Pore-scale Imaging and Characterization of Hydrocarbon Reservoir Rock Wettability at Subsurface Conditions Using X-ray Microtomography.

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Title: Pore-scale Imaging and Characterization of Hydrocarbon Reservoir Rock Wettability at Subsurface Conditions Using X-ray Microtomography.
Authors: Alhammadi, AM
AlRatrout, A
Bijeljic, B
Blunt, MJ
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: In situ wettability measurements in hydrocarbon reservoir rocks have only been possible recently. The purpose of this work is to present a protocol to characterize the complex wetting conditions of hydrocarbon reservoir rock using pore-scale three-dimensional X-ray imaging at subsurface conditions. In this work, heterogeneous carbonate reservoir rocks, extracted from a very large producing oil field, have been used to demonstrate the protocol. The rocks are saturated with brine and oil and aged over three weeks at subsurface conditions to replicate the wettability conditions that typically exist in hydrocarbon reservoirs (known as mixed-wettability). After the brine injection, high-resolution three-dimensional images (2 µm/voxel) are acquired and then processed and segmented. To calculate the distribution of the contact angle, which defines the wettability, the following steps are performed. First, fluid-fluid and fluid-rock surfaces are meshed. The surfaces are smoothed to remove voxel artefacts, and in situ contact angles are measured at the three-phase contact line throughout the whole image. The main advantage of this method is its ability to characterize in situ wettability accounting for pore-scale rock properties, such as rock surface roughness, rock chemical composition, and pore size. The in situ wettability is determined rapidly at hundreds of thousands of points. The method is limited by the segmentation accuracy and X-ray image resolution. This protocol could be used to characterize the wettability of other complex rocks saturated with different fluids and at different conditions for a variety of applications. For example, it could help in determining the optimal wettability that could yield an extra oil recovery (i.e., designing brine salinity accordingly to obtain higher oil recovery) and to find the most efficient wetting conditions to trap more CO2 in subsurface formations.
Issue Date: 21-Oct-2018
Date of Acceptance: 1-Oct-2018
ISSN: 1940-087X
Publisher: Journal of Visualized Experiments
Journal / Book Title: Journal of Visualized Experiments
Issue: 140
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Author(s). Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (
Sponsor/Funder: Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations (ADCO)
Funder's Grant Number: 16312.01
Publication Status: Published
Conference Place: United States
Article Number: e57915
Online Publication Date: 2018-10-21
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Earth Science and Engineering

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