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Investigation of waterflood front digitations during immiscible displacements in porous media

Abstract : In this work, unstable displacements were conducted using special equipment designed to run in-situ CT-scanner experiments. All the displacements were conducted on a homogeneous Bentheimer sandstone plug, of 10 cm in diameter and 40 cm in length. Digitations (or fingering) have been observed under varying conditions of injection flowrate, displaced fluid viscosity, and core wettability. They have been characterized at both the core scale, using the core average oil saturation and the water breakthrough; and at the local scale, using the local saturations and had-hoc image processing analysis. It was found that the effect of the different flowing conditions on the front digitations could not be interpreted independently. The oil recovery at brine breakthrough showed a good correlation with the viscous fingering number for the water-wet case. However, a different scaling was observed for the oil-wet case. The interplay of the different flowing conditions mitigates the possibility of constructing a unique scaling number to account for all experimental condition. The local saturation monitoring has provided a new insight to characterize the finger shapes and analyze the production mechanisms. It allowed to distinguish two independent contributions to early breakthrough: viscous dominated digitations and capillary dominated digitations. A two-phases diagram has been constructed to plot and compare these contributions for all flowing conditions. Their evolutions show the main production mechanisms during the flooding. We observed that the viscous digitations were not causing phase trapping at core scale: the core is completely swept after breakthrough. For the water-wet case, we found that the local oil recovery of swept zone remained constant before and after breakthrough while for the oil-wet case it is improving during all the water flooding process.
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https://hal-ifp.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03413645
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 9:30:59 PM
Last modification on : Monday, March 28, 2022 - 11:26:04 AM

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Matthieu Mascle, Elisabeth Rosenberg, Berit Roboele, Espen Kowalewski, Souhail Youssef. Investigation of waterflood front digitations during immiscible displacements in porous media. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, 2021, 76, pp.71. ⟨10.2516/ogst/2021053⟩. ⟨hal-03413645⟩

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