Spontaneous imbibition of water and determination of effective contact angles in the Eagle Ford Shale Formation using neutron imaging

by Victoria H. DiStefano, et al.


Understanding of fundamental processes and prediction of optimal parameters during the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing process results in economically effective improvement of oil and natural gas extraction.  Although modern analytical and computational models can capture fracture growth, there is a lack of experimental data on spontaneous imbibition and wettability in oil and gas reservoirs for the validation of further model development. In this work, we used neutron imaging to measure the spontaneous imbibition of water into fractures of Eagle Ford shale with known geometries and fracture orientations. An analytical solution for a set of nonlinear second-order differential equations was applied to the measured imbibition data to determine effective contact angles.  The analytical solution fit the measured imbibition data reasonably well and determined effective contact angles that were slightly higher than static contact angles due to effects of in-situ changes in velocity, surface roughness, and heterogeneity of mineral surfaces on the fracture surface.  Additionally, small fracture widths may have retarded imbibition and affected model fits, which suggests that average fracture widths are not satisfactory for modeling imbibition in natural systems. 

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Publication Citation

Journal of Earth Science 2017 28 (5) pp 874-887 April 25, 2018
DOI: DOI 10.1007/s12583-017-0801-1