For a geological reservoir with hydrocarbon prospect the two essential characteristics to make it a commercial petroleum reservoir are its storage capacity and transmissibility. While the former provides accumulation of petroleum, the latter enables the petroleum to flow through relatively long distances in the reservoir under small pressure drop to the drilled wells and finally to the surface. Both these requirements are met by the interconnected voids in the rock of the reservoir. The storage capacity is termed as porosity and the transmissibility is called permeability. Coring: While some estimates of reservoir rock properties can be made from electrical and radioactive log surveys, it is always desirable to study core samples to supplement such estimates. A core is a sample of reservoir rock from the well section generally obtained by drilling into the formation. Depending upon the way a core sample is collected from a well, cores can be termed as conventional core or side wall core. A conventional core is taken by drilling into the formation with a hollow drill pipe and a coring bit in a well. The hollow section of the drill pipe where the core sample is retained by a special provision called core catcher is known as core barrel. The coring bit is a special drag type drill bit with a hollow internal cross section of same or slightly less internal diameter as/than that of the core barrel. The core barrel is of two types – a conventional core barrel or a special core barrel. The conventional one is just a simple barrel with a core catcher while the special type core barrel may consist of any one or combination of the following special provisions in the core barrel: (a) rubber sleeve to protect disintegration of friable or unconsolidated formation, (b) pressure retaining system to preserve the in-situ formation pressure, (c) sponge insert to retain the fluid expulsion from the captured core sample as the coring tool is being pulled out from bottom, Conventional coring generally results in cores up to 10m in length and 11cm in diameter. It is frequently found that variation in drilling conditions and in formation rock characteristics prevent 100% recovery of the core. In addition, the core may be recovered in a broken condition. Friable or unconsolidated rock is frequently recovered only as loose grains, unless special core barrels are used. Conventional core handling & examinations: A conventional core represents the record of rock type in a well section and is the basic data for interpretation of geological and engineering properties. It is desirable to preserve the core in as unchanged a condition as possible prior to laboratory evaluation. Some parts of the core should then, immediately after lithological examinations and logging, be wrapped tightly in polythene or immersed in fluid/molten wax and sealed into containers for transit to laboratory. Otherwise exposure to atmospheric condition may cause drying of the core and subsequent washing with incompatible fresh water or sea water may change the wettability or porosity as well as permeability of the sample prior laboratory evaluation. The remaining parts may be examined for hydrocarbon indications e.g. gas bubbling or oil seeping from the core, core fluorescence on a freshly exposed surface, fluorescence and staining in solvent cuts etc. and some samples from this part may be washed thoroughly for detailed lithlogical, sedimentological and palaeontological examination. It is to be noted that unlike side wall cores, particularly taken by percussion method, the conventional cores are relatively less prone to damage /alteration with respect to the in-situ reservoir rock characteristics during the coring process. Further, small core plugs in both horizontal and vertical directions to the reservoir bedding plane can be taken out from the conventional core samples at selective depths covering the span of variations in the reservoir rock-properties. Such a processing in case of side wall cores is not possible. It is because of these factors, special core analysis to determine the required rock characteristics for reservoir

simulation work is done on small core plugs taken from conventional core samples only, apart from routine core analysis, geological studies etc. Side wall cores are used mostly for geological studies and routine core analysis like porosity, permeability, fluid saturations, carbonate content, grain density etc. A typical evaluation of a conventional core is given below:

• • • •

Slabbed core Photograph Sedimentology Lithology Samples

Routine Core Plug analysis Porosity Permeability Grain density As-received saturations

Thin Sections

• Detail pore structure
• Diagenesis • Porosity type • Environmental evidence
Core from well

Small samples Grain size distribution Mineral analysis X-ray and SEM analysis Bio dating and association

Special Core Analysis Preserved/restored state Capillary pressure Relative permeability Electrical properties Acoustic properties Compressive properties Clay chemistry effects Specific tests

Calibration of Wire line Logs

Side wall coring: Side wall coring is done in an open hole after a well has been drilled while conventional coring is done when the well is being drilled. Side wall coring is done with the help of wire-line logging tools. Side wall coring may be taken in one of the two modes – percussion drilling or rotary drilling. In either mode the logging sonde is fitted with a number of coring barrels arranged in vertical stack at close spacing enabling to recover as many as 30-70 cores in a single run( about 30 ft ). Positioning of the coring barrels is done with the help of a depth positioning detector (e.g. SP log or Gamma ray detector) In the percussion-type device, also known as gun, hollow cylindrical core barrels (i.e., bullets) can be shot in sequence, from the gun into the formation. After each core barrel has been fired into the formation wall, it is pulled free and retrieved by wires connecting the barrel to the gun. Core barrels are available for penetrating formations of different hardness. The type of barrel and size of charge are varied to optimize recovery in different formations. Generally core plugs of about 1” diameter and 1.75” length are retrieved on 100% recovery. A schematic diagram to describe the process is given hereafter:

In the Rotary Sidewall Coring Tool (RSCT) each core barrel is provided with a diamond bit rotating at 2000 rpm to cut a 15/16" x 1-3/4" sample from the formation. After the sample has been cut, a slight vertical movement of the bit breaks the core sample from the formation. The sample is withdrawn into the tool and the core is ejected into a receiver tube. The tool is then ready for the next selected core point. Up to 30 core samples may be cut on one trip in the well. Core samples obtained with the RSCT do not suffer the any such damage as caused by percussion coring methods, and they may therefore be used interchangeably with plugs obtained from conventional cores for quantitative petrophysical measurements. Unlike in percussion method very good recovery is possible in RSCT mode even in very hard, consolidated formations. Coring Mud Systems: It is inevitable that coring fluid will invade a porous reservoir rock to some degree. Consequently, additives used in mud system may cause a change in the relative affinity i.e., wettability of the reservoir rock surface for oil and water. As a result the porosity, permeability and flow properties as determined in the laboratory tests may not be truly representative of those of the reservoir rock. In order to minimize such effects the coring mud system should be carefully designed and controlled.

Wellsite Controls: The recovery of conventional core at a wellsite requires care in handling core barrels and an awareness of the ultimate use of the core. The recovered core should be wiped clean for visual inspection and marked for top and bottom and core depth in a box. Now-a-days it is customary to pass the whole core along a conveyor belt through a device called a Coregamma surface logger which records a reading of natural radioactivity against equivalent downhole position of the core. The readings may be later compared with the gamma ray log readings of the cored well and thus used to position the core pieces more precisely during subsequent studies/laboratory tests. Further, photographs of fresh core also prove invaluable in correcting later misplacements and sometimes in locating fracture zones. Core for special core analysis hould be selected quickly and preserved in the agreed manner. Core for routine analysis should be dispatched quickly following the wellsite geologist’s preliminary observations. Core Preservation: The objective of core preservation is to retain the wettability condition of a recovered core sample and to prevent change in petrophysical character. Exposure to air can result in oxidation of hydrocarbons or evaporation of core fluids with subsequent wettability change. Retention of reservoir fluids should maintain wetting characterter . So core may be stored anaerobically under fluid in sealed containers. Reservoir brine or chemically equivalent brine will prevent ion exchange process in interstitial clays and maintain porosity-permeability character. The use of refined oils and paraffins may cause deposition of plugging materials particularly with asphaltinic crude oils. Failing these techniques , the core plugs may be wiped clean, wrapped in a plastic seal and foil and stored in dry ice. Usually only samples for special core analysis are stored and transported under these special conditions. The core for routine analysis, following visual inspection at well site, is placed in boxes, marked for identification, without any special care of preservation and then sent to the laboratory as such. Core Analysis: Core analysis has been categorized into two types – Routine Core Analysis and Special Core Analysis. While routine core analysis is performed on both side wall cores and conventional cores, special core analysis is generally done on small core plugs drilled out from the conventional core only for reasons already explained. Sometimes on exceptional situations like vugular carbonate cores where vug size may be too large to allow drilling out representative plugs from the core, the whole core is used for analysis. The various tests done in Routine Core analysis as well as Special Core analysis are listed below: Routine Core Analysis Residual fluid saturation Grain density Porosity Formation resistivity factor Absolute permeability Special Core Analysis Capillary pressure Relative permeabilities : gas/oil; water/oil ; gas/water. Wettability Formation factor and resistivity ratio, Sonic transit time, Formation compressibility factor, Clay mineralogy, Any other specific tests

Routine Core Analysis: Routine Core Analysis is the laboratory methodology of determining the basic petrophysical properties of cores or outcrop samples recovered from specific geologic formations at depth or at surface exposure.Cores can be obtained in various lithologies such as sandstones, uncemented sediments, carbonates, shales, and coal. They may also be taken in either a vertical

or horizontal orientation with respect to the surface. Routine core analysis is the determination of generally, non-dynamic petrophysical properties that may be performed in a well completion time frame depending on the type and volume of analysis. This time frame may be from 24 hours to several weeks, depending on the amount of material to be analyzed, the type of analysis, and the permeability of the material. The specific objectives of determining the various petrophysical properties in a typical routine core analysis are to assess the reservoir characteristics as listed below:

• • • • • • • • •



To assess storage capacity

Grain Density - To calibrate density log Horizontal Permeability - To assess flow capacity, permeability distribution and profile Vertical Permeability - Evaluates gravity drainage potential, coning probability, and seal effectiveness Residual Saturations - To indicate qualitatively: a) Presence of hydrocarbons b) Type of hydrocarbons c) Connate water, with use of appropriate muds Lithology Provides rock description, texture, structures, etc. Aids in correlation of electric logs and assessing degree of flushing by drilling fluids

Water Salinity -

Core Gamma Log - Correlates to downhole gamma log for depth identifications Core Photography - Provides permanents, visual documentation of the core. It provides comparisons with core characteristics such as mineralogy and fractures. UV photography can assess hydrocarbon distribution.

. Special Core Analysis: Tests Capillary Pressure Purpose To determine irreducible water assess hydrocarbon reserve saturation &

Relative Permeability

To simulate two/three phase flow in reservoirs for reservoir management as required in optimizing hydrocarbon recovery/production from an oil/gas field. To know the reservoir –rock surface’s relative affinity for water and oil which is essential in planning hydrocarbon recovery from the reservoir.

Wettability Determination

Formation factor & Resistivity To down hole calibrate electric logs ratio under simulated reservoir condition Mechanical properties – sonic To calibrate down hole sonic logs transit time, rock compressibility and determine total compressibility factor of

Special Core Studies : Some times besides the special core analysis certain specific laboratory studies on conventional core samples are required to be done in planning development of an oil/gas field. A few such typical studies are listed below: • • • Reservoir Condition Corefloods Improved Oil Recovery (IOR, EOR) studies Formation Damage Remediation o Rock, fluid sensitivity o Mobile fines (fines migration) o Fluid compatibility o Mud completion fluid damage o Perforation optimization o Relative permeability effects o Asphaltene precipitation Computed Tomagraphy CT Scan Evaluation Core Analysis Methods: Sample Preparation : Since except for the test to determine residual saturations, all other tests for both routine and special core analysis require a clean and dry sample, a thorough cleaning of all the interstitial fluids and then drying of the core samples is the first step in core analysis. The cleaning process is commonly done in a Soxhlet extractor using a suitable solvent like pentane, naphtha, toluene, carbon tetrachloride, etc. The Soxhlet extractor consists of a heating mantle over which a solvent flask is placed. The flask is connected with a reflux chamber where core samples are placed in a porous thimble. Over the reflux chamber a condenser is connected to cause the solvent vapour to condense and fall back onto the porous thimble inside the reflux chamber. Thus the solvent boiled in the flask goes to the condenser in vapour phase and then condenses back to liquid phase and falls on the core samples in the thimble thereby causing repeated leaching of the core samples to make them free of the interstitial fluids. This process of cleaning takes several hours sometimes as high as 24 hours. After the extraction is complete as indicated by the presence of colourless solvent around the core samples, the core samples are dried in an oven at a little over 100 oC and the cooled to make the samples ready for analysis. Measurement of Porosity: Porosity is defined as the ratio of the void space in a rock to the bulk volume of that rock, multiplied by a hundred to express in per cent. When the entire void space in a rock is measured we get total porosity whereas if only the interconnected void space is measured we get effective porosity. In reservoir engineering work the term porosity refers to the effective porosity only. Depending upon the origin of the voids in the reservoir rock the porosity is classified as primary porosity or secondary porosity. Primary porosity refers to the intergranular voids in case of sandstone reservoirs and intercrystalline and oolitic voids in case of limestone reservoirs. This is created by the initial sedimentation and compaction process. Secondary porosity refers to the voids due to fractures, vugs or solution cavities formed during subsequent geological process like folding, faulting, dissolution, etc. Laboratory measurements of porosity involve determination of three parameters of a core sample – bulk volume, interconnected pore volume and grain volume. Bulk volume less the grain volume will give the total void volume which can be used to determine total porosity. Bulk volume: Usual procedures utilize the observation of the volume of fluid displaced by the sample. The fluid displaced by a sample may be determined either volumetrically or gravimetrically. In either procedure it is necessary to prevent fluid penetration into the pore space of the sample. This may be accomplished by: (1) coating the sample by paraffin or a similar

substance, (2) saturating the sample with the fluid into which it is immersed or (3) using noninvasive fluid like mercury. Gravimetric determination is done by observing the loss in weight of the sample when immersed in a fluid or the change in weight of a pycnometer between that when filled with a fluid and when filled with the fluid and the core sample. Volumetric determination is done by using a variety of specially constructed pycnometers or volumeters. A very commonly used pycnometer is the electric pycnometer which consists of a U-tube like transperant system and uses mercury as the system fluid to measure the bulk volume. One end of the U-tube is slim to cause appreciable change in mercury level when the core sample is immersed in the mercury while the other end is large enough to accommodate the core sample.A micrometer screw type contact point is fitted on the slim end and supplied with low voltage electric current and the bigger end is provided with a cap fitted with several prongs to keep the core sample immersed in mercury. The electric circuit is closed as long as the micrometer screw point is in contact with the mercury. The travel of the micrometer screw point is calibrated in volume units such that the difference in the open circuit readings with and without the core sample in the bigger end represents directly the bulk volume of the core sample. Interconnected pore volume: Boyle’s law porosimeter is one of the very commonly used device to measure interconnected pore volume of core sample In this method two cells of known volumes, V1 and V2 are connected to a source of gas pressure. The connecting valve between the cells is initially kept closed and cell 1 is filled to an absolute pressure p1+ pa. The gas source valve is then closed. The clean and dry core sample is then placed in cell 2 at atmospheric pressure pa.The interconnecting valve between the two cells is then opened and the pressure in cell 1 is allowed to reach equilibrium with cell 2 interconnected. Assuming isothermal expansion of a perfect gas, a material balance calculation as given below will provide the pore volume of the core sample: Suppose n1 and n2 are moles of gas in cell 1 and 2 at condition I and n3 and n4 are moles of gas in condition II. Then applying ideal gas law equation we get ( p1+ pa ) V1 pa (V2 – Vs) ( p2+ pa ) V1 ( p2+ pa ) (V2 – Vs) —————— + —————— = —————— + ————————— RT RT RT RT - Vs being grain volume of the core sample i.e. p1 Vs = V1 + V2 –- ─ V1 p2

Starting all sample measurements at the same p1 pressure and calibrating p2 against standard volumes of various sizes steel balls the measurement of Vs can be done directly without doing any such laborious calculations each time. Considerable attention must be given to the gas used. Helium has been found to be most suitable for this purpose for being most inert and perfect gas at pressures of 50 to 100 psig. Using a high pressure mercury injection pump to determine interconnected pore volume together with bulk volume at normal pressure is another widely used porosimeter. Pore volume measurement by saturation method is also very commonly used by many operators. A clean, dry and previously weighed core sample is saturated with a nonreactive fluid like kerosene applying high vacuum in a flask and the weight of the saturated core minus the weight of the unsaturated core divided by the density of the saturating fluid provides the pore volume of the core sample. Measurement of Permeability: Permeability is a measure of the capacity of a porous medium to transmit fluids. Permeability is defined by the Darcy’s law as per the following equation in case of a horizontal flow: Qμ k = ———— A(dP/dL)

where k is permeability in darcy, Q is flow rate of the fluid in cm3/sec. - μ is fluid viscosity in cp, - A is area of cross section of the porous medium in cm2 - dP/dL is pressure drop per unit length of the flow path in atm/cm A porous medium will have a permeability of 1 darcy if a pressure drop of 1 atm occurs per 1cm length of the flow path with a fluid viscosity of 1cp through a cross sectional area of 1 cm2 of the porous medium under 1 cm3/sec rate of flow of the fluid through the porous medium. The unit Darcy is considered large for a practical use and milliDarcy is commonly used. Two methods are used to determine the permeability of cores. The method most commonly used for fairly uniform formations is known as perm-plug method where small cylindrical samples of approximately 3/4 inch diameter and 1 inch length are used. The other method is generally applied for non-uniform cores having fractures/vugs/cavities where the full diameter cores of about 1 to 1.5 ft length are required to be used. Permeability is an anisotropic property of porous rock i.e., it is directional. Core plugs drilled normal to the long axis of the whole core are referred to as horizontal plugs while those along the long axis are vertical plugs. Sometimes, when the long axis of the whole core retrieved is not normal to the bedding plane of the formation, the direction of drilling the core plugs is adjusted at appropriate inclination to the long axis of the whole core so that the plugs are truly horizontal or vertical to the bedding plane of the formation. Permeability measurements are done on both horizontal and vertical plugs. Permeability of a core sample is determined from flow test data. When the core sample used for flow test is clean of the interstitial fluids and a single phase flow occurs in the core in a flow test, the permeability so obtained is absolute permeability. For permeability measurement gas ( usually air ) is used as the flowing medium for several reasons like: (1) steady state flow which is a requirement for the test is quickly obtained thereby reduces the test period, (2) dry air does not alter the mineral constituents of the core sample, (3) 100% saturation of the flowing medium in the pore space is easily established, While various types of flow test equipment for measurement of permeability are available in the market, all the equipment are basically fulfill the following scheme: The core is placed in a suitable holder where the sides of the core sample remain sealed and linear flow of the flowing medium occurs through the core from one end to the other. The pressure differentail caused across the core due to flow of the flowing medium is measured by suitable manometers. The flow volume is obtained by a calibrated capillary / orifice meter or a wet test meter or by direct liquid displacement. We know from Darcy’s equation for linear flow test that: Qμ k = ———— A(dP/dL) - where k is permeability in darcy, - Q is flow rate of the fluid in cm3/sec. - μ is fluid viscosity in cp, - A is area of cross section of the porous medium in cm2 - dP/dL is pressure drop per unit length of the flow path in atm/cm For gas flow where the flow rate is measured at standard conditions, the relationship between rate and pressure upstream and downstream at isothermal conditions is given by: P1Q1 = P2Q2 as shown below:


Core sample P1 Q1→ Q2 → P2

For P2 = 1atm, then Q1= Q2/P1 The linear Darcy relationship for gas flow at standard conditions thus becomes: kA( P12 ─ P22) Qsc= —————— 2μL Knowing all the parameters in the above equation from the flow test data of pressures and flow rate as well as A & L from the core sample dimensions and μ from the gas property data base in consistent units as given earlier for the Darcy’s equation, the permeability k can be obtained in Darcy unit. It is to be noted that at low pressures, the permeability measured using gas as the fluid is higher than the actual permeability of the sample due to gas slippage known as Klinkenberg’s effect. A correction is therefore required to be made for which several measurements of permeability at different inlet pressures are made, the respective permeability data are plotted against the reciprocal of the mean pressures of each set of inlet & outlet pressures and the correct permeability is obtained from the extrapolation of the plotted permeability data to the reciprocal mean pressure value = 0 ( i.e. infinite mean pressure ).The phenomenon of gas slippage occurs when the diameter of capillary openings approaches the mean free path of the gas. In general correction for Klinkenberg’s effect is necessary for permeability values below 1 Darcy but is not required at around or above 1 Darcy.



ο ο 1/Pm→ ο


Klinkenberg permeability correction It is to be noted that permeability measurements should be done at very low flow rates to ensure that the flow of the fluid in the core is in viscous regime and not turbulent since the Darcy’s equation used to determine the permeability is valid for viscous flow. A plot of Qsc/A vs ( P12 ─ P22)/ 2L should yield a straight line in viscous flow. Residual fluid saturations: Core samples as received in the laboratory from wells do not contain the fluids in the original state as they were in the reservoir conditions. This occurs because of two factors – mud filtrate invasion during coring in case of conventional coring or during drilling in case of side wall coring and pressure as well as temperature reduction as the core is taken out of the reservoir to the surface. Typical changes in fluid saturations as determined by Kennedy et al are shown below for two different situations – one in case of water base mud drilling and the other in case of oil base mud drilling: Status Water base mud drilling Oil saturation = 67.6% PV Original state Oil base mud drilling Oil saturation = 50.9% PV

Water saturation = 32.4%PV

Water saturation = 49.1%PV

After mud flushing

Oil saturation = 53.4% PV

Oil saturation = 32.9% PV Mud Filtrate = 18.0%PV

Water saturation = 46.6%PV

Water saturation = 49.1%PV

After mud flushing & pressure

Gas saturation = 34.8%PV

Gas Saturation = 25.5%PV

Oil saturation = 26.7% PV

Oil saturation = 26.7%PV

Water saturation = 38.5%PV

Water saturation = 47.7%PV

In case of water base mud drilling/coring the mud filtrate invasion reduced the oil saturation by approximately 14 per cent. The fluid expansion due to the pressure reduction displaced water and additional oil. It is to be noted that the residual water saturation has remained greater than the original one even after expulsion. With oil-base mud, wherein the filtrate is oil, the filtrate invasion did not alter the water saturation from its original state, but, however, on expansion at surface there is a marginal drop in the water saturation whereas the oil saturation has reduced to almost 50% of its original value. Thus, even when high water saturations are involved, up to approximately 50%, the original water saturation does not change significantly if oil-base mud is used for drilling/coring. Hence it may be concluded that : (1) fairly representative values of in-place water saturation may be obtained if oil-base mud is used for drilling/coring. (2) residual oil saturation values of core samples in as-received status are far less than the in-place reservoir condition values irrespective of different types of mud used. Although the oil saturation values as found out from core samples are far different from the original values, the trend of the core derived oil saturation data when plotted against depth of the cored section may be useful in locating water-oil or gas-oil contacts if they exist in the cored sections. One of the most popular means of measuring fluid saturations of cores is the retort method. This method takes a small rock sample and heats the sample so as to vaporize the water and the oil, which is condensed and collected in a small receiving vessel. The retort method has, however, several disadvantages e.g. (i) the bound water within the rock sample is driven off thereby causing the measured water saturation much higher than actual,


drop in hydrocarbon content of the of the rock sample due to cracking and coking from high temperature retorting, thus causing lower oil saturation than actually present in the rock sample, Such errors are some what taken care of through calibration curves made for the retorts used .The calibration curves are made through “blank” runs i.e. retorting known volumes of fluid saturations in some restored core samples. The retort method is a relatively fast test method and with error corrections through calibrations yield reasonably satisfactory results. Knowing the oil and water volumes from the retort tests and the corresponding pore volumes of the rock samples from the porosity tests, the residual fluid saturations are computed as shown below: water, cc Sw, % = ─────────── X 100 pore volume, cc oil, cc So, % = ─────────── X 100 pore volume, cc Sg, % = 100 - Sw - So The other method of determining fluid saturations is by extraction with a solvent. Extraction may be accomplished by a modified ASTM distillation method or a centrifuge method. The distillation apparatus can accommodate the core samples in such a way that the vapour of the solvent ( e.g. toluene, naphtha, carbon tetrachloride, etc.) distilled in the flask below rises through the core and condenses back on to it and then periodically decant back to the flask below. In this way the core is subjected to repeated leaching and washing by the solvent and during this process the pore water in the core is distilled off and collected in a graduated receiver. The water settles down in the receiver tube while the solvent refluxes on to the cores and finally back to the flask. The distillation is continued until no more water collects in the receiver tube. From the recorded water volume in the receiver and the corresponding pore volume of the core from a porosity test, the water saturation is computed as was earlier shown for the retort test. The oil saturation is determined in an indirect method as shown below: ( wt. of wet core, g – wt. of dry core, g – wt. of water, g) So, % = ———————————————————————————X 100 (pore volume, cc) ( density of oil, g/cc)


The gas saturation is obtained in the same manner as in the retort method. The centrifuge method of extraction with solvent involve off-centered injection of the solvent in a centrifuge. The high centrifugal force causes forcing of the solvent into the cores and leaching out the interstitial fluids in the core. The leached out water gets separated out in the centrifuge tubes from where the water volumes can be read and the fluid saturations can be computed in the same manner as in the distillation method. Capillary Pressure: Capillary pressure may be defined as the pressure necessary to displace a wetting fluid from a capillary opening. The factors which govern this capillary or displacement pressure are the surface or interfacial tension σ of the fluids involved, the system wettability θ (contact angle) and the size (radius r ) of the capillary. The capillary pressure Pc for the capillary system as shown in the figure below will be : 2σ cos θ Pc = ———— r

σ θ

wetting phase of density ρ

A porous medium may be visualized as a heterogeneous and tortuous bundle of capillary tubes. Thus capillary pressure phenomenon is applicable to petroleum reservoirs as these are also porous medium filled with multiphase immiscible fluids with interfacial properties acting on the surface of the porous medium. The petroleum reservoirs can be considered as packing of spheres in a simplified form. In a packing of spheres the capillary pressure is expressed in terms of any two perpendicular radii of curvature ( these radii touch at only one point). For such packing of spheres the capillary pressure relation changes to : Pc = σ ( 1/r1 + 1/r2) cosθ r1 and r2 are the radii of curvature of the two spheres forming the capillary system in the porous medium. Since it is practically not possible to measure the values of these radii of curvatures the term ( 1/r1 + 1/r2) can be considered as the mean radius of curvature of the surface. The distribution of the wetting phase in such a capillary system is related to these radii of curvatures. Thus when two immiscible phases are within the porous matrix and the wetting phase saturation is related to the radii of curvatures of the capillary surface, it is possible to express the capillary pressure as a function of the wetting phase saturation. Accordingly capillary pressure data in a petroleum reservoir can be utilized to determine the wetting phase saturation i.e., the connate water saturation which is a very important parameter for assessment of the petroleum reserve. Essentially there are five methods to determine capillary pressure on small core samples. These are : (1) the desaturation or displacement process through a porous diaphragm or membrane, (2) the centrifuge method, (3) the dynamic capillary pressure method, (4) the mercury injection method, (5) the evaporation method. Desaturation or displacement process: This method is very widely used and is also known as restored state method. The apparatus consists of a pressurizing cell fitted with a porous plate support on which the core sample is placed. The pressurizing cell is connected to a precision pressure gauge, a pressurizing source and a graduated pipette. The core sample taken for the test is cleaned of its interstitial fluids, dried and the saturated with synthetic formation water. The porous plate is essentially a water wet membrane having extremely small pores and will not allow a non-wetting fluid to enter it at pressures to be used in the test. The saturated core sample is placed on the porous plate in such a way that there is perfect contact of the resting face of the core with the porous plate. A non-wetting fluid e.g. oil, nitrogen or air is then introduced into the cell at slightly elevated pressure. The non-wetting fluid will then enter all those pores of the core which have a

capillary pressure less than the applied pressure. The brine displaced from the core by the nonwetting fluid passes through the porous plate slowly into the graduated pipette. When the rise in level in the pipette becomes steady at the applied pressure the pressure reading and the pipette reading are noted. The applied pressure on the non-wetting fluid is then raised and further entry of the non-wetting fluid into some of the remaining undisplaced pores is caused at that applied pressure. Consequently there will be further rise in the liquid level in the pipette. The pipette reading as well as the corresponding pressure reading then noted. In this way the process of displacement of the brine from the core sample by the non-wetting fluid is continued with additional steps of gradually increasing pressures until the pipette reading no longer increases. Since the pore volume of the core sample is determined at the time of saturating it with the brine the changes in the water saturation in the core at every step of pressuring it for displacement of the brine from the core can be computed from the respective pipette readings. The pressure readings are then plotted against the respective water saturation values. Thus a capillary pressure curve is generated which can be used to determine the irreducible connate water saturation. Mercury injection method: A mercury porosimeter i.e. a mercury cell attached with a precision mercury injection pump and a precision pressure gauge is used in this test method. A cleaned and dried core sample is placed in the mercury cell and evacuated first. Then mercury is injected into the core in increasing pressure steps and at each step the volume of mercury injected is noted along with the corresponding pressure reading. Knowing the pore volume of the core sample, the injected mercury volumes are converted into mercury saturation data in the core’s pore space at each of the pressure steps. Thus plotting the mercury saturation data against the corresponding mercury injection pressures a mercury capillary pressure curve is generated. The curve is then corrected to get a water capillary pressure curve using the following correlation as proposed by Purcell: PcHg σHg cosθHg — = —————— ≈ 5 Pcw σw cosθw where σHg = 480 dynes/cm σw = 70 dynes/cm θHg = 1400 θw = 00 It has been observed by others through experiments that the above correction factor vary between 5.8 for limestone to 7.5 for sandstone. The mercury injection method is a very rapid test method and the test can be carried out to relatively high pressure compared to the other methods. But the disadvantage of the method is that the core sample gets damaged in the test and cannot be used further for any other tests. Centrifuge method: A high speed centrifuge is used to create injecting force for injecting a non-wetting fluid like air or oil into saturated core samples. the core samples are rotated at various constant speeds and at each speed the volume of brine ejected from the core samples are noted along with the corresponding speed of rotation. The speed of rotations are then converted into pressure readings through computations and plotted against the respective water saturation values derived from the core pore volumes and the recorded water ejection volumes. The centrifuge method is also a fast test method. The evaporation method: In this method a core sample of known porosity is completely saturated with water and then placed in an oven and dried under constant conditions. The weight loss is recorded either continuously or in increments and plotted against time. Adsorbed water evaporates at a slower rate than the free or mobile water due to the capillary or surface forces which oppose its escape. This difference in the drying rate exhibits a break in the drying curve which may be taken as the critical value. The Dynamic method:


Simultaneous steady-state flow of two immiscible fluids e.g oil and water is established at a particular proportion and the difference in the pressure of the two fluids entering the core is noted. The proportions are varied in different steps and thus a set of pressure data are generated at different proportions of the two immiscible fluids . From the pressure data and the corresponding fluid mixing proportions the capillary pressures vs saturation plot is made. Converting laboratory data: To use the laboratory capillary pressure data it is necessary to convert them to reservoir conditions. Laboratory data are obtained with a gas-water or an oil-water system which does not have the same physical properties as the reservoir water, oil and gas. Essentially two techniques, differing only in the initial assumptions, are available for correcting laboratory capillary pressure data to reservoir conditions. σwo cosθwo (Pc)R = —————— (Pc)L σwg cosθwg σR (Pc)R =— (Pc)L σL Averaging Capillary pressure data: Capillary pressure data in a particular formation are found to vary in a certain trend depending upon the porosity and permeability of the formation. A dimensionless grouping of the relevant physical properties of the rock and saturating fluids in the form of a function called J function was proposed as a means to converting all capillary pressure data to a universal curve . The J function is expressed as Pc k J(Sw) = — (—)1/2 σ Φ or Some authors have proposed to include the wettability factor also in the above equation by replacing σ with σcosθ where θ is the contact angle.

Water saturation height from Capillary pressure data: In oil-field terms, the capillary pressure may be stated as Pc = h/144 ( ρ1 - ρ2 ) where h is in feet, ρ1 & ρ2 are the densities in lbs/cft of the two immiscible fluids involved in the system at the conditions of the capillary pressure.

sidewall core

A formation sample obtained with a wireline tool from which a hollow cylindrical bullet is fired into the formation and retrieved by cables attached to the bullet. See sidewall coring tool.

sidewall coring tool

A percussion-type device (i.e., gun) which can be attached to the well-logging cable, provided with a means of accurately depthpositioning the tool (SP or gamma-ray curve), which is used to obtain formation samples. Hollow. cylindrical core barrels (i.e., bullets) can be shot in sequence, from the gun into the formation. After each core barrel has been fired into the formation wall, it is pulled free and retrieved by wires connecting the barrel to the gun. Core barrels are available for penetrating formations of different hardness. The type of barrel and size of charge are varied to optimize recovery in different formations.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.