Characteristics of gas-oil contact and mobilization limit during gas-assisted gravity drainage process

Debin Kong, Jidong Gao, Peiqing Lian, Rongchen Zheng, Weiyao Zhu, Yi Xu

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Gravity can reduce the instability of the gas-oil contact that is caused by gas channeling in locations with low flow resistance, such as high-permeability layers, macropores, and fractures during the gas-assisted gravity drainage process. Herein, the microscopic forces during the gas-assisted gravity drainage process were analyzed and combined with the capillary model to study the occurrence boundary of gas-assisted gravity drainage process, and the characteristics of the gas-oil contact in the gas-assisted gravity drainage process was discussed. The results show that free gravity drainage occurs only in pores where a certain height of the oil column and pore radius are reached. Furthermore, the lower the oil-gas interface migration rate, the easier free gravity drainage occurs. In other scenarios, additional gas injection is required. During the gas-assisted gravity drainage process, the gas-oil contact moves down stably as a transition. The width of the transition zone and the available pore radius are related to the gas-oil contact migration rate and the oil viscosity; the smaller the gas-oil contact migration rate and the lower the oil viscosity, the smaller pore throat can be involved in mobilization. Optimizing the gas injection rate and reducing the oil viscosity can delay the gas channeling maturity time, which is beneficial for the realization of the gas-assisted gravity drainage process. Finally, a method considering micropore heterogeneity is established for determining the critical gas injection rate, while the mainstream pore throat can be involved in mobilization and the gas-oil contact can be stabilized at the same time. The method of determining the critical gas injection rate can help researchers and reservoir engineers to better understand and implement the gas-assisted gravity drainage process.

Cited as: Kong, D., Gao, J., Lian, P., Zheng, R, Zhu, W., Xu, Y. Characteristics of gas-oil contact and mobilization limit during gas-assisted gravity drainage process. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2022, 6(2): 169-176.


Gas-assisted gravity drainage, mobilization limit, gas-oil contact, interface migration rate

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