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One of the principal variables in reservoir-fluid sampling is the type of reservoir fluid present.
This is rarely known with certainty and, in exploration wells, may be completely unknown at
the start of testing. Determining the exact nature of a reservoir fluid is, of course, a key
objective of sampling and laboratory study. Fig. 1 shows the relation between the major
classes of hydrocarbon reservoir fluid in terms of a generalized phase diagram. Although the
shape of the phase diagram is specific to the actual fluid composition, it is the reservoir
temperature compared to the temperature Tc of the critical point (Tc determines if the fluid is
oil or a gas). When the reservoir temperature is lower than Tc, the fluid is oil and will exhibit
a bubble point when pressure is reduced into the two-phase region. If the reservoir-fluid
temperature is above Tc, the fluid is a gas and will either show gas/condensate behavior and a
dew point on pressure reduction or, if the reservoir temperature is also above the
cricondentherm Tt, the fluid will behave as a one-phase gas with no liquid formation in the
reservoir on pressure reduction. If the fluid exists in the reservoir at or close to its critical
temperature, it is classified as a critical or near-critical fluid. These fluids exhibit neither
bubble point nor dew point, but on pressure reduction into the two-phase region, they
immediately form a system comprising large proportions of both gas and liquid (e.g., 60%
gas and 40% liquid by volume).

Fig. 1 A generalized phase diagram for reservoir fluids.

The reservoir pressure determines whether the fluid is at the boundary of the two-phase
region (and referred to as saturated) or at a higher pressure than the two-phase region (and
referred to as under saturated). Saturated fluids will immediately enter the two-phase region
when a well produces fluid because of the reduction of pressure in the well and near-wellbore

Both the reservoir-fluid type and the saturation condition influence the way fluid samples
must be collected, yet this information can be estimated only at the time of the sampling
program and is especially uncertain when fluids are close to the boundaries between the
different types. Numerous correlations are available for estimating reservoir-fluid type and
condition from produced-fluid flow rates and properties measured at the well site (such as
those developed by Standing), but you should be careful in using these methods, especially
when the fluid properties differ significantly from those used to develop the correlation. For
this reason, it is good practice to allow for significant error in the reservoir-fluid character
when designing and implementing sampling programs.

Calculation of phase equilibrium of fluids confined by solid walls is important for several
applications. For instance, petroleum fluids occur naturally inside porous media. In this
situation, due to capillarity, phase interfaces may be curved with an abrupt change in
pressure. In addition, interfaces do not occur at well-defined heights as in regular phase
equilibrium calculations. Instead, for deep reservoirs, differences in pore size give origin to
transition regions known as gas-oil contact (GOC) and water-oil contact (WOC) regions,
which should be totally absent when only gravitational effects are considered (Wheaton,

In reservoir engineering, the influence of porous media on the behavior of gas-condensate

systems has been difficult to distinguish because of the dubious ability of packed PVT cells to
represent actual porous rocky matrixes. Some authors have studied phase equilibrium of
hydrocarbon mixtures in such systems and could not observe any considerable difference in
their behaviour due to capillary effects, at least for the pore size they were able to work with
in their laboratories.

Reservoir-fluid properties play a key role in the design and optimization of

injection/production strategies and surface facilities for sufficient reservoir management.
Inaccurate fluid characterization often leads to high uncertainties in in-place volume
estimates and recovery predictions, and hence affects asset value.

Detailed knowledge of reservoir rock and fluid properties is the backbone of almost all
exploration and production-related activities such as reservoir engineering, reservoir
simulation, well testing, production engineering, enhanced or improved oil recovery (EOR
and IOR) methods, and so on.

Oil properties:

The calculation of reserves in an oil reservoir or the determination of its performance requires
knowledge of the fluids physical properties at elevated pressure and temperature. Of primary
importance are bubblepoint pressure, solution gas-oil ratio (GOR), and formation volume
factor (FVF). In addition, viscosity and interfacial or surface tension must be determined for
calculations involving the flow of oil through pipe or porous media.

The key oil properties that are generally needed for understanding a reservoir and its
producibility are:

Bubblepoint pressure

Solution gas oil ratio (GOR)

Formation volume factor


Interfacial tension

Isothermal compressibility


A gas can be defined as a homogenous fluid of low density and low viscosity, which has
neither independent shape nor volume. It expands to completely fill the vessel in which it is
contained. The properties of gases differ from liquids mainly because the molecules in gases
are much further apart than liquids. The ideal gas law states:

This equation has limited practical value since no known gas behaves as an ideal gas.
However, this equation does describe the behaviour of most real gases at low pressures and it
serves as a starting point to develop equations of states for real gases at elevated pressures.
Furthermore, the behaviours of most real gases do not deviate drastically from the behaviour
predicted by this equation. By inserting a correction factor (Z) into the ideal gas equation,
real gas behaviour can be accurately predicted.

The correction factor is called the gas compressibility factor; the deviation from ideal gas


Correlations of physical properties of reservoir crude oils are more complicated than those for
natural gas because of the many different components they contain. Although most
components are hydrocarbons, the larger molecule components can be different chemical
classes. These larger heavier components can strongly influence the behaviour of the mixture.
Also the mixing rules for liquids are considerably different than those for gases because of
the complex nature of hydrocarbon liquids.

There are three main sources for developing key oil properties. These are:
Subsurface sampling of the produced fluid at reservoir conditions. This is
the best method since the complex mixtures of hydrocarbons make each oil
unique. The individual properties can then be determined empirically in a

Surface sampling at a separator where the rate of flow for each fluid, gas
and liquids, is measured along with their respective compositions. These
fluids are then recombined in the laboratory at reservoir conditions, and the
resulting fluid is used to empirically determine key oil properties.

Correlations are often used when only key parameters, such as the density
of the produced oil and the volume of solution-gas evolved, are known.
Correlations should be used only after being proved/tuned with laboratory
measurements for subsurface samples of analogous oils.


Estimating properties of reservoir waters is important for reservoir engineering calculations,

specifically for those with water influx. Also, water is often a very important liquid
component of an oil and gas production system. The physical properties of water play an
important role in multiphase flow calculations.

Because water composition is only generally affected by dissolved solids, correlating water
properties is relatively simple. Also, changes in the physical properties of water as function of
temperature and pressure are relatively small and usually can be predicted.