Petrophysical and geochemical characterization of midale carbonates from the Weyburn oilfield using synchrotron X-ray computed microtomography
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Understanding the controls on fluid migration in reservoir rocks is becoming evermore important within the petroleum industry as significant hydrocarbon discoveries become less frequent and more emphasis is placed on enhanced oil recovery methods. To fully understand the factors controlling fluid migration in the subsurface, pore scale information is necessary. In this study, synchrotron-based X-ray computed microtomography (CMT) is being utilized to extract physically realistic images of carbonate rock cores for the evaluation of porosity and mineralogy in the Mississippian Midale beds of the Weyburn Oilfield in southeastern Saskatchewan. Non-destructive in-situ imaging by CMT is unique as it provides a detailed and novel approach for the description of pore space geometry, while preserving connectivity and spatial variation of pore-body and pore-throat sizes. Here, three-dimensional micron to sub-micron (0.3ìm-100ìm) resolution of CMT is coupled with, and compared against, conventional laboratory-based methods (liquid and gas permeametry, mercury injection porosimetry, electrical resistivity, backscattered electron (BSE) from electron probe micro-analysis (EPMA) and transmitted light microscopy). Petrophysical and mineralogical information obtained from both CMT and conventional methods will have direct implications for understanding the petrophysical mechanisms that control fluid movement in the subsurface of the Weyburn Oilfield.At Weyburn, CO2 gas is being injected into producing horizons to enhance oil recovery and permanently sequester CO2 gas. Fundamental questions exist regarding: (1) The significance of pore geometry and connectivity to the movement of CO2 and other fluids in the subsurface, (2) the nature of the interactions between CO¬2 and pore lining minerals and their impact on petrophysical properties, and (3) the distribution and mineralogy of finely disseminated silicate and carbonate minerals adjacent to pore spaces as interaction among these phases and CO2 may result in permanent sequestration of CO2. The two producing horizons within the Weyburn Reservoir, the Midale Marly and Midale Vuggy units, have variable porosities and permeabilities. Porosity in the Marly unit ranges from 16% to 38% while permeability ranges from 1mD to greater than 150 mD across the field. For the Vuggy unit, porosity ranges from 8% to 21% with permeability ranging from 0.3mD to 500mD. Using CMT, pore space is critically examined to highlight the controlling factors on permeability. Digital processing of CMT data indicates that pore space in the Marly unit is dominated by intercrystalline pores having diameters of approximately 4 ìm. From here, it is noted that the pore-throat radii are approximately ½ the radii of the pore-bodies, having profound implications to current oil recovery methods. Tortuosity values from CMT are also observed to have similar values in three orthogonal directions indicating an isotropic pore space distribution within the Marly unit. Alternatively, the Vuggy unit is found to possess greater pore-body and pore-throat sizes that are heterogeneous in distribution. Based on this, permeability in the Vuggy unit is strongly dependant on pore-length scales that vary drastically between localities.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
CommitteeHawkes, Christopher D.; Ansdell, Kevin M.; Sharma, Jitendra
Copyright DateJanuary 2008