Você está na página 1de 29

SPE-193669-MS

Pressure Transient Analysis for Heavy Oil and Low Transmissivity


Formations

Ricardo Alcantara and Jorge Enrique Paredes, PEMEX E&P; Mario Briones, Universidad de Oriente

Copyright 2018, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE International Heavy Oil Conference and Exhibition held in Kuwait City, Kuwait, 10-12 December 2018.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents
of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect
any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written
consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may
not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

Abstract
The performance of Pressure Transient Analysis (PTA) in heavy oil and low transmissivity formations is
different from the conventional reservoirs, so the main objective of this work is to describe the pressure
transient behavior in these low mobility-low transmissivity systems considering their impact on the main
issues involved in, such as fluid viscosity, flow capacity, total compressibility and petrophysical properties.
In this analysis, we present various well tests from many low transmissivity oilfields and some other
heavy oil reservoirs in Mexico that produce from distinct depositional environments in sandstones and
carbonates at different depths, onshore and offshore, with the objective of comparing and analyzing the
pressure transient response with respect to time and the designing and execution of well tests in these types of
systems. The main aspects related to the pressure transient behavior in low-mobility and low-transmissivity
formations were analyzed, especially for the time required to reach the Infinite Acting Radial Flow regime
(IARF) and subsequently, the pseudo-steady or steady state, where some properties are of paramount
importance such as fluid viscosity, porosity, permeability, total compressibility, capillary pressure and net
pay.
The evaluation of the critical factors that rule the pressure transient behavior in low-transmissivity
formations and heavy oils allows to identify certain patterns in transmissivity variations, determination of
mean reservoir pressure, identification of reservoir heterogeneities and the corresponding influence of net
pay on carbonates mainly. Furthermore, we suggest a series of recommendations about how to deal with this
type of reservoirs when designing, executing and analyzing well tests for a better reservoir characterization
through Pressure Transient Analysis (PTA).

Introduction
Many oilfields around the world produce from heavy oils and/or low transmissivity formations that represent
a tough task, especially when dealing with low porosities, low permeabilities, very low API gravity oils
and deep reservoirs where the exploitation of the hydrocarbon reserves tend to be technically challenging
and economically expensive. In fact, in heavy oil reservoirs, Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) processes are
usually implemented from the beginning of their productive life, given the adverse conditions they represent,
especially due to the high viscosities that tend to hinder the flow of fluids from the reservoir to the surface.
2 SPE-193669-MS

Reservoir dynamic characterization is very important in these kinds of formations, but most of the time
is not easy and generally, it could be tricky for inexperienced interpreters. The pressure behavior is mainly
dominated by the flow capacity, porosity, viscosity, total compressibility and heterogeneity of the system,
so the correct recognition of the main dynamic parameters that affect the pressure response is fundamental
for the appraisal and development of these reservoirs.

Fluid Properties of Heavy Oils


To estimate the reservoir volume (Original Oil in Place) and its recoverability, it is necessary to characterize
the crude oil to understand its behavior and the expected compositional changes during the different
exploitation stages of a field. The main oil properties that are commonly used as the primary indicators
of the performance of the hydrocarbon fluids when subjected to pressure and temperature changes are
the bubble point pressure, Solution Gas Oil Ratio (GOR), oil Formation Volume Factor (FVF), viscosity,
density, interfacial tension and the isothermal compressibility. All of these, are intimately related to the type
of fluid and hence, to its composition.
The chemical classification of petroleum fluids relates to the molecular structure of the most predominant
chemical species in the mixture. The terms paraffins, naphthenes, aromatics and resins-asphaltenes
encompass all the different compositions in an overall way. McCain (1990) defines that based on their
molecular structure, hydrocarbons are divided into two main classes: aliphatic and aromatic. Aliphatic
compounds are further divided into alkanes, alkenes and alkynes. The alkanes are also called saturated
hydrocarbons because the carbon atoms are attached to as many hydrogen atoms as possible or simply
termed paraffins. The alkenes are also called unsaturated hydrocarbons or olefins, these series are
distinguished by having carbon double bond. Lastly, the alkynes are branded to have a carbon-carbon triple
bond within their structure. Moreover, in many hydrocarbon-compounds the carbon atoms are arranged in
rings, these are called cyclic compounds and consider cycloalkanes (naphthenes, cycloparaffins or alicyclic
hydrocarbons) and cycloalkenes, in which the carbon atoms are bonded together to form a ring with one or
two double bonds. Furthermore, the aromatics are conformed by benzenes and other structural resembled
compounds.
The fluid properties are one of the most important factors for PTA because the pressure response is
highly influenced by some fluid properties such as the oil Formation Volume Factor (FVF), oil viscosity and
indirectly, by the total compressibility of the system (considering that effective compressibility involves the
behavior of the isothermal compressibility of the oil). Each one of these PVT properties affect differently
the transient behavior of pressure in any formation (Figure 1).
In heavy oils, the amount of the heaviest hydrocarbon fraction usually represents more than 70% of
the total mixture, which denotes the nature of the composition of the fluids. Typically, asphaltenes and
paraffins comprises this heavy fraction of the crudes and are formed by the larger hydrocarbon molecules;
additionally, heavy oils are characterized by having low GOR because the amount of gas in solution is very
limited compared to lighter oils (an inherent condition of the oil migration, compositional changes and the
reservoir temperature), which derives in poor performance of the reservoir fluid expansion and solution gas
drive indices. So, all of this leads to the high viscosities and low mobility condition.
SPE-193669-MS 3

Figure 1—Compositional analysis of a heavy oil and its PVT black oil validation.

Fluid characterization in heavy oil reservoirs presents difficulties from the sampling process to the
measurement of the PVT properties in laboratory. Long times of stabilization in the well during the sampling
and in PVT experiments (CCE, DL), cause inconsistencies in a large part of the PVT studies of heavy
and extra-heavy oils. A complete validation of the PVT study prior to the interpretation of well tests is
recommended to minimize the impact due to the fluid properties.
In PTA, the oil FVF and the viscosity have a great impact in the calculations of the main reservoir
parameters such as the effective permeability to oil, the formation flow capacity, the skin factor and the
wellbore storage coefficient. Also, the transmissivity of the system is affected by the fluid properties,
specifically the viscosity and implicitly, oil FVF (Figure 2); so, the time needed to reach the Infinite Acting
Radial Flow (IARF) regime is greater than in a higher API gravity oil reservoir. First, because the wellbore
storage effect tends to be considerable and second, the fact that the pressure perturbation within the reservoir
travels at a lower velocity due to the low flow capacity and the high viscosity of the fluid. Consequently,
the time required to reach the limits (pseudosteady and/or steady state) is even greater.

Figure 2—Oil FVF variations in PTA.


4 SPE-193669-MS

Foamy oils represent another technical challenge to the reservoir engineering, particularly, for well testing
due to its unique features, as the nature of gas dispersion in oil distinguishes foamy oil behavior from
conventional heavy oil behavior, this again, related to the fluid properties. These reservoirs are characterized
by slower decline in reservoir pressure as recovery increases with increased drawdown, lower than expected
GORs, higher critical gas saturation (25% to 40%), foamy produced crude oil (the evolved gas in foamy oil
reservoirs initially remains dispersed in the oil, and gradually disengages from the oil phase), and higher
ultimate recovery in primary production phase.
Albartamani et al. (1999) published a paper on this topic. They mentioned that the most important issues
that distinguish foamy oil from conventional heavy oil are the amount of dispersed gas in oil, and the time
for which gas bubbles remain dispersed in the oil. Additionally, their work reviewed the foamy oil behavior
modelling by investigating the nucleation of microbubbles and the formation of in-situ oil-continuous foam.
Maini (1996) indicates that the separation of the dispersed gas into oil takes a long time to occur in
foamy oils. So, the gas present in the system experiences three different stages: dissolved gas that is
in thermodynamic equilibrium with the liquid, dispersed gas that is thermodynamically independent but
hydrodynamically is still forming part of the liquid phase, and free gas. Also, he mentioned that according
to laboratory experiments, the slow depletion results in very high GOR and very low recovery, while in a
fast depletion scheme the recovery is high and GOR remains low.
Summarizing, the foamy oil phenomenon has appeared only in heavy and extra-heavy crude oils, since
in these crudes the viscous forces surpass the gravitational forces on the productive life of reservoirs, reason
why this phenomenon goberns the production behavior of these reservoirs.

The role of depositional environments and petrophysics in transmissivity


behavior
Petrophysical properties are intimately related to the depositional environments, and hence, to the following
changes produced by diagenesis. For reservoir dynamic characterization purposes, the rock properties
determination is paramount for the correct evaluation of the reservoir parameters obtained through PTA.
Distribution and continuity of sandstones in a given deposit are determined by the original depositional
environment. The quality of the reservoir is controlled by the grain size and selection. Furthermore, the
reservoir quality could also be modified by post-depositional changes (diagenesis). In siliciclastics, the main
diagenetic effects include the compaction, cementation and the growth of clay minerals within the porous
media.
Siliciclastic rocks are mainly composed by quartz and feldspar grains and clay minerals. Terrigenous are
described by the grain size; so, this classification consists of gravels (which vary from boulder size to 2 mm
in diameter), sands (from 2 to 0.0625 mm), mud (0.0625 to 0.004 mm) and clay (less than 0.004 mm).
Terrigenous depositional environments are characterized by the type of deposits found in each
environment, the relationship between the different depositional units, the external geometry and continuity
of the sandstones and the main processes responsibles of forming the deposits. The main depositional
environments for sandstones are commonly classified as follows:

• Alluvial fan environments.

• Braided stream environments.

• Meandering stream environments.

• Deltaic environments.

• Barrier island environments.

• Eolian environments.
SPE-193669-MS 5

• Shallow marine shelf environments.

• Deep marine environments.

Alluvial fan environments generally form in the margins of mountains and topographic elevations areas.
The flow of eroded material among the stretched canyons discharge all the sediments on the planar surface
at the end of the slopes of the elevations. Frequently, the alluvial fan deposits are pinch-outs branded to
have good thickness poorly selected. The geometry of the alluvial fans depends on the tectonic activity
and the outflow of sediments. Through time, the alluvial fans not only form one single sand body, but they
usually constitute a complex of many deposits that superimposes one each other. The alluvial fans contain
a great quantity of debris and mud flow, interbedded randomly with the best strata; this leads to sudden
facies changes, laterally and vertically.
Braided stream environments are high energy riparian systems that carry gravels and big size grains.
Often, the alluvial fans are level up laterally, forming braided stream systems and feeding them with
sediments. The flow of braided streams is characterized by having high discharge rates of sediment.
Meandering stream environments are originated by the stream flow within a single highly sinuous channel
that generally, has a lower gradient and usually shows less fluctuations in their sediment discharge rates.
The sediment deposits are branded to have finer sands and gravels, silt and clays. The serpentine road and
its pattern of turns that the river channel produces in the valley is the distinctive feature of this type of
system. The shape of the meanders is subjected to a constant change because the river tends to erode material
from the edges of the meander while depositing sands in the inner banks called point bars, where the water
velocity is not so high. Over time, the meanders grow out of the main direction of the river until they reach
the point where they are isolated by flooding, cutting a straight channel along the point bars. Then, the
portion of the abandoned channel becomes an oxbow lake or abandoned meander, which is slowly filled
with sediments carried by the wind. The meanders leave clay bodies composed mainly of overlapping point
bars and coarse-grained sand deposited in the belt of the meander. Considerably, there is more shale, silt and
clay lenses within the sand body since the meanders tend to deposit this material during the river flooding.
Deltaic environments are produced when a river system fully loaded with sediment discharges into a
permanent body of water, losing its channeled energy and dispersing as it loses its charge. Deltas are
the sites with the largest sediment accumulation in the world. Their deposits are among the most prolific
and, therefore, conform sandstones with good capacity to become hydrocarbon reservoirs. The process of
forming a reservoir in a body of water is a constant struggle between the forces of the river that carry
sediments and the forces of the tide and the waves that disperse them. The geometry and distribution of
the deposits vary, depending on the predominant forces. The fine-grained silts and clays dragged by the
river are transported long distances to the ocean and form pro-delta deposits on top of the marine clays.
Slowly the coarse-grained silts and fine sands settle down towards the coast to form the front of the delta.
The thicker grains of sand require more energy for its transport and therefore, do not travel much beyond
the mouths of the distribution channels, forming mouth bars.
Barrier island environments comprise a chain of long and straight linear sand bodies parallel to the coast
line of the ocean or other great body of water. A chain of barrier islands is separated from the land by a lagoon
or a swamp. The sea side is composed of beach deposits. The chain of islands is permanently infringed at
various points along its extension by invasive tidal channels, dividing the chain. Reflux and tides moving
water in and out of the lagoons produce deltaic deposits of reflux-tide and flood-tide mechanisms at the
mouths of the channels to the sea and to the continent, respectively.
Eolian environments are deposited by the wind action on beaches, dunes and coastal areas. Nevertheless,
the bigger eolian deposits are found in the deserts. The wind produces a great variety of dune forms, which
migrate and coalesce to form thick sand bodies. If there was a zone containing stagnant water, this could
6 SPE-193669-MS

be an indicative of presence of vegetation, forming a silt trap. In extremely dry weathers, the evaporation
could be sufficiently enough to form layers of soluble salts, sulfates and carbonates.
The shallow marine shelf environments are located between the coastal line and the continental shelf
breaking, where the marine floor start to bend down abruptly to the deep ocean basin. The water depths
range from tens to hundreds of feet. The surface area of many shallow marine shelves contains dunes that
migrate or sand crests.
Deep marine environments are originated when the flow of coarse-grained sediments or turbidite streams
influenced by gravity are deposited in submarine depressions that move rapidly towards the lower zone
of the canyons in the continental talus to finally spread over the ocean basin in wide lobes of submarine
fans. These sediments called turbidites are deposited by channels on the top of the lobes, near to the canyon
mouth, where coarse-grained sands and massive conglomerates dominate.
In sandstones, the geometry of the original pore system is determined by the textural features of the
sediments (grain size, selection, roundness, packing, etc.) and therefore, by the way the sediments were
deposited. Once deposited, the original porous media could be altered by physical and chemical changes due
to the progressive burial. Some of the most important mechanisms responsibles for the porosity reduction
are the mechanical compaction and the deformation of the more ductile grains, chemical cementation,
pressure solution, recrystallization and the growth of authigenic minerals within the pore space. The type and
extension of diagenesis in sandstones depend on mineral composition of the sediments, the fluids contained
within the porous media, pressure and temperature. Almost all these diagenetic changes (except mechanical
compaction) require the transfer of chemical species in an aqueous media at the poral level. This is the reason
why the diagenetic alteration of sandstones could be inhibited by the early emplacement of hydrocarbons
within the porous media.
After the burial of the sediments, the mechanical compaction begins to act, decreasing the porosity,
especially in presence of the most ductile grains such as micas. So, these grains tend to deform so much
that they could be forced to enter to the pores of the rock. Moreover, while the overpressure increases, some
of the weaker or brittle grains may be crushed and their detritus would occupy the pore spaces. On the
other hand, if the chemical conditions of the water-saturated pores are favorable, carbonate cementation
could arise during the early stages of diagenesis. The next important diagenetic change is the pore-lining
or the growth of clay minerals around the grains of the rock. These minerals grow over the grain surface of
the sands, forming a clay coating that reduces the pore space, such as chlorite. The following stage of the
general diagenetic sequence is the unstable grain dissolution in the matrix. Still later, secondary porosity
could develop through the dissolution of cementing material, authigenic minerals and some of the less stable
grains.
On the other hand, carbonates originate very differently than sandstones (Figure 3). Most of the carbonate
sediments are not brought to their depositional location, instead, they are commonly formed in place as a
product of biologic activity and the direct precipitation of calcium carbonate from the ocean water. Hence,
the biological, chemical and physical processes are considered to describe the depositional environments
of carbonates.
SPE-193669-MS 7

Figure 3—Depositional environments (modified from E. Tarbuck et. al. 2005).

The organisms that originate carbonate deposits need certain special marine conditions that include clear
and warm water, shallow depths and oxygenation. These conditions are usually found in the offshore banks
or shallow marine shelves in tropical waters that must be free of any significant clay material that could
occlude the delicate feeding system of the organisms. The specific type of carbonated sediment formed in
a specific place depends largely on the type of organisms that predominate, in turn, is controlled by the
depth and energy of the water.
The most important exception to the depositional control by organisms are the carbonated sands
composed of inorganic particles well rounded called ooids. The oolitic deposits can conform good
reservoirs. Each ooid reflects an inner structure of concentric rings that surround a central nucleus. This
means that such particles were produced in an environment agitated by strong marine currents, where the
quartz grains or the shell fragments are dragged vigorously in the water saturated by carbonate.
The combination of complex sedimentary patterns and the intense diagenetic alteration in the carbonated
sequences result in very heterogeneous reservoir properties. Carbonated rocks show a great variety of
pore types and complex porous geometries; so, there is rarely a good correlation between porosity and
permeability. The formation of secondary porosity by matrix dissolution, dolomitization and fracturing are
quite common in carbonates.
The most important carbonates depositional environments are the following:

• Shelf environments.

• Carbonate sand shoals.

• Shelf margin environments.

• Deep-basin environments.

A lot of carbonate sedimentation occurs on shallow shelves formed beyond the shoreline. The nature of
the deposits will depend on the geometry of the shelf and the types of organisms that support it, which in
turn, involves differences in the depths of the water and its circulation patterns.
Shelf environments cover a wide spectrum of restricted low-energy and open marine, high energy
carbonate environments. A significant aspect of carbonate deposition is the cyclicity of sedimentation. This
8 SPE-193669-MS

is probably the result of sea level fluctuations over time. The changes in water depth cause facies migration to
the ocean or to the continent to reset their preferable environment. The migration of sedimentation patterns,
one above another, conforms a vertical sequence of deposits that indicate repetition or cyclicity. At the top
of the vertical sequence are the supratidal deposits. In arid climates, sediments from restricted lagoon or
restricted tidal plain environments are usually replaced by evaporitic deposits of gypsum and anhydrite,
thus forming the environment known as "Sabkha".
The carbonate sand shoals are composed of inorganic oolitic carbonated sands. These deposits resemble
to intertidal facies of high energy environments, but usually occur in well-defined stretched belts parallel
to the coast line.
The reefs and other shelf margin environments are differentiated by steepness of slope, water energy and
native organisms. The term "Bioherm" is used to describe a carbonates accumulation formed by organic
growth in situ that could be reefs or mounds. Reefs consist of derived, massive or encrusting organisms
that need a high energy environment above the maximum wave levels and the influence of the tide. On the
other hand, mounds are created by more delicate organisms that capture sediments suspended by restraint
and add their own remains to the mound after they die. Carbonate mounds are of low relief, that is why they
do not reach the maximum energy zones. Reef complex conform good quality reservoirs, this is because
reefs grow in maximum energy environments on the shelf margins; the wave and tide influence reduce the
amount of fine silt size sediment that would otherwise fill the reef structure. The reservoir quality is related
to the environmental subdivisions of the reefs and its diagenetic history. Generally, the reefs oriented to the
open sea, where the energy of waves is too high, will have the best rock quality.
Deep basin environments are characterized by a slow, fixed and grain by grain deposit of carbonate
material, which is produced by planktonic organisms that live near the water surface. Over time, the
precipitated carbonate material could form considerable thickness of extremely fine sediments. This ocean
floor mud could contain original porosities of the order of 70 to 80%. While the sediments are buried,
and diagenetic changes begin, the combination of mechanical compaction and chemical precipitation very
quickly reduces the original porosity by up to 50%. When the sediments are below many thousands of
meters, most of the primary porosity is destroyed and then, the rock became a chalk. Most deep chalks
typically have porosities less than 10% and very low permeabilities.
Diagenetic changes in carbonates tend to follow the general facies patterns, so the knowledge of facies
distribution in the original deposit is paramount to predict the resulting rock transformed by diagenesis.
The identification of depositional environments is fundamental for the rock texture and facies description
considering the diagenesis to detect reservoir heterogeneities, discretize primary and secondary porosities,
get the net pay, distinguish high and low permeability zones, as well as the presence of associated fractures
in carbonates, etc. (Figure 4). In addition, the information obtained is essential to understand the expected
and/or observed capillary pressures and their relationship with pores and pore-throat sizes, which in turn,
have a great impact on the behavior of PTA, representing differences in the transmissivity of the system
based on lithology, facies changes and diagenesis.
SPE-193669-MS 9

Figure 4—Rock texture and facies description.

The capillary pressure is defined as the difference in pressure at the interface between the wetting phase
and the non-wetting phase. The capillary pressure curves indicate the pore size distribution profile that
influence the irreducible water magnitude and the height of the transition zone. The smaller pores and the
pore throats represent the lower permeabilities and the higher water saturations. Capillary pressure curves
also help to determine the depths to which the different fluids are distributed within the reservoir. Through
the behavior of capillary pressure, it is feasible to establish the free water level, the water-oil contact, the
transition zone and the 100% oil zone.
Facies description is a key factor for the understanding of capillary effects at a microscopic level that is
related to the phase saturation changes, effective porosities, effective permeabilities, pore size, grain size
and clay content. Thus, well tests are obviously affected by capillary pressure effects.
Tellez et. Al. (1998) investigated the effects of capillary pressure on well tests in solution gas-drive
reservoirs. They observed that oil velocity, and of course the ratio of viscous forces to capillary forces
(capillary number), decreases in the near wellbore region, and at a late time region it becomes smaller in the
rest of the reservoir. Also, they detected that, for dimensionless times greater than 106 in fractured reservoirs,
when matrix capillary pressure is included, the gas saturation in the matrix decreases while in the fracture
system increases; this is associated to fact that the matrix keeps the oil, freeing gas to the fractures. The
flow rate from matrix to fractures is lower when matrix capillary pressure is considered and decreases with
time, that is why the interporosity flow transfer is greater in the near wellbore region. Therefore, as oil rate
increases, the influence of capillary pressure decreases.
In practice, if having the appropriate information, it could be noticeable to find out the effect of capillary
pressure on PTA. For this, we show a case in which we compare the pressure responses of two wells
producing from the same fine-grained quartz sandstone formation. The adjusted models identified a channel
and another zone of lower permeability, possibly associated with areas of overflow or levees (Figure 5).
When comparing the IARF regimes of both wells, it is evident to detect a difference in oil effective
permeability (from 4.9 to 37.9 md) that is related to the capillary pressure curves behavior. The capillary
pressure curves indicate the pore size distribution that influence the irreducible water magnitude and the
10 SPE-193669-MS

height of the transition zone. The smaller pores and the pore-throats represent the lower permeabilities and
high-water saturations, which are commonly associated to the presence of clay minerals and/or cementing
material.

Figure 5—Capillary pressure effects on PTA.

The depositional environment of this formation is identified as turbiditic submarine fans (Figure 6), so,
this explains the mobility (13.1) and diffusivity (78.5) ratios as a function of the distribution of properties
according to the existence of channels, levees and lobes within the reservoir. The transmissivity of well 1
was estimated to be 311.5 md-ft/cp and for well 2 the value of transmissivity was 2,788.5 md-ft/cp.

Figure 6—Turbiditic submarine fans depositional environment.

In this way it can be verified that lithology, depositional environments, facies changes, capillary pressure
and petrophysical properties are intimately related to the transmissivity of the system.
SPE-193669-MS 11

Another field case related to transmissivity variations depending on facies changes and petrophysical
properties is shown below. This is a well completed in a carbonate reservoir in a mid to outer ramp
environment. The petrography shows that it is a calcareous breccia with anhydrite cement. The clasts
are sub-rounded to sub-angular and consist of clay-rich wackestone with abundant organic matter, and
traces of planktonic foraminifera. Mudstone with rare planktonic foraminifera, macro and meso crystalline
dolomite and pre-existing texture of packstone-wackestone peloids partially dolomitized. According to the
petrophysical evaluation, the most dominant petrophysical classes are the low permeability matrix, the low
permeability matrix and fractures dissolution and the high permeability dissolution (Figure 7).

Figure 7—Petrophysical evaluation and petrography.

There is a pressure build-up test for this well in which it was possible to identify transmissivity variations
associated to facies changes and petrophysical properties. The pressure derivative shows two permeability
levels at the IARF; this variations in transmissivity are due to the lithology changes and petrophysical
properties distributions related to the facies. The value of transmissivity in the area close to the well is 5,418
md-ft/cp and the transmissivity in the farthest zone is 5,057 md-ft/cp (Figure 8).
12 SPE-193669-MS

Figure 8—Pressure build-up derivative behavior.

The transmissivity changes are explained by a difference between a clay-rich mudstone of lower
permeability matrix and a higher permeability fracture dissolution packstone-wackestone peloids partially
dolomitized in the external zone of radial investigation (Figure 9).

Figure 9—Stratigraphic section.

Thickness influence and its hard determination in carbonates


Another important aspect to consider for the transmissivity of a system is the flow capacity. In carbonates,
the quantification or estimation of a net pay thickness tends to be complicated by the heterogeneity of the
formation and the fact that there is little or no relationship between permeability and porosity, so fracturing
SPE-193669-MS 13

is essential for this evaluation. However, the nature of the carbonates and the way they naturally fracture due
to their characteristics and the conditions to which they are found, represent a challenge for the reservoir
characterization, since they generally have great gross thicknesses, but in in most cases, the flow of fluids
from the reservoir to the well does not even reach the 20% of the given thickness. This is the reason
why petrophysical evaluations must consider the properties of the formation and the physical phenomena
associated with the movement of fluids.
The petrophysical evaluation in conjunction with the core analyses and petrography help to discretize
the better zones to expect production within a well log profile; so, the integral information management
and productivity analysis with some tools such as production logs are very useful for identifying flow units,
specifying the zone from which the formation is producing.
The greatest risk that implies the lack of a good characterization of natural fractures is that such
an omission can severely limit the options for the development of carbonate oilfields. Surface outcrops
corresponding to the prospective section or reservoir analogues can form the basis of a lithological, structural
and stratigraphic basis on which geologists can construct conceptual models. These models often begin with
knowledge of regional efforts since the state of the stress is important because it largely determines whether
the fractures are closed or open to drive the reservoir fluids (Figure 10). Diagenesis is another important
factor to consider, since its effects can be positive or negative for the productivity of the wells depending on
the type of diagenetic process. If we could imagine the position of a well drilled and completed in a wrong
place within a naturally fractured reservoir, where there are no presence of fractures or they are closed
by the acting stress regime and/or by diagenesis, it would be very easy to think that the formation has no
potential, but if all the aspects related to the distribution and characterization of fractures were considered,
then the position of the wells, and even its architecture, could be improved to take full advantage of the true
productive capacity of the formation.

Figure 10—Analogy from outcrops (modified from Bratton et. Al. 2006).

During the productive life of a field, the changes produced in the reservoir pressure and, consequently, the
effective stress, alter the flow of fluids within the fracture networks. The irruption of water or gas is a very
common negative factor for conductive fractures in the primary production stage. In addition to increasing
costs of production and elimination of water, the production of highly mobile water leaves behind substantial
volumes of oil of low mobility; In addition, premature gas production can deprive a field of energy.
In Figure 11 we show the practical case of an oil producing well of 33° API completed in 158 m of
open-hole in a naturally fractured reservoir with an average water cut production of 89%. The well logs and
petrophysical evaluation show that there are 35 m of net pay with flow capacity that could provide fluids
to the well. In addition, a production log was run to evaluate the well profile and make decisions oriented
14 SPE-193669-MS

to improve the productivity of the well, where we could notice that only 13 m out of the 158 m of open-
hole section were producing fluids (5 m at the top, 5 m at the middle and 3 m at the base of the interval),
which in turn is associated to the presence of open fractures and facies changes; therefore, it is concluded
that only 8.2% of the open-hole section provides fluids.

Figure 11—Well logs, production log and PTA for the practical case.

The PTA is also affected by the evaluation of the net thickness, which if overestimated or underestimated
(mainly in carbonates), can alter the results, such as the evaluated flow capacity and, consequently, the
transmissivity of the system. Figure 10 also shows the pressure build-up derivative and semi-log plots of the
well test performed during the production logging, which was evaluated as a 3-fault system with a changing
storage well, reaching an average reservoir pressure of 8,669 psi. Thanks to the re-evaluation of the net
thickness with the production log, it was possible to obtain the real value of the flow capacity and, therefore,
the true transmissivity of the system. The previous flow capacity was estimated to be 118,280 md-ft and a
transmissivity of 203,580 md-ft/cp; now, the corrected value for the flow capacity is 43,933 md-ft and the
true transmissivity of the system is 75,615 md-ft/cp.

Pressure behavior in heavy oil and low transmissivity formations


The transient pressure behavior in heavy oil and low transmissivity formations is somewhat different from
that expected in formations that produce lighter hydrocarbons or systems of higher transmissivity, especially
for the time required to reach the IARF and subsequently, the pseudo-steady or steady state, where some
properties are of paramount importance such as fluid viscosity, porosity, permeability, total compressibility,
capillary pressure and net pay.
As we previously mentioned, the main dissimilarities between systems of different transmissivities are
caused by the type of fluid and changes in lithology, facies, petrophysical properties, capillary pressures,
fluid saturation profiles and diagenesis. Thus, the pressure transient behavior in low-mobility fluids or heavy
oil formations is characterized by low transmissivity, which implies a long testing time because of long-
duration wellbore storage effects.
Ikoku (1979) proposed new well test analysis techniques for non-Newtonian injection well fall-off
testing as an insight for the design and operation of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) projects. Due to the
non-hydrocarbon nature of the fluids injected in EOR processes such as polymer, micellar and surfactant
SPE-193669-MS 15

solutions, there is a need to consider the mobility of these fluids that may exhibit non Newtonian behavior
for the flood design, also, it is important to consider the wellbore damage because the skin factor will affect
the flowing pressure before shut-in, and wellbore storage effects will distort the shape of the pressure graph
at early times.
Hernández (2012) presented a new method to analyze the transient pressure data when a non-Newtonian
fluid is present in the formation, due to the fact that some extra-heavy oils have such behavior, describing
in a broader way the method proposed by Agarwal (1980) to consider the production time and thus, be able
to use the pressure drawdown type curves to analyze the pressure build-up data. To observe the influence of
wellbore storage on the pressure behavior, the solution presented by Ikoku (1979) was used for the transient
of pressure when the flow of a non-Newtonian fluid is present considering the storage and damage of the
well.
From the solution of the diffusivity equation for non-Newtonian fluid flow and applying the superposition
principle to the pressure drawdown solution for an infinite reservoir, considering well effects:

(1)

Simplifying:

(2)

In terms of the non-Newtonian equivalent production time:

(3)

It should be mentioned that the duration of the storage effects of the well increases as the value of the
flow behavior index decreases (n).
This analysis was oriented to the study of some extra heavy oils that could show non-Newtonian behavior
due to the deposition of solids generated by the asphaltenes that precipitate in the formation or foreign
elements such as fines that could alter its rheology, which causes the oil to acquire non-Newtonian behavior
even at reservoir conditions.
Kabir et al. (1985) posted that well testing in a heavy oil reservoir involves a long testing time because of
long-duration wellbore storage effects. In some cases, several weeks may be required to reach the correct
semilog straight line on the Horner graph. This long duration storage could be significantly reduced if a
well can build up against the atmospheric pressure rather than the increasing shut-in wellhead pressure as
commonly practiced. Such a test could be easily conducted on a pumping oil well. The procedure involves
turning off the pump, opening the casing-head valve to atmosphere, and monitoring the rise of the annular
liquid level with an Acoustic Well Sounder (AWS). Measurement of the continuously moving annular liquid
column provides both the bottom-hole pressure and the downhole rate during the build-up period. In other
words, AWS data are translated to bottom-hole pressures and downhole rate needed for transient analysis.
Field data indicates that a test conducted in this manner reduces the testing time to a fraction of the time
required for a conventional test. The proposed technique is however limited to wells not capable of flowing
to the surface upon shut-in or HSE regulations.
Below we present some cases to show the behavior of PTA in heavy oils and formations of low
transmissivity. The first case is about a deep sandstone (4,900 m) that produce 14.9°API oil with an average
effective porosity of 15%, an initial water saturation of 28%, a GOR of 56.5 m3/m3, the original pressure
is estimated to be 929 kg/cm2 and the bubble point pressure is 162.4 kg/cm2. Due to the low transmissivity
16 SPE-193669-MS

of the system, it was decided to implement an artificial lift system from the beginning of the exploitation
of the new wells (drilled and workovers), so, the system selected was the Hydraulic Jet Pumping (HJP),
which allows to transmit pressure through a driving fluid through the production tubing to the pump located
downhole in the well, transferring energy between the injection fluid and the fluid produced from the
formation, causing the transformation of potential energy into kinetic energy, thus, helping to raise the heavy
oil to the surface.
During the maintenance operations, the well was shut-in during 9 hours for a build-up test but the
downhole gauge of the pump only recorded storage, which is indicative of low permeability. The recorded
pressure drop was approximately 419 kg/cm2 and the transmissivity was estimated to be less than 215 md-ft/
cp (Figure 12). The behavior of the well obeys to the properties of the formation (low transmissivity) where
it is located, which is in function of the facies changes since the current position of the well corresponds
to a sandy shale and siltstone zone.

Figure 12—PTA for a heavy oil deep (low transmissivity) sandstone producing with HJP.

The second case belongs to a foamy oil (14°API) reservoir producing from channels and bars deltaic
complex sandstones located from 800 to 2,900 m depth, whose effective porosities range from 22 to 33%, a
depth-dependent effective permeability that varies from less than 100 md to 5 darcies and an average initial
water saturation of 27%. A new well was drilled and completed in one of the deep sandstones, so a PTA was
performed through a 6 hours pressure build-up test, where the results were the following: an initial pressure
of 202 kg/cm2, an oil effective permeability of 1,250 md, a flow capacity of 16,500 md-ft, a transmissivity
of 1,352 md-ft/cp, a skin value of -0.976 and a wellbore storage coefficient of 0.00413 bbl/psi.
The most interesting aspect is the response of the pressure derivative behavior obtained during the build-
up test (Figure 13), which is associated to the nature of the fluid due to the foamy oil viscosity to account
for the effects of dispersed gas bubbles on oil recovery. The PTA could be modelled as a homogeneous
reservoir with a changing wellbore storage and a steady state behavior, but this could be tricky because
the reservoir did not have any aquifer nor a gas cap to maintain the pressure; accordingly, that pressure
derivative response is interpreted as a possible consequence of bubble coalescence effect due to surface
tension and the wetting angle, slowing down the nucleation rate as the liquid viscosity increases. This means
that the gas would remain in solution longer than it is predicted, so the gas bubbles in heavy oil will tend to
SPE-193669-MS 17

breakup gradually, which in turn raises the critical gas saturation. Hence, supersaturation would be higher
for oil that is more viscous.

Figure 13—PTA for a foamy oil sandstone.

The third case is related to a heavy and extra heavy oil brittle sandstones complex originated in a fluvial
environment with high initial water saturations. Furthermore, the reservoirs are exploited through cyclic
steam injection to reduce the oil viscosity, which varies from 2,000 to 43,000 cp. The API gravity ranges
between 5° and 13°API; the average reservoir pressure is 97 kg/cm2 at a reservoir temperature of 45°C.
Given that conditions, there is a difficulty in gathering information, especially for reservoir monitoring
and evaluation due to the steam injection high temperature exposure. However, advances in technologies and
tools for collecting information have partially overcome this challenge, since the adverse effects of steam
injection on the mobility and the pressure transient behavior of heavy oil have not been fully mitigated. In
Figures 14 and 15 we present some PTA of certain wells to describe those effects; the first well was strongly
affected by the intermittent behavior of the bottom-hole flowing pressure which was originated mainly by
the inability to maintain the continuous flow caused by the nature of the heavy oil and the cyclic steam
injection, which produced those effects by reducing the viscosity by periods, but having an adverse effect
on the operational execution of the well tests (build-up and drawdown). The IARF was reached but certain
humping effects associated to the low viscosity of the oil and the steam injection distorted the last part of the
pressure derivative, avoiding the possibility of detecting any heterogeneity. The initial reservoir pressure
is 116 kg/cm2, the wellbore storage coefficient is 0.00837 bbl/psi, the skin value is 224 (partial penetration
influence due to the poorly consolidated formation and its adverse effect on the real permeability, which
must be less than the reported value), the effective oil permeability is estimated to be 4.13 darcies, the flow
capacity is 325,196 md-ft and the transmissivity value is 1,161 md-ft/cp (Figure 14).
18 SPE-193669-MS

Figure 14—PTA for well 1 producing heavy oil with cyclic steam injection.

Figure 15—PTA for well 2 producing heavy oil with cyclic steam injection.

The second well was also affected by the intermittent behavior of the bottom-hole flowing pressure
because of the steam injection; so, when shutting-in the well for a build-up test, another low mobility effect
was identified. The pressure response was modelled as a changing storage well and a two layers infinite
reservoir model, the initial reservoir pressure is 135.2 kg/cm2, the wellbore storage coefficient is 0.0204
bbl/psi, the skin value is 4.5 for layer 1 and 14.9 for layer 2 (kappa is calculated to be 0.997), the effective
oil permeability is estimated to be 5.77 darcies, the flow capacity is 284,074 md-ft and the transmissivity
value is 947 md-ft/cp (Figure 15).
In both wells, the transmissivity values are high despite of producing heavy oil because the porosities and
permeabilities developed by the depositional environment and depth were beneficial for the exploitation
of that type of high viscosity fluid; nevertheless, the radius of investigation for build-ups and the radius of
drainage of each well are not so great.
The next case is a volumetric low transmissivity carbonate reservoir producing 37°API volatile oil with
only one well. The effective porosity is around 4%, the oil formation volume factor is 2.11 bls/STB and the
viscosity is 0.178 cp. Different well interventions have been made to improve its productivity, such as acid
fracturing, which failed to substantially improve production due to the very low transmissivity of the system
(oil effective permeability <1 md). As a part of the behavior of low transmissivity, we can also observe a
SPE-193669-MS 19

large wellbore storage effect, which despite having designed and executed long-term pressure build-up tests
(more than 500 hours), did not reach the IARF (Figure 16). The estimated effective oil permeability is 0.168
md with a reservoir pressure of 480 kg/cm2, a wellbore storage coefficient of 0.775 bbl/psi, a fracture half-
length of 50.5 ft, a flow capacity of 3.3 md-ft and a transmissivity of 18.5 md-ft/cp.

Figure 16—PTA for a well producing volatile oil in a low transmissivity carbonate reservoir.

Another case is related to an offshore carbonate breccia reservoir producing 10°API heavy oil at an
average depth of 3,700 m with a porosity of 10%, an initial water saturation of 17% and great values of
permeability that range from 3 to 14 darcies, also, it is important to mention that the bubble point pressure
is 55 kg/cm2. In this field, well testing is a pending task to improve the design and the interpretation of the
results because of the very high viscosities of oil (more than 3,000 cp at surface conditions) that impede the
easy flow from the reservoir to the surface, that is why the early implementation of Electrical Submersible
Pumps (ESP) is paramount for the exploitation. Hot oil treatments are quite common in the field operations,
so fall-offs are practically the only source of information for PTA. According to this, a fall-off is presented
to describe the pressure response in a well that was completed in open hole on the top of the geologic
structure with an initial reservoir pressure of 185 kg/cm2, an oil effective permeability of 14.7 darcies, a
flow capacity of 26,600,000 md-ft, a transmissivity of 654,044 md-ft/cp, a skin value of 44.9 and a wellbore
storage coefficient of 0.26 bbl/psi (Figure 17). The last part of the pressure derivative shows an abnormal
behavior that could be misinterpreted as a boundary condition, nonetheless, this effect is attributable to the
natural restoration of pressure when the magnitude of the injected fluids is insufficient to maintain the fall-
off because of the low mobility of oil, causing in turn, that the radius of investigation is not so great.
20 SPE-193669-MS

Figure 17—PTA for a well producing heavy oil from an offshore carbonate breccia reservoir.

Transmissivity analysis
The analysis of transmissivity is significant and could be very helpful when studying an oilfield to have
a better reservoir characterization through the identification of heterogeneities and the understanding of
complex dynamics.
When analyzing the behavior of pressure transient in low transmissivity systems, some curves were
generated by the comparison of dimensionless pressure build-ups as a function of dimensionless production
time. Also, there are certain limitations when using the pressure drawdown solution to analyze the pressure
build-up data after a short time of production, this could happen when the production time is too small
compared to the shut-in time, the curves are separated quickly, which indicates that a greater error would
be obtained when computing reservoir parameters if we used the drawdown solution to analyze the build-
up data; however, while the production time is increasing, the curves are closer together for a longer period
of time, which indicates that we can use the drawdown solution to analyze the pressure build-up without
having considerable errors when interpreting the results.
To consider the skin effects, the pressure drawdown solution takes the following form:

(4)

When incorporating this solution to the pressure build-up solution, the equation becomes:

(5)

If the pressure build-up data is plotted against the equivalent production time, it is manifest that most of
the build-up data can be normalized, except for the short production times due to wellbore storage and skin
effects, although the errors when normalizing the data are not so significant (Figure 18).
SPE-193669-MS 21

Figure 18—Dimensionless pressure vs dimensionless time curves for PTA.

Additionally, it was found that there is a relationship between the transmissivity and the squared root
of the effective permeability to the effective porosity ratio; moreover, when plotting transmissivity against
effective permeability to diffusivity ratio there is also an evident relationship. These associations indirectly
group the depositional environment and the diagenetic processes that originated the current characteristics
of the rock and its main petrophysical properties. In both cases, a power law behavior is observed, which
indicates that the pressure responses from low transmissivity and heavy oil formations tend to behave like
this (Figures 19 and 20).

Figure 19—Transmissivity vs squared root of effective permeability to effective porosity ratio.


22 SPE-193669-MS

Figure 20—Transmissivity vs effective permeability to diffusivity ratio.

As a result of the anlaysis of the transmissivity behavior shown by many well tests, a plot is proposed
to correlate the estimated radius of investigation in function of time with transmissivity. This diagram was
designed by using type curves based on power law tendencies with the main purpose of approximating
the time needed to reach a certain radius of investigation within the reservoir given the conditions of the
transmissivity of the system, demonstrating that the results are consistent in the majority of the cases, since
the type curves also consider the effects of wellbore storage and skin indirectly (Figure 21).

Figure 21—Diagram of transmissivity vs estimated radius of investigation in function of time.

To illustrate the use of this diagram, three real cases of PTA in low transmissivity formations are presented
below. The first case is a deep carbonated formation with an average effective porosity of 5% and low
permeabilities producing volatile oil from limestones and dolostones corresponding to facies of deep marine
basin depositional environment. The PTA of well 1 shows clearly the presence of heterogeneities in the
formation based on petrophysical properties variations. The pressure responses of build-ups were modelled
as a radial composite reservoir and changing wellbore storage, where two zones of different permeabilities
(2 and 5.7 md) were observed, the flow capacity varies between 653 and 1,880 md-ft, the transmissivity of
the system varies from 4,535 and 13,056 md-ft/cp, the mobility ratio and the diffusivity ratios are estimated
to be 0.748 and 0.0125, respectively, the skin is -1.35 and the wellbore storage coefficient is 0.008 bbl/psi
(Figures 22 and 23).
SPE-193669-MS 23

Figure 22—PTA from well 1.

Figure 23—Comparison of PTA from well 1.

The second well has only 1 pressure build-up of short duration compared to the other wells, which was
modelles as a homogeneous reservoir, but the last part of the pressure derivative shows an incipient change
in slope, which is probably due to other zone with different properties as seen in other wells. The effective
permeability is 3.8 md, the flow capacity is 385 md-ft, the transmissivity of the system is 2,674 md-ft/cp,
the skin value is -3.55 and the wellbore storage coefficient is 0.061 bbl/psi (Figure 24).
24 SPE-193669-MS

Figure 24—PTA from well 2.

The third well has shown the same behavior in PTA, in pressure build-ups and pressure drawdown
curves. The pressure response was modelled as a radial composite reservoir with one fault and changing
wellbore storage, where two zones of different permeabilities (1.45 and 1.96 md) were also observed, the
flow capacity ranges between 145 and 196 md-ft, the transmissivity of the system varies from 1,007 and
1,361 md-ft/cp, the mobility ratio and the diffusivity ratios are estimated to be 1.33 and 0.952, respectively,
the skin is -3.62 and the wellbore storage coefficient is 0.0145 bbl/psi, while the approximated distance to
the nearby fault is 1,365 m, which fits with the geologic-structural model (Figures 25 and 26). Although
some well tests can record the closest faults, the determination of the distance to them is not reliable since
the radial composite model is not designed to adjust systems with borders or limits (pseudosteady state).
However, this does not mean that they can not be detected by the pressure transient.

Figure 25—PTA from well 3.


SPE-193669-MS 25

Figure 26—Comparison of PTA from well 3.

The analysis of the different pressure transient tests in the field shows conclusively that the formation is
characterized by having low permeabilites (<6 md). Most PTA fit very well with composite radial models,
which means that there are diagenetic, lithological and / or facies changes that result in different values
of permeability at short distances. On the other hand, the transmissivity vs radius of investigation diagram
demonstrates that the transmissivities evaluated in this formation need at least 3 to 5 hours to reach the
1,000 ft of investigation (Figure 27).

Figure 27—Diagram of transmissivity vs estimated radius of investigation in function of time for the first case of study.

The next case is a deep siliciclastic formation producing heavy oil with 16.7 cp viscosity, with an average
effective porosity of 18 %, an average shale volume of 30% and low permeabilities that range from 10
to 35 md. There are a few wells producing, unfortunately, there are no well tests available, so here we
present one PTA simulated of a single vertical well with the actual reservoir properties that was modelled
as a homogeneous reservoir and changing wellbore storage. The analysis of the simulated pressure build-
up resulted in an effective permeability of 13.7 md, a flow capacity of 1,120 md-ft, a skin factor of -10.7
and a wellbore storage coefficient of 0.0618 bbl/psi (Figure 28).
26 SPE-193669-MS

Figure 28—PTA from well 1 in the second case of study.

The transmissivity vs radius of investigation plot shows that the transmissivity evaluated in this formation
(67.7 md-ft/cp) need at least 300 to 500 hours to reach the 1,000 ft of investigation (Figure 29).

Figure 29—Diagram of transmissivity vs estimated radius of investigation in function of time for the second case of study.

Finally, the third case is about a very deep gas condensate reservoir with an average porosity of 5.7%
and initial water saturation of 18%, the permeability is very low although the depositional environment
is a carbonate reef, this is ought to the diagenetic processes that recrystallized and cemented most of the
fractures. The adjusted model was a radial composite reservoir with constant pressure limits and changing
wellbore storage with an effective permeability of 3.34 md, a flow capacity of 482 md-ft, a mobility ratio of
1.01, a diffusivity ratio of 0.00128, a skin factor of 1.24 and the wellbore storage coefficient is 6.27E-05 bbl/
psi (Figure 30). The behavior of the pressure is most likely influenced by the proximity of the bottomhole
flowing pressure to the saturation pressure, which would generate condensation problems if the optimal
choke of the well is not used.
SPE-193669-MS 27

Figure 30—PTA from the first well in the third case of study.

The transmissivity of the system is 2,757.4 md-ft/cp, so, when entering this information in the
transmissivity vs radius of investigation diagram shows that it is only necessary 1 hour to reach the 1,000
ft of investigation (Figure 31).

Figure 31—Diagram of transmissivity vs estimated radius of investigation in function of time for the third case of study.

Conclusions
In PTA, the transmissivity of the system is affected by the fluid properties, so, the time needed to reach the
IARF regime in heavy oil reservoirs is greater than in a higher API gravity oil reservoir. First, because the
wellbore storage effect tends to be considerable and second, the fact that the pressure perturbation within
the reservoir travels at a lower velocity due to the low flow capacity and the high viscosity of the fluid.
Consequently, the time required to reach the limits is even greater. Moreover, the petrophysical properties
are intimately related to the depositional environments, and hence, to the following changes produced by
the diagenesis. Hence, for reservoir dynamic characterization purposes, the petrophysical properties must
be fully considered because they control the transmissivity variations within a formation.
Another important aspect to consider for the transmissivity of a system is the flow capacity. In carbonates,
the quantification or estimation of a net pay thickness tends to be complicated by the heterogeneity of the
formation and there is little or no relationship between permeability and porosity. However, the nature of
the carbonates and the way they naturally fracture due to their characteristics and the conditions to which
they are found, represent a challenge for the reservoir characterization, since they generally have great gross
thicknesses, but in in most cases, the flow of fluids from the reservoir to the well does not even reach the
20% of the given thickness. This is the reason why petrophysical evaluations must consider the properties
of the formation and the physical phenomena associated with the movement of fluids.
28 SPE-193669-MS

The petrophysical evaluation in conjunction with the core analyses and petrography help to discretize
the better zones to expect production within a well log profile; so, the integral information management
and productivity analysis with some tools such as production logs are very useful for identifying flow units,
specifying the zone from which the formation is producing fluids.
We present some real cases to show the behavior of PTA in heavy oils and formations of low
transmissivity. Additionally, it was found that there is a relationship between the transmissivity and the
squared root of the effective permeability to the effective porosity ratio and effective permeability to
diffusivity ratio, where a power law behavior was observed, which indicates that the pressure responses
from low transmissivity and heavy oil formations tend to behave like this.
We analyzed the transmissivity behavior shown by more than 60 well tests, which helped to generate a
plot for correlating the estimated radius of investigation in function of time with transmissivity. This diagram
was designed by using type curves based on power law tendencies with the main purpose of approximating
the time needed to reach a certain radius of investigation within the reservoir given the conditions of the
transmissivity of the system, demonstrating that the results are consistent in most of the cases, since the
type curves also consider indirectly the effects of wellbore storage and skin.
The pressure transient behavior in low-transmissivity formations and heavy oils allows to identify certain
patterns in transmissivity variations that act as indicators of reservoir heterogeneities and fluid properties.
When designing, executing and analyzing well tests for a better reservoir characterization through PTA, it
is recommended to perform previous diagnostics of the expected behavior and assure that the operational
execution is under control.

Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the SPE Mexico Section by its valuable support provided to present this technical
paper.

Nomenclature
PTA Pressure Transient Analysis
API American Petroleum Institute
IARF Infinite Acting Radial Flow
EOR Enhanced Oil Recovery
GOR Gas Oil Ratio
FVF Formation Volume Factor
CCE Constant Composition Expansion
DL Differential Liberation
AWS Acoustic Well Sounder
HJP Hydraulic Jet Pumping
ESP Electrical Submersible Pumps
HSE Health, Safety and Environment
Γ Gamma function
α Conversion factor =141.2
n Flow Behavior Index
Pws Static Bottomhole Pressure
s Skin factor
μ Fluid Viscosity
rw Wellbore Radius
k Effective Permeability
tp Production Time
SPE-193669-MS 29

Δt Shut-in Time
tDNN Non-Newtonian Dimensionless Time
Dimensionless Equivalent Production Time
PwD Dimensionless Pressure

References
1. Albartamani, N.S., Farouq Ali, S.M., Lepski, B., 1999. "Investigation of Foamy Oil Phenomena
in Heavy Oil Reservoirs", SPE-54084.
2. Bratton, T., Canh, D.V., Nguyen, V.Q., Gillespie, P., et al., 2006. "La Naturaleza de los
Yacimientos Naturalmente Fracturados", Oilfield Review (Autumn 2006): 5–22.
3. Hernandez, C.A. 2012. "Análisis de Pruebas de Presión para Flujo de Aceites Extrapesados
con Comportamiento No-Newtoniano". BS thesis, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México,
Mexico City, Mexico (March 2012).
4. Ikoku, C.U., 1979. "Practical Application of Non-Newtonian Transient Flow Analysis",
SPE-8351-MS.
5. Kabir, C.S., Kuchuk, F., 1985. "Well Testing in Low-Transmissivity Oil Reservoirs", SPE-13666-
MS.
6. Maini, B., 1996. "Foamy Oil Flow in Heavy Oil Production", Journal of Canadian Petroleum
Technology, Volume 35, No. 6.
7. McCain, W.D. 1990. "The Properties of Petroleum Fluids", 2nd Edition. Tulsa, Oklahoma:
PennWell Books.
8. Lake, L.W., Holstein, E.D., 2007. "Petroleum Engineering Handbook, Reservoir Engineering and
Petrophysics", Volume V. Richardson, Texas: Society of Petroleum Engineers.
9. Leopold, L., 1994. "A View of the River", Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
10. Lucia, F. J. 2007. "Carbonate Reservoir Characterization, An Integrated Approach", 2nd Edition.
Austin, Texas: Springer.
11. Tarbuck, E.J., Lutgens, F.K. 2005. "Ciencias de la Tierra, una Introducción a la Geología
Física", 8th Edition. Madrid, Spain: Pearson Prentice Hall.
12. Tellez, G., Camacho, R., 1998. "Analysis of Capillary Pressure Effects on Well Tests in Solution
Gas-Drive Reservoirs", SPE-39898-MS.
13. Whateley, M., Pickering, K., 1989. "Deltas. Sites and Traps for Fossil Fuels", Geological Society
Special Publication Classics, London.