Laboratory core flooding experiments performed are used to predict fluid flow behaviour in the reservoir. Most reservoirs are in a reduced state. However, iron minerals in the extracted cores may become oxidized going from the reservoir to the laboratory. Oxidation of the core can affect wettability and thereby relative permeability curves used for reservoir simulation studies. The aim of this work was to study the potential effect of core oxidation on relative permeability.

Steady state relative permeability experiments with in-situ saturation measurements and use of live oil have been performed on one composite core at 10 different saturations. The core was tested under three different conditions: oxidized (Exp. 1), reduced (Exp. 2) and re-oxidised (Exp. 3). The core was cleaned, fluid saturated and aged before each test. In Exp. 2, the core plug was chemically reduced. All fluids used in this experiment were oxygen free. In Exp. 3 the core plug was treated using fluids to oxidise the core. Fluids injected and extracted, and core samples were analysed using a range of methods.

Results showed that the measured relative permeability curves from Exp. 2 and 3 were similar and significantly different from the results from Exp. 1. The attempt to restore the core material to the initial state (oxidized) after Exp. 2 by exposing the core material to fluids with oxygen was seemingly not successful. The observation was also supported by unsteady state flooding measurements which indicated that as long as the core remained fluid saturated, it behaved as a reduced core, even after extensive exposure to oxygen containing liquids. The crossing point of the oil and water relative permeabilities indicate that the core was more water wet in reduced state compared to before the oxidized state. Differences in chemical composition were also detected between extracts from Exp. 1 - 3.

The conclusion is that significant differences in steady state relative permeabilities of oil and water in oxidized and reduced states were observed for the iron containing core investigated. The results also indicate that if the core is kept fluid saturated, effects of oxidation may be significantly delayed.

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