Fundamentals of Reservoir Surface Energy as Related to Surface Properties, Wettability, Capillary Action and Oil Recovery from Fractured Reservoirs by Spontaneous Imbibition

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The objective of this project is to increase oil recovery from fractured reservoirs through improved fundamental understanding of the process of spontaneous imbibition by which oil is displaced from the rock matrix into the fractures. Spontaneous imbibition is fundamentally dependent on the reservoir surface free energy but this has never been investigated for rocks. In this project, the surface free energy of rocks will be determined by using liquids that can be solidified within the rock pore space at selected saturations. Thin sections of the rock then provide a two-dimensional view of the rock minerals and the occupant phases. Saturations ... continued below

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Morrow, Norman R.; Fischer, Herbert; Li, Yu; Mason, Geoffrey; Ruth, Douglas; Yin, Peigui et al. December 8, 2006.

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The objective of this project is to increase oil recovery from fractured reservoirs through improved fundamental understanding of the process of spontaneous imbibition by which oil is displaced from the rock matrix into the fractures. Spontaneous imbibition is fundamentally dependent on the reservoir surface free energy but this has never been investigated for rocks. In this project, the surface free energy of rocks will be determined by using liquids that can be solidified within the rock pore space at selected saturations. Thin sections of the rock then provide a two-dimensional view of the rock minerals and the occupant phases. Saturations and oil/rock, water/rock, and oil/water surface areas will be determined by advanced petrographic analysis and the surface free energy which drives spontaneous imbibition will be determined as a function of increase in wetting phase saturation. The inherent loss in surface free energy resulting from capillary instabilities at the microscopic (pore level) scale will be distinguished from the decrease in surface free energy that drives spontaneous imbibition. A mathematical network/numerical model will be developed and tested against experimental results of recovery versus time over broad variation of key factors such as rock properties, fluid phase viscosities, sample size, shape and boundary conditions. Two fundamentally important, but not previously considered, parameters of spontaneous imbibition, the capillary pressure acting to oppose production of oil at the outflow face and the pressure in the non-wetting phase at the no-flow boundary versus time, will also be measured and modeled. Simulation and network models will also be tested against special case solutions provided by analytic models. In the second stage of the project, application of the fundamental concepts developed in the first stage of the project will be demonstrated. The fundamental ideas, measurements, and analytic/numerical modeling will be applied to mixed-wet rocks. Imbibition measurements will include novel sensitive pressure measurements designed to elucidate the basic mechanisms that determine induction time and drive the very slow rate of spontaneous imbibition commonly observed for mixed-wet rocks. In further demonstration of concepts, three approaches to improved oil recovery from fractured reservoirs will be tested; use of surfactants to promote imbibition in oil wet rocks by wettability alteration: manipulation of injection brine composition: reduction of the capillary back pressure which opposes production of oil at the fracture face.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-03NT15408
  • DOI: 10.2172/902974 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 902974
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc877208

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  • December 8, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Jan. 9, 2018, 12:50 p.m.

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Morrow, Norman R.; Fischer, Herbert; Li, Yu; Mason, Geoffrey; Ruth, Douglas; Yin, Peigui et al. Fundamentals of Reservoir Surface Energy as Related to Surface Properties, Wettability, Capillary Action and Oil Recovery from Fractured Reservoirs by Spontaneous Imbibition, report, December 8, 2006; Wyoming. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc877208/: accessed May 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.