Directional Permeability of Heterogeneous Anisotropic Porous Media
- R.A. Greenkorn (Jersey Production Research Co.) | C.R. Johnson (Jersey Production Research Co.) | L.K. Shallenberger (Jersey Production Research Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- June 1964
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 124 - 132
- 1964. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.5.2 Core Analysis, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology
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This paper describes a study, based on core data, of the directional permeability of a sandstone reservoir. Directional air permeabilities are explained and correlated with lithology by the tensor theory of permeability, which is extended to the more general case of heterogeneous anisotropic porous media. In this case, the permeability tensor is made up of two components: (1) anisotropy (variation around a point) which correlates with bedding, and (2) heterogeneity (variation from point- to-point) which correlates with grain size.
Previous studies of directional permeability, have concerned themselves only with anisotropy at a point, rather than with both point-to-point differences and local anisotropies. In this paper, we present the existing tensor theory of permeability for anisotropic porous media and then extend it to the more general case of heterogeneous anisotropic porous media. The laboratory measurements of directional permeability are explained in view of this extended theory and the data are discussed in terms of the lithologic factors that correlate with it. The results show what the heterogeneity and anisotropy of the reservoir element are, and that the directional permeability correlates with lithology. Data used in this paper are measurements of air permeability in eight directions, spaced at 45 intervals, on 142 2-in. vertical plugs from 30 cores. The core data are meaningful in terms of directional permeability because the cores were oriented to within 45 during drilling and coring. Although we initially thought that only 60 per cent of the core material was reliable, subsequent study showed that almost all of it was reliably oriented. After determining the air permeabilities, the data were reduced to three independent variables for each plug: the major and minor permeability axes, and the direction of the major axis. These were obtained by converting the permeability data to the reciprocal square root of permeability and fitting the transformed data with ellipses according to the tensor theory of permeability. The point-to-point areal variation of the minimum permeability axis is related to grain size. The direction of the permeability axes, where the major axis exceeds the minor axis by at least 5 per cent (measured variation is about 4 per cent), correlates with the bedding. The permeability tensor used in this study must be considered as the sum of a scalar and a tensor, with the scalar being the minor axis permeability as a function of position, and the tensor the directional effect, which is additive permeability over the minor axis. In this case, the point-to-point variation or heterogeneity (minor axis) is substantially larger than the variation at a point or anisotropy. It may be important that this separation of "directional permeabilities" be recognized when considering migration of fluids due to permeability variation. Local migration may be due to anisotropy and point-to-point migration may be due to heterogeneity, but the direction and magnitude of these may not be the same. Furthermore, in truly heterogeneous systems, one would expect that anisotropy would be the smaller of the two effects.
TENSOR THEORY OF PERMEABILITY FOR ANISOTROPIC POROUS MEDIA
Darcy's law for flow in porous media in its usual form is
where q is the flow rate vector, k is the permeability, mu is the viscosity, V is the vector differential operator, and p is the pressure.
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