A Finite Difference, Semi-implicit, Equation-of-State Efficient Algorithm for the Compositional Flow Modeling in the Subsurface: Numerical Examples

  • Sebastian Saavedra

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The mathematical model that has been recognized to have the more accurate approximation to the physical laws govern subsurface hydrocarbon flow in reservoirs is the Compositional Model. The features of this model are adequate to describe not only the performance of a multiphase system but also to represent the transport of chemical species in a porous medium. Its importance relies not only on its current relevance to simulate petroleum extraction processes, such as, Primary, Secondary, and Enhanced Oil Recovery Process (EOR) processes but also, in the recent years, carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration. The purpose of this study is to investigate the subsurface compositional flow under isothermal conditions for several oil well cases. While simultaneously addressing computational implementation finesses to contribute to the efficiency of the algorithm. This study provides the theoretical framework and computational implementation subtleties of an IMplicit Pressure Explicit Composition (IMPEC)-Volume-balance (VB), two-phase, equation-of-state, approach to model isothermal compositional flow based on the finite difference scheme. The developed model neglects capillary effects and diffusion. From the phase equilibrium premise, the model accounts for volumetric performances of the phases, compressibility of the phases, and composition-dependent viscosities. The Equation of State (EoS) employed to approximate the hydrocarbons behaviour is the Peng Robinson Equation of State (PR-EOS). Various numerical examples were simulated. The numerical results captured the complex physics involved, i.e., compositional, gravitational, phase-splitting, viscosity and relative permeability effects. Regarding the numerical scheme, a phase-volumetric-flux estimation eases the calculation of phase velocities by naturally fitting to phase-upstream-upwinding. And contributes to a faster computation and an efficient programming development.
Date of AwardJul 2012
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorShuyu Sun (Supervisor)


  • Compositional model
  • Porous media
  • Finite Difference
  • Compositional flow
  • Two-phase flow

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