An idealized model has been developed for the purpose of studying the characteristic behavior of a permeable medium which contains regions which contribute significantly to the pore volume of the system hut contribute negligibly to the flow capacity; e.g., a naturally fractured or vugular reservoir. Unsteady-state flow in this model reservoir has been investigated analytically. The pressure build-up performance has been examined in some detail; and, a technique for analyzing the build-up data to evaluate the desired parameters has been suggested. The use of this approach in the interpretation of field data has been discussed. As a result of this study, the following general conclusions can be drawn:

  1. Two parameters are sufficient to characterize the deviation of the behavior of a medium with "double porosity" from that of a homogeneously porous medium.

  2. These parameters can be evaluated by the proper analysis of pressure build-up data obtained from adequately designed tests.

  3. Since the build-up curve associated with this type of porous system is similar to that obtained from a stratified reservoir, an unambiguous interpretation is not possible without additional information.

  4. Differencing methods which utilize pressure data from the final stages of a build-up test should be used with extreme caution.


In order to plan a sound exploitation program or a successful secondary-recovery project, sufficient reliable information concerning the nature of the reservoir-fluid system must be available. Since it is evident that an adequate description of the reservoir rock is necessary if this condition is to be fulfilled, the present investigation was undertaken for the purpose of improving the fluid-flow characterization, based on normally available data, of a particular porous medium.


For many years it was widely assumed that, for the purpose of making engineering studies, two parameters were sufficient to describe the single-phase flow properties of a producing formation, i.e., the absolute permeability and the effective porosity. It later became evident that the concept of directional permeability was of more than academic interest; consequently, the degree of permeability anisotropy and the orientation of the principal axes of permeability were accepted as basic parameters governing reservoir performance. More recently, it was recognized that at least one additional parameter was required to depict the behavior of a porous system containing regions which contributed significantly to the pore volume but contributed negligibly to the flow capacity. Microscopically, these regions could be "dead-end" or "storage" pores or, macroscopically, they could be discrete volumes of low-permeability matrix rock combined with natural fissures in a reservoir. It is obvious that some provision for the inclusion of all the indicated parameters, as well as their spatial variations, must be made if a truly useful, conceptual model of a reservoir is to be developed. A dichotomy of the internal voids of reservoir rocks has been suggested. These two classes of porosity can be described as follows:

  • Primary porosity is intergranular and controlled by deposition and lithification. It is highly interconnected and usually can be correlated with permeability since it is largely dependent on the geometry, size distribution and spatial distribution of the grains. The void systems of sands, sandstones and oolitic limestones are typical of this type.

  • Secondary porosity is foramenular and is controlled by fracturing, jointing and/or solution in circulating water although it may be modified by infilling as a result of precipitation.

It is not highly interconnected and usually cannot be correlated with permeability. Solution channels or vugular voids developed during weathering or burial in sedimentary basins are indigenous to carbonate rocks such as limestones or dolomites. Joints or fissures which occur in massive, extensive formations composed of shale, siltstone, schist, limestone or dolomite are generally vertical, and they are ascribed to tensional failure during mechanical deformation (the permeability associated with this type of void system is often anisotropic).


P. 245^

This content is only available via PDF.