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WETTABILITY

DEFINITION OF WETTABILITY

Wettability is the tendency of one fluid to spread on or adhere to a solid surface in


the presence of other immiscible fluids.
Wettability refers to interaction between fluid and solid phases.
Reservoir rocks (sandstone, limestone, dolomite, etc.) are the solid surfaces
Oil, water, and/or gas are the fluids
WHY STUDY WETTABILITY?

Understand physical and chemical interactions between


1. Individual fluids and reservoir rocks
2. Different fluids with in a reservoir
3. Individual fluids and reservoir rocks when multiple fluids are
present

Petroleum reservoirs commonly have 2 3 fluids (multiphase systems)

When 2 or more fluids are present, there are at least 3 sets of forces acting on the
fluids and affecting HC recovery

DEFINITION OF ADHESION TENSION

Adhesion tension is expressed as the difference between two solid-fluid.


interfacial tensions.
AT so sw wo cos wo

A positive adhesion tension indicates that the denser phase (water)


preferentially wets the solid surface (and vice versa).
An adhesion tension of zero indicates that both phases have equal
affinity for the solid surface

AT = adhesion tension, milli-Newtons/m or dynes/cm)


= contact angle between the oil/water/solid interface measured
through the more dense phase, degrees
so = interfacial energy between the solid and oil, milli-Newtons/m
or dynes/cm
sw = interfacial energy between the solid and water, milli-Newtons
/m or dynes/cm
wo = interfacial energy (interfacial tension) between the water and
oil, milli-Newtons/m or dynes/cm

WETTING PHASE FLUID


Wetting phase fluid preferentially wets the solid rock surface.
Attractive forces between rock and fluid draw the wetting phase
into small pores.
Wetting phase fluid often has low mobile.
Attractive forces limit reduction in wetting phase saturation to an
irreducible value (irreducible wetting phase saturation).
Many hydrocarbon reservoirs are either totally or partially waterwet.

NONWETTING PHASE FLUID


Nonwetting phase does not preferentially wet the solid rock
surface
Repulsive forces between rock and fluid cause nonwetting phase
to occupy largest pores
Nonwetting phase fluid is often the most mobile fluid, especially at
large nonwetting phase saturations
Natural gas is never the wetting phase in hydrocarbon reservoirs
WATER-WET RESERVOIR ROCK
Reservoir rock is water - wet if water preferentially wets the rock
surfaces
The rock is water- wet under the following conditions:
so > sw
AT > 0 (i.e., the adhesion tension is positive)
0 < < 90
If is close to 0, the rock is considered to be strongly waterwet

Oi
l

wo

so

Water

sw
Solid

0 < q < 90
Interfacial tension between the rock surface and water is less than
between the rock surface and oil.

OIL-WET RESERVOIR ROCK

Water

wo

Oil
Solid

90 < q < 180


The interfacial tension between the rock surface and oil is less
than between the rock surface and water.

OIL

Ai
r

<
90

Oi
l

OIL

WATER

SOLID (ROCK)

GRAIN

WATER

>
90

WATER

OIL

WATER

SOLID (ROCK)

GRAIN

OIL
RIM
BOUND WATER

FREE WATER
Ayers, 2001

WATER-WET
OIL-WET
WETTABILITY IS AFFECTED BY:
Composition of pore-lining minerals
Composition of the fluids
Saturation history (hysteresis effects)
WETTABILITY CLASSIFICATION
Strongly oil- or water-wetting
Neutral wettability no preferential wettability to either water
or oil in the pores
Fractional wettability reservoir that has local areas that are
strongly oil-wet, whereas most of the reservoir is strongly waterwet- Occurs where reservoir rock have variable mineral
composition and surface chemistry

Mixed wettability smaller pores area waterwet are filled with water, whereas larger pores
are oil-wet and filled with oil

F
R
E
E
W
A
T
E
R

- Residual oil saturation is low


- Occurs where oil with polar organic compounds invades
a water-wet rock saturated with brine
IMBIBITION
Imbibition is a fluid flow process in which the saturation of the
wetting phase increases and the nonwetting phase saturation
decreases. (e.g., waterflood of an oil reservoir that is water-wet).
Mobility of wetting phase increases as wetting phase saturation
increases
mobility is the fraction of total flow capacity for a particular
phase
WATER-WET RESERVOIR, IMBIBITION
Water will occupy the smallest pores
Water will wet the circumference of most larger pores
In pores having high oil saturation, oil rests on a water film
Imbibition - If a water-wet rock saturated with oil is placed in
water, it will imbibe water into the smallest pores, displacing oil
OIL-WET RESERVOIR, IMBIBITION
Oil will occupy the smallest pores
Oil will wet the circumference of most larger pores
In pores having high water saturation, water rests on a water
film
Imbibition - If an oil-wet rock saturated with water is placed in
oil, it will imbibe oil into the smallest pores, displacing water
e.g., Oil-wet reservoir accumulation of oil in trap
DRAINAGE
Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the nonwetting phase
increases
Mobility of nonwetting fluid phase increases as nonwetting phase
saturation increases
e.g., waterflood of an oil reservoir that is oil-wet
Gas injection in an oil- or water-wet reservoir
Pressure maintenance or gas cycling by gas injection in a
retrograde condensate reservoir
Water-wet reservoir accumulation of oil or gas in

IMPLICATIONS OF WETTABILITY
Primary oil recovery is affected by the wettability of the system.
A water-wet system will exhibit greater primary oil
recovery.
Oil recovery under waterflooding is affected by the wettability of
the system.
A water-wet system will exhibit greater oil recovery under
waterflooding.
Wettability affects the shape of the relative permeability curves.
Oil moves easier in water-wet rocks than oil-wet rocks.
WETTABILITY AFFECTS:
Capillary Pressure
Irreducible water saturation
Residual oil and water saturations
Relative permeability
Electrical properties
LABORATORY MEASUREMENT OF WETTABILITY
Most common measurement techniques
Contact angle measurement method
Amott method
United States Bureau of Mines (USBM) Method
Introduction to Capillary Pressure
Applications of Capillary Pressure Data
Determine fluid distribution in reservoir (initial conditions)
Accumulation of HC is drainage process for water wet
reservoirs (max possible HC saaturation)
Sw= function of height above OWC (oil water
contact)
Determine recoverable oil for water flooding applications
Imbibition process for water wet reservoirs
Pore Size Distribution Index,
Absolute permeability (flow capacity of entire pore
size distribution)
Relative permeability (distribution of fluid phases
within the pore size distribution)

Reservoir Flow - Capillary Pressure included as a term of flow


potential for multiphase flow
Input data for reservoir simulation models

DRAINAGE PROCESS
Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the nonwetting phase
increases
Examples:
Hydrocarbon (oil or gas) filling the pore space and displacing the
original water of deposition in water-wet rock
Waterflooding an oil reservoir in which the reservoir is oil wet
Gas injection in an oil or water wet oil reservoir
Pressure maintenance or gas cycling by gas injection in a
retrograde condensate reservoir
Evolution of a secondary gas cap as reservoir pressure decreases
IMBIBITION PROCESS

Fluid flow process in which the saturation of the wetting phase


increases
Mobility of wetting phase increases as wetting phase saturation
increases
Examples:
Accumulation of oil in an oil wet reservoir
Waterflooding an oil reservoir in which the reservoir is water wet
Accumulation of condensate as pressure decreases in a dew point
reservoir
Effect of Permeability on Shape
20

16

Decreasing
Permeability,
Decreasing

12

C
B

0.
2

0.
4

0.
6

C
a
pi
ll
a
r
y
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

Water Saturation
Effect of Grain Size Distribution on Shape

0.
8

1.
0

Well-sorted

Poorly sorted

C
ap
ill
ar
y
pr
es
su
re
,
ps
ia

Water saturation, %
CAPILLARY PRESSURE
- DEFINITION The pressure difference existing across the interface separating
two immiscible fluids in capillaries (e.g. porous media).
Calculated as:
Pc = pnwt pwt
Where:
Pc = capillary pressure
Pnwt = pressure in nonwetting
phase
pwt = pressure in wetting phase

One fluid wets the surfaces


of the formation rock
(wetting phase) in preference
to the other (non-wetting
phase).
Gas is always the nonwetting phase in both oil-gas
and water-gas systems.
Oil is often the non-wetting
phase in water-oil systems.

Capillary Tube - Conceptual Model


Air-Water System

Air

Water
Considering the porous media as a collection of capillary tubes
provides useful insights into how fluids behave in the reservoir pore
spaces.
Water rises in a capillary tube placed in a beaker of water, similar to
water (the wetting phase) filling small pores leaving larger pores to
non-wetting phases of reservoir rock.
2 aw cos

h
The height of water in a capillary tube is a function
of: r g aw
Adhesion tension between the air and water
Radius of the tube
Density difference between fluids

This relation can be derived from balancing the upward force due to
adhesion tension and downward forces due to the weight of the fluid (see
ABW pg 135). The wetting phase (water) rise will be larger in small
capillaries.
h =
Height of water rise in capillary tube, cm
aw =
Interfacial tension between air and water,
dynes/cm

=
Air/water contact angle, degrees
r
=
Radius of capillary tube, cm
g
=
Acceleration due to gravity, 981 cm/sec2
Draw =
Density difference between water and air, gm/cm3

Contact angle, q, is measured through the more dense phase (water in this
case).

Rise of Wetting Phase Varies with Capillary Radius

AIR

WATER

CAPILLARY TUBE MODEL


AIR/WATER SYSTEM

h
pa2
pw2

pa1
pw1

Air

Water

Water rise in capillary tube depends on the density difference of fluids.


Pa2 = pw2 = p2
pa1 = p2 - a g h

pw1 = p2 w g h
Pc
= pa1 - pw1
= w g h - a g h
= g h
Combining the two relations results in the following expression
for capillary tubes:
2 cos
Pc

aw

From a similar derivation, the equation for capillary pressure for


an oil/water system is
Pc

2 ow cos
r

Pc
= Capillary pressure between oil and water, dyne/cm2
ow = Interfacial tension between oil and water, dyne/cm
= Oil/water contact angle, degrees
r
= Radius of capillary tube, cm
LABORATORY METHODS FOR MEASURING CAPILLARY
PRESSURE
Determination of Pc(Sw) function
Porous diaphragm method
Mercury injection method
Centrifuge method
Dynamic method
COMMENTS ON POROUS DIAPHRAGM METHOD
Advantages
Very accurate
Can use reservoir fluids
Disadvantages
Very slow (days, weeks, months)
Range of capillary pressure is limited by displacement
pressure of porous disk
Wetting phase of disk should be same as core sample

Holes in porous disk act as capillaries, allowing only


wetting to flow out until displacement pressure is
exceeded
COMMENTS ON MERCURY INJECTION METHOD
Advantages
Results obtained quickly (minutes,hours)
Method is reasonably accurate
Very high range of capillary pressures
Disadvantages
Ruins core / mercury disposal
Hazardous testing material (mercury)
Conversion required between mercury/air capillary data to
reservoir fluid systems

COMMENTS ON CENTRIFUGE METHOD


Advantages
Results can be obtained fairly quickly (hours, days, weeks)
Reasonably accurate
Can use reservoir fluids
Disadvantages
Complex analysis required can lead to calculation errors
COMMENTS ON DYNAMIC METHOD
Advantages
Simulates reservoir flow conditions
Can use reservoir fluids
Disadvantages
Very tedious to perform (weeks, months)
High cost
AVERAGING CAPILLARY PRESSURE DATA USING THE
LEVERETT
J-FUNCTION
The Leverett J-function was originally an attempt to convert all
capillary pressure data to a universal curve

A universal capillary pressure curve does not exist because the


rock properties affecting capillary pressures in the reservoir have
extreme variation with lithology (rock type)
BUT, Leveretts J-function has proven valuable for correlating
capillary pressure data within a lithology (see ABW Fig 3-23).
DEFINITION OF LEVERETT J-FUNCTION
J ( Sw)

C Pc
Cos

J-Function is DIMENSIONLESS, for a particular rock type:


Same value of J at same wetting phase saturation for any unit
system, any two fluids, any values of k,f
(k/f)1/2 is proportional to size of typical pore throat
radius (remember k can have units of length2)
C is unit conversion factor (to make J(Sw) dimensionless)
LEVERETT J-FUNCTION FOR CONVERSION OF Pc DATA

C Pc
cos

J(Sw )

C Pc
cos

Lab

Reservoir

USE OF LEVERETT J-FUNCTION


J-function is useful for averaging capillary pressure data from a
given rock type from a given reservoir
J-function can sometimes be extended to different reservoirs
having same lithologies
Use extreme caution in assuming this can be done
J-function usually not accurate correlation for different lithologies
If J-functions are not successful in reducing the scatter in a given
set of data, then this suggests that we are dealing variation in rock
type

Exercises:
1. In the laboratory, a capillary pressure difference of 5 psi has been
measured between water and air in a core sample. Calculate the
corresponding height above the OWC in the reservoir from where the
core originates, when the following information is given (assume
capillary pressure at the OWC to be zero).

2. Use the air - water capillary pressure curve for laboratory conditions,
below, to calculate the saturations; So, Sg and Sw at the reservoir level
(hight) 120 f t above the oil-water contact (assume Pc = 0 at this level).
The distance between the contacts (OWC and GOC) is 70 f t.
Additional data:

.
Answers to questions:
1. h = 5.8m, 2. So = 0.2, Sg = 0.62 , Sw = 0.36,
3. Calculate the rise of water in a silica
capillary tube with diameter of 1 mm, given
that the interfacial tension and contact
angle between water and isoquinoline are 30
dynes/cm and 158, respectively, and the
densities of water, isoquinoline, and silica
are 1.00, 0.91, and 2.65 g/cm3, respectively.
4. a. What causes the accumulation of
hydrocarbons in a trap?
b.Give a quantitative definition of capillary
pressure in a gas reservoir (Pc).
Define
all terms.
c.Calculate the capillary pressure in a gas
reservoir at a point 15 feet above the free
water level (Pg = Pw = 2200 psia) if the
gas and water pressure gradients are 0.45
and 0.15 psi/ft, respectively.
5. a.
What is a drainage displacement
process?
b.What is an imbibition displacement process?
c.Give one example (each) of drainage and
imbibition
displacement
processes
that
might occur in a gas reservoir.
6. The integrated form of Darcys Equation for
linear, horizontal flow of an incompressible
liquid is shown below. This equation is
coherent for Darcys units (C=1).
q

a.

C k A p
L

If the terms of the equation have the


units shown in the table below, what
are the required units of the constant,
C?

q
k
A
p

L
b.

ft3/da
y
Md
ft2
Psia
Cp
Ft

Derive the value of the unit conversion


constant, C, for the units shown in the table.