TY - JOUR

T1 - Discussion of liquid threshold pressure gradient

AU - Wang, Xiukun

AU - Sheng, James J.

N1 - Funding Information:
The work presented in this paper is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Award Number DE-FE0024311 .
Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Southwest Petroleum University

PY - 2017/6

Y1 - 2017/6

N2 - Some authors believe that a minimum pressure gradient (called threshold pressure gradient (TPG)) is required before a liquid starts to flow in a porous medium. In a tight or shale oil formation, this TPG phenomenon becomes more important, as it is more difficult for a fluid to flow. In this paper, experimental data on TPG published in the literature are carefully reviewed. What we found is that a very low flow velocity corresponding to a very low pressure gradient cannot be measured in the experiments. Experiments can only be done above some measurable flow velocities. If these flow velocities and their corresponding pressure gradients are plotted in an XY plot and extrapolated to zero velocity, a non-zero pressure gradient corresponds to this zero velocity. This non-zero pressure gradient is called threshold pressure gradient in the literature. However, in the regime of very low velocity and very low pressure gradient, the data gradually approach to the origin of the plot, demonstrating a non-linear relationship between the pressure gradient and the velocity. But the data do not approach to a point of zero velocity and a threshold pressure gradient. Therefore, the concept of threshold pressure gradient is a result of data misinterpretation of available experimental data. The correct interpretation is that there are two flow regimes: nonlinear flow regime (non-Darcy flow regime) when the pressure gradients are low, and linear flow regime (Darcy flow regime) when the pressure gradient is intermediate or high. The nonlinear flow regime starts from the origin point. As the pressure gradient is increased, the curve becomes a straight line demonstrating the linear flow regime. We have verified our views by first analyzing the causes of non-Darcy flow, and then systematically analyzed typical experimental data and correlations in the literature. We conclude that TPG does not exist. We also use several counter examples to support our conclusion.

AB - Some authors believe that a minimum pressure gradient (called threshold pressure gradient (TPG)) is required before a liquid starts to flow in a porous medium. In a tight or shale oil formation, this TPG phenomenon becomes more important, as it is more difficult for a fluid to flow. In this paper, experimental data on TPG published in the literature are carefully reviewed. What we found is that a very low flow velocity corresponding to a very low pressure gradient cannot be measured in the experiments. Experiments can only be done above some measurable flow velocities. If these flow velocities and their corresponding pressure gradients are plotted in an XY plot and extrapolated to zero velocity, a non-zero pressure gradient corresponds to this zero velocity. This non-zero pressure gradient is called threshold pressure gradient in the literature. However, in the regime of very low velocity and very low pressure gradient, the data gradually approach to the origin of the plot, demonstrating a non-linear relationship between the pressure gradient and the velocity. But the data do not approach to a point of zero velocity and a threshold pressure gradient. Therefore, the concept of threshold pressure gradient is a result of data misinterpretation of available experimental data. The correct interpretation is that there are two flow regimes: nonlinear flow regime (non-Darcy flow regime) when the pressure gradients are low, and linear flow regime (Darcy flow regime) when the pressure gradient is intermediate or high. The nonlinear flow regime starts from the origin point. As the pressure gradient is increased, the curve becomes a straight line demonstrating the linear flow regime. We have verified our views by first analyzing the causes of non-Darcy flow, and then systematically analyzed typical experimental data and correlations in the literature. We conclude that TPG does not exist. We also use several counter examples to support our conclusion.

KW - Low velocity non-Darcy flow

KW - Shale oil reservoirs

KW - Threshold pressure gradient

KW - Tight oil reservoirs

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85038017264&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.petlm.2017.01.001

DO - 10.1016/j.petlm.2017.01.001

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85038017264

VL - 3

SP - 232

EP - 236

JO - Petroleum

JF - Petroleum

SN - 2405-6561

IS - 2

ER -