Modeling oil recovery in mixed-wet rocks: Pore-scale comparison between experiment and simulation

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Title: Modeling oil recovery in mixed-wet rocks: Pore-scale comparison between experiment and simulation
Authors: Akai, T
Alhammadi, AM
Blunt, MJ
Bijeljic, B
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: To examine the need to incorporate in situ wettability measurements in direct numerical simulations, we compare waterflooding experiments in a mixed-wet carbonate from a producing reservoir and results of direct multiphase numerical simulations using the color-gradient lattice Boltzmann method. We study the experiments of Alhammadi et al. (Sci Rep 7(1):10753, 2017. where the pore-scale distribution of remaining oil was imaged using micro-CT scanning. In the experiment, in situ contact angles were measured using an automated algorithm (AlRatrout et al. in Adv Water Resour 109:158–169, 2017., which indicated a mixed-wet state with spatially non-uniform angles. In our simulations, the pore structure was obtained from segmented images of the sample used in the experiment. Furthermore, in situ measured angles were also incorporated into our simulations using our previously developed wetting boundary condition (Akai et al. in Adv Water Resour 116(March):56–66, 2018. We designed six simulations with different contact angle assignments based on experimentally measured values. Both a constant contact angle based on the average value of the measured values and non-uniform contact angles informed by the measured values gave a good agreement for fluid pore occupancy between the simulation and the experiment. However, the constant contact angle assignment predicted 54% higher water effective permeability after waterflooding than that estimated for the experimental result, whereas the non-uniform contact angle assignment gave less than 1% relative error. This means that to correctly predict fluid conductivity in mixed-wet rocks, a spatially heterogeneous wettability state needs to be taken into account. The novelty of this work is to provide a direct pore-scale comparison between experiments and simulations employing experimentally measured contact angles, and to demonstrate how to use measured contact angle data to improve the predictability of direct numerical simulation, highlighting the difference between the contact angle required for the simulation of dynamic displacement process and the contact angle measured at equilibrium after waterflooding.
Issue Date: Mar-2019
Date of Acceptance: 9-Nov-2018
ISSN: 0169-3913
Publisher: Springer Nature
Start Page: 393
End Page: 414
Journal / Book Title: Transport in Porous Media
Volume: 127
Issue: 2
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Sponsor/Funder: Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations (ADCO)
Funder's Grant Number: 16312.01
Keywords: Science & Technology
Engineering, Chemical
Direct numerical simulation
Lattice Boltzmann method
Environmental Engineering
0904 Chemical Engineering
0905 Civil Engineering
0102 Applied Mathematics
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2018-11-23
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Earth Science and Engineering

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