Carbonate rocks often present complex pore-structures involving multiple porosity systems with various interconnectivity degrees. These pore-systems, from microporosity to vugs/fissures, drastically affect petrophysical properties. Pore network models are well suited to calculate petrophysical properties of rocks from pore space structure information. The predictability of such models depends on the accuracy with which the complex geometry and topology of the pore network are captured. Computed MicroTomography (μCT) produces 3D images of the porous medium at the micron scale thus giving the opportunity to describe quantitatively and with a high precision the geometrical and topological characteristics of the 3D pore space. By providing a full description of pore space connectivity and geometry, such studies promise to improve both the understanding of diagenetic overprint and predictability of pore network models used to calculate petrophysical properties of these porous media.

This methodology is applied to a set of rocks with various heterogeneity degrees from the Tengiz buildup (Precaspian Basin). The Tengiz central platform contains a succession of cyclic shallow water deposits ranging from Famennian to Bashkirian in age. The distribution of reservoir rock-types in this depositional zone is determined by a combination of primary deposition and burial diagenetic modification and includes spatial variations of both porosity enhancing as well as porosity filling effects. A pilot study using pore-network modeling from μ-CT imagery of several selected samples resulted in spatial pore and pore-throat size distributions, level and type of pore interconnectivity. Porosity, permeability and capillary pressure were calculated from μ-CT analyses and show a close match with those derived from measurements. Most strikingly, μ-CT allowed the extraction of 3Ddistribution of pore type and connectivity as well as cement types, information essential to reservoir quality assessment but very difficult to reconstruct using the classic petrographic approach. These models can be used for rock-typing, up scaling, to extrapolate petrophysical properties to uncored wells and to investigate new phenomena like evolution of properties due to dissolution/precipitation inherent in CO2 injection.

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