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Muhammad Ali Al-Marhoun, Reservoir Technologies, Saudi Arabia

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference held in Manama, Bahrain, 8 11 March 2015.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents

of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect

any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written

consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may

not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

Abstract

This paper presents correlations to determine black oil properties from normally available or easily

obtainable field data. The best available correlations were selected on the basis of statistical error analysis

with a database of hundreds of reservoir-fluid studies of black oil samples representing all areas of the

world producing black oils.

Introduction

Reservoir fluid properties data are very important in reservoir engineering computations such as material

balance calculations, well testing, reserve estimates, design of fluid handling equipment and numerical

reservoir simulations. Ideally, those data should be obtained experimentally. On some occasions, these

data are not available or reliable; then, empirically derived correlations are used to predict PVT properties

from normally available or easily obtainable field data.

Hundreds of reservoir-fluid studies of black oil samples representing all areas of the world producing

black oils were gathered from different published and unpublished sources. All black oil property

correlations available in the petroleum literature were compared with this world wide database. This paper

gives the best correlations to estimate black oil properties based on statistical accuracy and physical

behavior.

Black oil reservoirs consist of large, heavy, nonvolatile hydrocarbon molecules and the fluid is a liquid

at reservoir conditions. They are roughly identified as having

Very dark green or brown to black in color

Stock-tank oil gravities below 45 API

C7 composition greater than 20 mole percent

Oil formation volume factor of less than 2.00 bbl/STB

SPE-172833-MS

The black oil physical properties discussed next are bubblepoint pressure, solution gas-oil ratio, oil

formation volume factor (FVF), oil relative density, oil compressibility, and oil viscosity. The adjustment

of differential liberation data to separator conditions is also presented.

Bubblepoint Pressure, pb

Bubblepoint Pressure is the pressure at which first gas bubble comes out of solution. Sometimes used

synonymously with saturation pressure. The oil bubblepoint pressure at reservoir conditions can be

estimated to an accuracy of 10% with1

(1)

where

a1 5.38088 x 103

a2 0.715082

a3 -1.87784

a4 3.1437

a5 1.32657

Solution gas oil ratio is the ratio of the volume of the liberated gas from solution to the volume of the

remaining stock tank oil both volume corrected to 14.7 psi and 60F. It is usually expressed as scf/STB.

Typical relationship of solution gas oil ratio for pressures above and below bubblepoint is shown in Fig.

1.

For undersaturated black oil reservoirs the initial producing gas oil ratio is equal to the solution gas oil

ratio for pressures equal to or above bubblepoint pressure. The solution gas oil ratio can be estimated to

an accuracy of 10% with1

(2)

where

a1 1.4903 x103

SPE-172833-MS

a2

a3

a4

a5

2.626

1.3984

-4.3963

-1.86

For pressures below original bubblepoint pressure, the solution is saturated and Eq. 2 is also valid to

estimate solution gas oil ratio provided that all input properties are taken at pressure of interest.

Oil formation volume factor is the volume of the reservoir liquid at conditions under consideration per unit

volume of stock tank oil at 14.7 psi and 60F. It is usually expressed as bbl/STB. Typical relationship of

oil formation volume factor for pressures above and below bubblepoint is shown in Fig. 2.

The oil formation volume factor at bubblepoint pressure can be estimated to an accuracy of 1% with2

(3)

where

a1 0.177342

a2 0.220163

a3 4.292580

a4 0.528707

x103

x103

x106

x103

For pressures below the original bubblepoint pressure, Eq. 3 is also valid to estimate oil FVF provided

that all input properties are taken at pressure of interest.

At pressures above the original bubblepoint pressure, the oil FVF is calcu1ated with

(4)

where Bob, the oil FVF at the bubblepoint is estimated as discussed above. Correlation for calculating

average oil compressibility, , at various conditions is presented later.

The oil density is defined as the mass per unit volume at a specified pressure and temperature. It is usually

expressed as lb/ft3.

SPE-172833-MS

(5)

The oil relative density or specific gravity of oil is defined as the ratio of density of the oil to that of

water both at the same specified pressure and temperature.

(6)

Typical relationship of oil relative density for pressures above and below bubblepoint is shown in

Fig.3.

In the petroleum industry, it is common to express oil relative density in terms of oil API gravity as:

(7)

An equation for oil relative density at bubblepoint pressure is expressed as

(8)

The term, o, is the relative density or specific gravity of oil at stock tank of 14.7 psi and 60F.

For pressures above or below the original bubblepoint pressure, Eq. 8 is also valid to estimate oil

density provided that all input properties are taken at pressure and temperature of interest. The accuracy

of Eq. 8 depends on the accuracy of input properties because it is a material balance equation.

Above bubblepoint pressure, increased pressure will compress the liquid and increase its density. For

the case of the pressure greater than bubblepoint pressure, p pb, the oil relative density at a given

pressure, p, is calculated from

(9)

where ob, the oil relative density at the bubblepoint is estimated as discussed above. Correlation for

calculating average oil compressibility, , at various conditions is presented later.

By definition, the single phase isothermal compressibility or the reciprocal bulk modulus of elasticity is

defined as the unit change in volume with pressure. It is usually expressed as 1/psi.

SPE-172833-MS

The definition is valid if and only if the single phase composition is constant. The compressibility can

be calculated from the slope of relative volume versus pressure of a single phase liquid or from

differentiation of a fitted equation to the relative volume curve. In equation form, the point function oil

compressibility, co, is defined as:

(10)

Typical relationship of isothermal oil compressibility, co, with pressure above the bubblepoint is shown

in Fig. 4.

The isothermal oil compressibility factor above bubblepoint pressure can be estimated to an accuracy

of 5% with3,4

(11)

where

a1 -14.1042

a2 2.7314

a3 - 56.0605 x 106

a4 -580.8778

Above bubblepoint pressure, when the average oil compressibility is used in the calculation of

undersaturated oil density or oil FVF, the following equation is applied:

(12)

To avoid the calculation involved in the equation above, the average oil compressibility between the

two pressures can be calculated from the point function or instantaneous oil compressibility at an average

pressure of (ppb)/2 as follows:

(13)

SPE-172833-MS

Below the original bubblepoint pressure, the oil composition is changing as pressure changes. As

mentioned earlier, the definition of oil compressibility is valid if and only if the single phase composition

is constant. Therefore the oil compressibility, co, below the original bubblepoint cannot be calculated as

a continuous function.

Fortunately, the limit of volume derivative with respect to pressure as pressure approaches bubblepoint

pressure is defined. Therefore, the oil compressibility at bubblepoint pressure could be estimated. Since

every point below the original bubblepoint is a bubblepoint for a new fluid with new composition,

therefore the locus of co below the original Pb could be estimated.

All points of co below the original Pb are defined as the limit of co as pressure approaches the new Pb.

Equation 2 is valid for single phase oil liquid above Pb as well as below Pb. The only condition required

is that oil volume, density or formation volume factor and their derivatives with respect to pressure have

to be taken along constant composition curve. Above bubblepoint pressure, the curve of constant

composition is obvious. Below bubblepoint pressure, the curve of constant composition is not clear and

it is not even drawn.

Figure 5 shows several new bubblepoints for new fluids of different composition below the original

bubblepoint. Figure 5 could be obtained experimentally if a composite liberation test as described by

Dodson, et al.6 is performed. Therefore the oil volume, density, and formation volume factor versus

pressure curves are the locus of these properties at saturation pressures for changing oil compositions.

The oil compressibility at any bubblepoint pressure below the original Pb is the extrapolation of co

curve of pressures above that particular saturation or bubblepoint pressure. Therefore, the locus of co

below original bubblepoint corresponds to the locus of co at saturation pressures corresponding to the

pressure curve for the oil formation volume factor below original Pb as shown in Fig. 6.

SPE-172833-MS

Figure 6 Locus of oil compressibility below the original bubblepoint pressure Green curve.

Equation 11 can be used for single point estimation of co at saturation pressure with the observation of

the correct evaluation of the oil relative density at the saturation pressure of interest as follows:

(14)

In general for any pressure, p, below original bubblepoint pressure, cop is estimated by

(15)

Where

(16)

Since any point below the original bubblepoint is a new bubblepoint for a new fluid, the term (p- pb)

in Eq. 16 is equal to zero for any pressure below the original bubblepoint pressure. Equation 16 is

rewritten as

(17)

The oil relative density, solution gas oil ratio and oil formation volume factor are calculated at the

pressure where co is to be evaluated. Equation 15 is valid for differential data obtained as a function of

pressure. For constant composition expansion test data where the two phases are present, the same

equation could be used only at the original bubblepoint pressure. By combining equations 14 and 15, the

co at any pressure below the original bubblepoint pressure can be calculated in term of co at the original

bubblepoint pressure and live relative oil densities at pressure of interest and the original bubblepoint

pressure as follows5:

(18)

The accuracy of eq. 18 is that of the original oil compressibility above bubblepoint, Eq. 11, i.e. 5%.

Then the typical relationship of oil compressibility for pressures above and below bubblepoint can be

shown in Fig. 7.

SPE-172833-MS

Figure 7 clearly shows that the oil compressibility above and below bubblepoint according to the new

definition is continuous and differentiable except at original bubblepoint pressure cusp.

Oil Viscosity, o

The oil viscosity measures the oils resistance to flow. It is defined as the ratio of shear stress to shear rate

induced in the oil by the stress. It is usually measured in centipoises. Typical relationship of oil viscosity

for pressures above and below bubblepoint is shown in Fig. 8.

Oil viscosity at bubblepoint pressure measures the oils resistance to flow at bubblepoint. The bubblepoint

viscosity can be estimated to an accuracy of 30% with7

(19)

where

SPE-172833-MS

and

a1

a2

a3

a4

a5

a6

10.715

100

-0.515

5.44

150

-0.338

For undersaturated black oil reservoirs, the oil viscosity above bubblepoint pressure can be estimated to

an accuracy of 2% with8

(20)

where

ob is obtained by Eq. 8 and

Dead oil viscosity measures the oils resistance to flow at atmospheric pressure. The dead oil viscosity can

be estimated to an accuracy of 35% with9

(21)

where

a1 54.56805426

a2 -7.179530398

a3 -36.447

a4 4.478878992

Adjustment of Differential Liberation Data to Separator Conditions

The solution gas-oil ratio and oil formation volume factor are normally obtained from differential or flash

liberation tests. However, neither the differential liberation process nor the flash liberation process can

represent the fluid flow in petroleum reservoirs. Generally, petroleum engineers consider that the gas

liberation process in the reservoir can be represented by the differential liberation process10, 11. The fluid

produced from the reservoir to the surface is considered to undergo a flash process. Therefore, data

obtained from differential liberation test is adjusted to separator conditions.

The adjusted differential solution gas-oil ratios at pressures below bubblepoint are evaluated from the

following equation12:

(22)

The adjusted differential oil formation volume factor at pressures below bubblepoint pressure are

evaluated from the following equation:

(23)

10

SPE-172833-MS

If Eq. 23 yields a value for Boi at atmospheric pressure 1, then Boi for all pressures are calculated

by

(24)

Conclusions

The following conclusions were drawn from this evaluation study:

1. The bubblepoint pressure and solution gas oil ratio exhibited high errors with original coefficients,

but when new coefficients are recalculated an improvement occurred.

2. All correlations available in literature to estimate the oil formation volume factor at bubblepoint

pressure show low errors and a good degree of harmony towards the data used.

3. The selected correlation of isothermal oil compressibility gives an accurate and unique value

independent of different separator tests or consistent field data.

4. Bubblepoint oil viscosity and dead oil viscosity correlations exhibited very high errors for all

correlations available in literature. Therefore more research is needed in this area.

5. The performance of most of the correlations for viscosity above bubblepoint pressure are adequate.

6. The adjustment of differential liberation data to separator conditions successfully gives the

expected values for all the PVT properties at both bubble point and atmospheric pressures.

Nomenclature

ith coefficient of equations

ai

, coefficient of viscosity equations

api

stock-tank oil gravity, API

oil FVF at given pressure, bbl / STB (m3 / m3)

Bo

oil FVF at bubblepoint pressure, bbl / STB (m3 / m3)

Bob

oil compressibility, psi-1 (kPa-1)

co

oil compressibility at bubblepoint pressure, psi-1 (kPa-1)

cob

oil compressibility at given pressure, psi-1 (kPa-1)

cop

average absolute percent relative error

Ea

percent relative error

Ei

average percent relative error

Er

oil volume, lb (kg)

mo

n

number of data points

p

pressure, psi (kPa)

bubblepoint pressure, psi (kPa)

pb

solution gas / oil ratio, scf / STB (m3 / m3)

Rs

s

standard deviation

T

temperature, F (K)

oil volume, ft3 (m3)

vo

X

variable representing a PVT parameter

api stock tank oil gravity API

g

gas relative density at standard condition (air 1)

o

oil relative density at standard condition (water 1)

ob

bubblepoint oil relative density (water 1)

op

oil relative density at given pressure (water 1)

o

undersaturated oil viscosity, cp

SPE-172833-MS

ob

od

o

w

11

dead oil viscosity, cp

oil density, lb/ft3 (kg/m3)

water density, lb/ft3 (kg/m3)

Nomenclature

b

d

f

i

bubblepoint

differential

flash

ith data point

References

1. Al-Marhoun, M.A.: PVT Correlations for Middle East Crude Oils, Journal of Petroleum

Technology, Vol.40, No.5, May 1988, 650 666, Trans., AIME, 285.

2. Al-Marhoun, M.A.: New Correlations for Formation Volume Factors of Oil and Gas Mixtures,

The Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, Vol. 31, No.3, March 1992, 2226.

3. Al-Marhoun, M.A.: The Coefficient of Isothermal Compressibility of Black Oils, paper SPE

81432 presented at 13th SPE Middle East Oil Show & Conference, Bahrain, 9-12 June 2003.

4. Al-Marhoun, M.A.: A New Correlation for Undersaturated Isothermal Oil Compressibility,

paper SPE 81432-SUM, SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering Online, Volume 9, Number 4,

August 2006.

5. Al-Marhoun, M.A.: The Oil Compressibility below Bubblepoint Pressure Revisited Formulations and Estimations, paper SPE 120047 presented at 16th SPE Middle East Oil Show &

Conference, Bahrain, 15 18 March 2009.

6. Dodson, C.R., Goodwill, D., and Mayer, E.H.: Application of Laboratory PVT Data to Reservoir

Engineering Problems, Trans., AIME (1953) 198, 287298.

7. Beggs, H.D. and Robinson, J.R.: Estimating the Viscosity of Crude Oil Systems, JPT (Sept.

1975) 1140 1141.

8. Al-Marhoun, M.A.: Evaluation of empirically derived PVT properties for Middle East crude

oils, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 42 (2004) 209 221.

9. Glaso, O.: Generalized Pressure Volume-Temperature Correlations, JPT (May 1980) 785795.

10. Standing, M. B.: Volumetric and Phase Behavior of Oil Field Hydrocarbon Systems, Millet Print

Inc., Dallas, Texas, 81, (1977).

11. McCain, W.D. Jr.: The Properties of Petroleum Fluids, PennWell, 2nd ed., Tulsa, Oklahoma, 283,

(1990).

12. Al-Marhoun, M.A.: Adjustment of Differential Liberation Data to Separator Conditions, SPE

Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, June 2003, 142146.

12

SPE-172833-MS

API

atm

bbl

ft3

cp

lb/ft3

F

C

psi

R

scf/STB

X

X

X

X

X

X

/

X

141.5/(131.5APl)

1.013 250* E05

0.158 987 3

2.831 685 E-02

1*

1.601 846 E01

(F 40)/1.8 - 40

(C 40) 1.8 - 40

6.894 757

1.8*

0.178 107 078

g/cm3

Pa

m3

m3

mPa.s

kg/m3

C

F

kPa

K

std m3/m3

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