Spontaneous water imbibition into gas-saturated rocks is an important physical process during water injection into highly fractured petroleum and geothermal reservoirs. Few methods, however, are available for characterizing the process of spontaneous water imbibition into gas-saturated rocks. To this end, a method has been developed. Water relative permeability and capillary pressure can be calculated separately from water imbibition data using this method. A linear relationship between imbibition rate and the reciprocal of the gas recovery by spontaneous water imbibition was found and confirmed both theoretically and experimentally, even at different initial water saturations. The effect of initial water saturation on imbibition rate, residual gas saturation, and the gas recovery has been investigated. There was almost no effect of initial water saturation on residual gas saturation by spontaneous water imbibition. The higher the initial water saturation, the lower the water imbibition rate and the ultimate gas recovery. It was found that the capillary pressure did not vary with initial water saturation in a certain range. The capillary pressure calculated using the new method was approximately equal to the values measured using an X-ray CT technique in a glass-bead pack. The computed water relative permeability was consistent with published experimental results. The method developed in this paper is also of importance for scaling-up experimental data.

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