GravityDrainage
Performance
Using a ThreeDimensional
H. N. HALL
MEMBER AlME
Abstract
Reservoir and prod[tcing Awictetlstics
can :overn the
deci.riou 10 me either a one, nvo or tllveedittrensiotzal
nwdcl for I)]aking prcdic(ions for gravitydrainage re.rerwir.~. Examples of conditions rcqniring one, IWO and
rhreeditt tensional calc[dtuion r are given. In 196 I rhe author prcsen!ed a me[hod for predicting t)tte.dit??el~.sior?al
gvavi[ydrainage performance. Titi.~ work iws been extended
m ohluin a [ilreeditnensional
nmdel, wilici~ is desctvi~ed
and
jor )ri~icil a saitlple proi)lenz is pre.rentrd.
Introduction
Marry pnpcrs on gravity drainage or gascap drive have
been presented for conditions where the reservoir is treated
as a single arcaI segment so that, in effect, only onedimensional flow is considered, Other authors have given evidence showing that the one.dimensional concept would be
unsatisfactory to predict reservoir performance for cerutin
(ypcs of reservoirs. Experience has indicated that specific
reservoir and producing conditions govern whether one.
two or threecfimensional concepts must be used as a basis
for reliable reservoir performance predictions,
Previously the author presented a paper outlining a
method for predicting the performatlce of gravitydrainage
reservoirs? That paper treated the reservoir as a single
areal segment so that it was applicable for only onedimensional flow. The work has been extended to obtain a threedimensional model that can be used to predict performance
of gravitydrainage
reservoirs. Although capable of being
threedimensional, it can be used equally weII for one. and
twodimensional predictions.
This paper discusses those reservoir and producing conditions governing the choice of model, and also describes
a threedimensional
model suitable for predicting reservoir
performance in the more complex situations.
Discussion
PAN AMERICAN
TULSA, OKLA.
Model
PEWtOIEUM
CORP.
to predict the movement of oil and gas with~n the reservoir. The word model is used here to connote the combination of both a physical model and a mathematical
model based on the physical model. Certain types of
reservoir situations may be predicted suitably with a onedimensional model, whereas two and threedimensional
models may be required for other situations. This section
illustrates reservoir conditions associated with the use of
a specific type of model.
Many types of reservoir structures are such that gravity
drainage possibly could be an important factor in oil production. Production practices, as well as the nature of the
structure, can influence the type of model that should be
used. Obviously, it is impossible to discuss all combinations of reservoir structure and production practices that
might be encountered in gravitydrainage
reservoirs, The
following arc typical examples of conditions where a choice
must be made among a one, two or threedimensional
model to predict reservoir performance satisfactorily.
Conditions Requiriog a
OneDinlensionttl Model
Fig. la shows contours for an asymmetrical anticline in
which gravity drainage might bc expected to be important.
Fig. Ib depicts a crosssection along Line AA in Fig. 1a.
Existence of a gas cap is a good clue that gravity drainage
will be an important factor in producing oil from this
type of reservoir. However, it is not essential since a gas
cap will form as oil is produced from the reservoi!, If the
proper combination
of reservoir permeability and withdrawal rates is present, the reservoir will behave like a
AUK.11, 1967.
will
be
printed
Paper.
in
Tran8actioms
volume
243,
which
will
la
STRUCTURAL CONTOUR
Fig. lTypical
lb
SECTION AA
reservoir, onedimensional
model.
.
~~#
4 shows the gasoil contacts that could result. Gas saturation that can build up subsequently in downdip areas
will lead to early GOR problems, Other authoma have
investigated the tilting of a gasoil contact for crestal
gasinjection operations.
The general flow patterns that would exist under conditionsshown in Fig. 4precludethe
use of a onedimensional
model for predicting reservoir performance.
If there are
no regional lateral variations in reservoir properties (dip,
permeability and porosity) and well concentration
is laterally unform, then this type of performance
could be
predicted with a twodimensional model.
Fig. 5a depicts how the reservoir would be modeled by
breaking it up into areal segments that are further divided
into vertical blocks, The reservoir model is shown in perspective in Fig. 5b, with dashed lines showing the direction
in which oil and gas are assumed to flow.
Conditions Requiring a
ThreeDin~eosiooal
Model
Theasymmetrical
anticline shown in Fig. 1 is used again
for illustrating reservoir and production ~~.ditions requiring a threedimensional
model. Instead of having equal
well spacing, it is specified that a certain production rate
is to be maintained from the reservoir with a limited num.
ber of wells. The main question is whether there will be
sufficient lateral migration of oil to achieve a condition
similar to that shown in Fig. 6a where the gasoil contact
A
A
GASOIL CONTACT
GASOIL
CONTACT
3a
STRUCTURAL
CONTOUR
2a
CROSS SECTION
3b
SECTION AA
Fig. 3Typical
reservoir, mwdimensionai
model.
PRODUCTION
(
GASOIL CONTACT
2b
PERSPECTIVE
Fig. 2Physical
model
Fig. 4Gasoil
contact profi!e, segregated flow
crosssection oj reservoir.
SOIL CONTACT
VARIOUS TIMES
Model
The onedimensional
method previously referred to
is applicable for conditions of either complete or partial
pressure maintenance. or for normal pressure depletion.
Provisions were made to account for vertical variation in
permeability and fluid composition. The method was based
on representing the reservoir by a series of vertically
stacked blocks, similar to that shown in Fig. 2b, The
mathematical model that was developed accounts for the
flow of oil and gas at all points ~hroughout the section
while simultaneously satisfying material balance considerations. The numerical expressions developed consisted of
gas and oil material balance equations for each block in
the reservoir in conjunction with expressions describing the
flow of oil and gas between blocks. These equations are
implicit; i.e.. they involve unknown values of pressure and
fluid saturation at the end of a time step. An iterative
1
6a
EQUAL MOVEMENT
L CONTACT
IOUS TIMES
6b
UNEQUAL MOVEMENT
CROSS SECTION
+DIRECTION
5b
PERSPECTIVE
Fig, 5Physical
M jy
OF OIL
R GAS MOVEMENT
11
${
model of resert,[)ir
calcltladons.
I PRODUCTION
Fig. 7Physicrd model oj reservoir f,,r threedimemionrd
crrlculrrtimz.s,
(P)l+i = W)f +
Y2
[(i), (P)f.1l
.,.
(l]
),+,
A similar expression
is given as Eq. 3.
= (M)
_ (p%!.,.,
)t+il
(2)
1.0
.
5
F .8
u
2 ,7
\t
w
z
g ,5
\,
&
~ .6
Z
F .4
~
g .3
a
w
WI,2
w
ORIGINAL
GASOIL
CONTACT
$.,.!,l.l,,
).
(Was.,.,
.!.,)
(fib.,),.:
, (f;,,,,
(E,,;),,,
T
)..
(E*.)!,)
)! :
(E,,;),,j
(~h,,,..,
(4)
Ll)t>
J. ,
(5)
), , (.E*.),,,
(E,,,,
~hmc migration terms then are used as a pseudoproduction term in the one.dimensional
gravitydrainage
prediction method, For example. Eq. 6 gives a materiaI balance
on the gas content of a block in the oil column (this
equation is the same as Eq. 13, in the Appendix of Ref. 7).
1
(.s;),.,
(P)
1.1(~)l+1
[
(R,),
(K),
[
 R:]
(B.,),.,
(R,),., (
1
(eC),
~ ($[p)~
r (e.,),,,
~
.
1[
(1
.s ,)
(B:.,
$
::::~:1
([
(aa)fl
(&f.!
(R,*),+,
[(P),+* (p ),+~]. ~E=
+ (w..)
./) .
0+
(n:)
. [( P)(.) (P) t+tltl ( P*)fsi (~*)1.:
. . . . . . . . . . . . (3)
[
. (#;{)
1
o (~~j,.:
),,*
(1%,
2)
q) [K4)~(]{)
1
), r
1:)
e.,,+,,.
@
OIL
GAS
\l
.I
.2
.4
.6
.8
1.0
LIQUIDSATURATION(FRACTION)
Fig. SSatwation
distribution determined
oneditnensional lnodel,
by
6)
(s,,), ,  
(P<)t,l(~)l.l 
(R:) , ;,
@~,
.
.
(R:),
(B7),
[
S)
$:+::1S;)r[(p)()
f%%l+(;a)
,,. l), ~ (r,, .,),.,
_
_
(R.),
+ (l?,),+,
(e,
(Boo),+, 1
2
1
[ (B.),+
{1
_ ~,,,.: ),+ (e,,),:, (R.), + (R.),., .
.
2
(B.,), + (B,,),; 1
1[
[
(ej ), (P
)i(8)t
: (~.; a)(+!
(Po)
t.l(~aO])t.l
.
~
[
([
(1,,
~,(p?,.
fl.,
),
~*J
),
(e,),., (p),.
.,.
. .
(7)
(B,:),
(M )(+)
+ (B.,),.l
p)=(Rr)(+)){[
(P) (p.,)
(p),
144
[
(E>,.),.,
[1
1
(q;),
(B,,j,~
_:,
1
1
(v+)
Ai
(l.s,,
) (.s,,), [
.$,.) (s,) !.!
,(
(B,,),
(N),l

1(l?.,)=
((.),
1[ (BO);+(B7),.;
(e,,),+ (e,,),.,
(bV*j7+@}*jT
(8;
B
#
AL
IL
CT
Fig. 1 lPermeabifi/y
.wnple problew.
TABLE 1 FLUID
PROPERTIESSAMPLE
PROBLEM
Bottom of
Reservoir
Top of
Reservoir
.
..
Saturation pressure (psig)
Oil viscosity (cp)
Oil reservoir volume factor
Gas in solution (scf/STB of oil)
2,150
0.7
4,300
0.26
1.26
1,84
1,720
700
..
contact had a saturation pressure of 4.300 psi and decreased downdip to a value of 2,150 psi. Fluid properties
are given in Table 1. Variations in saturation pressure and
msociated fluid properties were not linear,
The reservoir was represented by the type of physical
model shown in Fig. 7, and 22 rectangular, areal segments
were used. In the j direction (along the major axis of the
reservoir).
blocks were five times the length in the i
direction. Each block was25 ft high.
Fig. 13 shows pressures and GORs calculated for 25
years of production from this reservoir. The solid line in
the pressure. vstime curve in Fig. 13 represents the calculated, volumetrically
weighted average reservoir pressure
at a datum of 7,200 ft subsea. The circles represent an
average of reservoir pressuie in the vicinity of producing
wells at various times, Note that the average of the pressures in the vicinity of the wells is lower than the average
reservoir pressure. This is emphasized further by Fig. 14.
which represents pressure contours throughout the reservoir after 20 ytars of production history. The shape of
the reservoir pressurevstirne
curve is characteristic
of
undersaturated
conditions existing in the reservoir at the
start of production. Pressure declines rapidly to the saturation pressure, and then declines at a slower rate due to
evolution of gas in the oil column. The fact that saturation pressure changes with structure makes this a very
gradual change as compared with predicted performance
using standard material balance calculations where an oil
with a single saturation pressure is considered.
The produced GOR shown in Fig. 13 increased slightly
from an initial value of 970 scflbbl during the first 5
years of production. This reflects the fact that all wells
were producing from the oil column only, and due to
permeability variation the largest amount of oil came from
4000
3000
u
:
m
w
~
2000
1000
10
YEARS
15
OF PRODUCTION
20
25
2000
2500
Ffg. 14Presswe
PRODUCING
WELLS
(20 ye[m
,Ij
B,, = oil formation volume factor (bbl at reservoir temperature and pressure) /(bbl at
60F and 14.7 psi)
e. = oii influx rate in verticaI dirwtion, cu ft/
day at reservoir temperature and pressure
Cfl= gas influx rate in verticai direction, cu ft/
day at reservoir temperature and pressure
E,. = horizontal oii migration rate between acijacent blocks at the same elevation, cu
ft/day at 14.7 psi and 60F
E,, = horizontal gas migration rate between adjacent blocks at the same elevation, cu
ft/day at 14,7 psi and 60F
F = eievation difference between points in the
reservoir (used to determine gravity gradient between blocks ), ft
k = absolute permeability, darcies
k , = relative permeability to oii
k,, = relative permeability to gas
L = distance from midpoint of block to edge
of other block, ft
M = 6,33 X absolute permeability X crosssectional area, da rcics X sq ft
P = pressure, psi
q = oii producing rate, cu ft/{iay (measured al
60F and 14.7 psi)
SECTION BB
R=
1,1 ~
(k,:{ ),(k,o),
. ..
.  .. _
[(k,: (),(UJ~+
(k,o)J)]J)]
l/(ft x Cp)
1
(/I.,,*),
t% = oii viscosity, cp
l% = gas viscosity, cp
# = porosity
Superscripts
a = number
arc dcscrihed
in terms
of
t = vaiue at time I
t+l = value at time (t+l)
rl% = value at midpoint of time interval
References
1, Stewart, F. M., ffarthwaite, D. L. and Krebil, F, K.: Pressure Maintenance by Inert Gas Injection in the High Relief
Elk Basin Field, Trans., AIME ( 195S) Vol. 204, 4955.
2. SI_sreve,D. R, and Welch, L. W., Jr.: Gas Drive and Gravity
Drainage Analysis for Pressure Maintenance Operations,
Trans., AIME (1956) Vol. 207, 136143.
3. Kirby, J. E., Jr., Stamm, H. E. IIJ and Schnitz, L. Il.: Calculation of the Depletion History and Future Performance of
a GasCapDrive Reservoir, Tram., AIME (1957) Vol. 210,
218.226.
4. Martin, John C.: Reservoir Analysis for Pressure Maintenance Operations Based on Complete Segregation of Mobile
Fluids, Trans., AlME (1958) Vol. 213, 220227.
5, Cook, Robert E.: Analysis of Gravity Segregation Perform
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