Abstract

Spontaneous imbibition (SI) into a porous medium is an important transport phenomenon in petroleum reservoir engineering. The study of spontaneous water imbibition is critical to predict the production performance in these reservoirs developed by waterflooding, especially in the fractured gas reservoirs with active aquifers. While some studies have been reported to characterize spontaneous water imbibition into gas-saturated rocks, they are either limited or inaccurate due to the fact that the existing models have specific assumptions that cannot be applied in other time intervals. To this end, we proposed a novel transition imbibition time t* and developed an all-time (including both early- and later-time SI) model to match the experimental SI data. Furthermore, we proposed a novel model to estimate capillary pressures at different water saturations and to characterize the water saturation profile in capillary-dominated stage. Comparison with the existing capillary pressure estimation models was performed to test the differences. The results demonstrated that the all-time model could fit the experimental imbibition data of the entire SI process satisfactorily. The new saturation model established in this paper can be well fitted with the water saturation profile measured by the X-ray computer tomography (CT) scanners. The results and findings from this work may be of great significance in many areas related to SI, particularly in the development of naturally fractured gas reservoirs with active aquifers.

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