Summary

Microporous carbonates contain perhaps 50% of the oil left behind in current projects in the giant carbonate fields in the Middle East and elsewhere. Pore geometry, connectivity, and wettability of the micropore systems in these carbonates are of paramount importance in finding new improved‐oil‐recovery methods. In this study, we present a robust pore‐imaging approach that uses confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) to obtain high‐resolution 3D images of etched epoxy pore casts of the highly heterogeneous carbonates. In our approach, we have increased the depth of investigation for carbonates 20‐fold, from 10 µm reported by Fredrich (1999) and Shah et al. (2013) to 200 µm. In addition, high‐resolution 2D images from scanning electron microscopy (SEM) have been correlated with the 3D models from CLSM to develop a multiscale imaging approach that covers a range of scales, from millimeters in three dimensions to micrometers in two dimensions. The developed approach was implemented to identify various pore types [e.g., intercrystalline microporosity (IM), intragranular microporosity (IGM), and interboundary sheet pores (SPs)] in limestone and dolomite samples.

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