The upper percolation threshold and porosity–permeability relationship in sandstone reservoirs using digital image analysis

Payton, Ryan L.; Chiarella, Domenico; Kingdon, Andrew ORCID: 2022 The upper percolation threshold and porosity–permeability relationship in sandstone reservoirs using digital image analysis. Scientific Reports, 12 (1), 11311.

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Subsurface sandstone deposits represent globally ubiquitous reservoirs which can potentially provide the characteristics necessary for the effective geological storage of CO2. Geological carbon storage is widely agreed to be a key asset in tackling anthropogenic emissions and climate change to reach a sustainable ‘net zero’, despite the present financial challenges associated with it. Therefore, improved understanding of the characteristics of the materials in which we plan to store many gigatons of CO2 is critical. Developing cheaper characterisation techniques is therefore crucial to support the global push for net zero. In this work we use digital analysis of 3D microscale X-ray images of a range of sandstone samples to constrain the porosity–permeability relationship and the upper percolation threshold; the point at which near full pore structure connectivity is achieved. This is one of the most significant controls on the viability of carbon storage as a practical solution to achieving net zero. We find that the upper percolation threshold in sandstone occurs at ca. 14% total porosity whilst the relationship between porosity (ϕ) and permeability (K) can be defined as K=105.68ϕ3.88. The investigation of the upper percolation threshold may allow a target criterion to be designated when assessing potential carbon storage reservoirs, whilst investigation of the porosity–permeability relationship allows for a greater understanding of the fluid flow regimes in the subsurface. By using a digital technique to assess carbon storage reservoir potentiality we show that initial characterisation of reservoirs can be carried out rapidly and relatively economically, prior to further full reservoir characterisation studies. This approach is also non-destructive, allowing samples to be reused and multiple analytical phases performed on the same materials.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2045-2322
Date made live: 02 Aug 2022 08:40 +0 (UTC)

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