Heterogeneity Effects on Low Salinity Water Flooding

Hasan Al-Ibadi, Karl Stephen, Eric MacKay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the effect of heterogeneous petrophysical properties on Low Salinity Water Flooding (LSWF). We considered reservoir scale models, where the geological properties were obtained from a giant Middle East carbonate reservoir. The results are compared against a typical sandstone model. We simulated low salinity induced wettability changes in field scale models in which the petrophysical properties were randomly distributed with spatial correlation. We examined a wide range of geological realisations which mimic complex geological structures. Sandstone was simulated using a log-linear porosity-permeability relation with fairly good correlation. A carbonate reservoir from the Middle East was simulated where a much less correlated porosity permeability relationship was obtained. The salinity of formation water was set to typically observed values for the sandstone and carbonate cases. A number of simulations were then carried out to assess the flow behaviour. We have found that the general trend of permeability-porosity correlation has a key role that could mitigate or aggravate the impact of spatial distributions of petrophysical properties. We considered models with a log-linear permeability-porosity correlation, as generally observed for sandstone reservoirs. These are likely to be directly affected by the spatial distribution more than models with a power permeability-porosity correlation, which is often reported for flow units of carbonate reservoirs. The scatter of data in the permeability-porosity correlations had a relatively small impact on the flow performance. On the other hand, the effect of heterogeneity decreases with the width of the effective salinity range. Thus, uncertainty in carbonate reservoirs arises due to the ambiguity of spatial distribution of permeability and porosity would be less affects the LSWF predictability than in sandstone case. Overall, the incremental oil recovery due to LSWF was higher in the carbonate models than the sandstone cases. We observe from uncertainty analysis that the formation waterfront was less fingered than the low salinity waterfront and the salinity concentration. The dispersivity of salinity front and the water cut can be estimated for models with various degrees of heterogeneity. The outcome of the study is a better understanding of the implications of heterogeneity on LSWF. In some cases the behaviour can appear like a waterflood in very heterogeneous cases. It is important to assess the reservoir effectively to determine the best business decision.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSPE Europec Featured at 82nd EAGE Conference and Exhibition
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)9781613997123
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventSPE Europec featured at 82nd EAGE Conference and Exhibition 2020 - RAI Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 8 Dec 202011 Dec 2020


ConferenceSPE Europec featured at 82nd EAGE Conference and Exhibition 2020
Internet address


  • Heterogeneity
  • Low salinity water flooding
  • Numerical Interpretations
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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