to the B0 field,

The magnitude of magnetization at time t, when the direction of B0 is taken along the z axis

The final and maximum magnetization in a given magnetic field

T1 is the time at which the magnetization reaches 63% of its final value, and three times T1 is the time at

which 95% polarization is achieved. Figure 3-11 is a T1 relaxation or polarization curve. Different fluids,

such as water, oil, and gas, have very different T1 relaxation/polarization times. Relaxation definition will

be illustrated later.

Tipping Process:

After exposing the protons to the net static magnetic field (B0), apply an oscillating magnetic field (B1)

perpendicular to B0, therefore, the magnetization M will precess farther and farther away from the z-

axis. This process is called ‘Tipping’. According to the quantum mechanics point of view, if a proton is at

the low-energy state (its processional axes are parallel to the net magnetic field), it may absorb energy

provided by B1 and jump to the high-energy state. The application of B1 also causes the protons to

precess in phase with one another. This change in energy state and in-phase precession caused by B1 is

called nuclear magnetic resonance.

187

1

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

M(t)/M0 0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0

0 1 2 3 4 5 6

PolarizationTime / T1

The magnetization vector M can be thought of as having a component MZ along the z-axis (direction of

B0), which called longitudinal magnetization, and a component Mxy perpendicular to the field named

transverse magnetization. At equilibrium Mxy = 0 and MZ = M. when the protons are exposed to the

oscillating magnetic field B1, MZ decreases and Mxy increases. The angle of deflection or rotation of

sample’s net magnetization depends primarily on the product of amplitude (energy) of the B1 and the

length of time that B1 is applied:

(3-31)

Where,

Tip angle,

B1 = Amplitude (energy) of the oscillating field,

Time over which the oscillating field (B1) is applied

The gyromagnetic ratio (measure of the strength of the nuclear magnetism)

Each nucleus has a fixed value. For hydrogen: ⁄ MHz/tesla.

Angular pulse terms such as π pulse (180o pulse) or a π/2 pulse (90o pulse), refer to the angle through

which magnetization is tipped by B1 (Figure 3-12).

B1 M

θ

M 𝜃 𝑜

M

𝜃 𝑜

M

M

τ o

90 Pulse

M o

180 Pulse

188

Relaxation Process:

When the B1 field is turned off, the net magnetization decreases and system gradually returns to

equilibrium. During this process, the protons gradually lose their extra energy and return to equilibrium

by emitting radio waves and by transferring energy to surrounding molecules. The processes by which

nuclei transfer energy to their surroundings to return to equilibrium state are called relaxation. The

relaxation processes are exponential in time and are described by two time constants, T1 as the

longitudinal magnetic relaxation time constant and T2 as the transverse magnetic relaxation time

constant. These two constant values are seldom equal. Transverse relaxation is always faster than

longitudinal relaxation; consequently, T2 is always less than or equal to T1. In general, for protons in

solids, T2 is much smaller than T1.

As the protons absorbed energy from B1, lift up to the high-energy state during T1 relaxation, any given

spin can return to the ground state only by dissipating excess energy to the surrounding (lattice) (Figure

3-13). Therefore this process also called spin-lattice relaxation. During the T1 time the z-component of M

returns to 63% of its original value.

Figure 3-13 – Net magnetization return to equilibrium by turning off the B1, (the arrow represent net magnetization)

During T2 relaxation, no energy is exchanged from the nuclei to lattice. Exchange of energy happens

among nuclei. Therefore T2 also called spin-spin relaxation. Transfer relaxation corresponds to the loss

of phase coherence or randomization of spins in transverse direction (x-y) direction, which causes the

loss of transfer magnetization. T2 refers to the time required for the transvers component Mxy to decay

to 37% of initial value. A 90o pulse B1 gives energy to the protons and M rotates entirely into the x-y

plane (Figure 3-14). Coherence now exists in this transverse plane at the end of the pulse. The protons

are all synchronized and precess at the same frequency. A transfer of energy can occur between these

protons. Spin-spin relaxation refers to this energy transfer from an exited proton to a nearby unexcited

proton. This energy exchange produces a gradual loss of phase coherence to the spins. As the coherence

gradually disappears, the value of Mxy decreases toward zero (Figure 3-14). This loss of coherence is a

consequence of T2. T2 relaxation is more efficient in large molecules since they reorientate more slowly

than small molecules.

189

Mxy

When a wetting fluid fills a porous medium, such as a rock, both T2 and T1 are dramatically decreased,

and the relaxation mechanisms are different from those of the protons in either the solid or the fluid.

There are many different properties of the fluid and porous media that could be measured or explained

by using the relaxation process and (T1, T2) values.

Once the 90o B1 pulse is turned off, the proton begin to de-phase or lose phase coherency in B0 (Figure

3-14). As the net magnetization in the transverse plane decreases, a receiver coil that measures the

magnetization in the transverse direction could detect a decay signal in this situation. If the magnetic

field was really homogeneous (the amplitude is not a function of x, y or z), the signal would decay with a

time constant T2. However, since the B0 has some inhomogeneity, the signal actually decays faster with

the time constant T2*, which called Free Induction Decay (FID). The FID is very short, which is lasting a

few milliseconds. Consequently in the small time interval between the two pulses, very little T1, some T2

de-phasing and substantial T2* occurs. The de-phasing resulting from T2* occurs at a constant rate since it

arises from the spatial inhomogeneity of the magnetic field. T2 de-phasing on the other hand fluctuates

randomly since it results from the interaction among the nuclei themselves. This type of de-phasing

provides valuable sample information.

In order to measure T2, the signals must be recombined. It can be done by applying an 180o pulse after

the 90o pulse (after τ ms) to re-phase the proton magnetization vectors in the transverse plan (Figure

3-15). In effect, the phase order of the transverse magnetization vectors is reversed, so that the slower

vectors are ahead of the faster vectors. The faster vectors overtake the slower vectors, rephrasing

occurs, and a signal is generated that is detectable in the receiver coil. This signal is called spin echo. The

echo time (TE) defined as the time between the 90o pulse and the re-phasing completion, which is 2τ.

Mxy

o

Applying 90 B1 pulse at time 0.

190

De-phasing after turning off the B1

reverse the phase angles and thus initiates

re-phasing.

signal (a spin echo) is generated at time

2τ ms.

Only a single echo decay very quickly. One way for determining T2 from spin echo amplitudes is by

repeating the spin echo method several times with very time τ.

o

In CPMG method a series of 180o pulse are applied at intervals τ, 3τ, 5τ, 7τ, etc., following the 90

pulse. Echoes are then observed to form at times 2τ, 4τ, 6τ, 8τ, etc. because the de-phasing

resulting from molecular interactions the protons can no longer be completely refocused, and

the CPMG spin-echo train will decay. On multiple repetitions of the 180o pulse, the height of

the multiple echoes decreases successively as a consequence of T2 de-phasing (Figure 3-16).

191

TE = 2τ

Received Signal Amplitude

2τ 4τ 6τ 8τ 10τ

o

90

o

180 180

o

180

o o

180 180

o Time (ms)

M0

Amplitude

Time (ms)

Figure 3-17 - The amplitudes of the decaying spin echoes yield an exponentially decaying curve with time constant T2

The above theory for an entire NMR experiment involves these procedures: the first step is to polarize

the hydrogen protons in an external magnetic field, B0. The second step is to tip the magnetization from

the longitudinal direction to a transverse plane by applying an oscillating magnetic B1 perpendicular to

B0. The last is to measure their true relaxation back to equilibrium polarized direction. There are four

important parameters to control these procedures: the length of the echo time (TE), the number of 1800

pulse (NE), the waiting time (TW) to re-polarize protons along B0 and the number of trains.

As TE decreases, spin echoes will be generated and detected earlier and more rapidly, and effective

signal-to-noise ratio is increased because of the greater density of data points. As TE increase, spin

echoes will be generated and detected longer, but more B0 power is required. The first two parameters

determine the length of a single NMR experiment. Waiting time is the time between the ends of one

CMPG sequence to the start of the next CMPG sequence. The set up the waiting time depend on the

sample. In general, if we simply try to capture the full signal from all the protons present in the sample,

the wait time must be set long enough that all protons returns back to their equilibrium position. Then

number of trains simply as how many times the entire process is repeated. All four parameters can be

192

controlled manually. Generally the more times experiment is repeated, the better the results should be.

Usually for pure fluid, such as water, which only contains a single relaxing species, it is not necessary to

use too many trains. For the fluid, such as crude oil, which contains several different relaxation

hydrocarbon species, it is good to run more trains to get better results.

One of the most important steps in NMR data processing is to determine the T2 distribution that

produces the observed magnetization. This step is called echo-fit or mapping, is mathematically

inversion process, the total measured NMR signal is inverted from a decay curve by Echo-fit software to

give T2 spectrum (Figure 3-18).

In general, the strength of a received signal is directly proportional to the number of hydrogen protons

present, which can be correlated to the amount of fluid present. The relaxation time T2 is a function of

the viscosity of the fluid, or the confinement of the space where molecule is relaxing. For example heavy

oil and bitumen are made of complex chains containing branches and rings, so the amount of hydrogen

present in a given mass of oil will generally be less than the hydrogen present in the same mass of

water. Generally the total amplitude (At) of a bitumen sample will be less than that of water of the same

mass. On the other hand T2 value for heavy oil is much less than its value for water because of high

viscosity of heavy oil.

Echo Amplitude

Porosity

Figure 3-18 - The echo train (echo amplitude as a function of time) is mapped to a T2 distribution (porosity as a function of

T2)

In a NMR experiment, several parameters of interest are measured. The first is the total signal

amplitude, which is the amplitude of both oil and solvent components. Amplitude refers to the

measurable hydrogen protons in the sample and it is proportional to the sample mass. The second is

amplitude index, which is simply the measurable NMR amplitude per gram of bulk fluid. Knowing the

amplitude index allows for the amplitude of any given sample to be correlated to the sample’s mass:

(3-32)

Where,

AI = amplitude Index,

AP = amplitude of the fluid signal,

m = mass of the fluid.

193

Not all NMR machines are operated at the same signal gain, so the value of oil amplitude index could

vary from machine to machine. In order to normalize the measured amplitude index, the term relative

hydrogen index is defined33:

(3-33)

Since oil and bitumen consist of different components, each with different relaxation rate, their signal

will be detected with a broader relaxation range compared to pure substances with a single relaxation

time like water. In other words the protons in crude oil do not all relax with a single value of T2, yielding

a variety of relaxation times. The characteristic time for the oil relaxation is the geometric mean T2gm, of

the oil spectrum34:

∑

( ) (3-34)

∑

Where,

The geometric mean T2 value (ms),

The amplitude of a component at a time constant T2i.

For a fluid like oil, which consist of multiple components, represents the mean relaxation rate for

all the components.

The basis for using NMR is the fact that the relaxation spectra of a heavy oil or bitumen are distinctly

different than those of a solvent. Figure 3-19 shows the spectra of pure viscous oil, of pure solvent, and

of a mixture of solvent with bitumen that was prepared by mild heating and stirring. As mentioned

before the amplitude indices of the bitumen signals (AIb) are lower than the amplitude indices of the

signals from the solvent (AIS). It is because of the large molecular size of bitumen that lead to lower

amount of hydrogen in unit volume compare to the solvent with smaller molecular size. On the other

hand relaxation time for bitumen is much faster than the relaxation time for solvent because of high

viscosity of bitumen. It can be seen that the spectrum of the mixture is distinctly different than the

spectra of the individual components. This distinction forms the basis of the methodology used to study

the diffusion of solvent in heavy oil using NMR.

33

Y. Wen, M. Sc thesis, 2004.

34

B. Afsahi, A. Kantzas, 2007.

35

Y. Wen, J. Bryan, A. Kantzas, 2005.

194

T2c

Figure 3-19 – Typical NMR spectrum for pure bitumen, pure solvent, and a mixture of them

From Figure 3-19, it is evident that during the diffusion of a solvent in bitumen the solvent spectrum

shifts to faster relaxation times by increasing its viscosity during the mixing, while the bitumen spectrum

shifts to longer relaxation times by decreasing of its viscosity. Two separate peaks of pure heavy

oil/bitumen and solvent become one continuous multi-peak spectrum.

It is assumed that the amount of solvent in bitumen is proportional to the expansion of the spectrum of

the bitumen component (see Figure 3-19). If this assumption is correct, then there will be a critical

relaxation time that will split the mixture spectrum into two components. Spectrum peaks with

relaxation times faster than the critical relaxation time will correspond to bitumen and diffused solvent.

Spectrum peaks with relaxation times slower than the critical relaxation time will correspond to pure

solvent that has not yet diffused in bitumen. It then becomes important to define this critical relaxation

time, T2c. T2c is defined as the maximum relaxation time observed in a thoroughly mixed

solvent/bitumen mixture, which is shown in Figure 3-19. Usually, the spectra of heavy oil and bitumen

are less than 10 ms, the spectra of solvents are beyond 1,000 ms, and the spectra of the mixtures of

solvent with heavy oil or bitumen extend to some intermediate value. For bitumen-solvent system of

Figure 3-19, the signal under the 100 ms was considered to be solvent diffusing in the bitumen, in other

words the signal amplitude change up to 100 ms was attributed to solvent mass transfer. The signal

beyond the 100 ms was considered to be pure solvent.

Prior to starting the experiment, mixtures of known percentages of bitumen and solvent are prepared

and the correlation between the NMR parameters and the concentration of bitumen in the mixture is

determined (NMR parameters calibration with bitumen content). These correlations were used to

calculate the concentration of the solvent that diffused in the heavy oil or bitumen during the test

(Figure 3-20).

(3-35)

Where,

Mass of diffused solvent,

Bulk solvent signal amplitude,

Pure solvent amplitude Index.

195

100 1

Ln[1/(RHI * T2gm)]

10 -1

1/(AI * T2gm)

1 -3

0.1 -5

0.01 -7

0.001 -9

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Bitumen Fraction Bitumen Fraction

(3-36)

Where,

Mass of initial pure solvent,

Mass of diffused solvent.

The total amplitude of diffused solvent is calculated using the following relation:

(3-37)

Where,

Total pure solvent amplitude,

Total bulk solvent amplitude.

The combined amplitude index for the diffused solvent and bitumen/oil is calculated, using amplitude

index definition:

(3-38)

Where,

Signal amplitude of diluted bitumen,

Mass of pure bitumen,

Mass of diffused solvent,

Amplitude index of diluted bitumen.

36

Y. Wen, J. Bryan, and A. Kantzas, 2003.

37

D. Salama and A. Kantzas, 2005.

196

As the next step, geometric mean relaxation time for the diluted bitumen, T2gm, is calculated according

to eq. (3-34). The solvent content (concentration) could be calculated form the generated correlation

between NMR properties and bitumen content (such as Figure 3-20) at different times.

The concentration of solvent determined through NMR spectra change is the overall concentration, ̅ ,

in the mixture area, which is a function of time and diffusion coefficient. The correlation between

concentration ̅ , time t, and D is described in the following equations:

(3-39)

∫ ∫ (3-40)

At given t:

∫ ∫

̅ (3-41)

∫

As a result of eq. (3-41), one can construct models of ̅ with D and t, and pursue estimates of the

diffusion coefficient. In the NMR test, it is assumed that the D value is constant during each small time

interval. So the following equation could be used for the determination of the diffusion coefficient:

̅ ( ) (3-42)

√

Where,

Starting concentration,

t = the time of measurement,

x = the equilibrium distance for the early times (for example first two days) of measurements,

D = the diffusion coefficient that gives the best fit.

Since there is no ability to obtain the correlation between concentrations with distance from NMR

spectra, an overall constant diffusion coefficient is considered from the analysis of NMR data.

x is determined independently using X-Ray CAT scanning. The reason for using early time data is because

the interface between solvent and heavy oil/bitumen can only be maintained stable for a short time.

That was the observation made from CAT scanning experiments38. Figure 3-21 shows a sample result of

diffusion coefficient calculated using NMR experiment.

Afsahi and Kantzas (2007) used the same method to find the diffusion coefficient in sand-saturated

sample. They mixed the bitumen with sand thoroughly in a way that the final mixture of sand and

bitumen had almost 35 to 40% porosity (40% bitumen, 60% sand). Then the bitumen-sand mixture was

placed in the vial and compacted completely. Solvent was placed on top of oil-saturated sand in the vial.

In order to keep the sand in place after dilution of heavy oil by the solvent they used a nylon mesh to

separate the oil-saturated sand from the solvent. NMR measurements were taken frequently and

38

Y. Wen, A. Kantzas, and G.J. Wang, 2004.

197

changes in the spectra were related to the change of oil and solvent properties as solvent diffused into

the oil-sand matrix. Another step of the procedure was the same as for the bulk diffusion that explained

earlier.

100

80

60

40

20

0

0 6 12 18 24 30 36 42

Time, hr

Another interesting usage of NMR method, such as pore size distribution or wettability determination,

will be illustrated later.

Computer-Assisted Tomography: Computer-assisted Tomography (CAT) scanning using X-ray has been

extensively used in research laboratories around the world for reservoir rock characterization and fluid

flow visualization.

X-rays lose their energy as they pass through a medium, and this reduction depends on the density of

the substance and the path length through that substance. CAT is based on emitting x-rays from a

source which revolves around the object in consideration while one-dimensional projections of

attenuated x-rays are collected by a detector on the other side of the source. These projections are

collected as the sample travels through the scanner longitudinally and are used to reconstruct a two-

dimensional image of the object.

Intensity values of attenuated x-rays are collected from small volumetric elements, called pixels. These

elements are typically 0.40×0.40 mm in area and 3 cm in depth (along the direction of the x-ray beam)

for a second generation CAT scanner. Once these elements are all assigned an intensity values after a

complete radial and longitudinal scan, these data are processed by a computer. This processing

constitutes the major part of the CAT. The inlet intensity and the outlet intensity are related through the

following relationship:

(3-43)

Where:

I = The intensity remaining after the X-ray passes through a thickness (kV),

39

L. Song, A. Kantzas, J. Bryan, 2010.

198

Io = The incident X-ray intensity (kV),

µ = Linear attenuation40 coefficient,

L = Path Length.

This relationship applies only for a narrow mono-energetic beam of x-ray photons which travels across a

homogeneous medium. If the medium in consideration is heterogeneous, the above equation holds true

while replaced by the line integral of the linear attenuation coefficients. The modified form is:

( ) ∫ (3-44)

The following equation relates the linear attenuation coefficients to the number stored in computer

(known as the CT numbers or CTn),

(3-45)

Where:

CTn = CT number,

x-ray linear attenuation coefficient of the object scanned,

x-ray linear attenuation coefficient of water.

Linear attenuation coefficient (µ) is a function of the bulk density and the effective atomic number of

the sample, given by:

(3-46)

Where:

Bulk oil density (kg/m3)

a = Energy-independent coefficient called Klein- Nishina coefficient

b = Constant

Z = Effective atomic number of the sample

E = Mean photon energy (kV)

When exposing a medium to x-rays, gathering the exiting x-rays from the medium (Figure 3-22), and

averaging the intensity at each cross section, a transmitted intensity vs. elevation curve can be

constructed (Figure 3-23). The resulted curve could be converted to a density curve. According to the

relation between the x-ray intensity and density.

40

In physics, attenuation (in some contexts also called extinction) is the gradual loss in intensity of any kind of flux (X-Ray) through a medium.

199

Figure 3-22 - Schematic view of CAT scanning using x-ray

A series of calibration tests for liquid and solid samples of known densities are performed in order to

correlate the CT numbers (as the intensity of the detected x-ray), generated by the scanner, to densities.

In Figure 3-23 the calibration curves for liquid samples and liquid/solid samples are shown respectively.

Using these calibration curves, the densities of the scanned samples can be back calculated.

(a) (b)

Figure 3-23 – Calibration curves for the CAT scanner, (a) Liquid calibration curve, (b)Liquid-solid calibration curve41

In contrast to the refractive index method, this method has the ability to operate with opaque solutions

such as bitumen + pentane.

Wen and Kantzas42 used this method to monitor the concentration profiles at a bitumen-solvent

interface. Solution of the solvent in the oil dilutes the oil and change the linear attenuation coefficient.

This is the basic idea of using the CAT scanning for diffusion process study. For a diffusion study, as the

first step heavy oil is adjacent to the solvent in a fixed volume cell (Figure 3-24). Because of higher oil

gravity, solvent is on the top of the heavy oil in the cell. A fixed vertical-sectional position of the

diffusion cell is scanned at fixed frequency during the diffusion process. Figure 3-24 illustrates the typical

CT scan image of solvent diffusing into the heavy oil.

41

D. Salama and A. Kantzas, 2005.

42

Y. Wen, A. Kantzas, 2005

200

Figure 3-24 – Image sample of diffusion process

The two-dimensional CT image shows the diffusion process along the vertical direction (x axis) of length

of the diffusion cell. A central area (region of Interest, ROI) is cut as shown by a dotted line in Figure

3-24. The ROI is used for diffusion coefficient calculation and analysis. This study considers the diffusion

process as a one-dimensional vertical diffusion process. Therefore, only an average CT number in the

horizontal direction is calculated to represent the CT number in the center, and then the profile of CT

numbers change with vertical distance for each “x” value is obtained.

The changes in the CT numbers are related to the changes of oil densities as a solvent diffuses into the

heavy oil, and CT number has a linear relationship with density. Thus, the CT number profiles can be

converted to the density profiles. In addition, the mixture (solvent and heavy oil) density has a linear

relation with the solvent content in the mixture. Therefore, using the following equation (eq. ((3-47)),

normalized concentration profiles could be obtained from the densities.

(3-47)

Where:

Density of the solvent close to the interface (kg/m3)

Initial Density of the oil (kg/m3)

By assumption of linear relationship between concentration and diffusion coefficient43 the Fick’s second

law equation (eq. (3-22)) could be converted to the following equation:

( ) (3-48)

Using CAT scanning we have density at each point for any measurement time. This was the base idea for

Guerrero-Aconcha and Kantzas44 to find diffusion coefficient as a function of concentration. They

assume that the diffusion process is in the x direction and at each cross section there is a uniform

43

Upreti, S.R., Mehrotra, A.K., 2000.

44

Guerrero-Aconcha, U., Kantzas, A., 2009.

201

concentration. They divided the diffusion length to several control volumes and discretized eq. (3-48)

explicitly and apply discretized equation on the control volumes, as follows:

⁄

( ⁄ ( )) ( ⁄ ( ))

( ) (3-49)

In this equation only the diffusion coefficients are the unknown values. To solve this equation for the

domain, two boundary conditions are needed. Guerrero-Aconcha and Kantzas assumed a constant

concentration at the interface between oil and solvent (point A) as the first boundary condition and a no

flow boundary surface at the end of medium (point B).

A B

i-1 i i+1

A

i-1 i i+1

x/2 x x/2

According to these two boundary conditions a discretized equation for the first and last control volumes

are as follows:

Boundary A:

( ⁄ ( )) ( ( ))

⁄ ( ) (3-50)

Boundary B:

⁄

( ⁄ ( ))

( ) (3-51)

By arranging the discretization equations within the medium domain and at the boundary surfaces, the

Equations ((3-49), (3-50) and (3-51)) can be written in matrix form as Ax=b. The components of vector x

are the unknown diffusion coefficients. The diffusion coefficients can be obtained by solving the system

of linear equations.

Using CAT scanning give us the opportunity to find effective diffusion coefficient for a porous media. The

procedure is the same as the procedure of finding bulk diffusion coefficient except that the vessel is half

filled with oil saturated sand and topped with solvent. In contrast to the bulk diffusion coefficient that

the region of interest (ROI) was in both solvent and oil region (Figure 3-24), here ROI includes only the

liquid volume in the solvent region because of the complexity of obtaining a smooth concentration

profile that could be used in the calculation of diffusion coefficients when including the sand volume

202

(Figure 3-26). The diffusion calculations were made based on the assumption that the amount of oil that

diffused in the solvent is equal to the amount of solvent that diffused in the oil/sand mixture but in

opposite direction. The calculation procedure is the same as for bulk diffusion coefficient.

Figure 3-27 shows the result of CAT scanning experiment for bulk diffusion coefficient of three different

solvents in heavy oil. Each point is the average diffusion coefficient over the height of the region of

interest (ROI).

12

Diffusion Coeficient, 106 cm2/s

Pentain

10

Hexane

8

Octane

6

0

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5

Time, Day

Figure 3-27 - Average diffusion coefficients for pentane, hexane and octane in heavy oil10

Figure 3-28 compares the bulk diffusion coefficient and effective diffusion coefficient of Pentane in

heavy oil. Figure 3-28 provide evidence that the diffusion coefficients of hydrocarbon solvents in bulk oil

are higher than in presence of sand.

203

15

D in bulk

12

D in presence of sand

9

0

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Time, hr

Figure 3-28 - Comparison of the diffusion coefficients of pentane in heavy oil in absence/presence sand10

204

4 . C H A P T E R 4

Immiscible Displacement

Introduction

Fluid displacement processes require contact between the displacing and the displaced fluid. The

movement of the interface between displacing and displaced fluids and the breakthrough time

associated with the production of injected fluids at producing wells are indicators of sweep efficiency.

This chapter shows how to calculate such indicators using the Buckley-Leverett theory.

Buckley-Leverett Theory45,46

One of the simplest and most widely used methods of estimating the advance of a fluid displacement

front in an immiscible displacement process is the Buckley-Leverett method. The Buckley-Leverett

theory [1942] estimates the rate at which an injected water bank moves through a porous medium. The

approach uses fractional flow theory and is based on the following assumptions:

Flow is linear and horizontal

Water is injected into an oil reservoir

Oil and water are both incompressible

Oil and water are immiscible

Gravity and capillary pressure effects are negligible

In many rocks there is a transition zone between the water and the Oil zones. In the true water zone,

the water saturation is essentially 100. In the oil zone, there is usually present connate water, which is

essentially immobile. Only water will be produced from a well completed in the true water zone, and

only oil will be produced from the true oil zone. In the transition zone both oil and water will be

produced, and at each point the fraction of the flowrate that is water will depend on the oil and water

saturations at that point.

Frontal advance theory is an application of the law of conservation of mass. Flow through a small

volume element () with length ∆x and cross-sectional area “A” can be expressed in terms of total flow

rate qt as:

(4-1)

45

“Principle of applied reservoir simulation”, John R. Fanchi

46

“Applied Petroleum Reservoir /engineering”, B.C. Craft, M. Hawkins, 1991

205

Where q denotes volumetric flow rate at reservoir conditions and the sub-scripts {o,w,t} refer to oil,

water, and total rate, respectively and fw and fo are fractional flow to water and oil (or water cut and oil

cut) respectively:

(4-2)

(4-3)

(4-4)

4-5)

Figure 4-1 is a plot of the relative permeability ratio, , versus water saturation. Because of the wide

range of values, the relative permeability ratio is usually plotted on the log scale of semi-log paper.

Like many relative permeability ratio curves, the central or main portion of the curve is quite linear. As a

straight line on semi-log paper, the relative permeability ratio may be expresses as a function of the

water saturation by:

(4-6)

The constants “a” and “b” may be determined from the graph, such as Figure 4-1, or determined from

simultaneous equations from known data of saturation and relative permeability.

1000

Relative Permeability Ratio

100

10

1

0.1

0.01

0.001

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Water Saturation

206

(4-7)

If the water fractional flow is plotted versus water saturation, an S-shaped curve will result that is

named fractional flow curve.

0.6

0.4

0.2

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Water Saturation

Assume that the total flow rate is the same at all the medium cross section. Neglect capillary and

gravitational forces that may be acting. Let the oil be displaced by water from left to right.

The rate the water enters to the medium element from left hand side (LHS) is:

(4-8)

The rate of water leaving element from the right hand side (RHS) is:

(4-9)

The change in water flow rate across the element is found by performing a mass balance. The

movement of mass for an immiscible, incompressible system gives:

Change in Water Flowrate = water entering – water leaving

=

= (4-10)

This is equal to the change in element water content per unit time.

Let Sw is the water saturation of the element at time t. Then if oil is being displaced from the element, at

time (t + t) the water saturation will be . So water accumulation in the element per unit

time is:

(4-11)

207

(4-12)

( ) ( ) (4-13)

The subscript x on the derivative indicates that this derivative is different for each element.

It is not possible to solve for the general distribution of water saturation Sw(x,t) in most realistic cases

because of the nonlinearity of the problem. For example, water fractional flow is usually a nonlinear

function of water saturation. It is therefore necessary to consider a simplified approach to solving Eq.

((4-13)).

x

For a given rock, the fraction of flow for water fw is a function only of the water saturation Sw, as

indicated by Eq. (4-13), assuming constant oil and water viscosities. The water saturation however is a

function of both time and position, which may be express as fw = F(Sw) and Sw = G(t,x). Then:

( ) ( ) (4-14)

( ) ( ) 4-15)

Now, there is interest in determining the rate of advance of a constant saturation plane, or front ( ) ,

where Sw is constant and dSw = 0. So from eq. (4-14):

( )

(4-16)

( )

Substituting eqs (4-13) and 4-15) into eq. (4-16) gives the Buckley-Leverett frontal advance equation:

( ) ( ) (4-17)

208

The derivative ( ) is the slope of the fractional flow curve and derivative ( ) is the velocity of the

moving plane with water saturation Sw. Because the porosity, area, and flowrate are constant and

because for any value of Sw, the derivative ( ) is a constant, then the rate dx/dt is constant.

This means that the distance a plane of constant saturation, Sw, advances is proportional to time and

to the value of the derivative (( )) at that saturation, or:

( ) ( ) (4-18)

Where,

is the distance traveled by a particular Sw contour

In field units:

( ) ( ) (4-19)

Example 4-1

Assume a cubical reservoir under active water drive with oil production of 900bbl/day. The flow could

be approximated as a linear flow. The cross sectional area is the product of the width, 1320 ft, and the

true formation thickness, 20 ft, so that for a porosity of 0.25, eq. (4-19) becomes:

( )

Consider that because we assume the fluids are completely incompressible, so the oil production rate is

equal to the total flowrate in the different cross sections of the reservoir.

0 Flow Direction

x

1320 ft

20 ft

If we let x=0 at the first point of the transition zone, then the distances the various constant water

saturation planes will travel in, say, 60, 120, and 240 days are given by:

209

( )

( ) (4-20)

( )

The value of the derivative ( ) may be obtained for any value of water saturation, Sw, by plotting fw

from eq. (4-7) versus Sw and graphically taking the slopes at various values of Sw. Assume you find

a=1222 and b=12 from Figure 4-1 (intercept = 1222 = ‘a’ and slope of the straight line = 13 = ‘b’) for eq.

(4-7). For example at Sw = 0.4, fw = 0.129. The slope taken graphically at Sw = 0.4 and fw = 0.267 is 1.66.

( )

(4-21)

( ( ) )

Figure 4-5 shows the water fractional flow curve and also the derivative ( ) plotted against water

saturation from eq. (4-21). Since Eq. (4-7) does not hold for the very high and for the quite low water

saturation ranges (see Figure 4-1), some error is introduced below 30% and above 80% water saturation.

Since these are in the regions of the lower values of the derivatives, the overall effect on the calculation

is small.

1 4

Fractional Flow of Water, fw

Derivative, dfw/dSw

0.8

3

0.6

2

0.4

1

0.2

0 0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Water Saturation

A plot of Sw versus distance using Eq. (4-20) and typical fractional flow curves leads to the physically

impossible situation of multiple values of Sw at a given location. For example Figure 4-6 shows water

saturation distribution according to eqs (4-20) and (4-21). For example, at 50% water saturation, the

value of the derivative is 2.87; so by eq. (4-20), at 60 days the 50% water saturation plane will advance a

distance of:

210

( )

This distance is plotted as shown in Figure 4-6 along with the other distances that have been calculated

using eqs (4-20) and (4-21) for other time values and other water saturations. These curves are

characteristically double-valued or triple valued. For example, Figure 4-6 indicates that the water

saturation after 240 days at 400 ft is 20, 39, and 69%. The saturation can be only one value at any place

and time. What actually occurs is that the intermediate values of the water saturation have the

maximum velocity (Figure 4-5 and eq. (4-17)), will initially tend to overtake the lower saturations

resulting in the formation of a saturation discontinuity or shock front. Because of this discontinuity the

mathematical approach of Buckley-Leverett, which assumes that Sw is continuous and differentiable, will

be inappropriate to describe the situation at the front itself.

The difficulty is resolved by dropping perpendiculars at point Xf (as flood front position) so that the

areas to the right (A) equal the areas to the left (B), as shown in Figure 4-6. In other words a

discontinuity in Sw at a flood front location Xf is needed to make the water saturation distribution single

valued and to provide a material balance for displacing fluid.

Xf Xf

Initial Water Saturation

(a)

(b)

Figure 4-6 – (a) Fluid Distribution at 60, 120, 240 days (b)Triple-valued saturation distribution (after Buckley and Leverett,

1942)

211

A more elegant method of achieving the same result was presented by Welge in 1952. This consists of

integrating the saturation distribution over the distance from the injection point to the front, thus

obtaining the average water saturation behind the front Sw, as shown in Figure 4-747.

The situation depicted is at a fixed time, before water breakthrough, corresponding to an amount of

water injection. At this time the maximum water saturation, Sw = 1 - Sor, has moved a distance X1, its

velocity being proportional to the slope of the fractional flow curve evaluated for the maximum

saturation which, as shown in Figure 4-5, is small but finite. The flood front saturation Swf is located at

position x2 measured from the injection point. Applying the simple material balance:

(̿̿̿̿ ) (4-22)

So:

̿̿̿̿ (4-23)

( ) (4-18)

At breakthrough time:

( ) (4-24)

Where,

Breakthrough time,

Total injection rate,

Medium length

From eq. (4-24):

47

“Fundamentals of Reservoir Engineering”, L.P. Lake, 1978.

212

( ) (4-25)

( ) (4-26)

The average water saturation in the reservoir at the time of breakthrough is given by material balance

as:

̿̿̿̿̿̿ (4-27)

From eqs (4-26) and (4-27):

̿̿̿̿̿̿

( ) (4-28)

Therefore:

( ) 4-29)

̿̿̿̿̿̿

i.e. the slope of the fractional flow curve at conditions of the front is given by eq. 4-29).

To satisfy eq. (4-29) the tangent to the fractional flow curve, from the point Sw = Swc, where fw = 0, must

have a point of tangency with co-ordinates Sw = Swf; fw = fwf, and extrapolated tangent must intercept the

line fw = 1 at the point (Sw = ̿̿̿̿̿̿; fw = 1). See Figure 4-8.

̿̿̿̿̿

𝑆𝑤𝑏𝑡

Swf, fwf

The use of either of these equations ignores the effect of the capillary pressure gradient, ∂Pc/∂x.

213

This simple graphical technique of Welge has much wider application in the field of oil recovery

calculations.

As eq. (4-19) shows the velocity of every saturation front is constant, the graph of saturation location vs.

time is set of straight lines starting from the origin. This graph is often plotted in dimensionless form.

The equation can be made dimensionless by defining:

(4-30)

Where

Normalized distance

Pore volumes injected

Eq. (4-19) becomes:

(4-31)

Figure 4-9 is a graph of dimensionless distance vs. dimensionless time for the movement of water

saturation predicted by the frontal advance equation. Saturation Siw<Sw<Swf travel at the same velocity

are located on the flood-front path. The region ahead of flood front has a uniform saturation.

Saturations greater than Swf travel at progressively slower velocities as indicated by the decreasing

slopes in Figure 4-9.

Sw =Swi

Saturation profiles or saturation histories can be constructed by making cross sections through the

time/distance graph. A saturation profile is a graph of the locations of all saturations along a cross

214

section of fixed time, as illustrated by the continuous line at tD=0.28 in Figure 4-9. Figure 4-10 displays

the saturation profile at tD =0.28 that was obtained from Figure 4-9.

Swf

Flood Front

Swi

The saturation history is the graph of saturation vs. time at a particular value of xD. A plot of water

saturation vs. tD for xD = 1, shown in Figure 4-11, illustrates the arrival of water saturations at the end of

the linear system.

Swf

Figure 4-12 represents the initial water and oil distributions in the reservoir unit and also the saturation

distributions after 240 days, provided the flood front has not reached the produced face of the cubic

reservoir. The area to the right of the flood front in Figure 4-12 is commonly called the oil bank and the

area to the left is sometimes called the flooded or drag zone. The area above the 240-day curve and

below the 90% water saturation curve represents oil that may yet be recovered, or dragged out of the

high-water saturation portion of the reservoir by flowing large volumes of water through it. The area

above the 90% water saturation represents unrecoverable oil since the critical oil saturation is 10%. This

presentation of the displacement mechanism has assumed that capillary force is negligible.

Figure 4-12 also indicates that a well in this reservoir will produce water-free oil until the flood front

approaches the well. Thereafter, in a relatively short period, the water cut will rise sharply and be

215

followed by a relatively long period of production at high, and increasingly higher, water cuts. For

example, just behind the flood front at 240 days, the water saturation rises from 20% to about 60%-that

is, the water cut rises from zero to 66% (see Figure 4-5). When a producing formation consists of two or

more rather definite strata, or stringers, of different permeabilities, the rates of advance in the separate

strata will be proportional to their permeabilities, and the overall effect will be a combination of several

separate displacements, such as described for a single homogeneous stratum.

Recoverable oil after

infinite flooding

240 Days Flood Front

Before water breakthrough (t= tbt) in the producing face/well, eq. (4-18) can be applied to determine the

positions of planes of constant water saturation, for Swf < Sw < 1 – Sor, as the flood moves through the

reservoir, and hence the water saturation profile. At the time of breakthrough and subsequently, this

equation is used in a different manner, to study the effect of increasing the water saturation at the

producing well. In this case x = L, the length of the reservoir block, which is a constant, and eq. (4-18)

can be expressed as:

( )

(4-32)

( )

Where,

Injected Pore Volume (dimensionless)

Water saturation at the end (producing) face

216

Using equation (4-19), someone can find the saturation at the producing face after the breakthrough

time. Before this time Swe = Swi, and at the breakthrough time it is equal to the Swf and then it increased

with time. Before breakthrough occurs the oil recovery calculations are trivial. For incompressible

displacement the oil recovered is simply equal to the volume of water injected, there being no water

production during this phase. At the time of breakthrough the flood front saturation, Swf = Swbt, reaches

the producing well and the reservoir watercut increases suddenly from zero to a

phenomenon frequently observed in the field and one which confirms the existence of a shock front. At

this time (breakthrough time) produced pore volume of the oil can be calculated as follows:

(̿̿̿̿̿̿ )

(4-33)

( )

Where,

Produced pore volume of oil,

After breakthrough, L remains constant in eq. (4-32) and Swe and fwe, the water saturation and fractional

flow at the producing well, gradually increase as the flood moves through the reservoir. During this

phase the calculation of the oil recovery is somewhat more complex and requires application of the

Welge equation, for average saturation of a segment of porous medium:

The average saturation between two points, x1 and x2, behind the front in a linear system with uniform A

and is:

̅̅̅̅ ∫

∫

̅̅̅̅ (4-34)

The integral in the numerator of this equation can be evaluated using the method of integration by

parts, i.e.

∫ ∫

to give:

∫ [ ] ∫ [ ] ∫ (4-35)

The value of x in the last term of the above equation can be related to Sw by the frontal advance

equation:

217

( ) (4-18)

∫ ∫ ( ) ∫ (4-36)

∫ (4-37)

Average saturation between two cross sections at x1 and x2, could be found by substituting eq. (4-37)

into eq. (4-34):

̅̅̅̅ (4-38)

The above equation can be used to relate the average saturation in any segment of the linear system to

the saturations at the two ends of that segment. If we consider the situation after breakthrough and

take x1 to be the injection face (x1 = 0, fw1 = fwin) and x2 to be the production (end) face (x2 = L, Sw2 = Swe,

fw2=fwe), we can write an expression for the average saturation in the system as:

̅̅̅̅ 4-39)

In the above equation, fwin is the fractional flow of water at the injection face, which would always be

equal to 1. Hence:

̅̅̅̅ 4-40)

Frontal advance equation can be used to relate the value PVI to saturation at the outflow end. The axial

position of the saturation Sw2, which is now at the producing end, is given by eq. (4-18):

( ) (4-41)

Or:

(4-42)

( )

̅̅̅̅

(4-43)

( )

218

This is the Welge equation that relates the saturation at the end (producing) face to the average

saturation in the linear system.

Subtracting Swc = connate water saturation, from both sides of eq. (4-43), and using eq. (4-33) gives the

oil recovery equation:

̿̿̿̿ (4-44)

Where, is dimensionless pore volume oil production.

The following steps show the procedure for calculating waterflood performance using the frontal

advance equation:

Draw the fractional flow curve (fw vs. Sw), using eq. (4-7) and appropriate relative permeabilities

and viscosities (as mentioned previously capillary pressure is neglected in developing this

equation).

To find the front saturation and water fraction, draw the tangent to this curve ( ) from

the point: . As described in the previous section, the point of tangency has the

co-ordinates: ,.

Determine the average saturation behind the front (and at breakthrough time) by extrapolation

of tangent line at front point to .

Using eq. (4-33) to calculate breakthrough recovery.

Use eqs. (4-32) and (4-40) to calculate the values of average saturation (̿̿̿̿) and values

corresponding to a bunch of selected Swe values that are higher than Swf.

Calculate the corresponding recovery using eq. (4-44).

1

fw-Sw

Fractional Flow of Water, fw

0.6

(a) 0.4

0.2

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Water Saturation

219

1

0.9

(b)

fw vs. Sw

Tangent line from (Swe, fwe) to (Ave.Sw,1)

0.8

0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

Water Saturation

Figure 4-13 - Application of the Welge graphical technique to determine: (a) The front saturation, (b) Oil recovery after

breakthrough

The basic mechanics of oil displacement by water can be understood by considering the mobilities of the

separate fluids. The mobility of any fluid is defined as:

(4-45)

The manner in which water displaces oil is illustrated in Figure 4-14 for both an ideal and non-ideal

linear horizontal waterflood.

Figure 4-14 - Water saturation distribution as a function of distance between injection and production wells for (a) ideal or

piston-like displacement and (b) non-ideal displacement

48

“Fundamentals of Reservoir Engineering”, L.P.Dake, 1978.

220

In the ideal case there is a sharp interface between the oil and water. Ahead of this, oil is flowing in the

presence of connate water ( =), while behind the interface water

type of displacement will only occur if the ratio

⁄

(4-46)

⁄

Where, M is known as the end point mobility ratio and, since both and are the end point

relative permeabilities, is a constant.

If M ≤ 1 it means that, under an imposed pressure differential, the oil is capable of travelling with a

velocity equal to, or greater than, that of the water. Since it is the water which is pushing the oil, there is

therefore, no tendency for the oil to be by-passed which results in the sharp interface between the

fluids.

The displacement shown in Figure 4-14(a) is, for obvious reasons, called "piston-like displacement". Its

most attractive feature is that the total amount of oil that can be recovered from a linear reservoir block

will be obtained by the injection of the same volume of water. This is called the movable oil volume

where:

(4-47)

The non-ideal displacement depicted in Figure 4-14(b), which unfortunately is more common in nature,

occurs when M > 1. In this case, the water is capable of travelling faster than the oil and, as the water

pushes the oil through the reservoir, the latter will be by-passed. Water tongues or fingers develop

leading to the unfavorable water saturation profile.

Ahead of the water front oil is again flowing in the presence of connate water. This is followed, in many

cases, by a waterflood front, or shock front, in which there is a discontinuity in the water saturation.

There is then a gradual transition between the shock front saturation and the maximum saturation Sw =

1−Sor. The dashed line in Figure 4-14(b) depicts the saturation distribution at the breakthrough time. In

contrast to the piston-like displacement, not all of the movable oil will have been recovered at this time.

As more water is injected, the plane of maximum water saturation (Sw = 1−Sor) will move slowly through

the reservoir until it reaches the producing well at which time the movable oil volume has been

recovered. Unfortunately, in typical cases it may take five or six MOV's of injected water to displace the

one MOV of oil. At a constant rate of water injection, the fact that much more water must be injected,

in the unfavorable case, protracts the time scale attached to the oil recovery and this is economically

unfavourable. In addition, pockets of by-passed oil are created which may never be recovered.

An even more significant parameter for characterizing the stability of Buckley Leverett displacement is

the shock front mobility ratio, Ms, defined as:

221

(4-48)

in which the relative permeabilities in the numerator are evaluated for the shock front water saturation,

Swf. Hagoort49 has shown, using a theoretical argument backed by experiment, that Buckley-Leverett

displacement can be regarded as stable for the less restrictive condition that Ms < 1. If this condition is

not satisfied there will be severe viscous channeling of water through the oil and breakthrough will

occur even earlier than predicted using the Welge technique.

Figure 4-15 - (a) Microscopic displacement (b) Residual oil remaining after a water flood

Example 4-250

A thin reservoir zone (8 ft thick) is to be opened in several wells to production. The oil from this zone is

expected to have a viscosity of 2.36 cp at reservoir temperature. Because the oil is essentially dead, it

will be necessary to supplement the reservoir energy to produce oil at economical rates. A waterflood is

under consideration. Relative permeability data from an adjacent interval have been correlated with

water saturation by use of eqs (4-49) and (4-50). Log calculations indicate that the initial water

49

“Displacement Stability of Water Drives in Water Wet Connate Water Bearing Reservoirs”, Hagoort, J., 1974.

Soc.Pet.Eng.J., February: 63-74. Trans. AI ME.

50

“Enhanced Oil Recovery”, Don, W. Green, G. Paul Willhite, 1998

222

saturation should be 0.136. A residual oil saturation of 0.325 was obtained on cores from a geologically

similar interval.

( ) (4-49)

(4-50)

Where,

( ) (4-51)

Calculate the waterflood recovery (PV) when the saturation at end face is equal to 0.54. The

viscosity of water at reservoir temperature is 0.63 cp.

Calculate the oil recovery when water oil ratio (WOR) =27.57.

Calculate post breakthrough performance

Solution

The first step is drawing fw-Sw curve according to eq. (4-7). Eqs (4-49) and (4-50) are used to find relative

permeabilities data that are needed for fw calculations:

0.1500 0.0260 0.7058 0.0000 0.0000 0.4500 0.5826 0.0577 0.0663 0.8115

0.2000 0.1187 0.4322 0.0000 0.0003 0.5000 0.6753 0.0331 0.1063 0.9232

0.2500 0.2115 0.2943 0.0007 0.0086 0.5500 0.7681 0.0163 0.1528 0.9724

0.3000 0.3043 0.2035 0.0044 0.0746 0.6000 0.8609 0.0058 0.2034 0.9924

0.3500 0.3970 0.1391 0.0150 0.2876 0.6500 0.9536 0.0008 0.2558 0.9992

0.4000 0.4898 0.0921 0.0354 0.5905 0.6750 1.0000 0.0000 0.2821 1.0000

223

1 1

0.9 0.9

kro

0.8 0.8 fw

krw

Relative permeability, fraction

0.7 0.7

0.6 0.6

0.5 0.5

0.4 0.4

0.3 0.3

0.2 0.2

0.1 0.1

0 0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Water saturation, fraction Water saturation, fraction

(a) (b)

4Figure 4-16 – (a) Relative Permeability Curves, (b) Fractional Flow Curve

1 Swbt=0.516

To find the water saturation at the front and

0.9 average water saturation at breakthrough time, a

0.8 (Swf,fwf)=(0.46,0.85) fw tangent is drawn from initial water saturation

Relative permeability, fraction

0.7

point (Swi, 0) = (0.15 , 0) to the (fw vs. Sw) curve.

Line touches the curve at the front saturation

0.6

point. According to Figure 4-17, the front point

0.5 coordination is: (Swf , fwf)=(0.46 , 0.85).

0.4

Average saturation at breakthrough time could be

0.3 found by continuing the tangent line to the line

0.2 fw=1. According to the Figure 4-17 average water

0.1 saturation at breakthrough time is: ̿̿̿̿̿̿ .

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Water saturation, fraction

and water fractional flow.

The pore volume injected of water (PVI) up to breakthrough time that is equal to the produced oil until

this time (fluids are assumed to be incompressible), could be calculated using either eq. (4-40) or (4-44):

̅̅̅̅̅̅

̅̅̅̅̅̅ ( ) 4-40)

( )

(4-52)

224

(̿̿̿̿̿̿ ) (4-53)

The difference between two results (from eqs (4-52) and (4-53)) is resulted from the graphical reading of

the front saturation and fractional flow. So the water flood recovery at breakthrough time is around

37%.

To calculate oil recovery after breakthrough time when producing WOR is, using the following equation

to convert WOR to fw:

(4-54)

According to Wedge equation, we should pass a tangent through the (fw-Sw) curve at point Sw=0.54,

fw=0.965), see Figure 4-18.

1.00

0.98

Fractional Flow of Water, fw

0.96

0.94

0.92

0.90

0.45 0.50 0.55 0.60 0.65 0.70

Water Saturation, Sw

Figure 4-18 –

The tangent line cut the fw=1 line at Sw = 0.578, which is the average saturation in the medium when Sw

at the producing (end) face is 0.54. Npd could be found using eq. (4-53):

(̿̿̿̿ )

The following calculations are done to find post breakthrough performance:

(4-42)

( )

̅̅̅̅ ̅̅̅̅

225

Using the fractional flow curve and these equations, the following table is generated for saturation

higher than the front saturation (Swf = 0.46):

⁄ ̿̿̿̿ WOR

0.47 0.8668 2.1854 0.4576 0.5310 0.3810 6.5050

0.49 0.9073 1.6538 0.6047 0.5460 0.3960 9.7918

0.52 0.9480 1.0440 0.9578 0.5698 0.4198 18.2301

0.55 0.9724 0.6232 1.6046 0.5943 0.4443 35.1883

0.57 0.9827 0.4275 2.3390 0.6105 0.4605 56.8196

0.59 0.9898 0.2856 3.5012 0.6257 0.4757 97.0241

0.62 0.9962 0.1471 6.7995 0.6458 0.4958 262.0579

0.65 0.9992 0.0615 16.2719 0.6631 0.5131 1239.4319

0.55

Npd, Pore Volume Produced

0.50

0.45

0.40

0.35

0.30

0.00 4.00 8.00 12.00 16.00

Figure 4-19 – dimensionless pore volume oil recovery vs. dimensionless pore volume water injection

226

Example 4-3[48]

Oil is being displaced by water in a horizontal, direct line drive under the diffuse flow condition. The rock

relative permeability functions for water and oil are listed in following table:

Sw krw kro Sw krw kro

0.20 0.000 0.800 0.55 0.100 0.120

0.25 0.002 0.610 0.60 0.132 0.081

0.30 0.009 0.470 0.65 0.170 0.050

0.35 0.020 0.370 0.70 0.208 0.027

0.40 0.033 0.285 0.75 0.251 0.010

0.45 0.051 0.220 0.80 0.300 0.000

0.50 0.075 0.163

⁄ ⁄

Compare the values of the producing watercut (at surface conditions) and the cumulative oil recovery at

breakthrough for the following fluid combinations.

Case Oil Viscosity (cp) Water Viscosity (cp)

1 50 0.5

2 5 0.5

3 0.4 1.0

Assume that the relative permeability and PVT data are relevant for all three cases.

Solution

1) For horizontal flow the fractional flow in the reservoir is

4-5)

⁄

(4-55)

⁄ ⁄

Where the rates are expressed in ⁄ . Combining the above two equations leads to an expression for

the surface watercut as:

4-5)

( )

The fractional flow in the reservoir for the three cases can be calculated as follows:

227

Fractional Flow (fw)

Case 1 Case 2 Case 3

⁄ ⁄ ⁄ ⁄

0.20 0.000 0.800 0 0 0

0.25 0.002 0.610 305.000 0.247 0.032 0.001

0.30 0.009 0.470 52.222 0.657 0.161 0.008

0.35 0.020 0.370 18.500 0.844 0.351 0.021

0.40 0.033 0.285 8.636 0.921 0.537 0.044

0.45 0.051 0.220 4.314 0.959 0.699 0.085

0.50 0.075 0.163 2.173 0.979 0.821 0.155

0.55 0.100 0.120 1.200 0.988 0.893 0.250

0.60 0.132 0.081 0.614 0.994 0.942 0.394

0.65 0.170 0.050 0.294 0.997 0.971 0.576

0.70 0.208 0.027 0.130 0.999 0.987 0.755

0.75 0.251 0.010 0.040 0.999 0.996 0.909

0.80 0.300 0.000 0.000 1.000 1.000 1.000

1

= 0.35

= 0.55

0.8 (Swf, fwf) =

(Swf, fwf) =

(0.80,1)

(0.45,0.7)

Fractional Flow, fw

0.6 (0.297,0.65)

0.4

Case 1

0.2 Case 2

Case 3

0

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9

Water Saturation, Sw

Figure 4-20 - Fractional flow plots for different oil-water viscosity ratios

Fractional flow plots for the three cases are shown in Figure 4-20, and the results obtained by applying

Welge's graphical technique, at breakthrough, are listed in the following table:

Case ̿̿̿̿̿̿

2 0.45 0.85 0.88 0.55 0.35

3 0.80 1.00 1.00 0.80 0.60

228

The results show an increment in breakthrough recovery of water injection process by increasing the

water-oil viscosity ratio ( ⁄ ).

Values of M and Ms for the three cases are listed in the following. Using these data:

Case ⁄

1 100 0.297 0.006 0.520 1.40 37.50

2 10 0.45 0.051 0.220 0.91 3.75

3 0.4 0.80 0.300 0.000 0.15 0.15

Recovery performance of water injection increases by increasing water to oil viscosity ratio, Figure 4-21.

(a)

(b)

Figure 4-21 –(a) Water Saturation Distributions in Systems for Different Oil/Water Viscosity Ratios (b) Areal sweep

efficiency at breakthrough, five-spot pattern (Craig, 1980)

The typical injection/production well configurations and associated flooding patterns are shown in 4-22,

including the five-spot pattern used for the results shown in 4-21.

229

Production Well Injection Well Pattern Boundary

Figure 4-22 - Typical injection/production well configurations and associated flooding patterns

230

Vertical and Volumetric Sweep Efficiencies

Reservoirs are formed over long periods of time in a variety of depositional environments. After

deposition, physical, biological, and chemical reorganization occur. As none of these processes

necessarily occur uniformly in time or space, it is understandable that reservoirs are generally very

heterogeneous. All intensive properties of the reservoir such as permeability, porosity, wettability,

connate water saturation, crude oil properties, and pore size distributions are likely to be non-uniform.

Of these, permeability variations are considered most frequently in the literature. Craig (1980)51 gives a

detailed review of reservoir heterogeneity and considers three general types of reservoir

heterogeneities. These are: areal permeability variations, vertical permeability stratification and

reservoir scale fractures. Others (Allsop, 198852) use alternative terminology: microscopic, mesoscopic,

macroscopic or megascopic heterogeneities.

One consequence of reservoir heterogeneities is that the displacement front of any injected fluid will

move as an irregular front and must be properly considered in reservoir calculations. For instance, a

measure of the uniformity of water invasion is termed vertical sweep efficiency (EI) and is defined as the

cross sectional area enclosed in all layers behind the injected fluid front. As such, the vertical sweep

efficiency is a measure of the two dimensional (i.e. vertical cross-section) effect of reservoir non-

uniformities (Figure 4-23).

The volumetric sweep efficiency, Ev, is a measure of the three-dimensional effect of reservoir

heterogeneities. It is defined as the product of the pattern areal sweep and the vertical sweep as shown

in the following equation:

( )

Where,

areal sweep efficiency,

Ad = area of displacement,

AR = area of reservoir,

= porosity,

S = gas or oil saturation.

51

Craig, F.F., SPE of AIME, 3rd printing, 1980

52

Allsop, H.A., Ph.D. Thesis, University of Waterloo, 1988

231

(a)

(b)

Figure 4-23 - Schematic representation of the two components of the volumetric sweep: (a) areal sweep; (b) vertical sweep

in stratified formation

There are a number of studies in the literature that deal with the effect of gravity forces on

displacement behavior. Emphasis has been given to gravity drainage, i.e. the downward self -

propulsion of oil in the reservoir rock (Lewis, 1944). This phenomenon was studied extensively from

1940 to 1965; results from the first gravity drainage study were presented by Stahl et al. (1943). In this

study, air was used to displace various liquids from a column containing Wilcox Sand. The results

showed the dependence of liquid saturation on column height at both equilibrium and dynamic

conditions. They also showed that the drainage rates were temperature dependent. Lewis (1944) gave

an extensive review of the general aspects of gravity drainage and discussed conditions that favor

gravity drainage. He also reported results from some field studies. Terwilliger et al. (1951) performed

gravity drainage experiments on silica sand using brine and gas. The main difference between the work

of Terwilliger et al. (1951) and that of Stahl et al. (1943) is that Terwilliger et al. (1951) conducted

experiments with continuous production of the wetting phase. Stahl et al. (1943) however, halted the

experiment momentarily for sampling. As a result, the work of Terwilliger et al. (1951) yielded more

typical Buckley-Leverett plots. They applied the Buckley-Leverett approach in order to model their

displacement tests and succeeded in matching their experimental results to this model.

232

Marx (1956) describes a method for predicting the complete gravity drainage characteristics of arbitrary,

long columns from centrifuge drainage measurements on reconstituted core samples. Marx claims that

oil residuals corresponding to hundreds of years of normal gravity depletion can be obtained in a few

hours on the centrifuge. The flow rate due to gravity at any stage of the depletion process may be

determined from the time correlation obtained in this study.

Craig et al. (1957) used scaled reservoir models to study gravity segregation in frontal drives. The scaling

criteria were as follows:

( ) ( ) 4-56)

( )

4-57)

( )

(4-58)

(4-59)

( )

Where,

= linear injection rate,

= length,

= thickness,

= density difference

kx, ky = effective permeabilities,

d = fluid viscosities,

= interfacial tension,

= contact angle,

g = gravitational constant,

Ra = directional permeability constant,

Rb = mobility ratio,

Rc = viscous to capillary forces constant,

Rd = viscous to gravity forces constant.

The tests included unconsolidated and consolidated media in either a five spot pattern or linear pattern

and variable length. Unconsolidated stratified systems were also used. In these studies, the

233

experiments were discontinued after breakthrough of the injected fluid. From this Craig et al. (1957)

concluded:

For linear gas or water injection operation in flat formations of uniform rock texture,

segregation of the fluids, due to gravity effects, can result in oil recoveries at

breakthrough as low as twenty percent of those otherwise expected.

In five spot injection operations in flat uniform systems, the oil recoveries at

breakthrough can be as low as forty percent of those predicted by methods that

assume negligible gravity effects.

In secondary recovery operations in stratified rock formations, the oil recovery at

breakthrough may be affected to a greater degree by fluid segregation due to

variations in rock properties, rather than by gravity effects.

The magnitude of segregation of the fluids due to gravity is influenced by the average

injection rate, rather than day-to-day or week-to-week variations.

Hovanessian and Fayers (1961) used a finite difference approach to solve the one-dimensional

displacement equation for a homogeneous porous medium, including the effects of gravity and capillary

forces. The authors state that the inclusion of capillary effects eliminates the triple valued Buckley-

Leverett saturation profiles.

Templeton et al. (1962) examined the gravity counter-flow segregation in a closed system. They

completed immiscible displacement studies in glass beads and tried to calculate relative permeabilities

by applying Darcy's law. Moreover, they observed saturation distributions as a function of time with a

method similar to the one of Terwilliger et al. (1951). They concluded that Darcy's equations, if

modified for the separate phases, are generally valid for counter-flow due to density differences.

Cook (1962) performed a mathematical analysis of gravity segregation process during natural depletion

conditions. He developed and solved the differential equations for two types of flows: 1) A "distributed

flow" where vertical permeability in the reservoir is zero and fluids flow only in the dip direction while

uniformly distributed over a hypothetical sand thickness, and 2) A "segregated flow" where vertical

permeability is sufficient to permit gas to segregate against the sand top before proceeding up dip.

Gardner et al. (1962) performed a series of experiments on gravity segregation of miscible fluids in

linear models with both rectangular and circular cross-sections. They concluded that:

• A sharp interface between fluids with different densities and different viscosities moving in a closed

horizontal linear model tends to become straight and tilts in accordance with the following equation:

( )

( ) (4-60)

( )

4-61)

4-62)

234

Where,

x = distance of leading edge of the viscous fluid from initial position of the interface,

t = time measured from the instant when the interface is perpendicular to the length of the model,

kH = permeability of the model in x and y directions,

kv = permeability of the model in the z direction,

= fluid viscosity,

av = average viscosity [(1 + 2) / 2],

= density,

= density difference,

h = height of rectangular models or diameter of cylindrical models.

Their experiments indicated that the effect of diffusion becomes significant, starting from a sharp

interface, when the following is true,

4-63)

Where,

De = effective diffusion coefficient of fluid = 0.95 x 10-5 cm2/s,

b = width of rectangular models.

• The effect of gravity on the displacement of a fluid from a horizontal linear model by a fluid of equal

viscosity but different density is described by the following equation:

4-64)

Where,

U = total fluid flow,

= distance from outlet to initial position of interface,

Ebt = breakthrough efficiency (volume of original fluid recovered at the breakthrough divided by the

volume of the injected fluid).

• When steady-state circulation is established in a closed vertical model, the advance of the more

viscous fluid is given by the equation given below. However, the measured velocity may be influenced

by fluid mixing.

(4-65)

235

• The maximum stabilized zone length in an inclined model is 2xcrsin, where is the inclination of the

x-axis with the horizontal and xcr is the critical distance. The stabilized zone length may exceed the

minimum by a substantial amount if the initial interface is sharp.

• When calculating the effect of diffusion, the three-dimensional nature of the motion can be an

important factor. This is of particular importance when the height is small compared to the width

(presumably always true in radial systems).

Slobad and Howlett (1964) examined the effects of gravity segregation in laboratory studies of miscible

displacement in vertical unconsolidated porous media. Fluids of varying viscosity and density were

injected into the top of the core and moved at constant rates of twenty-five, fifty or one hundred feet

per day using a positive displacement pump. The refractive index was measured to determine the

composition of the efflux. The following cases were examined:

1. 1/2 favourable, favourable

2. 1/2 favourable, unfavourable

3. 1/2 unfavourable, favourable

4. /2 unfavourable, unfavourable

They conducted their experiments in a vertical core of unconsolidated sand, measuring four feet in

length and two inches in diameter ( = 0.37, k = 18 Darcies), and they demonstrated the effects of the

four cases on the mixing zone length. They also discussed the effect of other parameters on the mixing

zone length, including: molecular diffusion, permeability variations, convective mixing, and fingering and

adverse gravity segregation. For their system, they showed the length of the mixing zone can be as

short as 0.06 - 0.07 PV under favorable conditions. It was found that gravity will tend to increase the

length of the mixing zone under favorable density conditions. In the case of a favorable viscosity ratio

(viscosity of displaced fluid less than viscosity of displacing fluid) a favorable density difference was

found to reduce the mixing zone length and with sufficient time, allowed gravity segregation to sharpen

the zone. When the viscosity ratio was unfavorable the mixing zones were longer due to fingering, while

favorable density differences drastically reduced the mixing zone length. Overall, the mixing zone was

found to be a function of the relative magnitude of the viscous forces to the gravity forces.

Hiatt (1968) outlined a general fluid displacement equation for two-phase, incompressible vertical flow

through porous media and discussed the effect of fluid drive, gravity and capillary pressure. The

equations of this report are not mathematically solved and the results are not verified experimentally.

Thompson and Mungan (1969) performed miscible displacement tests on artificially fractured

sandstones in order to examine the effect of various reservoir and process parameters on oil recovery.

They discussed the importance of sub-vertical fractures, matrix permeability, displacement rate and

fracture density in oil recovery and they stated that the magnitude of the fractured permeability, the

fracture orientation, the core length and the connate water have little effect on the process.

Sheffield (1969) used matrix techniques and computer algorithms to solve the differential equations for

one and two-dimensional reservoir performance predictions with all forces present. He did not provide

236

any experimental support for his results. Kuo et al. (1970) gave a theoretical prediction of oil production

by gravity drainage for a steam soak process. However, their results were not experimentally verified.

Spivak (1974) used a reservoir simulator to examine the effect of gravity segregation in two-phase

displacement processes. His work dealt with a wide variety of problems but it also lacked experimental

verification.

Dumore and Schols (1974) performed capillary pressure experiments in order to examine whether

mercury porosimetry curves can be transformed to drainage capillary pressure curves. They found that

with the aid of measured surface tension, permeability and porosity, various fluid combinations could

give a unique dimensionless capillary pressure curve. They also found that the mercury-air interfacial

tension is time dependent. For both capillary drainage and gravity drainage they observed the

following:

The presence of connate water in the permeable medium led to very low residual oil

saturations in the rock-gas-oil systems used by the authors.

The low oil saturations obtained were independent of whether or not the oil phase

spreads on water in the presence of gas.

The drainage rate of oil in the presence of connate water and gas is possibly film flow,

after the relatively short period in which the main oil production occurs.

The contribution of film flow to oil production in secondary gas caps is thought to be

generally negligible in the lifetime of the reservoir. It may play a role, however, when

film flow takes place over short distances in very permeable rock. In primary gas caps,

very low oil saturation may occur where film flow of oil may have been active for

geological periods of time,

Lefebvre Du Prey (1978) examined gravity and capillary effects on imbibition in porous media. He used a

scale-up procedure and expressed his results as functions of the scale-up parameters.

Hagoort (1980) stated that gravity drainage could be a very effective way of production. In his

theoretical discussion he covered the importance of relative permeability to oil. Additionally, he

performed relative permeability studies in a centrifuge in order to get an exact representation of field

conditions.

Joshi and Threlkeld (1985) conducted an experimental study of a thermally aided gravity drainage

mechanism using a horizontal well. The laboratory apparatus was a glass bead packed rectangular box

with one transparent wall, allowing for flow visualization. For comparison reasons, various

combinations of vertical and horizontal wells were tested. Results indicated that the horizontal well pair

(both injecting and producing wells being horizontal) yielded maximum oil recovery. Their experimental

data was used to justify the theoretical and experimental work of Butler et al. (1981) and Butler and

Stephens (1981) where steam was used to assist the gravity drainage of heavy oil. The temperature

distribution in steam-assisted gravity drainage using horizontal wells was also investigated in this work

and by Chung and Butler (1988).

237

Coning53

One important example of interface encroachment is the local deformation of the interface (G/O or

O/W) near a producing well. Draw off caused by a pressure difference between the well and the

interface caused the interface to be distorted and to approach the well. If the well is in production and

the medium is homogeneous and isotropic, then the flow follows symmetry of revolution. However, if

the flow is not exactly radial-cylindrical and the well is not perforated along the entire thickness of the

bed, then the stream lines in the lower portion of the bed straighten upwards to reach the base of the

well (O/W interface). This upward flow of the oil and water distorts the water/oil contact surface, which

then assumes a roughly conical shape. Several types of coning can occur according to the input and

distribution conditions of the fluids. Figure 4-24 illustrates the two main types: bottom coning and edge

coning.

(a) (b)

Figure 4-24 – a) Bottom coning at oil-water or gas-oil contact, b) Edge coning at oil-water or gas-oil contact

Figure 4-25 shows a borehole that has been drilled to depth, hp, in a layer of thickness, H. This layer is

impregnated with oil to height, ho, and by water to height (H - ho). The ratio hp/ho is the penetration of

the borehole. The greater the draw off effect of the well, i.e. the greater the penetration and flow rate,

the higher the "cone". Conversely, gravitational forces exert a stabilizing effect.

Infra-Critical Flow

For a set of given values of the parameters shown in Figure 4-25, and if the flow rate is sufficiently low

with respect to penetration, the cone will form a fixed surface in space. Such a cone is stable and does

53

Cossé, R., Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1993.

238

not reach the base of the perforations. Also, no water encroachment occurs in the well shown in Figure

4-25. Note that at critical flow a further increase in pressure differential will not increase the flow rate.

Supercritical Flow

This section includes only a discussion of bottom coning as edge coning requires very complex analysis

and is studied by simulation. Investigations conducted by Bournazel and Jeanson (IFP) clarify the

correlations established by Sobocinsky (Esso) concerning bottom coning. The critical flow rate is given

by the following equation, in US field units (barrels per day, pounds per cubic foot, millidarcys, feet,

centipoise):

( )

4-66)

Where,

= 1.15x10-5 (Bournazel and Jeanson correlation results).

If metric units are used, = 1.52x10-3 and = 1.24x10-3, respectively.

This formula is derived from the expression of the forces in Figure 4-25:

( )

( )

With,

The coefficient is obtained from an average correlation including ln(R/rw) and the partial penetration

effect. It is important to note that the critical flow rate is dependent on the horizontal permeability kh.

Additionally, the well results often give a critical flow rate higher than the one given by this equation.

This is partly a result of the assumption that the formation of the cone is considered “statically" whereas

the vertical movement of water also occurs, and partly because little is known about the permeabilities,

kh and kv, near the well.

239

Bournazel's study also provided a methodology to calculate the breakthrough time and the change in

the WOR after breakthrough, and that the WOR reaches a limit for horizontal input and steady-state

flow.

Although coning has been investigated methodically since the 1950's, it is so complex and unstable that

two basic questions remain unanswered:

1. How to drill a well subject to coning?

2. What is the correct production rate?

Controversies exist on these subjects. The cautious solution involves perforating over a short stretch of

pay zone and adopting a low flow rate to delay the arrival of the undesirable fluid at the well for as long

as possible. This method is adopted if Qo it is not much higher than Qc, see (1) in Figure 4-26.

From this standpoint, it would be better to avoid drilling a well crossing the O/W, G/O or G/W interfaces

with a large thickness of undesirable fluid.

However, the more recent "full pot" solution involves perforating widely and withdrawing at maximum

flow rate (see (2) in Figure 4-26), with considerable production of the second fluid, if the second fluid is

mostly comprised of water. In fact, at largely supercritical conditions, the final recovery can be

improved with high flow rates.

It should be added that empirical laws serve to make production forecasts for coning in supercritical

conditions after breakthrough. Included are the methods of Hutchinson and Henley, who established

correlations between recovery and WOR as a function of the mobility ratio, the estimated recovery area

and the penetration or the flow rate.

However, numerical models adapted for coning are widely employed to simulate these problems. A

vertical subdivision is used to represent the horizontal and vertical permeability variations of the

reservoir, providing a better approximation of the potential results. Also, various assumptions regarding

heterogeneities serve to achieve some sensitivity in the results.

Studies are also under way to prevent water influxes by injecting polymers that are designed to plug the

water influx zones.

240

References

Buckley, S.E. and Leverett, M.C., Trans AIME, 146, 107-116, 1942.

Butler, R.M., McNab, G.S., and Lo, H.Y., Can J. of Chem. Eng., 59, 455, 1981.

Butler, R.M. and Stephens, D.J., J. Can. Pet. T., 59, 90, 1981.

Chung, K.H. and Butler, R.M., J. Can. Pet. T., 28(1), 36, 1988.

Craig F.F., Sanderlin, J.L., Moore, D.W. and Geffen, T.M., Petr. Trans. AIME, 210, 275, 1957.

Dumore’, J.M. and Schols, R.S., Soc. Pet. Eng. J., 14, 437, 1974.

Forrest, F. and Craig, J.R., Monograph 3, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Dallas, TX 1971.

Gardner, G.H.F., Downie, J. and Kendall, H.A., Soc. Pet. Eng. J., 2, 95, 1962.

Hovanessian, S.A. and Fayers, F.J., Soc. Pet. Eng. J., 1, 32, 1961.

Joshi, S.D. and Threlkeld, C.B., AOSTRA Jour. of Res., 2(1), 1985.

Kuo, C.H., Shain, S.A. and Phocas, D.M., Soc. Pet. Eng. J., 10, 119, 1970.

Lefebvre Du Prey, E., Soc. Pet. Eng. J., 18, 195, 1978.

Slobad, R.L. and Howlett, W.E., Soc. Pet. Eng. J., 4, 1, 1964.

Stahl, R.F., Martin, W.A. and Huntington, R.L., Trans. AIME, 151, 138, 1943.

Templeton, E.E., Neilsen, R.F. and Stahl, C.D., Soc. Pet. Eng. J., 2, 185, 1961.

Terwilliger, P.L., Wilsey, L.E., Hall, H.N. and Bridges, P.M., Petr. Trans. AIME, 192, 285, 1951.

Thompson, J.L. and Mungan, N., Soc. Pet. Eng. J., 9, 247, 1969.

241

242

5 . C H A P T E R 5

Miscible Displacement

Introduction

In an immiscible displacement process, such as water flooding, the microscopic displacement efficiency,

eq. (5-1), is generally much less than unity.

(5-1)

Where,

Initial oil saturation,

Residual oil saturation after immiscible displacement,

Microscopic displacement efficiency

Part of the crude oil in places contacted by the displacing fluid is trapped as isolated drops, stringers, or

pendular rings, depending on the wettability. At this condition relative permeability to oil would be

almost zero and no more oil will be produced by continuing displacing fluid injection. In this situation

capillary pressure prevent the oil drops to move and pass through constrictions in the pore passages.

This limitation to oil recovery may be overcome by the application of miscible displacement processes in

which the displacing fluid is miscible with the displaced fluid at the condition existing at the interface

between the displaced and displacing fluids two fluids that mix together in all proportions within a single

fluid phase are miscible. If the two fluids do not mix in all proportions to form a single phase, the

process will be immiscible54. Most practical miscible agents exhibit only partial miscibility toward the

crude oil itself, so some times “solvent flooding” term is used instead of “miscible flooding”. It should be

mentioned that there is difference between “miscibility” and “solubility”. In contrast to the “miscibility”,

“solubility” is defined as the ability of a limited amount of one substance to mix with another substance

to form a single homogeneous phase while miscibility is defined as the ability of two or more substances

to form a single homogeneous phase when mixed in all proportions.

The physics of miscible and immiscible displacement are significantly different. Therefore, different

factors dominate these displacements at the pore level, and different phenomena are considered in

modeling them.

In immiscible displacements in porous media an interface separates the fluids. One fluid is never

completely displaced by another, immiscible fluid. There will be irreducible or residual saturations after

the displacement has reached steady state. Typical oil residual in displacements by water (Sorw) can be

25-40% of the original oil in place (OOIP). In a capillary system, such as a porous medium, the interfacial

tensions associated with the immiscible fluid interfaces play a significant role in determining the fluid

54

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243

distributions within the porous medium, as covered under the subject of capillarity. The displacement

front in an immiscible displacement will be sharper at higher flow rates, or when capillary forces are

neglected. On the other hand, in a miscible displacement, no interface exists between miscible fluids of

different composition. In the absence of fluid/fluid interfaces, capillary forces are absent. Steady state is

reached when one fluid has completely displaced the other fluid; the concept of irreducible or residual

saturations does not apply. This means that by using miscible displacement process we could achieve

very high “pore scale” recovery efficiencies. Once the solvent front has moved through a volume of the

porous medium containing the original oil, little to no residual oil is left behind.

Miscible displacement can be used as a secondary recovery process just after primary recovery of the oil

or as a tertiary recovery method at the end of water injection process.

The main oil recovery mechanisms during miscible flood are extraction, dissolution, vaporization,

solubilization, condensation, or other phase behavior change involving the crude oil, viscosity

reduction, oil swelling and solution gas drive, but the primary mechanism must be extraction55.

In practice, solvents that are miscible with crude oil are more expensive than water or dry gas, so

instead of continues solvent injection a slug of the solvent (such as LPG56 ), with a size of approximately

5% of reservoir pore volume is injected that is followed by a larger volume of a less expensive fluid

(chase fluid), such as water or a lean or flue gas (Figure 5-1). To have an efficient displacement of the

primary (solvent) slug, ideally this secondary slug should be miscible with the primary (solvent) slug. To

improve the overall sweep efficiency by LPG process, the hydrocarbon slug I displaced by altering the

chase gas with water slug and finally with continuous water injection (Figure 5-1)

LPG (Primary Slug)

LPG & Lean Gas

(Miscible Zone)

(Miscible zone)

Chase Gas

Chase Gas

Oil Bank

Water

Water

(a)

Connate Water

Flood Direction

LPG (Primary Slug)

Residual oil

LPG & Lean Gas

(Miscible Zone)

(Miscible zone)

Chase Gas

Chase Gas

Oil Bank

Water

Water

Injected water

(b) from water

flooding

Connate Water

Flood Direction

55

“Enhanced Oil Recovery”, L. W. Lake, 1989

56

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

244

The miscible displacement process can be classified as first-contact miscible (FCM) or multi-contact

miscible (MCM) on the basis of the manner that miscibility developed. In FCM the injected solvent forms

only a single phase upon first contact when mixed in all proportion with the crude oil, propane injection

is a sample of this process. In the MCM process (dynamic miscibility) miscible conditions are developed

in situ through composition alteration of the injected fluid or crude oil (by in situ mass transfer) as the

fluid move through the reservoir. These processes are categorized into:

- Vaporizing lean gas drive, also called ‘high pressure lean gas injection’,

- Condensing rich gas drive,

- Combined vaporizing-condensing drive.

The high pressure gas and the enriched gas drive are member of the MCM process.

Various gases and liquids are suitable for use as miscible displacement agents in either FCM or MCM

processes. These include low-molecular weight hydrocarbons, organic alcohols, ketones, refined

hydrocarbons, condensed petroleum gas (LPG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), carbon dioxide, air,

nitrogen, exhaust gas, flue gas and mixture of these.

It should be mentioned that because there is only one phase in the miscible region, the wettability of

the rock and relative permeability lose their importance since there is no interface between fluids.

However the mobility ratio, which is defined as the viscosity ratio between miscible solution and the

displaced oil, has a significant effect on the recovery efficiency.

For a miscible flood to be economically successful in a given reservoir several conditions must be

satisfied57:

- An adequate volume of solvent must be available at a rate and cost that will allow favorable

economics,

- The reservoir pressure for miscibility between solvent and reservoir oil must be attainable,

- Incremental oil recovery must be sufficiently large and timely for project economics to

compensate for the associated added cost.

57

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245

FLUID PHASE BEHAVIOR

Various methods exist to represent the vapor-liquid phase behavior of multicomponent systems. These

methods include the use of pressure-temperature, pressure-composition, and ternary diagrams that

provide a convenient way to present the boundaries of the single and multiphase regions typically

determined from experimental data or from calculation with an EOS.

Figure 5-2 shows a P-T diagram for a pure component. The line connecting the triple point and critical

points is the vapor pressure curve; the extension below the triple point is sublimation point. As this

figure shows in pure materials, by decreasing the pressure at a fixed temperature, phase change

happens just at a point (vapor pressure curve is a line). According to Figure 5-2, the phase boundary

between liquid and gas does not continue indefinitely. Instead, it terminates at a point on the phase

diagram called the critical point. This reflects the fact that, at extremely high temperatures and

pressures, the liquid and gaseous phases become indistinguishable.

The phase behavior of a multi-component system is more elaborate than that of a pure compound. the

complexity generally compounds as components with widely different structure and molecular sizes

comprise the system. Reservoir fluids are mainly composed of hydrocarbons with similar structure so

their phase behavior is not generally highly complex. Figure 5-3 shows an idealized P-T diagram for a

multi component with a fixed overall composition. As it shows, there is a transition zone between the

complete liquid phase and complete vapor phase. In other words in contrast to the pure substance,

phase change from liquid to vapor happens, by decreasing the pressure at a fixed temperature, on a

line. So there is a region that two phases are at equilibrium. Two phases region that is bounded by the

bubble point and dew point curves is called “phase envelope”. The bubble point and dew point curves

meet at the critical point. Two phases can exist at a pressure greater than critical pressure and at a

temperature greater than critical temperature, unlike a pure component system. Cricondonbar for a

multicomponent system is defined as the maximum pressure that two phases (vapor-liquid) can exist in

equilibrium and cricondontherm is the maximum temperature that two phases can exist in equilibrium.

246

Figure 5-3 shows the general behavior for a fixed composition of a system consisting of two or more

components. If the composition were changed then the position of the phase envelope on the P-T plot

would shift.

Cricondenbar

Critical Press., Pc

Figure 5-4.a shows the phase diagram of Ethane-normal Heptane system. As it shows, the critical

temperature of different mixtures lies between the critical temperatures of the two pure components.

The critical pressure, however, exceeds the values of both components as pure, in most cases. The locus

of critical or “plait” points is shown by the dashed line (Figure 5-4.a). The difference between the critical

pressure of two components system and each pure component critical pressure increases by increasing

the difference between the critical points of the two pure components (Figure 5-4.b). No binary mixture

can exist as a two-phase system outside the region bounded by the locus of critical points.

(a) (b)

Figure 5-4 – (a). Phase diagram of ethane-normal heptane58, (b) Critical loci for binary mixtures

58

“PVT and Phase Behavior of Petroleum Reservoir Fluids”, A. Danesh, 2003

247

Extracted data from the graphs such as Figure 5-4 indicate conditions at which mixture of binary pairs

are miscible. To have a miscibility of two compounds of ethane and normal pentane with any

composition, at each temperature the pressure should be higher than the pressure indicated by the

locus of critical pressure line for that specific temperature. At lower pressure there are possible

concentrations at which the system will separate into two phases. So a minimum miscible pressure for

each temperature could be determined according to graph’s data such as Figure 5-4. For systems

containing a large number of components no maps of critical points are available.

Example 5-1[50]

A FCM miscible displacement is to be designed in which a slug of butane is the primary displacing

solvent. The butane slug is to be displaced by dry gas consisting essentially of methane. Assume that the

crude oil could be represented by n-decane. The reservoir conditions are 160oF and 2500 psi. Use Figure

5-4.b to determine whether miscible conditions would exist at the front and back of the solvent (butane)

slug. Is the miscible condition would be exist at p=1500 psi and T=160oF?

Solution

The primary slug is butane displacing oil. Refer to Figure 5-4.a. the locus of critical points for C4-C10 is

not given, however at 160oF and 2500 psi C4 and C10 are in liquid state. C4 and C10 will be miscible. The

secondary slug is methane displacing butane. In Figure 5-4.a at 160oF, a pressure of 2600 psi is well

above the locus of critical points for C1-C4 mixtures. Therefore C1 and C4 will be miscible. So at 160oF

and P=2500 psi proposed displacement will be miscible at both the leading and trailing edges.

If the reservoir pressure was 1500 psi then the displacement of butane by methane would be at

conditions below the critical locus. At this condition, at some points in the process two phases would

form and the dry gas would displace butane immiscibility at reduced microscopic displacement

efficiency. So some amount of the butane may be bypassed during the displacement by dry gas and

trapped in the reservoir. This would result in a relatively rapid degradation of the integrity of the

primary butane slug and drastically influence oil production.

Pressure-composition diagram

Pressure-composition diagram is another way to present the phase behavior information. Usually the

composition is expressed as a mole fraction of the more volatile component (Figure 5-5).

248

T = 90oF

T = 140oF

P T = 200oF

T = 260oF

25 50 75 100

Figure 5-5 – Typical P-X diagram for the Methane-normal Butane system.

For a binary system at temperature higher than the critical temperature of volatile component, two

phases do not form over all compositions of the more volatile component. For the system that shown in

Figure 5-5 at 90oF two phases are not formed above the methane composition of about 90%. The

composition of methane above which only one phase exists decease with increasing temperature. The

p-x diagram also shows the cricondenbar pressure for each temperature. For each temperature

cricondenbar is the maximum pressure that two phases can exist. Above this pressure all methane-

ethane mixtures will be a single phase, in other words complete miscibility exist. Figure 5-6 presents a p-

x diagram for a three components system consisting of methane, n-butane and decane at a fixed

temperature of 160oF59. The graph is pressure versus mol% of methane adding to the reservoir mixture

containing methane, butane, and decane. A single phase exists above the phase-boundary line, while

two phases exist below this line. Miscibility condition of added methane (C1) and reservoir fluid could be

find from the graph. For example, if incremental amounts of C1 were added to the reservoir fluid at a

constant pressure of 2000 psia and temperature of 160oF, the mixture of fluid would be single phase as

long as the concentration of added C1 was less than about 25 mol%. Further C1 addition would cause a

gas phase separates from the liquid phase. However miscibility would be reached if the concentration of

added C1 exceeds about 97%. At low-gas concentration end, gas goes into solution in the liquid, while at

the high-gas concentration end, the liquid is vaporized into the gas. If the pressure on the system were

raised to a value equal or higher than cricondenbar pressure, then addition of C1 to the reservoir fluid

would not cause two phases to form and the gas C1 and reservoir fluid would be single phase over all

possible concentration of added C1.

59

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249

Figure 5-6 – Pressure-composition diagram for mixture of C1 with a liquid mixture of C1-nC4-C10

Adding some heavier hydrocarbons, such as C4, to the injected gas causes shifting down the

cricondenbar. So miscibility condition reaches at lower pressure.

Ternary diagram:

Ternary or triangular phase diagrams can be used to plot the phase behavior of systems consisting of

three components by outlining the composition regions on the plot where different phases exist. The

advantage of using a ternary plot for depicting compositions is that three variables can be conveniently

plotted in a two-dimensional graph and mixture of different components can be easily represented. A

ternary diagram for hypothetical components A, B and C is shown in Figure 5-7.The phase behavior on

ternary diagram is plotted at fixed pressure and temperature and If these three components were

miscible at that special temperature and pressure then no multiphase region would appear on the

diagram. Every point on a ternary plot represents a different combination of the three components.

Compositions could be represented in ternary diagram as weight, mole or volume percentage. The

volume percentage is used only when there is not significant volume change during the mixing. The

vertexes represent the pure components, and the sides of equilateral triangle are scaled to represent

the binary compositions of the three possible pairs.

There are three common methods used to determine the ratios of the three species in the composition.

The first method is an estimation based upon the phase diagram grid. The concentration of each species

is 100% (pure phase) in its corner of the triangle and 0% at the line opposite it. The percentage of a

specific species decreases linearly with increasing distance from this corner, as seen in Figure 5-7. By

drawing parallel lines at regular intervals between the zero line and the corner (Figure 5-7.a), fine

divisions can be established for easy estimation of the content of a species. For a given point, the

fraction of each of the three materials in the composition can be determined by the first. For phase

diagrams that do not possess gridlines, the easiest way to determine the composition is to set the

altitude of the triangle to 100% (that is equal to the sum of all altitudes from the mixture point to three

sides) and determine the shortest distances from the point of interest to each of the three sides. The

distances (the ratios of the distances to the total height of 100%) give the content of each of the species,

250

as shown in Figure 5-7.b. The third method is based upon a larger number of measurements, but does

not require the drawing of perpendicular lines. Straight lines are drawn from each corner, through the

point of interest, to the corresponding side of the triangle. The lengths of these lines, as well as the

lengths of the segments between the point and the corresponding sides, are measured individually.

Ratios can then be determined by dividing these segments by the entire corresponding line, by the so-

called inverse-lever-arm rule, as shown in the Figure 5-7.c.

In Figure 5-7.c, point M is a mixture of ( ) of component ‘B’ and (1- ) of binary mixture ‘b’ of ‘A’ and

‘C’. These 3 rules could be applied to the combination of any two mixtures represented on the ternary.

Figure 5-8 shows two different mixtures represented by M1 and M2. Any mixture of M1 and M2 would

be along line ̅̅̅̅̅̅̅̅̅ . The point representing the composition of the final mixture would again be

determined by applying the inverse-lever-arm rule along the line.

251

Weight% in

Component

mixtur (M)

(a) A 50

B 30

C 20

Weight% in

Component

c mixture (M)

b ̅̅̅̅

A

M ̅̅̅̅ ̅̅̅̅ ̅̅̅̅

(b)

̅̅̅̅

B

̅̅̅̅ ̅̅̅̅ ̅̅̅̅

̅̅̅̅

C

̅̅̅̅ ̅̅̅̅ ̅̅̅̅

B C

a

Weight% in

c b Component

mixture(M)

M ̅̅̅̅

A

̅̅̅̅

(c)

̅̅̅̅

B

̅̅̅̅

̅̅̅̅

C

̅̅̅

B C

a

Figure 5-7 – Ternary phase diagram for a system consisting of components A, B, and C which are miscible in all

proportions

252

Phase relationship may also be represented on a triangular phase diagram Figure 5-11. The diagram

shows the phase condition at equilibrium at constant pressure and temperature. The plot is typical for

hydrocarbon systems in which vapor-liquid equilibrium exists over regions of the concentration domain.

Example 5-2[50]

Figure 5-9.a shows the phase behavior of mixtures of chemicals A, B and C. the diagram is on the pound

mass basis and for a fixed T and P. three different mixtures of components A, B and C are contained in

three vessels as shown in Figure 5-9.b. The contents of three vessels are mixed together in forth vessel,

which is held at the P and T corresponding to the ternary diagram. Describe the resulting mixture as

follows:

a) Find the final mixture composition, and show the overall composition on the diagram,

b) Indicate whether the final mixture is one phase or two phase at specified T and P,

c) If the mixture is two phase, specify the composition and amount of each phase.

#1 #2 #3

1.0 lbm 1.0 lbm 2.0 lbm

85% A 60% A 0% A

5% B 30% B 0% B

10% C 10% C 100% C

(a) (b)

Figure 5-9 – Example 5-2 a) Ternary diagram, b) Chemicals to be mixed

Solution

For the first step we should determine the mass of each components (A,B, and C) in each vessel using

the composition and mass of the chemicals. Table 5-1 contains the results for this step and sample

calculation:

253

Table 5-1 – Composition calculation, example 5-2.

Component

A B C

Chemical

#1 0.85 * 1 = 0.85 lbm 0.05 lbm 0.10 lbm

#2 0.60 lbm 0.30 lbm 0.10 lbm

#3 0.00 lbm 0.00 lbm 2.00 lbm

[[

Final Mixture 0.85 + 0.60 + 0.00 = 1.45 lbm 0.35 lbm 2.20 lbm

To find the composition of the final mixture, mass of each component should be divided by total mass:

Using methods explained before (Figure 5-7), the final mixture could be shown in the diagram:

The composition of the final mixture located in

the two phase region of the diagram.

V

To find the amount of each phase using the

lever law:

Final Mixture

methods explained in Figure 5-7:

A B C

L

Vapor (V)

9% B 55% A Liquid (L)

Figure 5-10 – Liquid vapour phase diagram for example 5-2.

Reservoir fluids are complex mixture of hydrocarbons with components ranging from methane to C40+. In

miscible displacement process a fluid miscible with the fluid reservoir during FCM or MCM process. This

injected fluid alters thermodynamic properties of the reservoir fluid by changing the chemical

composition of the reservoir fluid. Rigorous thermodynamic analysis needs identification of all chemical

constitutes and their composition. But it is not practical. The experiences have shown that complex

hydrocarbon systems can be represented with groups of hydrocarbons that preserve many of the

important properties of the system. The combined groups of the hydrocarbons are called

254

“pseudocomponents”. A decomposition of crude oil into CH4-N2, C2-C6, and C7+ components is a common

example of “pseudocomponents”. A typical representation of miscible displacement process is a

“pseudoternary” diagram with C1, C2-C6, and C7+as pseudocomponents as shown in Figure 5-11.b.

generally possible grouping that is used frequently includes the following mixed components:

- The first component represents a volatile pseudo component and most of the times contains C1,

N2, CO2,

- The second pseudocomponent is a mixture of intermediate hydrocarbon components such as C2

through C6, sometimes CO2 is grouped in this group.

- The last group is essentially C7+ fraction of the reservoir hydrocarbon.

An important assumption in using pseudocomponents and a pseudoternary diagram is that the

composition of the pseudocomponents does not change in the different phases.

Within the two phases region there are tie lines whose ends represents the composition of equilibrium

phases (Figure 5-11). Tie lines length shrinks toward the critical (plait) point where the properties of two

phases are indistinguishable. The position of plait point changes with temperature at a fixed pressure.

As Figure 5-11.b shows, all composition represented by points (M1-M5) inside the two-phase envelop

would separate into two phases (V1-V5 as vapor and L1-L5 as liquid), the relative amount of two phases

can be calculated using inverse-lever-arm rule. The points outside the two phase envelop are

representative of a single phase composition. The critical tie line is the fictitious tie line tangent to the

bimodal curve at the critical point. The critical tie line is the limiting case of the actual tie line as the plait

point is approached.

A C1

T = constant

P = constant

Two phase V1 V2 V3

Two phase region Critical or Plait Critical Tie Line

region V4

point

Immiscible V5

Tie lines Critical Point

M2 One phase

M3 M4

M5 region

2-Phase envelope Miscible

L1 L5

L3

B C C7+ C2-C6

(b). Pseudoternary diagram

with limited miscibility

As the pressure increases, the two phase region shrinks, or in other words light-heavy miscibility

increases (Figure 5-12). No general statement is possible about the effect of temperature though the

two phase region generally growth with increasing temperature.

255

C1 C1 C1

Two phase Two phase

region region

Immiscible Immiscible

region region

Miscible

Miscible Miscible

with all

proportion

A

As mentioned in Error! Reference source not found., in ternary

Two phase

region

iagram the mixture results of any combination of two components

Immiscible M1 will lie on a straight line connecting two components to each other.

One phase According to this, Figure 5-13 shows that any combination of

region components A and C, and any combination of B and C, form a single

Miscible

phase, in other word in this specific pressure and temperature A and

M2 C, B and C are miscible. A and B are not miscible because the straight

M3

B line between them pass through the two phase region, so mixing

C

them with especial compositions will end with a two phase mixture.

Figure 5-13 – Determination of And with the same manner M1 and M2 are miscible the same as M2

miscible condition from ternary and M3. But M3 and M1 are not miscible, because straight line

diagram.

between them passes through the two phase region (Figure 5-13).

Two fluid phases are said to be first contact miscible (FCM) if, when mixed together in any proportion at

given conditions, they form a single phase. In oil field practice a FCM process normally consists of

injecting a relatively small primary slug that is miscible with the reservoir oil, followed by injection of a

larger, less expensive secondary slug. Economic issues determined the primary slug size. To avoid

trapping of the injected solvent in the reservoir the secondary slug tried to be miscible with the solvent

in the first slug. Therefore phase behavior should be attended for the leading and trailing edges of the

primary slug. Ternary diagram could be used to illustrate FCM, MCM and immiscibility condition. If a

straight line dilution path between the solvent and the crude does not intersect the two-phase region,

the displacement will consist of a single hydrocarbon phase that change in composition from reservoir

oil to solvent through the solvent oil mixing zone. There is a range of solvent composition that will be

first contact miscible with the crude at specific temperature and pressure (Figure 5-14).

256

C1

D

Two phase envelop

P=P1

A

Two phase envelop

P = P2 > P1

B

Range of solvent composition to have FCM with reservoir oil at P=P1

C7+ C2-C6

Figure 5-14 – First Contact Miscibility.

First contact miscibility can be achieved for highly rich gas, or at very high pressure for lean gas. As

Figure 5-14 shows, higher-molecular-weight hydrocarbons, such as propane or LPG, are miscible with

crude oil, at most reservoir conditions. Reservoir porous medium could be assumed as a series of finite

well-mixed cells. Figure 5-15 typically illustrate the miscible and immiscible oil flooding by using a well-

mixed cell. Methane is a gas at reservoir condition and it doesn’t mix with the oil in all proportion and

two phase exist. So crude oil displacement with methane is an immiscible flood (Figure 5-15.a).propane

is gas at atmospheric condition however it would be a liquid phase at reservoir condition. Liquid

propane and liquid crude oil mix together completely. The displacement of oil with propane at the

specified condition would be a miscible process (Figure 5-15.b). Propane and butane exist as a gas at

atmospheric condition. At the reservoir condition (such as P=2000 psi and T=150oF) propane is liquefied

but the methane remains as a gas phase. At this condition they mix together in all proportions. So

displacement of propane with methane at the specified condition would be a FCM displacement (Figure

5-15.c). To use LPG products such as ethane, propane and butane, pressure is required to liquefied the

LPG products and achieve FCM with the reservoir oil. On the other hand LPG products are injected as a

slug that is followed by a chase gas such as lean gas or flue gas. To decrease LPG residual saturation

after displacing the primary slug with chase gas the pressure should be high enough to achieve FCM

between chase gas and LPG as well as between reservoir oil and LPG. The required pressure to achieve

miscibility between the chase gas and the LPG slug is much higher than the pressure required liquefying

LPG hydrocarbons. So the controlling pressure during the miscible flooding of the oil with LPG slug is the

minimum pressure required to have FCM between LPG slug and chase gas.

257

Gas Phase Liquid Phase

P = 2000 psi

condition T = 150oF condition condition o

T = 150oF T = 150 F

Methane Propane

Methane Propane Methane

Methane

Mixture Mixture

Mixture

Reservoir Reservoir Reservoir oil

Reservoir oil

oil oil Propane

Propane

Figure 5-15 – Miscibility and immiscibility illustration using well-mixed cells [1].

An injected solvent which is not miscible with oil at first contact may achieve miscibility during multiple

contacts and mass transfer between reservoir oil and injected fluid. In-situ mass transfer of intermediate

molecular weight components between gas and oil phases results in mixtures that are miscible with

either the injected solvent or initial oil phases. The multiple contact miscibility are categorized as

‘vaporizing gas drive’ (VGD), ‘condensing’, ‘condensing/vaporizing-gas’ (enriched gas) and CO2

displacement.

The condensing and vaporizing gas drive for enriched gas injection was first proposed and verified by

experiments and numerical simulations by Zick in 198660. Interphase mass transfer of the intermediate

components is the key process of the mechanism. Later, analytical theory for the combined

condensing/vaporizing mechanism was developed. It can be argued that condensing/vaporizing gas

drive is the most common mechanism developed in miscible injection field projects as injected solvents

usually contain somewhat light- and heavier-intermediate components.

In the vaporizing gas drive, the injected fluid is generally a relatively lean gas that contains mostly

methane and other low molecular weight hydrocarbons. Sometimes the injected gas in this process

contains inert gas such as nitrogen. The intermediate weight hydrocarbons from the reservoir oil

vaporize into the injected solvent. Under proper conditions this enrichment can be such that the

injected fluid of modified composition will become miscible with oil at some point in the reservoir. From

that point under idealized conditions, a miscible displacement will occur. In this process miscibility can

be achieved with natural gas, flue gas, CO2 or nitrogen, provided that the reservoir pressure is above the

minimum miscibility pressure.

60

“Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics”, J. M. Smith, H.C. Van Ness, M. M. Abbot

258

Usually a pseudoternary diagram is used to describe MCM displacements. In the process description

using ternary diagram it is assumed that thermodynamic equilibrium exists between the different

phases. This assumption is generally thought to be valid at reservoir displacement conditions where

advance rates are very low. Suppose that the injected gas (pint ‘S’ in Figure 5-16) that is mostly consist

of light component C1. The point ‘O’ represents the reservoir oil. As mentioned before oil in-place and

the injected gas are not miscible at the first contact as the dilution straight line between them pass

through the two phase envelop. The miscibility development operates conceptually as follows:

- The injected gas ‘S’ after contacting the oil ‘O’ forms a mixture ‘M1’ that is split into two

equilibrated phases of liquid L1 and gas V1, determined by the equilibrium tie line. It should be

mentioned that the gas phase, V1, is the original solvent gas, S, after it was enriched with some

intermediate and heavy fractions from the oil phase.

- The gas V1 will have much higher mobility than L1 and moves forward and makes further contact

with fresh oil to form mixture M2. The mixture M2 splits into gas V2 and liquid L2. The gas V2 is

richer particularly in the intermediates.

- For the next time V2 passes L2 because of higher mobility and contacts to the fresh oil to form

mixture M3 that is split to L3 and V3, and so far.

- After some steps the gas phase will no longer form two phases when contacts with fresh oil. In

other words the dilution straight line between ‘O’ and gas phase does not pass through the two

phase region and the gas become miscible with oil at point ‘C’, that is, where the tangent line at

the critical point, which is the critical tie line with zero length, goes through the oil composition

‘O’.

It is quite evident, that the dilution path must go through the critical point, as it is the only condition

that equilibrated phases lose distinctions, and a continuous transition from gas to oil can be achieved

without any phase boundary.

C1

S S = Injected Solvent Composition

V1

V2

M1

Tie Lines M2 V3

V4

C = Critical Point

L1

L2 L3

L4

O

C7+ C2-C6

In the vaporizing gas drive there is a transition zone, the miscibility is achieved at the front of the

advancing gas, the gas composition varies gradually from that of the injected gas till reaching the ‘critical

259

point composition’. Then it miscibility displaces the original reservoir oil in a piston-type manner. No

phase boundary exists within the transition zone.

As long as the reservoir oil composition lies on or to the right of the critical tie line (that shows it is rich

in intermediate components) miscibility can be attained by vaporizing gas drive process with natural gas

that is lean and lie on the left side of the critical tie line. The requirement that the oil composition must

lie on the right side of the critical tie line implies that only oils that are under saturated with respect

to C1 can be miscibly displaced by methane or natural gas.

Figure 5-17 shows a schematic of an immiscible

C1 S = Injected Solvent Composition

displacement. The injection gas (solvent) ‘S’ does

O = Reservoir Oil Composition

not achieve multiple contact miscibility with oil

S

‘O’. The initial mixture ‘M1’ is the first mixture

V1

V3

after contacting of the gas ‘S’ and oil ‘O’. The

V2

V4 mixture is split to gas V1 and liquid L1. The gas

Tie Lines

M1 phase will flow forward to form mixture M2, and

so forth. This gas is being enriched in

M4 intermediate components at the leading edge of

L1 M2 M3 Critical Point solvent-oil mixing zone as discussed before. But

L2

O enrichment cannot proceed beyond the gas-

L3 L4

Critical Tie Line

phase composition given by the tie line whose

extension passes through the oil ‘O’ which is

C7+ C2-C6

called Limiting tie line. In other word enrichment

Figure 5-17 – Schematic of an immiscible displacement

of the advancing gas is limited by the tie line (V4-

L4 here) which if extended goes through oil ‘O’.

It was explained that the miscibility cannot be achieved when the oil composition and the injection

solvent composition are at the same side of the critical tie line. The MCM can be achieved for oil ‘O’

(Figure 5-18) by rising the pressure sufficiently to shrink the phase envelop (dotted curve). The pressure

at which the critical tie line extension goes through the oil (Figure 5-18.b) or injection gas (Figure 5-18.a)

is the minimum required pressure to achieve miscibility which called Minimum Miscibility Pressure

(MMP). It is the minimum pressure at which in-situ miscibility can be achieved in the MCM process for a

specified fluid system. At MMP, the limiting tie line becomes the critical tie line as the gas phase

enriches through multiple contacts with the original oil attaining the critical composition.

Example 5-3

Using Figure 5-4.a, find the minimum miscibility pressure of the n-decane and methane at T = 160oF.

Solution

Refer to Figure 5-4.a, at T=160oF the critical pressure is about 5200 psi. at the pressure higher than 5200

C1-C10 system would be single phase over the total concentration range from 100% C1 to 100% C10 and

thus would be miscible.

Miscibility by the vaporizing gas drive mechanism can be achieved using nitrogen or flue gas that

contains about 88% CO2 and 12% N2. flue gas is generated by burning hydrocarbons with air.

260

C1 S = Injected Solvent Composition C1 S = Injected Solvent Composition O

= Reservoir Oil Composition

O = Reservoir Oil Composition

P2 = Minimum Miscibility Press.

P2 = Minimum Miscible Pressure

S

Two phase envelop Two phase envelop

P=P1 S P=P1

Critical Tie Line at P = P2 > P1

Critical Tie Line at P=P2>P1

Two phase envelop

P = P2 > P1

P = P2 > P1

O

Critical Tie Line at P=P2>P1 O Critical Tie Line at P=P2>P1

(a) (b)

a) Critical tie line pass through the injection solvent composition, b) Critical tie line pass through oil composition

The gas composition appears to have no effect on achieving the miscibility state on vaporizing gas drive

as it is fully controlled by the oil phase.

Relatively high pressure is required for most oil for the vaporizing gas drive process. So this process is

limited to reservoir depth that will permit the use of pressure in excess of 3000 psi. reservoirs with

under saturated oil with a high concentration of intermediate hydrocarbons (C2-C6) are the first

candidate for this process.

In this process dynamic miscibility result from the in situ transfer of intermediate molecular weight

hydrocarbons, predominantly ethane through butane, from the injected fluid into the reservoir oil. The

modified oil then becomes miscible with injected fluid. So the injected fluid should contain significant

amount of intermediate components, rather than being a dry gas.

261

C1

S = Injected Solvent Composition

Tie Lines

V1

V2

V3 S

Limiting tie line coincides

M2 with critical time line

V4

M1

M4

O L1 Critical Point

L2 L3

M3

L4

C7+ C2-C6

Suppose crude oil ‘O’ and injection solvent ‘S’ (Figure 5-19) are on opposite side of the critical tie line

but reversed from the vaporizing gas drive (Figure 5-16). Oil and injected fluid are not miscible initially as

the dilution straight line between them pass through the two phase region. M1 is the first mixture

resulted after first contact of ‘S’ and ‘O’. M1 will split to liquid L1 and gas V1 that are in equilibrium at

this point in the reservoir. The liquid phase L1 is richer in intermediate components than the original oil

‘O’. Gas phase V1 move faster because of its higher mobility and leaves oil phase L1 to mix with the

fresh fluid injected ‘S’ and form mixture M2. The new mixture will split to liquid L2 and gas V2. Liquid L2

lies closer to the critical (plait) point than L1 and is richer in intermediate components. The gas passes

the liquid phase and L2 contact with the fresh solvent to form M3 and so forth. By continuing injection

of the solvent ‘S’ the composition of the liquid phase is altered progressively in a similar manner along

the bubble point curve until it reached the critical point. The plait point fluid is directly miscible with

injection fluid ‘S’. the limiting tie line in this process pass through the solvent composition ‘S’ (in contrast

to the VGD that pass through the oil composition), so the MMP in this process is defined as the pressure

at which the critical tie line coincides with limiting tie line and its extension passes through the solvent

composition (Figure 5-18.a).

262

C1 For dynamic miscibility to be achieved by the

S = Injected Solvent Composition

condensing-gas drive method with an oil whose

O = Reservoir Oil Composition composition lies to the left of the critical tie line,

Tie Lines the enriched gas composition must lie to the right

V1 of the critical tie line. If a gas injected contains less

V2

V3 S intermediate hydrocarbon so that both oil and

Limiting tie Line solvent compositions located on two phase side of

M2

Critical Tie Line the critical tie line the oil cannot be enriched to

M1

the point of miscibility. In Figure 5-20 enrichment

L1

M3 of the liquid phases (L1, L2,…) continue till a point

O L2 L3 Critical

that resulted mixture lie on the tie line that pass

through the injected solvent composition point ‘S’.

Enrichment will stop at this point. For this system

C7+ C2-C6 miscibility can be achieved by raising the pressure

to shrink the phase envelop so that the limiting tie

Figure 5-20 – Schematic of an immiscible displacement

line coincide with the critical tie line (Figure

5-18.a).

The original oil composition has no effect on achieving the miscibility state in the condensing gas drive.

This process (CGD) is controlled by the injection gas composition.

Two variables can be adjusted in condensing gas drive to achieve miscibility: reservoir pressure and

injection solvent composition. The effect of reservoir pressure and MMP concept was explained before

(Figure 5-18). There is an alternative to achieve miscibility in the condensing gas drive process. The

injection gas composition can be enriched to achieve miscibility. Minimum Miscibility Enrichment

(MME) is defined as the minimum enrichment level which the critical tie line passes through the

injection gas composition (Figure 5-21)

O = Reservoir Oil Composition

S

Two phase envelop Minimum Miscibility Enrichment

P=P1 (MME)

Critical Point

O

Critical Tie Line

C7+ C2-C6

263

Example 5-4 [50]

A miscible displacement is to be considered for the system described on the pseudoternary diagram in

(Figure 5-22), which is based on mole fraction. The oil composition is shown on the diagram. The

injection fluids being considered are C1 and enriched C1 with C2 through C6 components. The injected-

fluid cost increases with increasing amount of C2 through C6. Pressure is fixed.

Specify the composition of the minimum cost injection fluid that could be used in an MCM process. Use

ternary diagram to describe the mechanism for development of miscibility.

Solution

As described before to have a MCM the injection gas and original oil composition points should be on

the different sides of the critical tie line. So the miscibility will not improve between pure C1 and

reservoir oil, VGD or CGD. So the injected the C1 should be enriched with C2-C6 components till the

injection gas and reservoir oil compositions lie on different side of the critical tie line. The less expensive

injection gas that could be miscible with oil is a gas that its composition is located exactly on the critical

tie line (Figure 5-23.a). This gas has the minimum C2-C6 concentration that is needed to reach miscibility

with oil during MCM. The oil composition is on the left hand side of the critical tie line, so it is not rich in

intermediate components to vaporize to the injected gas (VGD). Therefore miscibility would be reached

during a condensing gas drive that the intermediate components would condense to the oil (Figure

5-23.b).

264

(a) (b)

Figure 5-23 - Example 5-4

Actual dynamic or multicontact phase behavior may be more complicated than shown in the simple

pseudoternary diagram of Figure 5-19. As discussed before if the composition of pseudo component at

different phases changes (for example the pseudocomponent C7+ content of C6 is different in gas phase

and liquid phases) then the pseudoternary diagram for a multicomponent system may be incorrect. So

using the ternary diagram for the conceptual discussion of multiple contact miscibility processes is not

strictly valid for real reservoir oil. However the basic idea of multiple contact miscibility through mass

transfer between the phases and the requirement of achieving the critical composition are valid for real

fluid system. Zick (1986) explained the miscible displacement process during the enriched gas injection

as follows.

The oil/gas system is assumed to be composed of four groups of components:

1. Lean components such as C1, N1, and CO2,

2. Light intermediate components like as C2 through C4, which are the enriching components,

3. Middle intermediate components which may range from C4 through C10 on the low-molecular

weight side up to C30 on the high side that are generally not in the injected gas but in the

reservoir oil and may be vaporized from the oil to the gas phase.

4. High molecular weight components that cannot be vaporized from the oil in significant

amount.

According to Figure 5-19 explanation when the enriched gas containing the components from group 1

and 2, contacts reservoir oil, light intermediates condense into the oil, making it lighter. The gas moves

faster than the oil, so the depleted gas moves ahead. Additional fresh injected gas contact the oil,

continuing enriched the oil with intermediate components. This process continues to reach miscibility.

But there is a counter effect. The middle intermediate in the oil are stripped from the oil into the gas

because this components are not originally in the injected gas. Thus the reservoir oil in contact with the

fresh gas initially become lighter, but as it contact more gas and loses only some of its lighter heavies,

overall it tends to enriched in very heavy fractions and thus becomes less similar to the injection gas.

Figure 5-24 shows the variation of measured components groups in the oil phase at the injection point

for a sample oil. According the previous explanation of the condensing gas drive the concentration of C7+

265

should be decreased step by step to reach miscibility while experiments shows that an examination of

heavy end, e.g. C20+ has increased distinctly due to vaporization of the lighter heavies. This prevents the

development of miscibility between injected gas and reservoir oil. If this were all that occurred, the

process would not be very efficient. However, downstream of the injection point is a positive

mechanism. By continuing injection of the gas upstream oil becomes saturated with the light

intermediates and therefore these components do not condense out of the gas into the oil, thus the

downstream oil contacts a gas that is rich both in light and middle intermediates. So this gas vaporizes

less middle intermediates from the downstream oil while losing intermediate to the downstream oil that

is not rich in the intermediate oil. As this process continue and move downstream at a favorable

condition the combined vaporizing/condensing process in a state within the transition zone where the

compositional path goes through the critical point. In other worlds a gas is resulted that is almost

miscible with reservoir oil. This process can be imagined as a combination of the condensing process at

the downstream and vaporization at the upstream. This process is called ‘condensing/vaporizing gas

drive’.

The reservoirs containing the oil without high concentration of intermediate hydrocarbons are the first

nominate for this type of recovery. However this process may be applied to a wide range of crude oil

and to reservoirs with pressure of about 1500 psi and greater.

50

Light

40

Middle intermediate

Intermediate

30

Mole %

C20+

20

10

0

0 2 4 6 8 10

Vol Gas/Vol Oil

Figure 5-24 – Vaporization of component groups in contacted oil at injection point with the ratio of injected volume to

contacted oil volume

recovery

Metcalfe and Yarborough (1979)61 conducted an experiment to investigate the effect of phase behavior

on the final recovery. Their experiment showed the manner in which the development of miscibility

affects oil recovery for a relatively simple system. They used CO2 as the injection solvent and a mixture

of butane and decane (40 mol% and 60 mol%, respectively) as the displaced fluid. So they could use

61

“Effect of Phase Equilibria on the Co2 Displacement Mechanism”, SPEJ, Aug. 1979, 242-52

266

ternary diagram to study the miscibility. The porous medium consisted of an 8 feet long, 2 inch diameter

Berea sandstone core. The core was fully saturated with oil sample (butane + decane) without any initial

water saturation. The core was flooded at temperature of 160oF and with 3 different pressures: 1900

psi, 1700 psi and 1500 psi. For the first test at 1900 psi, the injected gas (CO 2) is miscible with the oil

over all composition. Thus the displacement was first contact miscibility displacement. As shown in

Figure 5-25.a the reduced liquid concentration followed the ideal mixing line from the original oil

composition point ‘O’ to the pure CO2. Oil recovery was 99% of the original oil in place (OOIP).

The same experiment was run at 1700 psi. All other parameters such as temperature and porous sample

held constant. As Figure 5-25.b shows at this pressure a small two phase region exists, but the oil

composition lie to the right of the critical tie line. The produced oil composition was measured after

detecting the CO2 in the effluent fluid. The composition measurement of produced oil showed that the

composition changed in essentially a linear manner from the initial oil composition to the vicinity of

critical point. Composition then moved around the two phase envelop and finally to pure CO2. Thus the

concentration change followed the description of an MCM process. Oil recovery for this test was 90% of

OOIP.

The third experiment was conducted at 1500 psi. According to the Figure 5-25.c achievement of

miscibility would not be expected, because both the oil and CO2 composition points lie on the same side

of the critical tie line. The produced fluid concentration changed almost linearly from the initial

composition to a point on the two phases envelop. The effluent then become two phase, indicating an

immiscible displacement. Recovery was 81% of OOIP.

o

T = 160 F Path of Produced oil Composition

Critical Point

O: original oil

Critical Tie Line

O: original oil

Figure 5-25 – Displacement of a C4/C10 mixture by pure CO2, representation on a ternary diagram [61]

Almost all the oil was displaced during the first contact miscibility process. Although final recovery

during MCM process is high but it is less than the first contact miscibility. There are factors that

contribute to the efficiency reduction, such as

- Miscibility must be developed in-situ,

- Complete miscibility may not exist across the entire miscible zone,

- Dispersion may lead to a temporary or permanent loss of miscibility in some part of the medium.

267

Thus the recovery in a MCM process is usually less than in a FCM process. The experiment showed that

immiscible displacement has a much less efficiency than miscible displacement.

Determination of miscibility condition as the condition that miscibility is achieved during FCM or MCM

process is very important for designing a miscible displacement process. Temperature, pressure and

solvent injection composition are three major parameters that determine the miscibility condition. The

temperature of the process is set by the reservoir temperature but the pressure could be changed in a

certain interval as well as the injection solvent composition, so most of the methods have been designed

to directly measure or predict the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) or minimum miscibility

enrichment (MME) at which miscibility will be achieved in a first or multiple contact process for a

specific reservoir fluid composition and the reservoir composition. There three different methods to

predict the miscibility conditions (MMP or MME):

1. Experimental Measurements

2. Empirical correlations based on experimental results

3. Phase-behavior calculations based on an equation of state and computer modeling

While the experimental methods measure directly MMP and MME other ones predict these values.

Experimental Measurements

Experimental tests can be used for some specific studies such as oil vaporization by gas injection or

evaluation and tuning of phase behavior models for numerical simulation of the reservoir performance.

In this section determination of miscibility conditions (MMP or MME), using these methods, will be

explained.

It is a laboratory test used to estimate the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) or minimum miscibility

concentration (MMC) of a given injection solvent and reservoir oil. The first slim tube test has been run

in the early 1950s. Figure 5-26 shows a schematic typical slim tube test apparatus. The slim tube is a

narrow stainless-steel tube with an internal diameter (ID) of about ⁄ in. and a length between 5 and

40 meters. The tube is packed with glass beads of a size on the order of 100 mesh or sand of a specific

mesh size (the ratio of particle size to tubing diameter is sufficiently small (less than ⁄ ) that wall

effect can be neglected,), so it is a one dimensional model of the reservoir. “The sand packed tube

displacement apparatus is a device for bringing about multiple equilibrium contacts between

simultaneous flowing fluids. It is not intended to simulate reservoir conditions. Hence, slim-tube tests

should not be indicative of ultimate recovery, macroscopic sweep efficiency, transition zone length, etc.,

to be achieved in actual reservoir”62. The actual displacement in reservoir is influenced by various

62

“Parametric Analysis On The Determination Of The Minimum Miscibility Pressure In Slim Tube Displacements”, Flock, D.L. and Nouar, A.,

JCPT, 1984

268

mechanisms cause dispersion, such as gravity override caused by gravity effect and viscous fingering

caused by unfavorable viscosity ratio and porous medium heterogeneity, while an ideal slim tube should

provide a one dimensional dispersion free displacement of oil. At this condition the MMP, MME and the

final recovery of the displacement process are only depend on the thermodynamic phase behavior of

the system.

The tube is coiled in a manner so that flow is basically horizontal and the gravity effects are in

significant. The coiled tube is placed inside a constant temperature bath.

Solvent

Oil

Injection Pump

Sight Glass

Separator

Back Pressure

Gas Chromatograph Pump

Gas Meter

Collection

Cylinder

To do the test, the porous medium in the tube is initially saturated with reservoir sample oil. The coiled

tube is maintained at the reservoir temperature using the bath and the pressure is set at a pressure

higher than the bubble point pressure. The oil then displaced by injecting solvent into the tube at a

constant inlet, or often outlet pressure, that is controlled by back pressure regulator. The pressure drop

across the coiled tube is generally a small fraction of the applied pressure on the system, so the entire

displacement pressure is considered to be at a single constant pressure.

Effluent production, density and composition are measured as functions of the injected volume. As

mentioned before by eliminating the dispersion final recovery if a function of thermodynamic phase

behavior. Therefore the miscibility conditions are determined by conducting the displacement at various

pressure, or injection solvent enrichment levels and monitor the oil recovery. The recoveries are then

plotted as a function of displacement pressure, or solvent enrichment level. By increasing the pressure

(using back pressure regulator) final recovery increases. This recovery increment is considerable for the

pressure lower than the MMP, but for the pressure higher than MMP incremental oil recovery by

increasing the pressure is not significant, in other worlds additional recovery above MMP is generally

minimal. Based on this observation, MMP could be determined as the pressure at the “break” in the

curve (Figure 5-27.a). In other words MMP has been chosen as the pressure for which incremental oil

269

recovery per incremental pressure increase is less than some arbitrary value. Some researchers define

MMP as the pressure when the oil recovery is 90 or 95 percent. The same observation could be seen

during the displacement of oil with the solvent at different enrichment levels. The final oil recovery

increases significantly by increasing the injection solvent enrichment level. But the recovery increment

ceased after a specified enrichment level (MME), see Figure 5-27.b. Enrichment level is changed by

altering the intermediate hydrocarbon component concentration such as C2+ in the displacing solvent.

Visual observation of the flow through a sight glass placed at the coiled tube outlet (Figure 5-26) could

help in determination of miscibility condition. The achievement of miscibility is expected to accompany

a gradual change of color of the flowing fluid from that of the oil to clear gas. On the other hand,

observation of two phase flow is symptomatic of an immiscible displacement. Effluent fluid is cooled

and the separated gas is evaluated by a gas chromatograph (Figure 5-26).

100 100

95

Oil Recovery, % oil inplace

90

90

80

85

70

80 Displacement at 2500psi

60 MMP 75

Displacement at 3000psi

50 70

20 24 28 32 36 40 44 48 52 0.2 0.4 0.6

Pressure, MPa C2+ Mole Fraction

(a) (b)

Figure 5-27 –a) Slim tube recovery versus applied pressure b) Slim tube recovery as a function of solvent enrichment63

Using a long tube has an additional rationale. The gravity segregation has an adverse effect on the

displacement recovery results, and unstable flow occurs in the early stage of the displacement. Overly

stabilized flow could be achieved by increasing the length of the model, so the use of longer slim tubes

yields the best estimate of the MMP and MME.

Experiments show that final recovery increases by increasing the slim tube length for any injection rate.

As previously explained a multi contact miscibility starts as an immiscible displacement. Miscibility

achieved through multi contact between the injection and in place fluids which implies that the solvent

at the front has to contact enough fresh oil or travel a minimum distance before miscibility is achieved.

Dispersion caused by viscous fingering or permeability heterogeneity increases the minimum length

requirement to accomplish miscibility. Total recovery is the sum of the recovery obtained while solvent

travels the immiscible portion of the tube and the recovery obtained while solvent travels the miscible

portion of the tube64:

63

“An Interpretation of the Displacement Behavior of Rich Gas Drives Using an Equation-of-State Compositional Model”, Mansoori, J. and

Gupa, S.P., SPE No. 18061, 1988

64

“A Laboratory Investigation of Miscible Displacement by Carbon Dioxide”, Rathmell, J.J., Stalkup, F.I., SPE No. 3483, 1971

270

( ) ( ) 5-2)

Where,

A = Cross section area of the slim tube,

Average porosity,

Total recovery,

Recovery in the immiscible portion of the displacement,

Recovery in the miscible portion of the displacement,

Immiscible portion length,

Miscible portion length,

Total slim tube length.

The Lim is independent of the overall length of the tube so according to eq. (5-2) the final recovery

approaches to the miscible recovery by increasing the slim tube length.

As mentioned increasing the length stabilizes displacement and this stabilizing effect is rate

independent. So as long as the length of the system is sufficiently long the rate of injection is not critical,

however a moderately high injection rate is preferable in order to obtain a better differentiation

between immiscible and MCM displacement.

It can be concluded that except some criteria there is no standard design, no standard operating

procedure, and no standard criterion for determining MMPs and MMEs with the slim tube. Also slim

tube test is a time consuming method. While each displacing run under specific pressure takes about

one day, one or two days are needed to clean and re-saturate the slim tube. So determination of MMP

or MME for an oil-solvent system takes at least one week.

Example 5-5

A CO2 displacement test is conducted in a slim tube apparatus. A pseudoternary phase diagram for the

fluid system is shown. The oil composition is indicated on the diagram. A displacement test is conducted

with a fluid that is 96% CO2 and 4% C2-C6.

- Will the miscibility achieved in this displacement?

- When the injection gas first break through at the exit end of the slim tube what will its

composition be?

- Consider a location near the entrance of the slim tube. Several PV,s of the gas will have flowed

through this position by the end of the run. What will be the final oil composition at this position

near the entrance?

271

Solution

[…]

Christiansen and Haines, designed and made the RBA as a reliable, fast alternative to a slim tube for

measuring MMP65. The observation of a gas bubble behavior that rises in a visual high pressure cell filled

with reservoir oil is the base of this method.

The major part of the RBA is a flat glass tube stands vertically in a high pressure sight gauge in a

temperature controlled bath. The glass tube is flat for better viewing of bubbles rising in opaque oils.

The sight gauge is backlighted for visual observation and photography of rising bubbles in the oil. The

gas bubble is injected into the glass tube through a hollow needle that is mounted at the bottom of sight

gauge. As the first step of the test the sight gauge and glass tube are filled with distilled water. In the

next step, enough oil is injected into the glass tube to displace all but a short column of water in to the

tube’s lower end (Figure 5-28). Next, a small bubble of gas of the desired composition is launched into

the water. The buoyant force on the bubble caused it to rise through the column of water then through

the water-oil interface. As the bubble rises through the oil, its shape and motion are observed and

photographed. After that the bubble rises through the oil the used oil is replace with fresh oil and the

test run again at different pressure or with different injection gas composition.

Pressure Gauge

Sight Gauge

Glass Tube

Water

Injection Pump

Gas

Hollow Needle

It is assumed that the mass transfer process that occurs as the gas bubble rises through the oil in the

glass tube is similar to the MCM process that occurs in a slim tube test. During the rising of the bubble

through the oil at each height it faces fresh oil and the gas bubble enriched with intermediate

components as rise through the column, same mechanism that we have during vaporizing gas drive.

65

“Rapid Measurement of Minimum Miscibility Pressure with the Rising-BubbIe Apparatus”, Christiansen R. L. and

Haines H. K., SPE No. 13114, 1987

272

According to Figure 5-17, if the compositions of the gas bubble and oil are on the same side of the

critical tie line, miscibility cannot be achieved. By increasing the pressure two phase region in the

ternary diagram shrinks and for pressure above the MMP with some oil-gas pairs, it is possible for the

two phase region to be so small that the gas and oil are first contact miscible.

Bubble behavior during rising through the oil filled tube varies significantly

over a range of pressures and can be divided into three distinct patterns:

Top

1. At pressure far below MMP, the bubble retains its almost spherical

shape, but its size is reduced as the gas is partially dissolved in the oil,

Figure 5-29.a. As the pressure approaches MMP, a bubble still remains

Middle

nearly spherical on top, but the bottom interface of the bubble changes

from spherical to flat or “wavy”.

2. At or slightly above MMP tail-like features quickly developed on the

bottom of a rising bubble, which remain spherical on top. The gas-oil

interface vanishing from the bottom of the bubble, Figure 5-29.b. This

Bottom

process the volume of the bubble is almost constant until the interface

starts to deteriorate.

(a): (b): 3. At pressure higher than MMP, the bubble disperses very rapidly and

P<<MMP P~MMP disappears into the oil. It should be consider that a gas bubble could

disappear into an undersaturated oil without achieving miscibility, but

Figure 5-29 – Bubble Behavior

of Vaporizing Gas Process66 at this condition it will not disperse before disappearing.

In addition to injection of lean gas and simulate the vaporizing gas drive with RBA, the condensing gas

process could be happened during a RBA test by injecting several enriched gas bubbles sequentially to

the oil filled glass tube. The evolution of bubble shape during the condensing gas process is different

compare to the vaporizing gas process:

Far below the MMP, the shape evolution of injected bubbles

are similar and indicate low interfacial tension when the

Top

bubbles first contact the oil (they are enriched gas bubbles with

a considerable intermediate hydrocarbon components), after

rising a short distance through the oil, the bubble shape evolves

to indicate high interfacial tension (the bubbles lost a major

Middle

above MMP bubbles at different injection sequence shows

different shape evolution. The first bubble show the same

shape evolution as in P < MMP. It evolves from a shape

Bottom

interfacial tension. But, with each additional bubble injected

(the oil sequentially is enriched with intermediate hydrocarbon

that condensed from the gas bubble) the size of the bubble

(a) (b) (c) which emerges from the swirl of gas and oil at low interfacial

P<<MMP P>=MMP tension, shrinks, Figure 5-30.b. After of injecting several bubbles

the injected bubble disappears as injected to the oil (the oil is

Figure 5-30 – Bubble behavior for

66

“Measuring Minimum Miscibility Pressure: Slim-Tube or Rising-Bubble Method?”, Elsharkawy A.M., Suez Canal U., Poettmann F.H. and

Christianse R.L., SPE no. 24114, 1992.

273

Condensing Gas Drive [66] enriched in intermediate hydrocarbon and become miscible

with the injected gas), Figure 5-30c.

This test is completely qualitative in nature and the miscibility is simply inferred from visual

observations. Hence, some subjectivity is associated with the miscibility interpretation of this technique,

as it lacks quantitative information. Therefore, the results obtained from this test are somewhat

arbitrary, however the RBA approach to measuring MMP’s is much more rapid ( it requires less than 2

hours to determine miscibility) than the commonly accepted slim tube techniques. This method is also

cheaper and requires smaller quantities of fluids, compared to slim-tube. The main disadvantages

associated with this technique are67:

Lack of any quantitative information to support the results

Some arbitrariness associated with miscibility determination

While there are many more slim tube apparatus in industry, a larg portion of MMPs reported in the

literature were measured using RBA method.

Elsharkaway et al.[67] measured MMP of carbon dioxide for twelve different oils using the slim tube and

RBA methods to compare these two methods reliability.

They showed that depending on the criteria chosen for MMP in the slim tube test, MMP varies. During

their test they used three different usual criteria for MMP: Pressure at 90% oil recovery, pressure at 95%

recovery and the break over pressure in the oil recovery plot (the pressure for which oil recovery did not

increase more than 1% per 100 psi pressure increase). Their results showed that a slim-tube oil recovery

criterion of 90% will usually yield MMPs lower than those from the criteria for the slim tube. They

mentioned that the oil recovery break over criterion produced an MMP from the slim tube that was in

excellent agreement with MMP from the RBA.

The pressure drop across the slim tube complicates interpretation of slim tube results. As mentioned

before it is assumed that the pressure different between input and output of the slim tube is ignorable

compare to the MMP. Because the final report of a slim tube experiment is the oil recovery at a given

pressure, the pressure drop becomes an uncertainty in pressure at which the oil recovery is measured,

so improper design and operation of a slim tube can give excessive pressure drop.

Asphaltene deposition is a phenomenon that occurred during the solvent injection. Elshalkaway et al.

defined the blind spot of the slim tube method as the measuring of the MMP for systems with

asphaltene deposition problem during the dilution process. Precipitation of the asphaltene could block

the slim tube more or less and increase required displacement pressure. Sometimes deposited

asphaltenes completely plug the tube and the test fails. In RBA it does not appear to be a problem.

Specks of asphalt can be seen precipitating out on the walls of tube; however bubble behavior can still

be observed.

67

“Measurement and Modeling of Fluid-Fluid Miscibility in Multicomponent Hydrocarbon Systems”, Ayirrala S. C., 2005

274

Sometimes there is not enough test fluids (oil and solvent) to run slim tube test several times to find the

MMP or MME. RBA could work at this time because it requires considerably less fluid to determine the

MMP or MME.

RBA could be a good chose when the time factor is important. The RBA takes 1-2 hours per MMP

determination (excluding preparation time), while the slim tube takes one to two weeks per MMP

determination.

Contact Experiment

Slim tube and RBA methods were introduced as two direct methods for MMP and MME measurements.

There are other experimental tests such as contact experiments, that do not measure directly MMP or

MME but their results are used to evaluate and calibrate of phase behavior models that can predict

these values indirectly; for example when used with 1D compositional simulators to model slim tube

displacements, to estimates MMP and MME. In contact experiments the solvent injection processes are

simulated in batch type tests in PVT cells. Some of the most useful bath type solvent injection

experiments are discussed in the following sections:

Single Contact: a known value of solvent is charged into a visual, high pressure cell containing a known

amount of oil. After applying a specific temperature and pressure and equilibrium establishment, a small

amount of each phase is withdrawn. The compositions represent the ends of an equilibrium tie line.

Single contact experiments are useful for measuring p-x diagrams, since the pressure can be changed at

fixed overall composition by changing the cell volume. If the experiment is repeated for various amounts

of solvent the single contact experiment traces a dilution path on a ternary diagram between the

solvent and oil. The single contact experiment does not simulate the continuous contact between the

solvent and oil during a solvent-oil displacement. The static equilibrium tests which closely simulate

continuous contact of solvent and reservoir oil are multiple contact experiments.

Multiple Contacts: the visual high pressure cell is filled with a known amount of solvent and crude oil,

the same as in a single contact test. After reaching equilibrium at the applied pressure the upper phase

is removed from the cell and mixed in a second cell with fresh oil, forward contact (the same as the

process in downstream contact of a solvent-oil mixing zone in multi contact miscibility process, or the

vaporizing gas drive process). The lower phase in the cell is similarly mixed with fresh solvent, reverse

contact (the same as what happen in the upstream contact of solvent-oil mixing zone in a multi contact

miscibility displacement, or condensing gas drive). The upper phase is repeatedly removed from the cell

and adjacent to the fresh oil in another cell. All contacts are at fixed temperature and pressure.

After several steps solvent enrichment in the forward contacts or the rude enrichment in reverse

contacts can cause one of the phases to vanish. If the original cell is single phase for all combinations of

solvent and crude oil, the process is first contact miscible.

275

Forward Contact

Equilibrium Equilibrium Equilibrium

Fresh Oil Fresh Oil Fresh Oil

Fresh Solvent Fresh Solvent Fresh Solvent

Fresh After After After

After

Solvent Equilibrium Equilibrium Equilibrium

Equilibrium

Reverse Contact

(Condensing

gas drive)

Fresh Oil

MMP Prediction

The values of MMP or MME may be estimated from:

1. Empirical correlations based on experimental results.

2. Phase behavior calculations based on an EOS and computer modeling.

The first approach is easy to apply but it could leads to wrong result values especially if the correlation is

applied for a condition that is completely different from the experimental conditions on which the

correlation is based. So usually they are used to obtain a rough estimate value. Phase behavior models,

which provide information on thermodynamic miscibility, are more reliable to predict the miscibility

conditions. The phase behavior models are tuned with experimental data.

276

Empirical Correlations

The developed empirical correlation can be developed base on the miscibility process that happens

during the solvent injection. When the vaporizing gas drive is the main miscibility process during the

solvent injection, the developed empirical correlations are just based on the original oil composition

regardless of the injection solvent or gas composition. One of the most reliable empirical correlations of

this class (estimation of MMP for Vaporizing gas drive process) is a model that is developed by

Firoozabadi and Aziz68 based on experimental slim tube data:

[ ] (5-3)

Where,

MMP, MPa,

Mole fraction of intermediates in oil, ethane to pentane inclusive,

Temperature, K.

Eq. (5-3) was found as the most reliable MMP correlation for lean gas and nitrogen injection. This

correlation, as mentioned before, relies on the vaporizing gas drive concept which is controlled by the

original oil composition only. The oil methane content has no effect on the MMP according to this

correlation. The MMP for methane is generally lower than MMP for nitrogen. When nitrogen is used as

a displacement solvent it extracted a lot of methane from the oil insofar as the advancing gas drive is

very much dominated by methane instead of nitrogen. Therefore the oil methane content is an

important parameter for achieving miscibility in nitrogen injection. Based on this fact, Hudgins et al.69,

proposed the following correlation for MMP estimation:

(5-4)

Where,

5-5)

( )

(5-6)

( )

MMP, MPa,

Mole fraction of intermediates in oil, ethane to pentane inclusive,

68

“Analysis and Correlation of N2 and Lean-Gas Miscibility Pressure”, Firoozabadi, A. and Aziz, K., SPE Res. Eng., 575-582, (Nov., 1986)

69

“Nitrogen miscible displacement of light crude oil, a laboratory study”, Hudgins, F.M., Liave, F.M. and Chung, F.T., SPE Res. Eng., 100-106,

(Feb., 1990)

277

Molecular weight of heptane plus,

Temperature, K.

In addition to these two well-known correlations many other correlations has been developed by

various investigators.

The condensing-vaporizing miscibility is another miscibility process that is achieved at lower pressure

compare to the VGD process. Several correlations has been developed to predict the MMP for this

process.

Glaso70 introduced the following formulas based on the MMP correlation curves for rich gas injection

that had been developed by Benham et al.71:

For MC2-C6 = 34

( ) 5-7)

For MC2-C6 = 44

( ) 5-8)

For MC2-C6 = 54

( ) (5-9)

Where,

MMP, MPa,

Molecular weight of C2 to C6 fraction in the injection gas,

Temperature, K,

⁄ 5-10)

In this correlation the effect of oil and gas compositions are included for condensing-vaporizing process.

There are many other correlations that are used for MMP prediction depend on the process condition

and oil and solvent composition.

The performance of a miscible displacement process depends on fluid physical properties that affect

flow behavior in a reservoir. Fluid properties changes should be considered to have a reliable prediction

of a miscible displacement performance. The following sections explain some fluid properties and their

alteration during miscible displacement.

70

“Generalised Minimum Miscibility Pressure Correlation”, Glaso, O., SPE 927-934 (Dec., 1985)

71

“Miscible flood displacement, prediction of miscibility”, Benham, A.L., Dowden, W.E. and Kunzman, W.J., Trans. AIME, 219, 229-37 (1960)

278

Fluid Density

Knowledge of relative density of the fluid and fluid mixtures is important for miscible displacement

design. Gravity override or underride and fingering are usual phenomena during displacement process

that are results of density difference between displaced and displacing liquids. Detailed description of

these phenomena will be explained in the subsequent sections. Crude oils tend to have specific gravities

in the 0.80 to 0.95 range at 60oF. Density is a function of pressure and temperature and can be

estimated at the reservoir condition. During the solvent injection two different fluids (oil and solvent)

with different densities mix together. McCain72 explained how an ideal solution behavior could be used

to estimate the density of an oil-solvent mixture: An “ideal liquid solution” is a hypothetical mixture of

liquids in which there is no special force of attraction between the components of the solution and for

which no change in internal energy occurs on mixing. Under these conditions no change in the

character of the liquids is caused by mixing, merely a dilution of one liquid by the other. So when liquids

are mixed to give an ideal solution the properties are strictly additive. When the liquids mix as an ideal

solution there is no shrinkage or expansion in the volume, so the final volume is the sum of the liquids

volume. Other physical properties of the solution (such as viscosity and vapor pressure) can be

calculated directly by averaging the properties of the fluids that mix together. There is no ideal liquid or

gas solution but when the chemical and physical properties of two fluids that mix together are similar,

the resulting solution behaves like as an ideal solution. McCain mentioned that because most of the

liquid mixtures encountered by petroleum engineers are mixtures of hydrocarbons with similar

characteristics, ideal-solution principle can be applied to find the densities of these mixtures. To find the

density of a mixture that is assumed as an ideal solution it is enough to calculate the mass and volume of

each of the components of the mixture and sum them together to find the mass and volume of the

mixture. And then find the mixture density using these mass and volume values.

An estimate of liquid density can be calculated on the basis of a mole-averaged sensitivity of pure

components as follows:

(5-11)

Where,

Xi = mole fraction of component I in the mixture,

Mole density of component i,

Mole density of the mixture.

Mole density could be converted to mass density by multiplication by the average molecular weight of

the mixture.

Gas density can be calculated with the EOS:

(5-12)

72

“The properties of Petroleum Fluids”, McCain Jr., W.D., PennWell Publishing Co., Tulsa, OK (1973)

279

Where,

Pressure,

Specific volume,

Temperature,

Gas constant, 8.314 ⁄

Compressibility factor that shows the deviation from ideal gas law.

Compressibility factor is a function of reduced temperature (Tr) and reduced pressure (Pr) that are

defined as

5-13)

5-14)

For a mixture of gases using the ideal gas mixture assumption critical pressure and temperature are

defined as follow and are named pseudocritical pressure (Ppc) and pseudocritical temperature (Tpc):

∑ (5-15)

∑ (5-16)

Where,

n = number of components,

Xi = mole fraction of component “i”.

Fluid Viscosity

Mobility ratio in a displacement process is a direct function of the viscosities of displaced and displacing

fluids. For miscible displacements, assuming the relative permeability relationships of the different non

aqueous fluids are the same so:

⁄

(5-17)

⁄

Where,

M = Mobility ratio,

Displacing relative permeability,

280

Displaced relative permeability,

Displacing fluid viscosity,

Displaced fluid viscosity.

So Knowledge of oil viscosity is vital to the petroleum industry, and is especially important when

considering production of heavy oil and bitumen. Knowledge of oil viscosity is vital to the petroleum

industry, and is especially important when considering production of heavy oil and bitumen and other

EOR methods. Viscosity can determine the success or failure of a given EOR scheme and it is an

important parameter for doing numerical simulation and determining the economics of a project.

Viscosity is a function of pressure, temperature and composition. The viscosities of crude oils vary over a

wide range. There are some correlations for prediction of liquids and gases viscosity based on the fluid

composition. The following equations are the most well-known correlations for prediction of viscosity.

Lorentz-Bray-Clark method73:

The procedure of this method for reservoir liquids was developed using the residual viscosity concept

and theory of corresponding states. It was the first known procedure for calculating the viscosity of

reservoir liquids from their compositions.

Jossi et al.74, developed the following equation for viscosity of the pure liquid components:

[ ] ∑ (5-18)

Where,

0.023364, 0.058533, .

Viscosity at normal pressure,

Viscosity parameter:

(5-19)

(5-20)

M = Molecular Weight,

TC = Critical temperature,

PC = Critical pressure

Critical molar density.

73

“Calculating Viscosity of Reservoir Fluids from their Composition”, Lorentz, J., Bray, B. G. and Clark, C. R. J., Journal of Petrolleum

Technology 1171, p. 231, 1964

74

“The Viscosity of Pure Substances in the Dense Gaseous and Liquid Phases”, Jossi, J. A., Stiel, L. I., Thodos G., AIChE journal. (1962) 8, 59

281

Hering and Zipper75 introduced the following equation for of a mixture (liquid or gas):

∑ ( √ )

5-21)

∑ ( √ )

To find the viscosity of a liquid mixture Lorentz et al. used eq. (5-18) with and value for mixture.

They used eq.5-21) to find the for mixture and defined of a liquid mixture as functions of the

composition Xi , the component molecular weights, critical pressure and critical temperatures:

⁄

[∑ ( )]

5-22)

⁄ ⁄

[∑ ( )] [∑ ( )]

(5-23)

∑ ( ) (5-24)

(5-25)

Where,

pseudocritical density of the multi component liquid,

VCj = critical volume of component j,

Specific gravity of C7+ fraction of the oil.

A modified form of the Lorentz-Bray-Clark method can also be used:

( ) ( ∑ ) ( ) (5-26)

This modified equation is intended to improve the modeling of the behavior of heavy oils. In this

equation the viscosity increases exponentially as the reduced molar density approaches a maximum

for small values of , , the modified Lorentz-Bray-Clark methodhas the same form

as eq. (5-18).

75

“Calculation of viscosity of technical gas mixtures from the viscosity of individual gases”, Herning, F. and Zipper, L., Gas u. Wasserfach

(1936) 79, No. 49, 69

282

The Pederson Method76:

It is a corresponding states compositional viscosity model that enables viscosity prediction for black oil

systems using compositional data.

The prediction of viscosity according to the oil composition, is crucial for compositional simulation of the

miscible process because of composition change of the displaced and displacing fluid. There are several

experimental type methods that can measure the viscosity of the fluids. From the wide range of

experimental tools for viscosity measurement, NMR is explained in the following subsection.

As viscosity increases, conventional measurements become progressively less accurate and more

difficult to obtain. Oil viscosities measured in the lab may also be not indicative of true in-situ viscosities.

An alternate method is required for predicting oil viscosity, especially if this method can be applied in-

situ. Low field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is an attractive alternative to conventional viscosity

measurements, as its measurements are fast, non-destructive and insensitive to technician error.

Bryan and Kantzas did an extensive work on the application of NMR in determination of heavy oil and

bitumen viscosity as well as crude oil emulsion. Their work lead to some correlations that predict

viscosities from less than 1 cP to over 3,000,000 cP over 25-80oC based on the NMR data77. Bryan et. al.

[77]

provided a detailed explanation viscosity that is helpful to understand the basics that make NMR as a

powerful tool in viscosity determination:

Newtonian fluids exhibit a linear relationship between shear stress and shear rate, given by Newton’s

law of viscosity:

̇ (5-27)

Where,

Shear stress (Pa),

Viscosity,

̇ Shear rate (s-1).

For a Newtonian fluid at a constant temperature and pressure, viscosity is a constant value. If the fluid is

non-Newtonian, however, viscosity changes with shear rate. Most crude oil emulsions that contain low

to moderate dispersed water are Newtonian, but non-Newtonian effects may be observed at higher

dispersed water fractions. Eyring’s theory of viscosity states that the empty space between the closely

packed molecules in a liquid is not enough for the molecules to move freely by one another. In order for

a molecule to move, therefore, other surrounding molecules must first give way and create a space or

“hole” for this molecule to enter, eq. (5-28). Highly viscous fluids have molecules that are complex and

76

“Properties of Oils and Natural Gases”, Pederson, K. S., Fredenslund, A. and Thomassen, P., Contribution in Petroleum Geology and

Engineering Vol. 5, Gulf, Houston, 1989

77

“Viscosity Predictions for Crude Oils and Crude Oil Emulsions Using Low Field NMR”, Bryan, J., Kantzas, A., Bellehumeur, C., SPE No.

77329, 2002.

283

close together, so it is difficult for their molecules to move enough to create this space. Not all

molecules have enough energy to overcome the attractive forces of their neighbors enough to move, so

the concentration of activated molecules that are able to move is therefore related to the viscosity of

the fluid.

( ) ( ) (5-28)

Where,

= Distance between molecular layers in a fluid,

A = Distance between a molecule and an adjacent empty lattice site,

N = Avogadro number,

h = Planck constant,

V = liquid molar volume,

ΔG0 = free energy of act

As temperature increases, more the molecules have enough energy to breach this activation energy

barrier and are able to move by one another more easily. At higher temperatures the spaces between

the molecules are also likely to be larger, so the free energy of the molecules required for flow will also

be less. This leads to lower viscosity at elevated temperatures. The development of Eq. (5-28) allows for

a qualitative understanding of what causes differences in viscosity between fluids and for viscosity to be

estimated on the basis of the molecular properties of the liquid.

Low-field NMR measures the response of hydrogen protons in external magnetic fields. Protons are

present in oil and water and have a strong relaxation response to imposed magnetic signal pulses. In the

presence of magnetic field the protons will line up either parallel or anti-parallel to the field lines. A

pulse sequence is then applied to these protons to tip them 90° onto the transverse plane. As the

protons give off energy, they return to their equilibrium position. A low field NMR experiment can

therefore provide two pieces of information: the strength of the signal from the protons and a

characteristic relaxation time. This characteristic relaxation time is either the time for the signal to

reappear in the longitudinal equilibrium plane (T1), or the time for the signal to disappear in the

transverse plane (T2), (for more details return to chapter 3). T2 measurements are used in viscosity

measurements78. The pulse sequence applied to the protons gives them energy and tips them into the

transverse plane. In order to return to their equilibrium direction, these excited protons must give off

their energy. Once they do so, the signal in the transverse plane decays and relaxation is said to have

occurred. In the experiments for viscosity measurements two types of relaxation occur in porous media:

1. Bulk relaxation (T2B),

2. Surface relaxation (T2S).

Bulk relaxation is a fluid property, and is a measure of how easily the protons give off energy to one

another. Bulk relaxation can be therefore expressed in the following form79:

78

“Oil-Viscosity Predictions from Low-Field NMR Measurements”, Bryan, J., Kantzas, A., Bellehumeur, C., SPE No. 89070, 2005

79

“In Situ Viscosity of Oil Sands Using Low Field NMR”, Bryan, J., Kantzas, A., Moon, D., Petroleum Society’s Canadian International

Petroleum Conference, 2003

284

(5-29)

Where, T is absolute temperature of the sample. According to eq. (5-29) the bulk relaxation rate is

directly proportional to the fluid viscosity, so viscous fluids will have faster relaxation rates than fluids

with lower viscosity. The reason for this is that the protons must give off their energy to other protons

before they can return to their equilibrium direction. Samples with higher viscosities have molecules

that cannot move past one another as easily. The protons of these fluids will therefore contact one

another at a higher frequency, leading to energy being given off faster.

When fluids are in constricted spaces like pores, energy can also be transferred from the proton spins to

the pore walls. This is termed surface relaxation, and is given by:

(5-30)

where,

The surface relaxivity of the pore wall,

Pore Volume,

Pore Surface.

From eq. (5-30) it can be seen that fluid found in smaller pores (where is smaller) will tend to relax

faster, and T2S will be smaller. Bryan et al. used 112 oil samples with viscosity range of around 1 to

3,000,000 cP to develop the model based on the NMR data the oil samples with known viscosity values

has been tested with NMR to find the NMR parameters for each sample using linear regresion. The

following equation was developed that can be used to predict the viscosity of an oil sample using the

NMR parameters:

(5-31)

Where,

285

Factors Affecting Displacement Efficiency of Miscible Displacements

Displacement efficiency at microscopic (pore level) and macroscopic level in a miscible displacement

process are less than 100%. The magnitudes of efficiencies depend on a number of factors, including

whether a displacement is secondary or tertiary recovery process.

In a miscible displacement conducted as a secondary recovery process (assume there is not mobile

water in the system), the IFT between displaced (oil) and displacing (solvent) phases is zero. According

to the Capillary number (Nc) definition, Nc become infinity as IFT goes to zero:

(5-32)

The residual saturation in the portion of the rock contacted by the displacing phase should be essentially

zero as .

Experimental studies of first contact miscibility process show that the residual saturation of the

displaced phase is very small when the solvent continuously is injected. However, when the solvent is

injected as a small primary slug followed by a secondary slug, recovery can be poorer as a result of

dispersion and mixing of different slug materials80. Significant mixing can result in loss of miscibility at

either leading or training edge of the primary slug displacement. Laboratory studies of MCM processes

have shown that recoveries are somewhat poorer than for FCM processes. There are different reasons

for the reduced recoveries at the microscopic level in MCM processes. One is that a finite distance of

travel is required in the process before miscibility is achieved. In a vaporizing gas drive process a small

amount of the liquid phase drop out can occur as a result of mixing effects when compositions are in the

vicinity of the bimodal curve. Bypassing in the flow process at the microscopic level owning to small-

scale heterogeneities or dead-end pores can cause mixing. The mixing process can result in overall

compositions that are within the two phase region, which would lead to the trapping of a residual liquid

phase, although at a small saturation. Mass transfer by dispersion in a displacement process also can

lead to reduced displacement efficiency. Dispersion causes the composition path that occurs during a

displacement to move into the multiphase region of the phase behavior diagram. This results in

formation of a liquid phase which remains as a trapped phase because of its low saturation. However a

small part of the trapped liquid could be re-vaporized to the flowing gas phase, but the recovery by a re-

vaporization process occurs at a relatively slow rate. Gardner et al81 showed that the higher the

dispersion level, the poorer the calculated recovery efficiency. They concluded that displacement

efficiencies achieved in their slim tube experiments at the pressure well above the MMP were limited by

the levels of dispersion in the experiments. Dispersion phenomenon will be explained separately in the

following chapter.

80

“Miscible slug process”, Koch, Jr., Slobod, R.L., Trans.., AIME (1957) 210, 40-47

81

“The Effect of Phase Behavior on CO2 Flood Displacement Efficiency”, Garder, J.W., Orr Jr., F.M., and Patel, P.D.,

JPT, Nov. 1981

286

Macroscopic displacement efficiency

Four major factors affect recovery efficiency at the macroscopic level in a miscible process: mobility

ratio, viscous fingering, gravity segregation, and reservoir heterogeneity. In the present of water, water

blockage effect is added to these important factors.

The mobility of a fluid (i) is defined as :

(5-33)

Where,

Viscosity,

Effective permeability of the rock to fluid i.

The mobility ratio (M) of a displacement process is defined as the mobility of displacing fluid divided by

the mobility of the displaced fluid. Mobility ratio is one of the most important parameters of a miscible

displacement and has a profound influence on volumetric (macroscopic) sweep efficiency of the solvent

and on the integrity of solvent slugs. Consider an idealized situation where solvent displaces oil at the

irreducible water saturation (secondary recovery process) and where mixing of solvent with the oil is

negligible. No water is flowing and the permeabilities to oil and solvent are equal. Mobility ratio in this

case is simply the ratio of oil and solvent viscosities:

(5-34)

In practice mixing of solvent and oil does occur during the course of the displacement, which can result

in an effective viscosity ratio that is less than the ratio of pure component viscosities. The viscosities of

miscible solvent are typically small (<0.1 cp) and thus the mobility ratios are greater than one. Viscosity

ratio or mobility ratio, as defined by eq. (5-34), ranges from 4 to 86 in the different MCM processes.

Stalkup82 reports data on a number of FCM projects. For these, the viscosity ratio ranges from 4 to 40.

When the mobility ratio is smaller than one it is called favorable mobility ratio and called unfavorable

when it is greater than one. Solvent/water injection is a technique to reduce solvent mobility by

reducing solvent relative permeability. The most accepted mobility ratio definition at presence of mobile

water is:

( )

(5-35)

( )

82

“Miscible Dispalcement”, Stulkup Jr., F.I., Monograph series, SPE, Richardson, TX(1983).

287

Figure 5-32 gives areal sweep efficiency (fraction of the pattern area invaded by pure solvent) at

breakthrough of the displacing fluid as a function of M. the upper curve is based on photographs taken

during displacement of one colored liquid by a second, miscible colored liquid in a scaled model, while

the lower one is based on a material balance calculation made from the known volume of injected liquid

and assuming piston like displacement. Because of mixing along the liquid-liquid interface, the area

measurement yields a slightly larger areal sweep value than material balance result. As indicated in Fig.

4.4, the difference in the two curves is a measure of the mixing that occurs at the interface.

As seen, the areal sweep efficiency (EA) at breakthrough is a strong function of M. at M=1.0, areal sweep

is about 70%. It increases slightly at smaller, favorable mobility ratios and decreases very sharply as M is

increased. The poorer performance at larger M values occurs for two reasons: first viscous fingering

occurs at M>1.0 and become more noticeable as M increases. Second for M>1.0 the geometry

contribute to the early breakthrough. Because of the geometry, the smallest flow resistance and

therefore the larger flow velocity is along the center line connecting the injection and production wells.

Fluid flowing along this line breaks through first in a homogeneous reservoir. When M>1.0 the fluid with

lower mobility value (displaced fluid), is replaced by the injected fluid (with higher mobility). Because

the major flow is along the center line path (as the shortest pass), the resistance along that path is

reduced more than along any other line other than path. The result is that the larger the value of M the

earlier breakthrough occurs.

90

Areal Sweep Efficiency at Breakthrough, %

80

70

60

50

40

Base on Pore Volume injected

30 Based on Area Measured Measure of

Mixing Zone

20

10

0.01 0.1 1 10 100

Mobility Ratio, M

Viscous Fingering:

When the mobility ratio between displacing solvent and displaced oil is equal or less than one and the

gravity does not influence the displacement by segregating the two fluids, the oil is displaced efficiently

ahead of the solvent, and the solvent does not penetrate into the oil except dictated by dispersion. The

83

“Efficiencies of miscible displacement as a function of mobility ratio”, Trans, AIME (1960)219, 264-72

288

displacement front is stable. For mobility ratio greater than one the solvent front became unstable and a

numerous fingers of solvent develop and penetrate into the oil in an irregular fashion. These viscous

fingers result in earlier solvent breakthrough and poorer oil recovery. Figure 5-33 shows the viscous

fingering observed in areal laboratory five spot models for displacement at various mobility ratios.

Figure 5-33 – displacement front for a miscible displacement process with unfavorable mobility ratio84.

The severity of the areal fingering increases as mobility ratio becomes more unfavorable, resulting in

earlier solvent breakthroughs. The reason for displacement front instability when mobility ratio is

unfavorable can be visualized with a simple illustration shown in Figure 5-34.

Solvent L

Solvent

Xf +

Xf

Figure 5-34 – simplified model of frontal instability.

In this illustration, solvent displaces oil linearly from a porous medium that initially is fully saturated

with. The mobility ratio is the ratio of the viscosities and dispersion is assumed negligible. In the absence

of heterogeneity the front should be remain a plane surface throughout the displacement. At the time

of consideration of the system, the solvent front is located at position xf along the flow path. In the flow

region bounded by the dashed lines, a small perturbation or protrusion of the solvent front has occurred

such that the front location is at the position xf + the focus of the analysis is the determination of

conditions under which e grows in time because if does grow in time, the front will be unstable; i.e

viscous finger will form along the front. At condition where does not grow or even diminishes in size,

84

“Viscous fingering in five-spot experimental porous media: new experimental results and numerical simulation”, Zhang, H.R., Sorbie, K.S.,

Teibuklis, N. B., Chemical Enoineerinq Science, Vol. 52, No. I, pp. 37·54, 1997.

289

the front stability or uniformity will be maintained. For the normal flat front, pressure drop across the

length is given by:

( )

[ ] [ ( )] 5-36)

Where is Darcy velocity and is a negative value. The above equation can be solved for interstitial

velocity, v, which is equal to the velocity of the front:

5-37)

( ) [ ( )] [ ]

Where, M is mobility ratio

A similar analysis applied to the perturbed area gives:

( ) [ ( ) ]

Subtracting eq. () from eq. () resulted:

[ ( ) ] [ ]

[ ]

[ ( ) ] [ ]

[ ] [ ( ) ]

[ ] 5-38)

[ ( ) ] [ ]

For :

5-39)

[ ]

Therefore:

[( ) ] 5-40)

[ ]

Where t is time.

Thus according to eq.(5-40), grows exponentially with time immediately after formation of the

perturbation if M>1 but decays exponentially with time if M<1. Dispersion which was not taken into

account in this simple example acts to oppose this growth by moderating the viscosity contrast.

Whether or not the finger propagate after being initiated and, if so, at what rate depends on the

importance of dispersion in the displacement. The initial growth rate can be estimated from the above

equation but the equation is not valid for fully developed fingers.

290

Koval85 developed a model for predicting the performance of miscible displacements in the presence of

viscous fingers. He defined an effective viscosity ratio, E, that characterizes the effect of viscous

fingering:

⌈ ( ) ⌉ 5-41)

function of E (Figure 5-35 – Estimated breakthrough recovery as a function of viscosity ratio [32].).

100

80

60

Viscosity Ratio

40

20

0

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

Fractional Recovery at breakthrough

Figure 5-36 shows results from two sets of experiments on a linear system. In the first set, CO2 displaces

the oil by FCM process. The viscosity ratio was 16. In the second experiment CO2 displaces oil in a MCM

process, while viscosity ratio is 21. There was no mobile water in these experiments. In both

experiments the oil recovery was delayed because of the adverse mobility ratio, i.e., there was an early

breakthrough of CO2. In FCM process, ultimate recovery approached 100% with continued injection of

CO2. In the MCM process the viscous fingering not only delayed the oil recovery but also worked to

reduced total recovery. The implication is that an interaction or collaboration occurs between viscous

fingering and phase behavior to cause liquid-phase drop out and trapping.

85

291

1

0.9 MCM

FCM

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.5 0.7 0.9 1.1 1.3 1.5 1.7

Movable pore volumes CO2 injected

Figure 5-36 – Impact of viscous instability on secondary CO2 flood oil recovery efficiency86

From flow experiments in a vertical cross-sectional laboratory model packed with glass beads, Crane et

al.87 found that four flow regimes are possible at unfavorable mobility rations, depending on the value of

the dimensionless group characterizing the ratio of viscous and gravity forces (eq. (5-42)).

( )( ) ( ) (5-42)

⁄

And for field units:

⁄ ( )( ) ( ) (5-43)

Where,

Darcy velocity, (B/Day/ft2)

L = distance between injection and producing wells (length of the system) ft,

H = height of the reservoir (system), ft,

k = porous medium permeability, md,

oil viscosity, cP,

density difference between displacing and displaced fluids, g/cm3.

These equations assume that vertical permeability is the same as horizontal permeability. When this

assumption is not true a suggestion approximation is to substitute k with √ in this equation.

86

“An Investigation of Phase Behavior/Microscopic By-Passing Interaction in CO2 Flooding”, Gardner, J.W. and Ypma, J.G.J., SPEJ, Oct.1984.

87

292

The magnitude of viscous forces to gravity forces increases with increasing ⁄ value. At small ⁄

values, the displaced phase tends to override (Figure 5-37.a) or underride (Figure 5-38.b), depending on

the magnitude of the liquids densities, which leads to early breakthrough of the displacing phase, even

for M=1.

Displaced Phase

Displacing Phase

a) b)

Displacing Phase

Displaced Phase

Figure 5-37– Gravity segregation in displacement processes. A) Gravity override ρo<ρs. b) Gravity Underride ρs<ρo

In this manner the displacement is characterized by a single gravity tongue (Figure 5-38, a, Regime I).

The geometry of this tongue and vertical sweepout both depend on the particular ⁄ of the

displacement. At higher value of ⁄ the displacement is still characterized by a single gravity tongue

(Figure 5-38, a, Regime II), but vertical sweepout become independent of the particular value of ⁄

until a critical value is exceeded. Beyond this critical value a transition region is encountered (Figure

5-38, b, Regime III) where viscous fingers are formed along the primary gravity tongue. Vertical sweep is

improved by the formation of viscous fingers in this regime. In this regime, sweep out for a given value

of pore volumes injected increases sharply with increasing values of ⁄ . Finally, a value of ⁄ is

reached where the displacement is entirely dominated by multiple fingering in the cross section and

vertical sweepout again becomes independent of the particular value of the ⁄ (Figure 5-38, c,

Regime IV). A gravity tongue does not form in this regime because of the strong viscous fingering. The

value of ⁄ at which a transition occurs from one flow regime to another depends on the mobility

ratio

Figure 5-38 – Flow regimes for miscible displacement in a vertical cross section.

Figure 5-39 further illustrate the different flow regimes in miscible displacement and shows how

sweepout at solvent breakthrough in a vertical cross section is affected both by the flow regime and by

mobility ratio.

293

Figure 5-39 – Flow regimes in a two-dimensional, uniform linear system (Schematic) [29].

Figure 5-40 shows a relation between mobility ratio, ⁄ and vertical sweep efficiency.

Example 5-6

A miscible displacement process will be used to displace oil from a linear reservoir having the following

properties:

L = 300 ft, h = 10 ft, 0.20, ko = 200 md.

Determining the effect of gravity segregation on the vertical sweep efficiency if the oil is displaced

miscibly by a solvent with a density of 0.7 gr/cm3 and a viscosity of 2.3 cp at reservoir temperature. The

density of the oil is 0.85 g/cm3 and the viscosity is 2.3 cp. Darcy velocity is 0.075 ft/D.

Solution

Calculate viscous/gravity ratio using eq.(5-43):

( )

⁄

And

Calculate M:

294

Figure 5-40 – volumetric sweep efficiency at breakthrough as a function of the viscous/gravity force ratio88.

In some reservoirs with dip, gravity can be used to advantage to improve sweepout and oil recovery.

This is achieved by injecting the solvent updip and producing the reservoir at a rate low enough for

gravity to keep the less dense solvent segregated from the oil, suppressing fingers of solvent as they try

to form. For example if oil were displaced from a reservoir by injecting a less dense, more mobile solvent

up-dip, gravity would tend to stabilize the displacement front. That is, if the displacement velocity were

sufficiently low, gravity forces would act to prevent the formation of fingers at the solvent/oil interface.

Similarly, in water flood down-dip injection of water can work to stabilize the interface between the

water and oil bank interface. There are some criteria to have a stable gravity displacement. With the

same strategy that was used to find the criteria for grows of the viscous fingers (eq.(5-40)), in the

following paragraphs we will try to find the criteria for stable displacement in a dipping reservoir.

Consider a displacement in a down-dip direction in which the reservoir dip is at an angle t to the

horizontal. Assume that the interface is sharp with only displacing fluid flowing ahead of the front. For

miscible displacement that means there is no mixing at the interface. Assume a small perturbation,

finger, or protrusion has formed at the interface (Figure 5-41). The same as viscous fingering the

objective of the analysis is the determination of conditions under which the perturbation will remain

stable or will grow in magnitude, leading to an unstable interface.

88

“A laboratory study of gravity segregation in frontal drives”, Craig, F.F. Jr. et al., Trans, AIME (1957) 210, 275-82.

295

Solvent

Interface

s , µs

Oil ΔLp

Flow Direction

θ o, µo

If the pressure of the displaced phase (oil) just at the interface of the finger is higher than the displacing

(solvent) pressure the finger will remain stable.

According to Darcy’s equation solvent and oil pressure (Ps and Po) just at the perturbation face could be

find as: (see Figure 5-41)

(5-44)

(5-45)

Where,

Reference pressure at the point of the unperturbed interface.

Length of perturbation.

In these equation on the right hand side of equations the first term is the pressure at the unperturbed

interface, second term is the gravity pressure in the flow direction caused by the oil or solvent column

and the third term is the pressure difference caused by flow.

For the interface to remain stable:

(5-46)

Substituting eqs. ( (5-44)and(5-45) ) into eq. ((5-46)):

( ) (5-47)

using eq.(5-47) critical velocity as the maximum velocity at which the interface will remain stable,

defined as:

296

5-48)

( )

5-49)

( )

Where,

is in ib/ft3, µ in cp, k in Darcies, and uc in feet per day.

In derivation of eq. 5-49) we assumed that there is a sharp interface between displaced and displacing

fluid, while in miscible displacement there is a mixing zone between oil and solvent that solvent

concentration change from zero to pure solvent in this zone. For this condition ust is defined as the

maximum flow velocity for a completely stable displacement.

The velocity, ust, is called “stable rate”. Below this velocity the miscible displacement is completely

stable throughout the transition zone.

ust is more stringent criterion. If the actual displacement velocity, u, is greater than uc, the displacement

is unstable and solvent fingers into the oil. If u<ust the displacement is completely stable. However if

ust<u<uc, a portion of transition zone is unstable and fingers into the oil. At this later condition there is

no instability causing the pure solvent to finger into the oil because the displacement is below the

critical rate, and an efficient displacement of oil by the undiluted solvent still result for continuous

solvent injection. However, the fingering within a portion of solvent/oil transition zone causes more

rapid dilution of a solvent slug by mixing than would be the case with a completely stable displacement.

The following equation shows a relation between stable rate and critical rate:

( ) 5-50)

⁄

Example 5-7

A miscible flood displacement is to be conducted in a laboratory experiment in which one glycerol/brine

solution is displaced vertically downward by a second solution having a different concentration of

glycerol. Liquid properties are as follows:

Properties Liquid # 1 (Displacing (D)) Liquid #2 (Displaced (d))

NaCl content, (gr/liter) 30.00 20.00

Glycerol content, (gr/liter) 650 700

3 o

Density, (gr/cm ) at 77 F 1.1551 1.1609

o

Viscosity, (cp) at 77 F 7.4 1.3

The liquid Darcy velocity is to be 0.237 ft/D. porosity of the porous medium is 0.206 and permeability is

303 md.

297

Determine whether viscous fingering will occur?

Calculate

Solution

Equation 5-48) is applicable for calculation of nc:

kd 0.303 darcies

kD 0.303 darcie

( ) 72.440

72.078 =0.00123 ft/D

Because the planned velocity of 0.237 ft/D >> uc, the flow will be unstable and viscous fingering will

occur.

Eq. (5-50) is applicable:

( )

⁄

Fluid mixing results in an even smaller maximum velocity for stable flow.

As this example showed, the critical velocity is so low and most of the time, in field application, injection

velocity is higher than this critical value. Several solutions were suggested to increase the final recovery

of the miscible flood. Kantzas et al.89 proposed a method to increase the final recovery of a vertical

miscible performance using cyclic pressure pulsing. This method is illustrated in the next section:

[89]:

The study of this method has been done on the Rainbow Lake reefs oil of Northern Alberta. In this field

oil was displaced downward by a less viscous solvent than was injected as a slug followed by chase gas.

The injection flow rate was high enough that the solvent front velocity in the formation be higher than

the critical velocity for a stable front displacement so viscous fingering, which was in part triggered by

local heterogeneities, was blamed for reduced sweep efficiencies and oil recoveries which were less

than what was expected in the design stage. Viscous fingering leads to soon breakthrough of the solvent

and chase gas. When both solvent and chase gas break through, the gas to oil ratio (GOR) increases

dramatically with a comparable decrease in oil production.

The standard approach in controlling excessive gas or solvent production is work overs in which the

current perforations are cement squeezed and new perforations are made lower in the reef. This

procedure is costly and is not always successful. Husky proposed another procedure in optimizing the

displacement strategy which an improve the vertically directed miscible floods, by applying a cyclic flow

interruption consisting of periodical shut-in. Experimental and numerical results showed that the

89

“Optimization of Vertical Miscible Flood Performance through Cyclic Pressure Pulsing”, Kantzas, A., Marentette, D.F., See, D., Adamache, I.,

Mclntyre, F.I., Sigmund, P.M., JCPT, vol. 33, July 1994

298

concept of shut-in leads to significant incremental oil recoveries. Indeed during the shut in period

solvent and oil have time to settle under gravity effect and there is an extra time for mass transfer

between solvent and oil.

The problem with the cyclic flow interruptions is that production is discontinued. The question was

raised whether a similar effect could be observed through a continuous process.

It was proposed that cyclic pressure pulsing under restricted flow could increase mass transfer between

solvent and oil and also force recovery from dendritic structures or other upswept areas through

pressure pulsing of the solvent and gas phases. Kantzas et al. ran a series of vertical miscible flood tests

on a core from the Rainbow Keg River area. All runs were performed at rates significantly higher that the

critical rate for the specific system. Methane was used as the solvent and n-pentane as the oil. The

choice of materials (methane and n-pentane) was made to match density and viscosity rations of the

reservoir fluids while maintaining a simple composition of each phase, so that effluent analysis could be

simplified. Figure 5-42 shows their laboratory apparatus. The core was always mounted in the vertical

position and saturated with n-pentane. Methane was injected at various rates from the top of the core.

Different pressure pulsing scenarios were also applied. Sixteen experiments were discussed in their

report. For each experiment at different time steps recovery, cumulative recovery, GOR and mass

fraction of each fluid in the effluent using gas chromatograph data and a Peng-Robinson type algorithm.

The base case that is used to evaluate other process is continuous injection of the solvent. Injection rate

was approximately ten times of the critical rate. To simulate the shut in process, the same rate was

maintained, but every two hours the experiment was shut in for a day. The shut in test lasted for around

75 hours. The incremental recovery compare to the base case (continuous injection) was around 6%

OOIP. So shut in can provide significant incremental oil recovery with zero incremental investment.

However, since the project is extended for significantly longer periods of time, the return on the initial

investment may be perceived as unattractive.

High Pressure

Core Holder

Core Effluent

nC5 C1

Water

pressure

GC instrument Pump

for analysis

299

Two groups of the tests were designed to study the shut in and pressure pulsing scenario. In the first

group pressure pulsing and shut-in scenarios were applied with the assumption that the average rates

have to be maintained at the same value, 10 times of the critical rate. The second group of experiments

consisted of a combination of rate reduction tests accompanied by pressure pulsing / shut-in cycles. The

pressure pulse was achieved by pressurizing the injection cylinder to approximately 2,000 kPa over the

normal operating pressure while the production was shut-in. When the high limit pressure was reached,

the injection was stopped and production resumed until the pressure had dropped approximately 2,000

kPa lower than the normal operating pressure (i.e. a pressure cycle of 4,000 kPa). At this point the

pressure cycle was repeated. Since the pressure pulsing scenarios are evaluated for mature miscible

floods, pressure pulses always started after solvent breakthrough.

It was found that with respect to rate reductions reducing the rate by half does not increase the

recovery of oil. However, rate reduction after breakthrough gave a recovery increase of approximately

3% OOIP. Reducing the rate and applying pressure pulsing at the same time also provides better

recoveries than the base case. Up to 4% incremental recovery of OOIP can be obtained.

Figure 5-43 is the conventional plotting of mole fraction of solvent in effluent as a function of pore

volumes injected. As it can be seen, after every shut-in period the methane mole fraction drops, the

lower the amount of pentane left in the core, the lower the drop in the methane mole fraction. This can

be explained by the fact that bypassed n-pentane is allowed to mix and/or flow towards the production

end, this increasing the ultimate recovery.

The plots for the base case compared to a combination of pressure pulsing with rate reduction are

shown in Figure 5-44. In this figure the recovery plot as a function of pore volumes of solvent injected.

1.00

Mole fraction of solvent in effluent

0.80

0.60

0.40

Shut in process

0.20 Base case

0.00

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3

Pore volume of solvent injected

Figure 5-43 - Plot of mole fraction of solvent in the effluent as a function of the pore volumes of solvent injected.

Periodic shut-in case.

Each of the pressure pulses is shown in the stepwise increase of production. The horizontal part of the

step is the pressure buildup, while the vertical part of the step is the pressure relief, where actually the

incremental production occurs.

300

1.00

0.80

0.60

0.40

pressure pulsing process

0.20 Base case

0.00

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3

Pore volume of solvent injected

Figure 5-44 - Cumulative recovery for rate reduction and pressure pulsing as a function of pore volumes of solvent

injected

The plot of the mole fraction of solvent in the effluent is shown in Figure 5-45. The response is similar to

Figure 5-43. However, the reduction in solvent mole fraction is significantly lower in the pressure pulsing

case, than in the shut-in case, indicating that the pressure pulse occurred too fast and appreciable

mixing did not take place. The combination of flow reduction with pressure pulsing shown in Figure 5-44

provide the incremental recovery without any increase in GOR. From this point of view pressure pulsing

accompanied by rate reduction can be considered as a tool for better reservoir management and

reduction of operating costs. The combination of shut in and pressure pulsing process showed around

11% incremental recovery compare to the base case.

According to the Kantzas et al. experimental results it could be concluded that the life of a mature

vertical miscible flood can be extended if the miscibility is enhanced. Such an enhancement can be

achieved through periodic flow interruptions (shut-in), or rate reduction combined with cyclic pressure

pulsing.

1.00

Mole fraction of solvent in fluent

0.80

0.60

0.40

Base case

0.00

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3

Pore volume of solvent injected

301

Figure 5-45 - Mole fraction of solvent in the effluent as a function of the pore volumes of solvent injected. Rate reduction

and pressure pulsing case.

In all miscible displacement processes mixing occurs between the displacing and displaced fluids. That is

there is dispersion between the different fluids. This dispersion dilutes the displacing fluid with the

displaced fluid and thereby affects the phase behavior.

Suppose a first contact miscible solvent is injected into a linear tube to displace an oil that has the same

density and viscosity as the solvent. Viscosity and density difference has no effect on the displacement

and flow behavior. Concentration of the solvent at the outlet face of the tube is measured with time to

find a concentration profile of the solvent versus time. Figure 5-46 shows two different concentration

profile of the solvent in effluent versus time. Figure 5-46.a is the concentration that we expected

according to mobility ratio equal to one and no gravity effect. We expect to see the solvent in the

effluent after injection of one pore volume (equal to the tube volume, here) of solvent and the

concentration is expected to reach its maximum value immediately (Figure 5-46.a) . But Figure 5-46.b is

the concentration profile that we get in the real word. Solvent in the effluent is detected before

injection of one pore volume. S-shaped concentration profile resulted from mixing, or dispersion of

solvent and oil in the tube. At first, solvent is produced at low concentration. This is followed by a

period of sleepy rising concentration and finally by a period where effluent concentration gradually

approaches injected concentration. The same phenomenon happens in porous media. During the

solvent injection into a linear tube packed with sand there is a transition zone between pure solvent/oil

because of mixing. The S-shaped curve in Figure 5-46.b is the classic concentration for miscible

displacement of one fluid with a second in a linear system in which the mobility ratio is favorable and

gravity effect is negligible.

.

Effluent Solvent Concentration

Time

e

(a). what is expected because of piston like displacement (b) what happened in reality because of mixing

Figure 5-46 – profile of the solvent effluent concentration produced from a capillary tube in an equal viscosity and density.

302

As another illustration consider the injection of a small slug of fluid B into packed tube saturated with

fluid A. small slug of B in followed by injection of A. the concentration profile at the inlet at the first time

would be like as Figure 5-47. If the concentration of solvent is measured at different position of the

capillary tube at a fixed time after injection Figure 5-47.a is what is expected in the absence of mixing, or

dispersion. But in real condition the concentration profiles would tend to spreads as the fluid moved

downstream, and the amplitude (maximum concentration) would decrease (Figure 5-47.b).

Effluent Solvent Concentration

T = T0 At time = T1 T = T0

At time = T1

(a). what is expected because of piston like displacement (b) what happened in reality because of mixing

Figure 5-47 – Concentration profile for injection of a slug of solvent to displace oil.

This mixing in the direction of primary flow is called “Longitudinal Dispersion”. Dispersion also occurs in

transvers direction – that is in a direction perpendicular to flow:

Assume solvent injection to a two dimensional model. The model contains two layer of sand. One of the

layers is much more permeable than the other such that solvent, which is injected across the left face of

the model, mostly enters only the permeable layer. The solvent and oil have the same viscosity and

density. In this experiment, the solvent not only mixes with the oil by longitudinal dispersion in the

direction of flow; it also mixes with oil transverse to the direction of flow in the less permeable (Figure

5-48). If concentration were measured in situ through the section marked AA, an S-shaped

concentration profile again would be found. This mixing transverse to the direction of flow is called

“Transverse Dispersion”.

303

Longitudinal

Solvent Mixing Solvent Concentration

A

Oil

Solvent A

Transverse

Mixing

Oil

Figure 5-48 – Mixing of solvent and oil by longitudinal and transverse dispersion.

Molecular Diffusion: is present in all systems in which miscible fluids are bought into physical contact.

The diffusion process is molecular in nature; i.e., it results from the random motion of molecules in

solution. Diffusion is dominated dispersion mechanism if flow rates are very low in a porous medium. At

rates that commonly exist in reservoir displacement processes, however, dispersion also results from

bulk flow or convection phenomenon.

Velocity profile (Taylor) effect: Taylor showed that dispersion that occurs during the miscible

displacement process in a straight capillary tube (Figure 5-46.b), is a result of velocity profile in the

capillary tube. Assume that fluid A is initially in the capillary and that the fluid B displaces fluid A. assume

further that the flow rate is low so that flow is laminar. The velocity profile radially across the capillary

tube would have the parabolic form (Figure 5-46.b). the profile would be such that:

̅ (5-51)

And the maximum velocity occurs at the center of tube. If the effluent from the capillary were collected

and the concentration measured, breakthrough of fluid B would occur when a volume equal to one-half

of the capillary volume had been injected. With continued injection concentration of B inc

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