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Gas Reserves Estimation

Reserves and Reservoir Performance Predictions
Volumetric Estimates

Material Balance Estimates

Learning Outcomes
At the end of the session, students should be able to:
Calculate Gas Reserves by Volumetric method.
Calculate Gas Reserves by Material Balance method.

Natural gas reservoirs are reservoirs in which the contained
hydrocarbon fluids exists as vapor phase at pressure values equal
to or less than the initial value.
Unlike saturated crude oils and condensates, natural gases do not
undergo phase changes upon reduction in reservoir pressure.
Performance predictions are therefore relatively simple.

Natural gas is commonly termed wet(or raw) gas.

Cumulative gas produced, Gp means separator gas as measured
plus the vapor equivalent of the NGL removed in the separator.
Gas formation volume factor, Bg and the gas deviation factor, z refer
to the properties of a sample of separator gas and liquid.

Natural gas reserves are classified according to nature of their
Non-associated gas is free gas not in contact with crude oil in the
Associated gas is free gas in contact with crude oil in the
Dissolved gas is gas in solution with crude oil in the reservoir.
This chapter address methods of estimating non-associated gas

Gas in Place by Volumetric Equation

To make reasonable recovery predictions, estimates of the initial
gas in place in each reservoir must be made.
Volumetric equation is a useful tool for calculating the gas in place
at any time.

Pore space volume in the reservoir containing gas is converted to

gas volume at standard conditions.
Net volume of reservoir rock containing the gas reserves is
determined by geological information based on cores, logs, drilling
records, drill stem test and production tests.
Reservoir rock volume is usually obtained by planimetering
isopachous maps of productive reservoir rock.

Gas in Place by Volumetric Equation

The standard cubit feet of gas initially in place, G, is the product of:
(a) The reservoir pore volume
(b) The initial gas saturation

(c) A volume ratio that converts reservoir volumes to standard

The factors are related as follows :


Gas in Place by Volumetric Equation


Gas in Place by Volumetric Equation

If Bgi is in ft3/scf, Eqn 1 becomes:

At any subsequent reservoir pressure, the standard cubic feet of
gas in place is given by:


Gas in Place by Volumetric Equation

Volumetric equation is particularly applicable when a field is
comparatively new.
If good data are available, then the volumetric equation will be
The gas formation volume factor Bg is equal to the volume at
reservoir temperature and pressure occupied by one standard
cubic foot of gas. From gas laws:

If standard conditions are assumed to be 14.7 psia and 60oF :


Material Balance Equation

An exact accounting of materials that enter, accumulate in, or are
depleted from a defined volume in the course of a given time
An expression of the law of conservation of mass.

Assumptions :
(i) A reservoir may be treated as a constant volume tank.
(ii) Pressure equilibrium exists across the reservoir at any given time.
(iii) Laboratory PVT data apply to reservoir gas.
(iv) Reliable production and injection data and reservoir pressure
measurements are available.
(v) Change in volume of interstitial water with pressure, porosity with
pressure and the evolution of gas dissolved in interstitial water with
decrease pressure are negligible.

Material Balance Equation

The conservation of mass is applied to yield mass and mole


Using the constant volume tank concept, let Vi be the original

hydrocarbon reservoir volume (bbl) at the initial pressure, pi.

Material Balance Equation

Assume that at some subsequent pressure, p,
Gp : cumulative gas produced from pi to p (scf)
Wp : stock tank barrels of water that have been produced at surface
We : reservoir barrels of water encroached into the reservoir
V : remaining gas volume in the reservoir (bbls)


Material Balance Equation

From the gas law,


Material Balance Equation

Substituting in Eq 8 gives



Expressing Vi in terms of G and substituting gas formation volume

factors Bgi and Bg at pressures pi and p, Eq 11 becomes :

Material Balance Equation

For reservoirs with no water influx and no water production, Eqs 11
and 12 becomes:



Material Balance Equation

Material balance equation may be applied to estimate gas initally
in place from performance data, determine existence and estimate
effectiveness of any natural water drive and assist in predicting
performance and reserves.
It may also verify possible extensions to a partially developed
reservoir where gas in place calculated by material balance
equation is much larger than a volumetric equation estimate and
water influx is thought to be small.

Reserves and Reservoir Performance Predictions

Efficient development and operation of a natural gas reservoir
depends on knowledge of how the reservoir will perform in future.
To predict recovery, sources of energy for producing the gas from
the reservoir must be identified and evaluated.
The energy required for gas production is usually derived from
gas expansion or combination of gas expansion and water influx.
Volumetric estimation, and decline curve are methods which may
be used to estimate gas reserves in place.
But in actual practice, estimation requires predicting
abandonment pressure. This is the pressure at which further
production will no longer be profitable.

Reserves and Reservoir Performance Predictions

Abandonment pressure is determined by economic conditions
Future market value of gas
Cost of operating and maintaining wells
Cost of compressing
Transporting gas to consumers

Volumetric Estimates
Volumetric equation is useful in estimating gas in place at any
stage of depletion.
During the development period before reservoir limits have been
accurately defined, it is convenient to calculate gas in place per
acre-foot of bulk reservoir rock.
Multiplication of this unit figure by the best available estimate of
bulk reservoir volume then gives gas in place for the lease or
reservoir under consideration.
Later in the life of the reservoir, when the reservoir volume is
defined and performance data are available, volumetric
calculations provide valuable checks on gas in place estimates
obtained by material balance methods.

Volumetric Estimates



For natural gas reservoirs without water influx or production, the

cumulative gas produced, Gp at any pressure is the difference
between the volumetric estimates of gas in place at the initial and
subsequent pressure conditions.

Volumetric Estimates
For Volumetric reservoirs,
The recoverable reserves can be calculated by

RG = gas reserves to abandonment pressure, scf/acre-ft

Eg = recovery factor, fraction of initial gas in place to be

Volumetric Estimates
Some gas pipeline companies use an abandonment pressure of
100 psi/1000ft of depth.
If the abandonment pressure is known, recovery factor can be
Expressed in percent of initial gas in place, the recovery factor is :

Eg = recovery factor, fraction of initial gas in place to be

Example 1
A proposed gas well is being evaluated. Well spacing is 640 acres
and it appears that the entire 640 acres attributed to this well will be
productive. Geological estimates indicate 30 ft of net effective pay,
15% porosity, and 30% interstitial water saturation. The initial
pressure is 3000 psia and reservoir temperature is 150oF. The
abandonment pressure is estimated to be 500 psia. The gas gravity is
expected to be 0.60. Base temperature and pressure are 60oF, and
14.65 psia respectively. An estimate of the gas reserve is required.
Ppc = 668 psia , Tpc = 385 oR
The first step calculation of Bgi which requires pseudo-critical T
and P, pseudo-reduced T.

Example 1

Referring to compressibility factor chart, . zi is found to be 0.83.

Using Eq. 5
Bg i
pTb Z b


Example 1
Second step is to calculate the recovery factor,

Eg. Abandonment pressure being 500 psia, pseudo-reduced

pressure = 500/668 = 0.75. Using this value together with the
pseudo-reduced temperature. Za is found to be 0.94. Hence from
Eq. 19:
pa Z i
Eg 1
pi Z a


Example 1
Third step is use Eq. 18 to calculate reserve in scf/acre-ft

Final step is to multiply the above figure by the net acre-feet;

hence estimated reserve:

Material Balance Estimates

GIP, reserves and water influx may be estimated from performance
history using material balance methods.
This provides an independent check on volumetric methods.

In some cases the porosity, connate water, or reservoir volumes are

not known with reasonable precision, and volumetric method may
have been used to calculate the initial gas in place.
Accurate pressure-production data are essential for reliable
material balance calculations.
Most likely source of error is estimating average reservoir pressure,
especially during the early history period when slight pressure
errors have a significant effect on results.
Equations 12 and 14 may be written as :

Material Balance Estimates



Eqn 21 or 22 can be used to calculate the initial gas in place.

Material Balance Estimates

If there is no water encroachment, only information required is
production data, pressure data, gas specific gravity for obtaining
z factors, and reservoir temperature.

However, early in the producing life of a reservoir the

denominator of right-hand side of material balance equation is
very small, numerator is relatively large.
A small change in the denominator will result in a large
discrepancy in the calculated value of initial gas in place.
Therefore, material balance equation should not be relied upon
early in the producing life of the reservoir.
The following example illustrates the method of using material
balance equation and its weakness early in the producing life of
the reservoir.

Example 2
(a) Calculate the initial gas in place in a closed gas reservoir if, after
producing 500 MMscf, the reservoir pressure had declined to
2900 psia from an initial pressure of 3000 psia. Reservoir
temperature is 175oF., and the gas gravity is 0.60.
(b) If the reservoir pressure measurement were incorrect and should
have been 2800 psia instead of 2900 psia, what would have been
the true value of initial gas in place?
Ppc = 681 psia , Tpc = 363 oR
(a) Using a gas gravity of 0.60 and referring to the Z-factor
correlation charts , Z at 3000 psia is computed to be 0.88 and
Z at 2900 psia is determined to be 0.87.

Example 2
Next step is to calculate the two values of Bg;

Note: Eq. 23 is in bbl/scf, Eq. 6 is in cu ft/ scf; The factor which

differentiates the two equations is 5.615 cu ft/bbl

Example 2
Equation 22 is next used to compute initial gas in place:


Example 2
(b) If the pressure measurements were incorrect and the true
average pressure is 2800 psia, then the material balance
equation will be solved using the true pressure. Z-factor at
2800 psia is determined to be 0.87:

Next, initial gas in place is calculated by the material balance


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