# Introduction to

Relative Permeability
and
Capillary Pressure
• Absolute permeability: is the permeability of a
porous medium saturated with a single fluid
(e.g. S
w
=1)
• Absolute permeability can be calculated from
the steady-state flow equation (1D, Linear Flow;
Darcy Units):
Review: Absolute Permeability
L
p A k
q
µ
A
=
Multiphase Flow in Reservoirs
Commonly, reservoirs contain 2 or 3 fluids
• Water-oil systems
• Oil-gas systems
• Water-gas systems
• Three phase systems (water, oil, and gas)
To evaluate multiphase systems, must
consider the effective and relative
permeability
Effective permeability: is a measure of
the conductance of a porous medium
for one fluid phase when the medium is
saturated with more than one fluid.
• The porous medium can have a distinct and
measurable conductance to each phase present in
the medium
• Effective permeabilities: (ko, kg, kw)
Effective Permeability
Amyx, Bass, and Whiting, 1960; PETE 311 Notes
• Oil
• Water
• Gas
L
A k
q
o
o o
o
µ
Au
=
L
A k
q
w
w w
w
µ
Au
=
L
A k
q
g
g g
g
µ
Au
=
Effective Permeability
equation (Darcy units):
q
n
= volumetric flow rate for a
specific phase, n
A = flow area
Au
n
= flow potential drop for
phase, n (including pressure,
gravity and capillary pressure
terms)
µ
n
= fluid viscosity for phase n
L = flow length
Modified from NExT, 1999; Amyx, Bass, and Whiting, 1960; PETE 311 NOTES
Relative Permeability is the ratio of the effective
permeability of a fluid at a given saturation to some
base permeability
• Base permeability is typically defined as:
– absolute permeability, k
– air permeability, k
air
– effective permeability to non-wetting phase at irreducible wetting
phase saturation [e.g. k
o
(S
w
=S
wi
)]
– because definition of base permeability varies, the definition
used must always be:
• confirmed before applying relative permeability data
• noted along with tables and figures presenting relative
permeability data
Relative Permeability
Amyx, Bass, and Whiting, 1960
• Oil
• Water
• Gas
k
k
k
o
ro
) 3 . 0 , 5 . 0 (
) 3 . 0 , 5 . 0 (
=
k
k
k
w
rw
) 3 . 0 , 5 . 0 (
) 3 . 0 , 5 . 0 (
=
k
k
k
g
rg
) 3 . 0 , 5 . 0 (
) 3 . 0 , 5 . 0 (
=
Relative Permeability
Modified from Amyx, Bass, and Whiting, 1960
So =0.5
Sw =0.3
Sg = 0.2
Relative Permeability Functions
0.40
0
0.20
0.40 0 1.00 0.60 0.20 0.80
Water Saturation (fraction)
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

P
e
r
m
e
a
b
i
l
i
t
y

(
f
r
a
c
t
i
o
n
)
1.00
0.60
0.80
Water
k
rw
@ S
or
Oil
Two-Phase Flow
Region
k
ro
@ S
wi
• Wettability and direction of
saturation change must be
considered
•drainage
•imbibition
• Base used to normalize this
relative permeability curve is
k
ro
@ S
wi
• As S
w
increases, k
ro
decreases
and k
rw
increases until
reaching residual oil
saturation
Modified from NExT, 1999
Imbibition Relative Permeability
(Water Wet Case)
Effect of Wettability
for Increasing S
w
0.4
0
0.2
40 0 100 60 20 80
Water Saturation (% PV)
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

P
e
r
m
e
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
,

F
r
a
c
t
i
o
n
1.0
0.6
0.8
Water
Oil
Strongly Water-Wet Rock
0.4
0
0.2
40 0 100 60 20 80
Water Saturation (% PV)
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

P
e
r
m
e
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
,

F
r
a
c
t
i
o
n
1.0
0.6
0.8
Water Oil
Strongly Oil-Wet Rock
• Water flows more freely
• Higher residual oil saturation
Modified from NExT, 1999
• Fluid saturations
• Geometry of the pore spaces and pore
size distribution
• Wettability
• Fluid saturation history (i.e., imbibition
or drainage)
Factors Affecting Relative Permeabilities
After Standing, 1975
Characteristics of Relative
Permeability Functions
• Relative permeability is unique for
different rocks and fluids
• Relative permeability affects the flow
characteristics of reservoir fluids.
• Relative permeability affects the
recovery efficiency of oil and/or gas.
Modified from NExT, 1999
Applications of
Relative Permeability Functions
• Reservoir simulation
• Flow calculations that involve
multi-phase flow in reservoirs
• Estimation of residual oil (and/or
gas) saturation
Hysteresis Effect on Rel. Perm.
0
20
40
60
80
100
0 20 40 60 80 100
Drainage
Imbibition
k
rnw
Wetting Phase Saturation, %PV
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

P
e
r
m
e
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
,

%
Residual non-wetting
phase saturation
Irreducible wetting
phase saturation
Non-wetting
phase
Wetting
phase
k
rnw
k
rw
What is k
base
for this case?
Hysteresis Effect on Rel. Perm.
• During drainage, the wetting phase ceases to flow at the
irreducible wetting phase saturation
– This determines the maximum possible non-wetting
phase saturation
– Common Examples:
• Petroleum accumulation (secondary migration)
• Formation of secondary gas cap
• During imbibition, the non-wetting phase becomes
discontinuous and ceases to flow when the non-wetting
phase saturation reaches the residual non-wetting phase
saturation
– This determines the minimum possible non-wetting
phase saturation displacement by the wetting phase
– Common Example: waterflooding water wet reservoir
• Oil
• Water
• Gas
L
A k
q
o
o o
o
µ
Au
=
L
A k
q
w
w w
w
µ
Au
=
L
A k
q
g
g g
g
µ
Au
=
Review: Effective Permeability
equation (Darcy units):
q
n
= volumetric flow rate for a
specific phase, n
A = flow area
Au
n
= flow potential drop for
phase, n (including pressure,
gravity and capillary pressure
terms)
µ
n
= fluid viscosity for phase n
L = flow length
Modified from NExT, 1999; Amyx, Bass, and Whiting, 1960; PETE 311 NOTES
• The pressure difference existing across
the interface separating two immiscible
fluids in capillaries (e.g. porous media).
• Calculated as:
P
c
= p
nwt
- p
wt
CAPILLARY PRESSURE
- DEFINITION -
Where:
P
c
= capillary pressure
P
nwt
= pressure in nonwetting phase
p
wt
= pressure in wetting phase
• One fluid wets the surfaces of the formation
rock (wetting phase) in preference to the other
(non-wetting phase).
• Gas is always the non-wetting phase in both
oil-gas and water-gas systems.
• Oil is often the non-wetting phase in water-oil
systems.
Capillary Tube - Conceptual Model
Air-Water System
Water
Air
u
Ah
• Considering the porous media as a collection of capillary tubes provides useful
insights into how fluids behave in the reservoir pore spaces.
• Water rises in a capillary tube placed in a beaker of water, similar to water (the
wetting phase) filling small pores leaving larger pores to non-wetting phases of
reservoir rock.
• The height of water in a capillary tube is a function of:
– Adhesion tension between the air and water
– Density difference between fluids
aw
aw
g r
h
µ
u o
A
= A
cos 2
CAPILLARY TUBE MODEL
AIR / WATER SYSTEM
This relation can be derived from balancing the upward force due to adhesion
tension and downward forces due to the weight of the fluid (see ABW pg 135).
The wetting phase (water) rise will be larger in small capillaries.
Ah = Height of water rise in capillary tube, cm
o
aw
= Interfacial tension between air and water,
dynes/cm
u = Air/water contact angle, degrees
r = Radius of capillary tube, cm
g = Acceleration due to gravity, 980 cm/sec
2

aw
= Density difference between water and air, gm/cm
3
Contact angle, u, is measured through the more dense phase (water in this
case).
• Combining the two relations results in the following
expression for capillary tubes:
r
P
aw
c
u o cos 2
=
CAPILLARY PRESSURE – AIR / WATER
SYSTEM
CAPILLARY PRESSURE – OIL / WATER
SYSTEM
• From a similar derivation, the equation for
capillary pressure for an oil/water system is
r
P
ow
c
u o cos 2
=
P
c
= Capillary pressure between oil and water
o
ow
= Interfacial tension between oil and water, dyne/cm
u = Oil/water contact angle, degrees
r = Radius of capillary tube, cm
Capillary Pressure Curve
Drainage Curve
Effect of Fluids
J-Function Different Rocks
J-Function Carbonates
OWC and FWL
DRAINAGE AND IMBIBITION
CAPILLARY PRESSURE CURVES
Drainage
Imbibition
S
wi
S
m
S
w
P
d
P
c
0 0.5 1.0
Modified from NExT, 1999, after …
DRAINAGE
• Fluid flow process in which the saturation
of the nonwetting phase increases
IMBIBITION
• Fluid flow process in which the saturation
of the wetting phase increases
Saturation History - Hysteresis
- Capillary pressure depends on both direction
of change, and previous saturation history
- Blue arrow indicates probable path from
drainage curve to imbibition curve at S
wt
=0.4
- At S
m
, nonwetting phase cannot flow,
resulting in residual nonwetting phase
saturation (imbibition)
- At S
wi
, wetting phase cannot flow, resulting in
irreducible wetting phase saturation (drainage)
Effect of Permeability on Shape
Decreasing
Permeability,
Decreasing ì
A
B
C
20
16
12
8
4
0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Water Saturation
C
a
p
i
l
l
a
r
y

P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
Modified from NExT 1999, after xx)
Effect of Grain Size Distribution on Shape
Well-sorted
Poorly sorted
C
a
p
i
l
l
a
r
y

p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
,

p
s
i
a
Water saturation, %
Modfied from NExT, 1999; after …)
Decreasing ì
Rise of Wetting Phase Varies with
WATER
AIR
1 2 3 4
Ayers, 2001
CAPILLARY TUBE MODEL
AIR/WATER SYSTEM
Air
Water
p
a2
Ah
p
a1
p
w1
p
w2
Water rise in capillary tube depends on the density difference of fluids.
P
a2
= p
w2
= p
2
p
a1
= p
2
- µ
a
g Ah
p
w1
= p
2
- µ
w
g Ah
P
c
= p
a1
- p
w1
= µ
w
g Ah - µ
a
g Ah
= Aµ g Ah
• Combining the two relations results in the following
expression for capillary tubes:
r
P
aw
c
u o cos 2
=
CAPILLARY PRESSURE – AIR / WATER
SYSTEM
CAPILLARY PRESSURE – OIL / WATER
SYSTEM
• From a similar derivation, the equation for
capillary pressure for an oil/water system is
r
P
ow
c
u o cos 2
=
P
c
= Capillary pressure between oil and water
o
ow
= Interfacial tension between oil and water, dyne/cm
u = Oil/water contact angle, degrees
r = Radius of capillary tube, cm
AVERAGING CAPILLARY PRESSURE
DATA USING THE LEVERETT
J-FUNCTION
• The Leverett J-function was originally an attempt
to convert all capillary pressure data to a
universal curve
• A universal capillary pressure curve does not
exist because the rock properties affecting
capillary pressures in reservoir have extreme
variation with lithology (rock type)
• BUT, Leverett‟s J-function has proven valuable
for correlating capillary pressure data within a
lithology (see ABW Fig 3-23).
EXAMPLE J-FUNCTION FOR
WEST TEXAS CARBONATE
0.00
1.00
2.00
3.00
4.00
5.00
6.00
7.00
8.00
9.00
10.00
0.00 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.60 0.70 0.80 0.90 1.00
Water saturation, fraction
J
-
f
u
n
c
t
i
o
n
Jc
Jmatch
Jn1
Jn2
Jn3
DEFINITION OF LEVERETT J-FUNCTION
( )
| u o
k C P
c
S J
w
cos
=
• J-Function is DIMENSIONLESS, for a particular rock type:
• Same value of J at same wetting phase saturation for
any unit system, any two fluids, any exact value of k,|
•(k/|)
1/2
is proportional to size of typical pore throat
radius (remember k can have units of length
2
)
•C is unit conversion factor (to make J(S
w
) dimensionless)
Flow
Units
Gamma Ray
Log
Petrophysical
Data
Pore
Types
Lithofacies Core
1
2
3
4
5
Core
Plugs
Capillary
Pressure
|
vs k
P
c
(S
w
) Depends on k,|
High Quality
Low Quality
Function moves up
and right, and
becomes less “L”
shaped as reservoir
quality decreases
LEVERETT J-FUNCTION FOR
CONVERSION OF P
c
DATA
Reservoir
c
Lab
c
w
k
cosθ σ
P C k
cosθ σ
P C
) J(S
(
¸
(

¸

=
(
¸
(

¸

=
| |
• J-function is useful for averaging capillary
pressure data from a given rock type from a given
reservoir
• J-function can sometimes be extended to
different reservoirs having same lithologies
– Use extreme caution in assuming this can be
done
• J-function usually not accurate correlation for
different lithologies
• If J-functions are not successful in reducing the
scatter in a given set of data, then this suggests
that we are dealing variation in rock type
USE OF LEVERETT J-FUNCTION
Capillary Pressure in Reservoirs
A B
Reservoir, µ
o
Aquifer, µ
w
1
2
3
P
c
= p
o
-p
w
= 0
Pressure
D
e
p
t
h
dp
w

w
g/D dh
Free
Water
Level
dp
o

o
g/D dh
Fluid Distribution in Reservoirs
Gas & Water
Gas density = µ
g
Oil, Gas & Water
Oil & Water
Oil density = µ
o
Water
Water density = µ
w
„A‟
h
1
h
2
„B‟
Free Oil Level
Free Water Level
Capillary pressure difference
between
oil and water phases in core „A‟
P
c,ow
= h
1
g (µ
w

o
)
Capillary pressure difference
between
gas and oil phases in core „B‟
P
c,go
= h
2
g (µ
o

g
)
Modified from NExT, 1999, modified after Welge and Bruce, 1947
F
a
u
l
t
RELATION BETWEEN CAPILLARY
PRESSURE AND FLUID SATURATION
Free Water Level
P
c
P
d
Oil-Water contact
H
d
H
e
i
g
h
t

A
b
o
v
e

F
r
e
e

W
a
t
e
r

L
e
v
e
l

(
F
e
e
t
)
0 50 100
S
w
(fraction)
0 50 100
S
w
(fraction)
0
Modified from NExT, 1999, after …
P
c
0 50 100
0
P
d
S
w
(fraction)
Lab Data
-Lab Fluids: o, u
-Core sample: k,|
J-Function
J-Function
- for k,|
Reservoir Data
Saturation in
Reservoir vs.
Depth
• Results from two
analysis methods (after
ABW)
– Laboratory capillary
pressure curve
• Converted to
reservoir
conditions
– Analysis of well
logs
• Water saturation
has strong effect
• Determine fluid distribution in reservoir (initial conditions)
• Accumulation of HC is drainage process for water wet res.
• S
w
= function of height above OWC (oil water contact)
• Determine recoverable oil for water flooding applications
• Imbibition process for water wet reservoirs
• Pore Size Distribution Index, ì
• Absolute permeability (flow capacity of entire pore size
distribution)
• Relative permeability (distribution of fluid phases within the
pore size distribution)
• Reservoir Flow - Capillary Pressure included as a term of flow
potential for multiphase flow
• Input data for reservoir simulation models
Applications of Capillary
Pressure Data
water wet , Z ; P
D
Z g ρ
p Φ
ow c,
w
o w
+ + ÷ ÷ =
DRAINAGE AND IMBIBITION
CAPILLARY PRESSURE CURVES
Drainage
Imbibition
S
i
S
m
S
wt
P
d
P
c
0 0.5 1.0
Modified from NExT, 1999, after …
DRAINAGE
• Fluid flow process in which the saturation
of the nonwetting phase increases
• Mobility of nonwetting fluid phase
increases as nonwetting phase saturation
increases
IMBIBITION
• Fluid flow process in which the saturation
of the wetting phase increases
• Mobility of wetting phase increases as
wetting phase saturation increases
Four Primary Parameters
S
i
= irreducible wetting phase saturation
S
m
= 1 - residual non-wetting phase saturation
P
d
= displacement pressure, the pressure
required to force non-wetting fluid into largest
pores
ì = pore size distribution index; determines
shape
DRAINAGE PROCESS
• Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the nonwetting
phase increases
• Examples:
• Hydrocarbon (oil or gas) filling the pore space and
displacing the original water of deposition in water-wet rock
• Waterflooding an oil reservoir in which the reservoir is oil
wet
• Gas injection in an oil or water wet oil reservoir
• Pressure maintenance or gas cycling by gas injection in a
• Evolution of a secondary gas cap as reservoir pressure
decreases
IMBIBITION PROCESS
IMBIBITION
•Fluid flow process in which the
saturation of the wetting phase increases
•Mobility of wetting phase increases as
wetting phase saturation increases
Examples:
Accumulation of oil in an oil wet reservoir
Waterflooding an oil reservoir in which the reservoir is
water wet
Accumulation of condensate as pressure decreases in
a dew point reservoir
S
w
* Power Law Model
• Having an equation model for capillary pressure
curves is useful
– Smoothing of laboratory data
– Determination of ì
– Analytic function for integration (future topic)
• The S
w
* Power Law Model is an empirical model that
has proven to work well
– Model parameters: S
wi
, P
d
, ì
( )
1/λ
*
w d c
S P P
÷
=
wi
wi w
*
w
S 1
S S
S
÷
÷
=
• S
w
* rescales x-axis
S
w
* Power Law Model
S
w
*, fraction
S
w
*=0 S
w
*=1
Capillary Pressure vs. Wetting Phase Saturation
0
5
10
15
20
25
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
S
w
, fraction
P
c
,

p
s
i
a
S
wi
=0.20
P
d
=3.0
• Power Law Equations plot as Log-Log straight line
S
w
* Power Law Model
Capillary Pressure Data Plotted vs. S
w
* (S
wi
=0.20)
1
10
100
0.01 0.1 1
S
w
*, fraction
P
c
,

p
s
i
a
slope = -1/ì = -1/2.0
P
d
=3.0
S
w
* Power Law Model
• Straight line models are excellent for
– Interpolation and data smoothing
– Extrapolation
– Self Study: review Power Law Equations (y=ax
b
)
and how to determine coefficients, a and b given
two points on the straight log-log line
( )
1/λ
*
w d c
S P P
÷
=
wi
wi w
*
w
S 1
S S
S
÷
÷
=
S
w
* Power Law Model
• Pd, ì can be determined from Log-Log plot
• But, S
wi
can be difficult to determine from Cartesian plot, if data
does not clearly show vertical asymptote
Capillary Pressure vs. Wetting Phase Saturation
0
5
10
15
20
25
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
S
w
, fraction
P
c
,

p
s
i
a
• Choosing wrong S
wi
limits accuracy of determining
P
d
, ì
S
w
* Power Law Model
Same Capillary Pressure Data Plotted vs. S
w
*
1
10
100
0.01 0.1 1
S
w
*, fraction
P
c
,

p
s
i
a
S
wi
value too small
S
wi
value too large
S
wi
value correct
Review: S
w
* Power Law
Model
• Power Law Model (log-log straight line)
– “Best fit” of any data set with a straight line
model can be used to determine two unknown
parameters. For this case:
• slope gives ì
• intercept gives P
d
– S
wi
must be determined independently
• it can be difficult to estimate the value of S
wi
from cartesian P
c
vs. S
w
plot, if the data set
( )
1/λ
*
w d c
S P P
÷
=
wi
wi w
*
w
S 1
S S
S
÷
÷
=

Review: Absolute Permeability
• Absolute permeability: is the permeability of a porous medium saturated with a single fluid (e.g. Sw=1) • Absolute permeability can be calculated from the steady-state flow equation (1D, Linear Flow; Darcy Units):

k A p q L

Multiphase Flow in Reservoirs
Commonly, reservoirs contain 2 or 3 fluids

• Water-oil systems
• Oil-gas systems

• Water-gas systems
• Three phase systems (water, oil, and gas) To evaluate multiphase systems, must consider the effective and relative permeability

Effective Permeability
Effective permeability: is a measure of the conductance of a porous medium for one fluid phase when the medium is saturated with more than one fluid.
• The porous medium can have a distinct and measurable conductance to each phase present in the medium
• Effective permeabilities:

(ko, kg, kw)

Amyx, Bass, and Whiting, 1960; PETE 311 Notes

Effective Permeability
• Oil

ko A  o qo  o L

Steady state, 1D, linear flow equation (Darcy units):

k w A  w • Water qw  w L
• Gas

qn = volumetric flow rate for a specific phase, n
A = flow area

n = flow potential drop for
phase, n (including pressure, gravity and capillary pressure terms)

qg 

k g A  g

g L

n = fluid viscosity for phase n
L = flow length

Modified from NExT, 1999; Amyx, Bass, and Whiting, 1960; PETE 311 NOTES

g. ko(Sw=Swi)] – because definition of base permeability varies. kair – effective permeability to non-wetting phase at irreducible wetting phase saturation [e. and Whiting.Relative Permeability Relative Permeability is the ratio of the effective permeability of a fluid at a given saturation to some base permeability • Base permeability is typically defined as: – absolute permeability. Bass. k – air permeability. 1960 . the definition used must always be: • confirmed before applying relative permeability data • noted along with tables and figures presenting relative permeability data Amyx.

0.3) k So =0.3)  • Gas k rg ( 0.5. and Whiting.0.0.5.5.5.3) k k w( 0.2 • Water k rw( 0.0.0. Bass. 0.3) k Modified from Amyx.5.3)  k g ( 0.5 Sw =0.3 Sg = 0.3)  ko ( 0. 1960 .5.Relative Permeability • Oil kro ( 0.

60 0. 1999 0.40 0.20 Water krw @ Sor 0 0 0.00 Water Saturation (fraction) .Relative Permeability Functions Imbibition Relative Permeability (Water Wet Case) Relative Permeability (fraction) 1.40 0.80 1.80 Two-Phase Flow Region Oil • Wettability and direction of saturation change must be considered •drainage •imbibition • Base used to normalize this relative permeability curve is kro @ Swi • As Sw increases.60 0.20 0. kro decreases and krw increases until reaching residual oil saturation Modified from NExT.00 kro @ Swi 0.

Fraction 0.2 Water 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 Water Saturation (% PV) Water Saturation (% PV) Strongly Water-Wet Rock Modified from NExT.2 0.0 1.4 Oil Water 0.6 Oil 0.8 Relative Permeability. 1999 Strongly Oil-Wet Rock • Water flows more freely • Higher residual oil saturation .Effect of Wettability for Increasing Sw Relative Permeability.8 0. Fraction 1.0 0.6 0.4 0.

e. imbibition or drainage) After Standing.. 1975 .Factors Affecting Relative Permeabilities • Fluid saturations • Geometry of the pore spaces and pore size distribution • Wettability • Fluid saturation history (i.

Characteristics of Relative Permeability Functions • Relative permeability is unique for different rocks and fluids • Relative permeability affects the flow characteristics of reservoir fluids. 1999 . Modified from NExT. • Relative permeability affects the recovery efficiency of oil and/or gas.

Applications of Relative Permeability Functions • Reservoir simulation • Flow calculations that involve multi-phase flow in reservoirs • Estimation of residual oil (and/or gas) saturation .

100 Non-wetting phase Wetting phase Relative Permeability. Perm. %PV What is kbase for this case? .Hysteresis Effect on Rel. % 80 Imbibition krnw 60 krnw Drainage krw 40 20 Irreducible wetting phase saturation Residual non-wetting phase saturation 60 80 100 0 0 20 40 Wetting Phase Saturation.

Hysteresis Effect on Rel. the non-wetting phase becomes discontinuous and ceases to flow when the non-wetting phase saturation reaches the residual non-wetting phase saturation – This determines the minimum possible non-wetting phase saturation displacement by the wetting phase – Common Example: waterflooding water wet reservoir . Perm. the wetting phase ceases to flow at the irreducible wetting phase saturation – This determines the maximum possible non-wetting phase saturation – Common Examples: • Petroleum accumulation (secondary migration) • Formation of secondary gas cap • During imbibition. • During drainage.

1999. linear flow equation (Darcy units): k w A  w • Water qw  w L • Gas qn = volumetric flow rate for a specific phase.Review: Effective Permeability • Oil ko A  o qo  o L Steady state. n A = flow area n = flow potential drop for phase. gravity and capillary pressure terms) qg  k g A  g g L n = fluid viscosity for phase n L = flow length Modified from NExT. 1960. 1D. PETE 311 NOTES . and Whiting. Amyx. n (including pressure. Bass.

Where: Pc = capillary pressure Pnwt = pressure in nonwetting phase pwt = pressure in wetting phase . • Calculated as: Pc = pnwt .pwt • One fluid wets the surfaces of the formation rock (wetting phase) in preference to the other (non-wetting phase).g.CAPILLARY PRESSURE . • Gas is always the non-wetting phase in both oil-gas and water-gas systems. porous media).DEFINITION • The pressure difference existing across the interface separating two immiscible fluids in capillaries (e. • Oil is often the non-wetting phase in water-oil systems.

.Conceptual Model Air-Water System h  Air Water • Considering the porous media as a collection of capillary tubes provides useful insights into how fluids behave in the reservoir pore spaces. similar to water (the wetting phase) filling small pores leaving larger pores to non-wetting phases of reservoir rock. • Water rises in a capillary tube placed in a beaker of water.Capillary Tube .

dynes/cm  = Air/water contact angle. cm aw = Interfacial tension between air and water. The wetting phase (water) rise will be larger in small capillaries. . degrees r = Radius of capillary tube. h = Height of water rise in capillary tube. gm/cm3 Contact angle. is measured through the more dense phase (water in this case). 980 cm/sec2 aw = Density difference between water and air.CAPILLARY TUBE MODEL AIR / WATER SYSTEM • The height of water in a capillary tube is a function of: – Adhesion tension between the air and water – Radius of the tube – Density difference between fluids 2  aw cos  h  r g  aw This relation can be derived from balancing the upward force due to adhesion tension and downward forces due to the weight of the fluid (see ABW pg 135). cm g = Acceleration due to gravity. .

CAPILLARY PRESSURE – AIR / WATER SYSTEM • Combining the two relations results in the following expression for capillary tubes: 2  aw cos  Pc  r .

dyne/cm  = Oil/water contact angle.CAPILLARY PRESSURE – OIL / WATER SYSTEM • From a similar derivation. the equation for capillary pressure for an oil/water system is 2  ow cos  Pc  r Pc = Capillary pressure between oil and water ow = Interfacial tension between oil and water. cm . degrees r = Radius of capillary tube.

Capillary Pressure Curve .

Drainage Curve .

Effect of Fluids .

J-Function Different Rocks .

J-Function Carbonates .

OWC and FWL .

Blue arrow indicates probable path from drainage curve to imbibition curve at Swt=0. resulting in residual nonwetting phase saturation (imbibition) 0 Modified from NExT.At Sm.DRAINAGE AND IMBIBITION CAPILLARY PRESSURE CURVES DRAINAGE • Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the nonwetting phase increases IMBIBITION Drainage • Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the wetting phase increases Pc Pd Saturation History . 1999.0 Sw . nonwetting phase cannot flow. wetting phase cannot flow. and previous saturation history .Hysteresis .5 1.4 Imbibition Swi Sm . after … 0. resulting in irreducible wetting phase saturation (drainage) .At Swi.Capillary pressure depends on both direction of change.

Decreasing  Capillary Pressure 12 C 8 A B 4 0 0 0. after xx) .4 0.6 0.0 Water Saturation Modified from NExT 1999.8 1.2 0.Effect of Permeability on Shape 20 16 Decreasing Permeability.

1999.Effect of Grain Size Distribution on Shape Capillary pressure. % . psia Well-sorted Poorly sorted Decreasing  Modfied from NExT. after …) Water saturation.

Rise of Wetting Phase Varies with Capillary Radius 1 AIR 2 3 4 WATER Ayers. 2001 .

a g h =  g h . Pa2 = pw2 = p2 pa1 pw1 Pc = p2 .a g h = p2 .w g h = pa1 .CAPILLARY TUBE MODEL AIR/WATER SYSTEM h pa2 pw2 Water pa1 pw1 Air Water rise in capillary tube depends on the density difference of fluids.pw1 = w g h .

CAPILLARY PRESSURE – AIR / WATER SYSTEM • Combining the two relations results in the following expression for capillary tubes: 2  aw cos  Pc  r .

CAPILLARY PRESSURE – OIL / WATER SYSTEM • From a similar derivation. dyne/cm  = Oil/water contact angle. the equation for capillary pressure for an oil/water system is 2  ow cos  Pc  r Pc = Capillary pressure between oil and water ow = Interfacial tension between oil and water. cm . degrees r = Radius of capillary tube.

AVERAGING CAPILLARY PRESSURE DATA USING THE LEVERETT J-FUNCTION • The Leverett J-function was originally an attempt to convert all capillary pressure data to a universal curve • A universal capillary pressure curve does not exist because the rock properties affecting capillary pressures in reservoir have extreme variation with lithology (rock type) • BUT. . Leverett‟s J-function has proven valuable for correlating capillary pressure data within a lithology (see ABW Fig 3-23).

EXAMPLE J-FUNCTION FOR WEST TEXAS CARBONATE 10.80 0.10 0.00 Jn1 Jn2 7.00 Jc Jmatch 8.40 0.00 Water saturation.90 1.00 J-function 5.30 0.00 3.70 0.00 4.00 Jn3 6.50 0.00 1.00 0.00 9.00 0.00 2. fraction .20 0.00 0.60 0.

any exact value of k. for a particular rock type: • Same value of J at same wetting phase saturation for any unit system.DEFINITION OF LEVERETT J-FUNCTION C Pc J (Sw )   cos  k f • J-Function is DIMENSIONLESS. any two fluids.f •(k/f)1/2 is proportional to size of typical pore throat radius (remember k can have units of length2) •C is unit conversion factor (to make J(Sw) dimensionless) .

Pc(Sw) Depends on k. and becomes less “L” shaped as reservoir quality decreases 2 Low Quality 1 .f Core Lithofacies Core Pore Plugs Types Petrophysical Data f vs k Capillary Pressure Gamma Ray Flow Log Units 5 High Quality 4 3 Function moves up and right.

LEVERETT J-FUNCTION FOR CONVERSION OF Pc DATA  C Pc k   C Pc k J(Sw )       σ cosθ f  Lab  σ cosθ f  Reservoir .

USE OF LEVERETT J-FUNCTION • J-function is useful for averaging capillary pressure data from a given rock type from a given reservoir • J-function can sometimes be extended to different reservoirs having same lithologies – Use extreme caution in assuming this can be done • J-function usually not accurate correlation for different lithologies • If J-functions are not successful in reducing the scatter in a given set of data. then this suggests that we are dealing variation in rock type .

Capillary Pressure in Reservoirs A B dpw=wg/D dh dpo=og/D dh Free Water Level Depth Reservoir. w Pressure . o 3 2 1 Pc = po-pw = 0 Aquifer.

1999.go = h2g (o-g) Oil.Fluid Distribution in Reservoirs Fault Capillary pressure difference between gas and oil phases in core „B‟ Pc. modified after Welge and Bruce. Gas & Water Gas & Water Gas density = g „B‟ h2 Free Oil Level „A‟ Oil & Water Oil density = o h1 Free Water Level Capillary pressure difference between oil and water phases in core „A‟ Pc. 1947 .ow = h1g (w-o) Water Water density = w Modified from NExT.

after … .f J-Function Pd 0 0 50 100 Pc Pd 0 0 50 100 Reservoir Data Pc Oil-Water contact Hd 0 50 100 Free Water Level Sw (fraction) Sw (fraction) Sw (fraction) Modified from NExT.  -Core sample: k. 1999.f Lab Data -Lab Fluids: .for k.RELATION BETWEEN CAPILLARY PRESSURE AND FLUID SATURATION Height Above Free Water Level (Feet) J-Function .

Depth • Results from two analysis methods (after ABW) – Laboratory capillary pressure curve • Converted to reservoir conditions – Analysis of well logs • Water saturation .Saturation in Reservoir vs.

ow . Z . • Sw= function of height above OWC (oil water contact) • Determine recoverable oil for water flooding applications • Imbibition process for water wet reservoirs • Pore Size Distribution Index. water wet • Input data for reservoir simulation models .  • Absolute permeability (flow capacity of entire pore size distribution) • Relative permeability (distribution of fluid phases within the pore size distribution) • Reservoir Flow .Capillary Pressure included as a term of flow potential for multiphase flow ρ gZ Φ w  po  w D  Pc.Applications of Capillary Pressure Data • Determine fluid distribution in reservoir (initial conditions) • Accumulation of HC is drainage process for water wet res.

DRAINAGE AND IMBIBITION CAPILLARY PRESSURE CURVES DRAINAGE • • Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the nonwetting phase increases Mobility of nonwetting fluid phase increases as nonwetting phase saturation increases Drainage IMBIBITION • Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the wetting phase increases Mobility of wetting phase increases as wetting phase saturation increases Pc • Pd Four Primary Parameters Si = irreducible wetting phase saturation Sm = 1 . 1999. determines shape Swt Modified from NExT.residual non-wetting phase saturation Imbibition S i Sm 0 0. after … .5 1. the pressure required to force non-wetting fluid into largest pores  = pore size distribution index.0 Pd = displacement pressure.

DRAINAGE PROCESS • Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the nonwetting phase increases • Examples: • Hydrocarbon (oil or gas) filling the pore space and displacing the original water of deposition in water-wet rock • Waterflooding an oil reservoir in which the reservoir is oil wet • Gas injection in an oil or water wet oil reservoir • Pressure maintenance or gas cycling by gas injection in a retrograde condensate reservoir • Evolution of a secondary gas cap as reservoir pressure decreases .

IMBIBITION PROCESS IMBIBITION •Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the wetting phase increases •Mobility of wetting phase increases as wetting phase saturation increases Examples: Accumulation of oil in an oil wet reservoir Waterflooding an oil reservoir in which the reservoir is water wet Accumulation of condensate as pressure decreases in a dew point reservoir .

 Pc  Pd S ( ) * 1/λ w Sw  Swi S  1  Swi * w .Sw* Power Law Model • Having an equation model for capillary pressure curves is useful – Smoothing of laboratory data – Determination of  – Analytic function for integration (future topic) • The Sw* Power Law Model is an empirical model that has proven to work well – Model parameters: Swi. Pd.

Wetting Phase Saturation 25 20 Pc.7 0.5 0.Sw* Power Law Model • Sw* rescales x-axis Capillary Pressure vs.1 0.20 5 Pd=3.6 0. psia 15 10 Swi=0.9 1 Sw.4 0.0 0 0 0. fraction Sw*=1 . fraction Sw*=0 Sw*.8 0.2 0.3 0.

Sw* (Swi=0. psia 10 Pd=3.0 1 0. fraction .20) 100 slope = -1/ = -1/2.0 Pc.01 0.1 1 Sw*.Sw* Power Law Model • Power Law Equations plot as Log-Log straight line Capillary Pressure Data Plotted vs.

Sw* Power Law Model • Straight line models are excellent for – Interpolation and data smoothing – Extrapolation – Self Study: review Power Law Equations (y=axb) and how to determine coefficients. a and b given two points on the straight log-log line Pc  Pd S ( ) * 1/λ w Sw  Swi S  1  Swi * w .

fraction . if data does not clearly show vertical asymptote Capillary Pressure vs.5 0. Swi can be difficult to determine from Cartesian plot.Sw* Power Law Model • Pd.8 0.  can be determined from Log-Log plot • But.2 0.3 0.6 0. psia 15 10 5 0 0 0.7 0.1 0.4 0. Wetting Phase Saturation 25 20 Pc.9 1 Sw.

1 1 Sw*.  Same Capillary Pressure Data Plotted vs. S * w 100 Swi value correct Swi value too small Pc.01 0. psia 10 Swi value too large 1 0.Sw* Power Law Model • Choosing wrong Swi limits accuracy of determining Pd. fraction .

Review: Sw* Power Law Model Pc  Pd S ( ) * 1/λ w Sw  Swi S  1  Swi * w • Power Law Model (log-log straight line) – “Best fit” of any data set with a straight line model can be used to determine two unknown parameters. For this case: • slope gives  • intercept gives Pd – Swi must be determined independently • it can be difficult to estimate the value of Swi .