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Gas Reservoirs

Gas reservoirs are hydrocarbon reservoirs that contain dry gas (i.e., the methane
mole fraction is greater than 95%). Behavior of these reservoirs is governed by the
gas equation of state and the material balance equation. Three quantitiespressure,
volume, and temperaturedefine the state of a gas. As we mentioned, in most
hydrocarbon reservoirs the temperature is considered to be constant.
Gas Equations of State
Ideal Gas Equation:
The Ideal Gas Equation of state is derived from Boyles law, Charles or Gay Lussacs
law, and Avogadros law:

pV = nRT =


p = pressure, psia
V = volume, ft3
n = number of pound-moles
R = gas constant = 10.732
T = temperature, R = 460 + F
W = weight, lb
M = molecular weight, lb/lb-mole
Equation 18 is used to calculate the number of moles of gas when the pressure and volume are
known. This allows the determination of the moles of gas left in the reservoir as the Pres sure
declines, and thus recovery in moles. However, each mole of any ideal gas occupies a volume of
379.4 ft3 (10.74 m3) at 60F (289K), and 14.7 psi (101 kPa). Therefore, recovery in standard
volumes is:
379.4 x (number of moles recovered)= standard ft3
0.74 x (number of moles recovered)= standard ft3
Real Gas Equation:
While Equation 18 is used in many calcula tions not pertaining to hydrocarbon
systems, it was found that the behavior of hydrocarbon systems deviates from the
ideal or Perfect gas law. The deviation from ideal behavior increases with pressure
and decreases with temperature. This deviation is attributable to the fact that the
perfect gas law assumes that the kinetic motion of gas molecules (i.e., their
tendency to fly apart) is much stronger than the electrical attractive forces. This
assumption is not valid at high pressure and relatively low temperature. Under most

reservoir engineering pressure conditions, the molecules are brought close to each
other, and the attractive forces become important. To correct for the deviation from
ideal gas behavior, a gas deviation fac tor, or compressibility factor, is introduced
into Equation 18. It becomes
pV = znRT
where z is the dimensionless deviation, or gas compressibility, factor.


z-Factor Correlations:
The z factor may be obtained from correlations given in Katz 1959 and Standing and
Katz 1942. The correlations give z as a function of pseudoreduced temperature and
These quantities are defined by

, and Tr =
Pr =
where Pc and Tc are the pseudocritical pressure and temperature for the hydrocarbon system.
(The critical temperature is the temperature at which the meniscus that separates the liquid and
vapor phases of a fluid disappears. The vapor pressure at this critical temperature is called the
critical pressure. Above the critical temperature, there is no reason to draw any distinction
between liquid and vapor, since there is a complete continuity of states.)
The preferred way to obtain Pc and Tc is by calculating them from a gas
compositional analysis, i.e.,
Pc =
Tc =
ni = mole fraction of component i
Pci = critical pressure of component i
Tci = critical temperature of component i
The sum is taken over all the components. Pci and Tci are listed in Katz et al. (1959) and
Standing (1952) and are given in Table 1 .


Table 1

Equations 20 and 21 require knowledge of the gas composition. If this is not

available one may use correlations given in Katz 1959. These give Pc and Tc values as
functions of gas gravity.
Application of the Real Gas Equation of State
Volumetric Calculations
Equation 19 may be used simply to calculate the number of moles, and thus the
standard cubic feet of gas in a gas reservoir. The value of z can be less than, equal
to, or greater than 1.0. It very seldom exceeds a value of 1.10. However, it can be
as low as 0.3.
p/z versus Cumulative Production
We mentioned that the equation of state together with the material balance equation
defines the behavior of a gas reservoir. The MBE for a gas reservoir with no water
influx and neglecting compressibilities of rock and its associated water is
Gp Bg = G( Bg - Bgi)



Gp = cumulative gas produced, SCF (m )

Bg = gas formation-volume factor, RB/SCF (m3/standard m3)
G = original gas in place, SCF, (m3)
Bgi = taken at the original pressure pi
Bg is calculated by

where Tr is the reservoir temperature in R , and standard conditions are taken at 14.7 psi (101
kPa) and 60F (289 K). Substituting for Bg in Equation 22 and simplifying gives

This equation shows that a plot of Gp versus p/z on rectangular coordinate paper should result in
a straight line. The extrapolation of the straight line to any p/z value gives total recovery at that
pressure value, and its extrapolation to p/z = 0 gives the initial gas in place ( Figure 1 ).

Figure 1

The p/z plot is used in the petroleum industry to predict gas recovery versus pressure, and initial
gas in place. It is evident that some pressure and production data are required to establish a
straight line. The more data that becomes available, the better the definition of the straight line,
and the more accurate the prediction. One must always remember that we are usually dealing
with field data where inaccuracies are present, and where scatter occurs. Therefore, any p/z plot
should be routinely updated as pressure and production data allow.
Effect of Water Influx If water influx is present, Equation 22 becomes
Bg Gp = C(Bg - Bgi) + W e
where W e is the water influx. Equation 24 becomes


Since W e is a function of pressure and time (i.e., it is not constant), and Bg is a function of
pressure, a plot of Gp versus p/z will not give a straight line. However, at early time We is
normally small, and, because of this, the plotted points may appear to fall on a straight line. Such
a straight line will have a relatively flat slope, and its extrapolation to p/z = 0 will give an
erroneously high value for G. Later tine production data will not continue on a straight line trend.

Rather, they will curve with a slope as shown in Figure 2 .

Figure 2

Recovery Factors
Gas recovery by pressure depletion usually is the most efficient means of producing
gas reservoirs and results in a maximum recovery. Recovery can easily be calculated
by Equation 24, and requires an estimate of the level of abandonment pressure. This
recovery can also be approximated by

Recovery in percent = 1 100

When water influx is present, recovery is adversely affected because of the tendency for the
encroaching water to trap portions of the gas in the reservoir, perhaps 15 to 50% or more. This
trapped gas is unrecoverable. In addition, heterogeneities and stratification may cause the
encroaching water to bypass a por tion of the reservoir and prematurely "water out" the producing
wells. Generally speaking, when water influx is present, reservoir and production engineers may
try to "outrun" the water by producing the gas at a high rate. This tends to maxi mize the effect of
the expansion part of the recovery mechanism, before the water can move into the gas-saturated
portion of the reservoir. The success of such a technique depends to a large extent on the
permeability characteristics and geometry of the reservoir rock, the reservoir aquifer sys tem, and

the location of the producing wells. Other strategies for handling water influx, as outlined by the
Gas Research Institute in its publication Managing Water-Drive Gas Reservoirs (1993) include
continuing to produce watered-out wells in order to lower reservoir pressure and thus
remobilize trapped gas

selectively recompleting wells with multiple horizons

drilling additional wells to avoid bypassing reserves
increasing off-season takes to maximize the net present value of reserves
Abnormal-Pressure Gas Reservoirs
Abnormally pressured gas reservoirs are those reservoirs whose average fluid
pressure gradient is substantially higher than 0.433 psi/ft (9.796 kPa/m), which is
the average for normally pressured reservoirs. Abnormal pressures can result from a
number of conditions, some of which include undercompaction of sediments,
chemical diagenesis, tectonic activity (e.g., faulting), fluid density differences and
fluid migration. For such reservoirs, the effective rock compressibility could be
several orders of magnitude higher than that of normal reservoirs.
p/z Behavior
In applying the MBE to gas reservoirs with no water influx, it is normally assumed
that the rock and its associated water expansion is insignificant compared to that of
the gas expansion and is normally ignored. This assumption underlies the linear p/z
versus cumulative production plot. In the case of abnormally pressured gas
reservoirs, the compressibility of the rock cannot be ignored. It acts to maintain the
pressure at a relatively high value. Thus a plot of p/z versus cumulative gas
production for these reservoirs will show two distinct slopes (Perez and Robinson
1976). The early slope exists during the period of abnormally high pressure (because
of gas expansion, as well as pressure maintenance resulting from formation
compaction, crystal expansion and water expansion), and the later one characterizes
the reservoir when the pressure reaches the normal value ( Figure 3 ).

Figure 3

Extrapolation of the early slope to obtain initial gas in place will result in an
optimistic value. In this sense it is similar to the p/z plot when water influx is
present, as discussed earlier. If the second straight line is adequately defined it may
be extrapolated to obtain an estimate of the initial gas in place. If only the first slope
is defined the engineer is advised against using the p/z technique for determining
gas in place: instead, the MBE with compressibility terms should be used.
Material Balance Equation with Compressibility Terms
The MBE for a gas reservoir with no water influx is

GpBg = G(Bg - Bgi) +

(Swcw+ cr) (pi - pR)

The first term on the right-hand side is the gas expansion and the second term is the
expansion of the rock and associated water. The left-hand side term is the gas
production. All are expressed in reservoir volumes. The initial gas in place G is then

Equation 27 should be used to calculate the initial gas in place, in place of the normal p/z versus
Gp plot for abnormally pressured reservoirs.

Gas Condensate Reservoirs

Gas condensate reservoirs have been defined as those hydrocarbon reservoirs that
yield gas condensate liquid in the surface separator(s).
A retrograde gas condensate reservoir is one whose temperature is below the
cricondentherm (the maximum temperature at which liquid and vapor phases can
coexist in equilibrium for a constant-composition multicomponent system). As
pressure decreases below the dewpoint due to production, a liquid phase develops
within the reservoir, which process is called retro grade condensation. Performance
prediction for a gas retrograde condensate reservoir becomes a complex matter. One
way of predicting performance is to simulate the reservoir depletion by a laboratory
study using a high-pressure cell. Modern models are also available to reservoir
engineers as compositional reservoir simulators with which an equation of state is
used to calculate phase behavior.
Condensate Fluids
Development of reservoirs that contain condensate hydrocarbon fluids requires
engineering methods that are significantly different from crude oil or dry gas
reservoirs. An understanding of the properties of these fluids is necessary for proper
analysis and planning of a recovery scheme.
Condensate fluids production is predominantly gas from which liquid or distillate is
condensed. Typically, distillate API gravity is higher than 45 API, while the gas-oil
ratio can range from 5000 to 100,000 SCF/bbl (890 to 18,000 m3/m3). The liquid
content ranges from 10 bbl/MMSCF (56 m3/Mm3) for very lean condensate systems
to 200 or more bbl/MMSCF (1100 m3/Mm3) for rich ones (Eilert et al. 1957; Standing
The composition of a gas condensate lies between that of a volatile oil and a dry gas.
Thus, the methane mole fraction is normally between 0.75 and 0.90, in contrast to
0.95 for dry gas and less than 0.70 for volatile oil. Further, the mole fraction of the
heavy components (C7+) is several times larger than that for a dry gas.
The pressure and temperature of gas condensate reservoirs play a strong role in
their physical behavior. We will briefly review the effects of pressure and
temperature on condensate systems here.
Figure 1 shows a pressure-temperature phase diagram.

Figure 1

The figure shows that if the reservoir pressure and temperature are such as to place
the reservoir in the single-phase gas region (Point E), the reservoir fluids will remain
single-phase as the reservoir is depleted isothermally. This is so because the
isothermal line will never cross the two-phase region. If we consider a reservoir at
point A, the reservoir fluid is single-phase. However, as the pressure declines, a
point B is reached at which the first drop of liquid appears. Liquid saturation
increases as the pressure declines, until it reaches a maximum of over 10%. Upon
further decline in pressure this process is reversed, and if point D is achieved all the
liquid disappears. This reversal of typical behavior, condensation of fluids as the
pressure declines, gives rise to the term retrograde condensation.
Retrograde condensation may result in a considerable loss of valuable hydrocarbons.
For all practical purposes, the condensed liquid phase is lost to production. Its
volume is very seldom large enough to form a saturation above the critical value
required for liquid flow. Thus, as the pressure falls below the dewpoint value, the gas
produced is progressively deficient in recoverable liquid content. Because of this,
care should always be exercised to maintain the pressure of such reservoirs above
the dewpoint value.

The compressibility factor, z, can be determined from pseudore duced pressure and
temperature correlations. This requires the availability of proper correlations
representing relatively large portions of high molecular weight components in the
mixture. Eilert et al. (1957) provides correlations of the pseu docritical values and
molecular weight of C7+ fractions. For lean condensates, formation-volume factors
used for natural gases may be used to obtain good approximations. For rich
condensate systems, such approximations are not adequate. Formation-volume
factors should be obtained from laboratory measurements.
A highly important property of a condensate system in any enhanced process
employed to recover such fluids is miscibility. (Miscibility exists when two fluids are
able to mix in all proportion without any interface forming between them.) In
general, a condensate reservoir gas is miscible with any dry hydrocarbon gas. For
systems near the dewpoint, miscibility should be determined by laboratory
measurements made with a high degree of accuracy in order to define the phase
behavior in the region of interest. (Miscibility will be covered in the module dealing
with miscible EOR processes.)
Calculations of Initial Gas and Condensate in Place
Calculations of initial gas and condensate in place require the use of the real gas
equation of state, with some modifications. First we calculate volumetrically the
volume of gas condensate per volume of reservoir:

379.4 = volume of one mole, SCF/mole
G = gas condensate volume, SCF/acre-ft
= reservoir pressure, psia
V = gas volume per reservoir volume, ft3/acre-ft
z = the gas deviation factor
R = the gas constant (10.73)
TR = reservoir temperature, (R)
From the produced surface gas-oil ratio, Rs (scf of dry gas per bbl of condensate), we
calculate the number of moles of gas and condensate by



ng = mole of produced gas per bbl of produced liquid
n0 = moles of condensate in one bbl
= density of condensate, lb/ft3
M0 = molecular weight of condensate, lb-mole
The fraction of gas in the condensate under reservoir conditions is

The volume of the gas in place per acre-ft is

fg (31)

and the initial distillate in place = G (l - fg) (32)

The molecular weight of the tank oil (M0), if not known, may be estimated by using
the following formula developed by Cragoe (1929):


is the oil-specific gravity.

The above calculations are illustrated in Example 1.

Example 1
Reservoir pressure = 2700 psia
Reservoir temperature = 200F
Porosity = 0.20 Interstitial water saturation = 0.15
Oil gravity at 60F - 45 API
Daily stock tank oil = 200 bbl
Daily separator gas = 3000 MSCF
Daily stock tank gas = 100 MSCF
The gas deviation factor at reservoir conditions z = 0.8
calculate the initial gas and distillate in place per acre-ft

Hydrocarbon pore volume/acre ft, V = 43560

(from Equation 28)


(1-0.15) = 7405 ft3

= 1339 MSCF/acre ft.

= 155.6 (from Equation 33)

= 0.8

62.4 = 50

(from Equation 30)

Volume of gas/acre ft = 96

1339 = 1285.4 MSCF(36.4

103 m3)

Volume of condensate/acre ft = 1339-1285.4 = 53.6 MSCF (1.5


In other words, each acre foot of reservoir contains 1339 MSCF of gas, of which 96%
will be produced as gas at the surface, and the remainder of which will be liquid
condensate at the surface.
As long as the gas condensate fluid remains as single-phase gas in the reservoir, its
performance may be calculated as described previously. However, when reservoir
temperature and pressure conditions are such as to place the gas in the two-phase
region, a liquid phase will develop when the pressure falls below the dewpoint value
(retrograde condensation). Prediction of performance then becomes complex.
Retrograde Gas Condensate Reservoirs
Performance One way of predicting the performance is to simulate the reservoir
depletion by a laboratory study. A representative fluid sample is placed in a high
pressure cell at reservoir pressure and temperature. The pressure is then decreased
by "producing" the cell, simulating reservoir depletion. The volume of the cell is kept
constant, simulating the constant pore volume of the reservoir. The pressure
decrease is achieved by removing incremental amounts of gas. The condensate
phase is not removed because it normally forms an immobile phase in the reservoir.
Measured liquid recovery from an analysis of the removed gas volumes gives the
expected liquids recovery under depletion.

Another way of calculating performance is by use of equilibrium ratios. An

equilibrium ratio, K, is the ratio of the mole fraction of any hydrocarbon component
in the gas phase to the mole fraction of the same component in the liquid phase.
Equilibrium ratios are functions of pressure and composition, and therefore they are
not easy to define for complex multicomponent retrograde systems. When K values
are available from a laboratory analysis, the engineer can calculate the distribution of
any component in the gas and liquid phases as a function of pressure and
Modern methods of reservoir engineering rely on compositional reservoir simulators
to predict performance. These models use an equation of state to calculate phase

Retrograde Gas Condensate Reservoirs

Pressure Maintenance by Gas Cycling
Retrograde condensation may cause a significant fraction of the liquid content of the
gas condensate to be left in the reservoir. Distillates are a very valuable part of the
accumulation. Because of this, pres sure maintenance above the dewpoint during the
exploitation of the reservoir is commonly practiced.
One way of maintaining pressure is by injecting the dry gas component of the
produced wet gas. This is what is left of the produced wet gas after the liquid has
been removed at the surface. This operation is called gas cycling. The injected dry
gas partially maintains reservoir pressure and at the same time becomes miscible
with oil and drives the wet gas toward the producing wells. However, in some cases,
the volume of the dry gas component will represent only a fraction of the produced
gas volume. In such a case, if the injection volume is not supplemented with
additional gas, a gradual decline of the reservoir pressure may take place, and liquid
loss may result. The degree of gas volume augmentation will depend on the pres
sure level of the reservoir relative to the dewpoint value.
Recovery from cycling operations depends on the cycling efficiency of the operation.
This value is the product of three efficiencies: the areal sweep, EA; the vertical
sweep, EI; and the microscopic displacement, ED. The areal sweep efficiency is a
function of the location of the wells and their rate of production and injection, and
the heterogeneity of the reservoir. It is the area swept by the injected gas divided by
the total area of the reservoir. The invasion or vertical ef ficiency, EI, is a strong
function of stratification and the permeability variation among the reservoir layers.
EI is the portion of a vertical section of the reservoir contacted by the injected fluid,
divided by the hydrocarbon area in all layers behind the injected fluid front. If a
highly permeable layer (a "thief" zone) exists, dry gas will channel through it to the
producing well, resulting in a low EI value.
Use of Material Balances
Laboratory-obtained data from the constant-volume cell described previously may be
used to predict gas condensate reservoir performance. The data give in crements of
gross gas produced as a function of pressure as well as the liquid in each increment
of gas. Thus, total gross gas and liquid production in percent of initial gas in place as
a function of pressure may be calculated. Also total liquid recovery can be obtained.
If a volumetric estimate for the initial gas condensate in place is available, the
laboratory data may be used to give incremental recovery of gas and liquid as a
function of pressure. On the other hand, if cumulative gas production for a known
average reservoir pressure is given, then the laboratory data may be used to
calculate the initial gas in place and subsequent recovery. For example, assume that
at an average reservoir pressure of 3000 psia, Gp MMscf of gas had been produced.
From laboratory depletion data at 3000 psi, the total incremental gas recovery is
some percent (say, X) of the initial gas in place. Thus, initial gas in place in the
reservoir may be calculated by

MMSCF (34)
Knowing G, and the percent gas recovery and liquid condensation with pressure from
laboratory data, reservoir performance calculation is straightforward.
Pressure Maintenance by Water Drive
Some gas condensate reservoirs are under active water drive. The water influx may
be sufficient to maintain the reservoir pressure above its dew-point value in some
cases. If not, it may have to be augmented by water injection. Ultimate recovery is
still controlled by the three recovery efficiencies described earlier. However, in the
case of water displacing gas, ED is considerably smaller. Water tends to trap gas,
resulting in a poor displacement ef ficiency. Assuming E1 and EA are the same,
recovery by water drive is normally lower than that by gas cycling by about 20%. It
should also be noted that E1 may not be the same as that for gas cycling because of
the difference in density between water and dry gas. Water tends to segregate to the
bottom of the perforated interval while gas will override the top. Permeability
distribution in the various layers determines whether EVS for a water drive is less
than, equal to, or greater than EVS for gas cycling. Again, reservoir simulators are
the best available tools to accurately predict performance in complicated reservoir

Solution Gas Drive Reservoirs

Production Mechanism
A solution gas drive reservoir is one in which the principal drive mechanism is the
expansion of the oil, the expansion of the gas dissolved in the oil, and the expansion
of the rock with its associated water. Two phases of production may occur in such
reservoirs. The first phase is that in which the pressure is above the bubble-point
value. During this period, no free gas phase exists and the reservoir oil is
undersaturated. The second phase occurs when the pres sure falls below bubblepoint and a free gas phase exists.
Undersaturated Reservoirs (Expansion Drive)
For these reservoirs there is no initial gas cap; that is, m = 0 in the material balance
equation (MBE). Furthermore, Rs = Rsi = Rp, since all the gas produced at the
surface has been dissolved in the oil. In addition, Bt = B0, and it is assumed that the
water influx (if present) is negligible. The MBE reduces to

Np B0 =N (B0 - Boi) + N Boi


Np Bo = N Boi



So = 1 - Swi, and the oil compressibility, co =

Substituting in the above equation gives

Np Bo = N Boi
Np Bo = N Boi ce

p (39)

where ce is the effective compressibility of the reservoir and is given by

With the MBE, the reservoir is viewed as a homogeneous tank where the production
is due to the expansion of the systems. Percent recovery (from Equation 39) as the
pressure declines is given as

Example 2 illustrates the calculation of the fractional recovery in an undersaturated
reservoir when the pressure drops from 4500 psia to the bubble-point value of 4000
Example 2
The values for co, cw, and cr are, respectively, (12, 4, and 8)
and Bo are 1.24 and 1.25 reservoir bbl per STB.

l0-6 per psi, and Boi,

The initial water saturation = 0.2.

We simply substitute into Equation 40 to find

500 = 1.14

l0-2 = 1.14%

Example 2 illustrates two important points. The first is that recovery by expansion
above the bubble-point is typically very small. Thus, expansion drive above the
bubble-point makes the smallest contribution to the overall production mechanism.
The second point is that the magnitude of the combined water and rock expansion in
ce is comparable to that of the oil and must be accounted for in the calculations.
Saturated Reservoirs
Below the bubble-point, gas will be liberated from the oil and will exist as a free gas
phase. A good approximate value for the value of the gas compressibility is cg =
, which is obtained from the definition of compressibility for an ideal gas. Thus,
the gas compressibility is generally several orders of magnitude larger than the rock
and oil com pressibility. At 4000 psia for example, Cg = 1/4000 = 250 l0-6 per psi.
To illustrate the relationship between recovery and pressure decline, we return once
again to the MBE. For simplicity, assume that at discovery the reservoir had no gas

cap. Assume also that the rock and associated water expansion may be ignored,
since the gas compressibility is considerably larger. If we also assume negligible
water influx, the MBE becomes
Np [Bt + (Rp - Rsi) Bg] = N (Bt - Bti) (41)
The fractional recovery is

at abandonment conditions. (42)

Equation 42 shows that percent recovery is a function of two parameters: the PVT
properties of the oil and gas, and cumulative gas production as indicated by Rp For a
given oil reservoir, recovery is basically inversely proportional to Rp or the total gas
produced at abandonment pressure. This means that in the case of solution gas drive
reservoirs, the engineer must strive to minimize gas production to obtain more
efficient recovery. The more gas that remains in the reservoir, the larger the amount
of energy available for the production of oil. A schematic diagram of the GOR
equation, as shown in Figure 1 , clearly indicates the adverse effect of gas production
on recovery.

Figure 1

Typical Producing Performance

Pressure, GOR, Water Production Profiles
Once free gas develops and the saturation exceeds a critical value, the gas will start
to be produced in dispropor tionate quantities. Figure 1 illustrates a typical GOR

Figure 1

Above the bubble-point the GOR is constant, since all the gas production comes
solely from the dissolved gas. As the pressure declines below the bubble-point a free
gas phase develops and the gas in solution declines slightly. The pro duced gas
continues to be supplied solely from the dissolved gas until the gas saturation
exceeds the critical value. During this period the GOR declines. Subsequently, the
free gas begins to flow and constitutes part of the produced GOR. Its contribution
increases as the gas saturation increases and far exceeds the decline in the amount
of gas in solution. This is why the GOR rises sharply. The subsequent decline in GOR
sets in when the reservoir pressure declines significantly and much of the original
dissolved gas has been produced. At that point, the contribution of the gas in
solution to GOR becomes negligible, and the GOR may be approximated by

Since Bg is proportional to its value increases rapidly as the pressure declines (

Figure 2 ). On the other hand, the change in the values of the other parameters is
relatively small. This explains the rapid decline of the GOR shown in Figure 1.

Figure 2

Initially, the water production may be zero or close to it, especially if no aquifer
exists. This is so because the water saturation in the absence of an aquifer is usually
equal to or very close to the critical saturation required for flow. As the pressure
declines, the rock and water expand. Thus the relative water saturation increases
slightly and water produc tion may also increase slightly as shown in Figure 1 .
Pressure Maintenance
In many solution gas drive reservoirs, pressure maintenance by water injection is
employed to enhance ultimate recovery. There are several advantages of initiating

water injection at or near the bubble-point pressure and prior to the development of
a significant gas phase. One advantage is linked to the nature of relative
permeabilities. The oil and water relative permeabilities are higher when a gas phase
is not present than when an appreciable gas saturation is established. Thus, for the
same pressure drawdown at the wells, the oil production rate is higher. Another
important advantage is that the rate of water injection required to maintain a certain
level of production is lower. To maintain pressure, the injection rate must be equal to
the total fluid withdrawal in reservoir volumes. The total fluid withdrawal associated
with one surface volume is
Bt + (Rp - Rsi)Bg
Bt = two phase formation-volume factor, RB/STB
Rp = cumulative produced GOR, SCF/STB
Rsi = initial gas in solution, SCF/STB
Bg = gas formation-volume factor, RB/scf
At or close to the bubble-point, Rp = Rsi and the withdrawal is approximately Bti = Boi,
Conversely, if pressure maintenance is started at a pressure level significantly below
the bubble-point pressure, the value of (Rp - Rsi) Bg can be significant and the total
withdrawal associated with one surface volume is considerably larger than Boi. Thus
more water injection is required to maintain the same level of oil production. From
an economic point of view it is advisable to initiate pressure maintenance at or close
to the bubble-point pressure.

Material Balance Equation Applications

The material balance equation for a solution gas reservoir may be used for two
purposes. If production data are available the MBE may be used to calculate the
initial oil in place. When combined with Darcy's law it may also be used to predict
recovery versus pressure.
Quantifying Reservoir Performance, Calculation of Initial Oil In Place We will examine
first the use of the MBE to calculate N, or initial oil in place. Once again, the MBE
(ignoring rock and water compressibility) is
Np [Bt + (Rp - Rsi) Bg] + W p Bw = N (Bt - Bti)
In order to simplify the paperwork, let us indicate the left hand side, which represents the total
production in reservoir volumes, by the term F. We can also simplify the equation further, by
substituting Eo for (Bt - Bti), which represents the expansion of the oil and its associated gas. The
MBE then becomes
F = N Eo
Equation 43 is the equation of a straight line. A plot of F versus Eo should give a straight line
passing through the origin with a slope equal to N ( Figure 1 ). This solution method is known as
the MBE as an equation of a straight line and is discussed in detail by Havlena and Odeh (1963,

Figure 1

Usually production data is tabulated on a monthly or quarterly basis. Average

reservoir pressure for the same time periods is also tabulated. Using the PVT data
available from a laboratory analysis or from correlations, F and Eo are calculated for
the necessary time periods and plotted on rectangular coordinate paper. If there is
no active aquifer the points should show a straight line trend. A straight line that
results in the minimum standard deviation and that passes through the origin is
drawn. The slope is N, the initial oil in place.
The mathematical requirement that the line should pass through the origin is very
important. Whenever one deals with field data, there will be scatter of the data
points. Without the above requirement it is conceivable that a straight line that
minimizes the standard deviation without passing through the origin may be fitted to
the plotted points. The MBE as an equation of a straight line dictates that the origin
must be a point, and thus imposes a very important condition which must be
satisfied for an acceptable solution.
Performance Prediction Techniques The MBE, together with the GOR equation derived
from Darcy's law (Equation 12), may be used to predict performance. Three methods
are normally used, those developed by Tarner, Tracy, and Muskat (Craft and
Hawkins 1959; Muskat 1949; Tracy 1955), as outlined below.
Tarner Method
In the Tamer method, one guesses at, or assumes, an incremental recovery of
oil, Np resulting from an incremental decline in pressure. The incremental decline in
pressure should not be taken as greater than 200 psia (1400 kpa). The incremental
gas produced, Gp due to Np is then calculated by two methods: the MBE, and the
GOR equation (Equation 12). If the assumed Np is too large, Gp calculated by the
MBE will be too small, while that calculated by the GOR equation will be too large.
Thus, the error in Np results in two opposing errors in the Gp values. The two
Gp values agree only when the assumed Np is correct. Specifically, the
calculations proceed as follows:
1. Assume AN to be produced when the average reservoir pressure declines from pj to
pj+l (i.e., by pj).
2. Use the MBE equation to calculate NpRp = Gp by


Note in Equation 44,

= sum of all the

increments that have been produced. Thus

Gpj+l is the total gas produced. The calculations are made for one surface volume of oil, i.e., N =
3. Calculate the incremental gas produced Gpj due to pj by

where is the total gas produced corresponding to the average reservoir pressure pj and
corresponds to the pj+l pressure.
4. Calculate So by

5. Calculate Sg, if needed, Sg = 1 - So - Swi

6. Determine krg/kro corresponding to Sg or So
7. Calculate R (i.e., GOR) by the GOR equation

8. Calculate

Gp by

calculated in Step 3 with that calculated in Step 8. If they agree within a
reasonable tolerance, accept the assumed Npj and continue the calculations by assuming a
new Np corresponding to a new incremental pressure drop. The calculations are continued until
an abandonment pressure is reached. If Gpj of Step 3 does not agree with that of Step 8,
assume a new value for Npj and repeat the calculations. Be guided by the observation that if
Gpj of Step 3 is smaller than Gpj of Step 8, one needs to guess a smaller Npj. value. The
opposite is also true.
To illustrate the above method of calculation let us consider the following example.
We want to calculate the incremental oil recovery by solution gas drive when the
pressure declines from an original bubble-point pressure of 2500 psia to a pressure
of 2300 psia.
Example 3
Given the following data:



Bg 103























Also given:








Swi = 0.2, and pb = 2500 psia

The solution is as follows:
1. Assume an incremental oil recovery Np = .018 to occur when the pressure declines to
2300 psia. Since the pressure at the beginning of the calculation step is the bubble-point
value, then Np in this case represents the total recovery, i.e.,
Np = Np = .018

2. Solve for Gp by MBE:

Gp = [(Bt - Bti) - Np Bt])

+ Np Rsi

= 10.89 Scf (0.308 m3)


Sg = 1.02 - 0.767 = 0.033

3. Calculate P by the GOP equation:

For Sg = .033, krg /kro = 0, thus,
P2300 = 0 + Rs = 669 (119.41 m2/m3 at 17237.5 kPa)
R2500 = 0 + Rsi = 721 (128.41 at 15858.5 kPa)
4. Calculate

Gp by the GOP equation:

= 12.51 Mscf (.3542 m3)

5. Gp calculated in Step 2 is not close enough to that of Step 4. Because the value of
Step 2 is smaller than that of Step 4, our next guess will be to decrease p. Let p=
.016. For this value Gp by MBE will be 12.8 (.342 m ), while that by the GOR will be
11.12 (.3149 m ). To arrive at the next guess one plots the assumed p values versus
the difference between the calculated Gp values. The intersections of the line
connecting the plotted points with the line of A(Gp) = 0 gives the next estimate of p. In
this example the intersection gives an estimate of p = .01675.
For p = .01675, Gp by the MBE = 11.635 (0.3295 m3), while that of the GOR equation =
11.640 (0.3296 m ). This is a good check and the value is accepted.
The next step is to lower the pressure by another increment and to repeat the
calculations. This is continued until an abandonment pressure is reached. The gives
the oil recovery as a fraction.
Tracy Method
In Tracy's method one guesses at R in place of p The calculations proceed as
1. Guess at a value of Rj+1 as the pressure declines from pj to pj+1
2. Estimate the average R for the increment between pj and pj+1 by

3. Calculate

Npj resulting from the drop in pressure to pj+l by

where Npj and Gpj are respectively the cumulative oil and gas produced at the average reservoir
pressure pj
4. Calculate


5. Determine krg/kro = corresponding to

6. Calculate R by

Compare R of Step 6 with R of Step 1. If the comparison is favorable, accept and proceed to the
next calculation increment; otherwise repeat the calculations starting with Step 1.
The advantage of Tracy's method is that the calculation converges faster than in
Tamer's. This is so because a small error in the guessed value of R results in a
smaller error in the calculated p (i.e., the error is dampened out). In Tarner's
method, the opposite is true a small error in p results in a larger error in Gp
Muskat Method
Muskat's method is different from Tamer's and Tracy's in that it does not require a
trial and error procedure. However, it requires that one take the derivatives of
various parameters. These are represented by differences. Thus, the pressure must
be taken in small intervals for the Muskat representation to be acceptable. Because
of this, the Muskat method is best suited for computers.
Basically, the Muskat method calculates the produced gas-oil ratio by two methods,
which are

where qg and qo are respectively the rates of gas and oil production in surface volumes. However,
qg and qo indicate the rates of change with respect to time of the gas and oil in the reservoir. In
equation form,


The two terms on the right-hand side of the qg equation represent the gas in solution and the gas
saturation. Since

we can write

Expanding and solving for


where R is

Thus, the incremental change in the oil saturation So due to an incremental pressure decline p
is calculated. The calculations proceed incrementally until an abandonment pressure is reached.
Total oil recovery Np is

Vp = the pore volume in barrels
Soi = initial oil saturation
So = oil saturation at abandonment pressure = Soi Recovery Factor


Recovery by solution gas drive, as indicated previously, depends on the PVT

properties and the efficiency of gas utilization in the reservoir to provide the driving
energy. Recovery under the best conditions seldom exceeds 30%. When conditions
are not favorable, such as for relatively viscous oil, or highly heterogeneous
reservoirs, or both, recovery could be below 10%. As a rule of thumb one thinks of
recovery around 15% for solution gas reservoirs.
A Case History of a Solution Gas Drive Reservoir
A good example of a solution gas drive reservoir is the Gloyd-Mitchell zone of the
Rodessa field, located in Louisiana. (This resume is based on Craft and Hawkins

[1959].) It is a flat reservoir that produces an oil of 42.8 API gravity. The original
bottomhole pressure was 2700 psig (18.6 MPa) with a solution gas-oil ratio of 627
scf/STB (111.6 m3/m3). There was no indication of the presence of original gas, or an
active water drive, in this zone.
After production of approximately 200,000 barrels (31,800 m3) of oil, or just a few
percent of the initial oil in place, the reservoir pressure dropped to the bubble-point
pressure (2200 psig) (15.2 MPa). During this period of rapid decline of reservoir
pressure, the GOR remained generally near Rsi, which is an indication of the recovery
by liquid expansion. As oil production continued, the reservoir pressure continued to
fall. As soon as it reached the bubble-point pressure, a free gas phase developed. As
this free gas expanded, the reservoir pressure drop slowed and the GOR stayed near
the solution gas-oil ratio.
The oil production of this period was due to the expansion caused by a limited
amount of free gas flow. As cumulative oil production reached approximately 3
million barrels (477,000 m3), the gas began to flow more quickly than oil into the
wells, since the gas saturation had reached the critical saturation. The gas-oil ratio
increased at an ever-faster rate and reservoir gas was rapidly depleted. Many
attempts were made to reduce the gas-oil ratio by shutting in the wells, by blanking
of f upper portions of the producing formation, and by perforating the lower parts,
but all of them failed.
Figure 2 shows the production history of the Gloyd-Mitchell zone reservoir versus the
cumulative produced oil.

Figure 2

The behavior of the gas-oil ratio, reservoir pressure, and oil production are the
representatives of a typical gas drive mechanism.

Gas Cap Drive Reservoirs

Production Mechanism
The same theoretical methods for computing recovery from solution gas drive
reservoirs may be applied to gas cap drive reservoirs. The assumptions are (1) that
no gravity segregation of the gas liberated from the oil occurs, and (2) that the gas
cap gas diffuses through the oil to supply additional expansion energy, while the
location of the gas-oil contact remains at its original position.
In reality, the gas-oil contact moves downward, although en gineers attempt to
maintain the gas cap movement at a uniform level for optimum recovery. If the gas
cap shows definite ex pansion as indicated by a high level of reservoir pressure, and
the producing wells remain at low gas-oil ratio, gravity is maintaining a uniform
movement of the gas cap. The low produced gas-oil ratio continues until the gas cap
reaches the wells, at which point a sizeable increase in the produced gas-oil ratio
occurs. Recovery in such cases is greatly dependent on the completion intervals and
well locations.
Typical Producing Performance
Pressure, GOR, Water Production Profiles
Muskat (1949) published a theoretical study of the effect of gas cap size on reservoir
pressure and recovery. His results show that the presence of an active gas cap
causes additional recovery over that obtained from solution gas drive, and causes
higher pressure throughout the reservoir life. The produced gas-oil ratio is lower in
the early production life and much higher in the late production life ( Figure 1 ).
Fluctuations in the GOR will result from successive high GOR production rates from
wells higher on the structure.

Figure 1

The presence of a gas cap has no significant effect on water production, and it is
assumed that no aquifer exists. Water production due to connate water saturation, if
it occurs, will be insignificant, or will be similar in nature to that for a solution gas
drive reservoir.
Selective GOR Control
As we stated earlier, if the gas cap expands uniformly because of gravity
segregation, the gas-oil ratio will increase dramatically when the gas cap reaches the
perforated intervals in a producing well. It is advisable in this case to close or
recomplete the wells at a lower interval. Continued production without recompletion
will not result in any appreciable additional oil from the wells, but will result in
considerable loss of gas that should be kept in the reservoir to maintain the
pressure. In some reservoirs, the gas may cusp into a producing well through a
permeable zone. This also results in less recovery. Selective recompletion, or the
shutting in of wells, should be considered to prevent unnecessary depletion of the
reservoir energy.
Recovery Factor

Gas cap gas drive generally results in a higher recovery when compared to solution
gas drive. As a rule of thumb, the additional recovery can range from as low as 1%
to as high as 10%. Recovery is affected by the size of the gas cap, and the degree of
the heterogeneity of the reservoir. The larger the gas cap, and the less the degree of
heterogeneity, the higher the additional recovery. Furthermore, the location of the
wells can appreciably affect recovery. For gas cap drive reservoirs, the wells should
be ideally located down dip. If the gas cap advances uniformly, and gravity segrega
tion maintains the uniform advance, overall recovery can be very high and may be
over 50%. This value for recovery is normally associated with gravity drainage.
A Case History of a Gas Cap Drive Reservoir
In this case history, based on Muskat (1949) and Craft and Hawkins (1959), we see
a good example of a gas cap expansion associated with a substantial gravity
drainage, as shown by the performance of the Parinas Sandstone reservoir of the
Mile Six Pool in Peru. The formation has an average angle of dip of 17 30 and an
average cross-sectional area of 1,237,000 sq ft (114917 m2). The oil had a specific
gravity of 0.78, a viscosity of 1.32 cp, an average specific permeability of 0.3 darcy,
and an initial solution gas of 400 scf/STB (71.2 m3/m3) at 850 psia (5.86 MPa)
original reservoir pressure. Gas of the original overlain gas cap had a viscosity of
0.0134 cp.
This field had been subjected to a complete pressure-maintenance operation
throughout its history (since 1933) by returning produced gas to the gas cap. Thus,
the reservoir pressure had been maintained within 200 psi (1.38 MPa) of its original
value (850 psi) (5.86 MPa). The gas-oil contact moved over a vertical distance of
more than 400 ft (131 m) as the result of gas cap expansion during the first five
years of oil production. This expansion undoubtedly had been facilitated by the
effective gas injection and the pressure maintenance opera tion that had been
initiated at the beginning. The limited rise in gas-oil ratio shown during the producing
life indicates that in the downstructure oil saturation had been maintained at a high
level as a result of oil gravity drainage. The reser voir pressure remained almost
constant up to 1946. This indi cates that the injected gas had remained in the gas
cap and was not being dissolved in the oil zone to supplement the solution gas drive
mechanism. A combination of a high structural relief, good formation permeability,
and low viscosity of oil had formed a most favorable condition for the development of
a significant gravity drainage in this field. With gas injection, at an average rate,
exceeding the gas withdrawals, the pressure was kept almost constant. The GOR
increased very little, caus ing a continuous expansion of the gas cap and a lowering
of the gas-oil contact. As a result of these favorable conditions, in conjunction with
good oilfield practice, oil recovery reached above 85% of the initial oil in place.
Figure 2 shows the performance characteristics of this oil field.

Figure 2

Gas Cap Drive Reservoirs

Material Balance Applications
The material balance equation for a gas cap drive reservoir is obtained by assuming
that natural water influx is zero (We = 0), and that the effect of rock and water
compressibilities in oil zone as well as in gas cap compared to the gas compressibility
is negligible. With these assumptions, the MBE becomes

Np [Bt + (Rp - Rsi) Bg] = N [(Bt - Bti) +

(Bg - Bgi)]
This equation is rather cumbersome. A better understanding of the mechanism may be gained by
writing the equation in the form suggested by Havlena and Odeh (1963), which is

F = N (Eo +



F = cumulative production in reservoir volumes
N = initial oil in place in surface volumes
Eo = Bt - Bti
Eg = Bg- Bgi
Equation 46 is used with production data to determine N and the effective size of the gas cap, m.
The way to use the equation is to plot F versus Eo + (m Bti/Bgi)Eg for an assumed value of m (
Figure 1 ).

Figure 1

If the selected value of m is too small, the plot will curve upward, and if it is too large it will curve
downward. A correct value of m will give a straight line that passes through the origin. The
importance of the origin as a required point cannot be overemphasized. It is the only known fixed
point that guides the plot. The slope of the straight line is N, the initial oil in place.

Production Mechanism
When speaking of a water drive reservoir, we mean natural water drive as opposed
to artificial water injection. Water moves into the reservoir from the aquifer in
response to a pressure drop that causes the water and the rock in the aquifer to
expand. If the aquifer is small, one may assume that the pressure drop is
instantaneously trans mitted throughout the reservoir. Cumulative water influx will
then be given by
W e = Vw ct p


where :
W e = total water influx in reservoir volumes
Vw = volume of water in the aquifer in reservoir volumes
ct = total compressibility = cw + cr, 1/psi
cw = water compressibility, l/psi
cr = rock compressibility, l/psi
p = pi - p, psi
pi = initial pressure
p = pressure at time t that We is calculated.
The rock and water compressibilities are in the order of 5 l0-6 per psia. For an aquifer of 109 RB,
and assuming a pressure drop, p, of 1000 psi,
W e = 109 10 l0-6 1001
107 RB (1.59 106 m3)
Thus, the total water influx amounts to about one-hundredth of the original oil volume if the
reservoir is equal in size to the aquifer. Unless the aquifer is very large compared to the oil
volume, the effect of water influx on recovery is not significant.
When the aquifer is large, the assumption that the pressure drop is instantaneously
transmitted throughout the reservoir is not valid. There is a time lag between the
pressure change at the oil-water boundary and when it is felt throughout the aquifer.
This means that We is a function of time and p, and Equation 47
W e = Vw ct p
is not adequate for calculating W e. Chatas (1953) gives a good illustration of the calculation
Gravity Segregation Effects

Since the density of water is higher than that of oil or gas, the force of gravity tends
to segregate water at the bottom part of the reservoir. This segregation, especially in
the case of layered dipping reservoirs, can be advantageous. It tends to keep the
water front uniform as it moves updip and minimizes water channeling in high
permeability layers. The locations of producing wells and the depths of their
completed intervals strongly affect the performance of water drive reservoirs.
Reservoir simulators are the best tools for studying the combined effects of the
above variables.

Water Drive Reservoirs

Typical Producing Performance
Pressure, GOR, Water Cut
Whether water influx materially influences the behavior of the reservoir depends on
its magnitude. For reservoirs predomi nantly producing under water drive (i.e., the
water influx ap proximately balances the total withdrawal), the reservoir pressure is
maintained ( Figure 1 ).

Figure 1

The GOR stays approximately constant at the solution gas level because there will
not be any free gas flowing. Water cut, which is defined as percent water in the total
fluid produced, will increase in stepwise fashion. Until water breaks through into a
well, the water cut will probably be negligible. However, as soon as water breaks
through, a jump in water cut occurs due to the sudden rise in water production. It
continues at about the same level until water breaks through in another well. How
quickly an individual well "waters out" after water breaks through depends on the
ratio of the viscosity of the oil to water, the relative permeability characteristics, and
the degree of reservoir heterogeneity. When the mobility ratio of water to oil is

favorable, that is, when it is less than or equal to 1.0, the well will normally water
out shortly after water breakthrough, although the time to breakthrough will be
longer. The mobility ratio is defined by

where krw and kro are measured at the residual oil and water saturations, respectively.
For reservoirs that are not under strong water drive, the performance may be only
partially influenced by water influx.
Selective Water Cut Control
When water breaks through into a well, it usually occurs in the most permeable
zone. If the reservoir is fairly homogeneous in permeability, water breaks through at
the bottom part of the completed interval because of gravity and the density
differences between oil and water. If production is continued without any remedial
measures, handling the produced water volumes may soon become a problem. In
some instances the presence of a water column in the wellbore can exert high
enough backpressure to kill the well. In these cases, water Production is controlled
by squeeze cementing of the watered-out interval and recompletion in different
zones. In relatively homogeneous reservoirs, it is advisable to locate the completion
interval at the top of the formation to take advantage of gravity segregation and
allow longer production of water-free oil. This method of completion is also used to
prevent water coning when a bottom water drive exists.
A Case History of a Natural Water Drive Reservoir
This resume of the history of the Coldwater field in Isabella County, Michigan (Criss
and McCormick 1962, McCormick 1975), is a good example of a reservoir under an
effective natural water drive. This field was discovered in 1944 and its development
completed in 1946, with 81 producing wells. Oil production was from a vugular
dolomite, had a 48.6 API gravity, and had been regulated since the discovery of the
field, ranging from 4600 B/D (731 m3/D) to 6700 B/D (1065 m3/D). By the end of
1952, oil declined slowly to 3600 B/D (572 m3/D) and water production increased
from 1800 B/D to 21,000 B/D (3340 m3/D). The cumulative oil and water production
was 12.763 million barrels (2.03 million m3) and 25.8 million barrels (4.1 million m3)
respectively. The bottomhole pressure from its original value of 1453 psi (10.0 MPa)
dropped to 1378 psi (9.5 MPa) by the end of 1952, but it still was above the bubblepoint (1190 psi; 9.5 MPa). This pressure drop of 75 psi (0.52 MPa) over several
years of production indicates a strong water drive. By the end of the same year 7.1
million barrels, or 56% of the field recovery, was recovered by flowing wells and
there were only 13 water-free flowing wells remaining. All other wells flowed until a
water cut of 5% to 10% was reached.
By 1961, the Coldwater field had reached an advanced rate of depletion with all wells
producing with a water cut in excess of 80%. The field production continued under
proration at 85 B/D (13.5 m3/D) per well until the end of 1961 when allowable

restrictions were removed. By this time, a cumulative recovery of 20 million barrels

(3.2 million m3) of oil had been reached. Eventually, all wells were equipped to pump
and fluid volumes lifted reached 600 (95.4 m3/D) to 800 B/D (127 m3/D) per well. By
1973, the oil production further declined to about 150 B/D (24.m3/D) from 20 active
wells. Up to 1974 cumulative recovery reached 21.94 million barrels (3.5 million m3)
and water continued to encroach into all wells, even those located at the crest of the
structure. Fluid levels indicated that the reservoir was under active water drive. By
returning the produced water into the aquifer, the reservoir pressure was kept at or
near the initial saturation pressure and GOR remained constant until the end of the
producing life of the field.

Material Balance Applications

We refer to Havlena and Odeh (1963)1. The entire MBE equation is

Np [(Bt + (Rp - Rsi) Bg] + Bw W p = N [(Bt - Bti) +

(Sw cw + cr)

(Bg - Bgi)] + We

For saturated reservoirs, or when We is appreciable, or both, we can ignore compressibility of the
rock and its associated water. The MBE becomes


Eo + N

Eg + W e


F = total fluid withdrawals in reservoir volumes
Eo = oil expansion = Bt - Bti, and
Eg = gas cap gas expansion = Bg - Bgi
Equation 49 has three possible unknowns: N, m, and W e.
When the pressure is above the bubble-point, m = 0, and Equation 49 becomes
F = N Eo + W e

Water influx is a function of time, pressure drop, and the physical properties of the aquifer, such
as permeability, size, compressibility, porosity, and viscosity. We write
W e = C f(tD, p)
C= constant
tD = dimensionless time that includes actual time and the physical properties
of the aquifer
(tD = 6.323 l0-3 [

] where , , , ce and Ao are aquifer properties)

p = pressure drop at the oil water interface.

Equation 50 indicates that if W e (which is the parameter with the greatest uncertainty) is
calculated correctly as a function of time, and a plot of F/Eo versus W e/Eo is made on rectangular
coordinate paper, a straight line should occur. The value of F/Eo when W e/Eo = 0 gives N, the
initial oil in place. The calculations (Havlena and Odeh 1963, 1964) proceed as follows:
1. From the available data estimate the properties of the aquifer and calculate tD as a
function of a time interval, for example, at three, six, or nine months.

2. From production data calculate F/Eo, and p at the selected time intervals.
3. Calculate f (tD, p) of Equation 51 for the selected time intervals.
4. Plot F/Eo versus [f(tD, p)/Eo] on rectangular coordinate paper.
If the selected properties of the aquifer are correct (i.e., if Equation 51 is accurate) the plot will be
a straight line ( Figure 1 ).

Figure 1

The slope of the straight line is C, the water influx constant in Equation 51. The extrapolation of
the straight line to

gives the value of N. If the plotted points curve upward, the assumed water influx is too low; on
the other hand, if they curve downward, the assumed water influx is too high. New values for the
aquifer parameters must be assumed, and the calculations repeated until a straight line occurs.
An example of this procedure is beyond the scope of this introductory module, but may be found
in Havlena and Odeh (1963, 1964) .

Havlena, D. and A.S. Odeh (1963): "The MBE as an Equation of a Straight Line."
Trans. AIME 228.

Havlena, D. and A.S. Odeh (1963): "Field Cases in the MBE as an Equation of a
Straight Line. Part II" Trans. AIME 231.

Gravity Drainage Mechanism

Conditions Needed for Segregation
Gravity drainage is one of the most efficient recovery mechanisms when conditions
are favorable. Under the influence of gravity, water, oil, and gas separate according
to their densities. Gravity drainage is a slow process. The rate of recovery from a
reservoir influ enced solely by this mechanism is time-dependent, similar to the case
of the water drive mechanism.
Gravity drainage is most effective in thick reservoirs with high vertical fluid
communication and continuity. It is also effective in thin reservoirs with an
appreciable angle of dip (at least 10 to 15) and a favorable permeability to flow in
the vertical direction. Reservoirs with shale stringers or laminations are not good
candidates for gravity drainage.
Conditions and parameters needed for effective gravity drainage are indicated by
considering the following equation. The rate of segregation of gas in an oil reservoir

qs = rate of gravity segregation in RB/D
A = cross-sectional area of the linear bed in ft2
= oil-specific gravity minus gas-specific gravity
= angle of dip in degrees
= gas viscosity in cp
kg = gas, effective vertical permeability evaluated at So = 1 - Swc - Sgr , in md
o = oil viscosity in cp
ko = oil, effective vertical permeability evaluated at So = 1 - Swc - Sgr , in md
Equation 52 shows that the factors favorable to gravity segregation are

, the difference in specific gravity between the oil and the gas. The higher it is, the
faster the segregation.
high vertical ko and kg

low o
a high dip angle
a large cross-sectional area available to segregation.
Recovery Factor
As we stated, gravity drainage is the most efficient drive mechanism. When complete
segregation (i.e, full gravity drainage) occurs, recovery may approach

If the initial oil saturation is 80% and Sor = 25%, recovery is 68% of the initial oil in place. In many
reef reservoirs where vertical communication is good and the oil viscosity is low it is not
uncommon to obtain recovery by gravity segregation in the range of 60%. The main disadvantage
of gravity drainage is that it is a slow process. Therefore, one hardly ever takes full advantage of
gravity drainage because the oil production rate is normally much higher than the segregation

Combination Drive Reservoirs

Typical Performance
When a reservoir is producing under the influence of more than one drive
mechanism, as is often the case, we say that it is producing under a combination
drive. The relative contribution to recovery of the various drive mechanisms may
change with time. At any time one can obtain their relative effect from the material
balance equation.

The terms on the right hand side are, respectively, the oil expansion, the gas cap gas
expansion, the expansion of the rock and its associated water, and the water influx.
Dividing both sides by F, the total production gives

Each term on the right-hand side indicates the relative contribution of the drive
mechanism to recovery (oil, gas, and water), and is called the drive index. Equation
54 does not include a gravity segregation effect.
Equation 54 is used when water production occurs and no active aquifer is present.
However, when an active aquifer is present, it is customary to show the contribution
of each drive mechanism to the recovery of total hydrocarbon rather than total
fluids. Thus, Equation 53 is written as

where: FH is the total hydrocarbon recovered in reservoir bbl and is equal to Np(Bt +
(Rp - Rsi)Bg) = F - Wp Bw
Dividing both sides by FH gives:

The terms of the right-hand side of Equation 54a are, respectively, the contribution
to the total hydrocarbon recovery of the expansion of the hydrocarbon in the oil
zone, of the gas cap gas, of the rock and its associated water in the oil zone, and of
the net water influx. The MBE cannot be used to deter mine how much of the
produced gas originates from the gas cap gas and thus is cycled through. Where gas
cap gas is known to be produced, Equation 54a gives too high a drive index for the
gas cap gas.

If one drive index dominates the performance, the reservoir behavior will be close to
that of the particular drive mechanism. On the other hand, if several drive
mechanisms are effective, the overall reservoir performance will be highly influenced
by the location of wells and the rate of withdrawal
from the individual wells. For example, if the reservoir is producing under a
combination of gas cap expansion and water influx, one expects the reservoir
performance to be significantly different when the wells are located downdip than
when they are located updip or strategically placed between the gas-oil contact and
the oil-water contact.
Precise prediction of reservoir performance under combination drive requires the use
of reservoir simulators. This is by far the best method to study the effects of various
drive mechanisms and the interplay between them, the effects of well locations and
completion intervals, and the effects of the rate of production.
Material Balance Equation Application
Equation 54 gives the MBE under oil expansion, gas cap gas expansion, and water
influx. The equation shows that under these drive mechanisms three unknowns, N,
m, We, exist. The solutions of the MBE equation using production data do not permit
the simultaneous determination of three unknowns. Because of this, one of the three
must be obtained or estimated prior to the application of the MBE. It is customary to
estimate m volumetrically from isopach maps and to then solve for We and N. For
this purpose the MBE is written as

A Case History of a Combination Drive Mechanism
The Leduc D-3 pool, one of Canadas major oil fields, was discovered in 1947. Our
resume of its performance is based on Hors-field (1962) and Wellings (1975). The
reservoir is composed of carbonate rock extended to an area of 21,640 acres (87.57
million m2). The average oil pay zone was 35.2 ft (10.73 m) and underlain by a large
water-bearing reef 900 ft (274 m) thick and overlain by a large gas cap with a
thickness of 158 ft (48.16 m). The original gas cap was calculated to occupy a
volume of 431,800,000 Mscf (12,228.5 million m3). The initial oil in place was
calculated to be 307,408,000 STB (56.4 million m3). The development was
completed by the end of 1954, with 535 oil wells drilled. The reservoir was saturated
at the original pressure of 1,894 psig (13.1 MPa) at reservoir temperature of 150F
(65.5C). The original gas-oil ratio was 550 scf/bbl (97.9 m3/m3). The gravity of oil
produced was 39 API.
The production rate remained relatively constant during the three years following the
blowout in Well No. 3 (which occurred in March 1948 and was killed in September
1948). The reservoir pressure declined accordingly at a uniform rate of about 1 psi
(6.895 kPa) per month. Increasing the rates of production in 1952 and 1953
accelerated the rate of pressure decline. Therefore, the allowable pressure was

reduced to prevent excessive shrinkage losses in the reservoir. (The differential

liberation curves indicated that the reservoir oil would shrink to 71.6% of its original
volume if the reservoir pressure was allowed to decline to atmospheric.)
A volumetric balance calculation confirmed the existence of a combination drive
mechanism. The contribution of each component drive to the replacement of oil
withdrawals is shown in Figure 1 .

Figure 1

To 1954, the water drive had contributed 50%, the gas cap had contributed 40%,
and solution gas drive had contributed 10% to the replacement of reservoir oil.
New discoveries (other adjacent fields) during 1952-53, which were proven to have a
common aquifer with D-3 pool, had caused an interference. During this period,
pressure decline in Leduc D-3 amounted to 100 psi (68.95 kPa). In order to prevent
this undesirable pressure decline and to avoid shrinkage losses in the Leduc D-3
reservoir, water-injection operations started in 1955. A volume of 18.5 million
barrels (2.94 million m3) of fresh water was injected up to 1957, which arrested the
pressure decline and increasing GOR. It was estimated that up to 1957 water
injection could prevent the loss of one million barrels of oil which would have

occurred by shrinkage of the reservoir oil under natural depletion. As a result of the
water injection, the descent of the gas-oil contact was de creased and the ascent of
water-oil contact was increased. By the end of 1957, with a cumulative oil production
of 90 million barrels (14.3 million m3), the effective thickness of pay zone was
reduced to approximately 23 ft (7.015 m) which is an indication of the excellent
production that was characteristic of the Leduc D-3 pool. This was due to the very
high permeability of the reservoir and the large ratio of the horizontal to vertical
permeability. Pool performance is shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3 .

Figure 2

Figure 3

Detailed studies were made on natural depletion, continued water injection, and
pressure maintenance by both water and gas injection. It was concluded that for
maximum recovery, the water and gas injection operation together should be
considered. For implementation of this new injection scheme, a unitization of 456
wells in the main pool was accomplished in 1960 and was followed by gas injection in
1961. By 1974, a production recovery of 70% or more of the initial oil in place was
accomplished. The gas-oil contact showed again the steady rise of water-oil contact
and lowering of gas-oil contact. The bottomhole pressure never dropped below 1350
psi (9.3 MPa). The aim was to keep the gas-oil contact at 2992 ft (912 m) sub-sea,
allowing the water-oil contact to move upward to replace oil voidage. By the end of
1974, when only 8 ft (2.44 m) of pay zone was left ( Figure 4 ), the average GOR
was 2000 scf/ STB (356 m3/m3) and water-oil ratio was 0.5.

Figure 4

The absence of oil and water coning throughout most of the pools history confirms
that a high ratio of horizontal to vertical permeability existed throughout the oil zone.
This characteristic allows the pool to be maintained for a very thin oil zone and is
perhaps the most significant factor contributing to the outstanding performance of
this pool under combination drive. The reservoir performance of Leduc D-3 till 1975
is shown in Figure 5 .

Figure 5