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

Amalokwu, Kelvin; Papageorgiou, Giorgos; Chapman, Mark; Best, Angus I. ORCID: 2017 Modelling ultrasonic laboratory measurements of the saturation dependence of elastic modulus: new insights and implications for wave propagation mechanisms. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 59. 148-159.

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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was published in International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2017.02.009
Modelling_paper_final_ack.pdf - Accepted Version

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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.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 17505836
Additional Keywords: Acoustic properties; Seismic attenuation; Elasticity and anelasticity; Partial saturation; Wave propagation
Date made live: 28 Apr 2017 13:56 +0 (UTC)

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