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SPE 140623

Estimating Irreducible Water Saturation and Relative Permeability From Logs

Chukwuma Uguru, SPE, Abasiubong Udofia, and Olanrewaju Oladiran, Shell Petroleum Dev. Co.
Copyright 2010, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 34th Annual SPE International Conference and Exhibition held in Tinapa – Calabar, Nigeria, 31 July–7 August 2010.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed by the
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Abstract reservoir simulation. Two such results are presented in

Through the years there has been the problem of this paper.
characterising reservoirs properly with insufficient
data. This is because such data were either not
acquired due to operational difficulties, cut budgets or Introduction
needs not anticipated or where acquired were not of the Relative permeability estimation has direct impacts
right quality and thus not useful in building reservoir on the forecasted reservoir performance and ultimate
models that could be used to predict reservoir recoveries because it determines the way in which two
performance. One such key shortage is relative or three phases flow relative to each other in a pore
permeability data from SCAL. The impact of this space. In all the existing models in the industry for
shortage is being felt as the Niger Delta reservoirs estimating relative permeability, ranging from Corey
increasingly move to the “brown” category over time correlation (Corey 1954), the relationship proposed by
and the need for reliable reservoir models increases. Park Jones (1945), to the most recent flexible 3
parameters analytical correlation as proposed by Frode
A dependable reservoir model requires a robust Lomeland et al in 2005, irreducible water saturation
definition of the relative permeability. To address this, (Swi) remains the key variable in these models.
a new opportunity that recycles an old technique is
being proposed as an effective means of obtaining Conducting primary drainage capillary pressure
dependable and representative relative permeability experiments to measure Swi, which is the industry-
data. The method leans on the abundance of log data established methodology, usually takes time to
for saturation evaluation, permeability estimation using complete and hence only a limited number of
techniques already proven and published. representative core plugs are typically analysed, often
leading to data gaps for some facies within the reservoir
These techniques provide a platform for deriving of interest.
water saturation and permeability as continuous curves
with the result that irreducible water saturation and In the past the irreducible water saturation had
consequently relative permeability for water and been approximated as the water saturation at the
hydrocarbons respectively can be derived as curves topmost part of the reservoir, with this value of
across reservoir intervals using expressions earlier irreducible water being used as a constant in the
published by Park Jones (1944/45). The resulting Rel- reservoir models in most cases. In other cases,
Perm versus Water saturation plots agree well with approaches that do not capture the effect of the
good data from SCAL showing that the technique can variation in lithofacies or genetic units encountered in a
be deployed reliably where SCAL data is non existent reservoir are used. The attendant drawback of these is
or judged to be of poor quality. The technique also that a constant value for the irreducible water saturation
ensures that Rel-Perms are derived from data from tends to indicate that the reservoir is homogeneous.
subject reservoirs.
To solve the issue of paucity of Swi information,
This method has been applied successfully in reservoirs Swi as a continuous function of depth has been
studies with the impact that it facilitated improvements obtained by assuming equivalence of permeability
in turn-around times and quality of history matching in models derived by Morris and Biggs with that Kozeny-
2 Lawal A.K. and Adenuga, A. SPE 140623

Carman. The former is a function of irreducible water Amaefule expressions to derive permeability values for
saturation (Swi) while the latter is a does not depend on Niger Delta reservoirs using genetic unit averages for
Swi explicitly. the FZIs and additionally used neural networks to
generate FZIs and subsequently model permeability
using equation 4. The advantage of the above is that a
Permeability Models and Swir continuous permeability log can be generated over
Quite often, irreducible water saturation is target reservoir intervals.
presented as one of the independent variables used for
estimating rock permeability, the other independent Irreducible water saturation (Swi) Model
variable being (usually) porosity. These are the so- From the Morris and Biggs model the irreducible
called Wyllie and Rose type of permeability water saturation can be expressed as follows:
expressions. Some of the models for permeability as a φ3
function of porosity and irreducible water are presented S wi = 80 2
κ1 / 2 (5)
as follows:

(i) Morris and Biggs: For Morris and Biggs Where the permeability is from one of the Kozeny-
equation, the permeability is given by the expression Carman models based on FZIs. Applying same method
following: for other correlations we have the following

(1) transformation equations for Timur:
Sw i φ3
= 250
S wi (6)
where, C = 250 for reservoir zones with gases,
κ 1/ 2
From the Coates-Dumanoir
while C = 80 for reservoir zones with oil. The porosity expression for
and the irreducible water saturation are measured in permeability the irreducible water saturation can be
decimal fractions. This is also known as the Tixier expressed as:
S wi = ⎢⎡3004 φ* ⎤
1/ 2 ⎥ 1/ w
(ii) Timur model :The expression for the Timur
equation is: ⎣W κ ⎦
φ 2 . 25 The equations (5), (6) and (7) are all independent
K 1 / 2
= 100 (2) models for irreducible water saturation as a function of
S wi porosity and permeability. With permeability available
as a continuous depth log it thus possible to obtain a
(iii) Coates-Dumanoir: For Coates-Dumanoir continuous curve of irreducible water across any
equation, the permeability is given by the expression subject reservoir interval. These Swi curves are
following: generated easily in TECHLOG (See figure 1)
300 φ w
K 1 / 2
= 4 w
(3) Application
W S wi Derived Swi curves were used in deriving relative
Where w is a common exponent, representing both permeabilities for reservoir fluids in the respective
the saturation exponent, n, and cementation exponent, reservoirs of interest from the Park Jones (1944/45)
m. equation as given in the expressions following:
⎛ S − S wi ⎞⎟ 3
Krw = ⎜ w
Permeability Models without Swir (Kozeny and (8) and
Carman models) ⎝ 1− Swi ⎠
Amaefule et al (1993) modified the Kozeny-
Carman model for permeability to the expression
1−SSw ))2
3 Kro = wi (9)
k = 1014 ( FZI )
(1 − Φ )
(4) where: Sw = total water saturation, fraction of
porosity; Kro and Krw = relative permeability to
According to Amaefule et al, the FZI is a unique reservoir liquid and to water. Figures 2 and 3 are
parameter that incorporates the attributes of texture and example for the SK D7000X reservoir and BY
mineralogy in the discrimination of distinct pore M1000X.
geometries and facies. Uguru et al (1998) used the 1
Propriety software
SPE 140623 Pseudo-components for Nigerian Heavy Oil and Bitumen 3

Model Comparison and Application in Reserves Further application of derived relative permeability
Estimation and end points was in the aspect of sensitivity analysis
to determine the full range of Gas Recovery factors, for
Case A reserves estimation from Material Balance. Relative
Relative Permeability curves from from Park Jones Permeability curves from Park Jones model, using
model using log derived Swi was compared with continuous, log derived Swi and Sw and that from
Relative Permeability curves from Corey correlation Corey correlation, assuming average reservoir Swi, Sw
and in extension with the several mutations based on and other Corey paramenters, were included in
the Corey model. sensitivity runs for BY M1000X. These expanded the
The Corey correlations of the relative permeability range of uncertainty in Recovery Factors of 66% – 80%
of oil and water are given as: (Table -1) as against a narrower band of 66% – 70% if
only core data was used. This makes for better
No uncertainties management.
Kro = Koro (1 - Swn) (10)
and Irreducible water saturation as a continuous curve has
been generated for target reservoirs by assuming
Nw equivalence of different permeability models. This (Swi)
Krw = Korw Swn (11)
has been used as input for estimating relative
Where permeability, a technique here proposed for compensating
for data shortfalls and complementing available data for
better uncertainty management. The impact has been a
Sw − Swi significant improvement in turn around time and quality
Swn = ( 12) of history matching reservoir performance (note: the
1 − Swi − Sorw history matching is not discussed in this paper). The
technique also provides the opportunity.
Swn is the normalized water saturation value. Acknowledgments
The authors wish to thank the management of
The empirical parameters No and Nw can be SPDC for permission to publish.
obtained from measured data either by optimizing to Our thanks also go out to our collegues in the
analytical interpretation of measured data, or by Reservoir Engineering discipline, Ekpah Innocent and
optimizing using core flow numerical simulator to Ibitokun Nicholas for their contributions.
match the experiment (often called history matching). References
No = 2, Nw = 4 was estimated by Corey. The physical 1. Corey, A.T., 1954, “The interrelation between
property Korw is called the end point of the water gas and oil relative permeabilities”, Producers
relative permeability, and it is obtained either before or Monthly, vol. 19, no. 1, November, p. 38-41.
together with the optimizing of No and Nw. 2. Jones, P. , 1945, Production Engineering and
Figure 4 and 5 shows comparison for two Reservoir Mechanics (Oil, Condensate and
reservoirs in AL Field, the S2000X from AL-33 well Nutural Gas), The Oil and gas Journal
and H3000X reservoir from AL-6. From the two 3. Timur, A.: “An Investigation of Permeability,
comparisons above, it was observed that the curves Porosity, and Residual Water Saturation
from the Park Jones model, when used for Material Relationship for Sandstone Reservoirs,”The Log
Balance history matching, gave a better match than the Analyst, Vol. 9, No. 4, (July-August 1968), pp. 8.
curves from the Corey correlation. Need result data as a 4. Coats, G.R. and Dumanoir, J.L.: “A New
back up to this assumption. Approach to Improved Log-Derived Permeability,”
The Log Analyst, (January-February 1974), pp. 17.
Case B 5. Amaefule, J.O., Tiab, D “ Enhanced Resevoir
An attempt was also made to compare the results Description: Using core and log data to identify
from the two models with the results from core analysis Hydraulic (flow) units and predict permeability
for cores from the same reservoir section (Figure 6). in uncored intervals/wells, SPE 26436, presented
The observation from this comparison is that the th
68 ATCE Houston, TX 1993.
results from the three method yield wide variations. 6. Uguru, C.I., Onyeagoro, U.O.,
The only way to identify the most accurate model in Lin, J.,
this case was to take them all into the dynamic realm Okkerman, J., and Sikiru, I.O., SPDC Nigeria
and find out which of them best provides a match for Ltd “Permeability Prediction Using Genetic Unit
water and hydrocarbon production. Averages of Flow Zone Indicators (FZIs) and
Neural Networks”. SPE 98828 (2005).
4 Lawal A.K. and Adenuga, A. SPE 140623

7. Appendix: Figures & Tables

SPE 140623 Pseudo-components for Nigerian Heavy Oil and Bitumen 5










0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

Krw_Coates Krg_Coates Krw_Tixier Krg_Tixier

Figure 2:Derived Kro Vs Sw and Krw Vs Sw illustrative Figure 3: BY M1000X reservoir Rel Perm
curves examples for GB D7000






0.200 0.700


0.500 0 1





0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9
Water Saturation
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

Water Saturation
krw kro Krw_PD Krg_PD

krw kro Krw _PD Krg_PD

Krw/o – Relperm from logs Krw/o – Relperm from logs

Krw/o_PD – Relperm from Corey model Krw/o_PD – Relperm from Corey model
Krw/o_RJK – Relperm from Modified Corey model Krw/o_RJK – Relperm from Modified Corey model
Figure 4: AL 6 Rel Perm. Model Vs Corey Rel Perm model for Figure 5: AL 33 Rel Perm. Model Vs Corey Rel Perm model
H3000 reservoir. Krw/o – Relperm from logs; Krw/o_PD – Relperm for S2000 reservoir. Krw/o – Relperm from logs; Krw/o_PD –
from Corey model; Relperm from Corey model;

Figure 6: NC -50 Rel. Perm Vs Core data for E2000

p Krw/o –( Relperm from
logs; Krw/o_c –Relperm from core plug 1 Krw/o_cc – Relperm from core plug 2









0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
Water Saturation

Krw Kro Krw_PD Kro_PD Krw_RJK Kro_RJK

6 Lawal A.K. and Adenuga, A. SPE 140623

Values Results
S/N Combinations Sgrw Aquifer Sweep RF from MBAL UR
1 Sgrw H, Aq H, Es L, Relperm Cor. 0.3 H 80% 66.97% 1092.9
2 Sgrw H, Aq H, Es M, Relperm Cor. 0.3 H 85% 68.76% 1122.1
3 Sgrw H, Aq H, Es M, Relperm Log 0.3 H 85% 70.04% 1143.08
4 Sgrw H, Aq H, Es H, Relperm Cor. 0.3 H 90% 69.50% 1134.31
5 Sgrw M, Aq H, Es L, Relperm Log 0.25 H 80% 74.71% 1219.26
6 Sgrw M, Aq H, Es M, Relperm Log 0.25 H 85% 75.02% 1224.36
7 Sgrw L, Aq H, Es H, Relperm Log 0.2 H 90% 80.12% 1307.58

Table –1: Combination of Relative permeability from core data complemented with that from logs broadened the
uncertainty range in Gas Recovery Factors (see green column).