An investigation into preserving spatially-distinct pore systems in multi-component rocks using a fossiliferous limestone example

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Abstract

Limestones containing abundant disc-shaped fossil Nummulites can form significant hydrocarbon reservoirs but they have a distinctly heterogeneous distribution of pore shapes, sizes and connectivities, which make it particularly difficult to calculate petrophysical properties and consequent flow outcomes. The severity of the problem rests on the wide length-scale range from the millimetre scale of the fossil’s pore space to the micron scale of rock matrix pores. This work develops a technique to incorporate multi-scale void systems into a pore network, which is used to calculate the petrophysical properties for subsequent flow simulations at different stages in the limestone’s petrophysical evolution. While rock pore size, shape and connectivity can be determined, with varying levels of fidelity, using techniques such as X-ray computed tomography (CT) or scanning electron microscopy (SEM), this work represents a more challenging class where the rock of interest is insufficiently sampled or, as here, has been overprinted by extensive chemical diagenesis. The main challenge is integrating multi-scale void structures derived from both SEM and CT images, into a single model or a pore-scale network while still honouring the nature of the connections across these length scales. Pore network flow simulations are used to illustrate the technique but of equal importance, to demonstrate how supportable earlier-stage petrophysical property distributions can be used to assess the viability of several potential geological event sequences. The results of our flow simulations on generated models highlight the requirement for correct determination of the dominant pore scales (one plus of nm, m, mm, cm), the spatial correlation and the cross-scale connections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1–11
JournalComputers and Geosciences
Volume116
Early online date7 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Carbonates
  • Nummulites
  • Two-phase flow
  • Multi-scale pore network

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