A New Multiphysics Method for Simultaneous Assessment of Hydrocarbon Saturation, Directional Permeability, and Saturation-Dependent Capillary Pressure

Posenato Garcia, Artur (The University of Texas at Austin) | Heidari, Zoya (The University of Texas at Austin)

OnePetro 

Abstract

Cost-effective exploitation of heterogeneous/anisotropic reservoirs (e.g., carbonate formations) reckons on accurate description of pore structure, dynamic petrophysical properties (e.g., directional permeability, saturation-dependent capillary pressure), and fluid distribution. However, techniques for reliable quantification of permeability and hydrocarbon saturation still rely on model calibration using core measurements. Furthermore, assessment of saturation-dependent capillary pressure has been limited to experimental measurements, such as mercury injection capillary pressure (MICP). The objectives of this paper include (a) developing a new multiphysics workflow to simultaneously quantify rock fabric features (e.g., porosity, tortuosity, and effective throat size) and hydrocarbon saturation from integrated interpretation of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electric measurements, (b) introducing rock physics models that incorporate the quantified rock fabric and partial water/hydrocarbon saturation for assessment of directional permeability and saturation-dependent capillary pressure, and (c) validating the reliability of the new workflow in pore- and core-scale domains.

To achieve these objectives, we introduce a new multiphysics workflow integrating NMR and electric measurements, honoring rock fabric, and minimizing calibration efforts. We estimate water saturation from the interpretation of dielectric measurements. Next, we develop a fluid substitution algorithm to estimate the T2 distribution corresponding to fully water-saturated rocks from the interpretation of NMR measurements. We use the estimated T2-distribution for assessment of porosity, pore-size distribution, and effective pore-body size. Then, we develop a new physically meaningful resistivity model and apply it to obtain the constriction factor and, consequently, throat-size distribution from interpretation of resistivity measurements. Finally, throat-size distribution, porosity, and tortuosity are used to calculate directional permeability and saturation-dependent capillary pressure. We test the reliability of the new multiphysics workflow in core- and pore-scale domains on rock samples at different water saturation levels.

The introduced multiphysics workflow provides accurate description of the pore structure and fluid distribution in partially water-saturated formations with complex pore structure. Moreover, this new method enables real-time well-log-based assessment of saturation-dependent capillary pressure and directional permeability (in presence of directional electrical measurements) in reservoir conditions, which was not possible before. Quantification of capillary pressure has been limited to measurements in laboratory conditions, where the differences in stress field reduce the accuracy of the estimates. We verified that the estimates of permeability, saturation-dependent capillary pressure, and throat-size distribution obtained from the application of the new workflow agreed with those experimentally determined from core samples. Finally, since the new workflow relies on fundamental rock physics principles, hydrocarbon saturation, permeability, and saturation-dependent capillary pressure can be estimated from well-logs with minimum calibration efforts, which is another unique contribution of this work.