Understanding Reservoir Fluid Dynamic Processes by Using Diffusive Models

Zuo, Julian Y. (Schlumberger) | Mullins, Oliver C. (Schlumberger) | Jackson, Richard (Schlumberger) | Agarwal, Ankit (Schlumberger) | Ayan, Cosan (Schlumberger) | Wang, Kang (Schlumberger) | Chen, Yi (Schlumberger) | Pan, Shu (Schlumberger) | Elshahawi, Hani (Shell) | Dong, Chengli (Shell) | Herold, Bernd (Cairn) | Kumar, Sanjay (Cairn)



Downhole fluid analysis (DFA) has successfully been used to delineate reservoir connectivity and fluid properties and to understand the origins of many complexities in oil reservoirs with the Flory-Huggins-Zuo equation of state (FHZ EOS). Equilibrium asphaltene gradients strongly imply reservoir connectivity, with fluid equilibration often taking tens of millions of years. However, reservoir fluids often demonstrate complicated compositional gradients from undergoing dynamic processes such active late gas charges, biodegradation, and water washing. In this paper, a simple 1D two-component diffusive model with analytical solutions is developed for taking into account dynamic processes in oil reservoirs. Two field applications of the developed diffusive model are active gas charging and biodegradation to better understand these dynamic processes.

In the first field application, an active late gas charge results in huge nonequilibrium gradients in several fluid properties including API gravity, gas/oil ratio (GOR), saturation pressures, and asphaltene content (color optical density) measured by DFA and surface laboratory analysis. Because the reservoir is not in equilibrium, these fluid property gradients cannot be modeled by the equilibrium EOS model. Thus, a diffusive model is needed to account for the large GOR gradient. The diffusive model predicts the large variations of GOR gradients successfully. The asphaltene gradient is evidently under control of convective currents induced by the gas charge. The exact nature of this process is currently under investigation. The asphaltene gradient is consistent with the predictions by the FHZ EOS with the assumption of asphaltenes locally in equilibrium with the local fluids described by the diffusive model.

The second field application is biodegradation occurring at oil/water contact (OWC). Compared to the predictions of the FHZ EOS, it is observed that the upper half of the oil column follows an equilibrium asphaltene distribution well. However, a much larger asphaltene gradient is found in the lower half of the reservoir, which gives rise to a huge (8×) viscosity variation and affects production. The measured asphaltene distribution in the whole oil column can be described nicely by the diffusive model along with the FHZ EOS. The diffusion of alkanes to the OWC (where they are rapidly consumed) is a control step. The consumption of alkanes at the OWC reduces the oil volume and increases asphaltene content and viscosity. Petroleum system modeling predicts initiation of reservoir charging in the Eocene matching the diffusive times required in the FHZ EOS modeling.