Effect of Temperature on Athabasca Type Heavy Oil – Water Relative Permeability Curves in Glass Bead Packs

Mohammad Ashrafi, Yaser Souraki, Ole Torsaeter


There have been a number of somehow contradictory reports in the literature on the effect of temperature on oil and water relative permeabilities. Although some authors have reported the dependence of relative permeability curves on temperature, others have attributed these dependencies to artifacts inherent in unsteady-state method of relative permeability measurement. In order to further investigate the impact of temperature changes on the relative permeability data, we have conducted laboratory core flooding experiments on heavy oil systems. The porous media used was glass bead packs, and the Athabasca type bitumen with varying viscosities was displaced by hot water. The history matching technique was conducted on production and pressure differential data to get the relative permeability curves.

Results indicated that generally the increase in initial water saturation and the decrease in residual oil saturation are expected by increasing temperature. However, viscous instabilities can rule out the above mentioned trends. No temperature dependency of either oil or water relative permeability can be justified in our tests. The changes in relative permeabilities by temperature are probably related to experimental artifacts, viscous fingering and changes in oil to water viscosity ratio and not fundamental flow properties.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/eer.v2n2p113

Energy and Environment Research   ISSN 1927-0569 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0577 (Online)
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