Exponential Capillary Pressure Functions in Sedimentary Rocks

Armin Afrough, Mehdi Bahari Moghaddam, Laura Romero-Zerón, Bruce J. Balcom, B. Nicot
2019 E3S Web of Conferences  
The Brooks-Corey power-law capillary pressure model is commonly imposed on core analysis data without verifying the validity of its underlying assumptions. The Brooks-Corey model, originally developed to model the pressure head during the drainage of soil, is only valid at low wetting phase saturations. However, such models are often applied in petroleum production simulations and may lead to erroneous recovery factors when the saturation range of interest is far from the end points. We
more » ... ate that exponential models work much better for capillary pressure compared to the Brooks-Corey model over a wide saturation range. Mercury injection porosimetry, petrographic image analysis, and magnetic resonance studies suggest that the pore and throat size distribution in many rocks are log-normally distributed. This fact was previously employed to calculate the capillary pressure function as a function of saturation for pore size distributions described by atruncated log-normal distribution. Employing a Taylor series expansion, we simplify the random fractal capillary pressure model of Hunt to Pc = exp(a − bS), where S is the wetting phase saturation, and a and b characteristic of the porous medium. An extensive dataset of seventeen centrifuge capillary pressure measurements were used in this research to demonstrate the merit of the new method. For both sandstones and carbonates, the logarithm of capillary pressure showed a linear relationship with saturation as observed by magnetic resonance imaging centrifuge capillary pressure measurements over a wide saturation range. This work demonstrates that: (a) in semi-log plots of capillary pressure as a function of saturation, capillary pressurewill vary linearly over a wide saturation range, (b) such a plot as described in (a) will show the uni-or bimodal pore size distribution of the rock, (c) the exponential capillary pressure function simplifies analytical modelsthat use the capillary pressure function, for example oil recovery models for fractured reservoirs.
doi:10.1051/e3sconf/20198902005 fatcat:wji2gu44mffknmhlcoe4u7yfdq