A typical tight oil reservoir such as the Bakken has matrix pore sizes ranging from 10 nm to 50 nm. At such small scales the confined hydrocarbon phase behavior deviates from bulk measurements due to the effect of capillary pressure. In addition, compaction of pore space can bring about order of magnitude changes for tight oil formation properties during pressure depletion further exacerbating these deviations. Without considering these facts a conventional reservoir simulator will likely not be able to explain the inconsistent produced GOR observed in the field compared to simulated results. The effect of these inaccuracies on ultimate recovery estimation can be devastating to the underlying economics.

This paper presents a compositional tight oil simulator that rigorously models pressure dependent nanopore-impacted rock and fluid properties, such as suppression of bubble point pressure, decrease of liquid density, and reduction of oil viscosity as well as their interactions with pore space compaction. The cubic Peng-Robinson equation of state is used for phase behavior calculations. Capillary pressure is evaluated by standard Leverett J-function for porous media. Modifications to the stability test and two-phase split flash calculation algorithms are provided to consider the capillarity effect on vapor-liquid equilibrium.

The simulator can capture the pressure-dependent impact of the nanopore structure on rock and fluid properties. As a result, the problem of inconsistent GOR is resolved and the history matching process is greatly facilitated. It is shown that inclusion of these enhanced physics in the simulation will lead to significant improvements in field operation decision-making and greatly enhance the reliability of recovery predictions.

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