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# PETE 311-Reservoir Petrophysics Lab 10- Capillary Pressure

Spring2012

Capillary Pressure Purpose The objective of this lab is to reinforce the concepts of capillary pressure of the rocks learned in the lecture class. The center of forces method, using a centrifuge, will be applied for gradual desaturation of core samples and to determine the capillary pressure at each saturation point. Introduction The pore openings in reservoir rocks may be evaluated as capillaries that commonly, usually contain two or more fluids. In a two-fluid system, one of these fluids will usually wet the rock surface. This fluid is the wetting phase, whereas the other fluid is the non-wetting phase. The degree of wettability depends on the fluids and the rock properties. Capillary Pressure (Pc) is the force/unit area necessary to drive a non-wetting fluid through a porous medium saturated with wetting fluid. It is easy to visualize capillary pressure as a function of wetting phase saturation. In a core completely saturated with wetting fluid, the non-wetting phase can enter the sample and displace the wetting fluid only when an external pressure greater than the capillary pressure of the reservoir exists. Capillary pressure is one of the most useful petrophysical parameters and capillary pressure measurement is the most direct method of determining the minimum amount of wetting fluid in the reservoir rock. When reservoir rocks are water wet, this minimum quantity of wetting fluid is known as the water irreducible water saturation (Swir). Theory Capillary pressure has been defined as the force necessary to drive a non-wetting phase through the porous medium saturated with a wetting fluid. The magnitude of a capillary pressure depends on interfacial tension and the radius of curvature of the fluid interface. Following the example of Amyx et al. (1960), consider a capillary tube of radius r in a beaker of oil and water (Fig. 1). The pressure in the oil at points A and B is given by Poa and Pob, respectively. The pressure in the water at A and B is given by Pwa and Pwb. Assume that the beaker is large enough for the interface at A to be a plane and that capillary pressure there is zero. In this case Poa = Pwa at the free water surface in the beaker. The pressure across the interface at point B for oil and water must be considered such as: Pob = Poa - ogh...................................................................................................................................(1) and Pwb = Pwa - wgh..................................................................................................................................(2)

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## PETE 311-Reservoir Petrophysics Lab 10- Capillary Pressure

Spring2012

Pob

B h A
Poa

Pwb

Oil
Pwa

Water
Figure 1. Sketch of capillary effects (Amyx 1960)

The pressure difference across the interface is the capillary pressure, which must be in equilibrium with gravitational forces if the fluids are in equilibrium and not flowing, or Pc = Pob Pwb = (w - o)gh................................................................................................................(3) The expression for capillary pressure in terms of surface forces can by obtained by equating the expressions for upward and downward forces. Finally, the expression for capillary pressure becomes:

Pc =

( 2

wo

cos wo r

.........................................................................................................................(4)

Methods to determine capillary pressure. There are several methods of determining capillary pressure in rock samples. The most common methods are: 1. Porous plate; 2. Mercury injection; and 3. Centrifuge. Also, it is possible to evaluate the capillary pressure between different phases such as: 1. Air - Water systems; 2. Oil - Water systems; and 3. Air - Oil systems. The method we will use in this lab is the centrifuge method, based on the paper by Slobod et al (1951).

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## PETE 311-Reservoir Petrophysics Lab 10- Capillary Pressure

Spring2012

An air oil system is used in this method, where the air is the non-wetting phase. The core sample is saturated with kerosene and placed in the centrifuge. Then, the core sample is gradually desaturated by applying incrementally increasing angular velocities. In this experiment, you will calculate the core samples average wetting-phase saturation by reading the kerosene displaced at each angular velocity or capillary pressure applied. The saturation is expressed by:

Savg =1
Where:

Vdis .............................................................................................................................(5) Vp

Savg = average saturation Vdis = cumulative displaced fluid volume Vp = pore volume The capillary pressure corresponding to the average wetting phase saturation is the capillary pressure at the center of the core. You can calculate the capillary pressure using the following equation: Pc(r) = 1.5905E-7 *(RPM)2Lcr......................................................................................................(6) where, Pc(r) = capillary pressure at the center of core, psi = density difference between the fluids, g/cm3 RPM = revolutions per minute r = (rB Lc/2) rB = radius of rotor, approx 9 cm Lc = length of core, cm We can estimate the angular velocity required to cause the initial displacement of the wetting phase in following way. Construct a semi-log plot of the displaced wetting phase (kerosene) volume vs. log angular velocity (RPM) extrapolated to a value of Vdis = 0. This plot is similar to Fig. 8 of Olmedos paper (SPE22687). Advantages of centrifuge method. The most important advantages of this method are: This test can be completed quicker than the other methods to determine capillary pressure; The results are reproducible; Results are accurate; and It can generate high forces required to measure large capillary pressures. Disadvantages of centrifuge method. Some disadvantages of the method are: It requires small core samples which may have an effect on accuracy; and Useful for consolidated and friable rocks, but not for unconsolidated rock. Laboratory experiment

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## PETE 311-Reservoir Petrophysics Lab 10- Capillary Pressure

Spring2012

1. Equipment Balance Beckman Ultra-Centrifuge 2. Safety and Precautions Use care when operating the centrifuge. Carelessness will lead to injury and damage the machine. Follow the instructions and wait for the centrifuge to alert you that it is ready to operate. 3. Procedure 1. Measure rB for this centrifuge for use in Eq. 4. 2. Weigh the 100%-saturated core sample. 3. Place the sample in the holder of the centrifuge. Weigh the core sample and holder. 4. Make the masses balance by adding shot or B-Bs to the lighter core holders. Failure to properly balance the holders will lead to error and possible damage to the machine. The weight must be within 0.1 grams. 5. Place the balanced core holders in the spindle of the centrifuge. Use care to make sure that the glass portion of the holder shows the tick marks when looking through the window; failure to do so will make the process slower. The centrifuge will have to be stopped, the fluid level read, and centrifuge restarted. Each core holder is numbered and matches the location they are installed on the spindle. 6. Put the key in the centrifuge and turn it on. Open the door to the centrifuge and place the spindle in the centrifuge. Close the door. Set the desired temperature and allow the refrigeration to attain the temperature before starting the centrifuge. 7. Set the first angular velocity (~600 RPM). Start the centrifuge. We will not stop the centrifuge, rather let it spin constantly and take readings at given time intervals. 8. The lab section will make up a list of times that students will be able to collect data. The usual schedule is every 4 hours. Beginning at 8 AM each day. The last data collection time will be at 8 PM. After that time, the centrifuge will be allowed to run overnight without checking the cores. At the appointed time, the student scheduled will find the laboratory manager and enter the lab. The student will view the samples by looking through the view port on top of the centrifuge. By adjusting the timing of the strobe, data can be taken for each of the 6 samples. This will not be easy until the rpm is over 3000. At that time it should be easier to adjust the view of the samples. The fluid level will be recorded for each of the six samples. When a full 4 hours have passed with no change in fluid levels, the rpm can be increased. Stop the centrifuge when the rpm reaches 16,000 or no further volume leaves the core. References Jaimes, O, Centrifuge Capillary Pressure: Method of the Center of forces SPE 22687. Dallas, TX., October 6-9, 1991. Slobod, R. L., et al., 1951, Use of centrifuge for determining connate water, residual oil, and capillary pressure curves of small core samples, Trans. AIME, Vo. 192, p. 127-134.

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