Permeability Prediction from Mercury Injection Capillary Pressure: An Example from the Perth Basin, Western Australia
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For shale gas reservoirs, permeability is one of the most important—and difficult—parameters to determine. Typical shale matrix permeabilities are in the range of 10 microdarcy–100 nanodarcy, and are heavily dependent on the presence of natural fractures for gas transmissibility. Permeability is a parameter used to measure the ability of a rock to convey fluid. It is directly related to porosity and depends on the pore geometry features, such as tortuosity, pore shape and pore connectivity. Consequently, rocks with similar porosity can exhibit different permeability. Generally, permeability is measured in laboratories using core plugs. In some cases, however, it is difficult to obtain suitable core plugs. In these instances, other approaches can be used to predict permeability, which are chiefly based on mathematical and theoretical models. The approach followed in this peer-reviewed paper is to correlate permeability with capillary pressure data from mercury injection measurements. The theoretical and empirical equations, introduced in the literature for various conventional and unconventional reservoir rocks, have been used to predict permeability. Estimated gas shale permeabilities are then compared with results from transient and steady state methods on small pieces of rocks embedded in a resin disk. The study also attempts to establish a suitable equation that is applicable to gas shale formations and to investigating the relationship between permeability and porosity.
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