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Oil Viscosity Correlations a Novel Approach

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Crude oil viscosity correlations: A novel approach for Upper Assam Basin

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A-2238

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Deepak Jain, Abhishek D. Bihani

Oil India Limited, Geology & Reservoir Department, Duliajan, Assam, India - 786602

Abstract

Crude oil viscosity being a critical parameter in petroleum industry assumes significance in analyzing flow

assurance problems, planning EOR methods and reservoir simulation. In many cases, accurate viscosity

values are not available or difficulties are faced in the measurements. Thus, viscosity correlations serve

as an effective alternative. However, the existing correlations in literature did not give accurate results for

crude oils of Upper Assam Basin.

Hence, non-linear regression was applied on a large set of experimental dead crude oil data at different

temperatures over a wide range of API and viscosity to obtain new correlations. Furthermore, two

separate correlations were designed for heavy and light crude oils for better prediction. Statistical and

graphical methods such as Root Mean-Square Error (RMSE) were used for comparative analysis of the

existing and new correlations. It was found that the new correlations provided better prediction of dead

crude oil viscosity over a wide range of parameters than existing correlations for Upper Assam Basin.

Introduction

Viscosity is defined as the resistance to fluid flow. The evaluation of a crude oil’s viscosity is an important

step in the design of various stages of oilfield operations and in reservoir evaluation. There are numerous

operational and economical difficulties in acquiring reliable viscosity measurements, especially for live oil

which are obtained by either bottom-hole sampling or by recombination of reservoir fluids in the

laboratory. Hence, live oil viscosity is frequently predicted using correlations. In general, oil density and

temperature are utilized as variables to determine the crude oil viscosity for dead oil (stock-tank).

Thereafter, viscosity for live oil at bubble-point or at under-saturated conditions is calculated from dead oil

viscosity and the gas-oil ratio (GOR). (Bennison, T.G.)

The most popular correlations that are used for dead oil viscosity in petroleum engineering are those

developed by Beal (Beal, 1946), Beggs and Robinson (Beggs and Robinson, 1975), Glaso (Glaso, 1980),

Labedi (Labedi, 1992) and Kartoatmodjo and Schmidt (Kartoatmodjo and Schmidt, 1994). Beal's

correlation was obtained from Californian crude oils, Glaso’s correlation was developed from the North

Sea crude oils and Labedi’s correlation has been presented for African crudes. The viscosity of crude oil

varies according to its origin, type and the nature of its chemical composition. (Sattarin, M.) Hence, there

is a strong belief that the chemical composition of crude oil is an important factor while determining an

accurate viscosity correlation. This highlights the importance of the geographical location of the crude oil

samples employed in the correlation creation, which makes it virtually impossible to develop a single

comprehensive viscosity model to include the different oil-regions of the world.

Application of the above dead oil viscosity correlations to the crude oils from Upper Assam Basin resulted

in huge errors. These deviations were attributed to the difference in chemical composition of Assam’s

crude oils from the crudes used in the development of correlations in literature. The aim of this work was

to develop comprehensive dead oil viscosity correlations for the crude oils of Upper Assam Basin.

Experimental Details

A large reliable set of dynamic viscosities of dead crude oils from 162 wells was collected from nine

different oil-fields of Upper Assam Basin of Oil India Limited. The viscosity measurement of the crude oil

samples was performed using a rotational viscometer and the data covered a viscosity from 2 to 120 cp

and API gravity in the range of 18 to 43 °API. The measurement of the samples was carried out at

different temperatures of 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39 °C under atmospheric pressure thus providing

information about the effect of temperature.

Regression Analysis

The analysis was conducted using IBM’s SPSS statistics software package. SPSS can be used for data

management, descriptive statistical analysis or for inferential and multivariate procedures such as

analysis of variance (ANOVA) and regression analysis.

In this study, the data of 486 samples was divided into two subsets, training data and test data in a

random manner, with the approximate ratio 60:40, respectively. The regression was carried out on the

training data and the correlation thus obtained was applied on the test data. This method was used to

validate the model and ensured that the developed correlation was not self-biased.

An initial multi-variable regression was conducted for viscosity by ordinary least squares method with

temperature and API as the independent variables. It was found that 39 of the data points were unreliable

and affected the correlation adversely; hence these outliers were discarded.

From the plot of the studentized residuals v/s predicted values (Figure 1), it was established that the

relation between the variables is non-linear. It also indicated that homoscedasticity was maintained i.e.

there existed homogeneity of variance. Multicollinearity was assessed (tolerance= 0.917) and it was seen

that the independent variables weren’t highly inter-correlated. Normal distribution of data was confirmed

from a histogram and P-P plot of residuals. The unbiasedness, efficiency and consistency of the variables

was thus established. However, the value of coefficient of determination (R2) was observed to be only

0.28 indicating a relatively weak correlation between the variables.

Therefore to increase the accuracy and to obtain a better fit, it was decided to apply regression on heavy

and light oils separately. The samples were thus divided into heavy oil (<23 °API) and light oil (>23 °API),

respectively.

Post-regression, statistical and graphical methods were used for comparative analysis of the new and the

existing correlations. Root mean square error (RMSE) was initially calculated and was then normalized by

dividing it by the range. From this normalized root mean square error (NRMSE), it could be inferred that

the correlation having the minimum value is the most suitable. The graphical method utilized a scatter-plot

of experimental v/s predicted viscosity. Ideally, values should be on the unit slope i.e. 45° line and the

reliability of the correlation decreases with increasing deviation from the 45° line.

The 353 light oil data samples were divided into training and test data in the approximate ratio 60:40.

After various attempts, it was seen that the exponential model gave the best fit, by sequential multiple

regression using API and temperature with R2 =0.313. Viscosity was first regressed on API to derive the

following correlation:

Subsequently, coefficients A and B were regressed against temperature to obtain the following equations:

NRMSE for different correlations for both training and test data are shown in Table 1. It was seen that the

new light oil correlation gave the lowest value of NRMSE thus providing superior results.

This was further supported by scatter-plots shown in Figures 2-a and 2-b. It was observed from the

deviation of scatter points from the 45° line that the new light correlation was better than Labedi's

correlation which under-predicted the viscosity.

The 94 heavy oil data samples were divided into training and test data in the approximate ratio 60:40.

The viscosity data showed a strong function of temperature and API in the form of an exponent or

logarithm. On regression, the following equation gave the best fit (R2 =0.600):

The comparison of NRMSE (Table-2) showed that the lowest value is for the new heavy oil correlation.

The scatter-plots seen in Figures 3-a and 3-b indicate that the new heavy correlation shows a better fit

on the 45° line than Labedi's correlation.

In order to obtain a single correlation for the whole range of API, further studies were conducted. It was

observed from the data of 447 data samples that there existed a variation in the viscosity for the same

values of API and temperature. Since the crude oil viscosity samples are from a number of different fields

and reservoirs, there is a considerable diversity in the chemical composition. This was confirmed from the

Saturate, Aromatic, Resin and Asphaltene (SARA) analysis and the differences in the pour point

temperature.

Pour point is the lowest temperature at which a crude oil flows and is related to its paraffin and

asphaltene composition. In 1990, Egbogah and Ng improved the Beggs and Robinson's correlation by

adding pour point temperature. In a similar manner, a third correlation was constructed which included

viscosity as a function of pour point, in addition to API and temperature. Incorporating pour point in the

correlation reflected the composition and significantly improved the value of the coefficient of

determination (R2 = 0.567) over the previous value without pour point (R2 =0.28). The equation obtained

by regression was of the form:

Statistical comparison (Table-3) showed NRMSE for this correlation was considerably lower for both

training and test data than the next best correlation which was Labedi. The same inference was drawn

from the scatter-plots shown in Figures 4-a and 4-b.

Thus it can be stated that this correlation incorporating pour-point is better suited for viscosity prediction

of dead crude oils of Upper Assam Basin than the correlations presently utilized. This correlation was also

tested on crude oils from 27 other fields world-wide whose assays were available in the public domain.

However, it was seen that the prediction by this correlation while satisfactory, was not the most suitable

for those fields.

Conclusion

A number of dead oil viscosity correlations were evaluated from a databank of nine different fields of

Upper Assam Basin. It was found that the existing correlations exhibited large errors, believed to be due

to dependence on oil nature, and so correlations were specifically developed for crude oils of this region.

Three correlations having a relatively simple mathematical format were developed, one for light oil,

another for heavy oil and also a common correlation taking into account the pour point. The proposed

correlations gave a better prediction as confirmed from the statistical and graphical analysis, and can

therefore be used for Upper Assam Basin.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Oil India Limited for supporting our work, especially Mr. Saloma Yomdo, Mr. Ranjit

Dutta and all our senior colleagues for guiding and encouraging us throughout the course of the work. We

are also grateful to Mr. B. P. Pegu for helping in compiling of data and to Mr. S. K. Jena and Dr. P.

Gopalakrishnan for reviewing the work in the draft stage.

We would also like to express our gratitude to Laerd Statistics and Ms. Rutha V. S. of University of Pune

for assistance in SPSS and statistical analysis.

References

1. Beal, C., Viscosity of air, water, natural gas, crude oil and its associated gases at oil field temperature

and pressures.,Trans. AIME 165, 1946, p.114–127.

2. Beggs, H.D. And Robinson, J.R., Estimating the Viscosity of Crude Oil Systems., JPT, 9, 1975,

p.1140-1141.

3. Bennison, T. G., Prediction Of Heavy Oil Viscosity, Presented at the IBC Heavy Oil Field

Development Conference, London, 2-4 December 1998

4. Egbogah, E. O., Ng, J.T., An improved temperature-viscosity correlation for crude oil systems., J.

Pet. Sci. Eng. 5, 1990, p.197-200.

5. Glaso, Generalized Pressure-Volume-Temperature Correlation for Crude Oil System, JPT, 2, 1980, p.

785-795.

6. Hemmati-Sarapardeh, A., Khishvand, M., Naseri, A., et.al., Toward reservoir oil viscosity correlation,

Chem. Eng. Sci. 90 (2013) p.53–68.

7. Kartoatmodjo, F., Schmidt, Z., Large Data Bank Improves Crude Physical Property Correlation; Oil &

Gas J. 4, 1994, p. 51-55.

8. Labedi, R., Improved correlations for predicting the viscosity of light crudes., 1992.,J. Pet. Sci. Eng. 8,

p. 221–234.

9. Naseri, A., Nikazar, M., Mousavi, D.S.A., A Correlation Approach for Prediction of Crude Oil

Viscosities, J. of Pet. Sci. Eng. 47, 2005, p.163-174.

10. Sattarin, M., Modarresi, H., Bayata, M., Teymoria, M., New Viscosity Correlations for Dead Crude

Oils, Petroleum & Coal 49 (2), 2007, p. 33-39.

11. Zhang, C., Zhao, H., A Simple Correlation for the Viscosity of Heavy Oils from Liaohe Basin, NE

China J. Canadian Pet. Tech., April 2007, Vol. 46, No. 4 p. 8-11.

Appendix

GOR Gas oil ratio

API Oil API gravity

μ Dynamic viscosity of crude oil, cp

T Temperature of crude oil, °F

PP Pour-point temperature, °F

R2 Coefficient of Determination

RMSE Root mean square error

n = Number of samples

μexp = Experimental viscosity

μpred = Predicted viscosity

μmax = Maximum experimental viscosity

μmin = Minimum experimental viscosity

Table 1: Normalized root mean square error for light oil correlation

New light Kartoatmodjo & Beggs & Petrosky &

NRMSE Glaso Naseri Labedi

correlation Schmidt Robinson Farshad

Table 2: Normalized root mean square error for heavy oil correlation

New heavy Kartoatmodjo & Beggs & Petrosky &

NRMSE Glaso Naseri Labedi

correlation Schmidt Robinson Farshad

Table 3: Normalized root mean square error for new pour point correlation

New PP Kartoatmodjo & Beggs & Petrosky &

NRMSE Glaso Naseri Labedi

correlation Schmidt Robinson Farshad

Figure 2-a and 2-b: Scatter-plot for light oil correlation

Figure 4-a and 4-b: Scatter-plot for new pour point correlation

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