Forced imbibition into a limestone: measuring P-wave velocity and water saturation dependence on injection rate
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Quantitative interpretation of time-lapse seismic data requires knowledge of the relationship between elastic wave velocities and fluid saturation. This relationship is not unique but depends on the spatial distribution of the fluid in the pore-space of the rock. In turn, the fluid distribution depends on the injection rate. To study this dependency, forced imbibition experiments with variable injection rates have been performed on an air-dry limestone sample. Water was injected into a cylindrical sample and was monitored by X-Ray Computed Tomography and ultrasonic time-of-flight measurements across the sample. The measurements show that the P-wave velocity decreases well before the saturation front approaches the ultrasonic raypath. This decrease is followed by an increase as the saturation front crosses the raypath. The observed patterns of the acoustic response and water saturation as functions of the injection rate are consistent with previous observations on sandstone. The results confirm that the injection rate has significant influence on fluid distribution and the corresponding acoustic response. The complexity of the acoustic response - that is not monotonic with changes in saturation, and which at the same saturation varies between hydrostatic conditions and states of dynamic fluid flow – may have implications for the interpretation of time-lapse seismic responses.
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