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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The effect of CO2-induced dissolution on flow properties in Indiana Limestone: An in situ synchrotron X-ray micro-tomography study

  • Author(s): Voltolini, Marco
  • Ajo-Franklin, Jonathan
  • et al.

© 2018 The injection of CO2-rich fluids in carbonate rocks results in an evolution of the pore space, with consequent changes in the hydraulic properties of the reservoir; how these properties evolve, particularly for parameters relevant to multiphase flow e.g. Pc(s), remains a topic of active research despite several decades of study. We have carried out an in situ synchrotron X-ray microtomography experiment to monitor pore structure evolution during dissolution of an Indiana Limestone core; the experiment involved flowing CO2-saturated water through the core for 36 h and resulted in 10 volumes corresponding to different temporal stages of the dissolution process. The injection parameters corresponded to the flow velocities expected near the well-bore region of a shallow aqueous CO2 injection; fast flow rates with high reactant availability. Analysis of the tomographic data shows flow-enhanced dissolution i.e. channeling, and provides a time-resolved map of pore space alteration. Using the resulting 4D pore space volume, we modeled the evolution of capillary-pressure curves; this exercise demonstrates how pore structure evolution could impact the invasion and remobilization of non-wetting fluids, dramatically decreasing the entry pressure and the PC in some parts of the sample. The modeling of permeability, using a Stokes solver approach, quantified the relationship of porosity vs. permeability; we found that a modest increase in porosity, especially when the channeling system is more developed, greatly affects permeability. These results demonstrate how movement of CO2 saturated brine near injected plumes might alter drainage dynamics near the plume boundary, thus leading to mobilization across subtle capillary barriers.

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