X-ray computed microtomography studies of fluid partitioning in drainage and imbibition before and after gel placement: Disproportionate permeability reduction

Randy S. Seright, Masa Prodanovic, W. Brent Lindquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

X-ray computed microtomography (XMT) was used to establish why pore-filling Cr(III)-acetate-HPAM gels reduced permeability to water much more than to oil. Our results suggest that permeability to water was reduced to low values because water must flow through gel itself, whereas oil pressing on the gel in Berea sandstone or porous polyethylene forced pathways by dehydration - leading to relatively high permeability to oil. In very permeable sandpacks, data from other researchers support ripping or extrusion mechanisms for creating oil pathways. Our XMT studies provide interesting insights into imbibition and drainage processes in water-wet and oil-wet porous media even before gel placement. Many of our observations were consistent with conventional wisdom. However, some were unexpected. Residual wetting-phase (water) saturations in Berea were surprisingly low-valued in small pores. We attribute this to surface roughness caused by clay coating on Berea's pore walls, which allowed efficient water drainage from small pores during oil injection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-170
Number of pages12
JournalSPE Journal
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006

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