Effect of gas/oil capillary pressure on minimum miscibility pressure for tight reservoirs

Kaiyi Zhang, Bahareh Nojabaei, Kaveh Ahmadi, Russell T. Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Shale and tight reservoir rocks have pore throats on the order of nanometers, and, subsequently, a large capillary pressure. When the permeability is ultralow (k<200 nd), as in many shale reservoirs, diffusion might dominate over advection, so that the gas injection might no longer be controlled by the multicontact minimum miscibility pressure (MMP). For gasfloods in tight reservoirs, where k>200 nd and capillary pressure is still large, however, advection likely dominates over diffusive transport, so that the MMP once again becomes important. This paper focuses on the latter case to demonstrate that the capillary pressure, which has an impact on the fluid pressure/volume/temperature (PVT) behavior, can also alter the MMP. The results show that the calculation of the MMP for reservoirs with nanopores is affected by the gas/oil capillary pressure, owing to alteration of the key tie lines in the displacement; however, the change in the MMP is not significant. The MMP is calculated using three methods: The method of characteristics (MOC); multiple mixing cells; and slimtube simulations. The MOC method relies on solving hyperbolic equations, so the gas/oil capillary pressure is assumed to be constant along all tie lines (saturation variations are not accounted for). Thus, the MOC method is not accurate away from the MMP but becomes accurate as the MMP is approached when one of the key tie lines first intersects a critical point (where the capillary pressure then becomes zero, making saturation variations immaterial there). Even though the capillary pressure is zero for this key tie line, its phase compositions (and, hence, the MMP) are impacted by the alteration of all other key tie lines in the composition space by the gas/oil capillary pressure. The reason for the change in the MMP is illustrated graphically for quaternary systems, in which the MMP values from the three methods agree well. The 1D simulations (typically slimtube simulations) show an agreement with these calculations as well. We also demonstrate the impact of capillary pressure on CO2-MMP for real reservoir fluids. The effect of large gas/oil capillary pressure on the characteristics of immiscible displacements, which occur at pressures well below the MMP, is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-831
Number of pages12
JournalSPE Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of gas/oil capillary pressure on minimum miscibility pressure for tight reservoirs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this