The Electrolytic Model and Its Application to the Study of Recovery Problems
- Holbrook G. Botset (Gulf Research and Development Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Transactions of the AIME
- Publication Date
- December 1946
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 15 - 25
- 1946. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 5.4.3 Gas Cycling, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control
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It is possible by means of the electrolytic model to simulate water- floodingor gas recycling systems involving input and output wells, and also theencroactment of a natural water drive. The results are obtained pictorially,and by simple measurements and calculations the percentage of recovery isobtained qualitatively as a function of the total input.
The increased demand for the petroleum products, together with the decline indiscovery rate and the higher cost of recovery as deeper formations are broughtinto production, has stimulated interest in methods for studying and predictingefficiencies of various production programs. Among methods of recovery thathave become of increased significance recently are gas recycling in condensatefields and secondary recovery by water-flooding. The electrolytic model is auseful device for studying such methods in the laboratory, at least in aqualitative way.
The original experiments with electrolytic models and the development of theirapplication to the study of secondary recovery problems were published in 1933.Subsequently other investigators continued the development and modification ofthe basic method, with resultant improvements and extension of itsapplications.
The method and equipment to be described here are thought to represent stillfurther improvement in the results obtainable, with increased validity in theirapplication to field problems.
Summary of Principles of Operation
The underlying theory of the operation of the model is given in references 1,2, and 3. However a brief statement of principles involved is given herewith.The applicability of the model is based on the fact that ohm?s law and d?Arcy?slaw are exactly analogous; whence electrical flow through a permeable medium.If two electrodes are placed in a conducting (ionized) solution and connectedto the positive and negative terminals of a source of direct current, thepositive ions of the solution will move toward the negative terminal. Since thevelocity of an ion in an electrolytic medium is proportional to the electricalgradient, just as the velocity of a fluid particle in a porous medium isproportional to the pressure gradient, the motion of the ions in the potentialfield will be the same as the motion of fluid particles in a porous medium ifthe positive and negative terminals (input and output wells) and boundaryconditions are made equivalent in shape and distribution.
In order for the analogy to hold exactly, the sand must be assumed to haveuniform porosity and permeability and the input and output fluids to haveidentical viscosities and densities. In gas recycling in condensate fields andin water-flooding in oil fields, the variations in density and viscosityusually are not great enough to introduce serious discrepancies intoresults.
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