Immiscible/Near-Miscible relative permeability for confined fluids at high-pressure and high-temperature for a fractal reservoir

Mingyu Cai, Yuliang Su, Shiyuan Zhan, Derek Elsworth, Lei Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The complex interaction between fluids and solids in reservoirs includes interface slip, capillary confinement and the diffusion and mass transfer between CO2 and oil and results in intensely nonlinear flow complexity. This study proposes a relative permeability model that accommodates a fractal pore size distribution and honors these complex process interactions. The relative permeability to CO2 flooding, in the near-miscible region, is predicted through interpolation based on the Gibbs free energy (GFE). The thermodynamic phase behavior of the fluids in the nanopores is considered by applying critical shifts in the temperatures and pressures. A volume-translated Peng-Robinson equation of state is used to calculate the CO2 and n-alkane densities to high reservoir pressure. Fluid-based correlation and modified volumetric mixing rules are then used to extend the viscosity calculations to mixtures with heavy hydrocarbon components. Predictions from the proposed model better fit experimental observations relative to previous models similarly incorporating fractal theory. The nanopores are shown to increase the relative permeability of the non-wetting phase by decreasing the viscosity ratio of the two phases. Increasing key parameters that are related to the pore structure, e.g. the fractal dimension, Df, and critical pore radius, rc, increases the relative permeability of the non-wetting phase. The GFE-based interpolation contributes to the smooth and continuous change in the relative permeability parameters local to the critical point of the mixture, with the confined fluid more likely to be miscible at the same pressure than the bulk fluid. This model can be integrated with a compositional simulator to solve field-scale problems but accommodating the micro-scale physics of unconventional reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number122389
StatePublished - Feb 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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