Quantitative analysis of nano-pore geomaterials and representative sampling for digital rock physics

Monday, 15 December 2014
Hongkyu Yoon and Thomas A Dewers, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, United States
Geomaterials containing nano-pores (e.g., shales and carbonate rocks) have become increasingly important for emerging problems such as unconventional gas and oil resources, enhanced oil recovery, and geologic storage of CO2. Accurate prediction of coupled geophysical and chemical processes at the pore scale requires realistic representation of pore structure and topology. This is especially true for chalk materials, where pore networks are small and complex, and require characterization at sub-micron scale. In this work, we apply laser scanning confocal microscopy to characterize pore structures and microlithofacies at micron- and greater scales and dual focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) for 3D imaging of nanometer-to-micron scale microcracks and pore distributions. With imaging techniques advanced for nano-pore characterization, a problem of scale with FIB-SEM images is how to take nanometer scale information and apply it to the thin-section or larger scale. In this work, several texture characterization techniques including graph-based spectral segmentation, support vector machine, and principal component analysis are applied for segmentation clusters represented by 1-2 FIB-SEM samples per each cluster. Geometric and topological properties are analyzed and lattice-Boltzmann method (LBM) is used to obtain permeability at several different scales. Upscaling of permeability to the Darcy scale (e.g., the thin-section scale) with image dataset will be discussed with emphasis on understanding microfracture-matrix interaction, representative volume for FIB-SEM sampling, and multiphase flow and reactive transport.

Funding from the DOE Basic Energy Sciences Geosciences Program is gratefully acknowledged. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.