Phase Equilibrium Modeling for Shale Production Simulation

Diego Rolando Sandoval Lemus

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

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Production of oil and gas from shale reservoirs has gained more attention in the past few decades due to its increasing economic feasibility and the size of potential sources around the world. Shale reservoirs are characterized by a more tight nature in comparison with conventional reservoirs, having pore size distributions ranging in the nanometer scale. Such a confined nature introduces new challenges in the fluid phase behavior. High capillary forces can be experienced between the liquid and vapor, and selective adsorption of components onto the rock becomes relevant. The impact of these effects is of great importance to understanding the storage of hydrocarbons inside and to forecasting its production. In this thesis, a study focused on the effects of capillary pressure and adsorption on phase behavior, and their impact on oil production is provided. An efficient algorithm for phase envelope calculations in the presence of the capillary pressure is presented, and it is used to analyze the main changes on the phase boundary for several fluids of interest. The results show changes in the saturation pressure and temperature along the phase envelope, except at the critical point. A linear analysis is presented to explain such changes, as a result, useful mathematical relationships that estimate the magnitude of these changes were obtained. Moreover, a flash algorithm that accounts for capillarity was developed. The algorithm was implemented into a fully implicit compositional reservoir simulator, which was then used to assess the impact of the capillary pressure on phase behavior in oil and gas production from tight reservoirs. Since capillary pressure and adsorption occur simultaneously in shale, its combined effect was studied. A model comparison for high-pressure adsorption in shale is presented. The adsorption data in shale is generally scarce, therefore, additional capabilities besides the accuracy were considered in the comparison. The multicomponent potential theory of adsorption yields the best results. Moreover, it shows to be useful to extrapolate adsorption data for hydrocarbons that are not available in the literature. An algorithm for phase split calculations considering both capillary pressure and adsorption was developed. The results show that adsorption and capillary pressure can significantly change the phase behavior. In general, a much shrunk phase envelope with a shifted critical point is obtained for hydrocarbon mixtures. Such behavior is mainly caused by compositional changes in the bulk phase due to selective adsorption of the heavier components onto the rock, while the change in bubble point pressure is mainly due to capillary pressure. This study has developed several robust calculation tools for phase equilibrium in porous media with capillary pressure and adsorption effects. Analysis using these tools have shown that capillary pressure and adsorption have non-negligible effects on phase equilibrium in shale. As general tools, they can be used to calculate phase equilibrium in other porous media as well. The compositional simulator with added capillary pressure effects on phase equilibrium can be used for evaluating the effects in dynamic and more complex scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
PublisherDTU Chemistry
Number of pages164
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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