Print version ISSN 0016-7169
CORONADO, M.; RAMIREZ-SABAG, J.; VALDIVIEZO-MIJANGOS, O. and SOMARUGA, C.. A test of the effect of boundary conditions on the use of tracers in reservoir characterization. Geofís. Intl [online]. 2009, vol.48, n.2, pp. 185-193. ISSN 0016-7169.
Tracer tests are fundamental in characterizing fluid flow in underground formations. However, the setting of appropriate boundary conditions in even simple analytical models has historically been controversial, mainly due to the lack of sufficient physical evidence. Determining the relevance of boundary conditions on tracer test analysis becomes therefore a topic of renewed interest. The subject has been previously disscused by studying the tracer breakthrough curve sensitivity to diverse model parameter values. In our present work we examine the issue from a new practical reservoir characterization perspective. Two well-known equivalent elementary tracer transport models having different boundary conditions are matched to the same tracer test data. The resulting model parameter difference quantifies the effect of boundary conditions on reservoir property determination. In our case a tracer pulse injected in a homogeneous one-dimensional porous medium and moving at constant speed dominated by advection and dispersion is considered. The tracer transport models to be used yield conditions (i) on the tracer concentration, and (ii) on the tracer flux. Three data sets from tracer tests performed in different oil reservoirs are used to fit the models and determine the parameter values. We found that boundary conditions become more important as Peclet number gets smaller. The cases analyzed have Peclet numbers 25.0, 5.4 and 3.7. The largest parameter difference obtained in each case is 5%, 18% and 37% respectively. These differences are large for laboratory experiments, but less relevant for tracer tests in oil fields, where data variability is frequently high. Nevertheless, attention should be paid when small Peclet numbers are present.
Keywords : Tracer; solute; boundary conditions; transport; oil reservoir; inverse problem.