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Dynamics of water injection in an oil-wet reservoir rock at subsurface conditions: Invasion patterns and pore-filling events

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.102.023110 DOI Help

Authors: Abdulla Alhosani (Imperial College London) , Alessio Scanziani (Imperial College London) , Qingyang Lin (Imperial College London) , Sajjad Foroughi (Imperial College London) , Amer M. Alhammadi (Imperial College London) , Martin J. Blunt (Imperial College London) , Branko Bijeljic (Imperial College London)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Physical Review E , VOL 102

State: Published (Approved)
Published: August 2020
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 22070

Abstract: We use fast synchrotron x-ray microtomography to investigate the pore-scale dynamics of water injection in an oil-wet carbonate reservoir rock at subsurface conditions. We measure, in situ, the geometric contact angles to confirm the oil-wet nature of the rock and define the displacement contact angles using an energy-balance-based approach. We observe that the displacement of oil by water is a drainagelike process, where water advances as a connected front displacing oil in the center of the pores, confining the oil to wetting layers. The displacement is an invasion percolation process, where throats, the restrictions between pores, fill in order of size, with the largest available throats filled first. In our heterogeneous carbonate rock, the displacement is predominantly size controlled; wettability has a smaller effect, due to the wide range of pore and throat sizes, as well as largely oil-wet surfaces. Wettability only has an impact early in the displacement, where the less oil-wet pores fill by water first. We observe drainage associated pore-filling dynamics including Haines jumps and snap-off events. Haines jumps occur on single- and/or multiple-pore levels accompanied by the rearrangement of water in the pore space to allow the rapid filling. Snap-off events are observed both locally and distally and the capillary pressure of the trapped water ganglia is shown to reach a new capillary equilibrium state. We measure the curvature of the oil-water interface. We find that the total curvature, the sum of the curvatures in orthogonal directions, is negative, giving a negative capillary pressure, consistent with oil-wet conditions, where displacement occurs as the water pressure exceeds that of the oil. However, the product of the principal curvatures, the Gaussian curvature, is generally negative, meaning that water bulges into oil in one direction, while oil bulges into water in the other. A negative Gaussian curvature provides a topological quantification of the good connectivity of the phases throughout the displacement.

Journal Keywords: Displacement of immiscible fluids; Flows in porous media; Hydrophobic interactions; Imbibition & injection; Microstructure; Multiphase flows; Percolation; Wetting

Subject Areas: Earth Science

Instruments: I13-2-Diamond Manchester Imaging

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