The Effects of Nonuniform Wettability and Heterogeneity on Induction Time and Onset of Spontaneous Imbibition
- Tore L. Føyen (University of Bergen and SINTEF Industry) | Martin A. Fernø (University of Bergen) | Bergit Brattekås (University of Bergen)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- June 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,192 - 1,200
- 2019.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Non-uniform wetting, Spontaneous Imbibition, Saturation front development, Onset, Induction time
- 8 in the last 30 days
- 175 since 2007
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Spontaneous imbibition is a capillary-dominated displacement process in which a nonwetting fluid is displaced from a porous medium by the inflow of a more-wetting fluid. Decades of core-scale experiments have concluded that spontaneous imbibition occurs by a uniformly shaped saturation front with a rate that scales with the square root of time. The imbibition rate during early stages of spontaneous imbibition (the onset period) has been reported to deviate from the square-root-of-time behavior, although its effect on the imbibition process is not well-understood. Controlled-imbibition tests, presented in this paper, demonstrate that restricted wetting-phase flow during the onset period gives irregular saturation fronts and deviation from the square-root-of-time behavior. The deviation was caused by local variation in porosity and permeability or by a nonuniform wettability distribution, and was directly visualized or imaged by positron-emission tomography (PET). Without knowledge of local flow patterns, the development of irregular saturation fronts cannot be observed; hence, the effect cannot be accounted for, and the development of spontaneous imbibition might be erroneously interpreted as a core-scale wettability effect. Restricted wetting-phase flow at the inlet affects Darcy-scale wettability measurements, scaling, and modeling; our observations underline the need for a homogeneous wettability preference through the porous medium when performing laboratory spontaneous-imbibition measurements.
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