ABSTRACT

Because of its significant impact on relative permeability, capillary pressure, stimulation methods, and ultimate recovery, the wettability of reservoir rocks is a critical factor of the petroleum recovery process. However, characterizing the wettability of shale with extremely low matrix permeabilities is a challenging task because of the dominant presence of nanopores in shale and high heterogeneity of shale compositions at multiple scales. From spontaneous imbibition behavior that uses two types of imbibing fluid (water and n-decane), the present study examines the wettability characteristics of gas-window Barnett Shale samples taken from four different depths of Texas United 1 Blakely core in Wise County in Texas. Imbibition experiments were conducted in two directions: parallel and transverse to the lamination of the samples. A scaling method was used to analyze imbibition data, and observed imbibition behaviors were interpreted to infer the different wettability conditions of four samples with different mineralogy, total organic carbon content, and pore-throat size distribution. Our results show that wettability significantly affects fluid imbibition behavior and that four tested samples can be divided into three wettability categories: more water wet, mixed wet, and more oil wet. Overall, the variable wettability of Barnett samples will affect hydrocarbon storage, distribution, and production.

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