Pore network modeling of thin water film and its influence on relative permeability curves in tight formations

Minxia He, Yingfang Zhou* (Corresponding Author), Keliu Wu* (Corresponding Author), Yongle Hu, Dong Feng, Tao Zhang, Qing Liu, Xiangfang Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
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The thin water film stabilized by disjoining pressure is non-negligible in tight formations which results in significant difference in multiphase flow behavior compared with that in conventional formations. In this work, a pore network model is proposed to simulate two phase flow in tight formations to highlight the contribution of thin water film on multiphase flow. The newly developed pore network model includes the influence of thin water film on fluid configuration, capillary entry pressure, fluid conductance and connectivity during multiphase flow in pore space. Our approach is first validated with the existing pore network model and then the influence of thin water film on two-phase flow is investigated extensively. The results show that the connate water saturation increases and its associated oil relative permeability decreases as the average pore radius decreases. It also suggests that in water-wet systems, the influence of thin water film on both oil and water phases becomes significant when the average pore radius is smaller than 100 nm. Existence of thin water film will increase the proportion of film water and corner water, resulting in an increasement in oil phase relative permeability and a slight decline of water phase relative permeability in tight porous media dominated by angular pores and throats; while in porous media
dominated by circular shaped pores and throats, oil and water phase relative permeability are both enhanced due to better connectivity caused by thin water film; at
the same time swelling of water film results in lower residue oil saturation and higher end point of water relative permeability. We also found higher water relative permeability when porous media has more irregular pores.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119828
Number of pages19
Early online date17 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

We acknowledge the Beijing Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 2204093), Science Foundation of China University of Petroleum, Beijing (No.2462018YJRC033) and financial support from China Scholarship Council ((No. 201906440134). Dr. Yingfang Zhou would like to acknowledge the support from State Key Laboratory of Oil and Gas Reservoir Geology and Exploitation (Southwest Petroleum University), PLN201602.


  • Water film
  • Tight formation
  • Pore-network modeling
  • Quasi-static
  • multiphase flow


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