Two-phase pore-network modelling: existence of oil layers during water invasion

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    Pore-network modelling is commonly used to predict capillary pressure and relative permeability functions for multi-phase flow simulations. These functions strongly depend on the presence of fluid films and layers in pore corners. Recently, van Dijke and Sorbie (J. Coll. Int. Sci. 293:455-463, 2006) obtained the new thermodynamically derived criterion for oil layers existence in the pore corners with non-uniform wettability caused by ageing. This criterion is consistent with the thermodynamically derived capillary entry pressures for other water invasion displacements and it is more restrictive than the previously used geometrical layer collapse criterion. The thermodynamic criterion has been included in a newly developed two-phase flow pore network model, as well as two versions of the geometrical criterion. The network model takes as input networks extracted from pore space reconstruction methods or CT images. Furthermore, a new n-cornered star shape characterization technique has been implemented, based on shape factor and dimensionless hydraulic radius as input parameters. For two unstructured networks, derived from a Berea sandstone sample, oil residuals have been estimated for different wettability scenarios, by varying the contact angles in oil-filled pores after ageing from weakly to strongly oil-wet. Simulation of primary drainage, ageing and water invasion show that the thermodynamical oil layer existence criterion gives more realistic oil residual saturations compared to the geometrical criteria. Additionally, a sensitivity analysis has been carried out of oil residuals with respect to end-point capillary pressures. For strongly oil-wet cases residuals increase strongly with increasing end-point capillary pressures, contrary to intermediate oil-wet cases. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-99
    Number of pages21
    JournalTransport in Porous Media
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009


    • Network modelling
    • Non-uniform wettability
    • Oil layer
    • Residual oil
    • Two-phase flow


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