The Impact of Fluid Properties and Flow Conditions on the Measurement of Relative Permeability and Residual CO2 Trapping Saturation for CO2-Brine Systems

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Ben Niu1, Ali Al-Menhali2 and Sam C Krevor2, (1)Imperial College London, Department of Chemical Engineering, London, United Kingdom, (2)Imperial College London, Department of Earth Science & Engineering, London, United Kingdom
Successful industrial scale carbon dioxide injection into deep saline aquifers will be dependent on the ability to model the flow of the fluid and to quantify the impact of various trapping mechanisms. The effectiveness of the models is in turn dependent on high quality laboratory measurements of basic multiphase flow properties such as relative permeability and residual trapping at reservoir conditions. Compared with typical oil-brine systems, however, a unique defining characteristic of the CO2-brine system is its combination of high viscosity ratio and low density ratio. This combination of properties results in unique complications for experiments with CO2 and brine and unique flow conditions must be used to achieve the combined goals of observations across a large saturation range and the avoidance of the effects of heterogeneity as well as capillary forces and gravity segregation. We have simulated the corefloods experiments at various conditions and calculated with different interpretation techniques: Steady state method, JBN-type method and history matching. As one of the essential mechanisms for CO2 storage underground, residual trapping refers to the trapping of CO2 through capillary forces within the pore space of a permeable aquifer. There are few studies that have observed the trapping characteristics for CO2-brine systems in permeable rocks, including the impact of reservoir conditions, and this remains a major uncertainty for geologic CO2 storage. This work presents results from a core-flooding laboratory that has been recently developed at Imperial College dedicated to observations of CO2-brine systems. The apparatus includes high precision pumps, accurate temperature control and a rotating X-ray CT scanner that allows experiments to be performed in both vertical and horizontal directions. The proper approach to measuring relative permeability for CO2-brine system is proposed and demonstrated. The changes in residual trapping correlated to pressure, temperature, brine salinity, interfacial tension, and contact angle are also reported. The application of measured data has been demonstrated in the simulation of reservoir-scale CO2 sequestration model.