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Formation Evaluation

Dr. Paul W.J. Glover

MSc Petroleum Geology
Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology University of Aberdeen UK


Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Introduction Reservoir Fluids Reservoir Drives Coring, Preservation and Handling Porosity Single Phase Permeability Wettability Capillary Pressure Electrical Properties 1 6 19 33 43 54 76 84 95 104 131

10. Relative Permeability 11. Commissioning Studies Abbreviations References

Dr. Paul Glover

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Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes


Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Introduction

This course aims to provide an understanding of the behaviour of fluids in reservoirs, and the use of core analysis in the evaluation of reservoir potential. It is intended to give the end user of special core analysis data an insight into the experimental techniques used to generate such data and an indication of its validity when applied to reservoir assessment. It has been written from the standpoint of a major oil industry operational support group, and is based upon the substantial experience of working in such an environment.


Core Analysis and other Reservoir Engineering Data

Special core analysis (SCAL) is one of the main sources of data available to guide the reservoir engineer in assessing the economic potential of a hydrocarbon accumulation. The data sources can be divided into field and laboratory measurements as shown in Figure 1.1. Laboratory data are used to support field measurements which can be subject to certain limitations, e.g.: (i) Fluid saturations may be uncertain where actual formation brine composition and resistivity are not available. Permeability derived from well test data may be reduced by localised formation damage (skin effects) and increased by fractures.


Sedimentological data can be used to predict areal and vertical trends in rock properties and as an aid in the correct choice of core for laboratory measurements. For core analysis to provide meaningful data, due regard must be given to the ways in which rock properties can change both during the coring procedure (downhole), core preservation, and subsequent laboratory treatment.

Dr. Paul Glover

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Consequently. Routine porosity data are generally reliable. The distribution of these in a reservoir depends upon the reservoir conditions. gas permeability. 1. taking all available data into account.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Introduction This report is intended as a guide to the reliability and usefulness of the various RCAL and SCAL techniques generally available. and often form the great majority of the dataset representing reservoir core data. These are. the fluid properties. The type of drive currently operating in a reservoir has a strong control on the evaluation and management of the reservoir. dried core at room conditions. This is frequently the case because these interactions cannot be allowed for in routine measurements. • • • Aqueous fluids (brines).4 Routine Core Analysis (RCAL) Routine core analysis attempts to give only the very basic properties of unpreserved core. core porosity. Taken in context routine data can provide a useful guide to well and reservoir performance. The fluid properties are of fundamental importance. These sources of energy are called natural drive mechanisms. Such conditions are distinctly different from the actual reservoir situation. provided its limitations are appreciated. Maximum benefit will only be obtained from core analysis by full consultation between the reservoir engineer and the laboratory core analyst. refined in the light of current research. and the rock properties. and water saturation. and will continue to be. The natural energy of a reservoir can be used to facilitate the production of hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon fluids from reservoirs. This is especially true for permeability measurements. These are basic rock dimensions. Paul Glover Page 2 . brine or oil. grain density. Thus the Klinkenberg correction converts gas permeability to ‘equivalent liquid permeability’ (KL) but still assumes no fluid-rock interaction. drive mechanisms will also be reviewed as part of the course. There exist artificial drive mechanisms that can then be used to produce some of the remaining oil. Thus routine data should be applied to the reservoir state with caution. usually gives a lower permeability than KL. and the ways which these techniques have. A schematic diagram of common RCAL measurements is given as Figure 1.2. These limitations arise because routine porosity and permeability measurements are always made with gases on cleaned. Correction can be only made for the compressibility of gases used.3 Reservoir Fluids and Drives Hydrocarbon reservoirs may contain any or all of three fluid phases. An actual liquid. However. Routine core analysis data is cheap. there may still be producible oil in a reservoir when natural drive mechanisms are exhausted. Oils. and Gases (hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon). and will be studied in the first part of this course. being little affected by interactions between minerals and reservoir fluids. Correction for overburden loading is usually all that is required. Routine permeability results can misrepresent the reservoir situation as reservoir fluids often interact with the minerals forming the pore walls. If interface sensitive clays are Dr. 1.

An example of this effect is seen in the Magnus field and was demonstrated by Heaviside. Permeability is affected by overburden loading to a greater extent than porosity. the theory. or if a difficult strategic reservoir management decision has to be made (e. Each of the RCAL measurements made is discussed in detail. Chapter 5. Tests are carried out to measure fluid distribution. Unpreserved core cleaning and water analysis. test methods. covering. Gas permeability. Dr. porosity and grain density measurements. core. Chapter 6.3. This must be allowed for when applying routine data to the reservoir situation. undried. and are made on preserved core. electrical properties and fluid flow characteristics in the two and occasionally three phase situation. SCAL data is used to support log and well test data in gaining an understanding of individual well and overall reservoir performance. The topics covered will include: Chapter 4. and limitations of alternative methods. to gasflood. SCAL measurements are more expensive. However. Langley and Pallatt [1]. and are commonly only done on a small selected group of samples. drying can destroy them and KL may be one or two orders of magnitude greater than an actual brine permeability measured on preserved. Sample dimension. Paul Glover Page 3 . 1. or not to gasflood).g.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Introduction present in the reservoir. A schematic diagram of common SCAL measurements is given as Figure 1.5 Special Core Analysis (SCAL) Special Core Analysis attempts to extend the data provided by routine measurements to situations more representative of reservoir conditions.

and limitations of alternative methods. These systems usually have known interfacial tension (IFT) and wetting (contact) angle properties. Relative permeability attempts to provide data on the relative flow rates of phases present (e. The data generated allows relative flow rates and recovery efficiency to be assessed. test methods. oil and water or gas and water). and wetting characteristics. Paul Glover Page 4 . Fluid flow is strongly influenced by fluid viscosities.. to obtain the cementation exponent. Conversion to the required reservoir values of IFT and contact angle can then be attempted to give data for predicting saturation at a given height within a reservoir.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Introduction Porosity and single phase gas or liquid permeabilities are measured at overburden loadings so that the room condition data can be corrected.g. These are used to provide data for interpretation of down-hole logs. brine by oil or air by mercury. Care has to be taken that measurements are made under appropriate conditions.g. Each of the SCAL measurements made is discussed in detail in the relevant chapter. The topics covered will include: Dr. Wettability and capillary pressure data are generated by controlled displacement of a wetting phase by a non wetting phase e. and excess conductivity of samples. covering the theory. which allow some understanding of the wetting characteristics. brine by air. resistivity index. Electrical properties are measured at formation brine saturations of unity and less than unity.

Chapter 4 discusses coring. techniques available and limitations of data obtained. Techniques available. Chapter 11 briefly examines typical SCAL work programmes. Wettability determinations. capillary pressure. methods of preservation and requirement for preserved core. Porosity at overburden pressures. Typical SCAL programmes. Chapters 5 and 6 cover RCAL porosity and permeability measurements. together with extensions to overburden pressure for SCAL studies. Relative Permeability. Electrical measurements. Chapter 7. techniques available and limitations of data obtained. Chapter 9. Theory. which is of relevance mainly to SCAL studies. Chapter 10. electrical. which is covered in Chapter 2. Capillary pressure measurements. Dr. and relative permeability measurements commonly practised in SCAL studies. and cementation exponent. 1. Preserved core. Chapter 6.6 Arrangement of the Text Effective assessment of reservoirs begins with an understanding of the properties of reservoir fluids. limitations and application of data. Gas and liquid single phase permeabilities at overburden conditions. formation factor at room and overburden pressure.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Introduction Chapter 4. resistivity index and saturation exponent. Chapter 8. Chapter 5. Chapter 11. Chapters 7 to 10 cover various wettability. Chapter 3 discusses the various reservoir drives encountered in reservoir management. Paul Glover Page 5 . core preservation and handling.

history. The mode of migration helps define the distribution of the fluids in the reservoir. Fluid Composition The composition of the reservoir fluid has an extremely important control on its pressure-volume-temperature properties..g. (i) aqueous solutions with dissolved salts. Fluid Pressure Exerts a major control on the relative volumes of each fluid in a reservoir. 2. Fluid Migration Different fluids migrate in different ways depending on their density. Rock structure The microstructure of the rock can preferentially accept some fluids and not others through the operation of wettability contrasts and capillary pressure. It also affects distribution through the wettability of the reservoir rocks (Chapter 7). Paul Glover Page 6 . especially gases) Fluid pressure gradients (the major force operating during primary production) Dr. the most important are: Depth The difference in the density of the fluids results in their separation over time due to gravity (differential buoyancy). The fundamental forces that drive. and (iii) gases (hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon).g.1 Introduction Reservoir Fluids Reservoir fluids fall into three broad categories. viscosity. stabilise. or limit fluid movement are: • • • • • Gravity (e. and the wettability of the rock. However. causing separation of gas. A list of factors affecting fluid distribution would be manifold. In all cases their compositions depend upon their source. which define the relative volumes of each fluid in a reservoir. the common heterogeneity of rock properties results in preferential fluid distributions throughout the reservoir in all three spatial dimensions. and ultimately their source. Reservoir Temperature Exerts a major control on the relative volumes of each fluid in a reservoir. small scale flow acting to homogenise fluid compositions within a given phase) Thermal convection (convective movement of all mobile fluids.g. the effectiveness of the hydrocarbon trap also has a control on fluid distribution (e. but also the history of the fluids. oil and water in the reservoir column) Capillary (e.2 Fluid Distribution The distribution of a particular set of reservoir fluids depends not only on the characteristics of the rock-fluid system now.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids Chapter 2: 2. This chapter briefly examines these reservoir fluid properties. This subject is a major theme of this chapter. Trap-Type Clearly. Their distribution within a given reservoir depends upon the thermodynamic conditions of the reservoir as well as the petrophysical properties of the rocks and the physical and chemical properties of the fluids themselves. cap rocks may be permeable to gas but not to oil).g. responsible for the retention of water in micro-porosity) Molecular diffusion (e. (ii) liquid hydrocarbons. In addition. and present thermodynamic conditions.

1 Composition of Draugen 6407/9-4 Formation Water Component Pure water NaCl CaCl2. The reservoir rocks were initially fully or partially saturated with aqueous fluids before the migration of the oil from source rocks below them.12 0. The specific gravity of pure water is defined as unity. For example. 2. g dm-3 Solvent 34. The oil migrates upwards from the source rocks. However. certain forces are of seminal importance. Table 2.90 2. in exact analogy to a bottle of french dressing that has been left to settle. whether as connate water or in aquifers. but always occur within the hydrocarbon bearing layers as connate water. and this gas solubility also varies with temperature and pressure. Table 2. The aqueous fluids. Paul Glover Page 7 . and between lithologies within a reservoir. Usually the most common dissolved salt is NaCl. it is gravity that ensures. the order of fluids with increasing depth is GAS:OIL:WATER. that when all three basic fluids types are present in an uncompartmentalised reservoir.40 0. driven by the differential buoyancy of the oil and the water. If gas saturated water at reservoir pressure is subjected to lower Concentration.70 4.6H2O Final pH = 7 Why a connate water phase is invariably present in hydrocarbon bearing reservoir rock is easily explained.1 shows an example of a reservoir brine. These fluids are commonly saline.075 per 100 parts per thousand of dissolved solids. Different gases dissolve in aqueous fluids to different extents.6H2O MgCl2.1. but many others occur in varying smaller quantities. Table 2. which may occur as extensive aquifers underlying or interdigitated with hydrocarbon bearing layers.70 0. leaving the water-wet grains covered in a thin layer of water. When SCAL measurements are made with brine.6H2O KCl NaHCO3 SrCl2. with the remainder of the pore space full of oil. Water also remains in the microporosity where gravity segregation forces are insufficient to overcome the water-rock capillary forces.40 0. it is usual to make up a simulated formation brine to a recipe such as that given in Table 2. and the specific gravity of formation waters increases with salinity at a rate of about 0. and then deaerate it prior to use. In this process most of the water swaps places with the oil since no fluids can escape from the cap rock above the reservoir.6H2O BaCl2.06 Dr.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids Although each of these forces and factors vary from reservoir to reservoir. the water is not completely displaced as the initial reservoir rock is invariably water-wet. with a wide range of compositions and concentrations.3 Aqueous Fluids Accumulations of hydrocarbons are invariably associated with aqueous fluids (formation waters).2 shows a selection of gases. commonly contain dissolved gases at reservoir temperatures and pressures.

08991 0. Paul Glover Page 8 . In reservoirs the dissolved gas is mainly methane (from 10 SCF/STB at 1000 psi to 35 SCF/STB at 10 000 psi for gas-water systems. Consequently. and dynamic viscosities that are a little lower (Table 2. if a unit volume of formation water with no dissolved gases at reservoir pressure conditions is transported to surface pressure condition.5×10-6 to 5×10-6 per psi decreasing with increasing salinity). and increases with increasing salinity.235 0.1313 0.07179 0.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids pressures.2 Dissolution of Gases in Water (dissolved mole fraction) at 1 bar Gas 25 C Helium Argon Radon Hydrogen Nitrogen Oxygen Carbon dioxide Methane Ethane Ammonium 0. it will expand only slightly compared to the same initial volume of oil or gas. The overall result is that brines experience a slight shrinkage (< 5%) on being brought from reservoir conditions to the surface.2516 1.0164 3. Dr.e.1173 0. Higher salinity formation waters tend to contain less dissolved gas. It should be noted that formation waters containing a significant proportion of dissolved gases are more compressible than those that are not gas saturated.=1/Hgas.675 0. i.1684 0. Formation waters generally have densities that are greater than those of oils.3345 1876 o 104 × Xgas @ 1 bar 55oC 0.01896 1066 Xgas = mole fraction of gas dissolved at 1 bar pressure.1760 0. Aqueous fluids are relatively incompressible compared to oils.06983 0. and extremely so compared to gases (2.3 cP. The viscosity at high reservoir temperatures (>250oC) can be as low as 0. Table 2.1413 0.2507 0. the gas will be liberated. in exactly the same way that a lemonade bottle fizzes when opened.2298 6. However the reduction in temperature on being brought to the surface causes the formation water to shrink and there is also a certain shrinkage associated with the release of gas as pressure is lowered. and slightly less for water-oil systems). These waters expand slightly more on being brought to the surface. rises to above 1 cP at ambient conditions.111 0.3).8911 0.

6H2O Na2SO4 NaHCO3 Fluid Brine Brine Brine Kerosene Kerosene Kerosene Temperature.1250 1.6H2O MgCl2. Imagine in the following discussion that all changes occur isothermally (with no heat flowing either into or out of the fluid) and at the same temperature. It is worth noting that the process A→B→C→D described above during expansion (reducing the pressure on the piston) is perfectly reversible.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids Table 2.7886 Composition.1208 0. due to the small compressibility of liquids (liquid hydrocarbons as well as liquid formation waters have small compressibilities that are almost independent of pressure for the range of pressures encountered in hydrocarbon reservoirs).16 101. (point A).661 1. g/cm3 1.219 1. The pistons in Figure 2.7957 0. Paul Glover Page 9 .509 1.1 shows the pressure versus volume per mole weight (specific volume) characteristics of a typical pure hydrocarbon (e.4 Phase Behaviour of Hydrocarbon Systems Figure 2. and is called the dew point. Point C represents the situation where the last tiny drop of liquid turns into gas. Further expansion (B→C) now occurs at constant pressure with more and more of the liquid turning into the gas phase until no more fluid remains. g/l Solvent 150.3 Densities and Viscosities for a Typical Formation Water and a Refined Oil Brine Component Pure water NaCl CaCl2.514 2. The constant pressure at which this occurs is called the vapour pressure of the fluid at a given temperature.830 1. then application of pressure to the fluid by applying pressure to the pistons will result in changes following the curve D→C→B→A. On further expansion.97 0. cP 1.21 Dynamic Viscosity.7923 0. Initially the component is in the liquid phase at 1000 psia.55 0.1 demonstrate the changes in fluid phase schematically. and has a volume of about 2 ft3/lb.347 1. Expansion of the system (A→B) results in large drops in pressure with small increases in specific volume. If a system is in state D. Dr. propane).g.1237 1. oC 20 25 30 20 25 30 Density. This is the bubble point or saturation pressure for a given temperature. a pressure will be attained where the first tiny bubble of gas appears (point B).32 13.mol. Further expansion now takes place in the vapour phase (C→D).

Paul Glover Page 10 . If this is done.2). Note that the bubble point and dew point curves join together at a point (shown by a dot in Figure 2.1 for a range of fluid temperatures.2). and hence have an interface (the surface of a liquid drop or of a vapour bubble). the pressure-volume relationships obtained can be plotted on a pressure-volume diagram with the bubble point and dew point locus also included (Figure 2. The region under the bubble point/dew point envelope is the region where the vapour phase and liquid phase can coexist.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids We can examine the curve in Figure 2. This is the critical point. The region above this envelope represents the region where the Dr.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids Dr. Paul Glover Page 11 .

the vapour becomes denser and denser until it can be considered as a light liquid). further expansion does Dr.2 is reached. which is the critical point. and plot the data on a graph of pressure against temperature. Paul Glover Page 12 . The behaviour of a hydrocarbon fluid made up of many different hydrocarbon components shows slightly different behaviour (Figure 2.3 shows such a plot.e. Thus at any given constant low fluid pressure. Note that the dew point and bubble points are always the same for a pure component. a reduction of fluid volume will involve the vapour phase turning into a liquid phase without any fluid interface being generated (i. reduction of fluid volume will involve the vapour condensing to a liquid via the two phase region.4). Suppose that we find the bubble points and dew points for a range of different temperatures. Figure 2. Once the bubble point is reached.e. the gas is so dense that it looks like a low density liquid and vice versa).Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids vapour phase and liquid phase do not coexist. But at a given constant high fluid pressure (higher than the critical point). where both liquid and vapour coexist. so they plot as a single line until the peak of Figure 2. The initial expansion of the liquid is similar to that for the single component case. Thus the critical point can also be viewed as the point at which the properties of the liquid and the gas become indistinguishable (i.

Figure 2.6 shows the PT diagram for a reservoir fluid. which defines the pressure above which the two phases cannot exist together whatever the temperature. which defines the temperature above which the two phases cannot exist together whatever the pressure. Paul Glover Page 13 . and the cricondentherm.5). and the resulting pressure-temperature plot is no longer a straight line but a phase envelope composed of the bubble point and dew point curves. which now meet at the critical point (Figure 2. and contains free gas. together with a production path from the pressure and temperature existing in the reservoir to that existing in the separator at the Dr. while a fluid at the bubble point curve or below it is classified as saturated. A fluid that exists above the bubble point curve is classified as undersaturated as it contains no free gas. The cricondenbar. There are also two other points on this diagram that are of interest. In this case the bubble points and dew points differ.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids not occur at constant pressure but is accompanied by a decrease in pressure (vapour pressure) due to changes in the relative fractional amounts of liquid to gas for each hydrocarbon in the vaporising mixture.

All reservoirs are predominantly isothermal because of their large thermal inertia. after Cronquist. therefore it is extremely important to understand the PT phase envelope as it can be used to classify and understand major hydrocarbon reservoirs.6 shows that the ratio of vapour to liquid at separator conditions is approximately 55:45. This results in the production path of all hydrocarbons initially undergoing a fluid pressure reduction. This indicates that the shape of the PT diagram for various mixtures of hydrocarbon gases and liquids varies greatly. 1979: • • • • • Dry gas Wet gas Gas condensate Volatile oil Black oil Dr. On production the fluid pressure drops fast with some temperature reduction occurring as the fluid travels up the borehole.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids surface. Figure 2.5 PVT Properties of Hydrocarbon Fluids 2. Note that the original fluid was an undersaturated liquid at reservoir conditions.5. Clearly.1 Cronquist Classification Hydrocarbon reservoirs are usually classified into the following five main types. and on the bubble point line of the separator oil PT diagram. If we analyse the PT characteristics of the separator gas and separator fluid separately then we would find that the separator pressuretemperature point representing the separator conditions falls on the dew point line of the separator gas PT diagram. 2. Paul Glover Page 14 .

68 1.21 5965 165 48.55 0.10 2.02 0.34 34. and that for C7+ is for the bulked C7+ fraction.12 5.82 0.53 0. γAPI .92 22.864 0.71 1.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids Each of these reservoirs can be understood in terms of its phase envelope.5.74 2.7 Black Oil 0.40 320 3125 23.43 0.21 0.11 1. Dr.4 Typical Mol% Compositions of Fluids Produced from Cronquist Reservoir Types Component or Property CO2 N2 C1 C2 C3 iC 4 nC4 iC 5 nC5 C6 s C7+ GOR (SCF/STB) OGR (STB/MMSCF) API Specific Gravity.31 73.24 57.oAPI C7+ Specific Gravity.6 - 0.13 0.21 1.72 0.7.64 0.58 1.76 0.5 1.19 7. The typical components of production from each of these reservoirs is shown in Table 2.5/γo) .08 0. γAPI = (141.49 0.18 1. and a schematic diagram of their PT phase envelopes is shown in Figure 2.24 0.41 0.16 56.750 0.25 92.01 0.37 0.01 0.82 69000 15 65.0 0.80 3.14 0. Paul Glover Page 15 .91 3.07 0.28 0.60 7.46 3.50 ∞ 0 - 1.131.07 86.45 0.920 Note: Fundamental specific gravity γo is equal to the density of the fluid divided by the density of pure water.09 8. The API specific gravity γAPI is defined as. Table 2. γo Dry Gas Wet Gas Gas Volatile Oil Condensate 2.4.57 1465 680 36.35 4.62 4.816 0.95 1.

3 Wet Gas Reservoirs A typical wet gas reservoir is shown in Figure 2. The temperature-pressure path followed during production just penetrates the phase envelope. Note the lack of C5+ components.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids 2. Paul Glover Page 16 . resulting in the production of gas at the surface with no associated liquid phase.9).5.5. During production the fluids are reduced in temperature and pressure.4. Note also the small specific gravity for C7+ components (0. During production the fluids are reduced in temperature and pressure. it would be possible to produce some liquids if the pressure is maintained at a higher level. Dr. the stock tank pressures are usually high enough for some liquids to be produced (Figure 2. The reservoir temperature is just above the cricondentherm. and the continuing predominance of methane in the wet gas in Table 2. The GOR (gas-oil ratio) has fallen as some liquid is being produced.750). 2. However. In practice. this liquid usually amounts to less than about 15 STB/MMSCF. Clearly. indicating that the majority of the C7+ fraction is made up of the lighter C7+ hydrocarbons.2 Dry Gas Reservoirs A typical dry gas reservoir is shown in Figure 2. The temperature-pressure path followed during production does not penetrate the phase envelope. and the predominance of methane in the dry gas in Table 2.4. resulting in the production of gas at the surface with a small associated liquid phase.8.9. The reservoir temperature is well above the cricondentherm. Note the presence of small amounts of C5+ components.

and the fraction of denser liquid hydrocarbon liquids is increased.4. If this occurs. Changes in the GOR. Note the increase in the C7+ components and the continued importance of methane in Table 2.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids 2. Reference to Table 2. the fluids are in an indeterminate vapour phase. OGR and specific gravities are in agreement with the general trend. the OGR has increased. although sufficiently low pressures and temperatures may not be available for this to happen. The reservoir temperature is such that it falls between the temperature of the critical point and the cricondentherm. Thus.10. but does not occur in the predominantly isothermal conditions of hydrocarbon reservoirs. with a liquid oil phase existing in equilibrium with a vapour phase having gas condensate compositions. The production path then has a complex history. compared with the previously discussed reservoir types.4 shows that the fraction of gases is reduced. in gas condensate reservoirs. The reservoir PT conditions place it inside the phase envelope. If the pressures and temperatures reduce further. The production path results in small amounts of further condensation. This occurs until the dewpoint line is reached. but should be avoided as much as possible by keeping the stock tank pressure as high as possible. and the vapour expands as the pressure and temperature drop. and the specific gravity of the C7+ components is increasing.4 Gas Condensate Reservoirs A typical gas condensate reservoir is shown in Figure 2. and re-evaporation can occur again.11. the oil produced at the surface results from a vapour existing in the reservoir.5.5. indicating that greater fractions of denser hydrocarbons are present in the C7+ fraction. Dr. the process is called isothermal retrograde condensation. Initially. Paul Glover Page 17 .5 Volatile Oil Reservoirs A typical volatile oil reservoir is shown in Figure 2. whereupon increasing amounts of liquids are condensed from the vapour phase. The GOR has decreased significantly. the condensed liquid may reevaporate. Isobaric retrograde condensation also exists as a scientific phenomenon. 2.

Paul Glover Page 18 . the hydrocarbon in the reservoir exists as a liquid at depth. Table 2. Dr. The GOR. Thus. gas begins to come out of solution and continues to do so until the stock tank is reached. Once the bubble point line is reached. with most of the produced gas present as methane.6 Black Oil Reservoirs A typical gas condensate reservoir is shown in Figure 2. is relatively lean. and at pressures above the cricondenbar. The reservoir temperature is much lower than the temperature of the critical point of the system. OGR and specific gravities mirror the fluid composition.12.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Fluids 2.5. The production path first involves a reduction in pressure with only small amounts of expansion in the liquid phase. The composition of this gas changes very little along the production path.4 shows a produced hydrocarbon fluid that is now dominated by heavy hydrocarbon liquids. and is not usually of economic importance when produced.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes

Reservoir Drives

Chapter 3: Reservoir Drives
3.1 Introduction
Recovery of hydrocarbons from an oil reservoir is commonly recognised to occur in several recovery stages. These are: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Primary recovery Secondary recovery Tertiary recovery (Enhanced Oil Recovery, EOR) Infill recovery

Primary recovery This is the recovery of hydrocarbons from the reservoir using the natural energy of the reservoir as a drive. Secondary recovery This is recovery aided or driven by the injection of water or gas from the surface. Tertiary recovery (EOR) There are a range of techniques broadly labelled ‘Enhanced Oil Recovery’ that are applied to reservoirs in order to improve flagging production. Infill recovery Is carried out when recovery from the previous three phases have been completed. It involves drilling cheap production holes between existing boreholes to ensure that the whole reservoir has been fully depleted of its oil. This chapter discusses primary, secondary and EOR drive mechanisms and techniques.

3.2 Primary Recovery Drive Mechanisms
During primary recovery the natural energy of the reservoir is used to transport hydrocarbons towards and out of the production wells. There are several different energy sources, and each gives rise to a drive mechanism. Early in the history of a reservoir the drive mechanism will not be known. It is determined by analysis of production data (reservoir pressure and fluid production ratios). The earliest possible determination of the drive mechanism is a primary goal in the early life of the reservoir, as its knowledge can greatly improve the management and recovery of reserves from the reservoir in its middle and later life. There are five important drive mechanisms (or combinations). These are: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Solution gas drive Gas cap drive Water drive Gravity drainage Combination or mixed drive

Table 3.1 shows the recovery ranges for each individual drive mechanism.

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Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes

Reservoir Drives

Table 3.1 Recovery ranges for each drive mechanism Drive Mechanism Solution gas drive Evolved gas Gas expansion Gas cap drive Water drive Bottom Edge Gravity drainage Gravity Gas cap expansion Aquifer expansion Energy Source Evolved solution gas and expansion Recovery, % OOIP 20-30 18-25 2-5 20-40 20-60 20-40 35-60 50-70 A combination or mixed drive occurs when any of the first three drives operate together, or when any of the first three drives operate with the aid of gravity drainage. The reservoir pressure and GOR trends for each of the main (first) three drive mechanisms is shown as Figures 3.1 and 3.2. Note particularly that water drive maintains the reservoir pressure much higher than the gas drives, and has a uniformly low GOR.

3.2.1 Solution Gas Drive
This drive mechanism requires the reservoir rock to be completely surrounded by impermeable barriers. As production occurs the reservoir pressure drops, and the exsolution and expansion of the dissolved gases in the oil and water provide most of the reservoirs drive energy. Small amounts of additional energy are also derived from the expansion of the rock and water, and gas exsolving and
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Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes

Reservoir Drives

expanding from the water phase. The process is shown schematically in Figure 3.3. A solution gas drive reservoir is initially either considered to be undersaturated or saturated depending on its pressure: • • Undersaturated: Reservoir pressure > bubble point of oil. Saturated: Reservoir pressure ≤ bubble point of oil.

For an undersaturated reservoir no free gas exists until the reservoir pressure falls below the bubblepoint. In this regime reservoir drive energy is provided only by the bulk expansion of the reservoir rock and liquids (water and oil). For a saturated reservoir, any oil production results in a drop in reservoir pressure that causes bubbles of gas to exsolve and expand. When the gas comes out of solution the oil (and water) shrink slightly. However, the volume of the exsolved gas, and its subsequent expansion more than makes up for this. Thus gas expansion is the primary reservoir drive for reservoirs below the bubble point. Solution gas drive reservoirs show a particular characteristic pressure, GOR and fluid production history. If the reservoir is initially undersaturated, the reservoir pressure can drop by a great deal (several hundred psi over a few months), see Figures 3.1 and 3.2. This is because of the small compressibilities of the rock water and oil, compared to that of gas. In this undersaturated phase, gas is only exsolved from the fluids in the well bore, and consequently the GOR is low and constant. When the reservoir reaches the bubble point pressure, the pressure declines less quickly due to the formation of gas bubbles in the reservoir that expand taking up the volume exited by produced oil and hence protecting against pressure drops. When this happens, the GOR rises dramatically (up to 10 times). Further fall in
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The GOR rises only slowly in the early stages of production from such a reservoir because the pressure of the gas cap prevents gas from coming out of solution in the oil and water. Eventually the GOC will reach the production wells and the GOR will increase by large amounts (Figures 3. Paul Glover Page 22 . There is usually no production of water during oil recovery unless the reservoir pressure drops sufficiently for the connate water to expand sufficiently to be mobile. Oil recovery from this type of reservoir is typically between 20% and 30% of original oil in place (i. 3. as production continues. and needing artificial lift much later than for solution drive reservoirs. the oil production falls and artificial lift systems are then instituted. The presence of the expanding gas cap limits the pressure decrease experienced by the reservoir during production. The slower reduction in pressure experienced by gas cap reservoirs compared to solution drive reservoirs results in the oil production rates being much higher throughout the life of the reservoir. but derives its main source of reservoir energy from the expansion of the gas cap already existing above the reservoir. When the GOR initially rises. low).1 and 3. The actual rate of pressure decrease is related to the size of the gas cap.e. Of this only 0% to 5% of oil is recovered above the bubblepoint.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives reservoir pressure. can.4). lead to a decrease in GOR again when reservoir pressures are such that the gas expands less in the borehole.2.2). As production continues. the gas cap expands pushing the gas-oil contact (GOC) downwards (Figure 3. Dr. Even in this scenario little water is produced. however.2 Gas Cap Drive A gas cap drive reservoir usually benefits to some extent from solution gas drive.

as far away from the gas cap as possible. If the production rate is too high then the extracted oil may not be able to be replaced by water in the same timescale. especially if the aquifer is small or low permeability. 3. In this case the reservoir pressure will fall (Figure 3.3 Water Drive The drive energy is provided by an aquifer that interfaces with the oil in the reservoir at the oil-water contact (OWC). and the size and permeability of the aquifer is high. how the energy resource is used bearing in mind the geometric characteristics of the reservoir. The recovery of gas cap reservoirs is better than for solution drive reservoirs (20% to 40% OOIP). The permeability of the aquifer. Paul Glover Page 23 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives Gas cap reservoirs produce very little or no water. As production continues. The GOR remains very constant in a strongly water driven reservoir (Figure 3. and there may also be a gas cap contributing to the primary recovery. The reservoir production rate. then the reservoir pressure will remain high because all produced oil is replaced efficiently with water.5) The pressure history of a water driven reservoir depends critically upon: (i) (ii) (iii) The size of the aquifer.1).5) • Edge water drive (Figure 3. If the production rate is low. whereas if the pressure decrease is higher (weakly water driven reservoir) the GOR increases due to gas exsolving from the oil and water in the reservoir. Dr. Clearly. • Produced gas can be separated and immediately injected back into the gas cap to maintain gas cap pressure. solution gas drive will also be taking place. and how the reservoir is managed. which is a measure of how much latent energy there is available to drive production. Likewise the oil production from a strongly water driven reservoir remains fairly constant until water breakthrough occurs. and oil is extracted from the reservoir. economics and equity considerations.2).e. This is to maximise the time before gas breaks through in the well. Two types of water drive are commonly recognised: • Bottom water drive (Figure 3. • Thick oil columns are best. • Wells with increasing GOR (gas cap breakthrough) can be shut in to reduce field wide GOR. as the pressure decrease is small and constant. and are perforated at the base. Points of importance to bear in mind when managing a gas cap reservoir are: • Steeply dipping reservoir oil columns are best. the aquifer expands into the reservoir displacing the oil. The recovery efficiency depends on the size of the gas cap. i. for most reservoirs.2.

production well placing. or the production rate is high then fingering can occur which leaves oil behind in the reservoir (Figure 3.1). When water breakthrough does occur the well can either be shut-down. it can be seen that thick oil columns are again an advantage. The recovery from water driven reservoirs is usually good (20-60% OOIP. or assisted using gas lift. but the wells are perforated high in the oil zone to delay the water breakthrough. Paul Glover Page 24 . Table 3. Dr.6). oil viscosity. Reinjection of water into the aquifer is seldom done because the injected water usually just disappears into the aquifer with no effect on aquifer pressure. which depends on reservoir structure. although the exact figure depends on the strength of the aquifer and the efficiency with which the water displaces the oil in the reservoir.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives Using analogous arguments to the gas cap drive. If the ratio of water to oil viscosity is large. and production rate.

8.7 shows production by gravity drainage. We have seen that the management of the reservoir for Dr. and in practice is only used in combination with other drive mechanisms.2. Figure 3.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives 3.1). The rate of production engendered by gravity drainage is very low compared with the other drive mechanisms examined so far. Paul Glover Page 25 .4 Gravity Drainage The density differences between oil and gas and water result in their natural segregation in the reservoir. However. This process can be used as a drive mechanism.5 Combination or Mixed Drive In practice a reservoir usually incorporates at least two main drive mechanisms. in the case shown in Figure 3. Table 3. The best conditions for gravity drainage are: • • Thick oil zones. High vertical permeabilities. Consequently. it is often used in addition to the other drive mechanisms. For example. 3. it is extremely efficient over long periods and can give rise to extremely high recoveries (50-70% OOIP. but is relatively weak.2.

8. Paul Glover Page 26 . If both occur as in Figure 3. 3. and the size/permeability of the aquifer. low perforation for gas cap reservoirs compared with high perforation for water drive reservoirs). the size of the gas cap.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives different drive mechanisms can be diametrically opposed (e. Two techniques are commonly used: (i) (ii) Waterflooding Gasflooding Dr. and this compromise must take into account the strength of each drive present. a compromise must be sought. It is the job of the reservoir manager to identify the strengths of the drives as early as possible in the life of the reservoir to optimise the reservoir performance.3 Secondary Recovery Secondary recovery is the result of human intervention in the reservoir to improve recovery when the natural drives have diminished to unreasonably low efficiencies.g.

and (iii) miscible gas. and design are beyond the scope of these notes. There is an additional complication in that re-injected lean gas may strip light hydrocarbons from the liquid oil phase. In situ combustion (injection of a hot gas that combusts with the oil in place. equity agreements often give different percentages of gas and oil to different companies. At first sight this may not seem a problem. Prudhoe Bay. However. However. (ii) chemical. (i) (ii) Maintain the reservoir pressure. (iv) Hot water injection.4. (i) thermal.10). The detailed treatment of waterflood recovery estimation. It is worth noting that the generation of large amounts of heat and the treatment of evolved gas has large environmental implications for these methods. and are implemented after extensive SCAL studies have isolated the reservoir rock characteristics that are causing oil to remain unproduced by conventional methods. They fall into three broad categories.4 Tertiary Recovery (Enhanced Oil Recovery) Primary and secondary recovery methods usually only extract about 35% of the original oil in place. Again accurate relperms are needed in the design. 3. However. Paul Glover Page 27 . Many enhanced oil recovery methods have been designed to do this.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives 3. Figure 3. 3. as well as injector/producer array geometry and crustal stresses. Then the decision whether to gasflood is not trivial (e.2 Gas Injection This method is similar to waterflooding in principal. All are extremely expensive.1 Waterflooding This method involves the injection of water at the base of a reservoir to. 3. it should be noted that the successful outcome of a waterflood process depends on designs based on accurate relative permeability data in both horizontal directions. thermal EOR is probably the most efficient EOR approach. and with full account taken of the local crustal stress directions in the reservoir. as recombination in the stock tank or afterwards may be carried out.3. on the choice of a good injector/producer array.11).g. Clearly it is extremely important to increase this figure. are only used when economical.9).3. Dr. and Displace oil (usually with gas and water) towards production wells. The techniques include: (i) (ii) Steam injection (Figure 3. mathematical modelling.1 Thermal EOR These processes use heat to improve oil recovery by reducing the viscosity of heavy oils and vaporising lighter oils. Alaska). (iii) Microwave heating downhole (3. and is used to maintain gas cap pressure even if oil displacement is not required. and hence improving their mobility. and a few will be reviewed here.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives Dr. Paul Glover Page 28 .

2 Chemical EOR These processes use chemicals added to water in the injected fluid of a waterflood to alter the flood efficiency in such a way as to improve oil recovery. This can be done in many ways.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives 3. Paul Glover Page 29 . examples are listed below: (i) Increasing water viscosity (polymer floods) (ii) Decreasing the relative permeability to water (cross-linked polymer floods) (iii) Increasing the relative permeability to oil (micellar and alkaline floods) Dr.4.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives (iv) Decreasing Sor (micellar and alkaline floods) (v) Decreasing the interfacial tension between the oil and water phases (micellar and alkaline floods) An example of chemical EOR is shown in Figure 3. Paul Glover Page 30 . Dr.12.

In practice a gas is used since gases have high mobilities and can easily enter all the pores in the rock providing the gas is miscible in the oil. A buffer to maintain polymer stability follows. Then the chemical surfactant EOR flood is carried out. especially surfactants designed to reduce surface or interfacial tension. Three types of gas are commonly used: (i) CO2 (ii) N2 (iii) Hydrocarbon gases. and how the total process has reduced the amount of the surfactant fluid used. Dr.13 shows a typical flood sequence. 3. which is usually water. Note that the mobilised oil bank moves ahead of the surfactant flood. Commonly polymers are injected into the reservoir after the chemical flood to ensure that a favourable mobility ratio is maintained.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives Chemical flood additives.4. and to ensure that the EOR process is economically successful as well as technically. is injected. Figure 3. Thus the whole chemical EOR flood is designed to minimise the amount of surfactants needed. are extremely expensive. Such a fluid has a zero interfacial tension with the oil and can in principal flush out all of the oil remaining in place.3 Miscible Gas Flooding This method uses a fluid that is miscible with the oil. Chemical flooding is therefore not a simple single stage process. then a driving fluid. Paul Glover Page 31 . Initially the reservoir is subjected to a preflush of chemicals designed to improve the stability of the interface between the in-situ fluids and the chemical flood itself.

directly accessing oil that may have been left unproduced by all the previous natural and artificial drive mechanisms. while the resulting additional production may not be great. since gas breakthrough may be early due to fingering. the idea being that the water slugs will lower the mobility of the CO2 and lead to a more piston-like displacement with higher flood efficiencies. A WAG flood is shown in Figure 3. giving it higher mobilities and easier recovery. One such approach is called a miscible WAG (water alternating gas). and this process reduces the oil viscosity.5 Infill Recovery Towards the end of the reservoir life (after primary. leading to low sweep efficiencies. 3. Dr. Infill drilling can involve very significant drilling costs. secondary and enhanced oil recovery).14. An additional important advantage of miscible gasflooding is that the gas dissolves in the oil. Effort is then concentrated on trying to improve the sweep efficiency.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Reservoir Drives All of these are relatively cheap to obtain either from the atmosphere or from evolved reservoir gases. In this approach water slugs and CO2 slugs are alternately injected into the reservoir. Paul Glover Page 32 . The high mobility of gases can cause a problem in the reservoir flooding process. the only thing that can be done to improve the production rate is to carry out infill drilling.

Samples of the reservoir rock and the fluids they contain can be. The choice of core preparation techniques is increasingly being made by using pre-screening information on the preserved core. altered by the process of obtaining them (coring. storage.1. It is essential to use preserved core for certain SCAL tests and for meaningful assessment of routine data. and are commonly. wellsite handling.1 Introduction Large financial resources are invested in RCAL and SCAL core analysis programmes. together with some of the techniques available to reduce alteration.2 The Coring Process Reservoir rock undergoes changes during the coring process and on storage before reaching the laboratory. Paul Glover Page 33 . Some of the changes are reversible whilst others are irreversible but preventable.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Coring. and preserve the rock and fluid properties. recovery. This chapter gives an overview of the alteration processes that may be at work. Preservation and Handling Chapter 4: Coring. 4. This approach is highly recommended. shipment. The changes which occur are shown in Figure 4. and preparation for experimentation). and an efficient use of the financial resources devoted to them. It is clear that the samples used in such studies should be as representative as possible of the reservoir rock at depth if the final data is to be credible. In most cases it is possible to leave all or part of the core in a usable state. Dr. and a wide range of accurate experimental determinations can be carried out. cores are expensive to obtain and represent a very dilute sampling of the reservoir rock. However. Preservation and Handling 4.

allowing better estimation of initial reservoir oil saturation. Paul Glover Page 34 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Coring. e. More important changes can occur if the rock contains minerals sensitive to water salinity. Thus it Dr. If interface sensitive clays. Water saturation may then also be retained intact. and the original contents partly displaced. These changes are not always harmful as the core can usually be restored in the laboratory. The outer surface of the core will be invaded by mud particles.. For example. fibrous illite are present they can be irreparably damaged by drying (Figure 4. This zone should be avoided when sampling. Drying can be the worst that can happen to core after removal from the barrel. These changes are usually unavoidable but if formations are known to be particularly sensitive. contact with low salinity water can mobilise poorly adhered clay particles. giving a small possibility that core can arrive in the laboratory with mobilised fines. the extent depending upon the core permeability and original fluid saturations. and formation water displaced by mud filtrate. For transition and water zone a bland mud formulation will do the least harm to original rock properties.g. thus the core is effectively water-flooded with mud filtrate.2) and any permeability measurements made on such core will be valueless. the depth of invasion being dependent upon permeability. it may be possible to modify mud composition and reduce overpressure to minimise damage. Preservation and Handling Drilling of the core is invariably carried out at very high bottom hole pressure differentials. For complete preservation of wettability on cores above the transition zone. coring with lease crude is necessary. In a similar fashion the wetting characteristics of the rock may be altered by surfactant mud additives. The rest of the core will have had its original hydrocarbon content. which are not significantly mobile in the reservoir.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes

Coring, Preservation and Handling

is necessary to preserve some core in the state that it leaves the barrel either by immersion in simulated formation brine or by wrapping in foil and wax. The latter technique is the minimum required for samples intended for wettability measurements, but for straightforward assessment of water zone permeabilities immersion in brine is adequate. The necessity for preserved core will be more fully covered under relevant sections below.

4.3 Plug Sampling and Cleaning (Unpreserved Core)
Standard techniques are applied unless the core is very heterogeneous or likely to be damaged by routine cleaning methods. One or one and a half inch diameter sample plugs are drilled and trimmed to between two and three inches long with simulated formation brine as lubricant. If the composition of formation brine is unknown, a five percent sodium chloride brine is used. Plugs are taken at regular intervals (often every 25 cm), parallel to bedding planes for horizontal permeability (see Figure 4.3a). Further plugs normal to the bedding plane are taken if required for vertical permeability. The sampling interval can either, be increased, if the core is from a formation known to be homogeneous; or varied if the core contains thin shaly bands making it difficult to produce intact plugs. Thin shaly bands are avoided unless frequent and representative. Figure 4.3b analyses the suitability of core plugs for homogeneous, thickly bedded and thinly bedded whole core. Tests may also be carried out on full diameter core samples. This is necessary if plug sized samples do not contain a representative pore size spectrum. Fractures, vugs (very large pores) and stylolytes are typical structural features which necessitate measurement on full diameter (whole core) samples. The measurements made are the same as for plug samples, but a special core holder is necessary if horizontal permeabilities are required. Plugs are cleaned by alternate extraction with hot toluene and methanol in Soxhlet extractors (Figure 4.4a and 4.4b) until no further discolouration of solvent occurs. This may take from a few, to several hundred hours depending upon permeability. Low permeability plugs are seldom completely free of residual brine and oil at this stage. Complete removal of residual fluids can only be achieved by prolonged Soxhlet extraction. Cores can also be cleaned by
Dr. Paul Glover Page 35

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes

Coring, Preservation and Handling

flushing the core with alternate miscible solvents (e.g. toluene (for the oil phase) and methanol (for the water phase)) done hot or cold in a Hassler coreholder (Figure 4.4a; also see section 4.5). Both the aqueous (methanol) and oleic (toluene) cleaning phases exiting the rock can be bulked and submitted for analysis of the amount of water and individual hydrocarbons present.

Dr. Paul Glover

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Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes

Coring, Preservation and Handling

Plugs are then dried to constant weight in a humidity controlled oven at 60°C, 40% relative humidity. Humidity controlled drying assists in restoring clays to nearer their reservoir state, and may assist in preventing any further damage. However, the Klinkenberg corrected equivalent liquid permeability from this type of drying process may still be larger than the actual brine permeability due to the destruction of the clay texture. If samples of plugs containing clays that are sensitive to drying are required for SEM analysis (e.g. Figure 4.2), then a sample of the core with the original fluid contents must be critical point dried. Ordinary drying destroys fine clay minerals because the interfacial forces associated with the retreating liquid-vapour interface are high enough to mash the clay structure. Critical point drying involves keeping a small sample of the core at pressure and temperature conditions of the critical point of the fluids. The fluids will then be evaporated from the sample without a liquid-vapour interface, which avoids destroying the fine clay structure. This is an expensive operation because it can take many days to perform on even the smallest sample chip. Consequently, it is almost never carried out for core plugs.

Dr. Paul Glover

Page 37

Paul Glover Page 38 . Preservation and Handling Dr.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Coring.

Wax coated. Cores are either kept under simulated formation brine in polymer containers with an airtight seal at ambient pressure (certain types of spaghetti jars are good for this). Cores preserved in this way at the well site can be safely stored for moderately long periods and then be used for almost all SCAL purposes (Figure 4. Maintenance of fluid saturations as received at surface. In deoxygenated formation brine or kerosene. and involves wrapping the core in layers of plastic and aluminium foil before being dipped in wax. and the jars are then sealed. Samples are kept in anaerobic jars which can be pressurised to 30 psi (Figure 4. which is then raised to 30 psi pressure. Paul Glover Page 39 . for all SCAL purposes and especially wettability and residual oil saturations. The methods are: Under simulated formation brine or kerosene. see Figure 4. This technique.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Coring. is widely used. Prevention of drying of interface sensitive clays. for water and oil zone cores respectively. Unconsolidated or relatively uncompacted samples that exhibit strong porosity and permeability reductions with overburden stress.5). The remaining air is then purged with nitrogen. Several methods of preservation are currently available and a choice can be made if the requirement for preserved core is specified. for wettability measurements.5). the samples may be stored in this state for long periods.5. Providing that the pressure is maintained. Other SCAL where drying is not desirable. Wrapped in cling film and frozen in solid CO2 for fluid saturation measurements. This is used for unconsolidated Dr. The freshly cut core pieces are placed in the jars under deaerated simulated formation brine or kerosene. The samples are then preserved under reservoir fluid and a blanket of inert gas.4 Core and Plug Preservation (SCAL Techniques) Preserved core is almost always required for one or more of the following reasons: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Wettability determinations. Preservation and Handling 4. also called ‘seal-peel’.

and stored frozen.5 Cleaning and Treatment of Preserved Core Treatment of preserved core for the tests mentioned above will be reviewed with the appropriate tests. Plugs can be cut from the core using liquid nitrogen as the cutting fluid. and fractures) Dr. The actual method used will depend upon the properties of the core.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Coring. 4. The sample is thawed out and tested without being removed from the special coreholders in which they were initially loaded. The samples are cooled using liquid nitrogen and are loaded into special containers. Preservation and Handling core. Usually the optimum method will be clear from pre-screening information on the core. The containers can be transported packed in solid CO2. sample plugs are drilled and trimmed using deoxygenated formation brine and stored under deoxygenated. Paul Glover Page 40 . but in general. Figure 4. There are several methods of cleaning core. Pre-screening measurements include: • • • • • • • Core description Core lithology Assessment of consolidation SEM analysis of mineralogy and pore structure Petrographic analysis of mineralogy and pore structure XRD/XRF analysis for bulk and clay mineralogies CT scanning to assess core heterogeneities. and stored in special freezers. depolarised kerosene or brine before testing.6 (cross-bedding. and the plugs are then immediately loaded into special coreholders again.

The water saturation can be calculated by using the volume of the evolved water and a measurement of the porosity of the rock sample after the extraction process. although it is commoner to use at least three portions of each. The core is frozen with liquid nitrogen or dry ice as soon as it emerges from the coring barrel. the water compositions more commonly used in SCAL applications derive from wireline formation testing. and cross-bedding). storage. storage. Its extremely friable nature means that any rough handling damages the pore structure irreversibly. (i) unconsolidated core. cools. Figure 4. where appropriate. Paul Glover Page 41 . and the toluene is replaced with a more efficient solvent such as CS2 (very dangerous) or dichloromethane. vugs. Dr. In this case special dry methanol is used. Cleaning is usually complete after flowing three 200 ml alternating portions each of methanol and toluene. is carried by the solvent vapours into the long straight condenser in the top of the apparatus. This is done by the Dean and Stark method. (v) core structural heterogeneity (e. The preserved sample is placed in a paper thimble in the large glass container and fluxed with hot solvent. The commoner specialist cleaning methods include: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Critical point drying Cold miscible solvent flushing Hot miscible solvent flushing Direct fluid replacement (oil for oil and brine for brine) Core cleaning.6 Unconsolidated Core Unconsolidated core gives rise to particular problems in coring. prior to the experiment is only carried out after the sample has been fully supported with the relevant applied confining pressures (see above). The composition of the evolved fluids can also be analysed chemically. and the oil content and composition. handling and plugging. and plugging this type of core is in a frozen state. and samples can turn into a pile of mud in your hand. Under certain circumstances only one portion of each solvent will be used.g. (iv) core mineralogical hetereogeneity.4a) and cold solvent flowed through it. 4.7 Water Analysis It is possible to obtain the initial water saturation and water composition from preserved whole core and core plugs by extracting the water. Preservation and Handling This information is designed to identify possible problems with. fractures. 4. This is applied to cores known to contain mobile fines or where it is necessary to retain wettability modifying crude oil components in their existing state. condenses and is trapped in the graduated part of the apparatus. The water evaporates. It is then placed in a special core holder for the relevant experiment to be carried out. In some circumstances the evolved solvents need to be quantitatively tested using chemical techniques for the water content. however.7 shows the Dean and Stark apparatus. The core if confined in a Hassler holder (Figure 4. (iii) stress sensitivity. is most often carried out using miscible solvent flushing techniques. (ii) clay sensitivity. fossils. The most common method of handling.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Coring. Thawing inside the coreholder. shipping.

Paul Glover Page 42 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Coring. Preservation and Handling Dr.

A holey (‘bird’s-eye’) porosity in carbonate rocks usually associated with algal mats. or the bulk volume. For rocks these are: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Total porosity Connected porosity Effective porosity Primary porosity Defined above. The ratio of the connected pore volume to the total volume. Porosity associated with vugs. The porosity resident in small pores (< 2 µm) commonly associated with detrital and authigenic clays. Each could have a porosity of 0. The porosity of the rock resulting from its original depositional structure. The porosity resulting from diagenesis.Vs Vp Pore Volume φ= = = V V Total Bulk Volume (5. The porosity due to voids within the rock grains. The porosity resulting from dissolution of rock grains. rocks of the same porosity can have widely different physical properties. Thus. (v) Secondary porosity (vi) Microporosity (vii) Intergranular porosity (viii) Intragranular porosity (ix) Dissolution porosity (x) Fracture porosity (xi) Intercrystal porosity (xii) Moldic porosity (xiii) Fenestral porosity (xiv) Vug porosity It should be noted that if the bulk volume and dry weight.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity Chapter 5: Porosity 5. their distribution. This parameter is commonly calculated from the data to compare the results with the known grain Dr. and their degree of connectivity. The porosity due to pore volume between the rock grains. The porosity resulting from fractures in the rock at all scales.1 Introduction and Definition Total porosity is defined as the fraction of the bulk rock volume V that is not occupied by solid matter. The same as the connected porosity. A range of differently defined porosities are recognised and used within the hydrocarbon industry. commonly in carbonate rocks. then the grain density can be calculated. and the pore volume as Vp = V . Two out of the three terms are required to calculate porosity. but carbonate pores are often very unconnected resulting in its permeability being much lower than that of the sandstone.Vs. It should be noted that the porosity does not give any information concerning pore sizes. An example of this might be a carbonate rock and a sandstone. Microporosity existing along intercrystalline boundaries usually in carbonate rocks. saturated weight and porosity of a rock sample is known.2. we can write the porosity as: V . If the volume of solids is denoted by Vs.1) The porosity can be expressed either as a fraction or as a percentage. Paul Glover Page 43 . A type of dissolution porosity in carbonate rocks resulting in molds of original grains or fossil remains.

5.2 Grain Packing The theoretical porosities for various grain packing arrangements can be calculated. unless the grains undergo irreversible deformation due to dissolution-recrystallisation.65 g cm-3. These are grain size.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity densities of minerals as a QA check. This indicates that. fracture. However. and a clean sandstone should have a mean grain density close to this value.2. The theoretical maximum porosity for a cubic packed rock made of spherical grains of a uniform Dr. and the distribution of grain sizes. or plastic flow. The specific surface area (exposed grain surface area per unit solid volume) is inversely proportional to grain size. 5. These forces are proportional to the exposed surface area of the grains. No further loss of porosity is possible for randomly packed spheres.8 have been measured.2. a given weight of coarse grains will be stabilised at a lower porosity than the same weight of finer grains. As grain size increases past 100 µm. This section briefly reviews these controls. and for some recent sediments porosities up to 0. when all other factors are equal. For example the density of quartz is 2. grain packing.1 Grain Size The equilibrium porosity of a porous material composed of a random packing of spherical grains is dependent upon the stability given to the rock by frictional and cohesive forces operating between individual grains. as these have subsequently been affected by secondary controls on porosity such as compaction and geochemical diagenetic processes. particle shape. and is independent of grain size. which occurs at 0. the initial porosity is rarely that found in real rocks.1 (to the left).399 porosity. the frictional forces decrease and the porosity decreases until a limit is reached that represents random frictionless packing. 5.2 Controls on Porosity The initial (pre-diagenesis) porosity is affected by three major microstructural parameters. It can be seen that the increase in porosity only becomes significant at grain sizes lower than 100 µm. For a sedimentary rock composed of a given single grain size this general rule is borne out in Figure 5. and all such decreases in porosity are termed compaction. Paul Glover Page 44 .

Paul Glover Page 45 .2. Several studies have been carried out on random packings of non-spherical grains.260 0.2 The effect of grain shape on porosity Grain Shape Sphere Cube Cylinder Disk Maximum Porosity (fractional) ≥0.1 Maximum porosity for different packing arrangements Packing Random Cubic Orthorhombic Rhombohedral Tetragonal Maximum Porosity (fractional) ≥0.2 shows data for various shapes.3 Grain Shape This parameter is not widely understood. Table 5.429 0. again showing that the porosity for more angular grains is larger than those that are sub-spherical.1 shows data comparing rounded and angular grains.399 (dependent on grain size) 0.395 0.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity size is 0.1 and Figure 5. Table 5.425 0.2 The porosities of standard packing arrangements. and is independent of grain size.399 (dependent on grain size) 0. Table 5. where the porosity is for the frictionless limit.476. and in all cases the resulting porosities are larger than those for spheres. The maximum porosity of other packing arrangements is shown in Table 5.476 0.302 Figure 5. Figure 5.2. 5.453 Dr.

2. The best way of understanding the effect is to consider the variable admixture of grains of two sizes (Figure 5.2. There small grains will have a pore space between them. 5. one of which has 1/100th the diameter of the other. The first mechanism applies when there are sufficient of the larger grains to make up the broad skeleton of the rock matrix. Paul Glover Page 46 . This minimum occurs at approximately 20 to 30% of the smaller particle diameter.3). Note that as the disparity between the grain sizes increases from 6:3 to 50:5 the actual porosity approaches the theoretical lines.3 represent the theoretical curves for both processes. Figure 5. if some volume of these grains are removed and replaced with a single solid larger grain. the porosity will be reduced because both the small grains and their associated porosity have been replaced with solid material. where fractal concepts become useful. These can be categorised into (i) mechanical processes. and these can give rise to a complex scenario. such as stress Dr. and often the grain size distribution is multimodal. Note also that the position of the minimum porosity is not sensitive to the grain diameter ratio. The second mechanism is valid when the broad skeleton of the rock matrix is composed of the smaller grains. Note that a mixture of two sizes has porosities less than either pure phase. In real rocks we have a continuous spectrum of grain sizes. Here. The porosity of the mixture of grain sizes is reduced below that for 100% of each size.3 The behaviour of mixing grain sizes.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity 5. First imagine a rock with two grain sizes. There are two mechanisms at work here. the addition of the smaller particles reduces the porosity of the rock because they can fit into the interstices between the larger particles.5 Secondary Controls on Porosity Porosity is also controlled by a huge range of secondary processes that result in compaction and dilatation. The solid lines GR and RF or RM in Figure 5. Clearly.4 Grain Size Distribution Real rocks contain a distribution of grain sizes.

At laboratory pressures mercury will not enter the pores of most rocks. and then immersed in mercury.3 Laboratory Determinations There are many methods for measuring porosity. but is rarely used on rocks because Vs can only be measured if the rock is totally disaggregated. The sample is weighed before and after the imbibition. 5.4. be used in any further petrophysical studies. In practice there is always a small pore volume that is not accessed by the mercury even at the highest pressures. So the mercury injection method will give a lower porosity than the two methods described above. Clearly this method also measures the connected porosity. This is pore volume that is in the form of the minutest pores. or by Archimedes Method (discussed later). that leaves the sample fully saturated and ready for further petrophysical tests. If the pressure is sufficiently high. fracture evolution etc. and the disadvantage that the sample must be disposed of safely after the test. repreciptation. 5. Dr. The effect of chemical diagenesis is more complex.2 Imbibition Method The rock sample is immersed in a wetting fluid until it is fully saturated. brittle deformation. Vp and V can then be used to calculate the connected porosity. A measurement of the amount of mercury lost into the rock provides the pore volume directly. Several standard techniques are used.3. The porosity can then be calculated from the bulk volume and the pore volume. and the pore volume Vp can be calculated. the mercury will invade all the pores. 5.. a few of which will be discussed below. and (ii) geochemical processes. This is an accurate method. and if the density of the fluid ρ is known. The displacement of the mercury can therefore be used to calculate the bulk volume of the rock. 5. The effect of stress mediated compaction on porosity will be discussed in section 5. The precision with which these can be made on plugs is affected by the nature (particularly surface texture) of the plugs. and cannot. and pressures. then the difference in weight is ρ Vp . In themselves these are basic physical measurements of weight.4).1 Direct Measurement Here the two volumes V and Vs are determined directly and used in Eq. such as dissolution.3. and is better assessed for any given rock by examination of SEM or optical photomicrographs. The bulk volume V is measured using either vernier callipers and assuming that the sample is perfectly cylindrical. This method measures the total porosity. volume reductions concomitant upon mineralogical changes etc. (1). forcing the mercury into the pores of the rock (Figure 5. This is a moderately accurate method that has the advantage that it can be done on small irregular samples of rock.3. Paul Glover Page 47 .3 Mercury Injection The rock is evacuated. This measurement is the closest laboratory measurement to density log derived porosities. therefore.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity compaction. or by fluid displacement using the saturated sample. plastic deformation. The time required for saturation depends upon the rock permeability. The pressure on the mercury is then raised in a stepwise fashion. length.

Paul Glover Page 48 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity The mercury method also has the advantage that the grain size and pore throat size distribution of the rock can be calculated from the mercury intrusion pressure and mercury intrusion volume data. This will be discussed at further length in the section on capillary pressure. Dr.

2)) and set it equal to the PV for the equilibrated system (right hand side of Eq.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity 5. When the valve that connects the two volumes is opened slowly so that the system remains isothermal. or after the experiment and subsequent saturation by Archimedes Method (discussed later). Boyle’s Law states that the pressure times the volume for a system is constant.4 Gas Expansion This method relies on the ideal gas law.3) In practice P1. (5. The bulk volume of the rock is determined before the experiment by using either vernier callipers and assuming that the sample is perfectly cylindrical. V2. This container is attached by a valve to another container of known volume. The value of the equilibrium pressure can be used to calculate the volume of grains in the rock Vs.2)): P1 ( V1 − Vs ) + P2 V2 = P3 ( V1 + V2 − Vs ) The grain volume can be calculated: (5. P2 and P3 are measured.3. The rock is sealed in a container of known volume V1 at atmospheric pressure P1 (Figure 5. or rather Boyle’s law. with V1 and V2 known in advance by calibrating the system with metal pellets of known volume. Any gas can be used. P2. The bulk volume and grain volume can then be used to calculate the connected porosity of the rock.. (5. the gas pressure in the two volume equalises to P3. containing gas at a known pressure.2) P V + P2 V2 − P3 (V1 − V2 ) Vs = 1 1 ( P1 − P2 ) (5. but the commonest is helium.5). or by fluid displacement using the saturated sample. Consequently this Dr. Paul Glover Page 49 . Thus we ca write the PV for the system before the valve is opened (left hand side of Eq. The small size of the helium molecule means that it can penetrate even the smallest pores.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity method gives higher porosities than either the imbibition or mercury injection methods. This method gives the total porosity of the rock. and (iii) NMR techniques.3. insensitive to mineralogy.3 porosity percent regardless of actual porosity. either by point counting under an optical microscope or SEM. Repeat helium expansion determinations of porosity on samples with smooth surface textures where the calliper bulk volume is used should fall within ±0. 5. The method itself is very accurate. It is also a rapid technique and can be used on irregularly shaped samples. Repeatability and accuracy then depend mainly upon surface texture of the sample.8 Bulk Volume Measurement Most of the methods reviewed above require the knowledge of the bulk volume of the rock sample. (ii) using fluid displacement. Three ways are commonly used. and the density of the mineral it is composed of is known. 5.3. it has the advantage that pore types and the microtextural properties of the rock can be determined during the process. (ii) CT scanning. Inaccuracies can arise with samples with very high permeability. Low permeability samples can require long equilibration times in the helium porosimeter to allow diffusion of helium into the narrow pore structures. but is of no practical use in petrophysics. Vernier Callipers If the rock is a perfect right cylinder with smooth surfaces.3.5 Density Methods If the rock is monomineralic.7 Other Techniques Other techniques include porosity by (i) analysing all evolved fluids (gas+water+oil) and assuming that their volume is equal to that of the pore space. 10) are made of the length and the diameter. Paul Glover Page 50 . However. Failure to allow adequate time will result in excessively high grain volumes and low porosities.6 Petrographic Methods This method is used to calculate the two dimensional porosity of a sample. but is wildly inaccurate in all rocks except those that have an extremely isotropic pore structure. Commonly a high contrast medium is injected into the pores to improve the contract between pores and solid grains. Straightforward measurement with Dr. In this case several measurements (approx. have large grain and pore sizes. then the pore volume and porosity can be calculated directly from the mineral density and the dry weight of the sample. 5. This method can provide the total porosity. and (iii) using Archimedes’ method. and do not produce smooth surfaced right cylinders when plugs are drilled and accurate bulk volume determination becomes difficult. and leaves the sample available for further petrophysical tests. then calliper measurements of length and diameter can give quite an accurate bulk volume. 5. Inaccuracies can arise with samples with very low. and the arithmetic mean of each is used. or image analysis of the images produced from these microscopes. High permeability sandstone samples are frequently friable. These are (i) by using callipers.3.

Mercury displacement is carried out in a pyknometer fitted with a calibrated pump (Kobe method Figure 5. provided no fluid drains from the plug whilst it is weighed in air.3). The saturated sample is then weighed suspended under a balance in air. The difference in the weight between the saturated sample suspended in air and that when suspended in the fluid is equal to Vsρf. Vuggy limestones present particular problems which may only be overcome by whole core measurements. Internal vugs may be partially filled with solids from the drilling fluid during the coring process. The Kobe method is used as the first part of the mercury injection method (Section 5. Dr. There are few sources of significant error in this method.4). If the fluid automatically enters the pores errors will result. If exposed vugs are genuinely part of the pore volume. The contents of vugs exposed on the plug surface may have been disturbed during drilling. and again while suspended in the fluid in which it is saturated. The sample is immersed in mercury during this test and will give erroneous results where mercury enters samples with very large pores. fully saturated with formation brine whose density is accurately known. then bulk volume must be obtained by calipering since these will not be taken account of by liquid immersion techniques.3. Paul Glover Page 51 . or with other fluids with a sample that has already been saturated. The most difficult part is judging how much excess fluid to remove from the surface of the plug. The method is commonly carried out with a non-wetting fluid such as mercury. and the density of the fluid allow the bulk volume of any irregular sample to be found accurately. where ρf is the density of the fluid. The various weight readings. There is also a tendency to give high bulk volumes if air is trapped where the sample touches the top of the chamber. Fluid Displacement This method notes the displacement of fluid on a graduated scale when the rock sample is placed in a container containing the fluid.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity vernier callipers is not possible and Archimedes method or other liquid displacement methods have to be used. Archimedes Method The sample is weighed dry.

5. as shown in Figure 5. fractured or contain stylolytes. whole core measurements may be necessary if samples are vuggy. and radioactive processes. The precision of the data obtained is similar to that of routine poroperms. Pore volume changes can also be observed whilst measuring formation factor at overburden pressures.7). electromagnetic. The resulting porosity data is usually displayed as a fraction of that at ambient pressure as function of overburden pressure (Figure 5.8. Paul Glover Page 52 . NMR.4 Influence of Stress SCAL porosity measurements have to be done at overburden pressure if they are to be correlated with downhole measurements. thus if a plug has to be used for a number of tests. These are based on acoustic. or as pore volume compressibility (pore volume/pore volume/psi). As with routine poroperms. These measurements are made using the overburden cell (Figure 5. Well logging utilises several other different techniques.6) attached to a helium expansion porosimeter.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity It should be noted that these are all laboratory methods. It is conceivable that permanent damage could result when applying overburden to poorly cemented cores. Dr. Care has to be taken that samples are given sufficient time to allow compaction to occur at each overburden pressure. It is not possible to repeat determinations without allowing time for stresses in the core to be relieved. which all have larger errors associated with them. overburden measurements should form the later stages of the test sequence.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Porosity Dr. Paul Glover Page 53 .

This comment has many implications for the scientist. This section will deal with single phase fluid permeabilities. The fluid saturation and number of mobile fluids have a great effect on permeability. If the reservoir model is to be used to help the understanding of a dry gas reservoir at ambient conditions.1) where: q = water flow rate A = cross-sectional area of sand pack L = length of sand pack ∆h = difference between the water heights in the manometers in Figure 6. derived using the apparatus shown in Figure 6. and the single phase liquid permeabilities that are part of the more complex relative permeability SCAL tests. In this case the purpose is to provide data that can be used in accurate and effective reservoir modelling. The relationship used in the hydrocarbon industry is the empirically derived Darcy’s Law in 1856. Fluid permeabilities measured at or corrected to relevant reservoir conditions using relevant fluids are essential inputs if such models are to be representative of the reservoir.1. The dependence on these relationships has the implication that the resulting permeabilities are dependent on various assumptions and boundary conditions. Dr. So back to basics. For the reservoir engineer/petrophysicist it requires that the meaning of permeability is understood. then horizontal air permeability measurements at ambient conditions will be fine. q=KA (P − Pout ) ∆h = K A in L L (6. but calculated from other physical measurements with various theoretical and empirical relationships.1 Introduction and Definition Permeability is a property of a porous medium that characterises the ease which fluids flow though it in response to an applied fluid pressure gradient. The primary objective for permeability measurements applied to the hydrocarbon industry is that they should be fit for purpose. 6. permeability is not measured directly. In particular the gas and Klinkenberg permeability measurements that are made as part of RCAL. Paul Glover Page 54 . permeability characterises the ease with which fluids flows through a medium in response to a fluid pressure gradient.1 (h1-h2) K = A constant of proportionality characteristic of the sand pack (permeability) Pin-Pout = fluid pressure gradient. However. reducing it below that for a dry rock containing a single fluid. the scientist or engineer must know exactly what he or she is measuring. However.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability Chapter 6: Single Phase Permeability 6. but which are sometimes carried out on their own as part of RCAL. for a scientific measurement to be successful. the reservoirs that are of interest are rarely so simple.1 Basic Definitions Feynmann once said that. and it should be our aim to build multi-phase models capable of modelling oil reservoirs at in situ conditions.1.

and requires correction for the different viscosity of different fluids.) It should be understood that Darcy’s law. mD. through a crosssectional area of 1 cm2. It is worth noting that the S. and then happily (and naively) compare it directly with logging measurements. and shows that there is an implicit spatial scaling of permeability in the measurement itself.I. (6. viscosity. and model reservoir wide processes. assumes unreactive aqueous fluids with constant properties.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability The units of permeability used in the oil industry are the ‘darcy’. This fact is often overlooked when we use core measurements made at core plug scale (core volume approximately 40 cm3). D. Paul Glover Page 55 . whose scale volume may be approximately 1015 cm3! A permeability of 1 D allows the flow of 1 cm3 per second of water with 1 centipoise. and the ‘millidarcy’.1). whose scale volume (volume of sensitivity) is 15000 cm3. was derived for unconsolidated sand packs. when a pressure gradient of 1 atmosphere pressure per centimetre is applied. unit of permeability is in per metres squared (m-2). and correction for gas slippage (Klinkenberg effect) Dr. cP. (1 D ~ 10-12 m-2. Eq.

2) If gas is used we must take account of the compressibility of the gas giving the working equation for measuring single phase gas permeability in hydrocarbon industry RCAL: K( mD) = 2000 µ where: K µ L A V t q P1 P2 Patm Patm L V A t P2 − P2 2 1 ( (6. therefore. Rewriting the ∆h term in terms of absolute pressures. When this happens. the mean free path of the gas molecules become larger than the pore dimensions. q.2 The Klinkenberg Effect Darcy’s modified law for gases Eq. One should.1). has been extended for practical use in the following ways: • • • • Inclusion of a fluid dynamic viscosity so that unreactive fluids other than brines can be used. q=V/t.3) is not applicable at low gas pressures (gas densities). (centipoise. (millidarcies.2a).Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability and inertial effects (Forchheimer effect) if used with gaseous fluids. Paul Glover Page 56 . cP) plug length (cm) plug cross section (cm2) volume of fluid passed in t seconds (cm3) time (seconds) Flow rate. as volume flow per time (q=V/t). (6. Eq. the gas cannot be considered to be a continuous medium and fluid mechanics cannot be used reliably.3) = = = = = = = = = = permeability. These are the Klinkenberg and Forchheimer effects. mD) viscosity. cm3s-1 inlet pressure (atmospheres absolute) outlet pressure (atmospheres absolute) atmospheric pressure (atmospheres absolute) Gas permeability measurements are the most common RCAL permeability measurements. These measurements suffer from two problems that are not encountered with liquid permeabilities. In the low density (gas pressure) limit the permeability is expressed as: Dr. at such low pressures. The law. always question the accuracy of a core permeability measurement. In practice the effect causes measured permeabilities to be overestimated at low pressures (Figure 6. Inclusion of a constant to take account of the units commonly used in measurement. Thus the working equation for measuring single phase liquid permeabilities in the hydrocarbon industry is: K( mD) = 1000 µ L V 1 A t P − P 1 2 ( ) ) (6. 6. This is because. (6.1. Writing the flow rate. In practice it is applied to all rocks even though it is not clear that this is a valid extrapolation.

α. Plotting Kapp against 1/Pm. at four or five different gas inlet pressures. Paul Glover Page 57 .4) Here the apparent or measured permeability Kapp is dependent on the so-called Klinkenberg permeability KL. Kapp. Pmean = (P1 + P2)/2. the gas pressure P and a constant known as the slip factor. Dr. The standard solution to the problem involves the following steps: • • • Repeating the measurement of gas permeability. Calculating the mean gas pressure in the core for each determination.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability α 1 +   K app = K L   P (6. P2. P1 and gas outlet pressures.

e. for it can be compared for different samples that had their gas permeabilities measured with different gases at different gas pressures. i.2c). The Klinkenberg permeability is independent of gas pressure. The Klinkenberg correction should be applied to all core analysis measurements without fail. the permeability for a near perfect liquid (an infinitely compressed near perfect gas). The intersection of the curve with the x-axis at 1/Pm = 0 gives KL . The gradient of the Klinkenberg plot gives the slip factor. Paul Glover Page 58 . which can be used to characterise the rock microstructure. Dr. and is effectively the permeability of the gas as P→∞.2b). The Klinkenberg permeability should be approximately the same as the permeability of the rock when 100% saturated with a single phase reservoir liquid such as water or oil. This makes the Klinkenberg permeability very useful. However.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability The resulting plot is a straight line with a positive gradient (Figure 6. the Klinkenberg permeability is independent on the type of gas used as all gases have the same properties in the P→∞ limit (Figure 6. The values of apparent permeability depend on the type of gas used even though their different viscosities are taken into account in the calculation of apparent permeability.

Pi. Darcy’s law is an approximation of Navier-Stokes law.98 mD! Dr. In practice such high flow rates are avoided in all core analysis measurements.6) Now using Eq. and a uniform permeability Ki. Linear Beds in Series. we get the mean permeability equals 2. Ti .3a. and noting that the thickness of the total unit T is equal to the sum of the individual beds T1 etc.1. and (ii) flow through linear beds in parallel. These are (i) flow through linear beds in series. is described by the geometric mean of the individual permeabilities. it is possible to analyse two simple systems of different permeabilities that occur within core analysis and reservoir systems. Paul Glover Page 59 . However. can be analysed thus: (P1 − P4 ) = (P1 − P2 ) + (P2 − P3 ) + (P3 − P4 ) (6.5) The analysis is extremely complex. and 1 mD. both of which require flow to be laminar.3b. Thus when the flow rate is fast enough for the flow to be turbulent.7) Rearranging we find that the mean permeability is the harmonic average of the individual permeabilities: Kh = n T i =1 ∑ {Ti K i } (6. 6.8) For example analysing Figure 6. If they are encountered they show up as underestimates in gas permeability measurements that are recognised as an increase in the gradient of the K versus 1/Pm curve at low values of 1/Pm. which corresponds to the mode of a log-normal distribution: K g = n K1 ⋅ K 2 ⋅ K 3 ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ K n (6..3 The Forchheimer Effect At high gas flow rates (high differential pressures P1-P2). The system is shown in Figure 6. we get: q T3 q T1 q T2 qT = + + K A K1 A K 2 A K 3 A (6. neither work. where three layers of equal thickness T=1 m have permeabilities 1000 mD. the gas accelerates through pore throats and decelerates in pore bodies sufficiently for the gas inertia to cause turbulence.4 Averaging Permeabilities It has been shown that the most probable permeability behaviour of a heterogeneous porous medium made up of n randomly distributed regions of differing uniform permeabilities. K1 to Kn. Each bed has a thickness. 200 mD.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability 6.1) with ∆h replaced by the pressure difference. The beds have a cross-sectional area A that is constant.1. The pressures at the contact between each of the beds. (6.

Paul Glover Page 60 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability Dr.

Paul Glover Page 61 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability Dr.

In this case. however this measurement provides the most optimistic values of permeability mainly due to the measurement being done for. we get: K A ( Pin − Pout ) K1 A1 ( Pin − Pout ) = + T T K 2 A 2 ( Pin − Pout ) K 3 A 3 ( Pin − Pout ) + T T (6. Other measurement methods account for these problems.3d. 6. (6. the layer with the highest permeability conducts 83. (i) single phase gas fluids that are not representative of the true reservoir fluids.3% of the flow. Ai .5 Notes on RCAL Permeabilities Gas permeabilities corrected for the Klinkenberg effect are commonly used.10) Rearranging we find that the mean permeability is the arithmetic average of the individual permeabilities: ∑ Ki Ai K a = i=1 A (6. Ki. and 1 mD is 10. 200 mD. Linear Beds in Parallel.11) n For example. It is therefore important for us to understand the factors affecting the determination of permeability Dr.1). with ∆h replaced by the pressure difference and noting that the total area A = A1+A2+A3. we get the mean permeability equals 400 mD! The mean permeability falls much more into the mid range because the fluids partition for flow into each of the layers depending on its permeability. and 1 mD. The beds have a thickness T that is constant. where three layers of equal area A = 1 m2 have permeabilities 1000 mD. The system is shown in Figure 6. and often we are asked to use Klinkenberg permeabilities where better measurements are unavailable.9) Now using Eq. Paul Glover Page 62 .6 mD. but are more expensive. The pressures at the inlet P1 and outlet P2 of the complete unit will be the same for all layers.3c. but each layer will transport a different fraction qi of the total flow rate qt thus: q t = q1 + q 2 + q 3 (6. (ii) low overburden pressures and temperatures that are not representative of the in situ reservoir conditions. 200 mD. which falls between the two extreme cases analysed above.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability Clearly the permeability is controlled by the smallest permeability because all the fluids that pass easily through the higher permeability layers are held up by the low permeability layer. Each bed has a cross-sectional area to flow.1. analysing Figure 6. For comparison. and a uniform permeability. and (iii) cleaned dry rocks. and represents random arrangement of equal volumes of material with these three permeabilities. the geometric mean of equal volumes of 1000 mD.

6. or an effort to ‘make do’ with irrelevant data resulting from poor permeability study planning. (i) sampling frequency. and is often used in the hydrocarbon industry. Finally. Sample errors are associated with. such that the quality and relevance to the problem of any permeability dataset can be assessed. (iii) measurement errors. Measurement problems are related to the accurate measurement of pressure and flow. resources and time can be saved by the commissioning manager thinking carefully about the purpose that the data is required for. Dr. location. and (iii) the state of preservation and the process of cleaning and drying. The indiscriminate lumping together of permeability data from different measurement techniques. Planning errors are the fault of the person who commissions the permeability study. and inefficient core-log correlation of poroperm data. all attempts are bound to fail at a fundamental level since porosity is a scalar measurement and permeability is a vector measurement. mD A constant Median grain size diameter. orientation. However. and almost always are the result of either ignorance of the meaning and limitations of permeability data. (i) planning errors.2. this model remains one of the best predictors of permeability. microns Effective porosity Despite the obvious invalid capillary tube assumptions. (ii) the type of drilling fluids. and (iv) analysis errors.2 Controls on Permeability 6. however. Analysis problems involve the relevant use of the derived data and close the circle to the planning stage. Klinkenberg permeabilities should not be used to estimate the efficiency of a waterflood. Paul Glover Page 63 . Clearly though it is reasonable to assume that permeability should increase with porosity in unfractured reservoirs without significant diagenetic. and are dependent both on the initial experimental rig design as well as the permeameter operator. all contribute to inaccurate analysis.1 Porosity There have been several attempts to derive a general relationship between porosity and permeability. bad poroperm cross-plot analysis. type and size. all of which affect how representative the 40 cm3 sample is of the properties of the 1015 cm3 sized reservoir. It is very tempting to order a standard routine core analysis study.12) = = = = Kozeny-Carman predicted permeability. The factors affecting core permeability measurements fall into three broad categories. which can affect permeability greatly in shaly sandstones. One of the most well known models linking porosity and permeability is known as the Kozeny-Carman model that considers the porous media to be made up of bundles of capillary tubes. In many ways. (ii) sample errors. yet some companies do so by correcting them to effective relative permeabilities using rules of thumb that do not take account of the fluids and reservoir wettability adequately. The basic equation is: K KC = where: KKC c d φ c d2 φ 3 (1 − φ ) 2 (6.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability measurements.

Although this empirical model has been concocted from a range of rocks and it is clear that the equation may not work on samples from other locations. Pezard and Zamora (RGPZ).13) where KB is the predicted permeability. Recently. Paul Glover Page 64 . microns Grain packing index Effective porosity Dr. a new model has been proposed by Revil. This is a non-empirical model that is derived from the fundamental understanding of the electrokinetic properties of rocks. D The cementation exponent Median grain size diameter. and pore tortuosities.1 (6. and hold the potential for improved permeability prediction for rocks of different porosities. It is expressed as: K RGPZ = where: KRGPZ m d a φ d 2 φ 3m 4am 2 (6. Glover.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability Another commonly used empirical model is that of Berg: K B = d 2 φ 5.14) = = = = = RGPZ predicted permeability. grain sizes.

the permeability of carbonates is primarily controlled by. Tortuosity can be affected by many rock characteristics. (i) dissolution porosity.5c compares the effect of overburden stress on permeability compared to the effect upon porosity. including: • • • • • • • • • • Grain size and its distribution Grain shape Sorting Grain orientation Packing arrangement Degree and type of cementation Amount.e. Paul Glover Page 65 . Indeed the local stress state may be such that dilatancy occurs (formation of fractures) increasing the permeability of the rock. It can be seen that overburden stress affects permeability much more than porosity. shaly sandstone. and as such. and the relative importance of each vary from rock type to rock type. Lines are placed at 1 mD in Figure 6. and to ensure that the models are dimensionally correct.2 Bedding Permeability is a vector property.e. For example. In all cases it is poorly consolidated rocks that are affected to the greatest extent. vertical compaction is usually the most important. It is a general rule that the vertical permeability within a reservoir (i.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability Note that all of these models use a grain size diameter to scale the predicted permeability to the size of rock microstructure.4 The Stress Conditions Permeability is very sensitive to stresses that compact the rock. Figure 6. orientation and connectivity of micro-fractures Clay content Bedding Diagenesis The detailed relationships are known only qualitatively. and (iii) fractures. 6.5a and b show the effect of increasing the hydrostatic confining pressure on the permeability of a rock. In fact the vertical permeability is often about a third of that in the horizontal direction. However. This is because permeability Dr. (ii) dolomitization. that perpendicular to the bedding) is lower than that in the bedding plane (horizontal permeability).4. unproducible economically). The commonest cause of such heterogeneities is bedding.2. is greatly affected by directional heterogeneity within core samples. 6. This compaction can occur in any direction not just vertically. 6. Figure 6. and carbonate samples.4 compares the three models described above for a range of clean sandstone.2. rocks with permeabilities less than this value are considered to be non-reservoir rock (i.3 Pore Geometry Permeability is highly dependent on the tortuosity of the pore fluid flow paths. It should also be noted that some of the difference between the vertical and horizontal permeabilities results from differences in the way the local stress fields in the vertical and horizontal directions compact pores and close microcracks. Figure 6.2.

or measure the permeability at reservoir stress conditions in the first place (SCAL). but it is very difficult to know how to correct low pressure Klinkenberg permeability determinations for such fracturing. The size of the pores reduces little. can be caused by drilling and concomitant upon the sudden reduction in stress experienced by the rock upon extraction of the core from the well. Dr. and such changes are associated with very small changes to the rock porosity Overburden stress compacts the rock pressing the grains together. effecting the permeability to a greater extent. These fractures can be closed again by measuring the rock at reservoir conditions. that increases the permeability of the rock samples when measured in the laboratory.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability is very sensitive to the tortuosity of fluid flow paths through the rock. Paul Glover Page 66 . but the pore throats that control the passage of gas between the pores undergo much greater closure. It should also be noted that fracturing (both macroscopic and microfractures). The large decreases observed indicate that it is very important to apply corrections to permeabilities measured at low confining pressures before they are considered to be representative of the reservoir.

7 shows a steady state gas permeability rig that is equipped to measure a large range of permeabilities (i. Dr.3 Laboratory Determinations 6. but have fewer options for measuring upstream pressure and flow rate.6.3. applying nitrogen pressure to one end and measuring flow rate and pressure differential. gas flow rates). Figure 6. Paul Glover Page 67 .1 Steady State Gas Permeability Determinations Routine permeability measurements are made by confining plugs in Hassler core holders. Figure 6.e. Standard hydrocarbon industry rigs look similar.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability 6.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability For plugs having moderate permeabilities. Extrapolation to infinite mean pressure gives the equivalent liquid permeability. Permeabilities above about 500 mD become less precise as the measured pressure differential falls leading to higher experimental errors. large grains and rough surface texture. 1/Pm to be made. KL. Normally four or five consecutive measurements are made at various mean pressures (Pm) to enable a Klinkenberg plot (Figure 6. 5-500 mD. Paul Glover Page 68 . inlet and outlet pressures should fall within a few percent. High permeabilities also imply large pores. repeat determinations at given confining.2b) of permeability vs. Dr.

The sleeve pressure used will depend upon plug surface texture and the hardness of the rubber sleeve. Caution is needed in the handling of friable. The required fluid is flowed through the sample.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability Very rough surfaces may need wrapping in soft PTFE tape or repair with epoxy to ensure proper sealing by the Hassler sleeve. All fluids used should be degassed prior to use.8 for a schematic diagram of a typical permeameter set-up).01 mD is applied. 6. Values below this are simply reported as less than 0. In practice rocks with permeabilities less than 1 mD are considered to be non-reservoir rock (i. or of oil in the presence of Swi can also be easily carried out. however. Consequently long equilibration times may be necessary for this type of sample. The permeability is calculated from Eq.3 Steady State Liquid Permeability Determinations Permeabilities to oil and water at 100% saturation of each fluid. (6. It applied a volume of gas at a high initial pressure to one end of the sample and then measures the decay of the pressure as the gas leaks away through the core. One advantage of this method is that it can be used to determine the permeability of very low permeability rocks. that leakage through cap rocks is now recognised to depend primarily on fractures through the cap rock rather than the permeability of the bulk rock itself. It has therefore been used to measure the permeability of cap rocks. unproducible economically). the actual permeability values will be reported.3. There is no need to institute a Klinkenberg correction. poorly cemented samples. but the data is carefully examined to ensure that the flow is laminar by carrying the test out at various flow rates and checking whether they all give approximately the same permeability. 6.2). Paul Glover Page 69 . but for normal reservoir applications.e. Low permeabilities (less than 5 mD) do not normally present any problems. Dr. when steadily decreasing flow rates are observed. The saturated samples are placed in a core holder.3. It must be said. while measuring the steady state volume flow and pressure differential (see Figure 6. Gradual compaction can occur even with sleeve pressures as low as 400 psi. a cut off value of 0.01 mD. The first indication of this type of behaviour occurs when carrying out the normal repeat timings of gas flow. and so these measurements are being done less and less. Those high flow rates that are suspected to contain turbulent (Forchheimer) effects are discarded. whatever their permeability.2 Unsteady State Gas Permeability Determinations This is not as standard as the steady state method. If cap rocks are being investigated. and are not interesting as a reservoir.

However.9).1 Core-Log Comparison The comparison of porosity and permeability data from core measurements and log methods is important to ensure that there is good agreement between them. as uncertainties in core depth occur when there is not 100% core recovery Dr. It is usually clear whether one of the curves needs to be depth shifted relative to the other. Paul Glover Page 70 . 6.4 Data Handling The correlation of core and logging data enable reservoirs to be assessed for production potential. The process should compare the log and core data on the same log-type display (Figure 6.4.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability The values of permeability Kw at Sw=1 or Ko at So=1 should be approximately the same as the Klinkenberg permeability. If a shift is necessary it is usually implemented for the core data. Ko at Sw=Swi and So=1-Sw will be less that that at So=1. The full description of this process is outwith the scope of this course. KL. we will briefly examine some of the issues related to the correlation of core measurements with logs. and the use of permeability measurements in poroperm cross-plots. allowing the measurements to be used in reservoir modelling with confidence. 6.

Corrections of 10 to 20 m are not uncommon. and differences between rock units can be useful in the analysis of the reservoir. Clearly. The main aims are: Dr. For example.4. For example core porosities are usually measurements of effective porosities (with non-connected porosity and clay bound water excluded.2 Poroperm Cross-plots Permeability is of incredible interest to the hydrocarbon industry as it describes how profitable fluids can be extracted from reservoirs. whereas log derived porosities are generally measurements of total porosity. the various methods measure different properties. a standard core plug will have a volume of investigation of about 40 cm3. 6. compared to approximately 15000 cm3 for a wireline tool.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability form the hole. and usually avoiding fractures). Paul Glover Page 71 .10). Additionally. When comparing the depth corrected core and log data it is usually clear whether there is a good match between the two. any way of predicting permeability is of great interest too. Often there is a relationship within a given rock unit. The degree of match is an average determination made by eye as the two measurements will rarely be in very close agreement. This results in the log porosities being generally a little higher than the log-derived porosities. This is because the measurements are made by widely varying techniques. One of the fundamental processes that is applied to permeability data is to plot it on a log-lin permeability-porosity diagram (Figure 6. with varying scales of measurement.

the data in Figure 6.g. In Figure 6.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability • • To estimate permeability where only porosity data is available (e. If the distribution is unimodal (Figure 6.11).. Doing a cross-plot for the whole reservoir is a waste of time. fractures. If the distribution is multimodal (Figure 6.g. Paul Glover Page 72 . vugs). No other factors are taken account of (e. There are a few points to bear in mind when using cross-plots: • • • • • Some positive correlation between porosity and permeability exists for non-fractured.3% has a permeability of 100 mD). This results in a log-normal distribution for well controlled permeability data (see section 6.4).12b) then a cross-plot must be done for the data belonging to each of the Dr. The log permeability scale can generate large permeability errors. but can produce remarkably erroneous results if carried out badly.1. Individual cross-plots for each mineralogy/lithology and/or based upon grain and pore size information from mercury porosimetry. corresponding to a permeability of 1 mD. nonvuggy rocks with the same degree of diagenesis (Figure 6. diagenesis.3% in the conglomerate and 10. The cross-plot should be done for each individual rock unit if the relationship is to be valid. This method is very powerful if used in an homogeneous formation.10 has porosity cut-offs of 5. The estimation method is based on a mathematical correlation that only takes account of porosity and permeability. a conglomerate with a porosity of 13.10.g.7% in the sandstone. To establish a porosity cut-off below which the reservoir is unproductive (e.12a) then a cross-plot for all the data will be valid. Individual permeability zones can also be delineated by plotting the distribution of permeabilities on a lin-log plot.

(6.14) indicates that a linlin plot of permeability against φ3m/m2 would provide the best results.g. and will need to be reduced to relative permeabilities if required. In fact reference to Eqs. There are statistical tests that can distinguish which population a sample belongs to. whereas those from log measurements are commonly total porosities. Any derived permeabilities are then the permeabilities for complete saturation of the rock with the test fluid. Some rocks do not produce a clear relationship (e. (6. Paul Glover Page 73 . e. and both permeabilities and porosities should be corrected to reservoir stress conditions.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability • • unimodal populations making up the multi-modal dataset (3 in the case of Figure 6. commonly carbonates). for the cross-plot to be the most valid. and Eq. it should be done with permeabilities and porosities that are representative of the reservoir. This means that the permeabilities should be Klinkenberg corrected. then they must be reconciled Dr. If data from both sets are to be used. There is no physical basis for this type of plot. the Kolmogorov-Smirnoff test. then these will have been made in the presence of multi-phase fluids.g. The second point is that the porosities from core measurements are effective porosities.13) indicates that a log-log plot would be more appropriate.12b). First.12) to (6. There are two other important points to bear in mind. If drill stem test permeabilities are used. and it is important to know more about the fractions of each fluid present and the wettability of the rock before valid deductions can be made.

Dr.13 shows the typical ranges of poroperm relationships for various lithologies and rock microstructure. Paul Glover Page 74 . Figure 6.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability before use.

Paul Glover Page 75 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Single Phase Permeability Dr.

and solid.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Wettability Chapter 7: Wettability 7.1) This is known as Young’s equation (1805).866 1. liquid and gas as s. Paul Glover Page 76 . Table 7. degrees 0 30 0 140 cos θ 1.0 -0.1). the surface tension on water under air that is sufficient to support the weight of a needle.). Equilibrium considerations allow us to calculate the wetting angle from the surface tensions: γ lg cos θ = γ sg − γ sl (7. When two fluids are in contact with a solid surface. the equilibrium configuration of the two fluid phases (say air and water) depends on the relative values of the surface tension between each pair of the three phases (Figure 7. θ.1 shows some contact angles and surface tensions for common fluids in the hydrocarbon industry. in the same way that a surface tension exists between an interface between two immiscible fluids (cf.1 Introduction and Definition There exists a surface tension between a fluid and a solid. and g respectively.765 Interfacial Tension. and define the angle θ at which the liquid contacts the surface. dynes/cm 72 48 24 480 Air-Water Oil-Water Air-Oil Air-Mercury Dr. Table 7.0 0. Each surface tension acts upon its respective interface.1 Contact angles and interfacial tension for common fluid-fluid interfaces Interface Contact Angle. This is known as the wetting (or dihedral) angle of the liquid to the solid in the presence of the gas. l. Let us denote surface tension as γ.

For example a quartz sandstone grain generally develops greater molecular forces between itself and water than between itself and oils.γsl | ≤ γgl . when liquid covers the whole solid surface. and hence become oil wet. then cosθ > 0 and θ <90o. This inequality is not satisfied when γlg + γsl < γsg.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Wettability Note that: • • If γsg > γsl . If γsg < γsl . and the other fluid is called the non-wetting fluid. or equivalently | γsg . when γlg + γsg < γsl. However. then cosθ < 0 and θ >90o. the gas displaces the liquid away from the surface completely. it is called the wetting fluid. The origin of these surface tensions arises in the different strengths of molecular level interactions taking place between the pairs of fluids. When one fluid preferentially covers the surface. Figure 7. For a stable contact | cosθ | ≤ 1. then (i) its surface chemical structure can be altered.2 shows a range of different wetting conditions. Dr. should that same grain have been baked at high temperatures in the presence of oil at depth. Paul Glover Page 77 . IMPORTANT NOTE Properly measured wettabilities on well preserved core and core plugs should form the initial step in choosing relative permeability test methods. in such a way that results in the grain having greater molecular interaction with oils than water. Clean sandstones are therefore commonly water wet. or (ii) the surface itself can become coated. Alternatively.

The first two methods are the commonest within the oil industry and are described in greater detail in the next two sections.2. Resistivity logs before and after injection of a reverse wetting agent.S. Changes in longitudinal relaxation time.2 Laboratory Determination There are several methods for determining wettability of a rock to various fluids. Paul Glover Page 78 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Wettability 7. (iii) USBM (U. The distribution of grains at water/oil or air/water interfaces. Bureau of Mines) method. These are briefly summarised in Table 7. Shape and magnitudes of Kro and Krw curves. but is industry standard for comparing the wettability of various core plugs. Dr. The main ones are: (i) Microscopic observation This involves the direct observation and measurement of wetting angles on small rock samples.2 Summary of Wettability Measurement Techniques Measurement Technique Amott and Amott-Harvey U. It has no validity as an absolute measurement. Table 7. Work required to imbibe oil and water. but is industry standard for comparing the wettability of various core plugs. (iv) NMR longitudinal relaxation and other wettability methods. Microscopic examination of the interaction between the fluids and the rock matrix. This is a macroscopic mean wettability of a rock to given fluids. (ii) Amott wettability measurements This is a macroscopic mean wettability of a rock to given fluids. and good data relies more on luck than judgement. As with the Amott method. The measurements are extremely difficult. It is similar to the Amott method but considers the work required to do a forced fluid displacement. it has no validity as an absolute measurement. Adsorption of a dye in an aqueous solvent. It involves the measurement of the amount of fluids spontaneously and forcibly imbibed by a rock sample.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) Microscopic examination Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Flotation method Glass slide method Relative permeability method Reservoir logs Dye adsorption Physical Observation Amounts of oil and water imbibed by a sample spontaneously and by force. Displacement of the non-wetting fluid from a glass slide. Either a petrographic microscope or SEM fitted with an environmental stage is used.

3).3 for water and oil respectively). oil in step 1 of Figure 7. The amount of oil spontaneously imbibed. The forced measurements are carried out by flowing the ‘imbibing’ fluid through the rock sample and measuring the amount of the displaced fluid (steps 2 and 4 in Figure 7.2. The important measurements are the spontaneous imbibitions of oil and water.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Wettability 7.4 shows the data produced with the water wetting index given by AB/AC and the oil wetting index by CD/CA. and the total (spontaneous and forced) imbibitions of oil and water. Paul Glover Page 79 . The Amott method (Figure 7. DA Figure 7. AB. or by the use of a centrifuge. This can be crucial in the selection of relative permeability test methods to generate data relevant to the reservoir situation. Water-wet samples only spontaneously imbibe water. an appreciation of the difference between reservoir and laboratory wettabilities can assist in interpretation of laboratory waterfloods. CD The amount of oil forcibly imbibed. The spontaneous measurements are carried out by placing the sample in a container containing a known volume of the fluid to be imbibed such that it is completely submerged (steps 1 and 3 in Figure 7.3). BC.1 Amott Wettability Measurements Wettability measurements by the Amott method give a guide to the relative oil or brine wetting tendencies of reservoir rocks. and measuring the volume of the fluid displaced by the imbibing fluid (e.3) involves four basic measurements. It is not always possible to reproduce reservoir wettabilities in room condition relative permeability tests. (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) The amount of water or brine spontaneously imbibed. The amount of water or brine forcibly imbibed. However. Dr.4 shows the initial conditions of the sample (point X) to be oil saturated at Swi.g. Figure 7.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes


oil-wet samples only spontaneously imbibe oil, and those that spontaneously imbibe neither are called neutrally-wet. The wettability ratios for oil (AB/AC) or water (CD/CA) are the ratios of the spontaneous imbibition to the total imbibition of the each fluid.

Dr. Paul Glover

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Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes


In general use the samples to be measured are centrifuged or flooded with brine, and then flooding or centrifuging in oil to obtain Swi. The standard Amott method is then followed. At the end of the experiment the so called Amott-Harvey wettability index is calculated:


SpontaneousWaterImbibition SpontaneousOilImbibition − TotalWaterImbibition TotalOilImbibition AB CD = − AC CA


Wettability indices are usually quoted to the nearest 0.1 and are often further reduced to weakly, moderately or strongly wetting. The closer to unity the stronger the tendency.


USBM Wettability Measurements

This method is very similar to the Amott method, but measures the work required to do the imbibitions. It is usually done by centrifuge, and the wettability index W is calculated from the areas under the capillary pressure curves A1 and A2:

W =log

A1 A2


where, A1 and A2 are defined in Figure 7.5. Note that in this case the initial conditions of the rock are Sw=100%, and an initial flood down to Swi is required (shown as step 1 in Figure 7.5), although either case may be necessary for either the Amott or USBM methods. Figure 7.6 shows typical USBM test curves for water wet, oil wet and neutrally wet cores.


USBM and Amott Technique Comparison

Warning. While both methods are common within the oil industry, they show remarkable differences especially near the neutral wettability region. In general, the Amott method is probably the most reliable and accurate especially in the neutral wettability region. A comparison of the two methods, together with contact angles, is given in Table 7.3. Table 7.3 Comparison of the Amott and USBM Wettability Methods Oil Wet Amott wettability index water ratio Amott wettability index oil ratio Amott-Harvey wettability index USBM wettability index Minimum contact angle Maximum contact angle 0 >0 -1.0 to -0.3 about -1 105o to 120o 180o Neutral Wet 0 0 -0.3 to 0.3 about 0 60o to 75o 105o to 120o Water Wet >0 0 0.3 to 1.0 about 1 0o 60o to 75o

Dr. Paul Glover

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Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes



Sample Preservation and the Effect on Wettability

Sample preservation, preparation, storage and test conditions are important since wettability is sensitive to oxidation of crude oil and to temperature. Preservation of samples at the well-site is generally by wrapping in foil and wax coating. The process should be carried out as soon as possible after removal of the core from the barrel. Samples are drilled and trimmed with deaerated, simulated depolarised kerosene prior to testing. Tests carried out to assess reservoir wettability must be made on preserved core at a temperature high enough to ensure that any wax present in the residual core remains in solution. If the wax precipitates, it will tend to increase the oil wetting tendency of the core. Room condition wettabilities may only apply to reservoirs containing wax free crude or cleaned cores from laboratory tests.

Dr. Paul Glover

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Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Wettability Dr. Paul Glover Page 83 .

As ancillary data for assessment of relative permeability data. the displacement of a non-wetting phase by a wetting phase.1 Introduction and Theory Capillary pressure data are required for three main purposes: • • • The prediction of reservoir initial fluid saturations. oil migrating into water filled pores under a given pressure differential will only enter pores larger than those indicated by ‘a’ in Equation (8. Thus for oil introduced at 2 psi into a system having γ = 40 dynes/cm and θ = 0 (water wet). Paul Glover Page 84 . the drainage data can usually be used to predict non-wetting fluid saturation at various points in a reservoir. intermediate cases occur which can greatly complicate the picture. Capillary pressures are generated where interfaces between two immiscible fluids exist in the pores (capillaries) of the reservoir rock.1) between capillary pressure. 2 x 40 x 1 x 145 x 10 −3 a (8. i. it should be possible to convert to another system of known θ and γ.1) = = = = = capillary pressure (psi) interfacial tension (dynes/cm) contact angle (degrees) pore radius (microns) 145 x 10-3 (constant to convert to psi) Applying this to a water wet rock having a broad spectrum of pore entrance radii. This is expanded in Section 8. i. a non-wetting phase displacing a wetting phase applies to hydrocarbon migrating into a previously brine saturated rock. contact angle and pore radius is given by Cp = where. Cap-rock seal capacity (displacement pressures).2.8 µm. The drainage case. interfacial tension. Dr. Imbibition data is the opposite to drainage.e. However. and the imbibition data can be useful in assessing the relative contributions of capillary and viscous forces in dynamic systems.1). It is usual to consider one phase as a wetting phase and the other as a non-wetting phase.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure Chapter 8: Capillary Pressure 8. Cp γ θ a A 2 γ cos θ .2) If capillary pressure data are available for a given system. The basic relationship (Figure 8. Thus.A a (8. oil will only enter pores larger than 2 = giving a = 5.e.

3. Further readings can be taken as the pressure is lowered to provide data for the imbibition case from Swi to Cp = 0 at point A in Figure 8. The volume of mercury which has entered the pores at each pressure is determined from volumetric readings. and the proportion of the pore space filled can be calculated. The volume of mercury injected into the pores at a given pressure is usually expressed as a proportion of the total pore space. dried test plugs.4) or converted to oil or gas-brine data using appropriate contact angles and interfacial tensions. The pressure in the system. They are initially immersed in mercury at <10-3 mm Hg vacuum within the apparatus sketched in Figure 8.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure 8.brine) = C p (Air . and is presented as a pore size distribution (Figure 8.Hg) Dr. Typical conversions are given below:- C p (gas . effectively the differential across the mercury/vacuum interface.233 C p (Air .2 Mercury Injection These tests can only be carried out on cleaned.Hg) 72 cos 0o 480 cos 130 o (8. Paul Glover Page 85 .3.3) = 0. This gives the curve shown in Figure 8.2. is raised in stages.

i.e. Paul Glover Page 86 . since a small number of large pores disproportionately increases the calculated permeability.Hg) Further conversion to height above oil. Approximate permeabilities can also be calculated from pore size distribution data. or gas-water contact is possible from C p = hg ( ρ w .070 C p (Air .5) Displacement pressures for the assessment of cap rock seal capacity can be assessed from the capillary pressure curves.brine) = C p (Air . Care has to be used and allowance made for the effect of surface irregularities. less than 1 ml that are typically the case with cap rock samples. The data presented in Figure 8.ρ o ) (8. but care has to be taken to exclude the contribution of surface irregularities.4) = 0.Hg) 25 cos 30o 480 cos 130 o (8.4 shows the effect of surface irregularities at pore throat diameters greater than 10 microns. Dr. This is especially true of samples with small total pore volumes.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure C p (oil .

The data obtained apply to a system containing a fully wetting phase and a fully non-wetting phase. A drainage capillary pressure curve can be produced in a matter of hours and in certain circumstances drill cuttings can provide useful data. Paul Glover Page 87 . The latter two effects lead to low implied connate water saturations. (iii) It can cause collapse of accumulations of grain surface coating minerals. The capillary pressure data obtained will not necessarily apply to pores containing fluids showing partial wetting preferences.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure Mercury injection has the following disadvantages: (i) It is a destructive test. The advantages of the technique are that it is rapid (about three hours per sample) and irregular samples can be used. (ii) It is carried out on dried core which allows for no fluid-surface interactions. Dr.

but prevents flow of the displacing fluid (normally air). The apparatus is shown in Figure 8. The high displacement pressure of the porous plate allows brine from the plug to pass through. The pressure applied is then increased and the process repeated until a full curve of about six points is obtained. There is also the danger that the water in the sample will be Dr.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure 8. In this method care has to be taken to maintain good capillary contact between the test plug and the porous plate. This is assisted by using a paste of filter-aid and brine between the plate and a filter paper.3 Porous Plate Method 8.5. Plugs are removed at intervals and weighed until weight (and therefore fluid) equilibrium is attained. Paul Glover Page 88 . The test plug is positioned on the paper and a lead weight placed on the plug to keep it solidly in place. The capillary pressure is applied across the test plug and a brine saturated porous plate.1 Gas-Brine Systems This technique is generally applied in the drainage mode to air-brine systems starting with test plugs which are initially brine saturated.3.

To avoid this the input gas can be saturated with water by bubbling it through a reservoir of water prior to use. and keeping a beaker of water inside the porous plate pressure vessel.water contact. The resulting data is presented as (i) air-brine capillary pressure versus brine saturation (Figure 8.7). Paul Glover Page 89 . (ii) converted to oil-brine data (Figure 8.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure evaporated by the gas pressure. Dr.6). or (iii) as saturation versus height above oil (or gas) .

the pressure is increased and the process repeated until a full curve is obtained. This ensures that brine mineral interactions e. 8. The advantage of the method is that the test plug has at least one representative fluid in place. capillary contact with the porous plate may be lost at high pressures.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure The disadvantages of the porous plate method are that it is time consuming. are taken account of. Once equilibrium is achieved (this may take 1-3 weeks). For a fully water-wet system.e. This causes erroneously high connate water saturations to be implied. Care has to be taken that the displacement pressure of the disc is not exceeded. but with added complications if test plug wetting characteristics differ from those of the reservoir.2 Oil Brine Systems It is more difficult to make oil-brine measurements than air-brine. Actual oil-brine drainage capillary pressure can be measured using a Hassler cell fitted with a brine saturated disc (see Figure 8.3. The disadvantages of the method are basically the same as for the gas-brine case. Imbibition measurements are not generally attempted.g. which cannot take account of clay-water interactions. i.8). clay swelling. The method is limited to approximately 50 to 100 psi depending upon disc characteristics. An initially brine saturated test plug is subjected to an oil pressure at the inlet face. and the volume of brine produced (oil taken up) observed at the outlet. Dr. leading to brine displacement from the disc as well as the test plug. Paul Glover Page 90 . oil-brine drainage capillary pressure data can be inferred from air-brine data. Imbibition measurements are extremely difficult and are limited to about 25 psi. This can only be checked and allowed for by weighing the disc before and during the course of the experiments. which affect pore size and surface states. This is a large advantage over the mercury method. needing up to twenty days for equilibration at each pressure. Also. the brine.

(ii) The Semi-Dynamic Method This involves injecting a single fluid. if the wetting characteristics are as in the reservoir.3. All use a core in a Hassler or similar coreholder under confining pressure. The major ones are: (i) The Dynamic Method This involves injecting the two fluids into a rock core simultaneously. This method can be used to measure the complete drainage and imbibition parts of the capillary pressure curve. 8. then representative data should be obtained for both mixed and oil wet systems. Paul Glover Page 91 . and involves the measurement of saturation and pore fluid pressures simultaneously during fluid injection into the sample. Dr. while a membrane at the far end of the rock is washed with the other fluid.3 Other Methods There are several other more advanced methods of measuring capillary pressure that are currently being investigated by the hydrocarbon industry. and producing one behind a semi-permeable membrane. (iii) The Transient Method This method is technologically complex.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure The advantages of the method are that.

The fluid in the imbibition cell is then changed from brine to oil. a full drainage and imbibition cycle being complete in a matter of days.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure 8. The average capillary pressure is then given by: 2 C p ( psi) = 7. The rate is then increased in stages and produced brine volumes are recorded for each rotation speed to give the drainage curve. It relies upon increasing the gterm in the equation. The imbibition curve can then be followed by stopping the centrifuge allowing spontaneous imbibition to occur to point A at Cp = 0 (Figure 8. The volumes are measured in the following manner. Thus air-brine and mercury-air data obtained on cleaned core will represent a fully water wet system for the drainage case. The main disadvantage of the centrifuge method is that a capillary pressure gradient is applied which must inevitably give rise to a saturation gradient.9x10 −8 ( ρ1 − ρ 2 ) R 2 ( rb − rt2 ) (8. the amount of brine expelled from the plug is noted for a given rate of rotation.4 Centrifuge Method The centrifuge method is widely advocated by US companies. brine saturated test plugs are immersed in oil in specially designed holders. on a routine basis. Dr.7) where ρ1 and ρ2 are the densities of the two phases present and rb and rt are the radii of rotation of the bottom and top of the core respectively. and the portion of the curve from A (Cp) = 0 to Sor (Figure 8. This will be more exaggerated at low pressures. (8. The advantages of the centrifuge method are that it is rapid.6) by spinning the core plug at a known radius and rpm. Centrifuges can also be operated at elevated temperatures (up to 150°). Paul Glover Page 92 . under representative wetting conditions. Differences in wetting characteristics should be taken into account when applying laboratory data to the field. is with an actual oilbrine system when one would expect to find lower Swi values than a water wet system. and that oil-brine data can be obtained.ρ o ) .3) can then be followed by recording the volume of oil produced at several increasing rates of rotation. They may not adequately describe a mixed or oil wet system. The volume of fluid being deposited in this vial can be read while the centrifuge is spinning fast using a stroboscope. A calibrated glass vial is attached to the end of the sample.3). hopefully. For the oil-brine drainage cycle. Cp = h g (ρ w . Starting at a low rpm setting. The closest one can get to this situation.

Range Mercury Hg . The basic capillary model predicts that to displace a wetting phase with a non-wetting phase then: Cp = 2 γ Cos θ . is given by:  K a=2 2 ε   θ 12 (8.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure 8. a.8) For a simple capillary model. Paul Glover Page 93 .1 Parameters associated with various capillary pressure measurement methods.1.8) and (8.Air Drainage Imbibition Sample wetting state Sw precision Pressure limit.  K Cp   θ γ cos θ 12 = 1 2ε (8. psi Elapsed time Swi to Cp=0 Water wet tends low 1150 1-2 days tends high 70-100 3 months Method Porous Plate Air .5 Applications of Methods The applications of the various major methods described above are given in Table 8.6 Capillary Pressure Prediction (Leverett Method) The Leverett ‘J’ function is an attempt to correlate capillary pressure with pore structure (defined in terms of porosity and permeability). the mean hydraulic radius. (8. Cp=0 to Sor Cp=0 to Sor As sample tends high 70-100 3 months not known 1000-2000 1-3 days not known 1-3 days 8.Brine Cp=0 to Sor Sw = 1 to Swi Swi to Cp=0.Brine Oil .10) from which the Leverett ‘J’ function is defined: Dr. Table 8.Brine Centrifuge Air .Brine Oil .9) we get. a (8.9) Combining Eq.

and K is in mD.11)  K J = 0. Paul Glover Page 94 . Given a typical J curve. 12 (8. Dr. γ is in dynes/cm. the capillary pressure curve for a material of similar pore structure can be calculated for a given value of θ and K.217 C p   θ 12 (8.12) where Cp is in psi.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Capillary Pressure  K Cp   θ J= γ cos θ or.

7 and 2. but the governing equations for the physical processes involved are complex.2) are empirical in nature. thus these tests are carried out in conjunction with air-brine capillary pressure measurement. which is primarily due to enhanced surface conduction in the high surface area clays. F Ro Rw a φ m and.1) Formation factor Resistivity of brine saturated rock Resistivity of brine Constant Porosity Cementation exponent I= where. a and m in Eq. samples should be prepared and brought to the initial brine saturated state without drying. n is generally assumed to have a value of 2. (9.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Electrical Properties Chapter 9: Electrical Properties 9. Equations (9. laboratory derived data gives values between 1.1). can now also be corrected for using fundamental theory. I Rt n = = = Rt 1 = R o Sn w (9. Dr.2) Resistivity index Resistivity of rock at Sw < 100% Saturation exponent Without prior laboratory data.1) and (9. The displacing phase used in resistivity index measurements is air.1) and (9. = = = = = = Ro a = m Rw φ (9. for m to m* and n to n* are possible but the best procedures are in doubt.4 (Figure 9. They are generally adhered to by ‘clean’ samples. The data are used to refine values of n. Typically. Empirical corrections for shale effects. Paul Glover Page 95 . As with other SCAL tests.2) below: F = where. most commonly using the porous plate method.e. i. but where clays (usually described as shales in this context) are present large deviations can occur.1 Introduction Laboratory measurements of electrical properties (formation factor and resistivity index) are intended to complement those made during down hole logging operations. The shale effect.

Rates for compaction vary according to material. Dr.1). Laboratory measurements are made at room conditions or at overburden conditions. the rock never returns to its initial state. it is possible to flow brine through the plug in the cell and equilibrium is achieved more rapidly. (9.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Electrical Properties 9. 24 hours often being required for full equilibration. it should never be used for further study for this reason. Normally plugs require 2 weeks for equilibration with formation brine. where the pore structure is irreversibly damaged. it can take many hours for brine to be fully expelled.2 Formation Factor Formation factor is a function of porosity and pore geometry and is defined above in Eq. For room condition tests. Overburden resistance measurements are made at increasing pressures. measurements are made at intervals of a few days until constant values are obtained.2 and 9. This is generally due to varying rates of compaction under overburden pressures and. Repeat determinations cannot be made without allowing plugs sufficient time to relax back to the unconfined state. the apparatus is sketched in Figures 9.3 respectively. Paul Glover Page 96 . In the case of overburden measurements. Once a rock has been used for resistance measurements at high overburden pressures. in the case of low permeability samples. This can take many weeks and in some cases. but time has to be allowed for equilibrium to be achieved. Overburden formation factor measurements are generally combined with pore volume compressibility determinations.

it is the capacitance of the leadthroughs and the pressure vessel itself that causes the problems. Insulation is shown schematically in Figure 9. or using high electrical frequencies. but care has to be exercised in setting up the plug for the measurements. The most important thing is that the electrodes at each end of the sample do not have any electrical connection except through the rock. The first and second of these situations arises from the need to electrically isolate the electrodes at each end of the sample from each other and the pressure vessel.3. Dr. Even though there is no direct conductive connection. but this one proviso causes the greatest difficulty when setting up a plug to be measured either at high overburden pressures. even though there is an insulator in between. during rare triaxial deformation experiments. but in reality it is not always easy to arrange a robust electrically insulating and pressure-proof leadthrough. high frequency current can leak from one electrode to the other through the body of the pressure vessel by charge induction.1%). Paul Glover Page 97 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Electrical Properties The actual electrical measurements of resistance in themselves are very precise (better than 0. In the last situation. This may seem obvious and trivial to arrange.

care has to be taken to remove excess surface moisture from the plug (so that the conduction along the plug surface is not measured) and to ensure that just sufficient brine is contained in the electrode ends to give good contact. upon which a fine dendritic structure of amorphous black platinum has been electro-deposited. helping to reduce electrode polarisation effects to negligible values. The whole range of frequencies is generally used in academic rock physics. where electrode polarisation can be a problem. and is usually taken as the frequency at which the out-of-phase component of the resistance is minimised. (ii) improve the electrical connection. For room condition tests. and (iii) avoid conductive minerals channelling current into the rock. In the oil industry. the frequency at which the conduction is most ohmic. Paul Glover Page 98 . Contact problems are Dr. This is usually 1 kHz. and permittivity) measurements can be made anywhere in the frequency range from DC to 10 MHz using impedance analysers. or near it. Note that this frequency avoids the highest frequencies where current leakage can be a problem.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Electrical Properties High quality in-phase and out-of-phase resistance (conduction. It also avoids the low frequencies. Often a pad of filter paper soaked in the pore fluid is inserted between the rock and the platinum electrode to (i) homogenise the current flow. The electrodes are commonly made of platinum gauze. i. This increases the surface area of the electrodes by several orders of magnitude. where the technique is called impedance spectroscopy. only one frequency is used.e.

length and cross sectional area of the sample are used to calculate the resistance per unit length and per unit cross sectional area of the sample rock. the resistance. of the sample. that varies from cell to cell. R: R = r A L (9. Paul Glover Page 99 . In order to compare samples. this is called the resistivity.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Electrical Properties less pronounced in the overburden cell as brine is flowed through the system before measurements are taken. For lower permeability samples (with small pores) repeat determinations should fall within a few percent. This is clearly dependent upon the length. which is squeezed tightly onto the plug by the confining pressure. A. and the cross sectional area. and in extreme cases room condition tests may be impossible due to too rapid drainage of fluid from the sample. The main measurement is sample resistance. and at the same frequencies.4). but this method is prone to large systematic errors. L. and good electrical contact is assisted by the hydrostatic load on the end pieces. For friable. More commonly a specially designed fluid cell is used (Figure 9. This cell is connected to the same impedance analyser as used for the main measurements. The precision of measurement is dependent upon operator skills and sample permeability. Dr. This can be done in a standard dip cell. The fluid resistance obtained in this way is converted to a fluid resistivity by multiplication by a cell constant. (9. The cell constant is obtained by calibrating the cell with fluids of accurately known composition and resistivity. high permeability samples repeatability is poorer. Plug surface conduction is removed by placing the plug in a rubber sleeve. r.1) that the resistivity of the pore fluid is also required. and with temperature and pressure.3) Note from Eq.

More commonly. but most commonly the linear regression is forced through (φ=1. F=1) corresponding to a=1.mlog φ (9. A typical data set is shown in Figure 9. m. Paul Glover Page 100 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Electrical Properties Cementation exponent. Dr.6.1) can be rewritten as: log F = log a . and with a y-intercept at φ=1 equal to log (a). cementation exponent for a group of samples is calculated graphically using a minimum of 10 samples covering a wide a permeability range as possible.4) A log-log plot of formation factor against porosity gives a straight line. (9. for a particular sample can be calculated directly from Eq. Equation (9.1) if it is assumed that a=1.5. with a gradient equal to the negation of the cementation exponent. It is common to see cementation data from a best fit through the data giving both m and a. Some typical overburden measurements are shown in Figure 9.

5) So the saturation exponent.n log Sw (9. is the negation of the gradient of the log I versus log Sw plot (Figure 9.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Electrical Properties 9.7). Paul Glover Page 101 . Dr. (9. The practical considerations for these electrical measurements are similar to those for formation factor. The electrical measurements can be performed to better than 0. and that the line should always pass through (Sw=1. The methods of desaturation include porous plate and centrifuge. n.7 shows typical data).5 Sw%. Plugs are stored in closed weighing bottles and only removed for the minimum possible period.3 Resistivity Index This involves similar measurements to formation factor except that resistance is measured at values of Sw less than 100%.1% and saturation changes determined to ± 0. I=1). except that the tendency for brine to drain from the plug is essentially removed because of the lower saturations.2) can be written as: log I = 1 . Note that Eq. thus resistivity index measurements are conveniently combined with air/brine capillary pressure measurements. Care has to be taken to avoid evaporation losses during desaturation and measurement of resistance. Plots of resistivity index and Sw give n. the saturation exponent (Figure 9.

These are generally corrected from cation exchange capacity (CEC).e. A plot of core conductivity against brine conductivity (Figure 9.8) can give a value for BQV/F*. which has then at least been obtained from direct electrical measurements on intact core with the fluids of interest in place. but at low values of Sw it could be due to genuine clay effects. which can be obtained from laboratory measurements on crushed rock. Correction of m and n to m* and n* is still under general discussion within the industry. Repeat determinations of n by a skilled operator should result in good agreement. probably within a few percent. the values obtained for CEC can depend upon the amount of crushing the core has been subjected to. but this is not always the case. Some scatter is likely at high values of Sw (above 80%) and at low values (below 20%). It is possible that measurement of formation factor at various salinities can give a better guide to correction of m and n. Plots of Sw versus resistivity index often give very good straight lines. and the method used. or to water vapour loss and concentration of brine in the test plug. i. ‘excess’ conductivity of clays.4 Shale Effects Very little data is available on the reproducibility of m and n. Paul Glover Page 102 . Scatter at high values of Sw is difficult to account for. Dr. The reasons for this are not well understood.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Electrical Properties 9. Unfortunately.

Dr. but it should be borne in mind that the relationships between electrical properties and saturations are empirical.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Electrical Properties This topic requires deeper discussion than can be covered here. linear relationships cannot always be expected. A more comprehensive discussion on the accuracy of electrical measurements are given in references [2] and [3]. Paul Glover Page 103 .

Note that it is equal to zero because irreducible water is. by definition. Paul Glover Page 104 . is defined as: K ro = Similarly we can define: K eo effective oil permeability = K base permeability (10. The relative permeability to oil. and there is an irreducible water saturation of 20% due to the water wet nature of this particular example.1) or simultaneous flow of two phases (steady state tests Figure 10. the core is saturated with 80% oil. The volume of the emerging fluids (oil and water) are measured at Dr. oil. Generally. and occasionally gas as well. because this measurement has been taken as the base permeability. Figure 10. i. Note that it is equal to unity.1 Introduction and Definition Routine permeability measurements are made with a single fluid filling the pore space. Laboratory measurements are made by displacing one phase with another (unsteady state tests see Figure 10.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Chapter 10: Relative Permeability 10. immobile. would most commonly be the initial permeability to oil at Swi.3) The choice of base permeability is not. The concept used to address this situation is called relative permeability. an experiment may start by measuring the permeability to oil in the presence of an irreducible water saturation in the core.1) K rw = K rg = K ew effective water permeability = K base permeability K eg K = effective gas permeability base permeability (10. Here one would expect the permeability to either fluid to be lower than that for the single fluid since it occupies only part of the pore space and may also be affected by interaction with other phases. Conversion from one base to another is a matter of simple arithmetic. The effective permeabilities thus measured over a range of fluid saturations enable relative permeability curves to be constructed.3 shows an example of such a curve from an unsteady state waterflood experiment.e. Water is then injected into the core at one end at a constant rate. water. experimentally. Water is then injected into the core. two and sometimes three phases are present. For example. critical provided it is consistently applied.2). This is seldom the case in the reservoir situation except in water zones. At the beginning of the experiment. and the oil permeability and water permeabilities measured as water replaces oil within the core.2) (10. However. Kro. the base permeability is usually chosen as that measured at the beginning of an experiment. in itself. Point B represents the beginning water permeability. Point A represents the permeability of oil under these conditions. The base permeability chosen here.

Paul Glover Page 105 . Sor. and the differential pressure across the core is also measured. Note also that Kro + Krw ≤ 1 always. During this process the permeability to oil reduces to zero along the curve ACD. and the permeability to water increases along the curve BCE. Dr. Note that there is no further production of oil from the sample after Kro=0 at point D.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability the other end of the core. and so point D occurs at the irreducible oil saturation.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Dr. Paul Glover Page 106 .

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Dr. Paul Glover Page 107 .

and stainless steel for reservoir condition measurements (fluid pressures of thousands of psi. and confining pressures up to 1500 psi). Figure 10. These are: Dr. and expensive especially if live fluids are to be used. or their wetting characteristics be known so that data can be assessed properly.000 psi. Thus the data obtained can be influenced by saturation history and flow rate. Test plugs should either. The wetting characteristics are particularly important.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability It must be stressed. and temperatures up to 200oC). there are various successful methods of monitoring the saturation of the various fluids inside the core during the experiments. timeconsuming. The mean saturation in the core is measured by collecting and measuring the volume of time-spaced aliquots of the evolving fluids. be of similar wetting characteristics to the reservoir state. that these curves are not a unique function of saturation. However. rock and fluid properties. however. Paul Glover Page 108 . confining pressures up to 10. but are also dependent upon fluid distribution.4 shows an example of a typical rig piping diagram. The fluid flow lines would be nylon or PTFE tube for ambient condition measurements (fluid pressures up to a few hundred psi. Rigs for relperm measurement are often varied in design depending upon the exact circumstances. These latter experiments are extremely complex. The choice of test method should be made with due regard for reservoir saturation history.

The following sequence occurs as water migrates into the rock: Dr. which does nothing to make laboratory water-flood data easier to interpret. (iv) NMR Scanning. (ii) X-Radiometry. This can be modelled in laboratory tests. Close to the well bore. Modern techniques use a single automated motorised source/detector pair. whereas the last two are rarely used due to their cost.5 mm. 10. The first two methods are commonly used.e. The spatial resolution is about 0. A very new application that is similar to the CT scanning. Many reservoir systems fall between the two extremes. (iii) CT Scanning. this uses doped oil or water phases to attenuate the energy of gamma rays that travel through the core perpendicular to the flood front. Each gamma source/detector pair measures the instantaneous water and oil.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability (i) GASM (Gamma Attenuation Saturation Monitoring). or gas and oil saturation averaged over a thin cross section of the core. 10. Uses x-rays and tomographic techniques to give a full 3D image of the fluid saturations in the core during an experiment.2 Oil-brine relative Permeability Theory Three cases will be considered: (i) Water-wet systems (ii) Oil-wet systems. but in the case of oil wet systems. giving a limited resolution. This is equivalent to about 4 cc/hr in a typical laboratory waterflood. but is even more expensive. retention of wetting phase at test plug outlet face. rates can be very low.1 Water Wet Systems Consider a water-wet pore system at Swi (generally 15 to 30%) some distance from well bore such that flow rates are low. a knowledge of the two extreme cases allows misinterpretation of intermediate data to be minimised. Commonly used by BP. advance rates will be high. typically advancing at 1 ft/day. Consideration must be given to flow rates. further away. and (iii) The intermediate wettability case. and measurements can be made only every 5 minutes or so. Paul Glover Page 109 . It should be remembered that in water-wet systems capillary forces assist water to enter pores. there is a tendency for low recoveries to be predicted due to end effects. It has an increased resolution. but is extremely expensive. whereas in the oil wet case they tend to prevent water entering pores. i. but uses xrays instead of gamma rays. However. Commonly used by US companies. Up to 8 pairs are used to track the fluid saturations in the core during an experiment. It is similar to GASM.2.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Dr. Paul Glover Page 110 .

8. Water migrates in a piston like fashion.7. The Sor value obtained may then differ from the true reservoir situation. (iv) Figure 10. the water flows at a relatively higher velocity through larger pores.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability (i) Figure 10. thus tending to bypass ‘groups’ of smaller pores containing oil. Initially at Swi.6. As water saturation increases oil flow tends to cease abruptly. Dr. Paul Glover Page 111 . tending to displace most of the oil ahead of it. Instead of entering small pores preferentially by capillary forces.5. Kro = 1 and Krw = 0. and Sor is reached. Dramatically increasing the water flow rate (bump) has very little effect on oil production or Krw. Figure 10. This is because capillary forces provide most of the energy required for displacement of the oil. (ii) (iii) Figure 10. If floods are carried out at too high a flow rate on water-wet cores the trapping mechanisms present in the reservoir are not allowed to occur. water is the wetting phase and will not flow.

Paul Glover Page 112 .14 as follows: Dr. 10.9 and 10.11 to 10. Points to take note of are the limited amount of incremental data obtained (although this may be extended by using viscous oils). (ii) Generally good recoveries. This is caused by the rapid rise in water cut and the very short period of two phase flow typical of water wet systems.2.2 Oil Wet Systems Consider water entering an oil-wet pore system containing (typically) very low water saturations. and do not exhibit end effects to any significant extent.10. (iii) Low Krw values at Sor.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Water wet systems are usually adequately described by low rate floods. Water wet data are characterised by: (i) Limited oil production after water breakthrough. The sequence of events from Swi is illustrated by Figures 10. Some typical data are presented in Figures 10.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Dr. Paul Glover Page 113 .

Paul Glover Page 114 . substantial further oil production occurs and Krw increases significantly. The actual pressure differential required is dictated by Eq. This situation does not model processes occurring in the reservoir and should be avoided by appropriate choice of waterflood rate at the beginning of the experiment.12.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability (i) Figure 10. (8.15 and 10. This equilibrium is attained slowly giving the characteristic prolonged slow production of oil after early water breakthrough. (ii) (iii) Figure 10.11. Capillary pressure considerations indicate that an applied pressure differential will be required before water will enter the largest pore. If the flow rate (and hence the pressure differential) are increased at this stage. If waterfloods on oil wet core are carried out at too low a flow rate there may be inappropriate retention of oil at the outlet face of the test plug. Dr.13.1). Kro falls and Krw rises rapidly.16. At the end of a low rate flood. Water flows through the largest flow channels first. This is illustrated in Figure 10. After large volumes of water have flowed through the system. Krw and the amount of oil produced are relatively low. Sor is reached.14. Typical high rate valid oil wet data are shown in Figure 10. Figure 10.

Paul Glover Page 115 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Dr.

Note also that Dr. Figures 10. Typical intermediate wettability relperm data are shown in Figures 10. Steady state tests may be necessary to fully define the shape of the relperm curves. However.19 contain data obtained on the same test plug and illustrate the need for more than one test made in obtaining valid relative permeability data.3 Intermediate Systems Data from intermediate wetting rock-fluid systems can be difficult to assess. 10. It is usually necessary to carry out a variety of flood modes to fully assess end effects and rate dependence.17 and 10. Figure 10.19 shows steady state data obtained from a core containing mobile kaolinite fines.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability 10. the volume of oil produced is similar.2.18. Flow reversal may indicate whether low recoveries are due to pore scale end effects evenly distributed within the test plug. A low rate flood followed by a high rate bump flood will usually give an indication of the extent of end effects. They have caused the water relative permeability to be suppressed.17.18 and 10. especially if a single test mode has been used to obtain data. The shape of the relperm curves is significantly different for the high and low rate floods. These were mobilised during the prolonged simultaneous flow of oil and brine during the steady state test sequence. Paul Glover Page 116 .

but the length of time required to come to equilibrium at each flow rate ratio (at least a few days compared to less than one day for a whole unsteady state test) results in fewer data points being taken. Paul Glover Page 117 . Dr. but there are fewer of them. The steady state test is more controlled because it takes much longer to carry out.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability the data points are more reasonably spaced and are less scattered for the steady state test.

Calculation of Relative Permeability from Waterflood Experiments: JBN Analysis. Paul Glover Page 118 .2. The experimental data generally recorded includes: Qi ∆p ∆pi Qo Qw = = = = = Quantity of displacing phase injected Pressure differential Pressure differential at initial conditions Volume of oil produced Volume of water produced Dr.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability 10. (iv) Variation of fractional flow with viscosity ratio.4 Relative Permeability Calculations This section includes: (i) Calculation of relative permeability from laboratory waterflood data and the basic equations from Johnson Bossler & Nauman (JBN). (iii) Fractional flow from transition zones. (ii) Prediction of fractional flow from relperm curves and capillary pressure data. I.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability These data are analysed by the technique described by Johnson. at the core outlet is given by: fout = Together with: d S wav d Qi (10.4) fout = 1 K µ  1 +  rw o   K ro µ w  (10. The values of Kro and hence Krw. (a) Kro/KrW The average water saturation (Swav)is plotted against Qi: It can be shown that the fractional flow of oil. The method is aimed at giving the required values at the outlet face of the core which is essentially where volumetric flow observations are made.5) (b) Kro A plot of ∆p/∆pi against Qi is used to obtain the injectivity ratio IR: Dr. Three calculation stages are involved: (a) (b) (c) The ratio Kro/Krw. which is summarised below. The value of Sw. Bossler and Nauman (see reference list [4]). Paul Glover Page 119 .

6) Kro is obtained by plotting 1/QiIR versus 1/Qi. Dr. Paul Glover Page 120 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability IR = ∆p i 1 ∆p Q i (10.

Swout = Swav − fout Q i (10.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability and using the relationship. (c) (10. Prediction of Fractional Flow Fractional flow can be predicted from capillary pressure data and relperm curves.8) Thus Kro and Krw can be plotted against Swout to give the normal relative permeability curves.7) Using Welges correction to convert average saturations to outlet face saturations (Swout). Paul Glover Page 121 . and the relperm curves provide the values for Krw and Kro at that saturation. Capillary pressure data gives the saturations expected.9) and OilCut % = Oil production x 100% Total production (10. Qo = 2π K eo H t Pd R  µ o ln  e   Rw  (10.11) and. Water and oil cuts are defined as follows: Water Cut % = Water production x 100% Total production (10. Dr. 1 K ro = fout d (1 / Q i I R ) d (1 / Q i ) Knowing Kro/Krw from (a) above. II. Water cut can then be calculated. then Krw can be calculated.10) Using the radial flow equations.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Qw = 2π K ew H t Pd R  µ w ln  e   Rw  (10. Paul Glover (10.1 and 10.16) III. Drawdown pressure. i.17) Page 122 . is defined as. When production commences the oil/water flow ratio should correlate with steady state water drainage test data.12) where. IV.13) K ew = K rw K Thus. Fractional Flow from Transition Zones Transition zones or zones with Sw at some value greater than Swi may present problems with unsteady state tests. defined as: M ro for oil phase = K ro / µ o Dr. since the fractional water cut.14) fw = we can say: Qw Qo + Q w 1 µ K 1 + w ro µ o K rw (10. Ht Pd = = Thickness of the producing zone being considered. But from equations 10. fw. K eo = K ro K and (10. Using the term mobility. The steady state test may be more applicable in such cases.2.e. (10. Variation of Fractional Flow with Viscosity Ratio For cases where capillary forces are negligible. i. This is the most probable direction in which saturation last changed to place the reservoir in its discovery state.15) fw = (10. It may not be possible to perform an unsteady state waterflood starting at Sw values greater than Swi. it can be shown that the fractional flow of water increases as the viscosity of water decreases relative to the oil viscosity. where the initial oil saturation is lower than the irreducible saturation attained at ‘infinite’ capillary pressure. carried out with Sw increasing. This situation frequently exists in transition zones before production is started.e.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability M rw for water phase = K rw / µ w the Mobility Ratio λ = M ro / M rw Eq. The effect is shown in Figure 10. Paul Glover Page 123 .18) (10.19) fw = 1 1+ λ (10.16) is then expressed as: (10. (10. Dr.20.20) Thus fw decreases as µw is increased or as µo is decreased.

requiring time to reach equilibrium at each chosen oil/brine flow ratio.3. Table 10. and the brine breakthrough point. fluid contents (live crude) and wettability. and to model reservoir flow rates.2 Oil-Brine Unsteady State Test Procedure Cleaned cores at Swi are confined in a Hassler or other type of core holder fitted with a breakthrough detector and subjected to a constant brine flow.1).1 Oil-Brine Relative Permeability This is the most frequently requested relative permeability test. Displacement rates can be modified to accommodate wettability characteristics to some extent. steady and unsteady state. and temperature with live fluids (Table 10. overburden loading. and each has its limitations and advantages.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability 10. Paul Glover Page 124 . Dr. detailed discussion here will be limited to those most frequently studied. gas/brine drainage and imbibition. In general terms unsteady state tests are less time consuming than steady state tests. and each can also be done at full reservoir conditions of confining pressure. In view of the large number of possibilities. This is carried out on core which has been restored to full reservoir conditions of temperature. but can suffer from uneven saturation distributions (end effects).3.1 Common Laboratory Relperm Tests Type Oil/brine imbibition Oil/brine drainage Oil/brine imbibition Oil/brine drainage Gas/brine drainage Gas/brine imbibition Gas/oil drainage Gas/oil imbibition Gas/oil drainage Gas/oil imbibition Mode Steady state Steady state Unsteady state Unsteady state Unsteady state Unsteady state Unsteady state Unsteady state Unsteady state Unsteady state Sw Increasing Decreasing Increasing Decreasing Decreasing Increasing Sw=0 Sw=0 Sw=Swi Sw=Swi So Decreasing Increasing Decreasing Increasing So=0 So=0 Decreasing Increasing Decreasing Increasing Sg Sg=0 Sg=0 Sg=0 Sg=0 Increasing Decreasing Increasing Decreasing Increasing Decreasing The most representative and costly test is the reservoir condition waterflood. the pressure differential across the core. i. The data are used to calculate the relative permeability characteristics by using the Johnson. Steady state tests can be set up to avoid end effects but are more time consuming.3 Laboratory Tests Available There are at least ten usual variations of room condition tests. 10. Limited numbers of these tests are performed to assess more economical room condition waterflood data. and gas/oil drainage and imbibition. It attempts to simulate the displacement of oil by a rising oil-water contact or a waterflood. The choices of test mode available are unsteady state or steady state.e. Data recorded are incremental oil and brine production (in calibrated vials). water-floods. fluid pressure. 10. Bossler and Naumans technique.

measure weight saturated with brine. oil. Oil wet and intermediate systems tend to flood to typically low values of Swi more rapidly. End effects then occur in the outlet end piece instead of the test plug.3 Oil-Brine Steady State Test Procedure These differ from the unsteady state tests in that oil and brine are flowed simultaneously through the test plug at a fixed ratio until equilibrium is attained. measure weight saturated with methanol. The test core is mounted between mixer heads made from adjacent core material.1. (vi) Carry out waterflood.9. Dr. The methods of measuring fluid saturations in situ overcome this problem. measure KL and φ. changing to suit the expected reservoir history. Steady state tests have the advantage that end effects (which can affect certain unsteady state tests) are eliminated. recording pressure differential.g. (ii) Saturate with formation brine without drying. The disadvantages of steady state tests are that they are more time consuming both in manhours and elapsed time than unsteady state floods. Figure 10. (iv) Flood down to Swi at a suitable differential pressure. dry. etc. Figures 10. The saturations were traditionally determined by demounting the plug and weighing. and at lower pressure differentials than water wet systems. (data required for JBN analysis).. Kro. incremental oil and water production. These have similar wetting characteristics to the test plug and allow the correct flow regime to fully establish itself before the test plug is entered. 10. but has the advantage over centrifuge techniques that even saturation distributions are obtained. and calculate Krw at Sor before and after bump. and Krw for various Swout and Swav. Paul Glover Page 125 .15 and 10. The process is repeated with various oil/brine ratios. but this can extend to 72 hours for low permeability samples or samples made from several core plugs abutted to each other to form a long test sample. It usually takes at least 24 hours for each flow ratio to equilibrate. The effective permeabilities are simply calculated using Darcy’s Law. (viii) Measure Kew .and intermediate wet cores. (vii) Use JBN analysis to calculate Keo.3. Flooding down to Swi is carried out in a Hassler or other type of core holder fitted with a capillary pressure disc. Figure 10. to build up complete relative permeability curves (e. (iii) Measure Kew at Sw=1. 10.19). This process may take several weeks. Estimation of saturation can be difficult for friable samples if grain loss occurs each time the plug is removed for weighing. (v) Measure Keo at Swi. (ix) Clean. but are now done using one of the methods discussed at the end of section 10.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability The normal full test sequence is as follows: (i) Miscibly clean core by flushing alternately with toluene and methanol.2 (constant pressure differential). Kew.17 show example data for water-.

gas displacing brine. Dr. models gas injection into a brine saturated zone. Paul Glover Page 126 .4 Gas-Brine Relative Permeability Tests Unsteady state tests are most common due to difficulties handling injection of gas over long periods in steady state tests.22. Full relative permeability curves are generated and more importantly. this section will only deal with unsteady state gasbrine relperm tests. The drainage cycle.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability 10. i. but do give brine permeability at trapped gas saturation and the actual trapped gas saturation itself. gas permeability at irreducible brine saturation. The drainage test is performed by flowing gas (saturated with water vapour to ensure that the gas does not evaporate the brine) into a brine saturated plug. Imbibition tests cannot be set up to give the full relative permeability curves.e. The imbibition cycle models movement of a gas/water contact into the gas zone. Consequently. Typical gas-brine drainage and imbibition data are shown in Figures 10.21 and 10. Incremental gas and brine production and pressure differential are recorded. Relative permeability curves can then be calculated using JBN analysis.3.

mD Krw at Sgi.19 0. the pressure differential rapidly increases to a maximum. The imbibition cycle provides data for an oil zone advancing into a gas cap but only end point permeability and trapped gas saturation are obtained. Krw at trapped gas saturation can be surprisingly low. which reduces Kro very significantly. This maintenance or even increase in Sg tends to keep Krw low or reduce it even further. The bubbles eventually become connected and give rise to a significant gas permeability.05 0. The drainage mode (gas displacing oil) models gas advance into an oil zone. (iii) Figure 10. different from the laboratory technique. It tends to remain high or increase slightly.48 1.62 0. values of 0.5 Gas-Oil Relative Permeability Tests Unsteady state tests can be performed in both drainage and imbibition modes. 10.42 0. and a trapped gas saturation will always remain. mD Sg at end of test Sw at end of test 0. The process which occurs is represented in Figures 10. Krg rapidly increases and Kro further declines.01 0. (ii) Figure 10.47 0.24 & 10.3 165 50 Keo at Swi.48 Imbibition data are obtained by recording the pressure differential across the core as brine is flowed into the test plug initially at S=Swi+Sg. It is interesting to consider the reservoir situation which is slightly. (i) Referring to Figure 10. It is worth considering the mechanism occurring as an oil reservoir is depleted to a pressure below its bubble point.53 0. mD 1.3.02 0. mD Kew at Sw=100 % mD 3 5 12 12. The saturation at which gas becomes mobile is termed the critical gas saturation. and usually yields full relperm curves.1 being frequently recorded.79 Kew at Sgi. It then falls slowly as gas dissolves in the flowing brine.81 0.8 411 103 4. mD 5.05 0. since the trapped gas expands as pressure falls.58 0.24.21 0. This dissolution is unavoidable to some extent.38 0.02 to 0.25. the gas saturation increases.22 Gas/Brine Relative Permeability Data Plug Code KL.52 0.21 Sg at end of Test 0. 10. Paul Glover Page 127 .21 1. but unlike the core test. In the reservoir water migrates into the gas zone as pressure declines. The relative flow rate of oil is further reduced by the lower viscosity and higher mobility of the gas. As the initially dominant gas phase is replaced by more viscous water.88 Sw at End of Test 0.2 87 44 Drainage Imbibition Kro at Swi. Dr.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Figure 10. The maximum pressure differential is recorded and used to calculate Krw at residual (trapped) gas saturation.25. but can be reduced by equilibrating the injected brine with the gas at pressure prior to injection.23. Eventually the oil droplets become discontinuous and only gas is produced. immobile bubbles.23. It should be noted that the injected brine will not completely displace the gas. Initially gas forms in discrete.53 0. but significantly. the gas saturation does not necessary decline. As pressure falls further. This scenario operates in many reservoirs even if some of the gas migrates onwards and upwards.

Paul Glover Page 128 .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Dr.

Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Dr. Paul Glover Page 129 .

The relative merits of tests with and without connate water have not yet been fully investigated. It can be argued that the connate water will be immobile and this has been found to be true in some experiments. 10. recovery at a given produced volume. permeability. but could possibly be affected by the wetting characteristics of the rock. must all be made with reference to lithology. in particular. Choice of test method will be governed by application of data. Paul Glover Page 130 . If required. but this requires that brine saturated cores be flooded to Swi with oil prior to gas flooding. end effects in oil wet cores and problems sometimes caused by wettability alterations and mobile fines. i. the tests can be performed with connate water present. However.27. and low flow rates away from the well bore. cross-over points.. However. modelling of a well or reservoir performance may require modified relative permeability data.3. Thus.6 Relative Permeability Data Treatment Interpretation and use of relative permeability data to predict individual well or reservoir performance can be complicated by lateral variations in rock properties. If you are ever in a position to commission this type of work. Dr. The effect is shown in Figures 10. where connate water is present we have noticed that Krg tends to show a more concave upwards curve than when it is absent. no one test method can fully describe a system and choice of data will be influenced by laboratory scale limitations. The situation is very complex. As stressed previously. ensure that provision of this information is part of the contract. it is often impossible to assess service company data since flow rates are seldom constant and ∆p/∆pi versus Qi curves are not reported. high flow rate for near the well bore. and initial fluid saturations. Correlations of overall curve shape. Good petroleum engineering reports should highlight any experimental difficulties encountered and indicate the most reliable data.e.26 & 10. brine permeability at residual oil saturation etc. although the laboratory tests can adequately describe the behaviour of a particular test plug.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Relative Permeability Laboratory gas-oil relative permeability tests are performed in a similar manner to the gasbrine tests.

Hence. Each reservoir (or well) has to be considered on its own merits. (ii) friable and unconsolidated core. The range of tests required will depend on previous experience with the particular reservoir rock/fluid combination under study. The more common reservoir situations encountered are summarised below.Is it fit for purpose? 6. The RCAL information effectively provides a pre-study that will help identify possible problems in carrying out the SCAL work. What data do you have already from RCAL? What other knowledge is there that you can draw upon? What is the type of field. 5. or possible problems with the rocks are not recognised. basic chemical cleaning. Where anomalies exist it will be advantageous to increase coverage of some parameters and possibly introduce special test sequences to assess the more unusual core and fluid interactions connected with formation damage. Where previous experience is available and there is good agreement between routine core analysis. Is there any information that would be missing? If it is required. v The technical staff and managers carrying out the work. Is there a specified test that will not tell you any further information concerning the field? If there is drop it! Dr. commission it! 7. but if corners are cut such that the real requirements are not well defined. The numbers of each particular test required will depend on the permeability/porosity distribution. drive and hydrocarbon? What do you want to do with the SCAL data? Will your projected SCAL campaign provide sufficient data for the purpose it was designed . and then He porosity and gas permeability on the core plugs. the numbers of tests and possibly scope can be reduced. (iii) drilling fluid contamination. plugging every foot wherever the strength of the core fabric allows it. it is important to seek the technical advice and expertise of: v Anyone with experience of the rock properties for the field in question. Also. Remember time is money. or data that you already have is not used. For example.1 Introduction It is not easy to specify RCAL and SCAL programmes on a general basis. In each case it is the SCAL that has been concentrated upon. v Any other individual or source that may provide data that could help save expensive mistakes. 2. These problems may include (i) swelling clays. etc. then more money will be wasted.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Commissioning Studies Chapter 11: Commissioning Studies 11. Sometimes Hg porisimetry. When commissioning a SCAL study the FIRST step is to review ALL the RCAL data that has already been obtained. 3. CT scanning and petrographic analyses are also carried out on a small number of plugs. ask yourself the following points during SCAL commissioning: 1. (iv) mobile fines. log and well performance data. SCAL data is very expensive to collect. Routine core analysis commissioning is usually done by internal protocol. Paul Glover Page 131 . 4.

11. and is it fixed? If not fix it – SCAL tests are of known duration and can be scheduled well.. and in most cases will be able to advise you on the best technical approach to either overcome. get advice! 9. They should be warned of problems. on CD-ROM in Excel format as well as a written report? A little time spent planning can save an enormous amount of money.e. Does the data you have flag any possible problems with the particular rock to be analysed? If there are problems you must talk to the people carrying out the tests. Particular care should be taken with highly fractured reservoirs where gas/brine contacts move rapidly. This can be readily assessed from a relatively small number of tests on preserved water zone cores. Paul Glover Page 132 . Ensure that measurement errors.2 Dry Gas Reservoirs These represent the simplest case but the relative importance of the suggested tests (Figure 11. 10. Have you specified the data to be provided in a format that will the of best use to you.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Commissioning Studies 8. Have you commissioned sufficient cores of each type of test to provide a reliable and representative coverage of the well section of interest? If you do not know how to judge this.1) will depend upon the nature of the reservoir. With sandstone reservoirs brine permeability in the water zone may be significantly lower than indicated by routine measurements. i. Does the service company know your needs sufficiently well to provide good and informed service? Good communications leads to better data! 11. are sufficiently small or manageable that the data is fit for purpose. which always occur. Do you know the timescale for the scheduled work. Measurement of trapped gas saturation is particularly important here. Have you asked the service company managers and technical staff for their expert advice? 12. avoid or minimise the problem. Have you specified the errors that are acceptable on the measurements? To do this you will need to communicate with the service company. 13. 14. Dr.

However.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Commissioning Studies Figure 11.2). Dr.1 Basic SCAL Programme for a Dry Gas Reservoir 100’ Thick with a Single Facies Type Test Sequence Number of Tests Proposed As required Typical Charge per Test (Manhours) - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Drill. are more complicated.plug samples Clean by routine methods Routine porosity (He method) KL gas permeability Plug description. relative permeability. thin section.e. (Figure 11. If waterflooding is envisaged then wettability is extremely important. Wettability measurements should be considered as an essential preliminary to choice of relative permeability test. trim and clean by flushing as many plugs as are obtainable from preserved core (up to 60) Capillary pressure (air-brine) Resistivity index Saturation exponent Formation factor Cementation factor Formation factor at overburden pressure Pore volume compressibility at overburden pressure Brine permeability at overburden pressure Ambient condition relative permeability gas floods Drainage and imbibition cycles Water zone permeabilities Brine permeabilities of preserved core . i. i. The static tests. capillary pressure.3 Oil Reservoir without Gas Cap The situation with oil reservoirs becomes more complex than a dry gas reservoir as: (i) (ii) Transition zones are usually from a more significant portion of the reservoir. dynamic tests.. resistivity index. Paul Glover Page 133 .e. are basically straightforward. Flow characteristics and relative permeabilities are strongly influenced by wettability. formation factors etc.000) 11. and SEM studies to link SCAL properties with sedimentological characteristics Typical cost 10-20 15 10-20 10 5 12 30 6 As required As required - 700-1000 man-hours (approximately £800. and choice of type and test mode depends upon wettability. as will be water zone brine permeabilities on preserved core.

Choice of dynamic relative permeability tests will depend upon the expected movement of oil/water and gas/oil contacts. Similarly if the reservoir is being waterflooded for pressure maintenance or to reduce gas cap size.400. thin section.4 Oil Reservoir with Gas Cap The static tests are basically the same as for 11. Dr. gas-oil relative permeability at connate water tests are desirable. the imbibition gas/oil test will provide valuable data on oil permeability at trapped gas saturation and the trapped gas saturation itself. Paul Glover Page 134 . trim and clean by flushing as many plugs as are obtainable from preserved core (up to 60) Capillary pressure (air-brine) Resistivity index Saturation exponent Formation factor Cementation factor Formation factor at overburden pressure Pore volume compressibility at overburden pressure Brine permeability at overburden pressure Wettability tests on preserved and cleaned core Ambient condition relative permeability tests (mode chosen depending on wettability measurements) Reservoir condition waterfloods. If expansion of the gas cap into the oil zone is envisaged. Possibly in preference to (5 above) depending on the characteristics of the core Water zone permeabilities Pore throat size distribution measurements by mercury injection Clean by routine methods Routine porosity (He method) KL gas permeability Plug description.000) 11.2 above. and SEM studies to link SCAL properties with sedimentological characteristics Typical cost 10-20 15 10-20 6 10-15 Up to 6 12 15 30 120 5 10 As required As required - 700-1700 man-hours (approximately £1.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Commissioning Studies Figure 11.2 Basic SCAL Programme for an Oil Reservoir 100’ Thick with a Single Facies Type Test Sequence Number of Tests Proposed As required Typical Charge per Test (Manhours) - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Drill.

It is especially difficult to specify a general scheme of formation damage tests. Dr. The cases considered here are poor and declining injectivity in a water injection well. it is possible that some particles become dislodged during the tests and then behave as mobile fines. Introduction of fluids upsetting desired relative permeability behaviour.6. Simple clay swelling effects are observed as reversible permeability changes. Introduction of incompatible fluids. The particular reservoir fluids. However.5 Gas-Condensate The flow regimes and saturation changes which occur in condensate reservoirs are among the most difficult to model in the laboratory.6 Formation Damage The term formation damage generally describes permeability reduction brought about by: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Movement of fines. 11. Paul Glover Page 135 . Introduction of particulate matter. (ii) Mobile fines within reservoir rock. and are extremely rare. Two situations will therefore be briefly covered which illustrate the means of damage detection and the applicability of single and two phase tests. (ii) (iii) The sensitivity of a formation to brine composition can be assessed by core throughput tests with changing brine compositions.3. Figure 11. and formation damage caused by drilling muds.1 Poor and Declining Injectivity The possibilities here are: (i) Particulate matter in injection water. Permeability to liquids (brines) are observed and plotted against throughput. (iii) Incompatible waters causing clay swelling. The presence of mobile fines can be detected fairly readily in the laboratory.3. Changes occur with throughput and flow direction when fines move to block pore throats. saturation change directions.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Commissioning Studies 11. 11. minerals. Figure 11. The tests however tend to be pessimistic and indicate greater permeability decline rates than are encountered downhole. These processes can be tested for by the following methods: (i) The problem of particulate matter in injection water should be taken care of by proper filtration but could be tested for with on site core tests. and introduced fluid compositions should be considered when defining a programme.

also need to be considered when interpreting the permeability data. the effective gas permeabilities were the same in both instances. Single phase tests indicated that oil based mud filtrate permeability was greater than for water based mud filtrate. Dr. This case has been simplified.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Commissioning Studies 10. Paul Glover Page 136 . as other factors. implying permeability damage by the water based mud. fluid saturations and volume throughput required to achieve recovery of gas permeability. such as relative permeability.2 Drilling Mud Formation Damage A recent study indicated that single phase (liquid) permeability tests cannot necessarily be relied upon to predict formation damage for a two phase situation.6. when the mud filtrates were displaced with gas. However.

p Pc Pd Pm Qo Qi Qv Qw Re RCAL Relperm Ro Rw Rt SCAL So Sor Sgt Sw Swi t Cross sectional area Specific Counterion Activity (Waxman-Smits) Capillary Pressure Formation factor Tortuosity factor Producing zone thickness Brine permeability Gas permeability Equivalent liquid permeability (Klinkenberg corrected gas permeability) Oil permeability Effective oil permeability Relative permeability Relative permeability to oil Relative permeability brine Permeability to simulated formation water Brine/water permeability Effective brine/water permeability Length Cementation factor Cementation factor (corrected) Mobility Saturation exponent Saturation exponent (corrected) Pressure Capillary pressure (psi) Drawdown pressure Mean flowing pressure Volume oil produced Volume water injected Cation exchange capacity meq/ml Volume water produced Effective reservoir radius Routine core analysis Relative Permeability Core resistivity Brine resistivity (or wellbore diameter) Core resistivity at reduced Sw Special Core Analysis Oil saturation Residual oil saturation Residual trapped gas saturation Brine saturation Initial brine saturation Time (secs) Dr.F E Ht Kbrine Kg KL Ko Keo Kr Kro Krw KSFW Kw Kew l . Paul Glover Page i .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Abbreviations Abbreviations A B Cp FF.L m m* Mr n n* P.

Paul Glover Page ii .Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Abbreviations Abbreviations continued V. v γ λ θ φ ρο ρω µο µω Volume Interfacial tension Mobility ratio Contact angle Porosity Oil density Brine density Oil viscosity Water (brine) viscosity Dr.

16th Annual Logging Symposium 4-7.. YUAN. 1563-1578. by A. 75. Parameters derived from the relationship can be used to construct accurate physical models that subdivide physical response in terms of the contributions of each pore type. & HORKOWITZ. A partial characterization of the relationship between pores and throats is embodied in the relationship between pore type and throat size. Langley and Pallatt. Heaviside. S.E. 75. CRABTREE. Parameters derived from such a combination are [2] [3] [4] [5] Dr. This condition is met by a sample suite representing reservoir facies from a single core or. R.370. London. the numbers and sizes of pores. Errors in Laboratory Measurements of Formation Resistivity Factor”. the association between pore types and throat size. E. 75.W. & CRABTREE.. 1991.J. Abstract: Porosity in reservoir rocks is configured into a few types of pores whose size and shape are controlled by depositional fabric and processes. Calculation of Relative Permeability from Displacement Experiments.A. [6] MCCREESH. and mercury injection porosimetry. and (4) pore type data are related strongly to petrophysical properties.A. (3) pore types are understood easily in terms of conventional genetic classification schemes. Comments on obtaining Accurate Electrical Properties of Cores. Petrography and reservoir physics 2: relating thin section porosity to capillary pressure. and precise. Each pore type is represented by a characteristic distribution of sizes and shapes found in thin section. Most sandstone reservoirs contain fewer than six pore types. The relationship between pore type and throat size is an effective means to relate reservoirs in terms of the efficiency of the porous to multiphase flow. 8th Formation Evaluation Symposium Trans. Neither property varies consistently as porosity varies. 1983..L. 216. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. EHRLICH. EHRLICH. 1991. BRUMFIELD. 1991. which quantifies throat size information. Physical models to account for these factors require parameters that describe physically relevant properties of the microstructure. The advantages of this approach to porosity classification are (1) the criteria for classification are objectively defined. [7] EHRLICH.P.W. S. D. shape. Petrography and reservoir physics 3: physical models for permeability and formation factor. 1547-1562. by Hoyer. p. (2) classification procedure is rapid. The size. ETRIS. Petrography and reservoir physics 1: objective classification of reservoir porosity. Pet.P. being sensitive to the structure of the porous microstructure. and abundance of each pore type can be objectively determined from thin section using image analysis and pattern recognition procedures. AIME (1959). Pore types are derived from the frequency distributions of sizes and shapes of patches of porosity exposed in thin section. S Spann.O. C. K.A.. R. June 1975. To do so.. S. This relationship is derived by combining data obtained from thin sections. R. Paul Glover Page iii .P.J. a set of samples is required wherein the association between pore type and throat size is fixed.. in many cases.L. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. and the relationships between pores and throats. the sizes of pore throats. Johnson. Trans.P. The association between pore type and throat size can be determined using regression procedures linking pore type data obtained from thin section with capillary pressure data. J. Worthington. The relationship of both properties to porosity is complex. S. HORKOWITZ. Much of the variability in reservoir physics is associated with changes in pore type abundance.J. & CRABTREE. accurate. Each pore type tends to be associated with a limited range of throat sizes. 16th Annual Logging Symposium 4-7 June 1975. i. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. Abstract: Porosity observed in thin section can be objectively classified using a combination of digital acquisition procedures and pattern recognition algorithms. Mar.e. 1579-1592. L. but where pore type proportions vary between samples. Bossler and Nauman. from a single field.L. S.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Selected References Selected References [1] Permeability Characteristics of Magnus Reservoir Rock. from which pore types are derived via image analysis.. Abstract: Permeability and formation factor are physical properties of porous rocks useful for assessing reservoirs.

1995. Notes: With miscible-gas flood.e. F. Pore geometry: control on reservoir properties. The contributions of each pore type to permeability and electrical conductivity are computed. Notes: As mercury injection tests are expensive and not abundant. 191-198. With waterflood.J. Paul Glover Page iv .. R.P. Notes: Important discussion of interpreting mercury injection porosimetry results. 1027-1044. J. 55-82. Columbia and Lafayette counties. Mercury capillary pressure curves and the interpretation of pore structure and capillary behaviour in reservoir rocks. is required. & KALDI. FEGHI. Notes: A classic on this subject.E. [14] HUANG.. Explains the reasons behind various aspects of injection and withdrawal curves.. Walker Field. C.. J.S.C. 1993. The results are reported from low-rate. derives relationships using multiple regression on large database of samples. & SORBIE.W. P. In: NORTH.L. and must have values ranging (for sandstones) from about 2. geometry and scale. but can vary between reservoirs. [11] BLIEFNICK. J. 225-262. [13] CORBETT. 24. Calculated values are close to measurement values. K. D. 433-442. 1992. Useful discussion on interpreting mercury injection porosimetery results. E. London. Notes: An oolite carbonates sequence. P. A constant of proportionality is the same for all samples from a reservoir. 287-292. G. These values are consistent for an efficiently packed fabric. Relationship of porosity and permeability to various parameters derived from mercury injection-capillary pressure curves for sandstones. [10] PITTMAN. & PROSSER.0 for conductivity. large-scale geometry may be more important than the internal small-scale structure. SPE Reservoir Engineering.G. 76. In Situ. 1992. These models assume a porous medium that has large numbers of flow paths parallel to the potential gradient. Y. One result of such modeling is a physical model of Archie's cementation exponent m as the ratio of the logarithms of the cross sectional throat area to pore area (per unit area).0 to 7. Geological Society special publication 73.. [12] RINGROSE. such that flow has little tortuosity (i. 1993.G.M.M. C. & JENSEN. 10.S.S. [8] WARDLAW. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. Geological applications of capillary pressure: a review.D. & JENSEN. Abstract: Most floods in sandstone cores are performed either in almost homogeneous samples or else in core samples of uncertain heterogeneity. by looking at SEM of rocks studied.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Selected References sufficient to construct simple physical models for permeability and electrical conductivity (inverse formation factor). Quantification of variability in laminated sediments: a role for the probe permeameter in improved reservoir characterization. & TAYLOR.L. J. D. As a result. Relevant reservoir characterisation: recovery process. R. the interaction of small-scale sedimentary heterogeneity with the fluid mechanics of water-oil displacement cannot be adequately understood or quantified.. K. 80. small-scale structure likely to be dominant. 17. 76. Capillary trapping mechanisms in water-wet laminated rocks. 1976. & SNEIDER. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. [9] VAVRA. drainage-imbibition floods in a 20 x 10 x 1 cm slab or cross-laminated heterogeneous sandstone.P. P.5 for permeability and 5. SORBIE.5 to 3. 840-850. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin. (eds) Characterization of fluvial and aeolian reservoirs.L. N. Empirical equations make it possible to construct pore aperture radius distribution curves from core analysis porosity and permeability. Emphasises must think not only about the rock but also the fluids and the recovery process. Arkansas. Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology. 1996. PICKUP. KALDI.S. flow parallel to bedding). RINGROSE. The laminated aeolian sandstone was characterized by detailed Dr.

M. PICKUP. Notes: Deriving 2-phase flow parameters such as relative permeability and capillary pressure from microscopic considerations. 227-250. Most sedimentary rocks display structure from the millimeter or centimeter scale upward. FARMER. S. sedimentary structures.V. permeability. the interaction of capillary forces with rock structure. are also illustrated. LEMONNIER. Dr. K. 26.E. & VAN SPRONSEN.L. Several flow models for sandstones are investigated. & SORBIE. (eds) ECMOR III: Proceedings of the third European conference on the mathematics of oil recovery.M. Permeability tensors for [17] Abstract: Accurate modeling of fluid flow through sedimentary units is of great importance in assessing the performance of both hydrocarbon reservoirs and aquifers. This work shows the importance of recognizing the role of core-scale heterogeneity in the laboratory measurement of waterflood behavior. i. The low-rate imbibition floods show that between 30 and 55% of original oil may be trapped in isolated high permeability lamina. The practice of performing high-rate floods on rock samples assumed to be heterogeneous is unwise and can lead to erroneous conclusions. 208-213. O. J. [16] MCDOUGALL.E. and their impact on the calculation of effective permeability for single phase flow is examined. Crossflow arises in some structures. (2) the assessment of residual/remaining oil. Z.A.. SPE Reservoir Engineering. JENSEN.. 1995.M.. C. J.S. such as in symmetrical systems..g. 1994.. 169-181.S. The distribution of porosity.R. HEINEMANN. and laminae of comparable thickness.. P. The impact of wettability on waterflooding: pore-scale simulation. in which case it may be necessary to use a tensor representation of the effective permeability. F. & SORBIE. E. The method of calculating tensor permeabilities may be extended to model multiphase flow in sedimentary structures. Delft. S. REGTIEN.. P. 1992. in crossbedded structures with a high bedding angle... Paul Glover Page v . Mathematical Geology. Conditions are established under which tensors are required.S. G. K. high permeability contrast.. Flow simulation should therefore begin with grid blocks of this size in order to calculate effective permeabilities for larger structures. and residual oil saturation were subsequently monitored using CT scanning techniques. [15] MCDOUGALL.e. Cases where the off-diagonal terms can be neglected. DA SILVA.S. Netherlands. and (3) multiphase flow scaleup. RINGROSE.Formation Evaluation MSc Course Notes Selected References probe permeameter mapping prior to setting it in a resin cast. irreducible water.R. e. & SORBIE. The work has major implications for (1) 2-phase petrophysical measurements.L. Delft University Press. Network simulations of flow processes in strongly wetting and mixed-wet porous media. 10. In: CHRISTIE. K. GUILLON.