Thermodynamic modeling of complex systems

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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Offshore reservoirs represent one of the major growth areas of the oil and gas industry, and environmental safety is one of the biggest challenges for the offshore exploration and production. The oil accidents in the Gulf of Mexico in 1979 and 2010 were two of the biggest disasters in history. Contrary to earlier theories, the oil is not only present on the surface, but also in great volumes both in the water column and on the seafloor, which indicates that we do not know enough about how oil behaves in water and interacts with it. Sonar detection is one of the most important and necessary technologies to reduce the environmental effects of offshore oil exploration. It could be used (1) to detect oil and gas leaks around the subsea well head enabling faster responses, especially in deep water and/or ice covered areas; (2) to detect and map the oil in the seawater column during cleanup process after an oil spill. Engineering thermodynamics could be applied in the state-of-the-art sonar products through advanced artificial technology, if the speed of sound, solubility and density of oil-seawater systems could be satisfactorily modelled. The addition of methanol or glycols into unprocessed well streams during subsea pipelines is necessary to inhibit gas hydrate formation, and the offshore reservoirs often mean complicated temperature and pressure conditions. Accurate description of the phase behavior and thermalphysical properties of complex systems containing petroleum fluids and polar compounds are extremely important from viewpoints of the economical operation and environmental safety. The classical thermodynamic models used by the oil industry are semi-empirical and not suitable for mixtures containing water and other polar chemicals. The complex nature of water, its anomalous properties due to hydrogen bonding and the hydrophobic interactions with hydrocarbons (oils), are not described well by such simple models. The perturbation theory based models have an explicit term to account for the hydrogen bonding, and these models are also believed to have better performance for derivative properties, e.g. speed of sound, and for density under extreme conditions. This PhD thesis studies the capabilities and limitations of the Perturbed-Chain Statistical Association Fluid Theory (PC-SAFT) equation of state. It consists of three parts. In the first part, the PC-SAFT EOS is successfully applied to model the phase behaviour of water, chemical and hydrocarbon (oil) containing systems with newly developed pure component parameters for water and chemicals and characterization procedures for petroleum fluids. The performance of the PCSAFT EOS on liquid-liquid equilibria of water with hydrocarbons has been under debate for some vii years. An interactive step-wise procedure is proposed to fit the model parameters for small associating fluids by taking the liquid-liquid equilibrium data into account. It is still far away from a simple task to apply PC-SAFT in routine PVT simulations and phase behaviour of petroleum fluids. It has been extensively studied on how to develop general petroleum fluid characterization approaches for PC-SAFT. The performance of the newly developed parameters and characterization procedures for the description of the phase equilibria of well- and ill-defined binary and ternary systems containing water, chemicals and/or hydrocarbons (oils) is quite satisfactory, if compared to the models available in literature. The modeling of petroleum fluid-water-MEG systems provides further information to develop simpler and more robust characterization approaches. In the second part, the speed of sound data and their correlations of various systems are reviewed. Two approaches are proposed to improve the speed of sound description within the PC-SAFT framework by putting speed of sound data into the parameter estimation and/or the universal constant regression. The first approach works only for short associating fluids, while the second approach significantly improves the speed of sound description for various systems both qualitatively and quantitatively. The possibility of simultaneous modeling of phase behavior and speed of sound, including the effects of parameter estimation approaches for 1-alcohol containing systems, are also investigated. In the third part, the fundamentals of PC-SAFT are investigated based on the universal constant regression. The PC-SAFT EOS has been criticized for some numerical pitfalls during the recent years. A new variant of universal constants has been developed, which has avoided the numerical pitfalls of having more than three volume roots in the real application range. It has been shown that it is possible to directly use the original PC-SAFT parameters with the new universal constants for the systems considered in this thesis. Finally, the salt effects on the solubility of hydrocarbons, the speed of sound, and the static permittivity of aqueous solutions are briefly discussed. It is still an open question how to estimate the model parameters for associating fluids with pure component properties only. The possibility of using the static permittivity data in the parameter estimation is discussed by adopting a newly developed theory of static permittivity and association theory based EOS.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Number of pages287
ISBN (Print)978-87-93054-46-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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