A New Three-Phase Microemulsion Relative Permeability Model
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 39 - 40
- 2017. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5 in the last 30 days
- 143 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 187369, “A New Three-Phase Microemulsion Relative Permeability Model for Chemical-Flooding Reservoir Simulators,” by Hamid R. Lashgari, Gary A. Pope, Mohsen Tagavifar, Haishan Luo, and Kamy Sepehrnoori, The University of Texas at Austin, and Zhitao Li and Mojdeh Delshad, Ultimate EOR Services, prepared for the 2017 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 8–11 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
The complete paper presents a new three-phase relative permeability model for use in chemical-flooding simulators. A model that has been widely used in chemical-flooding simulators for decades has numerical discontinuities that are not physical in nature and that can lead to oscillations in the numerical simulations. The proposed model is simpler, has fewer parameters, and requires fewer experimental data to determine the relative permeability parameters compared with the original model.
Two- and three-phase relative permeability measurements at low interfacial tension (IFT) have been published previously, and microemulsion relative permeability models have been proposed in the literature as well. But none of these can model the microemulsion phase across different phase-behavior environments, from oil-in-water, to the middle phase, to water-in-oil emulsions. Desirable features should include agreement between two- and three-phase micro emulsion relative permeability and oil-recovery data, and relative simplicity for use in reservoir simulators with a minimum number of model parameters that can be estimated from experimental data in a straightforward way. Satisfying these requirements has turned out to be an extremely challenging task.
The objective of this study was to develop a simple, continuous two- and three-phase microemulsion relative permeability model with relatively few parameters that is practical for use in chemical-flooding simulators. Discontinuities in relative permeability cause numerical problems that can cause severe reductions in the size of the timesteps. Discontinuities also cause errors in the physical predictions of important phenomena such as phase trapping and surfactant retention. The need for a continuous model has been well-known, but it was a challenging task to develop a continuous model because of the complexity of three-phase microemulsion phase behavior.
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