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A production engineer is responsible for generating the production forecast for a well or for a field. Where does the engineer start? Darcy's law gives an estimate of the initial production. Once production drops from the peak or plateau rate, the engineer needs an estimate of decline rate. One can quickly realize that, with all these uncertainties, production forecasts are another candidate on which to use risk analysis techniques to help quantify the uncertainty.
As installed, casing usually hangs straight down in vertical wells or lays on the low side of the hole in deviated wells. Thermal or pressure loads might produce compressive loads, and if these loads are sufficiently high, the initial configuration will become unstable. However, because the tubing is confined within open hole or casing, the tubing can deform into another stable configuration, usually a helical or coil shape in a vertical wellbore or a lateral S-shaped configuration in a deviated hole. These new equilibrium configurations are what we mean when we talk about buckling in casing design. In contrast, conventional mechanical engineering design considers buckling in terms of stability (i.e., the prediction of the critical load at which the original configuration becomes unstable).
Estimating resource and reserves crosses the disciplines between geoscientists and petroleum engineers. While the geoscientist may well have primary responsibility, the engineer must carry the resource and reserve models forward for planning and economics. Volumetric estimates of reserves are among the most common examples of Monte Carlo simulation. Consider the following typical volumetric formula to calculate the gas in place, G, in standard cubic feet. In this formula, there is one component that identifies the prospect, A, while the other factors essentially modify this component.
PVT considerations are important in setting up the proper parameters when undergoing reservoir simulation. Phase behavior of a mixture with known composition consists of defining the number of phases, phase amounts, phase compositions, phase properties (molecular weight, density, and viscosity), and the interfacial tension (IFT) between phases. In addition to defining the phase behavior of mixtures at a specific reservoir pressure, knowing the derivatives of all phase properties with respect to pressure and composition is important in reservoir simulation. With either approach, the PVT quantities required by a reservoir simulator are essentially the same. Modern reservoir simulators are usually written with a general compositional formulation, whereas black-oil PVT properties are converted internally to a two-component "compositional" model; the two components are surface gas and surface oil. A reservoir simulator keeps track of overall composition in each computational grid cell as a function of time. The phase fluxes and component movement within the reservoir are greatly affected by phase behavior (e.g., the mobility of each phase and which components are carried in each phase).
The calculation of reserves in an oil reservoir or the determination of its performance requires knowledge of the fluid's physical properties at elevated pressure and temperature. Of primary importance are those properties including bubblepoint pressure, solution gas/oil ratio (GOR), and formation volume factor (FVF). In addition, viscosity and surface tension must be determined for calculations involving the flow of oil through pipe or porous media. Ideally, these properties are determined from laboratory studies designed to duplicate the conditions of interest; however, experimental data are quite often unavailable because representative samples cannot be obtained or the producing horizon does not warrant the expense of an in-depth reservoir fluid study. In these cases, pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) properties must be determined by analogy or through the use of empirically derived correlations.
This is an example of calculating PVT properties. The specific correlations that should be used for a specific crude oil or reservoir may vary, as discussed in the referenced pages focusing on specific properties. Determine the PVT properties for a United States midcontinental crude oil and natural gas system with properties listed in Table 1. Table 2 lists the correlations to be used. Measured data are provided for comparison with the calculated results.
Crude oil characterization has long been an area of concern in refining; however, the need to identify the chemical nature of crude has gained importance in upstream operations. Traditionally, this has been done by simply stating the crude oil gravity, but more information is required to understand the oil well enough to estimate the volume in the reservoir and its recoverability. During the last 60 years, several correlations have been proposed for determining pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) properties. The most widely used correlations treat the oil and gas phases as a two-component system. Only the pressure, temperature, specific gravity, and relative amount of each component are used to characterize the oil's PVT properties. Crude oil systems from various oil-producing regions of the world were used in the development of the correlations.
Isothermal compressibility is the change in volume of a system as the pressure changes while temperature remains constant. Below the bubblepoint pressure, oil isothermal compressibility is defined from oil and gas properties to account for gas coming out of solution. A total of 141 data points were available from the GeoMark PVT database. Table 3 provides a summary of the data. This data was used to evaluate and rank the performance of the isothermal compressibility correlations.
Interfacial or surface tension exists when two phases are present. These phases can be gas/oil, oil/water, or gas/water. Interfacial tension is the force that holds the surface of a particular phase together and is normally measured in dynes/cm. It is a function of pressure, temperature, and the composition of each phase. Two forms of correlations for calculating gas/oil surface tension have been developed.