Summary

Flash calculation can be a time-consuming part in compositional reservoir simulations, and several approaches have been proposed to speed it up. One recent approach is the shadow-region method that reduces the computation time mainly by skipping stability analysis for a large portion of the compositions in the single-phase region. In the two-phase region, a highly efficient Newton-Raphson algorithm can be used with the initial estimates from the previous step. Another approach is the compositional-space adaptive-tabulation (CSAT) approach, which is based on tie-line table look-up (TTL). It saves computation time by replacing rigorous phase-equilibrium calculations with the stored results in a tie-line table whenever the new feed composition is on one of the stored tie-lines within a certain tolerance. In this study, a modified version of CSAT, named the TTL method, has been proposed to investigate if approximation by looking up a tie-line table can save flash-computation time in the two-phase region. The number of tie-lines stored for comparison and the tolerance set for accepting the feed composition are the key parameters in this method because they will influence the simulation speed and the accuracy of simulation results. We also proposed the tie-line distance-based approximation (TDBA) method, an alternative method to TTL, to obtain approximate flash results in the two-phase region. The method uses the distance to a previous tie-line in the same grid-block to determine whether the approximation should be made. Comparison between the shadow-region approach and the approximation approach, including TTL and TDBA, has been made with a slimtube simulator by which the simulation temperature and the simulation pressure are set constant. It is shown that TDBA can significantly improve the speed in the two-phase region. In contrast, TTL, even with a precalculated tie-line table, is not so advantageous compared with an efficient implementation of rigorous flash. Furthermore, we implemented TDBA in a compositional streamline simulator to apply TDBA to scenarios with pressure variation across the reservoir. We also discussed how to extend TDBA to the general situation in which pressures in grid-blocks are updated dynamically.

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