A model of regional fluid flow: Sand concentration factors and effective lateral and vertical permeabilities

  • W. H. Glezen
  • I. Lerche


Permeabilities of sand and shale differ by five to seven orders of magnitude. In the depositional pattern characteristic of the Gulf Coast, lenticular sand bodies occur randomly dispersed within a shale matrix, even though they can be grouped into stratigraphic sequences, contributing to net permeability of the sand-shale system and thus facilitating upward flow of pore water. In addition, a substantial lateral flow develops as fluid flow is directed toward sand bodies, thus concentrating fluid from a wide source area into sand bodies of limited lateral and vertical extent. Calculations reported here determine the effect of randomly distributed sands on both vertical and lateral permeabilities of composite sandshale systems. Effective permeabilities depend only on mean sand percent and local variance about the mean, because the effects of sand body shapes and their orientation and dip are not incorporated in the analysis. Results indicate that at a mean sand percentage of 20–50% a large lateral migration of fluid flow develops as sand bodies attract flow from a region two to seven times the radius of the sand body itself. For a mean sand percentage in excess of 50–60%, large vertical migration results and thus hydrocarbon trapping should not be expected for sand percentages in excess of 50–60%. Results of these calculations are in accord with observations that most larger oil accumulations on the Gulf Coast are found in regions having sandiness between about 20 and 50%.

Key words

permeability sand ratio concentrations factors 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. H. Glezen
    • 1
  • I. Lerche
    • 1
  1. 1.Gulf Research and Development CompanyHoustonUSA

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