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C H A P T E R 7

The General Material


Balance Equation

7.1 Introduction
The General Material Balance Equation (GMBE) as developed in this book is based on an oil
reservoir with a primary gas cap at initial conditions and reservoir pressure designated as pi. At
a later time, t, reservoir pressure is assumed to have been reduced from pi to p from production
of oil, water, and gas. During the production period, it is assumed that there was water influx into
the reservoir from an aquifer. It is also assumed that water and/or gas was injected into the reser-
voir. These conditions are illustrated in Figure 7.1.
The description of the equation that is developed as a material balance equation is in a strict
sense not accurate. Actually, it is a volumetric balance based on reservoir barrels instead of a mate-
rial balance based on mass. But in this book, it is called the GMBE to conform to the generally
accepted terminology used in the petroleum industry. The GMBE is derived from the basis that the
reservoir pore volume as existing at its initial conditions is constant. Thus, the sum of the volume
changes of gas, oil, water, and the formation rock caused by fluid production is equal to zero.

7.2 Derivation of the General Material


Balance Equation (GMBE)
The GMBE can be represented volumetrically in reservoir barrels as:

Net change in oil and = Gas cap volume change + Released solution gas
water production + Oil volume change + Connate water expansion (7.1)
volume
+ Rock expansion

183
184 Chapter 7 • The General Material Balance Equation

Fluid Production
(Oil, Gas and Water)

Gas Cap Volume Change


Primary Gas Cap
Gas Released Solution Gas

Oil Volume
Change
Original Oil
+
Connate Water Expansion
Dissolved Gas
Rock Expansion

Net Water
Production

Initial Condition (P = Pi) Later Condition (P < Pi)

Fluid Intake
(Water Influx, Water
and/or Gas Injection)

Figure 7.1 Material balance model for an oil reservoir.

Before developing the terms of the expression for the GMBE in Eq. (7.1), it is necessary
to derive other expressions that apply to oil reservoirs with primary gas caps. The ratio of origi-
nal reservoir gas cap volume and the original reservoir oil zone volume is defined as:
Original reservoir gas cap volume
m =
Original reservoir oil zone volume (7.2)
GBgi
=
NBoi
In Eq. (7.2), G = original gas in place (OGIP) in the gas cap, scf; N = original oil in
place (OOIP) in the oil zone, STB; Bgi = initial gas formation volume factor (FVF), RB/scf;
Boi = initial oil FVF, RB/STB. From Eq. (7.2), NmBoi = GBgi.

7.2.1 Development of Terms in the Expression of Equation (7.1)


1. Net change in oil production volume:
Net change in oil production volume (RB) = NpBo (7.3)

In Eq. (7.3), Np = cumulative oil production, STB; and Bo = oil FVF, RB/STB, at cur-
rent reservoir pressure, p.
7.2 Derivation of the General Material Balance Equation (GMBE) 185

2. Net change in water production volume:


Net change in water production volume (RB) = WpBw - We - WinjBw (7.4)

In Eq. (7.4), Wp = cumulative water production, STB; We = cumulative water influx,


RB; Winj = cumulative water injection, STB; and Bw = water FVF, RB/STB, at current
reservoir pressure, p.
3. Gas cap volume change;
Gas cap volume change (RB) = (G - Gp + Ginj)Bg - GBgi (7.5)

In Eq. (7.5), Gp = cumulative gas production, scf; Ginj = cumulative gas injection,
scf; and Bg = gas FVF, RB/scf. Expressing Eq. (7.5) in terms of N by using Eq. (7.2)
and the relationship, Gp = NpRp:

Gas cap volume change (RB) = a - NpRp + Ginj bBg - NmBoi


NmBoi
(7.6)
Bgi

In Eq. (7.6), Rp = cumulative production gas-oil ratio, scf/STB.


4. Solution gas released into the gas cap:
Released solution gas(RB) = [NRsi - (N - Np)Rs]Bg
(7.7)
= [N(Rsi - Rs) + NpRs]Bg

In Eq. (7.7), Rsi = initial solution gas-oil ratio (GOR), scf/STB; and Rs = solution
GOR, scf/STB, at current reservoir pressure, p.
5. Oil volume change:

Oil volume change (RB) = NBo - NBoi (7.8)

6. Connate water and rock expansion:


Reduction in Hydrocarbon Pore Volume (HCPV) = Connate water and
(7.9)
rock expansion
-d(HCPV) = (cwVw + cfVp)(pi - p) (7.10)

Vw = VpSwi (7.11)

In Eqs. (7.10) and (7.11), cw = water compressibility, psi–1; cf = rock compressibility, psi–1;
Vw = connate water volume, RB; Vp = total pore volume, RB; pi = initial reservoir pressure,
psi; p = reservoir pressure in psi at time, t; and Swi = initial connate water saturation, fraction.

HCPV
Vp = (7.12)
1 - Swi
HCPV = initial oil reservoir volume + initial reservoir gas volume
= NBoi + NmBoi = (1 + m)NBoi (7.13)
186 Chapter 7 • The General Material Balance Equation

From Eqs. (7.12) and (7.13),

(1 + m)NBoi
Vp = (7.14)
1 - Swi
(1 + m)NBoiSwi
Vw = (7.15)
1 - Swi

Substituting Eqs. (7.14) and (7.15) into Eq. (7.10) give;

cwSwi + cf
-d(HCPV) = (1 + m)NBoi c d(pi - p)
1 - Swi
(7.16)
cwSwi + cf
= (1 + m)NBoi c d ¢p
1 - Swi

Substituting Eqs. (7.3), (7.4), (7.6), (7.7), (7.8) and (7.16) into Eq. (7.1) gives:

NpBo + WpBw - We - WinjBw = a - NpRp + Ginj bBg - NmBoi


NmBoi
Bgi
+ [N(Rsi - Rs) + NpRs]Bg + NBo - NBoi (7.17)

cwSwi + cf
+ (1 + m)NBoi c d ¢p
1 - Swi

By expanding and arranging like terms, Eq. (7.17) becomes:


NmBoiBg
NBoi - NBo + NpBo + NmBoi - + NpRpBg - NRsiBg + NRsBg - NpRsBg
Bgi
cwSwi + cf (7.18)
= GinjBg + WinjBw + We - WpBw + (1 + m)NBoi c d ¢p
1 - Swi

Adding the expression NpBgRsi to both sides of Eq. (7.18) gives:


NmBoiBg
NBoi - NBo + NpBo + NmBoi - + NpRpBg - NRsiBg + NRsBg - NpRsBg + NpBgRsi
Bgi
cwSwi + cf
= GinjBg + WinjBw + We - WpBw + (1 + m)NBoi c d ¢p + NpBgRsi (7.19)
1 - Swi

Grouping terms in Eq. (7.19) yields:

NBoi + NmBoi - N[Bo + (Rsi - Rs)Bg] + Np[Bo + (Rsi - Rs)Bg] + Np(Rp - Rsi)Bg
NmBoiBg cwSwi + cf
- = GinjBg + WinjBw + We - WpBw + (1 + m)NBoi c d ¢p (7.20)
Bgi 1 - Swi
7.3 The GMBE for Gas Reservoirs 187

The two-phase FVF, Bt, is defined as:


Bt = Bo + (Rsi - Rs)Bg
(7.21)
and Bti = Boi at initial conditions
Substituting Eq. (7.21) into Eq. (7.20) gives:
Bg
N(Bti - Bt) + Np[Bt + (Rp - Rsi)Bg] + NmBti c1 - d
Bgi
(7.22)
cwSwi + cf
= GinjBg + WinjBw + We - WpBw + (1 + m)NBoi c d ¢p
1 - Swi
Eq. (7.22) is the General Material Balance Equation (GMBE). Further re-arrangement of
Eq. (7.22) gives a useful form of the GMBE:

cwSwi + cf
[Bg - Bgi] + (1 + m)NBti c d¢p + GinjBg + WinjBw + We
NmBti
N(Bt - Bti) +
Bgi 1 - Swi
(7.23)
= Np[Bt + (Rp - Rsi)Bg] + WpBw

Another useful form of Eq. (7.22) is re-arranged as:


Np[Bt + (Rp - Rsi)Bg] + WpBw - GinjBg - WinjBw
cwSwi + cf (7.24)
= Nc (Bt - Bti) + (1 + m)Bti a b ¢p + (B - Bgi) d + We
mBti
1 - Swi Bgi g

7.3 The GMBE for Gas Reservoirs


The GMBE was developed for a saturated oil reservoir with a primary gas cap. However, it can
be modified to apply to gas reservoirs (dry gas, wet gas, and gas condensate reservoirs). For gas
condensate reservoirs, there is the requirement that the gas initially exists as a single phase (that
means no condensation has occurred in the reservoir) before the GMBE can be applied. Starting
from Eq. (7.24) and expanding all terms, the result is:

NpBt + NpRpBg - NpRsiBg + WpBw - GinjBg - WinjBw


cwSwi + cf (7.25)
= NBt - NBti + (NBti + NmBti) * c d ¢p +
NmBti
(Bg - Bgi) + We
1 - Swi Bgi

From Eq. (7.2), NmBti = GBgi. Also, Gp = NpRp. Substituting in Eq. (7.25) gives:

NpBt + GpBg - NpRsiBg + WpBw - GinjBg - WinjBw


cwSwi + cf
= NBt - NBti + (NBti + GBgi) * c d ¢p + G(Bg - Bgi) + We
(7.26)
1 - Swi
188 Chapter 7 • The General Material Balance Equation

Since at initial conditions, it is assumed there is no oil in the gas reservoir, N = 0 and
Np = 0. Also, it is assumed that there is no water or gas injection. Thus, Eq. (7.26) reduces to:
cwSwi + cf
GpBg + WpBw = GBgi a b ¢p + G(Bg - Bgi) + We (7.27)
1 - Swi
Eq. (7.27) is the general material balance equation for gas reservoirs. It is applied in
Chapter 8 to derive equations for volumetric and geopressured gas reservoirs.

7.4 Discussion on the Application of the GMBE


Schilthius1 published the first GMBE in 1936. In 1953, van Everdingen et al.2 applied a linear
form of the GMBE to a partial water-drive reservoir. The full potential of the GMBE as a straight
line equation was developed by Havlena and Odeh3,4 in classical papers published in 1963 and
1964. Since then, there has been a large body of work on the applications of the GMBE on many
reservoir engineering problems published in the literature.
The GMBE is a valuable, analytical tool for evaluation of reservoir drive mechanisms. Even
though it is zero dimensional, it offers tools for gaining diagnostic insights into the processes
occurring in the reservoir. Some of these diagnostic applications of the GMBE are presented in
Chapter 9 using the straight line method of Havlena and Odeh.3,4 Computerized applications of
the Havlena and Odeh3 method have been published in the literature by Wang and Teasdale5 for
gas reservoirs, and Wang et al.6 for oil reservoirs. Computer software for GMBE applications are
also available commercially. The applications provide the reservoir engineer with powerful tools
to gain in-depth knowledge of the key processes influencing reservoir performance before
embarking on more rigorous analyses.
The most rigorous method for reservoir evaluation and analyses is reservoir modeling (also
literally termed reservoir simulation). The application of reservoir modeling is widespread in the
petroleum industry. In contrast to GMBE, which is zero dimensional, reservoir modeling is
multi-dimensional. The application of reservoir modeling to petroleum reservoirs is presented in
Chapters 18 and 19.
With the availability of fast, powerful digital computers with large storage capacity for
reservoir modeling, questions have been raised on the utility of material balance methods for
reservoir analyses. The debate must be engaged bearing in mind that material balance methods
were mostly developed before the advent of modern computers. Furthermore, all the analyses
that can be performed with material balance methods can be replicated in many cases more rig-
orously with reservoir modeling.
However, material balance methods are still very useful and are incredibly simple tools for
gaining an understanding of the reservoir processes before undertaking the more elaborate and
time-consuming task of reservoir modeling. In practical terms, material balance methods and
reservoir modeling should be viewed as complementary tools in the toolkit of the engineer for
reservoir analyses. If the reservoir engineer is unsure of the reservoir drive mechanisms, it is
advisable to start the process of analyzing the performance of the reservoir with material balance
Abbreviations 189

methods, and later advance to reservoir modeling as more knowledge of the reservoir drive
mechanisms is gained. In practice, material balance methods can be of assistance in determining
the type of reservoir model to construct, and assessing the quality of reservoir performance data
to use in conducting reservoir modeling.

Nomenclature
Bg gas formation volume factor, RB/scf
Bo oil formation volume factor, RB/STB
Bt two-phase formation volume factor, RB/STB
Bw water formation volume factor, RB/STB
cf formation compressibility factor, psi⫺1
cw water compressibility factor, psi⫺1
G original gas in place, scf
Ginj cumulative gas injection, scf
Gp cumulative gas produced, scf
m ratio original reservoir gas volume to original reservoir oil volume
N original oil in place, STB
Np cumulative oil production, STB
p pressure, psi
Rp cumulative production gas-oil ratio, scf/STB
Rs solution gas-oil ratio, scf/STB
Sw water saturation, fraction
Vp total pore volume, RB
Vw connate water volume, RB
We cumulative water influx, RB
Winj cumulative water injection, STB
Wp cumulative water production, STB

Subscripts
i initial
o oil or condensate
p produced

Abbreviations
GMBE General Material Balance Equation
HCPV Hydrocarbon pore volume
OGIP Original gas in place
190 Chapter 7 • The General Material Balance Equation

References
1. Schilthius, R.J.: “Active Oil and Reservoir Energy,” Trans. AIME (1936) 148, 33–51.
2. van Everdingen, A.F, Timmerman, E.H., and McMahon, J.J: “Application of the Material
Balance Equation to a Partial Water-Drive Reservoir,” Trans. AIME (1953) 198, 51–60.
3. Havlena, D., and Odeh, A.S.: “The Material Balance as an Equation of a Straight Line,” JPT
(August 1963) 896–900.
4. Havlena, D., and Odeh, A.S.: “The Material Balance as an Equation of a Straight Line—Part II,
Field Cases,” JPT (July 1964) 815–822.
5. Wang, B., and Teasdale, T.S.: “GASWAT-PC: A Microcomputer Program for Gas Material
Balance With Water Influx,” paper SPE 16484 presented at the 1987 SPE Petroleum Industry
Applications of Microcomputers, Lake Conroe, Montgomery, Texas, June 23–26, 1987.
6. Wang, B., Litvak, B.L., and Bowman, G.W.: “OILWAT: Microcomputer Program for Oil
Material Balance With Gas Cap and Water Influx,” paper SPE 24437 presented at the 1992
SPE Petroleum Computer Conference, Houston, Texas, July 19–22, 1992.