On the pressure-saturation path in infinite-acting unconventional liquid-rich gas reservoirs

Matthew D. Becker, Miao Zhang, Luis F. Ayala H

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13 Scopus citations


Unconventional liquid rich natural gas reservoirs exhibit a number of unique technical challenges, including ultra-low rock permeability, which can lead to prolonged periods of infinite-acting flow. Despite this, traditional production data analysis techniques often assume boundary-dominated conditions, which may not be experienced by unconventional systems for very long stretches in their productive life. Analysis of two-phase flow and well production often relies on the use of two-phase pseudo-variables calculations for which the fluid saturation-pressure relationship must be estimated a priori. The de-facto assumption is that such a priori reservoir saturation-pressure dependency can be acquired from available constant volume depletion (CVD) or constant composition expansion (CCE) laboratory test results. As a result, the influence of reservoir characteristics or drawdown conditions on saturation-pressure path has not been rigorously investigated in general; and even less for the particular case of infinite-acting reservoir systems under linear flow regime, which is the most commonly observed flow regime in multi-fractured horizontal wells. In the present work, a recently developed semi-analytical solution for the multiphase black-oil formulation, which considers both pressure and liquid saturation as independent variables, is employed to investigate the influence of reservoir and well conditions on saturation-pressure path in linear infinite-acting liquid rich gas systems. Here, the effects of constant bottomhole flowing pressure, initial reservoir pressure, and relative permeability characteristics on pressure-saturation path are explored in a reservoir system. Results are compared to constant composition expansion (CCE) and constant volume depletion (CVD) tests, which are routinely invoked to estimate saturation-pressure path, and it is demonstrated that these tests provide very poor estimations of saturation-pressure path for all cases considered. In addition, saturation-pressure paths exhibit significant sensitivity to the parameters investigated, as a result of the significant interplay between liquid dropout and phase mobility. Finally, following the results of the sensitivity study, we use the concept of the compositionally-extended black-oil formulation to further study the physical mechanisms that control saturation-pressure path behavior, which are elucidated through an investigation of the in situ and flowing compositions of surface gas and surface oil pseudocomponents. The results of this paper indicate that traditional methods for estimation of the saturation-pressure path in liquid-rich unconventional systems cannot account for the influence of system parameters on liquid-phase dropout and condensate accumulation. Furthermore, production data analysis techniques must account for these dependencies to develop reliable reservoir forecasts and reserve estimations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-113
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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