Characterization of Reservoir Core using Computed Microtomography
- M.E. Coles (Mobil Exploration and Producing Technical Center) | R.D. Hazlett (Mobil Exploration and Producing Technical Center) | P. Spanne (The Imaging Group) | E.L. Muegge (Mobil Exploration and Producing Technical Center) | M.J. Furr (Mobil Exploration and Producing Technical Center)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- September 1996
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 295 - 302
- 1996. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 6.2.4 Industrial Hygiene, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 5.5.2 Core Analysis, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing
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X-ray tomography is often utilized to evaluate and characterize structural characteristics within reservoir core materiel systems. Generally, medical computed tomography (CT) scanners have been employed because of their availability and ease of use. Current spatial resolutions of conventional medical CT scanners have, however, not allowed their use in obtaining pore level characterizations for most core samples. Recently developed high resolution computed microtomography (CMT) using synchrotron radiation x-ray sources is analogous to conventional medical CT scanning and provides the ability to obtain three dimensional characterization of specimens with a spatial resolution on the order of microns. Application of this technique to the study of core samples provides excellent two and three dimensional high resolution description of pore structure and mineral distributions. Statistical and variogram analysis of the microtomographic images provide descriptors characteristic of the specific core material. Pore space inter-connectivity is accurately characterized and visualized. Pore level endpoint saturation microtomograms obtained during a core flood of a sandstone sample are presented.
Computed x-ray tomography is often utilized to evaluate and characterize structural characteristics within reservoir core material systems. Generally, medical computed tomography (CT) scanners have been employed because of their availability and relative ease of use. Applications include core screening and characterization of inhomogeneities and damage in reservoir core samples, as well as characterization of fluid distributions within core material systems. Additionally, efforts to quantity and improve the accuracy of CT scanning techniques have been successful.
Of interest lately has been the acquisition of three-dimensional, high resolution descriptions of rock structure and pore level characterization for the modeling of multiphase transport processes. Medical CT scanners are general1y limited to no better than .25 by .25 by 1.5 mm3 in volume resolution and therefore cannot provide information sufficient to define the three-dimensional pore structure of reservoir rock. Although two-dimensional pore structure is easily imaged with scanning electron microscopes (SEM), there is some question as to the destructive nature of the sampling method and extension of the two-dimensional data to three dimensions. Nuclear magnetic resource (NMR) imaging provides three-dimensional information with a resolution exceeding that of medical CT scanners. Resolution in state-of-the-art NMR microimaging is on the order of fifteen micrometers. NMR imaging however, provides information only about the fluids contained within the rock: information about the rock itself is inferred, not directly measured.
Recently developed computed microtomography (CMT) offers unique imaging capabilities, compared with conventional optical and electron microscopes or NMR imaging. CMT is analogous to medical x-ray absorption CT scanning and produces images with a much higher spatial resolution. Synchrotron x rays, generated in a storage ring for relativistic electrons, are often employed for microtomography. With synchrotron x-ray CMT, three-dimensional maps of linear x-ray attenuation coefficients inside small samples can be obtained with about 1% accuracy and resolution approaching 1 m. Synchrotron x rays have been used to generate microtomograms of biological samples, thermal spray coatings, coal and heterogeneous catalysts.
Recently, there has been interest in using synchrotron x-ray CMT for characterization of porous media for geological applications.
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