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Numerical Calculation of Transport Properties of Rock with Geometry Obtained Using Synchrotron X-ray Computed Microtomography



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Macroscopic properties of rocks are functions of pore-scale geometry and can be determined from laboratory experiments using rock samples. Macroscopic properties can also be determined from computer simulations using 3D pore geometries derived from various imaging techniques. Using 3D imagery and computer simulations, we can calculate the porosity, permeability, formation resistivity factor and cementation exponent in reservoir drill cores. The objective of this thesis was to develop a workflow using Synchrotron X-ray Computed Microtomography (CMT) images and commercially available software in order to determine the macroscopic properties in reservoir drill cores for Midale Marly (M0) and Vuggy Shoal (V6) rocks. The workflow started by using CMT data that provided three-dimensional images of the reservoir rocks taken from drill cores in the Weyburn oil field. The resulting CMT grey scale images were used to isolate the pore space in the rock image. A three-dimensional mesh, representing the pore space, was then used to obtain the solution of the Navier-Stokes equations for an incompressible fluid and Laplace's equation for electrical current flow. Solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations were computed with different inlet pressures for the same pore geometry in order to confirm a direct proportionality between the mass fluid flux and pressure gradient as Darcy’s Law specifies. Previously measured laboratory transport properties were compared with my calculated transport properties on a smaller sub-volume of the same rock core imaged using 0.78 µm resolution CMT images. For the Midale Marly rock, the calculated permeability ranged from 0.01 to 3.53 mD. The formation resistivity factor ranged from 29.3 to 309.43 and the cementation exponent ranged from 1.99 to 2.10. The sample was verified to be nearly isotropic as the permeability was similar for three orthogonal fluid flow directions. Even though the sub-volume analyzed was smaller than a Representative Elementary Volume (REV), the results are within an order of magnitude of the previously calculated laboratory results as completed by Glemser (2007) and fall on the same power law trend. A Vuggy (V6) sample was investigated after the sample had been exposed to CO2, and dissolution within the rock matrix resulted in large visible pore spaces. Using 7.45 µm resolution CMT images, the permeability for a large isolated pore could not be calculated using the previous workflow due to computer memory limitations. Resampling enabled the data to fit into the available computer memory. The permeability values ranged from 2.66x10^5 to 8.59x10^5 mD for resampling the CMT images from 2x to 10x.



permeability, porosity, formation resistivity factor, cementation exponent, synchrotron, oil recovery



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Geological Sciences




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