Multiphase-flow properties of fractured porous media

Rangel-German E., Akin S., Castanier L.

JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, vol.51, pp.197-213, 2006 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 51
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.petrol.2005.12.010
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.197-213
  • Keywords: fracture, multiphase flow, relative permeability, capillary pressure, computerized tomography


Water-air imbibition and oil-water drainage displacements were conducted using a laboratory flow apparatus in fractured sandstone systems. During the experiments, porosity and saturation were measured along the core using a Computerized Tomography (CT) scanner. 3-D saturation images were reconstructed to observe matrix-fracture interactions. Differences in fluid saturations and relative permeabilities caused by changes of fracture width have also been analyzed. In the case of water-air imbibition, narrower fracture apertures showed more stable fronts and delayed water breakthrough compared to the wide fracture systems. However, the final water saturation was higher in wide fracture systems, thus showing that capillary pressure in the narrow fracture has more effect on fluid distribution in the matrix. During oil-water drainage, oil saturations were higher in the blocks near the thin fracture, again showing the effect of fracture capillary pressure. Oil fingering was observed in the wide fracture. Fine-grid simulations of the experiments using a commercial reservoir simulator were performed. Relative permeability and capillary pressure curves were obtained by history matching the experiments. The results showed that the assumption of fracture relative permeability equal to phase saturation is incorrect. It was found that both capillary and viscous forces affect the process. The matrix capillary pressure obtained by matching an experiment showed lower values than those reported in the literature. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.