We illustrate the results of a suite of laboratory-scale experimental investigations of multi-phase (oil/ water/ gas) relative permeabilities. Two- and three-phase relative permeability data are obtained on a core of Portland limestone by way of a Steady-State (SS) technique. Our laboratory methodology allows improved relative permeability acquisition through a joint use of traditional flow-through investigations and direct X-Ray measurement of the core local saturation distribution. The latter renders detailed distributions of (section-averaged) fluid phases along the core, which can then be employed for the characterization of relative permeabilities. The three-phase Steady-State relative permeability experiments have been conducted by resorting to a dual energy X-Ray methodology. The experimental setup also includes a closed loop burette system to validate and support saturation measurements/estimates. The three-phase experiments are performed by following an IDI (Increasing-Decreasing - Increasing) saturation path. The study demonstrates the capability of the methodology to obtain reliable two- and three-phase data for model calibration and simulation.


A variety of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes involve simultaneous flow of two or three immiscible fluids (i.e., water, oil, and gas) in reservoirs. Proper quantification of multi-phase flow processes has considerable economic and scientific importance in management and development of oil- and gas-bearing geologic formations. Multi-phase flow of oil, water and gas in porous media is chiefly described at the continuum scale upon relying on relative permeability curves. The latter are mainly derived at the laboratory scale and express the relationship between relative permeability of a given fluid phase and phase saturation.

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