Experimental Investigation of Factors Affecting Laboratory Relative Permeability Measurements
- T.M. Geffen (Stanolind Oil and Gas Co.) | W.W. Owens (Stanolind Oil and Gas Co.) | D.R. Parrish (Stanolind Oil and Gas Co.) | R.A. Morse (Stanolind Oil and Gas Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1951
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 99 - 110
- 1951. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 4.3.1 Hydrates, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 5.8.8 Gas-condensate reservoirs, 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.3.4 Reduction of Residual Oil Saturation, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
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Laboratory studies of several factors affecting measurements of relativepermeability were made using the three-section plastic-covered core technique.Results show that the core assembly, properly constructed, will perform as asingle unit, and that the testing technique will, under suitable conditions ofpressure gradient, gas expansion, and migration of partial water saturation,permit measurement of flow characteristics not affected by technique.Wettability equilibrium is readily established in cores exhibiting strongwetting preference to water or oil when initially saturated with water.Laboratory tests must be conducted so that saturation changes represent thosethat occur in the reservoir. Immediate implications of saturation history are(1) that the possibility exists of increasing the displacement efficiency ofsolution gas drive reservoirs over the natural process, and (2) residual gassaturations following water flooding in gas or gas condensate reservoirs willbe 15 to 50 per cent pore space rather than 1 to 11 per cent as generallybelieved.
Solutions of petroleum reservoir problems pertaining to productionperformance require the use of true relative permeability characteristics. Thisrelationship of fluid conductivity and saturation has been obtained byreservoir engineers in four ways, namely:
1. From past gross reservoir performance and the extrapolation of this databased on experience,
2. By using published fluid flow relationships obtained in laboratory studieson general type porous materials,
3. By attempting a mathematical derivation of flow behavior, using someexperimentally obtained characteristics of reservoir rocks, and
4. By laboratory flow tests using representative rock samples of areservoir.
The first three methods listed above have shortcomings which make their uselimited or questionable. Production characteristics of only certain processesare obtained from field data and these are not available at the beginning of areservoir's producing life, at which time they are desirable. It is fortuitousif general fluid flow characteristics obtained experimentally have accurateapplication to specific field problems. Also, it is felt that at this timethere is not sufficient knowledge of the flow behavior of oil, water, and gasin porous materials to enable applicable analytical description of this to bemade based on other measured rock characteristics.
Measurement of relative permeability in the laboratory offers the only directmethod subject to adequate checking for determination of flow characteristicsapplicable to field problems. Primarily, this paper deals with laboratoryexperiments to establish the effects of several factors on the measurement ofrelative permeability and the practical significance of this knowledge.
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