Gas Viscosity at High Pressure and High Temperature
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Gas viscosity is one of the gas properties that is vital to petroleum engineering. Its role in the oil and gas production and transportation is indicated by its contribution in the resistance to the flow of a fluid both in porous media and pipes. Although viscosity of some pure components such as methane, ethane, propane, butane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and binary mixtures of these components at low-intermediate pressure and temperature had been studied intensively and been understood thoroughly, very few investigations were performed on viscosity of naturally occurring gases, especially gas condensates at low-intermediate pressure and temperature, even fewer lab data were published. No gas viscosity data at high pressures and high temperatures (HPHT) is available. Therefore this gap in the oil industry still needs to be filled. Gas viscosity at HPHT becomes crucial to modern oil industry as exploration and production move to deep formation or deep water where HPHT is not uncommon. Therefore, any hydrocarbon encountered there is more gas than oil due to the chemical reaction causing oil to transfer to gas as temperature increases. We need gas viscosity to optimize production rate for production system, estimate reserves, model gas injection, design drilling fluid, and monitor gas movement in well control. Current gas viscosity correlations are derived using measured data at low-moderate pressures and temperatures, and then extrapolated to HPHT. No measured gas viscosities at HPHT are available so far. The validities of these correlations for gas viscosity at HPHT are doubted due to lack of experimental data. In this study, four types of viscometers are evaluated and their advantages and disadvantages are listed. The falling body viscometer is used to measure gas viscosity at a pressure range of 3000 to 25000 psi and a temperature range of 100 to 415 oF. Nitrogen viscosity is measured to take into account of the fact that the concentration of nonhydrocarbons increase drastically in HPHT reservoir. More nitrogen is found as we move to HPHT reservoirs. High concentration nitrogen in natural gas affects not only the heat value of natural gas, but also gas viscosity which is critical to petroleum engineering. Nitrogen is also one of common inject gases in gas injection projects, thus an accurate estimation of its viscosity is vital to analyze reservoir performance. Then methane viscosity is measured to honor that hydrocarbon in HPHT which is almost pure methane. From our experiments, we found that while the Lee-Gonzalez-Eakin correlation estimates gas viscosity at a low-moderate pressure and temperature accurately, it cannot give good match of gas viscosity at HPHT. Apparently, current correlations need to be modified to predict gas viscosity at HPHT. New correlations constructed for HPHT conditions based on our experiment data give more confidence on gas viscosity.
Ling, Kegang (2010). Gas Viscosity at High Pressure and High Temperature. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from