Summary

This study continues the work of presenting a novel approach for making petrophysical assessments of tight core samples. This method, the full-immersion pressure-pulse decay (Hannon 2019), involves applying a rapid increase in pressure in a chamber surrounding the entire outer surface area of a cylindrical sample, shutting the system in, and monitoring the pressure decay in the chamber as it reaches a new equilibrium. A precursor article covered the numerical simulator designed to model flow through the sample, demonstrating its performance and accuracy in addition to providing a first-order comparison between the speed and shape of the pressure-decay responses of the full-immersion method with those of other similar transient methods. This study covers the parameter-estimation procedure and experimental verification through a proof-of-concept laboratory investigation. The investigations provided here demonstrate that under appropriate, achievable experimental conditions, the pressure data can be analyzed in such a way that returns an estimate of the porosity and apparent permeabilities both parallel and perpendicular to bedding from a single test performed on a single cylindrical sample. After determining these experimental conditions (the uniqueness window), this report outlines a data-inversion strategy to estimate the petrophysical properties (porosity, horizontal permeability, and vertical permeability) from each test. This strategy is put to the test through comparisons with measurements performed by a commercial core laboratory. A common set of samples recovered from an outcrop of a tight-gas sandstone formation were investigated using the full-immersion method, and their results are compared with those from conventional steady-state measurement procedures performed by the commercial laboratory. Comparisons between petrophysical characterizations of these samples, which had permeabilities between 25 nd and 2.3 μd, demonstrated close agreement in most cases. However, whereas steady-state measurements performed at the professional laboratory required 4 to 5 hours of testing time per measurement of a single permeability, similar assessments using the full-immersion technique, requiring approximately 5 to 10 minutes to complete, returned estimates of the horizontal and vertical permeability simultaneously. Additional analyses are provided to determine principal reasons of discrepancies in instances where agreement was not as strong. Based on lessons learned from these experiences, the report closes with suggestions on areas of improvement in the experimental approach. Once complete, these developments should propel this technology to fill a critical need to determine petrophysical properties (porosity and permeability) of tight rocks in a time-efficient manner and in a way that does not compromise their accuracy.

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