Pore-to-reservoir modelling of three-phase flow processes in mixed-wet carbonate reservoirs

A. Al-Dhahli, S. Geiger, M.I.J. van Dijke

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


    Carbonate reservoirs have structural heterogeneities at all length-scales (triple porosity: pore-vug-fracture) and tend to be mixed- To oil-wet. The interplay of structural and wettability heterogeneities impacts the sweep efficiency and oil recovery. The choice of an enhanced oil recovery process and the prediction of oil recovery require a sound understanding of the fundamental controls on fluid flow in mixed- To oil-wet carbonate rocks, as well as physically robust flow functions, i.e. relative permeability and capillary pressure functions. Obtaining these flow functions is a challenging task, especially when three fluid phases coexist, such as during water-alternating-gas injection (WAG). We have developed a new three-phase flow pore-network model, which comprises a novel thermodynamic criterion for formation and collapse of oil layers that strongly depends on the fluid spreading behaviour and the rock wettability. The criterion affects in particular the oil relative permeability at low oil saturations and the accurate prediction of residual oil saturations. Additionally, multiple displacement chains have been implemented, where injection of one phase at the inlet triggers a chain of interface displacements throughout the network. This allows accurate modelling of the mobilization of the many disconnected phase clusters that arise during higher order WAG cycles. Pore-networks extracted from pore-space reconstruction methods and CT images are used as input for the pore-scale simulations and the model comprises a constrained set of parameters that can be tuned to mimic the wetting state of a given reservoir. Three-phase flow functions generated from networks with carbonate pore geometries and connectivities have been used in a heterogeneous carbonate reservoir model and we demonstrate their impact on the sweep efficiency after gas injection and WAG for a range of realistic wettability scenarios. We also show that the network generated flow functions give distinctly different recovery curves compared to recoveries for traditional three-phase flow relative permeability functions, such as Stone's.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2012
    Event13th European Conference on the Mathematics of Oil Recovery 2012 - Biarritz, France
    Duration: 10 Sept 201213 Sept 2012


    Conference13th European Conference on the Mathematics of Oil Recovery 2012
    Abbreviated titleECMOR XIII


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