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SPE-186256-MS Design of Experimental Test Method to Investigate the Effect of OBM Contamination on PVT Samples

Design of Experimental Test Method to Investigate the Effect of OBM Contamination on PVT Samples from Gas Condensate Reservoirs

J. Bon, P. J. Bon, A. J. Ortega, W. Nalepa, and R. Koo, Petrolab Australia Pty. Ltd.

Copyright 2017, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE/IATMI Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition held in Jakarta, Indonesia, 17-19 October 2017.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright. Abstract PVT samples captured by openhole formation testers


PVT samples captured by openhole formation testers in wells drilled with Oil Based Mud (OBM) will often suffer some degree of measurable contamination 1-5 . The contamination is even further pronounced for gas condensate reservoir fluid systems. Often many years will pass before production or the opportunity to re-sample the reservoir fluid and these contaminated samples are all there is to work with until that time. Improved understanding of the effect that OBM will have on these fluids will lead to improved characterization of the native reservoir fluid. The primary objective of this work was to design a new experimental laboratory method to contaminate a clean reservoir fluid PVT sample with OBM and capture the live single-phase fluid again under dynamic conditions. This experimental set-up will enable a laboratory to prepare samples representing PVT samples captured by Wireline Formation Testers (WFT) from an OBM drilled well, as well as the clean reservoir fluid to work with for comparison. It is envisaged that such an experimental setup will be able to be used to generate data to then study the effect of OBM contamination of PVT samples and ultimately improve the ability to correct PVT data on contaminated samples to obtain representative PVT properties. In order to test the experimental test method, base oil from an OBM was used to contaminate a gas condensate PVT sample with Condensate Gas Ratio (CGR) of 25 stb/MMscf. The data obtained from results from both contaminated and uncontaminated sub-samples were then used to investigate the effect of OBM on PVT properties. Sufficient sample was obtained in order to measure dew point, Z-factor, CGR and composition of the resulting contaminated samples to compare to the same properties from the original uncontaminated reservoir fluid sample. In this paper we present the following:

A new experimental set-up was designed to create contaminated PVT samples from a clean sample under dynamic conditions – flowing within a porous media at reservoir conditions.

With the experimental set-up we were able to obtain samples and data for comparison of a clean and OBM contaminated sample



Results indicate that under the right conditions, a condensing-vaporising partial miscibility dynamic is established between the gas condensate reservoir fluid and base oil.


Several methods exist for obtaining PVT samples from an oil or gas reservoir 6-8 . Wireline samples captured in openhole conditions while logging with Wireline Formation Testers (WFT) have become increasingly popular in recent times, this development mainly comes from vast improvements made to formation

testers in the 1990s 9 . These tools use inbuilt analytical equipment to measure fluid properties downhole to determine the quality of the reservoir fluid immediately prior to sampling 2,5,10-12 . Drilling with OBM has also become increasingly popular in recent years due to shortening drilling time, therefore saving costs 13 . Furthermore, OBM can have positive effects by avoiding near wellbore damage due to Water Based Muds, for example fines migration or swelling of clays 14 . Offshore and remote onshore exploration, with high drilling costs have benefitted from both using OBM to reduce drilling time, and obtaining WFT samples while logging providing PVT quality representative reservoir fluid samples without well testing. However, PVT samples captured by WFT will suffer from contamination by the mud filtrate from OBM as the fluids are, at least partially, miscibile 5,13,15 .

A few studies have been conducted to determine the effect on the composition and PVT properties of

reservoir fluids contaminated by OBM in order to obtain best practices for cleanup of the reservoir fluid and correction of the PVT properties such that accurate PVT data can be obtained, and the interaction of the two fluids better understood. These studies were performed either through computerized modeling 15 , contamination of the stock tank hydrocarbon liquid from a reservoir fluid 1 , or contamination at live conditions in a PVT cell 16 . We have observed through laboratory analysis of contaminated PVT samples, and either mud filtrate or base oil, that the OBM components do not necessarily dissolve evenly into the reservoir fluid. This is observed when mathematically removing the OBM components from a contaminated reservoir fluid composition that certain components may need to be over subtracted while others still appear to carry

contamination while seeking the line of best fit through the fingerprint data. This effectively leads us to conclude that partial miscibility has occurred, with certain components dissolving preferentially more than others.

If the situation is similar to that of a near miscible flood on small scale, then there is a possibility that

not only are certain OBM components preferentially dissolving into the reservoir fluid, but that certain components of the reservoir fluid may be preferentially dissolving into the mud filtrate. Part of this work was to seek experimentally if C 12 + components from the reservoir fluid could be lost to the filtrate in the

near wellbore region. An in-house test method was designed to contaminate an uncontaminated PVT sample at reservoir

conditions and enable us to analyse the interaction of the two fluids. The test method bears similarities to that of a slim tube experiment for miscibility studies and effectively allows the two fluids to interact dynamically within a porous media. The reservoir fluid composition, fingerprint, Condensate Gas Ratio (CGR), dew point and Z-factor were measured prior to contamination, and on three contaminated sub-samples.

In order to test the experimental method, we used a gas condensate reservoir fluid and a base oil from a

synthetic OBM. For this study, a lean gas condensate reservoir fluid was targeted as minor contamination can have a very large effect on measured PVT properties. We observed a condensing-vaporising partial miscibility dynamic established between the gas condensate reservoir fluid and base oil. This implies that not only are base oil components being vaporised into the reservoir fluid phase, but also, heavy components in the reservoir fluid are being condensed into the base oil. This was very dependent on the amount of time allowed for the two fluids to interact.



Multiple methods to mathematically correct contaminated reservoir fluid compositions exist. With the data generated we were able to check the different methods and compare the mathematically cleaned compositions to the original measured fluid sample. Overall, mathematically cleaned compositions matched well with the original composition. The data suggests that the wireline samples collected from OBM drilled wells have even further complexity. Obtaining best samples may not only be due to duration of sampling, but also to the depth of invasion, reservoir fluid composition, reservoir pressure and temperature, and base oil composition.


The difficulty in determining the amount of effect the OBM contamination has on a given PVT sample is that the clean reservoir fluid cannot be obtained for comparison. This work aims to solve that issue so that studies may be conducted into the effect it may be having. In order to design the test a review of previous work on the topic and related information was performed. A summary of relevant information follows.

Oil Based Muds Oil Based Muds are generally derived from diesel or mineral oils, and then refined to obtain particular properties. Synthetic Based Muds on the other hand are produced from chemical reaction of specific pure components to obtain a synthetic fluid 17 . For the benefit of simplicity, throughout this paper we refer to OBM as muds with a hydrocarbon base, albeit synthetic in nature. The base oil is the liquid portion of the drilling fluid prior to addition of solids to create the drilling fluid. Different types of OBM exist, some have a base oil primarily made up of a few components, with only minor quantities of other components, these have been termed narrow spectrum. Other OBM have a broader hydrocarbon component base often starting at C 10 and continuing to C 20 – these have been termed broad spectrum 13 . In the following figures we show three examples of GC-FID chromatograms for "narrow" and "broad" spectrum base oil. Fig. 1 is a narrow spectrum base oil, with only three key components, C 15 , C 17 and C 19 . Fig. 2 is an example of a broad spectrum base oil, however it has relatively few components ranging from C 10 to C 15 . Fig. 3 is another example of a broad spectrum base oil with a very wide array of components from C 9 to C 22 .

a very wide array of components from C 9 to C 2 2 . Figure 1—GC-FID

Figure 1—GC-FID Chromatogram example of a narrow spectrum base oil, with only three key components, C 15 , C 17 and C 19 .



4 SPE-186256-MS Figure 2—GC-FID Chromatogram example of a broad spectrum base oil, however it has relatively

Figure 2—GC-FID Chromatogram example of a broad spectrum base oil, however it has relatively few components ranging from C 10 to C 15 .

few components ranging from C 1 0 to C 1 5 . Figure 3—GC-FID Chromatogram of

Figure 3—GC-FID Chromatogram of a broad spectrum base oil with a very wide array of components from C 9 to C 22 .

There is clearly a significant difference in the two "broad spectrum" base oils. The example in Fig. 2 has much fewer components than the example in Fig. 3. From purely a reservoir fluids analyses point of view, the narrow spectrum OBM are easier to account for than broad spectrum. Furthermore, if there are fewer components in the base oil, it is much easier to see the content of the components native to the reservoir fluid. This is because the OBM components mask fewer of the native reservoir fluid components, to the extent that mathematical cleanup up can be done by skimming off the OBM components from the contaminated composition. Broad spectrum OBM can be difficult to mathematically remove. This is particularly true if the reservoir fluid is a gas condensate with very few C 20 + components, as the OBM components will mask virtually all

C 10 +. This can have a major effect on dew point and RLD prediction. Furthermore, if the stock tank liquid

fraction of the reservoir fluid (be it oil or gas) has some biodegradation, it can be difficult to determine the concentration of OBM in the reservoir fluid.

Methods to Numerically Remove OBM Components from a Contaminated Composition It is not possible to physically remove the OBM components selectively from a reservoir fluid once dissolved. Hence, the normal practice when working with contaminated samples is as follows 18-19 :

1. Determine composition of reservoir fluid samples collected

2. Select the best of the samples for further analysis, (generally the sample with the least contamination)



4. Build an Equation of State (EoS) model and tune to the measured contaminated fluid data

5. Determine "Mathematically Cleaned" composition

6. Adjust EoS model to a "Mathematically Cleaned" composition

Note – step 6 (adjusting EoS) model can be done in a number of ways. Sah et al., 2012 suggested building EoS models for the cleaned composition and base oil. Then combine these fluids numerically to seek to match experimental data from contaminated reservoir fluid 18 .

A few methods exist for numerically removing the OBM components from the reservoir fluids

composition. In general, these work with the following assumptions:

All contamination is in the flashed liquid

The C 8 + weight fraction of the reservoir fluid follows a logarithmic decay function with molecular weight.

The base oil components are fully miscible and dissolve evenly within the reservoir fluid

Of the assumptions listed above, the first is robust since most OBM are made up of components C 10 +. The

second assumption holds true where no biodegradation exists, the more biodegraded the reservoir fluid, the less linear the logarithmic function will be. The third assumption is where we observed most deviation. In samples where OBM contamination is low, the effect is minimized, and the linear relationship between log weight percent and molecular weight can be more easily obtained. After achieving the line of best fit, any OBM components still not overlying the linear relationship can be forced to fit. Where there is high OBM contamination, the linear relationship can become difficult to find, particularly if the OBM components have not evenly dissolved into the contaminated sample. This introduces error to the numerically cleaned composition.

A few different methods to numerically clean the contaminated composition are summarized below,

Nagarajan et al., (2010) describe these in greater detail 13 .

Skimming Method In the Skimming method, a linear relationship is sought for the log decay function in the flash liquid, that is, log wt% versus molecular weight (MW). Components in the OBM are disregarded when seeking the linear relationship. The components where OBM exists are then picked from the best fit of the linear relationship determined 13 .

Subtraction Method In the subtraction method, each of the OBM components is proportionately subtracted from the contaminated flash liquid composition. A contamination factor is applied to the base oil composition and adjusted until the best fit is achieved on the log decay function 13 .

Subtraction + Skimming Method Sometimes, after applying the subtraction method, the resulting best fit line will still show imperfections in the linear decay function over the components present in the OBM. This is due to not all components dissolving equally into the reservoir fluid, resulting in some components over the OBM range still sticking out as having too high a content, and others obviously being overly subtracted. After applying the subtraction method as best possible, the skimming method can help tidy this up and bring these components back to the linear decay function. This works best where the reservoir fluid shows good linearity in the non-OBM components C 8 -C 12 and C 22 +, where the range of OBM components is relatively narrow, and where the tail end of the reservoir fluid extends out, giving more data upon which to base the linear relationship for C 8 + components.



K-Value Method Nagarajan et al. (2010) proposed the K-Value method to adjust for OBM when partial miscibility has occurred and components have not evenly dissolved into the reservoir fluid 13 . Furthermore, it does not rely on the log linear relationship of the C 8 + components.

In this method, a preliminary cleaned composition is obtained by either the skimming or subtraction

method. Then the base oil composition is added back in and the contaminated composition is recalculated and compared to the measured values. In components where the composition does not match, the OBM contamination factor is adjusted (component by component) in a manner proportional to the reservoir condition K-value of that component.

Contamination Content and Condensate-Gas Ratio Adjustment Once a satisfactory flash liquid composition is obtained, the weight fraction of OBM components in the flash liquid can be determined from the weight fraction needed to be removed from each component. This amount of fluid sample then needs to be removed from the amount of condensate present and the CGR adjusted. Often the amount of liquid available is very small, and although Gas Chromatography analysis can be performed on very small amounts of liquid, density and molecular weight measurements may not be able to be determined. In such instanced, using averaged properties for the C 6 + components is common, such as those published by Katz and Firoozabadi 20 .

OBM Contamination in Wireline Formation Tester Samples Samples from oil reservoirs tend to suffer less due to:

The reservoir fluid and the mud filtrate being miscible. Therefore, with sufficient flow the oil itself should clean the near wellbore zone of invasion of mud filtrate on its path to the WFT probe 5 .

Since the reservoir fluid carries large quantities of C 10 + components, once OBM contamination is minimized to a low content (e.g. <2% by weight), the effects on both the composition and PVT properties are minimal and correction has shown very good results.

On the other hand, gas condensate reservoirs have shown to suffer significantly more from OBM contamination 5,15 . This is due to:

The reservoir fluid and the mud filtrate often being immiscible with each other (yet partial miscibility occurs). This implies that two-phase flow occurs in the near wellbore region of reservoir gas and mud filtrate. A relative permeability effect is created and the mud filtrate is far more difficult to clean out.

The reservoir fluid carries very small, but significant, quantities of C 10 +. Although OBM contamination may be decreased to a minimal and asymptotic level (e.g. < 2 % by weight), this amount of contamination will still account for a significant part of the C 10 + in the contaminated sample and lead to an OBM contamination of a large proportion of the stock tank condensate (depending on CGR of fluid sample it could be 10-80 % by weight).

Much of the recent developments associated with WFT type samplers has been related to determination of the point at which contamination is minimized or reduced to undetectable levels, speeding up time to clean up the samples 2-5,21-23 .

A schematic of a generic wireline formation tester (WFT) sampling tool configuration is shown in Fig.

4 (left). Multiple analytical equipment may be added to these tools to measure fluid properties prior to and during sampling. This enables sampling personnel to initially dump filtrate prior to catching a PVT sample and determine the appropriate time to commence sampling. A schematic of sampling process by WFT within the wellbore is shown in Fig. 4 (right). The near wellbore zone shows the invaded near wellbore



region. The sample probe is pressed up against the side of the wellbore and draws fluid into the tool. The reservoir fluid must first displace filtrate from the invaded zone, then travel through the reservoir rock in this region to the sampling probe in order to be sampled.

in this region to the sampling probe in order to be sampled. Figure 4—( left )

Figure 4—(left) Schematic of generic wireline formation tester (WFT) sampling tool configuration. Figure 4 (right): Schematic of sampling process by WFT within wellbore.

Analogy to Miscible Displacements The concept behind this work was based on forming an analogy of PVT samples taken by WFT in OBM drilled wells to miscible displacements. In both cases we have a hydrocarbon liquid being displaced by a gas. When a well is drilled, the drilling fluid will enter the reservoir slightly. Many of the solid components within the drilling fluid are there to quickly form an impermeable layer (mud cake) against the wall of the well and minimize the amount of mud filtrate that penetrates into the near wellbore region of the reservoir. The area where mud filtrate has entered is called the zone of invasion and could be a few inches to as much as 10 to 15 feet in low porosity formations 24, 25 . Considering the zone of invasion during the process of sampling by WFT, the pore space will be initially filled with connate water, mud filtrate, and immobile gas (mobile gas would have previously been displaced by the mud filtrate). During the sampling operation, the mud filtrate will be drawn back out and if the reservoir fluid and mud filtrate are miscible, all or near all filtrate should be washed by the reservoir fluid. Now, consider an oil reservoir to be displaced by an injection gas. When the gas sweeps through the reservoir oil it will displace the oil and move it nearer to the producing wells. If the injection gas is immiscible, it is effectively acting as a piston and again, due to capillary forces, a residual saturation may remain behind. If the fluids are miscible with each other, in a perfect displacement the injection fluid will act as a solvent and (theoretically) displace all reservoir oil. This happens because the interfacial tension between the injection gas and reservoir oil tends to zero in a miscible displacement. In practice fingering and sweep efficiency limit the amount of oil that will be displaced.



Miscibility occurs when both fluids mix completely in a single continuous phase (even if they are two different phases in their extremes) in this dynamic porous medium. Miscibility can be established a number of ways:

First contact miscible – the two fluids immediately dissolve within one another in all proportions

Multi-contact miscible – the two fluids are initially partially miscible but form a bank of fluid with components from each of the two fluids which is miscible with the two original fluids. This can occur in a few ways:

Vaporising Gas Drive – some components of the liquid phase are vaporized into the injection gas

Condensing Gas Drive – some components of the gas phase are condensed into a portion of the reservoir oil

Condensing-Vaporising Gas Drive – both of these happening at the same time, where injection gas components dissolve into a portion of the reservoir oil, and some reservoir oil components are vaporized into the injection gas. Dynamically and with further injection, a miscible bank is formed with a spectrum of compositions ranging from 100% injection gas to 100% reservoir oil.

In miscible gas flooding, focus is often placed on the pressure at which the injection gas is miscible with the reservoir oil and reservoir temperature, this is the minimum miscibility pressure or MMP. Often injection conditions just below the MMP are selected as it can deliver excellent oil recoveries, minimizing the compression costs required. In this "near miscible" condition, the two fluids are not quite miscible, but benefit occurs through partial (and almost complete) miscibility of the two fluids. The OBM filtrate and reservoir gas will likely behave as an immiscible gas flood, but may achieve partial miscibility. In general it is assumed that only filtrate components will be vaporized into the reservoir gas, but another condition exists where reservoir gas components are also dissolving into the filtrate. Carrying this analogy further, the laboratory industry standard for analyzing the interaction of an injection gas and a reservoir oil is to use a Slim Tube. As such, we felt that to study the interaction of a gas condensate reservoir fluid system and a base oil, a similar experimental design would be of great value.


We were targeting the development of a method to contaminate a sample under dynamic conditions with

a dynamic interaction between the gas condensate and reservoir fluid. In particular we wanted to observe

whether particular OBM components were preferentially being dissolved into the reservoir gas. As such, and with our laboratory's experience in miscible flooding, our first attempt was to essentially run a modified Slim Tube test.

Initial Results using Modified Slim Tube set-up During a Slim Tube test for miscible studies and determination of minimum miscibility pressure (MMP), the reservoir fluid (oil) is charged into a 40 foot long ¼ inch Slim Tube and is flooded by an injection gas (e.g. CO 2 ). For this test, we used the same set-up, but replaced the reservoir oil with a base oil, and used

a reservoir gas as the injection gas. Our conclusion of this first attempt was that a 40 foot packed column was far too long and did not properly represent the zone invaded by mud filtrate near the wellbore, which in a worst case scenario may extend several feet. However, we were very intrigued by the results of PVT samples collected at the back end. These showed that while further flow did help in cleaning up the produced fluid of OBM contamination, it was also stripping off and holding back C 12 + components native to the reservoir fluid. Breakthrough of reservoir gas occurred after displacing 80% of the base oil, with the remaining 20% base oil becoming an immobile phase coating the slim tube pores. Thereafter, reservoir gas production flowed



through this immobile phase on its way to the PVT sampling manifold. The reservoir gas vaporized some of the OBM components, but also some of the reservoir gas components condensed into the immobile liquid phase. The flood had been immiscible, shown by the low recovery and observation of two-phases in the sight glass – yet clearly some degree of component exchange between the base oil and reservoir gas had occurred, as such it should be described as a partially miscible (but still immiscible) displacement. The heavier components of the reservoir gas condensing into the immobile base oil well after breakthrough had occurred. After making this initial experiment, we decided that a significantly shorter tube would better represent the process of sampling by WFT.

Design of New Experimental Setup We then set about modifying the set-up to better represent samples collected by WFT. We created a Short Slim Tube (SST), 93 cm long, with 3/8″ tubing. A slightly larger diameter was selected so that PV of the SST was still a significant volume. This was packed with glass beads of 125-250 mesh, Fig. 5 below shows an image of the packing material for the SST.

5 below shows an image of the packing material for the SST. Figure 5—Packing material used

Figure 5—Packing material used for Short Slim Tube, glass beads of 125-250 mesh

The sight glass, common in a Slim Tube set-up, was removed to minimize volumes aside from the porous media itself. The SST had the following properties:

Table 1—Short Slim Tube Properties

following properties: Table 1—Short Slim Tube Properties A reservoir gas was created from separator samples from

A reservoir gas was created from separator samples from a well drilled with Water Based Mud (WBM). As such, no contamination would be expected and none was detected in the original reservoir fluid. The experimental schematic is shown below in Fig. 6. Initially, the experiment is set up per Fig. 6 (a), with the pressure throughout the system maintained at injection conditions up to the back-pressure regulator, then flashed to a liquids trap. This part of the experiment is representative of the WFT filtrate dumping phase,



prior to capturing sample. Once reservoir gas was coming out at the back end of the SST with minimal liquids (indicative of increased GOR) the sampling process was commenced. At this stage we switch to the schematic in Fig. 6 (b), where a PVT cylinder is placed at the back end of the SST. The system is maintained at sampling pressure all the way to and including the PVT sample cylinder and the reservoir fluid is gradually sampled.

cylinder and the reservoir fluid is gradually sampled. Figure 6—Schematic set-up of Short Slim Tube for

Figure 6—Schematic set-up of Short Slim Tube for collection of contaminated samples.

This contamination free sample was created with a CGR of 25 bbl/MMscf. At 100°C we observed a dew point of 3,170 psig. The results of compositional analysis and summarized data including dew point measurements are presented in Table 2.



Table 2—Results from compositional analysis of clean sample and resulting samples collected at back end of SST

sample and resulting samples collected at back end of SST Base oil from a synthetic oil

Base oil from a synthetic oil based mud, was used in this analysis. The composition of this base oil can be found on Table 3, along with the fingerprint data from the flash liquids before and after mathematical cleanup.



Table 3—GC-FID Composition of Flash Condensate and Base Oil Samples

Composition of Flash Condensate and Base Oil Samples PVT and Compositional Analyses Performed A Constant Mass

PVT and Compositional Analyses Performed

A Constant Mass Expansion study (CME) was performed on each sample, including the original

uncontaminated sample. With this experiment, dew point pressure, RLD and Pressure-Volume relations are determined. The other benefit of the CME is that it is non-destructive. Once the analysis was completed, the sample was brought back to single-phase conditions and flashed to atmospheric conditions, and by measuring the volume of gas and evolved condensate a CGR could be determined. The composition of the resulting flash gas and flash liquid were analyzed by gas chromatography, and using the CGR, the composition of the pressurized sample could be determined.

The data from these tests gave us PVT data which we could analyse further to compare differences in

the uncontaminated and contaminated sample.



Results and Discussion

Measured results from analysis on the original (clean) sample and subsequent contaminated samples are shown in Table 2 below. This table summarizes C 12 + data and stream properties, OBM contamination in the samples caught, and dew point measurements. During the initial phase, only base oil was produced. This was flashed at the back end of the SST. A backpressure regulator maintained pressure within the SST system and flashed the base oil into a liquid trap. Breakthrough occurred after 0.66 pore volumes (PV) of reservoir gas injection. After breakthrough at 0.66 PV, we flowed another 0.67 PV through the liquids trap prior to commencing sampling. We targeted approximately 20 cc of reservoir fluids to be captured at the back end of each – a bare minimum of sample required to run a Constant Mass Expansion study and compositional analysis. A total of three samples were caught, these have been titled Sample #1, Sample #2, and Sample #3, respectively. Captured samples were analyzed for composition and PVT properties, after flashing the samples for measurement of CGR and composition, the following flash condensate composition was measured by GC- FID as shown below on Table 3.

Sample #1 After flowing for 1.33 PV, capture of the first sample was commenced and continued until 2.69 PV. Sample #1 was heavily contaminated, the flash condensate contained 46.8 % (by weight) OBM contamination. The compositional data was consistent with this, with C 12 + increasing from 0.40 mol% to 1.09 mol%. It is not uncommon to obtain a sample like this in a field scenario.

Sample #2 After flowing for 4.04 PV, capture of the first sample was commenced and continued until 5.47 PV. Sample #2 looked very good and no detectable base oil content was measured in the flash condensate. The resulting PVT work showed strong similarities to the original reservoir fluid. However, the measured flash CGR differed more than is desirable.

Sample #3 After flowing for 5.47 PV, capture of the first sample was commenced and continued until 6.89 PV. Sample #3 also showed no OBM contamination in the flash condensate. However, similarly to what we observed during the 40 foot study, the C 12 + was significantly lower than that of the original sample. The measured dew point was lower, and retrograde liquid dropout was significantly less – all consistent with less C 12 + content. The results of the PVT analysis are shown below in Fig. 7. Overall, as observed with the compositions, the results from Sample #1 show an excess of heavy end components. Dew point has increased by approximately 300 psi.



14 SPE-186256-MS Figure 7—Results from Constant Mass Expansion study of Clean and Captured Samples Results from

Figure 7—Results from Constant Mass Expansion study of Clean and Captured Samples

Results from Sample #2 compare very well with that of the original reservoir fluid. The dew point was measured approximately 2% above that of the original reservoir fluid and retrograde liquid dropout is similar with similar maximum content. Results from Sample #3 interestingly appear to have a significant portion of the heavy components native to the reservoir fluid stripped out. These have likely remained on the SST column locked up by the immobile base oil phase remaining on the column. Of the PVT properties for the lean gas condensate system studied, CGR and dew point were most affected, while Z-factor was less affected, however we can see that Sample #3 was most different from the original reservoir fluid.

Mathematical Methods to Clean Up Contaminated Compositions. Both subtraction and K-value method were employed in the cleanup of composition from Sample #1. As can be seen on Table 3, the results from both methods compared very well to each other (almost identical results), and the cleaned up Sample #1 composition resulted in a fairly similar composition to the original sample. There are some substantial errors between the corrected composition from Sample#1 and the original clean sample (over 30% in components with small content to start with), but overall however, a composition of this quality would provide fairly valuable information for a reservoir engineer in an exploration well. The resulting CGR using flash data from the contaminated sample and correcting for cleanup differed too much from the original sample. If we analyse the data closer, we can see that the flash condensate composition of the contaminated sample carried less intermediate component compared to the flash of the original sample, implying that these components were flashed off in the vapor phase rather than condensing. So while the wellstream composition could be corrected back to the original composition, the flash condensate appeared to still be affected by the OBM contamination even after correction.


An experimental apparatus was designed to enable OBM contamination of a clean reservoir fluid sample through a dynamic process, flowing through a porous media at reservoir conditions.

Using this apparatus, an experimental test method was designed to obtain both uncontaminated and OBM contaminated PVT data from the same base reservoir fluid. This enabled us to study the effects of OBM contamination on PVT samples taken by WFT in OBM drilled wells.

The experimental apparatus and test method were trialed with success.



The data obtained from the experimental test method indicated that:

○ A contaminated sample could be obtained.

○ Contamination free samples can be obtained with sufficient flow.

○ The base oil may be stripping heavy end components native to the reservoir fluid in the near wellbore region. This may be due to a condensing-vaporising drive mechanism being developed between the reservoir gas and remnant base oil locked in the near wellbore region.

Proposed future studies to improve the experimental test method would include:

○ Numerical modeling to match experimental data and then test an experimental forward plan.

○ Using the numerical model, perform parametric sensitivity study of:

■ The flow rate of reservoir gas passing through the SST.

■ The effect of pressure and temperature on partial miscibility of OBM and gas condensate reservoir fluids.

■ The effect of OBM composition.

○ Apply learnings from parametric sensitivity to fine tune the experimental method.


The authors thank Petrolab Australia Pty. Ltd. for providing the laboratory resources and allowing time to conduct this work. Also, we extend special thanks to Jan G. Bon (Sr.) and Gavin Munn for their assistance in editing and reviewing our work.


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