Permeability tensors for sedimentary structures

G. E. Pickup, P. S. Ringrose, J. L. Jensen, K. S. Sorbie

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    123 Citations (Scopus)


    Accurate modeling of fluid flow through sedimentary units is of great importance in assessing the performance of both hydrocarbon reservoirs and aquifers. Most sedimentary rocks display structure from the mm or cm scale upwards. Flow simulation should therefore begin with grid blocks of this size in order to calculate effective permeabilities for larger structures. In this paper, we investigate several flow models for sandstones, and examine their impact on the calculation of effective permeability for single phase flow. Crossflow arises in some structures, in which case it may be necessary to use a tensor representation of the effective permeability. We establish conditions under which tensors are required, e.g., in crossbedded structures with a high bedding angle, high permeability contrast, and laminae of comparable thickness. Cases where the off-diagonal terms can be neglected, such as in symmetrical systems, are also illustrated. We indicate how the method of calculating tensor permeabilities may be extended to model multiphase flow in sedimentary structures. © 1994 International Association for Mathematical Geology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-250
    Number of pages24
    JournalMathematical Geology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 1994


    • effective permeability
    • fluid flow
    • sedimentary structure
    • tensor permeability


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