Evaluation of the Effects of Molecular Diffusion in Recovery from Fractured Reservoirs during Gas Injection

Zare Ghorbae, Sina (PEDEC) | Alkhansa, Zahra (IOOC)


The matrix blocks in fractured reservoirs are the primary storage of hydrocarbons, so matrix-fracture transfer mechanisms are of crucial importance in recovery from fractured reservoirs. During gas injection into fractured reservoirs, fractures are filled with injected gas while matrix blocks contain the reservoir fluid. In this condition due to compositional difference between the gas in fractures and the fluid in matrix, diffusive exchanges of components between matrix and fracture may have significant contribution on matrix oil recovery in addition to gravity drainage or other transfer mechanisms.

In this work, to evaluate the significance of molecular diffusion, the laboratory experiment of "Gas Injection into Fractured cores?? is simulated using a compositional model and this model is used to run several experiments which help in understanding the way that each recovery mechanism acts. The advantage of running simulation in core scale is that in this way there is the possibility of using small grid size which significantly reduces the issues of numerical dispersion. And more over the existing experimental data can be used for model adjustment. In the experimental works the procedure is to place a core sample into a core holder in such a way that the annulus space between the core boundary and the core holder is very small. This annulus space is representative of the fracture surrounding the matrix blocks in the reservoir. Then after using special techniques the core is saturated with the representative reservoir oil, and after this primary core initialization, gas is injected into the annulus and the amount of recovered oil is measured versus time.

This study reveals that, molecular diffusion acts like a catalyst and improves the recovery mechanism by enhancing the gas movement within matrix. At the prevalent conditions of this work, the main recovery mechanisms are the miscibility effects (Condensing or Vaporizing gas drives) that are enhanced by molecular diffusion. Sensitivity analysis done in this work reveals that significance and contribution of molecular diffusion in recovery changes with different parameters such as matrix permeability and porosity, gas composition, etc.

Fractured reservoirs contain a significant portion of the world's reserves, and Gas injection is a common recovery practice in these reservoirs and understanding the recovery mechanisms is of crucial importance for correct simulation of this process. This study shows, although significance of molecular diffusion changes with reservoir parameters, any way neglecting it in simulation studies will result in underestimation of gas injection efficiency.