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Energy & Fuels 1999, 13, 1021-1029


A Modified Leverett J-Function for the Dune and Yates Carbonate Fields: A Case Study
Ali A. Garrouch
Department of Petroleum Engineering, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5969, Safat 13060, Kuwait Received January 11, 1999. Revised Manuscript Received May 5, 1999

Effective medium theory (EMT) has been used to model capillary pressure (Pc) as a function of water saturation (Sw) in porous media. The EMT model results show that both the magnitude and profile of the Pc - Sw profile are strongly affected by changing the pore-size distribution parameters and the rock pore geometry. Tortuosity, which is a function of these parameters, is used in developing a drainage capillary pressure model based on data from the Dune and Yates fields. Capillary pressure is normalized with respect to an average pore radius that includes tortuosity. To minimize the uncertainty caused by the contact angle term, only helium/water capillary pressure curves were considered. The wetting-phase saturation is normalized with respect to an asymptotic irreducible wetting-phase saturation. For the Dune and Yates fields, the development of this type of dimensionless model may be useful as an input for reservoir simulation studies.

Introduction When two immiscible fluids are in contact in the pores of a hydrocarbon-bearing rock, a discontinuity in pressure exists across the interface separating them. Its magnitude depends on the interface curvature at the point. The difference in pressure between the wetting and nonwetting phase at the interface is called capillary pressure. Capillary pressure in porous media is given by the Laplace equation

Pc ) nw

1 1 + R1 R2


where nw is the interfacial tension between the wetting and nonwetting fluids and R1 and R2 are the principal radii of curvature of the fluid interface. The capillary pressure which would develop if two immiscible reservoir fluids existed in the same capillary would be

Pc )

2nw cos nw r


Here r is the radius of the capillary and nw is the contact angle. Since the nonwetting phase tends to occupy the larger accessible pores first, capillary pressure curves make an excellent indicator of the sequence of pore filling by the nonwetting phase during a drainage cycle. It is therefore, a good indicator of the pore size distribution.4
(1) Ao, S.; Xie, X. SPE-21890, 1990. (2) Bae, W. The Influence of Macropore Heterogeneity on the Petrophysical Properties of Carbonates. Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1992. (3) Bebout, D. G.; Lucia, F. G.; Hocott, C. R.; Fogg, G. E.; Vander Stoep, G. W. Report of Investigations No. 168. Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1987. (4) Collins, R. E. Flow of Fluids Through Porous Materials. Research and Engineering Consultants Inc., Englewood, Colorado. 1990.

Although the capillary pressure magnitude in most hydrocarbon rocks is not large, knowledge of the effects of capillary forces is extremely important in understanding fluid displacement in these rocks.14 Indeed, the distribution of various fluids in the reservoir rock is greatly influenced by capillary forces during all recovery phases. On a microscopic scale, capillary forces are important in determining the amount of trapped or residual oil in either laboratory or field displacement. This makes capillary pressure one of the most basic rock-fluid characteristics in multiphase flow, just as porosity and permeability are the most basic properties in single-phase flow. Capillary pressure measurements in the laboratory are also useful for estimating a variety of important petrophysical parameters. The measurements can be used to estimate rock wettability by evaluating the USBM index, or the Amott ratio, the irreducible water saturation, depths of fluid contacts, height above the free water level, and transition zone thickness.9 Leverett13 proposed the J-function for scaling drainage capillary pressure curves. This function incorporates the effects of interfacial tension but uses a simple relation for the average pore radius (k/)1/2 which does not account for the tortuous nature of reservoir rocks.
(5) Cornell, D.; Katz, D. L. Ind. Eng. Chem. 1953, 45, 2145-2152. (6) Fatt, I. Trans. AIME. 1956, 207, 141-181. (7) Focke, J. W.; Munn, D. SPE-13735, 1985. (8) Galloway, W. E.; Ewing, T. E.; Garrett, C. M.; Tyler, N.; Bebout, D. G. Atlas of Major Texas Oil Reservoirs. The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology Special Publication, 1983. (9) Garrouch, A. A. In Situ. 1996, 20, 1-9. (10) Garrouch, A. A.; Lababidi, H.; Gharbi, R. J. Phys. Chem. 1996, 100, 16996-17003. (11) Heiba, A. A.; Sahimi, M.; Scriven, L. E.; Davis, H. T. SPE11015, 1982. (12) Larson, R. G.; Scriven, L. E.; Davis, H. T. Chem. Eng. Sci. 1981, 36, 57-73. (13) Leverett, M. C. Trans. AIME 1941, 142, 152-169. (14) Longeron, D. G.; Argaud, M. J.; Bouvier, L. SPE- 19589, 1989.

10.1021/ef990005l CCC: $18.00 1999 American Chemical Society Published on Web 07/15/1999

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6 show that a knowledge of porosity, pressure, and saturation at this point suffices to determine the entire capillary pressure curve. The missing link, however, is the fact that these coordinates have not been related to the pore size distribution characteristics of the medium and its tortuosity. Ao and Xie1 formulated analytically a dimensionless relationship for capillary pressure that included parameters such as sorting coefficient (l), characteristic pore neck radius coefficient (), and a parameter which is a function of the threshold pressure (Pd). It is given by

Pc nw cos nw

k 2 )


ln 1 -

-1 Sw - Swr (1 - Swr)(1 +




Figure 1. A schematic of Swansons representation of capillary pressure.

This is given by

J(Sw) )

Pc nw


It is commonly accepted that the J-function satisfactorily correlates data from unconsolidated sands and sandstones data from the same formation. It has been noted that the J-function is not satisfactory when capillary pressure data are scaled for rocks that exhibit a great deal of heterogeneity such as in carbonate rocks. Thomeer19 introduced an improved nondimensional model for relatively homogeneous and isotropic consolidated sandstone rocks. He described mercury capillary pressure with a hyperbolic model expressed by

Sb ) exp Sb

{ ( )}
Fg Pc log Pd


Although this model seems to incorporate characteristics of the rock pore size distribution, the method proposed for estimating the coefficients l and is based on iterative techniques that use least-squares approximations using capillary pressure experimental data. The derivation is also based on the assumption that the pore size distribution is normal. This makes its use limited to only relatively homogeneous, well sorted sandstone rocks. Though the current capillary pressure models can yield reasonable predictions for some cases, they lack generality and give little insight into the physical causes affecting rock capillary pressure. There is still a rudimentary understanding of the link between the pore size distribution characteristics and the capillary behavior of porous media. The purpose of this study is to illustrate the importance of this link by simulating rock capillarity using the effective medium theory and to develop a drainage capillary pressure model by including heterogeneity and pore size distribution parameters. This model is dimensionless and is called a modified Leverett J-function in this paper. Its development is based on experimental data of carbonate rocks from the Dune and Yates fields. Its use is, therefore, limited to these two fields. Description of the Experimental Data, Setup, and Procedures
Data for simultaneous capillary pressure and resistivity index measurements obtained from 25 carbonate core samples from the Dune and Yates fields were used as a basis for developing the nondimensional relationship between capillary pressure and water saturation. These fields, which have been the subject of extensive geological and petrophysical studies, are well documented by Bebout et al.,3 and by Galloway et al.8 The Dune field is located on the east side of the Central Basin Platform in the Permian Basin, northeastern Crane county in west Texas. The Yates field is located on the south end of the Central Basin Platform. The major part of the Yates field is in Pecos county with the eastern tip extending across the Pecos River into Crockett county. A petrographic data summary of the core samples used in this study is presented in Tables 1 and 2. The samples feature a high degree of variation in permeability ranging from 6 to 611 md. The porosity varied from approximately 11% to 32%. For such porosity interval, the cementation exponent (m) indicated a rather smooth and moderate variation between 1.4 and 2.3. This is typical behavior for lime and dolomite grainstones with intergranular porosity, as well as dolomites

Here Sb is porosity, Sb is porosity times hydrocarbon saturation, and Fg is a dimensionless pore geometrical factor. Swanson18 related the coordinates of the point on the capillary pressure curve given by the 45 tangent line (Figure 1) to the pore geometrical factor Fg and the threshold pressure Pd

Fg )

[ln(1 - SwA)]2 2.303

(5) (6)

Pd ) PcA(1 - SwA)

Here, SwA and PcA are the coordinates of the point on the Pc curve given by the 45 line. Equations 4, 5, and
(15) Panda, M. N.; Lake L. W. AAPG Bull. 1995, 79, 431-443. (16) Pirson, S. J. Geologic Well Log Analysis; Gulf Publishing: Houston, 1983; pp 136-138. (17) Sharma, M. M.; Garrouch, A. A.; Dunlap, H. F. Log Anal. 1991, 32, 511-526. (18) Swanson, B. F. J. Pet. Technol. 1981, 33, 2498-2504. (19) Thomeer, J. H. M. J. Pet. Technol. 1960, 12, 73-77.

Modified Leverett J-Function

Table 1. Petrographic Data Summary of Core Samples from the Dune Field depth (ft) 3343a 3347 3348 3364 3365 3398b 3419 3453c 3455 3460 3462 3470 3476 3501 3502 3504 3531 3532 k (md) 67 53 156 169 143 62 12 50 56 67 191 6 7 12 164 127 41 14 (%) 13.7 15.9 16.5 22.0 23.0 19.0 18.0 21.6 14.3 18.4 22.0 11.5 12.0 14.7 21.8 16.8 11.9 17.5 2.38 2.30 2.01 2.77 2.03 1.66 1.67 1.88 2.22 1.71 1.52 3.35 2.01 1.87 1.40 1.70 2.96 1.69 j r m 4.67 3.73 5.49 6.84 4.48 2.66 1.21 2.54 3.91 2.89 3.98 2.15 1.34 1.50 3.41 4.14 4.88 1.36 m 1.87 1.91 1.77 1.68 1.96 1.61 1.60 1.83 1.82 1.63 1.55 2.12 1.66 1.65 1.44 1.59 2.02 1.60 F 41.3 33.3 24.5 35.0 17.8 14.4 15.6 16.4 34.6 15.8 10.5 97.7 33.7 23.8 9.0 17.2 73.6 16.4

Energy & Fuels, Vol. 13, No. 5, 1999 1023

a Beginning of pellet grainstone facies data. b Beginning of fusulinid wackestone facies data. c Beginning of crinoid packstone/ grainstone facies data.

Figure 2. A schematic view of the porous plate cell.

Table 2. Petrographic Data Summary of Core Samples from the Yates Field depth (ft) 1376.5 1377.5 1380.5 1389.3 1621.4 1639.8 1653.8 k (md) 387 305 611 296 123 55 356 (%) 29.6 29.0 31.5 23.9 17.9 19.6 24.5 2.38 3.27 2.75 2.09 2.75 1.86 1.93 j r m 6.79 9.42 10.8 6.54 6.42 2.76 4.73 m 2.30 2.29 2.41 1.87 1.93 1.93 1.92 F 19.2 36.9 24.0 18.3 42.3 17.6 15.2

with intercrystalline porosity.7 The core samples from the Dune field were collected from a producing zone at a depth of 3343 to 3532 ft and represent three different facies. These are pellet grainstone, crinoid packstone/grainstone, and fusulinid wackestone. The latter facies consists of dolostone with anhydrite and gypsum cement. The pore system is frequently vuggy and moldic, and its matrix has intercrystalline porosity. The former facies is a medium to dark brown dolostone with minor anhydrite nodules and cements. Its porosity is typically interparticle and moldic. The crinoid packstone/grainstone facies consists of a light-colored to medium gray and brown dolostone with common gypsum cement and anhydrite nodules. Its porosity is typically vuggy, moldic, interparticle, and intercrystalline. Core samples from the Yates field are generally characterized by a vuggy cavernous porosity. Dolomite is the dominant diagenetic mineral in these rocks. The cores were cleaned by toluene and xylene and then were cleaned for the second time by the Dean-Stark extraction technique using a mixture of 78% chloroform and 22% methanol (by volume). Extraction was conducted with fresh solvent which was continuously distilled and condensed before redistribution to the extractors used. Drainage capillary pressuresaturation relationships were measured using a special porous plate setup featuring a number of experimental precautions that ensure both precision and accuracy of the measurements. The porous plate used (Figure 2) consists of a closed cylinder with a 2 mm thick ceramic porous disk which permits the wetting phase to drain from the sample. The porous plate is impermeable to the nonwetting phase as long as the threshold pressure of the membrane is not exceeded. The pressure on the nonwetting fluid is increased stepwise to the threshold pressure of the porous plate, and the expelled volume is measured. Starting at a low pressure, fluid is displaced from the largest pores, and as the pressure is increased fluid is displaced from the smaller pores, progressively. At each step,

capillary equilibrium must be reached before a reading is made of the produced volume of the wetting fluid. At higher pressures, the equilibrium outflow volume was estimated by plotting the outflow measurement versus 1/time. As time goes to infinity, 1/time becomes zero, and an extrapolated value is used for the equilibrium volume displaced which is used to calculate the equilibrium water saturation. Measurements were performed at a constant room temperature of 70 F throughout the experiment. Cores used were 1 in. in diameter and 1.5 in. long. The bottom of each core, which contacts the ceramic plate, is ground with fine sand paper to make it as flat as possible. This helps in maintaining good capillary contact with the porous plate. Wet filter paper is placed between the sample and the porous plate to ensure capillary contact. Water evaporation was minimized by placing mineral oil on top of the water column in the measuring pipets. Helium gas was used as the nonwetting fluid. Helium was used because of its low solubility in water. A synthetic reservoir brine composed mainly of sodium chloride was used as the wetting phase.2 To avoid polarization and contact resistance effects, the fourelectrode technique was used to measure rock resistivity at the same time the outflow behavior was monitored. Two copper O-ring voltage probes were placed in the middle of the core sample and spaced 0.5 in. apart. A brass mesh was used for the top current electrode and the main body of the core holder is the bottom current electrode. The current passing through the rock was measured by placing a 1000-ohm (0.1% precision) resistance in series with the rock sample. The voltage difference in the middle part of the core sample was measured using a voltmeter that has 2 megohms internal impedance. This high impedance ensures accurate voltage measurements.9,17 To ensure one-dimensional displacement from the top of the core to its bottom, the core sides were painted with Lucite, which consists of dissolved Plexiglass in chloroform. Lucite acts like glue and is favored over epoxy since it does not reverse the core sample wettability. A detailed description of the experimental procedures and a complete data set of capillary pressure and resistivity measurements for these core samples is provided by Bae.2 This data set has been used in this study to develop a modified Leverett J-function. The method of analysis of these data as well as development of this J-function are presented later in the text. The following section, however, illustrates the effects of pore size distribution parameters on the Pc - Sw curves which is a central idea in the development of the empirical model.

1024 Energy & Fuels, Vol. 13, No. 5, 1999


Figure 3. A schematic of a pore segment.

Modeling Capillary Pressure Profiles Using the Effective Medium Theory The effective medium theory (EMT) formulation for simulating fluid transport in porous media is well documented by Heiba et al.11 and by Wang and Sharma.21 The following is an adaption of EMT for modeling capillary pressure of porous rocks. The EMT model was developed to quantify the individual effects of rock statistical parameters on the capillary pressure profile. The porous medium is represented by a network of randomly distributed pore throats (bonds) and pore bodies (sites). Adjacent pore bodies are connected by pore throats. The local coordination number Z, which is the number of pore throats connected to a pore body, defines the connectivity. A larger value of Z implies better connectivity. In the limit, when Z goes to infinity, the model is identical to the bundle of capillary tubes model. The elementary pore throat segment is assumed to be a converging-diverging capillary tube characterized by a throat radius (rt) and a pore-body radius (rb). The pore throat is assumed to have a sinusoidal shape and the pore body can be approximated by a cube of size 2rb
Figure 4. A schematic of a two-dimensional representation of a pore segment.

throat-size distribution is used here:

f(rt) )

1 + erf

( )]

exp -

[ ( )]
1 rt - 2


x r ) rb - (rb - rt)sin L



A schematic of the representation of a pore segment is shown in Figures 3 and 4. The ratio rb/rt is referred to as the aspect ratio (ar). For a given ar value, rb is specified by rt. As ar goes to 1, the pore reduces to a cylindrical tube with constant radius. The relation between throat radius rt and pore length L is allowed to be of a form used by Fatt6 in his network resistor model:

This type of distribution would be expected if the depositional environment provided the only source for grain sorting. During the drainage process it is assumed that oil and water occupy distinct flow channels (except for the presence of nonflowing thin films). Modeling of the drainage process is based on a fluid filling sequence. For example, in accordance with capillarity, the nonwetting phase flows in large pores and the wetting phase flows in small pores. For the case of a strongly water-wet rock, water forms thin films on the surfaces of the pores drained by oil. As an example, let us consider primary drainage in water-wet rocks. Because oil is the nonwetting phase, it enters the largest pores first. The fraction of pore segments allowed by capillarity to be occupied by oil at a stage during drainage is characterized by rd, and is given by

Xd )



L ) cr t


Xd is the fraction of pore space allowed to be invaded by the nonwetting phase during drainage. The fraction of pore segments accessible to the nonwetting phase (actually occupied by the nonwetting phase) is given by

where c and are arbitrary constants. The actual porous medium is replaced by a three-dimensional network having pore throats distributed according to a given probability function, and this network is in turn replaced by an effective network in which all pore throats have the same conductivity. For describing the statistical variation of pore sizes, a normalized Gaussian
(20) Toledo, P. G.; Scriven, L. E.; Davis, H. T. SPE Form. Eval. 1994, 9, 46-54. (21) Wang, Y.; Sharma, M. M. Presented in the 29th SPWLA Annual Logging Symposium, June 5-8, 1988, paper G.

Xnd ) Xa(Xd)


Here Xa(Xd) is the accessibility function. For this study, the accessibility function of three-dimensional networks was approximated by the accessibility function for a Bethe tree with the same percolation threshold. This is a good approximation and is useful to apply since Xa for a Bethe tree can be calculated analytically.12 The computational procedure for wetting-phase saturation and capillary pressure is as follows: First we fix Xd and compute the corresponding rd using eq 11. Then

Modified Leverett J-Function

Energy & Fuels, Vol. 13, No. 5, 1999 1025

we compute Xnd using the following equation:

Xnd ) Xd 1 -

[ ( )
X* Xd



Here X* is solved for by setting

X*(1 - X*)3 ) Xd(1 - Xd)3


and b ) Zb - 1 where Zb is the equivalent Bethe tree coordination number. This is obtained by setting the network percolation threshold equal to that of Bethe tree. The water saturation Sw (drainage cycle and waterwet rock) is given by

Sw ) 1.0 -

Xnd Xd

r(Vp - Vf)f(r)dr


Figure 5. Comparing capillary pressure response for two water-wet simulated porous media having different aspect ratio values.

For a thin film thickness h, the volume of the thin film Vf is given by

2 Vf ) 2hL rb - (rb - rt)



The volume of one pore segment is given by

16rb 4 1 (17) Vp ) r2 - (rb - rt)rb + (rb - rt)2 CrR + b t 2 Z

The capillary pressure Pc between the flowing fluids is the key parameter for displacement. For strongly waterwet rock, the capillary pressure is given by eq 2 with r replaced by rd. The primary drainage process ends when the displaced water loses its ability to flow. When this happens, water is left in the pores with throat radius e rcd. In this analysis, rcd is determined by the percolation threshold Xc ) 2/Z, and rcd is solved for by setting

Xc )





A relatively low value of coordination number (Z varying between 5 and 15) and a relatively high value of aspect ratio (ar varying between 3 and 10) were used to mimic qualitatively the behavior of porous media. Low coordination number values and high aspect ratio values are likely to represent a carbonate medium heavily altered by diagenesis.20 In general, carbonate rocks have an attractive porosity with either poorly connected segments or with pore bodies connected mainly by small pore throats.20 For varying the coefficient of skewness (), truncated log-normal pore size distributions were used such as

1 ln(rt + rmin) 2 f(rt) ) ln(rmax) ln(rmin) (rt + rmin) erf - erf 2 2 (19)

2exp -

{ [

[ (

] [



In these simulations rmin takes the value of 1.23 m and rmax is equal to 49.1 m. The model results assert the unequivocal relationship between the pore size distribution characteristics and

the Pc - Sw profile which appears to be sensitive to the mean (), the standard deviation (), the aspect ratio (ar) and the coordination number (Z). Figure 5 shows the effects of aspect ratio variation which are more pronounced at low saturations than at high saturations. A change in both profile and magnitude takes place as ar is changed from 3 to 10. Figure 6 shows histograms that summarize the effects of , , , and Z on the magnitude of capillary pressure. These effects are associated with a change in profile in some cases. The higher the value of is, the flatter the profile of Pc Sw becomes and the smaller the value of Pc becomes. Figure 6a suggests that the shape of Pc - Sw curve remains unchanged as is reduced from a value of 5 to 2.5 m; however, the capillary pressure increases in value by approximately 40% for a fixed saturation. This is true, since a rock with a large mean value indicates that all rock pore throats have larger values causing entry pressure for every pore throat to decrease. The effect of the standard deviation is, similar with an approximately constant 10% increase in capillary pressure values as the standard deviation is reduced from 1.5 to 1 m. The effect of the skewness coefficient is, however, more pronounced at low Sw values than at high Sw values. As the coefficient of skewness () varies from zero (corresponding to a bell-shaped throat-size distribution) to a value of 0.5 (corresponding to a truncated log-normal distribution), the capillary pressure increased unevenly by as much as 17% at high Sw values to reach an increase of approximately 33% at low water saturation values. A rock with a small value of yields a flatter Pc - Sw profile. This is because the larger the value of is, the more likely pore throats with small sizes will be invaded by the nonwetting phase. In summary, statistical parameters for rock throat size distribution have a significant effect on both the magnitude and profile of capillary pressure curves. That being the case, capillary pressure is scaled with respect to tortuosity which, as will be shown in the next section, turns out to be a direct function of , , and . The following section details the scaling procedures and introduces the modified Leverett J-function.

1026 Energy & Fuels, Vol. 13, No. 5, 1999


Figure 6. (a) Histogram showing the relative change in capillary pressure as varied from 5 to 2.5 m. The base case data is ar ) 3, h ) 0.001 m, Z ) 10, ) 2.5, ) 1.5, and ) 0.0. (b) Histogram showing the relative change in capillary pressure as varied from 1.5 to 1.0 m. The base case data is ar ) 3, h ) 0.001 m, Z ) 10, ) 2.5, ) 1.5, and ) 0.0. (c) Histogram showing the relative change in capillary pressure as varied from 0 to 0.5. The base case data is ar ) 3, h ) 0.001 m, Z ) 10, ) 2.5, ) 1.5, and ) 0.0. (d) Histogram showing the relative change in capillary pressure as Z varied from 15 to 5. The base case data is ar ) 3, h ) 0.001 m, Z ) 10, ) 2.5, ) 1.5, and ) 0.0.

Scaling Procedures Rock pore geometry usually changes drastically upon diagenesis because of compaction and cementation. Compaction causes a reduction of the available intergranular porosity while cements, depending on their chemical and crystallographic properties, fill the intergranular pores and increase the porous medium specific surface area and tortuosity. The end result is a major transformation in both the magnitude and profile of the capillary pressure-saturation curve of the rock. The effective tortuosity () of a consolidated permeable medium is deduced from Panda and Lake15 as

) D2 3(C3Dp + 3C2Dp + 1)2/ hp

2k(1 - )2 6

(1 + C2Dp)(1 - 0) (1 - )

+ (avbPb + avlPl +

avfPf)Dp(C3Dp + 3C2Dp + 1) h



pore-lining, and pore-filling cements, respectively, expressed as a fraction of total solid volume; avb, avl, avf are the specific surface areas of pore-bridging, lining, and filling cement, respectively; Dp, CDp, and represent h the statistical parameters of the particle size distribution, i.e., the mean grain size, its coefficient of variation which is the mean divided by the standard deviation, and the skewness coefficient of the particle size distribution, respectively. The above equation gives a thorough representation of flow tortuosity of a consolidated permeable medium since it uses a significant number of rock petrographic properties characterizing the throatsize distribution, porosity, and permeability. In an effort to separate the effects of throat-size distribution, a modified Leverett J-function is proposed for drainage capillary pressures. The capillary pressure is, therefore, normalized with respect to an average pore radius for the rock that is a function of tortuosity. A simple material balance, using the capillary tube model, leads to the following expression for this mean pore radius:

Here, and k are the porosity and permeability, respectively; Pb, Pl, Pf are the amounts of pore-bridging,

j r ) 2



Modified Leverett J-Function

Energy & Fuels, Vol. 13, No. 5, 1999 1027

Table 3. Tortuosity Models authors Wyllie and Winsauer et al.22 Cornell and Katz5 Pirson16 Spangler23 year 1952 1952 1953 1983 model ) (F)2 2 ) (F)1.2 ) F 2 ) (F)

The calculated mean pore radius for the core samples used had an average of 4.3 m and a standard deviation of 2.4 m (Tables 1 and 2). This is consistent with carbonate rocks that have a positively skewed pore size distribution. The modified Leverett J-function is now given by

J ) 2

Pc 2k nw cos nw


Pirsons method16 has been used in this analysis for estimating tortuosity values using rock resistivity measurements (Table 1). His relationship, which has been well substantiated by experimental evidence, is given by 2 ) F, where F is the rock formation factor defined as the ratio of the fully brine-saturated rock resistivity to the brine resistivity. According to Collins,4 tortuosity takes a value of 1.5 for unconsolidated sands. For the core samples used, tortuosity averaged 2.15 with a standard deviation of 0.53. A maximum tortuosity value of 3.35 was obtained (Tables 1 and 2). There is still some controversy in the petroleum industry over adequate models that best represent reservoir rock tortuosity.5,16,22,23 Table 3 gives a summary of these models. For this particular carbonate rock data set, Pirsons model yielded the least data scatter. Contact angle measurements, performed on mineral crystals, usually do not reflect the actual wettability conditions of the rock. These measurements are very sensitive to contaminants present in the nonwetting phase and to rock roughness. To remove the uncertainty caused by the contact-angle term in eq 22, only Pc - Sw data generated using helium and water were used in this study. For these cleaned core samples (Tables 1 and 2), in the presence of helium, water acts as the wetting phase and the term cosnw is approximately one. Drainage capillary pressure curves are transformed into a plot of the modified Leverett J-function versus a reduced wetting phase saturation S/ given by w

Figure 7. The proposed J-function versus dimensionless wetting phase saturation. A comparison between proposed model and experimental data from the Dune and Yates fields.

S/ ) w

Sw - Swr 1 - Swr


All of the capillary pressure curves used in this analysis reached vertical asymptotic lines at which the wetting phase saturation values remained constant even though capillary pressure values kept on increasing.2 The wetting phase saturation at the asymptotic line was taken to be Swr. A Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm10 is implemented to find a nonlinear model that adequately describes the relationship between J and S/ . The w model proposed for the modified J-function is as follows:

Figure 8. Leverett J-function versus wetting phase saturation for the Dune and Yates fields.

J ) R + exp - + S/ + w

+ exp(S/ ) w S/ w

sinh(S/ ) (24) w

Here, R, , , , , are all positive constants and are given in the Appendix. As shown in Figure 7, the model
(22) Winsauer, W. O.; Shearin, H. M.; Masson, P. H.; William, M. Bull. Am. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. 1952, 36, 253-277. (23) Wyllie, M. R. J.; Spangler, M. B. AAPG Bull. 1952, 36, 359403.

appears to mimic the Dune and Yates field data reasonably well. Originally these data appear to have great variation in capillary pressure response which showed a lot of scatter using the conventional Leverett Jfunction (Figure 8). A plot of modified J versus dimensionless wetting phase saturation on semilog paper (Figure 9) illustrates vividly the conformity of the model to the physics of capillary behavior in porous rocks. The model predicts increasing J values as the wetting phase saturation decreases. As the dimensionless wettingphase saturation approaches zero, the J-function increases asymptotically to large values. At low J values, the model features a secondary plateau which indicates

1028 Energy & Fuels, Vol. 13, No. 5, 1999


) 162.402 ) 0.005 ) 77.7771 ) 258.372 Nomenclature

avb avl avf C CDp Dp h f F Fg h J k L l m n Pb Pc Pd Pf Pl PcA r j r rb rcd rd R1 R2 rmin rmax rt Sb Sb Sw SwA Snw Swr Vp Vf Xc Xd Xnd Xa Z Zb R specific surface area of pore-bridging cement specific surface area of pore-lining cement specific surface area of pore-filling cement pore-throat constant coefficient of variation mean pore diameter normalized pore size distribution resistivity formation factor dimensionless pore geometrical factor thin film thickness dimensionless capillary pressure rock permeability pore length sorting coefficient cementation exponent saturation exponent amount of pore-bridging cement, a fraction of total solid volume capillary pressure threshold pressure amount of pore-filling cement, a fraction of total solid volume amount of pore-lining cement, a fraction of total solid volume Swansons capillary pressure point radius of capillary tube mean pore radius pore body radius maximum radius that nonwetting phase can penetrate tube radius controlling drainage process principal radius curvature of the fluid interface principal radius curvature of the fluid interface minimum throat radius maximum throat radius pore throat radius porosity times hydrocarbon saturation in Thomeers notation porosity in Thomeers notation wetting phase saturation (water saturation) Swansons wetting phase saturation point nonwetting phase saturation irreducible wetting phase saturation volume of a pore segment volume of a thin film percolation threshold fraction of pore space allowed to be invaded by the nonwetting phase fraction of pore segments accessible to the nonwetting phase accessibility function coordination number equivalent Bethe tree coordination number

Figure 9. The proposed J-function model versus dimensionless wetting phase saturation.

a bimodal throat-size distribution that is typically associated with carbonate rocks. Summary The study presents an empirical nondimensional model for capillary pressure based on data from the Dune and Yates fields generally characterized by vuggy, moldic, interparticle, and intercrystalline porosities. The model accounts for the effects of interfacial tension and pore size distribution. To minimize the uncertainty caused by the contact angle, only water-wet samples were considered in this study. The pore size distribution is accounted for by including rock tortuosity obtained from electrical measurements. Tortuosity, a direct function of the coefficients of variation and skewness of the pore size distribution, is included in scaling the modified Leverett J-function. The result is a normalized capillary pressure that is independent of pore-size distribution effects. The proposed formulation for the J-function is dependent on the wetting-phase saturation and involves other petrographic parameters that can be obtained either experimentally or from field data. These consist of porosity, irreducible water saturation, permeability, and resistivity formation factor. This empirical model can be used to provide a basis for generating one representative capillary pressure curve for reservoir simulation studies. The dependence of capillary pressure profile on statistical parameters such as the mean throat radius, its standard deviation, and the coefficient of skewness of the pore size distribution is illustrated qualitatively using an effective medium theory model. The EMT model is free of spatial bias and accounts for the existence of thin films. Acknowledgment. The author thanks Kuwait University for its financial support of project EP-015. Appendix: Constants for Eq 24 R )0.4 ) 74.8393

Greek Symbols constant in the modified constant in the modified constant in the modified rock porosity coefficient of skewness constant in the modified constant in the modified mean throat radius J-function J-function J-function

J-function J-function

Modified Leverett J-Function

b nw constant in the modified J-function throat size standard deviation a function of coordination number interfacial tension between wetting and nonwetting fluids rock tortuosity nw

Energy & Fuels, Vol. 13, No. 5, 1999 1029

contact angle a pore-throat constant a function of the threshold pressure characteristic pore-neck radius coefficient EF990005L