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PgDip/MSc Energy Programme / Subsurface

PVT Properties of Crude Oils

Fluid Properties: PVT Properties of Crude Oils

1. Oil formation volume factor, B o

the volume of oil measured at reservoir conditions required to give unit volume of oil at stock-tank conditions (assuming steady-state production conditions).

Strictly, B o is a dimensionless ratio, but it is always quoted with units rb/stb (or bbls/STB) – i.e. reservoir barrels per stock-tank barrel.

B o

=

2. Gas formation volume factor, B g

B g = the volume of gas measured at reservoir conditions (rb) which

occupies 1 scf at stock-tank conditions. The units of B g are then rb/scf (or bbls/SCF). (In some older books the units rcf/scf – i.e. reservoir cubic feet per standard cubic foot - are used. The factor 5.615 is then necessary in the material balance equations to convert rcf to rb).

3. Solution gas-oil ratio (or dissolved gas-oil ratio, or gas solubility) R s

R s

=

the amount of gas which is held in solution in the oil under reservoir conditions, and which comes out of solution as the oil is produced and flows through the separators at the surface. The amount of this gas is measured in scf per barrel of stock-tank oil produced, and therefore

R s is given in units of scf/stb. If R s scf of this separated gas are recombined with 1 stb of oil from the stock-tank and returned to the reservoir conditions of temperature and pressure, the resulting oil will

have a volume of B o bbl and will be identical with the reservoir oil.

Hence B g refers to gas which is free gas (i.e. not in solution with the oil) at reservoir conditions, and therefore has no meaning for an undersaturated

reservoir, while R s refers to gas which is in solution at reservoir conditions.

In these notes it will be assumed that stock-tank conditions are taken as 60°F and 14.7psia, and that gas volumes in standard cubic feet are also measured at these conditions. This is the generally accepted convention, although these values of temperature and pressure are not universally standardised; some states in the US, for example, adopt slightly different values of pressure as standard.

Values of B o , R s and B g (where applicable) for a sample of oil from the reservoir will be determined for a range of pressure values by laboratory measurements at an early stage in the appraisal of any newly discovered reservoir. This information is referred to as PVT data or PVT properties, and is essential for the prediction of reservoir performance.

PgDip/MSc Energy Programme / Subsurface

PVT Properties of Crude Oils

Consider a sample of oil having a volume V r at the reservoir conditions (pressure

P r and temperature T r ). Assume that the reservoir is undersaturated – i.e. no free gas will be present. Consider the changes in volume which take place as the pressure is gradually reduced. (Assume that the temperature is kept constant).

At first, the volume of the oil sample will increase slightly as a result of its compressibility. When the pressure drops to the bubble-point value, free gas

begins to separate and the volume of the liquid shrinks, causing B o to decrease
begins to separate and the volume of the liquid shrinks, causing B o to decrease
as shown in the Fig. 1 sketch, which represents a typical case.
Critical
Pressure
Point
p r , T r
B o
Temperature
(rb/stb)
Under-
Saturated
saturated
1.0
Pressure
Atmospheric
value
Bubble-point

pressure

Fig. 1

If the volume of the oil is V st at stock-tank conditions, then for the original reservoir conditions

B =

oi

V

r

V

st

rb/stb

The second subscript, i, shows that the value of B o refers to initial conditions.

During production operations the reservoir pressure will eventually decrease (although this decrease may be postponed by pressure maintenance operations), while the reservoir temperature will remain essentially constant. Hence if the reservoir is initially undersaturated B o will increase until the bubble-point is reached.

PgDip/MSc Energy Programme / Subsurface

PVT Properties of Crude Oils

If the volume of gas which has separated in the separators and the stock-tank during the processing of the original oil sample is V g scf, then

R

s =

V

g

V

st

scf / stb

Since there was no free gas in the reservoir initially, all the gas separated has come out of solution in the oil produced.

The initial value of B o is given the symbol B oi . If B oi for a reservoir fluid is high (greater than about 1.8 to 2.0 rb/stb), the fluid will be a volatile oil or a near- critical oil. This oil will hold in solution large amounts of gas which are released

from solution during production and separation. As a result, R si is high, and the shrinkage of the oil due to gas coming out of solution is high; e.g. for the

Statfjord field B oi is typically around 2.7 rb/stb and R si has the relatively high value of around 3000 scf/stb. (Volatile oils are sometimes called high-shrinkage

oils). If B oi for a reservoir fluid is less than about 1.8 rb/stb, the fluid will be a

black oil, and the value of R si will be less than about 2000 scf/stb. E.g. for a

black oil where B oi has a value of around 1.25, R si will typically be about 500

scf/stb. In some cases where the oil contains very little dissolved gas R si may be

as low as 20 scf/stb in which case B oi may be no higher than 1.05 rb/stb.

For an undersaturated reservoir we may therefore represent the balance by the diagram in Fig.
For an undersaturated reservoir we may therefore represent the balance by the
diagram in Fig. 2.
gas
R s scf
gas
Separators
oil
1 stb
OIL
Well fluids
Stock tank
Reservoir
OIL +
B o rb
DISSOLVED GAS

Fig. 2

PgDip/MSc Energy Programme / Subsurface

PVT Properties of Crude Oils

Note that the values of B o and R s for a given reservoir will depend to some extent on the separator layout adopted. Most of the gas will come out of solution in the separators but some may be liberated in the stock-tank and this is also

included in the total gas volume when R si is calculated.

If the reservoir pressure is initially below the bubble-point pressure, free gas will be present in the reservoir and the gas produced will be partly free gas and partly gas which has come out of solution. The velocity of the gas flowing in the pores of the reservoir rock is much greater than the velocity of the oil; as a result, the producing (or instantaneous) gas-oil ratio R may considerably exceed the initial solution gas-oil ratio R si .

R = scf of gas produced per stock-tank barrel of oil produced – i.e. the instantaneous or producing gas-oil ratio (GOR). This is usually calculated on a daily basis.

Consider the case of an initially undersaturated oil reservoir, with an initial dissolved gas-oil ratio R si . When the reservoir pressure drops to the bubble-point pressure gas will start to come out of solution in the reservoir, and a free gas saturation develops.

Initially, when only small amounts of free gas are present, the gas is immobile – it remains trapped in the individual pores of the formation and will not flow, even when the surrounding oil is flowing. As more gas comes out of solution, the free

gas saturation (S g ) rises until it reaches a critical value at which the gas becomes mobile, and will flow under an applied pressure gradient. Since the gas has a much lower viscosity than the oil, the gas will then travel to the producing wells faster than the oil from which it has been liberated, and the producing gas-oil

ratio R will increase to a value much greater than R si as shown in the Fig. 3 sketch. (The critical gas saturation at which the gas becomes mobile is typically around 5% although in some cases it may be as high as 15% or 20%.)

R (scf/stb) GOR R S Reservoir Initial Bubble-point Pressure Reservoir pressure pressure
R
(scf/stb)
GOR
R S
Reservoir
Initial
Bubble-point
Pressure
Reservoir
pressure
pressure

Fig. 3

PgDip/MSc Energy Programme / Subsurface

PVT Properties of Crude Oils

Note that the value of R s will remain constant while the reservoir pressure is above the bubble-point.

R s

(scf/stb)

0

Pressure Atmospheric value Bubble-point
Pressure
Atmospheric
value
Bubble-point

Fig. 4

pressure

For a saturated reservoir (i.e. one in which the pressure is below the bubble- point) the balance may be represented as follows:

gas R scf gas Separators oil 1 stb OIL Well fluids Stock tank Reservoir B
gas
R scf
gas
Separators
oil
1 stb
OIL
Well fluids
Stock tank
Reservoir
B o rb
+
(R - R s )
OIL +
DISSOLVED GAS
FREE GAS
Fig. 5

The R scf of gas produced per stb of oil is made up of:

a) R s scf of gas from solution

PgDip/MSc Energy Programme / Subsurface

PVT Properties of Crude Oils

b) (R-R s ) scf of gas from the free gas in the reservoir which at

reservoir conditions will have a volume of (R-R s )B g rb.

Hence the total volume of hydrocarbons withdrawn from the reservoir (measured

at reservoir conditions) to produce 1 stb of oil + R scf of gas is [B o +(R-R s )B g ]rb.

The gas formation volume factor B g may also be expressed in terms of the gas expansion factor E, commonly used in gas reservoir engineering.

E =

volumeof 1mole of gas at standard conditions

volumeof 1mole of gas at reservoir conditions

For standard conditions of 60°F and 14.7 psia then

E =

35.37p

zT

Where z is the compressibility factor for the gas at the reservoir conditions of pressure p and temperature T, and it has been assumed that the compressibility factor for standard conditions is 1.0 (normally a good approximation).

Then

B g =

1

5.615E

rb / scf

0.00504zT

=

p

rb / scf

(since 1 bbl = 5.615 ft 3 )

B g and E values are normally not given for pressures above the bubble-point pressure, since no free gas is expected to be present in the reservoir under these conditions.

WEM

03:03:2010