Experimental Studies of Multiphase Flow in Porous Media Using In-Situ Imaging Grant uri icon


  • We propose to conduct a comprehensive study of multi-phase flow in porous media using multi-scale in-situ imaging. Specifically, we want to focus on wettability and spontaneous imbibition studies. The main objective of this research is to improve our understanding of the effect of wettability and spontaneous imbibition in hydrocarbon recovery. For wettability, we will use in-situ imaging to visualize the fluid flow in the pore spaces in several scales; from nano to micro to core scale. This will help us better understand the waterflooding recovery mechanism in oil-wet and mixed-wet systems as the flow is more complicated compared to water-wet systems. Most carbonate reservoirs tend to be oil-wet (Anderson, 1986), thus this will help us design better injection schemes for reservoirs in Qatar in particular. In addition, we will look at capillary trapping for the purpose of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The process is opposite to improved oil recovery (IOR), as in this case we want to maximize the capillary trapping for CO2 in the reservoir. Furthermore, we aim to study Low Salinity Flooding (LSF), an IOR mechanism which has recently gotten significant attention. LSF is very sensitive to the wettability of the rock, therefore examining pores at the nano to the core-scale, while being flooded with low salinity water, will aid in the understanding of the physical reasoning behind this phenomenon of IOR which can be beneficial to oil fields in Qatar and beyond. For spontaneous imbibition, we plan to further investigate the validation of Schmid et al. (2011) analytical solution for capillary dominated flow. The work of Alyafei et al. (2016) showed that the analytical solution works for co-current gas and water system. However, doubts were raised by Mason and Morrow (2013) and Nooruddin and Blunt (2016), that the solution will deviate if we deal with lower fluid viscosity ratio such as oil and brine. This will be investigated as the solution is very promising to extract time consuming Special Core Analysis (SCAL) properties such as relative permeability and capillary pressure by conducting a simple spontaneous imbibition experiment. In addition, the analytical solution can help in scaling laboratory data from the core scale to the field scale to predict the hydrocarbon recovery using the dimensionless time. This is very important to the oil recovery of fractured carbonate reservoirs. For both wettability and spontaneous imbibition studies, we will be using Computerized Tomography (CT) imaging in different scales, to understand the flow processes in the pore spaces. In addition, we will complement our analysis by comparing the experimental data to pore-scale modelling (Imperial College open source software) and reservoir simulation (Eclipse 100 and 300) to simulate the core experiments. The proposed project will allow us to be pioneers in using in-situ imaging for the investigation of multi-phase flow in porous media in the region. Such an establishment will particularly help the local industry to benefit from our research findings and results. In addition, it will provide the opportunity for the local and regional petroleum industry to collaborate with our research group to perform useful petrophysical studies in our state-of-the-art laboratory. The research will place Qatar as a leading research hub in multi-scale experimentation and simulation in the region. Research Area Keywords: multi-phase flow in porous media; wettability; spontaneous imbibition; capillary trapping; relative permeability; improved oil recovery; carbon capture and storage; low salinity flooding

date/time interval

  • 2018 - 2021