Nanopore Compositional Modeling in Unconventional Shale Reservoirs
- Najeeb S Alharthy (Colorado School of Mines) | Tadesse Weldu Weldu Teklu (Colorado School of Mines) | Thanh N Nguyen (Computer Modelling Group) | Hossein Kazemi (Colorado School of Mines) | Ramona M Graves (Colorado School of Mines)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- July 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 415 - 428
- 2016.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- compositional modeling of liquid rich shale reservoirs, liquid-rich shales
- 7 in the last 30 days
- 998 since 2007
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Understanding the mechanism of multicomponent mass transport in the nanopores of unconventional reservoirs, such as Eagle Ford, Niobrara, Woodford, and Bakken, is of great interest because it influences long-term economic development of such reservoirs. Thus, we began to examine the phase behavior and flow characteristics of multicomponent flow in primary production in nanoporous reservoirs. Besides primary recovery, our long-term objectives included enhanced oil production from such reservoirs. The first step was to evaluate the phase behavior in nanopores on the basis of pore-size distribution. This was motivated because the physical properties of hydrocarbon components are affected by wall proximity in nanopores as a result of van der Waals molecular interactions with the pore walls. For instance, critical pressure and temperature of hydrocarbon components shift to lower values as the nanopore walls become closer. In our research, we applied this kind of critical property shift to the hydrocarbon components of two Eagle Ford fluid samples. Then, we used the shifted phase characteristics in dual-porosity compositional modeling to determine the pore-to-pore flow characteristics, and, eventually, the flow behavior of hydrocarbons to the wells. In the simulation, we assigned three levels of phase behavior in the matrix and fracture pore spaces. In addition, the flow hierarchy included flow from matrix (nano-, meso-, and macropores) to macrofractures, from macrofractures to a hydraulic fracture (HF), and through the HF to the production well. From the simulation study, we determined why hydrocarbon fluids flow so effectively in ultralow-permeability shale reservoirs. The simulation also gave credence to the intuitive notion that favorable phase behavior (phase split) in the nanopores is one of the major reasons for production of commercial quantities of light oil and gas from shale reservoirs. It was determined that the implementation of confined-pore and midconfined-pore phase behavior lowers the bubblepoint pressure, and this, in turn, leads to a slightly higher oil recovery and lesser gas recovery. Also it was determined that the implementation of midconfined-pore and confined-pore phase-behavior shift reduces the retrograde liquid condensation region, which in turn, leads to lower liquid yield while maintaining the same gas-production quantity. Finally, the important reason that we are able to produce shale reservoirs economically is “rubblizing” the reservoir matrix near HFs, which creates favorable permeability pathways to improve reservoir drainage. This is why multistage hydraulic fracturing is so critical for successful development of shale reservoirs.
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