CO2 flooding at low temperatures often results in three or more hydrocarbon phases. Multiphase compositional simulation must simulate such gasfloods accurately. Drawbacks of modeling three hydrocarbon phases are the increased computational time and convergence problems associated with flash calculations. Use of a reduced method is a potential solution to these problems.

We first demonstrate the importance of using three-phase flash calculations in compositional simulation by investigating difficulties with two-phase equilibrium approximations proposed in the literature. We then extend an algorithm for reduced two-phase flash calculations to three-phase calculations and show the efficiency and robustness of our algorithm. The reduced three-phase flash algorithm is implemented in a multiphase compositional simulator to demonstrate the speed-up and increased robustness of simulations in various case studies.

Results show that use of a two-phase equilibrium approximation in reservoir simulation can result in a complete failure or erroneous simulation results. Simulation case studies show that our reduced method can decrease computational time significantly without loss of accuracy. Computational time is reduced using our reduced method because of the smaller number of equations to be solved and increased timestep sizes. We show that a failure of a flash calculation leads directly to reduced timestep sizes using the UTCOMP simulator.

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