Summary

Wettability is a major factor that influences multiphase flow in porous media. Numerous experimental studies have reported wettability effects on relative permeability. Laboratory determination for the impact of wettability on relative permeability continues to be a challenge because of difficulties with quantifying wettability alteration, correcting for capillary-end effect, and observing pore‐scale flow regimes during core‐scale experiments. Herein, we studied the impact of wettability alteration on relative permeability by integrating laboratory steady‐state experiments with in‐situ high‐resolution imaging. We characterized wettability alteration at the core scale by conventional laboratory methods and used history matching for relative permeability determination to account for capillary-end effect. We found that because of wettability alteration from water‐wet to mixed‐wet conditions, oil relative permeability decreased while water relative permeability slightly increased. For the mixed‐wet condition, the pore‐scale data demonstrated that the interaction of viscous and capillary forces resulted in viscous-dominated flow, whereby nonwetting phase was able to flow through the smaller regions of the pore space. Overall, this study demonstrates how special‐core‐analysis (SCAL) techniques can be coupled with pore‐scale imaging to provide further insights on pore‐scale flow regimes during dynamic coreflooding experiments.

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