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Mohammed Abdalla Ayoub

Lesson Outcomes
To explain the primary reservoir characteristics.
To describe the linear and radial flow behavior of the

reservoir fluids in porous media.

To understand the mathematical relationships that are
designed to describe the flow behavior of the reservoir
fluids in porous media.

Flow in porous media is a very complex phenomenon

and as such cannot be described as explicitly as flow

through pipes or conduits.
Measure the length and diameter of a pipe and
compute its flow capacity as a function of pressure; in
porous media, however, flow is different in that there
are no clear-cut flow paths which lend themselves to

To present the mathematical relationships that are

designed to describe the flow behavior of the reservoir

fluids. The mathematical forms of these relationships
will vary depending upon the characteristics of the
The primary reservoir characteristics that must be
considered include:

Types of fluids in the

Flow regimes
Reservoir geometry

Number of flowing

fluids in the reservoir

Types of fluids
The isothermal compressibility coefficient is

essentially the controlling factor in identifying the

type of the reservoir fluid. In general, reservoir fluids
are classified into three groups:
Incompressible fluids
Slightly compressible fluids
Compressible fluids

the isothermal compressibility coefficient c is

described mathematically by the following two

equivalent expressions:
In terms of fluid volume:

-------------- (1)

In terms of fluid density:

-------------- (2)

where V and are the volume and density of the fluid,


Incompressible fluids

An incompressible fluid is defined as the fluid whose

volume (or density) does not change with pressure,


Slightly compressible fluids

These slightly compressible fluids exhibit small

changes in volume, or density, with changes in

The changes in the volumetric behavior of this fluid as
a function of pressure p can be mathematically
described by integrating Equation (1) to give:


p = pressure, psia

V = volume at pressure p, ft3

pref = initial (reference) pressure,
Vref = fluid volume at initial
(reference) pressure, ft3

-------------- (3)

The ex may be represented by a series expansion as:

-------------- (4)
Because the exponent x [which represents the term c

(prefp)] is very small, the ex term can be

approximated by truncating Equation (4) to:

-------------- (5)

Combining Equation (5) with Equation (3) gives:

-------------- (6)
A similar derivation is applied to Equation (2) to give:

-------------- (7)
where V = volume at pressure p
= density at pressure p
Vref = volume at initial (reference) pressure pref
ref = density at initial (reference) pressure pref

Compressible Fluids
These are fluids that experience large changes in

volume as a function of pressure

All gases are considered compressible fluids.
The truncation of the series expansion, as given by
Equation (5), is not valid in this category and the
complete expansion as given by Equation (4) is used.

the isothermal compressibility of any compressible

fluid is described by the following expression:

-------------- (8)
Figures (1) and (2) show schematic illustrations of the

volume and density changes as a function of pressure

for the three types of fluids:

Pressure-volume relationship

Fluid density versus pressure for different fluid types

There are basically three types of flow regimes that

must be recognized in order to describe the fluid flow

behavior and reservoir pressure distribution as a
function of time:
Steady-state flow
Unsteady-state flow
Pseudosteady-state flow

Steady-State Flow
The pressure at every location in the reservoir
remains constant does not change with time

-------------- (9)

In reservoirs, the steady-state flow condition can only

occur when the reservoir is completely recharged and

supported by strong aquifer or pressure maintenance

Unsteady / Transient State Flow

The fluid flowing condition at which the rate of

change of pressure with respect to time at any position

in the reservoir is not zero or constant
The pressure derivative with respect to time is
essentially a function of both position i and time t

-------------- (10)

Pseudosteady-State Flow
The pressure at different locations in the reservoir is

declining linearly as a function of time

-------------- (11)

Figure (3)
Flow regimes

The shape of a reservoir has a significant effect on its

flow behavior
Most reservoirs have irregular boundaries
Rigorous mathematical description of geometry is
often possible only with the use of numerical
The actual flow geometry may be represented by one
of the following flow geometries:

Radial flow

Linear flow

Spherical and hemispherical flow

Radial Flow
Flow into or away from a wellbore will follow radial

flow lines from a substantial distance from the

In the absence of severe reservoir heterogeneities
fluids move toward the well from all directions and
coverage at the wellbore

Figure (4)
Ideal radial flow into a wellbore.

Linear Flow
When flow paths are parallel and the fluid flows in a

single direction
The cross sectional area to flow must be constant
A common application of linear flow equations is the
fluid flow into vertical hydraulic fractures

Figure (5)
Linear flow

Figure (6)
Ideal linear flow into vertical fracture

Spherical and Hemispherical Flow

Depending upon the type of wellbore completion

possible to have a spherical or hemispherical flow near
the wellbore
A well with a limited perforated interval could result in
spherical flow in the vicinity of the perforations
A well that only partially penetrates the pay zone could
result in hemispherical flow

Figure (7)
Spherical flow due to limited entry

Figure (8)
Hemispherical flow in a partially penetrating well


Single-phase flow (oil, water, or gas)
Two-phase flow (oil-water, oil-gas, or gas-water)
Three-phase flow (oil, water, and gas)