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About 80-90% of the worlds carbonate reservoirs show a negative capillary pressure, i. e.

, they are
preferentially oil-wet. I would like to know, why are Carbonate reservoirs Oil-wet?

The answer lies in the molecular dynamics. But before answering the query let me define few terms
first. All particles are attract each other by intermolecular forces. There are different kinds of
intermolecular force. These are

Adhesion: If the intermolecular forces acted on molecules of different particles then this force is
called adhesive force and the property resulted from this force is called adhesion

Cohesion: If the intermolecular forces acted on the molecules of same particle then this force is
called cohesive force and the property resulted from this force is called cohesion.

Hydrogen Bonds: For polar molecule if H is covalently bonded with F or N or O.

Dipole-Dipole interaction: Bond in any other polar molecule.

Dispersive Force (London Force): Each and every molecule in the liquid is attracted towards other
molecule in the liquid by weak intermolecular force. This is called DispersiveForce or London Force.

If the molecule is non-polar then Dispersive force of London force is active between the molecules.
And in case of polar molecule apart from London force any other strong force will also be active.

If the adhesionisgreater than the cohesion,wettabilitywill be high. Liquid dropletwill spread out on
the surface of the solid and will not look very spherical in shape. On the other hand if cohesion is
greater than adhesion wettability will be low. Liquid droplet will not spreadout on the surface of the
solid and will look very spherical in shape.

Now carbonate rocks can be limestone (CaCO3), dolomite((Ca,Mg)CO3) or any intermediate


versions. If we look into the structures of CaCO3there is lack of two electrons on Calcium and an
excess of 2 electrons in carbonate molecule. A double bond is shared in resonance between the
oxygenandthe charge got stabilized over the whole molecule. Therefore there is no charge
imbalance in the CaCO3. Now if Mg got replaced with Ca, forming dolomite, then also the net charge
imbalance remains zero. This leads carbonate to act as a non polar element.

Coming to query, water is polar molecule and cohesive force of attraction is strongly active in the
water molecule represented by Hydrogen bond. When water droplet comes into contact with the
apparently non polarCaCO3 surface, the adhesion between CaCO3 and hydrocarbon molecules
become very weak and is represented by London Force. Since the cohesion represented by hydrogen
bonds between water molecules are stronger then the adhesion represented by London forces
between water and hydrocarbon, the water will not wet the CaCO3 surface. Therefore limestone will
not be water wet.

Any hydrocarbon molecule is non polar therefore cohesion is not pronounced in hydrocarbon
molecule. When oil droplet comes in contact with CaCO3 surface the adhesion represented by
Dispersive Force or London Force is the only active force and oil will wet the CaCO3 surface.
Therefore lime stone will be oil wet.

Situation differs if limestone contains various types of clay. Presence of clay in the pores of
limestone impedes oil/ water to reach limestone surface. Therefore the wettability property shown
in this case will be the governed by the Clays.

I hope I am able to convey the idea.