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Wettability of Tight and Shale Gas Reservoirs Open Access


Other title
Spontaneous imbibition
Tight gas reservoir
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Supervisor and department
Dehghanpour, Hassan (Petroleum Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Harris, Nicholas B (Earth & Atmospheric Science)
Bayat, Alireza (Civil Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Petroleum Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Abstract Abundant hydrocarbon resources in low-permeability formations are now accessible due to technological advances in multi-lateral horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing operations. The recovery of hydrocarbons is enhanced by the creation of extensive fracture networks. Fluid invasion into the rock matrix has been identified as a possible mechanism that could enhance hydrocarbon recovery, however, low levels of fracturing fluid are recovered after fracturing operations. Therefore, studying the mechanism of spontaneous liquid imbibition into reservoir rocks is essential for understanding (1) rock wetting affinity, (2) enhanced hydrocarbon recovery, and (3) the fate of non-recoverable fracturing fluid. The primary aim of this study is to investigate the wettability characteristics of shales and tight rocks by conducting a series of comparative and systematic imbibition experiments. Using multiple samples, we study functional dependence on petrophysical properties, petrographic properties, rock fabric, depositional lamination, and gamma ray response. Moreover, we investigate the relationship between water loss and rocks’ petrophysical properties, and the correlation between water loss and soaking time (i.e., well shut-in time). Finally, we present a simple method for estimating the degree of water loss at the field level. The results of spontaneous imbibition experiments show that the imbibition rate of water is significantly more than that of oil for shale samples drilled from the Horn River (HR) Basin. This observation is in contrast to the measured contact angle. We also measured and compared spontaneous imbibition of oil and water into crushed packs of similar HR samples. Interestingly, in contrast to the intact samples, the crushed samples consistently imbibed more oil than water. Therefore, clay swelling, micro-fracture induction, depositional lamination and osmotic potential are collectively responsible for excess water uptake. In similar comparative imbibition experiments of several binary samples collected from cores drilled in the Montney (MT) tight gas play, samples did not show any visible physical alteration. Both the measured contact angle and imbibition data indicate that MT tight sandstone is strongly oil wet. The comparative study suggests that the connected pore network of HR samples is strongly hydrophilic due to the presence of clay minerals and precipitated salt crystals coating the rock grains, while the well-connected pore networks of the MT samples are dominantly hydrophobic and very likely to be coated with pyrobitumen.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Dehghanpour, H., Lan, Q., Saeed, Y., Fei, H & Qi, Z. 2013. Spontaneous imbibition of brine and oil in gas shale: Effect of water adsorption and resulting micro fractures. Energy & Fuels, (27): 6, 3039-3094.Lan, Q., Ghanbari, E., Dehghanpour, H., Hawkes, R., 2014. Water Loss versus Soaking Time: Spontaneous Imbibition in Tight Rocks. Energy Technology.Lan, Q., Dehghanpour, H., Wood, J., Hanei, H., 2014. Wettability of the Montney Tight Gas Formation. Paper SPE 171620-MS will presented at SPE Canadian Unconventional Resources Conference, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 30 September-2 October.Lan, Q., Xu, M. X., Dehghanpour, H., Wood, J., 2014. Advances in Understanding Wettability of Tight and Shale Gas Formations. Paper SPE 170969-MS will presented at SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam, The Netherland, 27-29 October.

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