Permeability prediction and drainage capillary pressure simulation in sandstone reservoirs




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Texas A&M University


Knowledge of reservoir porosity, permeability, and capillary pressure is essential to exploration and production of hydrocarbons. Although porosity can be interpreted fairly accurately from well logs, permeability and capillary pressure must be measured from core. Estimating permeability and capillary pressure from well logs would be valuable where cores are unavailable. This study is to correlate permeability with porosity to predict permeability and capillary pressures. Relationships between permeability to porosity can be complicated by diagenetic processes like compaction, cementation, dissolution, and occurrence of clay minerals. These diagenetic alterations can reduce total porosity, and more importantly, reduce effective porosity available for fluid flow. To better predict permeability, effective porosity needs to be estimated. A general equation is proposed to estimate effective porosity. Permeability is predicted from effective porosity by empirical and theoretical equations. A new capillary pressure model is proposed. It is based on previous study, and largely empirical. It is tested with over 200 samples covering a wide range of lithology (clean sandstone, shaly sandstone, and carbonates dominated by intergranular pores). Parameters in this model include: interfacial tension, contact angle, shape factor, porosity, permeability, irreducible water saturation, and displacement pressure. These parameters can be measured from routine core analysis, estimated from well log, and assumed. An empirical equation is proposed to calculate displacement pressure from porosity and permeability. The new capillary-pressure model is applied to evaluate sealing capacity of seals, calculate transition zone thickness and saturation above free water level in reservoirs. Good results are achieved through integration of well log data, production data, core, and geological concepts.