Modelling the effect of wettability distributions on oil recovery from microporous carbonate reservoirs

Wissem Kallel, Marinus Izaak Jan Van Dijke, Kenneth Stuart Sorbie, Rachel Wood, Zeyun Jiang, Sophie Harland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)


Carbonate-hosted hydrocarbon reservoirs are known to be weakly- to moderately oil-wet, but the pore-scale wettability distribution is poorly understood. Moreover, micropores, which often dominate in carbonate reservoirs, are usually assumed to be water-wet and their role in multi-phase flow is neglected. Modelling the wettability of carbonates using pore network models is challenging, because of our inability to attribute appropriate chemical characteristics to the pore surfaces and over-simplification of the pore shapes. Here, we implement a qualitatively plausible wettability alteration scenario in a two-phase flow network model that captures a diversity of pore shapes. The model qualitatively reproduces patterns of wettability alteration recently observed in microporous carbonates via high-resolution imaging. To assess the combined importance of pore-space structure and wettability on petrophysical properties, we consider a homogeneous Berea sandstone network and a heterogeneous microporous carbonate network, whose disconnected coarse-scale pores are connected through a sub-network of fine-scale pores. Results demonstrate that wettability effects are significantly more profound in the carbonate network, as the wettability state of the micropores controls the oil recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317–328
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Early online date3 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • Network modelling
  • Two-phase flow
  • Wettability alteration
  • Oil recovery
  • Carbonates
  • Microporosity


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