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# Oilfield Production

Operations (I)

## Lecture 4: Wellbore Pressure Traverse

A.R. Khaz’ali
arkhazali@ut.ac.ir
Pressure Traverse Calculation
 Using the presented methods in the previous
lecture, the pressure gradient for a multiphase
flow can be calculated for any point in the
tubing (or pipe).
 Typically our main goal is to calculate the
pressure drop over a considerable distance in a
tubing and over this distance the pressure
gradient in gas-liquid flow may vary
significantly as the downhole flow properties
change with temperature and pressure.
Pressure Traverse Calculation
 Thus, we must divide the total distance into
segments small enough that the flow properties,
and hence, the pressure gradient are almost
constant in each one of them. Summing the
pressure drop in each segment yields the
overall pressure drop. This stepwise calculation
is named as pressure traverse calculation.
 Since both temperature and pressure will be
varying, a pressure traverse calculation is
usually iterative.
Pressure Traverse Calculation
 Temperature profile is usually approximated
as being linear between the surface and the
bottomhole temperature. (in black oil models)
 Pressure traverse calculations can be
performed using one of the following methods:
1- Fixing the length of the segment and
finding the pressure drop over this segment.
2- Fixing the pressure drop and finding the
length of the segment over which this
pressure drop could occur.
Pressure Traverse Calculation
 The first method is more convenient to use in
computer programming. The second method is
better for hand calculation.
 Usually the needed calculations are so
intensive that hand calculations are impractical.
Pressure Traverse Calculation:
Fixed Length Segment
 Starting with a known pressure p1 at position L1
(normally the surface or bottomhole conditions) , the
following procedure is followed:
1- Select segment length, ∆L. A typical value for
flow in tubing is 200ft.
2- Estimate the pressure drop ∆p. A starting point is
to calculate the no-slip average density and from
this, the potential energy pressure gradient. The
estimated ∆p is then the potential energy pressure
gradient times the segment length. This will
generally underestimate the pressure drop.
Pressure Traverse Calculation:
Fixed Length Segment
3- Calculate all fluid properties at the average
pressure (p1+∆p/2) and average temperature
(T1+∆T/2).
4- Calculate the pressure gradient dp/dz, with a
two-phase flow correlation.
5- Obtain a new estimate of ∆p from:
 dp 
∆p new =   ∆L
 dz 
5- If ∆pnew≠∆pold within a prescribed tolerance, go
back to step 3 and repeat the procedure with the
new estimate of ∆p.
Pressure Traverse Calculation:
Fixed Pressure Drop
 Starting with a known pressure p1 at position L1
(normally the surface or bottomhole conditions) , the
following procedure is followed:
1- Select a pressure drop increment, ∆p. The
pressure drop in the increment should be less than
10% of the pressure p1 and can be varied from one
step to the next.
2- Estimate the segment length. This can be done
using the no-slip density to estimate the pressure
gradient, as was suggested for the fixed-length
procedure. (∆p divided by no-slip potential energy
Pressure Traverse Calculation:
Fixed Pressure Drop
3- Calculate al necessary fluid properties at the
average pressure, p1+∆p/2 and the estimated
average temperature, T1+∆T/2.
4- Calculate the estimated pressure gradient, dp/dz,
using a two-phase flow correlation.
5- Estimate the segment length by:
∆p
∆L new =
(dp dz )
6- If ∆Lnew≠∆Lold within a prescribed tolerance, go
back to step 3 and repeat the procedure.
Pressure Traverse Calculation
 In the “fixed pressure drop” method, since
temperature is changing more slowly in a well
an the average pressure of the segment is fixed,
convergence should be rapid. If the well can be
assumed to be isothermal, no iteration is
required.
 Sometimes, tubing profile changes (e.g.
changes in diameter, inclination and etc) or
in/out flow to/from several parts of tubing,
force us to choose “fixed length segment”
method.
Example
 A horizontal well with a 5” ID is producing
15000bbl/d at a GOR of 1000 along a 3000ft
interval from the saturated reservoir. From a
production log, the fluid entries were found to
be distributed approximately as shown in next
slide. The pressure at the beginning of the
horizontal section is 3000psia. Estimate the
pressure profile along the horizontal production
interval.
Example
T= 180 ºF
Rs= 562 ft3/bbl
ρo= 46.8 lbm/ft3
µo= 0.69 cp
Bo= 1.29 Convert surface rates to
downhole conditions rates
Bg= 5.071×10-3
ρg= 10.7 lbm/ft3
µg= 0.02 cp

q l = B o qo q g = B g ( GOR − R s ) qo
Example Solution
 Since petroleum is entering in the well at
three distinct points, “fixed segment length”
method must be used.
 We divide the horizontal part of the well into
the three segments:
1- Point 1 to 2: 1000ft.
2- Point 2 to 3: 1000ft.
3- Point 3 to 4: 1000ft.
Example Solution
Calculating downhole flow rates and superficial velocities:

bbl
q l = 15000 ×1.29 = 19350
d
3
ft
q g = 5.071×10−3 (1000 − 562 ) ×15000 = 33316.47
d
 bbl   ft 3   1 d 
19350   5.615  
ql  d  bbl   86400 s  ft
u sl = = 2
= 9.22
A π   1 ft   s
  5in ×  
 4   12 in  

 ft 3   1 d 
33316.47 
q g  d   86400 s 

ft
u sg = = 2
= 2.83
A π   1 ft   s
  5in ×  
 4   12 in  
Example Solution:
Calculating No-slip Holdups

ft
u m = u sl + u sg = 12.05
s

u sl 9.22
λl = = = 0.765
u m 12.05

λg = 1 − λl = 1 − 0.765 = 0.235
Example Solution:
Calculating Dimensionless Parameters

u m2 12.052
N FR = = = 10.83
gD 32.17 × 5
12

## L1 = 316λl0.302 = 316 × 0.7650.302 = 291.4

L 2 = 0.0009252λl−2.4684 = 0.0009252 × 0.765−2.4684 = 0.0017923
L3 = 0.10λ l
−1.4516
= 0.10 × 0.765 −1.4516
= 0.148
L 4 = 0.5λl−6.738 = 0.5 × 0.765−6.738 = 3.0399
Example Solution:
Determining Flow Regime
 Since λl ≥ 0.4 and NFR > L4, the flow regime
is distributed.
 Beggs and Brill constants are therefore:
a = 1.065
b = 0.5824
c = 0.0609
ψ=1
C=0
Example Solution:
Calculating Liquid Holdup
 Since well is horizontal, the potential energy
pressure drop is zero. However, holdup must be
calculated to use in calculation of frictional
pressure drop.

## aλlb 1.065 × 0.7650.5824

y lo = c = 0.0609
= 0.788
N FR 10.83

## y l = y loψ = 0.788 × 1 = 0.788

Example Solution:
Calculating Reynolds Number

lb m
ρ m = ρl λl + ρ g λg = 46.8 × 0.765 + 10.7 × 0.235 = 38.32 3
ft

## µm = µl λl + µ g λg = 0.69 × 0.765 + 0.02 × 0.235 = 0.533cp

 5
38.32 ×12.05 ×  
ρ u D  12  = 537127
N Re m = 1488 m m = 1488 ×
µm 0.533
Example Solution:
Calculating Friction Factor
From Moody diagram (or any equivalent correlation) no-slip friction factor for zero
relative roughness is found as:

f n = 0.0032

f tp = f n e S

ln ( x )
S =
{−0.0523 + 3.182 ln ( x ) − 0.8725 ln ( x ) + 0.01853 ln ( x ) }
2 4

λl0.765
x = 2 = 2
= 1.232
y l 0.788
Example Solution:
Calculating Friction Factor

ln (1.232 )
S =
{ −0.0523 + 3.182 ln (1.232 ) − 0.8725 ln (1.232 )  + 0.01853 ln (1.232 ) 
2 4
}
S = 0.364

## f tp = 0.0032e 0.364 = 0.0046

Example Solution:
Calculating Pressure Drop Over The First Segment

##  dp  2f tp ρ m u m2 2 × 0.0046 × 38.32 ×12.052 lbf ft 2 psi

  = = = 3.82 = 0.02652
 dz F gc D  5 ft 2 ft
32.17 ×  
 12 
Since there is no potential energy pressure drop, and the kinetic energy pressure
drop is ignored, we can write:

 dp   dp 
 = 
 dz   dz  F
And finally:

 dp 
∆p =   ∆L = 0.02681×1000 = 26.52psi
 dz 
Example Solution:
Second Segment
 The flow rate for the second segment is
10000bbl/d. Since the pressure changed a little,
it can be assumed that the fluid properties does
not change.
 The calculation procedure is the same as the
first segment. The flow regime is also
distributed. The pressure drop over the second
segment will be calculated as:
 dp 
∆p =   ×1000 = 11psi
 dz F
Example Solution:
Third Segment
 The flow rate for the second segment is
4000bbl/d. Since the pressure changed a little,
it can be assumed that the fluid properties does
not change.
 The calculation procedure is the same as the
first segment. The flow regime will be
intermittent. The pressure drop over the second
segment will be calculated as:
 dp 
∆p =   ×1000 = 1.7psi
 dz F
Example Solution:
Total Pressure Drop
 Summing the pressure drop over three
segments yields total pressure drop over the
horizontal part of the well:

## ∆ptotal = 26.52 + 11 + 1.7 = 39.22psi

Pressure Traverse Calculation
 This must be mentioned that the smaller the
segments length, the more accurate the pressure
traverse calculation.
 Obviously, the reasonably accurate solution
for such problems can not be gained without
computer programming.
Pressure Traverse:

##  In absence of computing devices, the

pressure traverse can be estimated rather
 Gradient curves, such as those which have
been proposed by Gilbert (1954), have been
developed based on the field data or multiphase
flow correlations.
 Gilbert noted that the main parameters in
vertical multiphase pipe flow are pipe diameter,
oil rate, and gas/liquid ratio (GLR).
Pressure Traverse:

##  Gilbert also noted that other parameters

which might have an effect on pressure
viscosity, fluids densities, flowing temperature,
gas/liquid solubility and water cut.
 If an emulsion forms in the tubing, gradient
curves can not be used.
 Usually, gradient curves are based on the
nominal diameter of the tubing, not the tubing
internal diameter (ID).
Pressure Traverse:
 Four points should be noted about the usage of the
1- The vertical axis represents distance traveled
vertically from a given point where pressure is known.
From a given point with known pressure it is possible
to determine the pressure at any other point by moving
along the gradient curve for a distance corresponding
to the distance between the points. Alternatively, if the
pressure at the second point is known, it is possible to
determine which distance corresponds to the pressure
difference between the two points by moving along
the gradient curve an interval corresponding to the
pressure change between the two points.
Pressure Traverse:

## 2- The gradient dp/dz decrease with increasing

gas/liquid ratio (GLR) until a minimum gradient is
reached. Thereafter the trend reverses and dp/dz
increases with increasing GLR. The physical reason
for this is a change in the predominant pressure loss
mechanism from potential energy pressure drop to
frictional pressure drop.
3- For convenience, The high-GLR gradient curves are
shifted down on the depth scale to avoid intersection
with lower-GLR curves.
4- If production is water-free, then GLR (gas liquid
ratio) equals GOR (gas oil ratio).
Pressure Traverse:

Developed From Field Data

Developed From Multiphase Flow Correlations
Tubing Performance Relation
 The relation between bottomhole flowing
pressure and oil rate which enters the tubing is
called Tubing Performance Relation (TPR) or
Vertical Lift Performance (VLP); However
TPR term is used in the cases in which a tubing
is responsible for delivering the reservoir fluid
 VLP or TPR curves are diagrams of
bottomhole pressure versus flow rate.
Tubing Performance Relation
 It can be calculated either by the single or
multiphase flow correlations or the gradient
curves. Given a wellhead pressure, one must
calculate the bottomhole pressure for several
flow rates (for multiphase flow, oil rate).
Connecting the resulted points, VLP curve is
resulted.
Tubing Performance Relation
 Given the wellhead pressure, the pressure
elements constituting a VLP curve can be
shown as:
Tubing Performance Relation
 In the case of single-phase liquid, density is
assumed constant and the hydrostatic pressure gradient
is a constant also. Friction loss is rate dependent,
characterized by two flow regimes (i.e. laminar &
turbulent) separated by a transition zone. The rate
dependence of frictional pressure drop differs with the
flow regime. At low rates the flow is laminar and the
pressure gradient changes linearly with rate or flow
velocity. At high rates, the flow is turbulent and the
pressure gradient increase more than linearly with
increasing flow rate.
Tubing Performance Relation
 In gas wells, there is interdependence
between flow rate, flow velocity, density and
pressure. In general, increasing gas rate results
in increasing total pressure loss.
 In multiphase mixtures, increasing rate may
change the governing pressure loss mechanism
from predominantly gravitational to
predominantly frictional. The results of this
shift is change of trend in the TPR curve.
Tubing Performance Relation
 Generally, VLP curves (specially in the case of
multiphase fluids, which are more common in field):
are fairly linear with little slope.
for low GOR fluids and low rates have very flat
slope because potential energy dominants with very
little friction effect.
can be highly non linear for high rate wells and
gas wells since friction effects are significant.
may have a “minimum” BHP value due to
combination of potential (hydrostatic) and
frictional effects, which is an ideal point because
the lower the BHP, the higher the production.
Oilfield Production
Operations (I)

 Gas wells often produce a liquid phase along
the gas which might be oil, condensate and/or
water.
 If the velocity of the gas is sufficiently high,
the wellbore liquids will be entrained in the gas
and carried up to the surface.
 In low permeability gas wells, specially at
low reservoir pressures, the gas velocity may
not be sufficient to lift the liquid phase to the
surface.
 In that situations, the liquid accumulates in
the well and will eventually curtail production
entirely.
 This phenomenon is known as Gas Well
and eliminated by proper tubing string design.
 Periodic change out of the tubing string,
moving to even smaller tubing sizes allows
maintenance of high gas velocities at pressure
declines.
 Historical Canadian data suggests that
among of all methods which predict the
minimum gas velocity (flow rate) required to
continuously lift the liquid phase up to the
surface, the method suggested by Turner et al.
(1969) is very accurate.
 Other methods are very similar to Turner et
al. method.
 Turner suggest the gas velocity required to
lift the liquids at every point in the tubing must
exceed the free fall terminal velocity of the
liquid drops which is described by:
1
σ L ( ρL − ρ g )  4 Minimum gas velocity required to
 ρg
2


## where ut, σL (interfacial tension between liquid

and gas), ρL (liquid density) and ρg (gas
density) are in ft/s, dyne/cm, lbm/ft3 and lbm/ft3
respectively.
 The critical gas flow rate (minimum gas flow
rate which is needed to continuously lift liquids
to the surface) can be calculated as:
A
q sc = 3.06 pwhu t
TZ
where:
qsc = critical gas flow rate MMSCF/d
A = cross-sectional area of flow, ft2
pwh = wellhead pressure , psia
T = surface flowing temperature, ºR
Z = gas compressibility factor @ (T, pwh)
 Turner criterion can be considered the point
at which annular (annular mist) flow is
maintained through the wellbore.
 It may be thought of as defining the
transition between slug or churn and annular
(annular mist) flow.
 Since fourth root of density and interfacial
tension of low molecular weight hydrocarbons
varies only slightly with changes in molecular
weight and temperature, in the absence of data
for such cases, one can use the following values:
dyne lb m
σ L = 20 ρ L = 45 3
cm ft
dyne lb m
σ L = 60 ρ L = 67 3
cm ft
 Turner method was originally stated to be
applicable for LGR (Liquid to Gas Ratio,
inverse of GLR) less than 130 bbl/MMSCF; but
it has been found to give good results up to 250
bbl/MMSCF.
Example
 A well producing gas with 0.67 gravity at
wellhead pressure and temperature of 450 psia
and 170 ºF. If the well also produces minor
amount of water with 1.06 gravity, using Turner
criterion calculate the lowest gas production
2,7/8” (ID = 2.544”) tubing?
Assume gas/water interfacial tension (IFT) is
55 dynes/cm.
Example Solution
Calculating Gas Density

## From the gas gravity we can estimate its pseudo

critical properties:
ppc ≈ 670 psia
Tpc ≈ 370 ºR

## The gas compressibility factor can be estimated

from its pseudo reduced properties as follows:
450 
p pr = = 0.672 
670
 ⇒ Z = 0.962
(170 + 460)
T pr = = 1.703
370 
Example Solution
Calculating Gas & Water Density

28.97γ g p γg p
ρg = = 2.7
RZT ZT

0.67 × 450 lb m
ρ g = 2.7 = 1.343 3
0.962 × (170 + 460 ) ft

and:

## ρ L = 62.4γ L ρ L = 62.4 ×1.06 = 66.144

Example Solution
Calculating Terminal Velocity
1
σ L ( ρL − ρ g )  4

u t = 1.912  
 ρg
2


1
 55 × ( 66.144 − 1.343)  4
ft
u t = 1.912  2  = 12.748
 1.343  s
Example Solution
Calculating Critical Flow Rate

A
q sc = 3.06 pwhu t
TZ

2
 2.44 
  ×π
πD 2
 12 
A= = = 0.0325ft 2
4 4

And finally:
0.0323
q sc = 3.06 × 450 ×12.748 × = 0.936 MMSCFD
(170 + 460 ) × 0.962