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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  30 Sep 2020

30 Sep 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Simulating permeability reduction by clay mineral nanopores in a tight sandstone by combining μXCT and FIB-SEM imaging

Arne Jacob1, Markus Peltz2, Sina Hale3, Frieder Enzmann1, Olga Moravcova1, Laurence N. Warr2, Georg Grathoff2, Philipp Blum3, and Michael Kersten1 Arne Jacob et al.
  • 1Geosciences Institute, Johannes Gutenberg-University, J.-J. Becherweg 21, 55099 Mainz, Germany
  • 2Institute of Geography and Geology, University Greifswald, Friedrich‑Ludwig‑Jahn‑Str. 17a, 17487 Greifswald, Germany
  • 3Institute of Applied Geosciences (AGW), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Kaiserstraße 12, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract. Computer microtomography (µXCT) represents a powerful tool for investigating the physical properties of porous rocks. While calculated porosities determined by this method typically match experimental measurements, computed permeabilities are often overestimated by more than one order of magnitude. This effect increases towards smaller pore sizes, as shown in this study, in which nanostructural features related to clay minerals reduce the permeability of tight reservoir sandstone samples. FIB-SEM tomography was applied to determine the permeability effects of illites at the nanometre scale and Navier-Stokes-equations were applied to calculate the permeability of these domains. With this data, microporous domains (porous voxels) were defined using microtomography images of a tight reservoir sample. The distribution of these domains could be extrapolated by calibration against size distributions measured in FIB-SEM images. For this, we assumed a mean permeability for the dominant clay mineral (illite) in the rock and assigned it to the microporous domains within the structure. The results prove the applicability of our novel approach by combining FIB-SEM with X-ray tomographic rock core scans to achieve a good correspondence between measured and simulated permeabilities. This methodology results in a more accurate representation of reservoir rock permeability in comparison to that estimated purely based on µXCT images.

Arne Jacob et al.

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Arne Jacob et al.

Arne Jacob et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
In this work, we combined different imaging and experimental measuring methods for analysis of cross-scale effects which reduce permeability of tight reservoir rocks. Simulated permeability of digital images of rocks is often overestimated which is caused by non-resolvable clay content within the pores of a rock. By combining FIB-SEM with micro-XCT imaging, we were able to simulate the true clay mineral abundance to match experimental measured permeability with simulated permeability.
In this work, we combined different imaging and experimental measuring methods for analysis of...