Schlumberger

Technical Paper: Mapping and Modeling Large Viscosity and Asphaltene Variations in a Reservoir Undergoing Active Biodegradation

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 170794
Presentation Date: 2014
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Abstract

Viscosity is one of the key reservoir fluid properties. It plays a central role in well productivity and displacement efficiency and has a significant impact on completion strategies. Accurately assessing areal and vertical variations of viscosity will lead to more realistic reservoir simulation and optimal field development planning. Downhole fluid analysis (DFA) has successfully been used to measure the properties of reservoir fluids downhole in real time. DFA has excellent accuracy in measuring fluid gradients which in turn enable accurate thermodynamic modeling. Integration of DFA measurements with the thermodynamic modeling has increasingly been employed for evaluating important reservoir properties such as connectivity, fluid compositional and property gradients. The thermodynamic model is the only that has been shown to treat gradients of heavy ends in all types of crude oils and at equilibrium and disequilibrium conditions. In addition, fluid viscosity depends on concentration of heavy ends that are associated with optical density measured by DFA. Therefore, mapping viscosity and optical density (heavy end content) is new important application of DFA technology for use as assessment of reservoir architectures and mutual consistency check of DFA measurements. In this case study, a very large monotonic variation of heavy end content and viscosity is measured. Several different stacked sands exhibit the same profiles. The crude oil at the top of the column exhibits an equilibrium distribution of heavy ends, SARA and viscosity, while the oil at the base of the oil column exhibits a gradient that is far larger than expected for equilibrium. The fluid properties including SARA contents, viscosity and optical density vary sharply with depth towards the base of the column. The origin of this variation is shown to be due to biodegradation. GC-chromatographs of the crude oils towards the top of the column appear to be rather unaltered, while the crude oils at the base of the column are missing all n-alkanes. A new model is developed that accounts for these observations that assumes biodegradation at the oil-water contact (OWC) coupled with diffusion of alkanes to the OWC. Diffusion is a slow process in a geologic time sense accounting for the lack of impact of biodegradation at the top of the column. An overall understanding of charging timing into this reservoir and expected rates of biodegradation are consistent with this model. The overall objective or providing a 1st-principles viscosity map in these stacked sand reservoirs is achieved by this modeling. Linking DFA with thermodynamic modeling along with precepts from petroleum systems modeling provides a compelling understanding of the reservoir.

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