Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange Between Rock Minerals and DO

Zainuddin, W N Safawati (PETRONAS) | Xie, Sheena X. (PETRONAS) | Kechut, Nor Idah (PETRONAS) | Kantaatmadja, Budi P. (PETRONAS) | Singer, Philip M. (Rice University) | Hirasaki, George J. (Rice University)



Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) T2 spin-spin relaxation is a well-established technique in petrophysics labs for quantifying bound/free water and pore-size distribution of reservoir rocks. The method has also been used to measure oil and water saturations, and to characterize wettability alterations for oil/water/rock systems. The T2 relaxation distribution measured by hydrogen NMR is the sum of contributions from both oil and water in the core. It is therefore necessary to separate the T2 signals of oil from water. Since deuterium oxide (D2O) does not have a NMR signal at the resonance frequency for hydrogen, brine made with D2O is commonly used as the aqueous phase to determine the oil saturation from NMR.

The objective of this work was twofold: (1) to validate the oil saturations in the core with NMR T2 relaxation at connate water saturation (before and after aging) and residual oil saturation after waterflooding; and (2) to investigate the potential hydrogen-deuterium (H-D) ion exchange between rock minerals and D2O. Berea sandstone cores were used along with the crude oil from one of the fields in the Sarawak Basin, Malaysia. The aqueous phase was a synthetic brine made with either deionized water or D2O.

Two cores containing the crude oil with D2O brine as the connate (or initial) water were aged at 75eC for up to 65 days. During the aging period, the cores were scanned three times for T2 measurements. The measured T2 volumes (supposedly a measure of the oil volume) of the two cores kept increasing as the aging time increased. However, mass balance indicated that the oil saturation was the same before and after aging. The inconsistent oil saturation measured by NMR indicated that there was H-D ion exchange between the rock minerals and D2O. The cores were then flooded with the fresh D2O brine, after which the residual oil from NMR agreed with that from mass balance, indicating that the fresh D2O had replaced the connate D2O brine affected by H-D ion exchange.

Additionally, two cores fully saturated with D2O brine were also measured by NMR before and after aging at 75°C, again confirming the H-D ion exchange between the rock minerals and D2O. Finally, the mixture of the crude oil and D2O was measured by NMR before and after aging at 75°C, indicating that the interactions between the crude oil and D2O increased the T2 relaxation time. The total T2 volume was not affected.

This work provides evidence of H-D ion exchange between rock minerals and D2O at elevated temperature. It is recommended that such interactions between the rock minerals and D2O brine be considered for related tests, especially when elevated temperature is involved.