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Two-Phase Flow within Geological Flow Analogies –a Computational Study

Dustin Crandall,1,2 Goodarz Ahmadi,1 Duane Smith,2,3 Marty Ferer2,3, Melissa Richards1 and Grant Brohmal2

1Clarkson University, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department, Potsdam, NY 13699

2Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, Morgantown WV 26505

3West Virginia University, Physics Department, Morgantown WV 26505

Displacement of a viscous fluid in heterogeneous geological media by a less viscous one does not evacuate 100% of the defending fluid due to capillary and viscous fingering. This is of importance in geological flows that are encountered in secondary oil recovery and carbon dioxide sequestration in saturated brine fields. Hele-Shaw and pore/throat cells are commonly used to study this in the labratory. Numerical simulations of this flow phenomenon with pore-throat models have been prevalent for over two decades. This current work solves the full Navier-Stokes equations of conservation within random pore-throat geometries with varying properties to study the resulting flow properties.

Verification of the solution method is performed by comparison of the model predictions with the available experimental data in the literature. Experimental flows in a pore-throat cell with a known geometrical structure are shown to be in good agreement with the model. Dynamic comparisons to a computational pore-throat model have been shown to be in good agreement as well. There are also additional two-phase immiscible flow patterns that can be identified from the current solutions for which the corresponding laboratory counter part or the pore-throat model predictions are not available. The identification of these flow patterns may allow more accurate modeling of fluid displacement on the reservoir scale.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90059©2006 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Buffalo, New York