An Inclusive Study to Understand the Role of Fracture in Composition Variation throughout a Porous Medium

[+] Author and Article Information
Ali Papi

Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

Ali Mohebbi

Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran
amohebbi@uk.ac.ir; amohebbi2002@yahoo.com

Seyed Ehsan Eshraghi

Omid Petro Energy Khavaran Co., Science and Technology Park, Mashhad, Iran; Institute of Petroleum Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041839 History: Received May 28, 2017; Revised October 17, 2018


In order to lessen the computational time in fractured oil reservoir simulations, all fractures are usually assumed to be as one equivalent fracture at the center or around the model. In this study, the feasibility and accuracy of applying an equivalent single-fracture model instead of a fracture network model were studied, while the effect of fracture aperture on composition distribution of a binary and a ternary mixture was also investigated. These mixtures were C1 (methane)/n-C4 (normal-butane) and C1 (methane)/C2 (ethane)/n-C4 (normal-butane) which were under diffusion and natural convection. Governing equations were numerically solved. Using two general contradictory examples, it is shown that ignoring a fracture network and assuming an equivalent single-fracture has no logical justification and results in a considerable error. Using this study, one can find the optimum permeability, namely the permeability at which the maximum species separation happens, and the threshold permeability (permeability or fracture aperture), after which the convection imposes its effect on composition distribution. It is found that the threshold permeability is not constant. Also, one can find that full mixing happens in the model, namely heavy and light densities of top and bottom mix up together in the model. Furthermore, after maximum separation point, convection causes unification of components. For instance, in one case, the horizontal composition gradient reached from 0.01 methane mole fraction per meter to 0.0025 methane mole fraction per meter, and vertical composition gradient of methane fell to near zero.

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