Characterising Drainage Multiphase Flow in Heterogeneous Sandstones
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Description: In this work, we analyse the characterisation of drainage multiphase flow properties on heterogeneous rock cores using a rich experimental dataset and mm-m scale numerical simulations. Along with routine multiphase flow properties, 3D sub-metre scale capillary pressure heterogeneity is characterised by combining experimental observations and numerical calibration, resulting in a 3D numerical model of the rock core. The uniqueness and predictive capability of the numerical models are demonstrated by accurately predicting the experimentally measured relative permeability of N2-DI water and CO2-brine systems in two distinct sandstone rock cores across multiple fractional flow regimes and total flow rates. The numerical models are used to derive equivalent relative permeabilities, which are upscaled functions incorporating the effects of sub-metre scale capillary pressure. The functions are obtained across capillary numbers which span four orders of magnitude, representative of the range of flow regimes that occur in subsurface CO2 injection. Removal of experimental boundary artefacts allows the derivation of equivalent functions which are characteristic of the continuous subsurface. We also demonstrate how heterogeneities can be re-orientated and re-structured efficiently to obtain large amounts of information about expected flow regimes through different small-scale rock structures. This analysis shows how combined experimental and numerical characterisation of rock samples can be used to derive equivalent flow properties from heterogeneous rocks.