Modelling ultrasonic laboratory measurements of the saturation dependence of elastic modulus: new insights and implications for wave propagation mechanisms

Kelvin Amalokwu, Georgios Papageorgiou, Mark Chapman, Angus I. Best

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Seismic time-lapse techniques are a valuable tool used to estimate the mobilization and distribution of stored CO2 in depleted reservoirs. The success of these techniques depends on knowing the seismic properties of partially saturated rocks with accuracy. It is commonplace to use controlled laboratory-scale experiments to determine how the fluid content impacts on their properties. In this work, we measure the ultrasonic P- and S-wave velocities of a set of synthetic sandstones of about 30% porosity. Using an accurate method, we span the entire saturation range of an air-water system. We show that the rocks’ elastic behaviour is consistent with patchy saturation and squirt flow models but observe a discontinuity at around 90% gas saturation which can be interpreted in two very different ways. In one interpretation, the responsible mechanism is frequency-dependent squirt-flow that occurs in narrow pores that are preferentially saturated. An equally plausible mechanism is the change of the mobile fluid in the pores once they are wetted. Extrapolated to seismic frequencies, our results imply that the seismic properties of rocks may be affected by the wetting effect with an impact on the interpretation of field data but would potentially be unaffected by the squirt flow effect. This provides strong motivation to conduct laboratory-scale experiments with partially saturated samples at lower frequency or, ideally, a range of frequencies in the seismo-acoustic range.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148–159
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Volume59
Early online date4 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Modelling ultrasonic laboratory measurements of the saturation dependence of elastic modulus: new insights and implications for wave propagation mechanisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this