, Volume 86, Issue 2, pp 495-515,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 11 Aug 2010

Microtomography and Pore-Scale Modeling of Two-Phase Fluid Distribution

Abstract

Synchrotron-based X-ray microtomography (micro CT) at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) line 8.3.2 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory produces three-dimensional micron-scale-resolution digital images of the pore space of the reservoir rock along with the spacial distribution of the fluids. Pore-scale visualization of carbon dioxide flooding experiments performed at a reservoir pressure demonstrates that the injected gas fills some pores and pore clusters, and entirely bypasses the others. Using 3D digital images of the pore space as input data, the method of maximal inscribed spheres (MIS) predicts two-phase fluid distribution in capillary equilibrium. Verification against the tomography images shows a good agreement between the computed fluid distribution in the pores and the experimental data. The model-predicted capillary pressure curves and tomography-based porosimetry distributions compared favorably with the mercury injection data. Thus, micro CT in combination with modeling based on the MIS is a viable approach to study the pore-scale mechanisms of CO2 injection into an aquifer, as well as more general multi-phase flows.