Skip to main content
Log in

Measuring diffusion coefficients of gaseous propane in heavy oil at elevated temperatures

  • Published:
Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Molecular diffusion is an important phenomenon for solvent transport during vapor extraction and hot solvent injection into heavy oil reservoirs. Therefore, determining solvent diffusion into heavy oil is important for predicting oil recovery. We conduct soaking tests at different temperatures ranging from 80 to 130 °C to estimate diffusion coefficient of propane (C3H8) into heavy oil samples taken from Clearwater Formation in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. The tests are conducted at the maximum initial pressure of 1900 kPa to keep C3 in vapor phase within the tests’ temperature range. Pressure decline during the soaking process is analyzed to estimate diffusion coefficients and solubility of propane in the oil at equilibrium conditions. The final viscosity of the mixture is also calculated by using the available correlations. The results show that diffusion of propane in heavy oil undergoes three different stages: early region, transition region, and late-time region. The maximum diffusion coefficient is observed at the end of transition region. Solubility of C3 in the oil increases with decreasing temperature. The results also reveal that during the three regions, solubility and diffusion coefficients of C3 into the oil strongly depend on temperature.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12

Similar content being viewed by others

Abbreviations

C :

Concentration (mol cm−3)

D :

Diffusion coefficient (m2 s−1)

EF:

Expansion factor

M :

Slope of line intercept in graphical method (m2 s−2)

MW:

Molecular weight

\(N_{\text{A}}\) :

Avogadro’s number

n gi :

Number of moles of gas at initial pressures, mol

n gf :

Number of moles of gas at equilibrium pressures, mol

P(t):

Pressure of cell at time t (kPa)

P(eq):

Equilibrium pressure (kPa)

R :

Universal gas constant (kPa Cm3 mol−1 K−1)

x i :

Mole fraction of the components given by Eq. 9

t :

Time (s)

T :

Temperature (°C)

V :

Volume (cm3)

mass:

Mass (kg)

\(Z_{\text{g}}\) :

Gas compressibility factor

z o :

Initial height of oil–gas interface (cm)

µ :

Viscosity (cP)

\(\eta_{\text{a}}\) :

Kinematic viscosity (cm2 s−1)

\(\rho\) :

Density (kg m−3)

API:

American Petroleum Institute

CHOPs:

Cold heavy oil production with sand

CSS:

Cyclic steam simulation

DI:

Deionized

DPDVA:

Dynamic pendant drop volume analysis

ES-SAGD:

Expanding solvent SAGD

NMR:

Nuclear magnetic resonance

PD:

Pressure decay

PDT:

Pressure decay technique

SAGD:

Steam-assisted gravity drainage

THAI:

Toe to heel air injection

VAPEX:

Vapor assisted petroleum extraction

References

  1. Xia W, Shen W, Yu L, Zheng C, Yu W, Tang Y. Conversion of petroleum to methane by the indigenous methanogenic consortia for oil recovery in heavy oil reservoir. Appl Energy. 2016;171:646–55.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Petroleum P. Statistical review of world energy June 2014, in, 2014.

  3. Shokri AR, Babadagli T. Feasibility assessment of heavy-oil recovery by CO2 injection after cold production with sands: lab-to-field scale modeling considering non-equilibrium foamy oil behavior. Appl Energy. 2017;205:615–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bera A, Babadagli T. Status of electromagnetic heating for enhanced heavy oil/bitumen recovery and future prospects: a review. Appl Energy. 2015;151:206–26.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Hashemi R, Nassar NN, Almao PP. Nanoparticle technology for heavy oil in situ upgrading and recovery enhancement: opportunities and challenges. Appl Energy. 2014;133:374–87.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Zhou X, Yuan Q, Rui Z, Wang H, Feng J, Zhang L, Zeng F. Feasibility study of CO2 huff ‘n’ puff process to enhance heavy oil recovery via long core experiments. Appl Energy. 2019;236:526–39.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Hart A. A review of technologies for transporting heavy crude oil and bitumen via pipelines. J Pet Explor Prod Technol. 2014;4:327–36.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Vargas-Vasquez SM, Romero-Zerón LB. The vapor extraction process: review. Pet Sci Technol. 2007;25:1447–63.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Karmaker K, Maini BB. Applicability of vapor extraction process to problematic viscous oil reservoirs. In: SPE annual technical conference and exhibition, society of petroleum engineers, 2003.

  10. Moghadam S, Nobakht M, Gu Y. Theoretical and physical modeling of a solvent vapour extraction (VAPEX) process for heavy oil recovery. J Pet Sci Eng. 2009;65:93–104.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Luhning R, Das S, Fisher L, Bakker J, Grabowski J, Engleman J, Wong S, Sullivan L, Boyle H. Full scale VAPEX process-climate change advantage and economic consequences A. J Can Pet Technol. 2003;42:1768–83. https://doi.org/10.2118/187093-PA.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Das SK. Vapex: an efficient process for the recovery of heavy oil and bitumen. SPE-50941-PA. 1998;3:232–7.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Etminan SR, Javadpour F, Maini BB, Chen Z. Measurement of gas storage processes in shale and of the molecular diffusion coefficient in kerogen. Int J Coal Geol. 2014;123:10–9.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Butler R, Mokrys I, Das S. The solvent requirements for Vapex recovery. In: SPE international heavy oil symposium, society of petroleum engineers, 1995.

  15. Etminan SR, Maini BB, Hassanzadeh H, Chen ZJ. Determination of concentration dependent diffusivity coefficient in solvent gas heavy oil systems. In: SPE annual technical conference and exhibition, society of petroleum engineers, 2009.

  16. Butler RM, Mokrys IJ. A new process (VAPEX) for recovering heavy oils using hot water and hydrocarbon vapour. J Can Pet Technol. 1991;30:97–106. https://doi.org/10.2118/91-01-09.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Guerrero Aconcha UE, Kantzas A, Diffusion of hydrocarbon gases in heavy oil and bitumen. In: Latin American and Caribbean petroleum engineering conference, society of petroleum engineers, 2009.

  18. Riazi MR. A new method for experimental measurement of diffusion coefficients in reservoir fluids. J Pet Sci Eng. 1996;14:235–50.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Roman P, Javier F, Hejazi SH, Graphical determination of the Henry’s constant and the diffusion coefficient of gases in heavy oils using late-time pressure-decay data. In: SPE annual technical conference and exhibition, society of petroleum engineers, 2014.

  20. Das SK, Butler RM. Diffusion coefficients of propane and butane in peace river bitumen. Can J Chem Eng. 1996;74:985–92.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Yang C, Gu Y. Diffusion coefficients and oil swelling factors of carbon dioxide, methane, ethane, propane, and their mixtures in heavy oil. Fluid Phase Equilib. 2006;243:64–73.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Yang C, Gu Y, A novel experimental technique for studying solvent mass transfer and oil swelling effect in the vapour extraction (VAPEX) process. In: Canadian international petroleum conference, petroleum society of canada, Calgary, Alberta, 2005, p. 14.

  23. Etminan SR, Haghighat P, Maini BB, Chen ZJ. Molecular diffusion and dispersion coefficient in a propane-bitumen system: case of vapour extraction (VAPEX) process. In: SPE EUROPEC/EAGE annual conference and exhibition, society of petroleum engineers, Vienna, Austria, 2011, p. 9.

  24. Etminan SR, Maini BB, Chen Z, Hassanzadeh H. Constant-pressure technique for gas diffusivity and solubility measurements in heavy oil and bitumen. Energy Fuels. 2010;24:533–49.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Zhang Y, Hyndman C, Maini B. Measurement of gas diffusivity in heavy oils. J Pet Sci Eng. 2000;25:37–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Sheikha H, Pooladi-Darvish M, Mehrotra AK. Development of graphical methods for estimating the diffusivity coefficient of gases in bitumen from pressure-decay data. Energy Fuels. 2005;19:2041–9.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Civan F, Rasmussen ML. Determination of gas diffusion and interface-mass transfer coefficients for quiescent reservoir liquids. SPE-50941-PA. 2006;11:71–9.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Eghbali S, Dehghanpour H. An experimental and modeling study on interactions of cold lake bitumen with CO2, C3, and C4 at High temperatures. Energy Fuels. 2019;33:3957–69.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Yassin MR, Habibi A, Zolfaghari A, Eghbali S, Dehghanpour H. An experimental study of nonequilibrium carbon dioxide/oil interactions. SPE-50941-PA. 2018;23:1768–83.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Linstrom PJ, Mallard WG. The NIST chemistry webbook: a chemical data resource on the internet. J Chem Eng Data. 2001;46:1059–63.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. Du F. An experimental study of carbon dioxide dissolution into a light crude oil. In: Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Regina, 2016.

  32. Sheikha H, Mehrotra AK, Pooladi-Darvish M. An inverse solution methodology for estimating the diffusion coefficient of gases in Athabasca bitumen from pressure-decay data. J Pet Sci Eng. 2006;53:189–202.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Nguyen T, Ali S. Effect of nitrogen on the solubility and diffusivity of carbon dioxide into oil and oil recovery by the immiscible WAG process. J Can Pet Technol. 1998;37:24–31. https://doi.org/10.2118/98-02-02.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Berkhin P. A survey of clustering data mining techniques. In: Kogan J, Nicholas C, Teboulle M, editors. Grouping multidimensional data. Berlin: Springer; 2006. p. 25–71.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  35. Carroll JJ. What is Henry’s law? Chem Eng Prog. 1991;87:48–52.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. Nourozieh H. Phase partitioning and thermo-physical properties of Athabasca bitumen/solvent mixtures. Calgary: University of Calgary; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Rasmussen ML, Civan F. Parameters of gas dissolution in liquids obtained by isothermal pressure decay. AIChE J. 2009;55:9–23.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Pacheco-Roman FJ, Hejazi SH. Estimation of solubility and diffusivity of gases in heavy oils by use of late-time pressure-decay data: an analytical/graphical approach. SPE-50941-PA. 2015;20:717–28.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. Tharanivasan AK, Yang C, Gu Y. Measurements of molecular diffusion coefficients of carbon dioxide, methane, and propane in heavy oil under reservoir conditions. Energy Fuels. 2006;20:2509–17.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. Li H, Yang D. Determination of individual diffusion coefficients of solvent/CO2 mixture in heavy oil with pressure-decay method. SPE-50941-PA. 2016;21:131–43.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. Luo P, Yang C, Gu Y. Enhanced solvent dissolution into in situ upgraded heavy oil under different pressures. Fluid Phase Equilib. 2007;252(1–2):143–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fluid.2007.01.005.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  42. Ganapathi R. Solubility and diffusivity study for light gases in heavy oil and its fractions. vol. 40, no. 1. University of Regina (Canada); 2009. p. 1–135.

  43. Einstein A, Eéktrochem Zf. 14. 235 (1908), Ann. d. Phys. 1905;17:19.

Download references

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Future Energy Systems Program (FES T07-P05) for financial assistance and Cenovus Energy Inc. for supporting this research and proving heavy oil samples. We also thank Mr. Jarett Dragani and Mr. Xin Zhang from Cenovus Energy for their helpful technical comments and Dr. Mahmood Reza Yassin for his guidance and assistance in conducting the experiments.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hassan Dehghanpour.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Athar, K., Doranehgard, M.H., Eghbali, S. et al. Measuring diffusion coefficients of gaseous propane in heavy oil at elevated temperatures. J Therm Anal Calorim 139, 2633–2645 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10973-019-08768-7

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10973-019-08768-7

Keywords

Navigation