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Book Chapter

Pore Systems in Carbonate Rocks and their Influence on Hydrocarbon Recovery Efficiency

By
Norman C. Wardlaw
Norman C. Wardlaw
Department of Geology University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
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Published:
January 01, 1979

Abstract

Part 1. — Porosity in Dolomites

Dolomitization is a selective process and the finer carbonate constituents (mud) tend to be preferentially replaced in sediments containing a mixture of grains and mud.

In the initial stages of dolomitization, that is up to somewhere between 50 and 70 percent dolomite content, the porosity of the host rock either remains constant or tends to decrease slightly. However, at higher dolomite contents, both porosity and permeability commonly increase abrupty. At this stage, the dolomite has a “sucrosic” texture being largely composed of rhombohedra of uniform size with intercrystal porosity. The porosity originates by dissolution of associated calcite which may occur either during the later stages of dolomitization or at some subsequent time.

Dolomites have higher average porosities and permeabilities than limestones because of differences in the size, shape and arrangement of crystals. The tendency for dolomite crystals to assume idio-morphic forms in an anhedral matrix of cal cite can be explained in terms of; a) surface free energy being minimal for low index crystal faces and b) dolomite having a higher surface free energy than calcite.

It is the idiomorphic shape of the dolomite crystals which, combined with the uniformity of crystal size, result in dolomites with “sucrosic” texture. These are quantitatively the most important North American carbonate rock types in terms of oil and gas production.

Part 2. — The Influence of Pore Structure in Carbonates on Hydrocarbon Recovery Efficiency

Oil-recovery efficiency can be evaluated from the results of relative permeability tests conducted on core samples but, because of the difficulty and expense of making these tests, typically fewer than fifteen are available for an entire reservoir. There is a need to devise simpler techniques to evaluate the probable recovery efficiency of reservoir rocks in order that a very much larger sample group may be treated.

The efficiency with which oil can be recovered depends on the fluid properties and on the characteristics of the pore system. The most important characteristics of the pore system are thought to be: pore-to-throat size ratio; throat-to-pore coordination number and; type and degree of nonrandom heterogeneity. On the basis of these characteristics, combined with a knowledge of total porosity, an empirical scheme is proposed which enables an approximate estimation of recovery efficiency from visual observations made from resin pore casts of carbonate reservoir rocks. A large number of samples can be examined rapidly by using this scheme, and the chances of properly evaluating the preformance of a reservoir are improved. Following such an evaluation, a more representative group of samples could be selected for relative-permeability measurements.

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Contents

AAPG Continuing Education Course Notes Series

Geology of Carbonate Porosity

Don Bebout
Don Bebout
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Graham Davies
Graham Davies
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Clyde H. Moore
Clyde H. Moore
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Peter S. Scholle
Peter S. Scholle
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Norman C. Wardlaw
Norman C. Wardlaw
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
11
ISBN electronic:
9781629811888
Publication date:
January 01, 1979

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