Digital Core Analysis and Pore-Network Modeling in a Mature-Field Project

Fig. 1—Photograph of plug in Teflon sleeve (left) and slice through computer-tomography-tomogram at low resolution (center) and at high resolution (right).

For the planning of an enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) project in a major mature oil field in east Malaysia, an extensive routine-core-analysis (RCA) and special-core-analysis (SCAL) program has been performed on unconsolidated clastic reservoir rocks. In view of the limited availability of homogeneous core plugs of suitable size for coreflooding experiments and for “conventional” SCAL laboratory investigations, a complementary analysis of petrophysical properties was performed on the basis of the acquisition of high-resolution 3D microcomputed-tomography (MCT) images.


As part of an extensive core study for this field, the “conventional” core-analysis program was complemented by acquiring 3D images and applying digital-core-analysis (DCA) and pore-network-modeling (PNM) methods at different scales with the following main objectives:

  1. Visualize the status and monitor potential changes of pore morphology, fluid distributions, and wettability during the handling and execution of laboratory experiments on unconsolidated-friable-rock samples.
  2. Evaluate and model the impact of sample heterogeneity and wettability changes on petrophysical properties.
  3. Provide petrophysical properties for individual distinct rock types at pore scale for heterogeneous or irregularly shaped samples that are not suitable or available for RCA/SCAL and flooding experiments.
  4. Scale up drainage and imbibition predictions of subplugs from heterolithic/laminated plugs to full-plug scale and, potentially, further to reservoir scale.

However, because of the lack of preserved core material from earlier wells, and the relatively poor recovery of new conventional cores from recent infill wells in this field, alternative data-acquisition options were investigated in this pilot test on the basis of the significant improvements in, and encouraging results from, DCA and PNM technologies in recent years.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper OTC 24772, “Application of Digital Core Analysis and Pore-Network Modeling on the Basis of 3D Micro-CT Images for an Enhanced-Oil-Recovery Project in a Mature Oil Field in East Malaysia,” by W. Nur Safawati, Bt. W.M. Zainudin, Zahidah M. Zain, and Lutz Riepe, Petronas, prepared for the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference Asia, Kuala Lumpur, 25–28 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2014 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Digital Core Analysis and Pore-Network Modeling in a Mature-Field Project

01 January 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 1


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