The term "hysteresis" has been used for a long time. The researchers were paying attention because of its wider usages in many disciplines of science and engineering. However, the concept of hysteresis may differ from one discipline to other depending on parameters of interest. The effect of hysteretic on reservoir performance can be either negative or positive. Therefore, evaluation of hydrocarbon recovery techniques will depend on the accurate estimation of the rock and fluid properties. Many researchers believe that hysteresis behaviour in rock properties is related to the concept of unrecovered hydrocarbon. Numerous experimental and mathematical studies are offered to understand the hysteresis of rock properties. However, researchers paid more attention to the relative permeability hysteresis because of its important contributions on mobility ratio toward the oil recovery. The purpose of this paper is to extensively review, discuss and analyze the fundamentals of experimental processes and mathematical models of relative permeability hysteresis. In addition, the importance of relative permeability hysteresis in reservoir engineering is highlighted.

In the literature, no attempt has been made to refer and review the relative permeability hysteresis despite numerous published papers. This paper considers offering a comprehensive critical review and analysis of hysteresis that related to petroleum engineering. A systematic approach to literature survey is followed to offer a future research guideline in the area.

A critical analysis is offered on theoretical and empirical models for relative permeability hysteresis, the types of relative permeability hysteresis, factors affecting relative permeability hysteresis and rock types that are used in the experimental techniques to estimate the hysteresis. This paper tracks the current development on hysteresis and provides insight into future trends on the application of this phenomenon. The overall results show some missing concepts in existing models and experimental processes for the hysteresis. The finding also shows that for a better understanding of multiphase flow in porous media, it is essential to study the relative permeability hysteresis. Finally, this paper offers some recommendations for missing aspect and future research guidelines.

The importance of relative permeability hysteresis in fluid flow through porous media is rebuilt in describing each of the flowing phases. In addition, this study will help in understanding better reservoir performance as well as reservoir description.

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