Determination of methane diffusion coefficients in live oils for tight reservoirs at high pressures

Yibo Yang, Teresa Regueira, Hilario Martin Rodriguez, Alexander Shapiro, Erling Halfdan Stenby, Wei Yan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Molecular diffusion plays a critical role in gas injection in tight reservoirs such as liquid-rich shale. Despite recent efforts on measuring diffusion coefficients at high pressures, there is a general lack of the diffusion coefficients in live oil systems at reservoir conditions relevant to the development of these tight reservoirs. The reported diffusion coefficients often differ in orders of magnitude, and there is no consensus on the reliability of the common correlations for liquid phase diffusion coefficients, such as the extended Sigmund correlation. We employed the constant volume diffusion method to measure the high-pressure diffusion coefficients in a newly designed high-pressure tube. The experimental method was first validated using methane + hexadecane and methane + decane, and then used to measure the methane diffusion coefficients in two live oils at reservoir conditions. The obtained data were processed by compositional simulation to determine the diffusion coefficients. The diffusion coefficients measured for methane + hexadecane and methane + decane are in agreement with the existing literature data. For methane + live oil systems, however, the diffusion coefficients estimated by the extended Sigmund correlation are much lower than the measured results. An over ten times adjustment is needed to best fit the pressure decay curves. A further check reveals that for live oil systems, the reduced densities are often in the extrapolated region of the original Sigmund model. The curve in this region of the extended Sigmund correlation has a weak experimental basis, which may be the reason for its large deviation. The estimates from other correlations like Wilke-Chang and Hayduk-Minhas also give very different results. We compared the diffusion coefficients in high-pressure oils reported in the literature, showing a large variation in the reported values. All these indicate the necessity for further study on accurate determination of high-pressure diffusion coefficients in live oils of relevance to shale and other tight reservoirs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProccedings of the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition
Number of pages16
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers
Publication date2021
Article numberSPE-206100-MS
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventSPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2021 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 21 Sept 202123 Sept 2021


ConferenceSPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates
SeriesProceedings - Spe Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition


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