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Effect of Fluid Properties on Contact Angles in the Eagle Ford Shale Measured with Spontaneous Imbibition...

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ACS Omega
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Models of fluid flow are used to improve the efficiency of oil and gas extraction and to estimate the storage and leakage of carbon dioxide in geologic reservoirs. Therefore, a quantitative understanding of key parameters of rock–fluid interactions, such as contact angles, wetting, and the rate of spontaneous imbibition, is necessary if these models are to predict reservoir behavior accurately. In this study, aqueous fluid imbibition rates were measured in fractures in samples of the Eagle Ford Shale using neutron imaging. Several liquids, including pure water and aqueous solutions containing sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride, were used to determine the impact of solution chemistry on uptake rates. Uptake rate analysis provided dynamic contact angles for the Eagle Ford Shale that ranged from 51 to 90° using the Schwiebert–Leong equation, suggesting moderately hydrophilic mineralogy. When corrected for hydrostatic pressure, the average contact angle was calculated as 76 ± 7°, with higher values at the fracture inlet. Differences in imbibition arising from differing fracture widths, physical liquid properties, and wetting front height were investigated. For example, bicarbonate-contacted samples had average contact angles that varied between 62 ± 10° and ∼84 ± 6° as the fluid rose in the column, likely reflecting a convergence–divergence structure within the fracture. Secondary imbibitions into the same samples showed a much more rapid uptake for water and sodium chloride solutions that suggested alteration of the clay in contact with the solution producing a water-wet environment. The same effect was not observed for sodium bicarbonate, which suggested that the bicarbonate ion prevented shale hydration. This study demonstrates how the imbibition rate measured by neutron imaging can be used to determine contact angles for solutions in contact with shale or other materials and that wetting properties can vary on a relatively fine scale during imbibition, requiring detailed descriptions of wetting for accurate reservoir modeling.