Modeling of Multiphase Flow in the Near-Wellbore Region of the Reservoir under Transient Conditions
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In oil and gas field operations, the dynamic interactions between reservoir and wellbore cannot be ignored, especially during transient flow in the near-wellbore region. As gas hydrocarbons are produced from underground reservoirs to the surface, liquids can come from condensate dropout, water break-through from the reservoir, or vapor condensation in the wellbore. In all three cases, the higher density liquid needs to be transported to the surface by the gas. If the gas phase does not provide sufficient energy to lift the liquid out of the well, the liquid will accumulate in the wellbore. The accumulation of liquid will impose an additional backpressure on the formation that can significantly affect the productivity of the well. The additional backpressure appears to result in a "U-shaped" pressure distribution along the radius in the near-wellbore region that explains the physics of the backflow scenario. However, current modeling approaches cannot capture this U-shaped pressure distribution, and the conventional pressure profile cannot explain the physics of the reinjection. In particular, current steady-state models to predict the arrival of liquid loading, diagnose its impact on production, and screen remedial options are inadequate, including Turner's criterion and Nodal Analysis. However, the dynamic interactions between the reservoir and the wellbore present a fully transient scenario, therefore none of the above solutions captures the complexity of flow transients associated with liquid loading in gas wells. The most satisfactory solution would be to couple a transient reservoir model to a transient well model, which will provide reliable predictive models to link the well dynamics with the intermittent response of a reservoir that is typical of liquid loading in gas wells. The modeling work presented here can be applied to investigate liquid loading mechanisms, and evaluate any other situation where the transient flow behavior of the near-wellbore region of the reservoir cannot be ignored, including system start-up and shut-down.
Zhang, He (2010). Modeling of Multiphase Flow in the Near-Wellbore Region of the Reservoir under Transient Conditions. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from