Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology
One of the most important properties for understanding multiphase flow in
porous media is relative permeability. In two-phase flow, the relative
permeability to a given phase is generally assumed only to be a function of its
saturation, independent of the properties of fluids involved and/or flow
conditions and ranging from zero to unity.
Considering the physical principles of multiphase flow through porous media,
the momentum transfer or viscous coupling appears as a hidden driving mechanism
that might lead to higher than expected oil-flow rates.
In an effort to provide a better understanding of oil mobility in heavy-oil
reservoirs, a capillary model is used to assess the importance of lubrication
in two-phase flow and to determine the effect of the viscous coupling on
relative permeabilities. Different cross-sectional geometries are analyzed. The
problem is addressed analytically even for the unequal-viscosity case by making
use of the Galerkin method. The concept of contact angle is used in the
determination of the fluid distribution inside a noncircular channel.
The model results show that the viscosity ratio theoretically affects
relative permeabilities, especially in systems involving heavy oil.
© 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- Original manuscript received:
22 April 2008
- Meeting paper published:
18 June 2008
- Manuscript approved:
30 December 2010
- Published online:
27 April 2011
- Version of record:
2 May 2011