Description: To physically investigate permeability upscaling over 13,000 permeability values were measured with four different sample supports (i.e., sample volumes) on a block of Berea Sandstone. At each sample support spatially-exhaustive permeability data sets were measured, subject to consistent flow geometry and boundary conditions, with a specially adapted minipermeameter test system. Here, we present and analyze a subset of the data consisting of 2304 permeability values collected from a single block face oriented normal to stratification. Results reveal a number of distinct and consistent trends (i.e., upscaling) relating changes in key summary statistics to an increasing sample support. Examples include the sample mean and semivariogram range that increase with increasing sample support and the sample variance that decreases. To help interpret the measured mean upscaling we compared it to theoretical models that are only available for somewhat different flow geometries. The comparison suggests that the non-uniform flow imposed by the rninipermeameter coupled with permeability anisotropy at the scale of the local support (i.e., smallest sample support for which data is available) are the primary controls on the measured upscaling. This work demonstrates, experimentally, that it is not always appropriate to treat the local-support permeability as an intrinsic feature of the porous medium; that is, independent of its conditions of measurement.
Date: May 6, 1999
Creator: Tidwell, Vincent C. & Wilson, John L.
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