The relationship between low-frequency electrical properties and hydraulic permeability of rocks has been the focus of geophysical investigations for a long time because it offers a possibility for an in situ and noninvasive permeability estimation of rocks. We examined the hydraulic and low-frequency (10mHzto100Hz) electrical properties as well as the anisotropic properties of low-permeability sandstones from a tight gas reservoir. Single-frequency electrical properties were found to be of low value for the determination of permeability for the studied samples, whereas a strong link between the spectral-induced polarization (SIP) response and permeability was found. The SIP response was transformed into a relaxation-time distribution using a Debye decomposition procedure. We observed a strong positive correlation in form of a power law between median relaxation time of the distribution and permeability, suggesting that relaxation time is a good measure of the effective hydraulic length scale. From a comparison of our results with published relationships between relaxation time and permeability, it becomes evident that the corresponding function is formation specific, requiring a separate calibration for each formation. Nevertheless, SIP offers a high potential for in situ permeability determination because estimation of permeability from relaxation time seems to be applicable for very different lithologies.

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