The objective of this paper is to present a detailed workflow for developing a field-wide (or basin-wide) “common” equation of state (EOS) model to describe PVT properties1 of all reservoir fluids and wellstream mixtures at all relevant conditions of pressure and temperature. The presented workflow is a result of having developed many field-wide EOS models in conventional reservoirs around the world, and more recently several basin-wide EOS models for North American unconventionals (Eagle Ford, Montney, Bakken, Permian and Scoop/Stack). We address several important considerations in developing a common EOS, as well as when and why a common EOS is needed.
The starting point for developing a common EOS is the use of all measured PVT properties and fluid compositions of surface and reservoir samples. The goal of a common EOS is to provide accurate PVT property estimation of all mixtures found throughout the field/basin – within all reservoir(s), throughout the production system and to final surface products – from discovery to abandonment.
Measured PVT data must be scrutinized for quality using a series of consistency checks that include component and phase material balances, cross plots, and continual comparison with EOS results. Using all PVT data from all samples gives a substantial, statistically significant data set that allows trend analysis and outlier identification.
One key to developing a common EOS model is using a sufficient number of components, and proper characterization of heavy fractions that contain varying proportions of the three hydrocarbon groups (paraffin, naphthene and aromatic compounds – PNA). The heavy fractions single carbon numbers C7, C8, C9… and the remaining “residue”, e.g. C36+ are often given average properties that reflect the relative proportions of PNA compounds – i.e. relative paraffinicity (or relative aromaticity). The determination of single carbon number (SCN) and residue properties is what we refer to as heptanes-plus characterization, and it is this characterization that will differ from field to field, or basin to basin.
Sometimes within a given field or basin, the relative paraffinicity may vary so much that a single, common EOS using SCN description is not possible. Two options remain: developing multiple EOS models, or creating a single EOS with some/all heavy fractions having two subfractions – paraffinic and aromatic (e.g. C7P and C7A, C36+P and C36+A). In this latter approach, the P-A split must be estimated, correlated or measured for each fluid mixture, making the approach complicated and less common, but necessary in some fluid systems2.
Developing a common EOS for a field/basin is necessary because in-situ reservoir fluids may vary spatially, change in composition during depletion and gas injection, and because of fluid mixing throughout the production system – within reservoirs, wells, and topside facilities.
For unconventional basins, only a small number of the thousands of wells have laboratory PVT data available, despite significant well-to-well fluid variations – e.g. gas oil ratio (GOR) ranging from 300 to 300,000 scf/STB in the Eagle Ford and Montney basins. Simple PVT correlations are not applicable over the entire range of fluid compositions. Many wells produce complex retrograde condensates, near-critical fluids, and volatile oils that require an accurate and consistent EOS model for estimating PVT properties required by geologic, engineering, and marketing professionals.