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July 2004

Bacchus coming to MPath

Permedia and the Bacchus II project are collaborating to incorporate biodegradation controls and algorithms into MPath.

Much of the world's oil inventory has undergone some degree of biodegradation. Microorganisms alter petroleum fluids by selectively degrading various hydrocarbons and producing new compounds such as heterocyclic acids, carbon dioxide and methane. Biodegradation generally decreases the commercial value of hydrocarbon liquids, frequently by increasing concentrations of sulfur, metals, and organic acids. Biodegradation also affects production rates by increasing fluid viscosity, and can impart fluid composition gradients in reservoirs that challenge characterization studies. Changes in fluid composition due to biodegradation may alter the phase state of hydrocarbon accumulations, which in turn influences production facilities design. Because the project economies of high-cost deep-water environments are strongly impacted by hydrocarbon flow rates, they are particularly sensitive to the impacts of biodegradation. In all exploration and development settings it is important to be able to quantify the chance of encountering biodegraded fluids in conjunction with project risk assessments.

Quantifying and risking the impact of key biodegradation controls requires that the governing algorithms be included in a fluid flow simulator. This simulator must allow reservoir temperature and detailed hydrocarbon filling history to be modeled, to better predict and risk where and to what degree biodegradation occurs.

Together with Steve Larter and the Bacchus project team, we are adding the ability to model and risk hydrocarbon biodegradation to Permedia MPath. Biodegradation will be added to MPath's current Migration solvers. In addition, the independently funded 3 year "Permedia Fluid Mixing" research program will enable fluid mixing to be modeled in greater detail on a reservoir scale using a finite volume-based advection-diffusion solver. The biodegradation solver will ultimately be coupled with the advection-diffusion solver to simulate nutrient and product transport and mixing in reservoirs.

For more information on Bacchus, visit the Bacchus-2 web pages.

Introductory Reference

Biological activity in the deep subsurface and the origin of heavy oil
PDF, 380 KB

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AAPG Explorer
John Seitz, former President and CEO of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, discusses MPath in an AAPG explorer article.

 Learn more

Offshore Engineer
MPath's application to reservoir filling was highlighted in Offshore Engineer.

 The MPath Less Traveled
PDF, 3.5MB. Reprinted with permission from Offshore Engineer, September 2003.