Abstract

We developed new experimental and theoretical tools for the measurement and the characterization of arbitrary elasticity tensors and permeability tensors in rocks. They include an experimental technique for the 3-D visualization of hydraulic invasion fronts in rock samples by monitoring the injection of salt solutions by X-ray tomography, and a technique for inverting the complete set of the six coefficients of the permeability tensor from invasion front images. In addition, a technique for measuring the complete set of the 21 elastic coefficients, a technique allowing the identification and the orientation in the 3-D space of the symmetry elements (planes, axes), and a technique for approximating the considered elastic tensor by a tensor of simpler symmetry with the quantification of the error induced by such an approximation have been developed.

We apply these tools to various types of reservoir rocks and observed quite contrasted behaviors. In some rocks, the elastic anisotropy and the hydraulic anisotropy are closely correlated, for instance in terms of the symmetry directions. This is the case when elastic anisotropy and hydraulic anisotropy share the same cause (e.g., layering, fractures). In contrast, in some other rocks, hydraulic properties and elastic properties are clearly uncorrelated. These results highlight the challenge we have to face in order to estimate the rock permeability and to monitor the fluid flow from seismic measurements in the field.

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