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(Ikoku, 1984, Natural Gas Production Engineering Engineering)

2.1 Objectives
To review those physical properties of natural gases that are
important to solving gas well performance, gas production, and
gas transmission problems.

2.2 Composition of Natural Gas (IKOKU)

1. Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbon gases and impurities.
2. The hydrocarbon gases include methane, ethane, propane,
butanes, pentanes, and small amounts of hexanes, heptanes,
octanes, and the heavier gases.
3. The impurities include carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide,
nitrogen, water vapour and heavier hydrocarbons.
4. Each gas stream has its own composition.
5. The natural gas stream from a natural gas reservoir can
change composition as the reservoir is depleted.

The contents of typical natural gas streams are given in the

attachment and include the following:
1. An associated gas stream - Well stream 1.
2. A non-associated low-pressure gas stream - Well stream 2.
3. A non-associated high-pressure gas stream - Well stream 3.


Previously reservoirs were characterized on the basis of surface

producing gas-oil ratio.
 If 0 < GOR < 5,000 - reservoir considered an oil reservoir.
 If 5,000 < GOR < 100,000 - reservoir considered a gas-
condensate reservoir.
 If GOR > 100,000 - reservoir considered a gas reservoir.

A more technical definition for hydrocarbon reservoirs should

be based on the following:
1. Initial reservoir pressure,
2. Initial reservoir temperature,
3. Pressure-temperature (P-T) phase diagram.

Types of Reservoirs
Basically there are 3 types of reservoirs:
1. Unsaturated oil reservoir.
2. Saturated oil reservoir.
3. Gas Reservoir
(i) Retrograde condensate reservoir.
(ii) Dry gas reservoir.
(iii) Wet gas reservoir.

The P-T Phase Diagram

1. Shows the effect of pressure and the temperature on the

physical state of a hydrocarbon system.
2. Each phase diagram is for a specific composition.
3. The bubble point line is represented by A-S-C.
4. The dew point line is represented by C-D-T-B.
5. The two-phase region is the area under and enclosed by the
bubble point line and the dew point line. In this region, gas
and liquids exist.
6. The curves within the two-phase region show the gas-liquid
percentages for any temperature and pressure.
7. The bubble point line A-S-C, separates the two-phase region
from the single phase liquid region.
8. The dew point line C-D-T-B separates the two-phase region
from the single phase gas region.
9. The bubble point and the dew point lines meet at the critical
point. The corresponding temperature is called the critical
10. The point T is called the cricondentherm and is the
maximum temperature at which two phases can exist in
equilibrium (in this case, the cricondentherm is 300ºF)

Undersaturated Oil Reservoirs or Bubble Point

1. Production path represented by 1i - 1a, where “i” represents

initial conditions, and “a” represents abandonment
2. The initial state of the hydrocarbons is a liquid, i.e. oil.
3. When this reservoir is produced, reservoir pressure declines
isothermally. Eventually the bubble point pressure - S is
reached, below which gas comes out of solution from the oil,
and exist as free gas in the reservoir. The bubble point
pressure is also referred to as the saturation pressure.
4. As production continues and the reservoir pressure continues
to decline, the free gas evolved flows to the wellbore in ever-
increasing quantities. The oil flows in ever-decreasing
5. Other names for this type of oil reservoir - depletion or
solution gas drive.

Saturated Oil Reservoir

1. If the hydrocarbon mixture occurs at point 2 (i.e. 2000 psia

and 210˚F), it would be an oil reservoir with an initial gas
2. Any reduction in reservoir pressure (due to production),
causes liberation of gas from the oil.

(Retrograde) Condensate Reservoirs
1. The initial conditions of pressure and temperature are to
the right of the critical point and to the left of the
cricondentherm. The reservoir also exists initially in the
gaseous state.
2. As the production begins, no change in the state of the
reservoir fluids occur until the dew point – D, is reached.
Below this pressure, a liquid condenses out from the gas in
the reservoir.
3. This phenomenon is referred to as retrograde
condensation since it is not considered normal for liquids
to condense out from a gaseous phase with a decline in
4. The condensation leaves the gas phase with a lower liquid
content and the producing GOR rises.
5. The condensed liquid adheres to the walls of the pore
spaces of the rock and is immobile.
6. The loss of these fluids could substantially reduce the
ultimate income from the reservoir, and must be
considered in an economic evaluation.
7. Retrograde condensation continues until a point of
maximum liquid volume is reached (i.e. 10% at 2250 psia,
at point E).
8. As production continues from point E to the abandonment
pressure 3a, vapourization of the retrograde liquid occurs.
This aids liquid recovery and may be evidenced by
decreasing GOR at the surface.
9. In some cases, a sufficient volume of liquid will be
condensed in the reservoir to provide mobility to the liquid

Dry Gas Reservoir
1. The initial conditions of pressure and temperature are to the
right of the cricondentherm – 4i.
2. As reservoir pressure declines isothermally along the path 4i
to 4a, at no point in the depletion cycle is the phase envelope
crossed. The fluid in the reservoir never changes
composition and is always in the gaseous stage.
3. Also, the separator conditions are such that it lies outside the
two-phase envelope in single-phase gas region.
4. While the reservoir may not contain enough of the heavier
hydrocarbons to form a liquid at the surface conditions, it
may contain liquid fractions which can be removed by low-
temperature separation.

Wet Gas Reservoir

 Similar to above except that the separator conditions are in
the two-phase region - 4s.
 The fluids produced through the wellbore, and into the
surface separators at point 4ѕ, though of the same composition
as that in the reservoir, have entered the two-phase region due
to the temperature and the pressure decline along line 4 i - 4ѕ.
This accounts for the production of the considerable amount
of liquid at the surface from the gas in the reservoir; therefore
this reservoir is referred to as wet gas reservoir.


(i) A fluid in which the volume occupied by the molecules is
insignificant with respect to the volume occupied by the total
(ii) There are no attractive/or repulsive forces between the
molecules and the walls of the container.
(iii) All collisions of molecules are perfectly elastic, that is,
there is no loss in internal energy upon collision.

The Simple Gas Law (i.e. Boyle’s and Charles’ Law

P₁V₁ = P₂V₂ = a constant
T₁ T₂

V₁ = Volume of gas at original conditions, ft³.
V₂ = Volume of gas under changed conditions, ft³.
T₁ = Absolute temperature of gas under original conditions, ºR
= (ºF + 460).
T₂ = Absolute temperature of gas under changed conditions, ºR.
P₁ = Absolute pressure of gas under original conditions, psia.
P₂ = Absolute pressure of gas under changed conditions, psia.

The above represents the behaviour of many gases under

conditions close to atmospheric temperatures and pressures.

Avogadro’s Law

 Under the same conditions of temperature and

pressure, equal volumes of all ideal gases contain the
same number of molecules.
 The weight of a given volume of gas is a function of
the weight of the molecules.
 There is some volume at which the gas would weigh,
in pounds, the numerical value of its molecular
weight. This volume is known as a mole volume.
 A mole of an ideal gas occupies 378.6 ft³ at 60ºF and
14.73 psia. These conditions of temperature and
pressure are commonly referred to as standard
conditions (or STP).
 Also there are 2.733 × 10²⁶ molecules in 1 pound-
mole of gas.

Class Problem 1

The Ideal Gas Law

Derived from a combination of Boyle’s, Charles’ and

Avogadro’s law.

It states:

PV = nRT

Where n = number of moles

R = the universal gas constant that, for
the above units, has the value 10.732
psia cu ft/lb-mol ºR.

Since the number of moles of a gas is equal to the mass

of the gas divided by the molecular weight of the gas, the
ideal gas law can be expressed as follows:

PV = m RT

Where m = mass of gas, lb

M = molecular weight of gas, lb

Re-arranging the above to give mass and density

m = MрV, and ρ = m = Mp

Composition of Natural Gas Mixtures

Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbon compounds. If

the composition of the mixture is known, the overall
physical properties can be determined from the physical
properties of each pure component.

The composition of a natural gas mixture may be

expressed either as the mole fraction, volume fraction or
weight fraction of its components.

These may also be expressed as a mole percent, volume

percent or weight percent by multiplying the respective
fractions by 100.

Volume fraction is based on gas component volumes

measured at standard conditions, so that volume fraction
is equivalent to mole fraction.

Reference: Ikoku, 1984

Mole Fraction (of components in natural gas mixtures)

The mole fraction of component ‘i’, y, is defined as

y = n

where y = mole fraction of component i

n = number of moles of component i
n = Total number of moles of all components
in the mixture

Volume Fraction
The volume fraction of component ‘i’, is defined as
(volume fraction)i = V = y

where V = volume occupied by component ‘i’ at STP.

V = volume of total mixture measured at STP.

Weight Fraction
The weight fraction of component ‘i’, w is defined as
w = W/W
Where w = weight fraction of component i
Wi = weight of component i
W = total weight of mixture

Using the above formulas, one can convert from mole
fraction (or volume fraction) to weight fraction and vice
versa, where

w = y M / (y M)


y = (w /M) * Σ(yM)

Average Molecular Weight

The average molecular weight of a gas mixture is a

pseudo-property and is used to characterize the mixture
and is defined as

Ma = (y M)

Where Ma = average molecular weight of mixture

y = mole fraction of component i
M = molecular weight of component i

Class Problem 2