A New Unified Diffusion-Viscous Flow Model Based on Pore Level Studies of Tight Gas Formations

Rahmanian, M.R., Aguilera, R. and Kantzas, A.

DOI: 10.2118/149223-PA
CSUG/SPE 149223, presented at the Canadian Unconventional Resources Conference held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 15-17 November 2011;
SPE Journal 18(01), December 2012/February 2013, Pages 38-49


In this study, single-phase gas-flow simulation that considers slippage effects through a network of slots and microfractures is presented. The statistical parameters for network construction were extracted from petrographic work in tight porous media of the Nikanassin Group in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). Furthermore, correlations between Klinkenberg slippage effect and absolute permeability have been developed as well as a new unified flow model in which Knudsen number acts implicitly as a flow-regime indicator. A detailed understanding of fluid flow at microscale levels in tight porous media is essential to establish and develop techniques for economic flow rate and recovery. Choosing an appropriate equation for flow through a single element of the network is crucial; this equation must include geometry and other structural features that affect the flow as well as all variation of fluid properties with pressure. Disregarding these details in a single element of porous media can easily lead to flow misinterpretation at the macroscopic scale. Because of the wide flow-path-size distribution in tight porous media, a variety of flow regimes can exist in the equivalent network. Two distinct flow regimes, viscous flow and free molecular flow, are in either side of this flow-regime spectrum. Because the nature of these two types of flow is categorically different, finding/adjusting a unified flow model is problematic. The complication stems from the fact that the viscosity concept misses its meaning as the flow regime changes from viscous to free molecular flow in which a diffusion-like mechanism dominates. For each specified flow regime, the appropriate equations for different geometries are studied. In addition, different unified flow models available in the literature are critically investigated. Simulation of gas flow through the constructed network at different mean flow pressures leads to investigating the functionality of the Klinkenberg factor with permeability of the porous media and pore-level structure.

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