Technical Paper: The Impact of Reservoir Fluid Compositional Variation and its Origin on Flow Assurance Evaluation

Society: OTC
Paper Number: 20464
Presentation Date: 2010
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For condensates the most important compositional variation is GOR, and the Equation of State (EoS) treatment of GOR variations is well developed and successful. Consequently, key reservoir fluid attributes of condensates that impact flow assurance can readily be addressed, in particular by downhole fluid analysis (DFA).

In contrast, black oils are defined as having low GOR. While black oils can exhibit GOR variations, the most important compositional variation of black oil is the heavy ends—essentially the asphaltenes—which have a major impact on flow assurance. However, interpretation of asphaltene variations in reservoirs had been severely limited because there has been no corresponding understanding of the governing principles of asphaltene science. Consequently, DFA profiling of black oil columns has been limited.

In recent years, several major advances have taken place in asphaltene science. These advances are in use by research groups around the world to address many issues such as heavy end upgrading and interfacial properties of asphaltene. For flow assurance objectives, these advances greatly improve the ability to use heavy ends to characterize reservoirs containing black oils, as well as those containing lighter crude oils including condensates. The confluence of advanced asphaltene science with the third generation of DFA tools enables a powerful new approach to address flow assurance. Case studies prove the merit of this approach for a variety of different crude oils.

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