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ZNTERPRETATZON OF CAPZLLARY PRESSURE DATA

W. R. PURCELL, S H E L L OIL CO., HOUSTON, TEX., M E M B E R AlME
may also hold for otlie~types of pore geometry, but as will be shown below it does not hold for al1 pore shapes and lience is iiot generally applicable. Since the pore structure of porou3 media such as reservolr rocks i? in general so complex as to defy exact description, it is .undoubtedly of great value to establish a model in terms of pore shapes of known geometry, provided of course that the lirnitations of the model are recognized. That the liniitations of the capillary, or cylindrical. tube model have not always been fully recognized will be evident from the following discussion of a pore of different Shape but one whicli may as logically he considered as the capillary tube. The pore space to be considered is that shown in Fig. 1, which may be thought of as the "hole in a doughnut."" Consider the interface, A-B-A', between two immiscible fluids, P, and Pi, which interface meets the solid alonp a line, '4-C-A'-C'. The interface A-B-A' is the surface of a spherical ~egmenti. while the line of mutual contact be*For the treatment of a similar porr i t i a study of textiles. see References 3 anrl 4 . tIn thia diseussion. the effect of gravity on th? shape of the interface i s considered to be neg!igible.

In a previous technical note' by Walter Rose, evidence is offered in support of the contention that "the possibility of describing oil recovery features in terms of capillary pressure phenomena has not been established entirely." It is not the purpose of this note .to present further discussion of this possibility but rather to point out that the argument presented there does not appear to be generally valid. In the cited note' reference is made to the experiments of Welge2 wherein it was shown that when water was displaced ,by oil from a core the pressure in the water phase was less than in the oil phase but that when this oil was then produced by water drive the pressure in the water phase was greater than in the oil phase. Rose has concluded from these observations that conditions of static equilibrium did not obtain since the fluid sa!urations were such that phase discontinuities seemed iinlikely. The argument from which this conclusion was drawn is based on the contention that "the prejsure is alzunys greatest in the non-wetting phase at each static interstitial interface of contact with the wetting pha~e." This premise appesrs to been reached from a consideration of capillary phenomena in cylindrical tubes, although it

FIG. 1 - CONFlGURATlON OF A FLUID-FLUID INTERFACE AT VARIOUS POSITIONS WITHIN A "DOUGHNUT-SHAPED" PORE.

Vol. 189, 1950

PETROLEUM TRANSACTIONS, AlME

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