We carried out experiments to study the effect of wettability heterogeneities on: (1) displacement mechanisms, (2) sweep efficiency and (3) trapped oil quantities and fluid distribution in three-phase gas injection and developed a theoretical simulator. Secondary gas injection experiments was conducted in transparent glass micromodels of heterogeneous wettability. Oil-wet patches in a water-wet matrix were obtained by selective silane grafting on the glass surface. Different heterogeneity patterns were considered for the same oil-wet over water-wet surface ratio. Displacement sequences were video-recorded and fluid saturations determined by image analysis. A theoretical model of three-phase flow in a porous structure was developed. In this model the porous medium is simulated as a network of interconnected pores. The model permits an imposition of heterogeneous wettability by assigning different water-oil contact angles according to the desired wettability pattern. The calculation of flow within the network takes into account the flow of oil through wetting and spreading films and the displacement mechanisms observed in the transparent micromodels. Comparison between experimental results and simulations shows that the size and distribution of wettability heterogeneities strongly affects microscopic and macroscopic behaviour during gas injection.

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