Effects of capillarity and vapor adsorption in the depletion of vapor-dominated geothermal reservoirs

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Vapor-dominated geothermal reservoirs in natural (undisturbed) conditions contain water as both vapor and liquid phases. The most compelling evidence for the presence of distributed liquid water is the observation that vapor pressures in these systems are close to saturated vapor pressure for measured reservoir temperatures (White et al., 1971; Truesdell and White, 1973). Analysis of natural heat flow conditions provides additional, indirect evidence for the ubiquitous presence of liquid. From an analysis of the heat pipe process (vapor-liquid counterflow) Preuss (1985) inferred that effective vertical permeability to liquid phase in vapor-dominated reservoirs is approximately 10{sup 17} m{sup 2}, for a ... continued below

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165-174

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Pruess, Karsten & O'Sullivan, Michael January 1, 1992.

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Vapor-dominated geothermal reservoirs in natural (undisturbed) conditions contain water as both vapor and liquid phases. The most compelling evidence for the presence of distributed liquid water is the observation that vapor pressures in these systems are close to saturated vapor pressure for measured reservoir temperatures (White et al., 1971; Truesdell and White, 1973). Analysis of natural heat flow conditions provides additional, indirect evidence for the ubiquitous presence of liquid. From an analysis of the heat pipe process (vapor-liquid counterflow) Preuss (1985) inferred that effective vertical permeability to liquid phase in vapor-dominated reservoirs is approximately 10{sup 17} m{sup 2}, for a heat flux of 1 W/m{sup 2}. This value appears to be at the high end of matrix permeabilities of unfractured rocks at The Geysers, suggesting that at least the smaller fractures contribute to liquid permeability. For liquid to be mobile in fractures, the rock matrix must be essentially completely liquid-saturated, because otherwise liquid phase would be sucked from the fractures into the matrix by capillary force. Large water saturation in the matrix, well above the irreducible saturation of perhaps 30%, has been shown to be compatible with production of superheated steam (Pruess and Narasimhan, 1982). In response to fluid production the liquid phase will boil, with heat of vaporization supplied by the reservoir rocks. As reservoir temperatures decline reservoir pressures will decline also. For depletion of ''bulk'' liquid, the pressure would decline along the saturated vapor pressure curve, while for liquid held by capillary and adsorptive forces inside porous media, an additional decline will arise from ''vapor pressure lowering''. Capillary pressure and vapor adsorption effects, and associated vapor pressure lowering phenomena, have received considerable attention in the geothermal literature, and also in studies related to geologic disposal of heat generating nuclear wastes, and in the drying of porous materials. Geothermally oriented studies were presented by Chicoine et al. (1977), Hsieh and Ramey (1978, 1981), Herkelrath et al. (1983), and Nghiem and Ramey (1991). Nuclear waste-related work includes papers by Herkelrath and O'Neal (1985), Pollock (1986), Eaton and Bixler (1987), Pruess et al. (1990), Nitao (1990), and Doughty and E'ruess (1991). Applications to industrial drying of porous materials have been discussed by Hamiathy (1969) arid Whitaker (1977). This paper is primarily concerned with evaluating the impact of vapor pressure lowering (VPL) effects on the depletion behavior of vapor-dominated reservoirs. We have examined experimental data on vapor adsorption and capillary pressures in an effort to identify constitutive relationships that would be applicable to the tight matrix rocks of vapor-dominated systems. Numerical simulations have been performed to evaluate the impact of these effects on the depletion of vapor-dominated reservoirs.

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165-174

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  • Seventeenth Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering: Proceedings, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, January 29-31, 1992

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  • Report No.: SGP-TR-141-24
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 888721
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc885340

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  • January 1, 1992

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Feb. 16, 2017, 6:57 p.m.

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Pruess, Karsten & O'Sullivan, Michael. Effects of capillarity and vapor adsorption in the depletion of vapor-dominated geothermal reservoirs, article, January 1, 1992; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc885340/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.