Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Research article
24 Mar 2016
Research article |  | 24 Mar 2016

Calculating structural and geometrical parameters by laboratory measurements and X-ray microtomography: a comparative study applied to a limestone sample before and after a dissolution experiment

Linda Luquot, Vanessa Hebert, and Olivier Rodriguez

Abstract. The aim of this study is to compare the structural, geometrical and transport parameters of a limestone rock sample determined by X-ray microtomography (XMT) images and laboratory experiments. Total and effective porosity, pore-size distribution, tortuosity, and effective diffusion coefficient have been estimated. Sensitivity analyses of the segmentation parameters have been performed. The limestone rock sample studied here has been characterized using both approaches before and after a reactive percolation experiment. Strong dissolution process occurred during the percolation, promoting a wormhole formation. This strong heterogeneity formed after the percolation step allows us to apply our methodology to two different samples and enhance the use of experimental techniques or XMT images depending on the rock heterogeneity. We established that for most of the parameters calculated here, the values obtained by computing XMT images are in agreement with the classical laboratory measurements. We demonstrated that the computational porosity is more informative than the laboratory measurement. We observed that pore-size distributions obtained by XMT images and laboratory experiments are slightly different but complementary. Regarding the effective diffusion coefficient, we concluded that both approaches are valuable and give similar results. Nevertheless, we concluded that computing XMT images to determine transport, geometrical, and petrophysical parameters provide similar results to those measured at the laboratory but with much shorter durations.

Short summary
To evaluate oil and gas production, accurate characterization (usually based on laboratory experiments) of reservoir rock properties needs to be performed. X-ray scanning samples enable obtaining 3-D images of the rock inner structure from which those properties can be obtained using images processing. This article shows that these two approaches are complementary and yield consistent results. Moreover, image-based calculations allow to save a huge amount of time compared to lab-based measures.