Determination of Thermal Conductivity of Carbonate Cores
- Jeffrey Andrew MacDonald (Osum Oil Sands Corp.) | Jian-Yang Yuan (Osum Oil Sands Corp.) | Haibo Huang (Alberta Innovates Technology Futures) | Qi Jiang (Osum Oil Sands Corp.) | Mark Rabin (Osum Oil Sands Corp.) | James Donald (Alberta Innovates Technology Futures) | Joyce X Chen (Alberta Innovates Technology Futures)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Heavy Oil Conference-Canada, 11-13 June, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2013, Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 5.5 Reservoir Simulation, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir
- Grosmont, thermal conductivity, carbonate
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The difficulties of accurately measuring thermal properties, such as thermal conductivity of fractured and/or vuggy rocks are well known. Many commercially available methods are suitable only for liquids or re-packed sands. Others either require samples to be fairly uniform or are potentially destructive due to sample size limitations. In-situ measurements are possible, but can be costly. It can also be affected by in-situ distributions of fluids in the fractures and vugs, such as water, oil and possibly gas. In order to adapt the highly non-uniform nature of the carbonate cores without having to create further destruction of these cores, we developed a non-destructive method for measuring thermal conductivity of highly vuggy and moderately fractured carbonate cores in their whole diameter. In this paper, we report the theoretical background of this methodology; laboratory observations of thermal behaviours; data analysis and resulting thermal conductivity values of carbonates cores. Using this method, we measured 20 cleaned carbonate cores (88 mm in diameter) from Grosmont C and D Formation in Saleski area. Measured thermal conductivity values ranged from 1.00 to 2.87 W/m·K in Grosmont C, and 0.82 to 3.16 W/m·K in Grosmont D. These values were determined to be a strong function of porosity rather than mineralogy, as the Grosmont Formation typically consists of greater than 95% dolomite. These measurements are also shown to be in good agreement with prior studies on non-fractured dolomite reservoirs. A correlation for thermal conductivity was derived which can be used for numerical simulation models.
Thermal conductivity is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat. The success of a thermal recovery process in a bitumen-filled reservoir heavily relies on the thermal properties of the formation, including thermal conductivity and heat capacity. As the Grosmont Formation contains bitumen with viscosities over one million cP, any feasible recovery process would require thermal considerations. Therefore, knowing thermal conductivity of the formation is critical.
Numerous methods exist to measure thermal conductivity, depending on a sample's thermal and other physical characteristics, and the environment conditions. Normally, they can be grouped into two distinctive classes: steady-state and transient. Steady-state techniques make the signal analysis straightforward (steady state implies constant signal). Unfortunately, a well-engineered experimental setup is usually needed for these methods. The available commercial thermal conductivity analyzers using steady-state techniques normally have reasonably good design, but can only measure a sample with a fixed geometry (most often a thin plate ranging from 0.005?? to 0.5?? in thickness). Most commercial analyzers use transient techniques, as they deliver fast, accurate measurements non-destructively and effusively in seconds with virtually unlimited sample size. However, this method requires the test sample to be homogenous and only measures the thermal conductivity in the millimetre range around the contact point on the sample. Based on ASTM C518-10, we developed a modified experimental methodology suitable for determining the thermal conductivity of clean carbonate cores in the vertical direction.
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