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IPTC 15230

Wettability Quantification Prediction of Wettability for Australian

Hussam Goda, PetroPerth Consulting, and Peter Behrenbruch, University of Adelaide

Copyright 2011, International Petroleum Technology Conference

This paper was prepared for presentation at the International Petroleum Technology Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand, 79 February 2012.

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As a rock-fluid interaction property, wettability is well recognized to influence the flow in multi-phase systems such as
hydrocarbon reservoirs. In the laboratory, wettabilty measurements are made according to certain standard procedures and the
results are expressed as indices for comparative purposes. The two most commonly used wettability indices are the USBM
index, related to areas under capillary pressure curves, and the Amott-Harvey wettability index related to imbibition
characteristics. If such measurements are not available, relative permeability curve characteristics may be used to quantify

As is the case with most special core measurements, wettability tests are expensive and time consuming, with the
consequence that the number of plugs subjected to wettability testing is usually limited, often resulting in a poor definition of
reservoir wettability characteristics. One objective of the study presented is to introduce a mathematical expression, which
may be used to gauge relative wettability, as an alternative to the above-mentioned indices. The model has been validated
using data from Australian hydrocarbon basins. A genetic algorithm approach was utilised to tuning parameters in the
wettability model presented. The model compares favourably with laboratory measurements and may be used to predict
USBM indices if experimental values are not available. As such, the formulation presented may also be used in wettability

One of the relative permeability characteristics used to gauge wettability is the ratio of relative permeability end points. A
second objective in the presented research is to predict this ratio, useful for the prediction of relative permeability
characteristics. In considering possible analytical forms, the final derived formulae are extensions of the Carman-Kozeny

Reservoir wettability characterisation requires the knowledge of three types of data: rock related pore structure properties,
fluid properties and rock-fluid interaction properties. The knowledge of the mineralogy is also helpful in characterising
wettability. On the other hand, failure to properly characterise wettability may result in incorrect validation of special rock
properties, such as relative permeability, leading to wrong recovery factors for a particular reservoir situation.

Wettability may be viewed in different ways. Fundamentally, from thermodynamics, a system may be considered in terms
of an equilibrium state where wetting of a surface by a liquid can be correlated to the variation in the Gibbs free energy
(Berg, 1993). The balance between cohesive forces within the liquid (tend to pull up fluid drops) and adhesive forces
between liquid and solid (allow fluid to spread) are a measure of wettability (Embid, 1997). Quoting from the literature:
Wettability is defined as the tendency of one fluid to spread on or adhere to a solid surface in the presence of other
immiscible fluids. (Ahmed, 2001). Honarpour, et al. (1986) stated the following, a term used to describe the relative
attraction of one fluid for a solid in the presence of other immiscible fluids.

Generally, wettability is a rock-fluid interaction property that is caused by the adsorption of molar and/or organic
components on a rock surface. In the early years of the petroleum industry, it was commonly believed that all reservoirs
should be characterized as hydrophilic (water-wet). However, based on production characteristics and modern laboratory
2 IPTC 15230

experiments, reservoirs have been shown to exhibit a range of wettability characteristics, from strongly water-wet to oil-wet,
see for example Treiber, et al. (1972); Morrow (1976); Cuiec (1991). The overall point to stress is that in order to obtain
reliable laboratory flooding data, original (reservoir) wettability has to be preserved or restored, as discussed below.

In the absence of wettability measurements, some practical observations or rules of thumb have been used in the past to
obtain at least a qualitative measure of wettability, as related to the characteristic shape of relative permeability curves:
Craigs criteria (Craig, 1971), Corey exponents see for example Goda and Behrenbruch (2004), and as related to relative
permeability end points (Honarpour, et al., 1986; Behrenbruch, 2000). Care should be taken when using such rules as relative
permeability curves do not solely account for wettability; rather, they are representative of pore geometry, pore structure,
fluid saturation and fluid saturation history (Rao, 1997). Nevertheless, relative permeability experiments are also expensive,
time consuming and not always readily available. With these thoughts in mind, the main objectives for the study presented

1. Deliver a simple mathematical model that can predict USBM wettability to an acceptable accuracy,

2. Validate the model using data sets from Australian basins,

3. Introduce and validate a new semi-empirical formula to calculate end point effective permeability to oil, and

4. Establish and validate new semi-empirical formulas to calculate the ratio of relative permeability end points, and end
point effective permeability to water.

Overview of Wettability Types and Evaluation

As stated above, the validation of many core derived, experimental results requires knowledge of wettability and for accurate
petroleum recovery calculations representative reservoir wettability has to be properly incorporated. It is then important that
plugs used in (flooding) experiments are characterized in terms of wettability. One way to achieve this objective is to conduct
experiments using native plugs, assuming that original reservoir wettability has been preserved. However, wettability may be
altered if the core is exposed to oxygen and/or oil-based mud containing surfactant was used during coring (Grant and
Anderson, 1988). For such reasons, it is customary to first clean and dry plugs and then to restore wettability by aging plugs
in the laboratory using reservoir fluids, and undertaking measurements at elevated pressure and temperature conditions. It has
been recognised that the duration of the aging period is of paramount importance in achieving the desired restored
wettability. The aging period used by commercial laboratories may vary considerably from less than 100 hours to more 1000
hours for strongly oil-wet formations (Goda and Behrenbruch, 2004). Depending on wettability conditions, researchers have
reported wettability restoration after 145 hours (Wendel, et al., 1987) or even less time (Salathiel, 1973). For further details
on special core analysis and wettability, the reader may consult the reviews by Anderson, (1986, 1986a, 1986b, 1987, 1987a).

In terms of nomenclature, the full range of wettability requires definitions, reflecting all rock-fluid interaction states. The
extreme conditions are described by water-wet and oil-wet states. In the water-wet state, it is believed that all plug pores
regardless of size (big or small) are covered by water film where oil (or gas) is contained in the centre of large pores. In
contrast, oil-wet is the state where oil coats all available rock surfaces, with water residing in the centre of big pores. In
between these two states, a core plug may also be characterized in terms of intermediate wettability. The latter term describes
a state where the rock surface has approximately an equal tendency to be wetted by water and oil. There are two distinct types
of intermediate wettability; fractional and mixed. In fractional wettability (FW), some of the pores are water-wet, where other
pores are oil-wet. In other words, oil and water-wet pores may be random, regardless of the pore size (Skauge, et al., 2003;
Dixit, et al., 1998). Mixed wettability (Salathiel, 1973), on the other hand, describes a state where oil wets interconnected
large pores with an uninterrupted film. Dixit, et al. (1998) defined mixed wettability for the condition where pores wetted by
oil or water are sorted according to pore size. They further define two sub-categories of mixed wettability: mixed-wet large
(MWL) or mixed-wet small (MWS). In the former case, oil wets large pores whereas in the latter water does. In a mixed
wettability situation, conditions may also be strongly influenced by the mineralogy. For example the presence of carbonate
cement or clays may render a system locally more oil-wet.

As already mentioned above wettability may be quantified in the laboratory through the use of indices, or by using
relative permeability characteristics. As is well known, more fundamentally, wettability may be described in terms of contact
angle. However, some researchers: Brown and Fatt, (1956); Morrow, et al. (1973); Mungan (1981) questioned whether the
contact angle method is able to properly lead to a description of wettability in reservoirs. They pointed out a number of
limitations associated with the technique that makes it doubtful for reservoir rocks (Honarpour, at al., 1986). Some of these
limitations may be summarised:
IPTC 15230 3

1. For laboratory contact angle measurements silica and/ or quartz to symbolize sandstone and calcite for carbonate are
typically used. Measured contact angles may, therefore, not be representative as reservoir rocks also contain other
minerals. An example showing the importance of various substances is the study by Donaldson and Thomas (1971)
in which the authors measured relative permeability and wettability by employing manufactured core plugs with
varying silicon percent. Wettability was found to change from water-wet (for 0% silicon) to strongly oil-wet (for
10% silicon).

2. A pre-equilibrium time between the rock surface and fluid has to be taken into accounted. In other words, the rock
surface and particular fluid should stay in contact for a sufficient time period before introducing the other fluid. This
amount of time varies for different rocks and fluids.

3. Values of advancing and receding contact angles may differ considerably, up to 50o.

4. Representative contact angle measurements should ideally utilise reservoir fluids, which may not be available due to
safety, time and expense in recovery.

Considering these factors and others, petroleum scientists and engineers searched for other wettability indicators, trying to
overcome some of the aforementioned difficulties. The methods advocated by Amott (1959) and the U. S. Bureau of Mines
(USBM, Donaldson, 1969), and the associated indices and scales are often used by the petroleum industry. To determine the
wettability of a reservoir and to validate the aging process described above, indices should be determined for both native and
restored samples.
In the Amott technique, a brine-saturated plug is oil flooded to irreducible water saturation. Brine is then allowed to
spontaneously imbibe into the plug, and the amount of water is measured. Subsequently, the plug is placed into a centrifuge,
forcing more water to enter the plug. The forced amount of brine is measured and the total amount of brine (spontaneous
amount and forced amount) is calculated. The ratio between spontaneously imbibed water to the total amount defines the
Amott index to water. Similarly, the Amott index to oil may be obtained. A higher Amott index to oil implies an oil-wet
situation whereas a higher Amott index to water characterizes samples that are significantly water-wet. The wettability index
is then uniquely defined as the difference between both indices. In a Strict sense, the Amott index, IA, falls between 1, for a
strongly water-wet sample, and -1, for a highly oil-wet sample, with a value of zero assigned to neutral wettability. Later,
Cuiec (1984) introduced a modified scale for the Amott index that is known as the Amott-Harvey index. Table 1 shows
different wettability ranges for both Amott and Amott-Harvey indices.

Unlike the Amott method, the USBM method uses capillary pressure relationships to account for wettability. The method
requires both imbibition and secondary drainage capillary pressure experiments to be conducted (either on native or restored
plugs). Areas under the secondary drainage cycle (A1) and the imbibition cycle (A2) are calculated and the logarithm of the
ratio, log (A1/A2) is indicative of wettability (see Fig. 1). The USBM scale, IUSBM, can span values ranging from +
(strongly water-wet) to - (strongly oil-wet). Similar to the Amott scale, for neutral wettability the USBM scale shows a
value of zero. USBM values are also shown in Table1.

When specific wettability measurements are not available but relative permeability measurements have been made, an
appreciation of wettability may be obtained by considering relative permeability characteristics, as described in the following

Ratio of End Points. These may be determined from the ratio of maximum relative permeability to water (at residual oil
saturation) to maximum relative permeability to oil (at irreducible water saturation). If such a ratio in near unity, the plug is
strongly oil-wet, whereas a value of around 0.3 signifies water-wet conditions (Honarpour, at al., 1986; Behrenbruch, 2000).

Craigs Rule of Thumb. A three-part rule of thumb was suggested by Craig (1971). Basically, the rule uses irreducible water
saturation, saturation at the intersection point and the maximum relative permeability to water and ranges are shown in Table
2. It should be noted that this rule assumes that relative permeability curves were normalised to the maximum effective
permeability to oil). The intersection point on its own has also been proposed as a wettability indicator. It was found that the
intersection point moves towards a lower water saturation value and the relative permeability at the crossing point reads a
higher value, if a sample has been changed from being water-wet to an oil-wet state (Honarpour, at al., 1986).

Corey Exponents. The degree of curvature for water and oil relative permeability curves may be determined using Corey
exponents. Based on previous studies, see for example Goda and Behrenbruch (2004), a wettability matrix may be utilised to
give a relative measure of wettability. Table 3 gives an example.
4 IPTC 15230

Caution should be exercised when using any of the above, semi-quantitative indicators. As noted above, a relative
permeability curve does not only stand for wettability, but pore structure components also greatly affect the shape of relative
permeability curves.

Re-considering USBM and Amott indices, some researches have been investigating whether these measurements can be
correlated. The relationship between residual oil saturation and the Amott-Harvey index (Skauge and Ottesen, 2002), as
shown in Fig. 2, is not that convincing, but is similar to that published in Anderson (1987) using the USBM index, and this
fact points to the opportunity to correlate both measurements. However, Dixit et al. (1998) argued that, as both indices do not
rely on a firm theoretical background, any attempt at correlation may not be that meaningful, if at all possible. Moreover, an
obvious difference between the two methods is that the Amott index considers spontaneous imbibition of fluids whereas the
USBM index is based only on forced imbibition and secondary capillary pressure. This means that scatter should be expected
when correlating these measurements. For example, results from Crocker and Marchin (1986) as plotted in Rao and Bassioni
(2000) showed no relationship among contact angle, USBM and Amott-Harvey measurements. However, plots shown in
Torsaeter (1988) for both measurements resulted in a near linear relationship around a 45o line, with less data scatter. In their
paper Core Wettability: Should IAH Equal IUSBM?, Dixit, et al (1998) plotted empirical data from different literature sources,
as shown in Fig. 3. The plot on the left in Fig. 3 shows that all data points fall in quadrant A, with scatter being attributed to
the fact that both tests were conducted on different core plugs. In contrast, each point on the right hand side plot was obtained
from the same plug. In this work, plugs were classified in terms of wettability subsets, using FW, MWL and MWS, with a
linear relationship observed in the range -0.5 < IAH < 0.5 for FW. Moreover, analytically they found the following
relationships between both measurements for uniform pore size distribution plugs (also graphically shown in Fig. 4):

For FW cases,

1 + I AH
IUSBM = log (1)
1 I AH

For MWL cases,


I AH Rmax
v +1 v +1
Rmin ) (v +1
+ Rmax v +1
+ Rmin )
v +1
IUSBM = log (2)

v +1 v +1
) (
R v I AH Rmax Rmin + Rmax + Rmin
v +1 v +1
) v +1

max 2

For MWS cases,


v (
v +1 v +1
+ Rmin ) (
v +1
I AH Rmax Rminv +1
v +1
Rmax 2
IUSBM = log (3)

(v +1 v +1
) (
Rmax Rmin I AH Rmax Rmin R v
v +1 v +1
v +1

2 min

where (as defined in Dixit et al., 1996),

Rmin : minimum limit for uniform pore size distribution

Rmax : maximum limit for uniform pore size distribution

v : volume exponent

Skauge and Ottesen (2002) and Skauge et al. (2003) studied USBM and Amott-Harvey measurements from 13 reservoirs
and found similar conclusions as in Dixit, et al. (1998). For FW, the trend is close to a 45o line. For MWL, the trend tends to
deviate upward and downward for MWS (see Figs. 5a, 5b and 5c).
IPTC 15230 5

Apart from these equations that attempt to relate IUSBM and IAH, methods to quantify wettability are few in number. Also,
these methods tend to determine contact angle (which is not widely employed in the petroleum industry). Most recently, Li
and Horne (2002, 2003) developed a correlation to estimate contact angle by integrating Purcells equation (Purcell, 1949)
for absolute permeability and the Brooks and Corey model for capillary pressure (Brooks and Corey, 1966). Their final
equation is a function of rock parameters including entry pressure (Pe), porosity (), permeability (k), pore-size distribution
index () and lithology factor (F). The model can be presented as follows:

+ 2 k Pe
cos = (4)

where is the contact angle, and is the interfacial tension.

Available Data
For validating and checking performance of models developed and discussed in the next sections, a database was established
for different Australian basins, see Fig. 6. The database contains two types of data. The first type includes USBM
measurements by centrifuge on dried, cleaned and aged core plugs. Endpoint relative permeability values from flooding
experiments constitute the second data set. It should be noted that, flooding experiments for a large number of plugs are
conducted after restoring wettability. The data sets cover a wide range of absolute permeability and porosity and, represent
diverse rock types, grain size and different mineralogy. Australian formations also tend to demonstrate certain features of
diagenesis (as indicated by photomicrographs and scanning electron micrographs), such as quartz overgrowth and clay-filled
pores (Behrenbruch and Biniwale, 2005; Biniwale and Behrenbruch, 2004).

Wettability Model Results and Discussion

As mentioned above, knowledge about wettability is essential in evaluating hydrocarbon reservoirs. Most often laboratory
practice results in the single use of each core plug that is for one major experiment. Hence, plugs considered for relative
permeability measurements may not be considered for wettability testing. As a consequence, precise wettability conditions
for a particular relative permeability plug may be unknown. In this section, a new model is presented to estimate the USBM
wettability index on a field basis. The model is helpful in obtaining an estimate for wettability for untested plugs (for
example, relative permeability plugs). The model aims at minimising the use of correlation constants. Correlation parameters
used are readily available from routine core analysis (permeability and porosity) and primary drainage capillary pressure
(irreducible water saturation). The model may be represented as the following mathematical formula:

USBM = a1 S wir(
180 a4
cos a3 3.41 RQI (5)


k abs
RQI = 0.0314 (6)


USBM : USBM wettability index

Swir : Irreducible water saturation

RQI : Reservoir quality index

3.41 : Conversion constant from radian to degree

kabs : Absolute (air) permeability

6 IPTC 15230

: Porosity

0.0314 : Conversion constant from md to m2

a1, a2, a3, and a4 : Correlation constants

It may be argued that a wettability correlation with such parameters as RQI and Swir should not be possible, as none of the
latter is apparently a function of wettability, or vice versa. However, variation in RQI (kabs and ) and Swir are often related to
digenetic trends (for example clay types and content). Such diagenetic trends tend to be related to mineralogy where the latter
directly influences wettability. As a consequence, the proposed model may be useful in estimating wettability, provided a
reasonable correlation may be established for a specific formation under consideration.

As is seen from Eq. 5, the model contains four tuning parameters (a1 to a4), which may be calculated using available
empirical data and an optimisation routine. In this study, a genetic algorithm approach was used to derive an optimal solution.
Details on genetic algorithms can be found in some of the standard texts on the subject, for example Beasley et al. (1993);
Goldberg (1989); and Stender (1993). However, for reference and as a summary, a flowchart describing the genetic algorithm
approach (steps and operators) is presented in Fig. 7.

To ascertain model performance, the model was exposed to a data set containing the following: USBM, Swir, kabs and .
As a first step, the model was exposed to the entire data set, from all fields, and constants were initially determined. The
model predicted USBM values are plotted versus experimental values in Fig. 8. As evident, there is substantial scatter from
an expected 45o line trend. A set of error measurements, containing correlation coefficient (r2), root mean square error
(RMSE) and mean absolute error (MAE) were considered to quantitatively describe the performance of the model. Values of
r2, RMSE and MAE were determined to be 0.522, 0.275 and 0.202, respectively. It is perhaps not unexpected that the
outcome is rather less satisfactory as the data are representative of different Australian formations, i.e. formations
characteristics such as pore geometry pore size distribution, mineralogy, diagenesis and clay content all tend to vary
considerably among different formations. Hence, a number of different diagenetic trends produce a cloud for the overall data
rather than a clear, single trend.

In an attempt to sort out some of this diversity, the data was examined by subsets. Based on formations, the data set was
divided into five subsets. Cross-plots of estimated USBM values against calculated values for the five fields are re-presented
in Figs. 9 through 13. As can be seen from the figures, the model performance improved considerably, which may support
the assumed hypothesis. The data scatter around the 45o line is much reduced. The remaining scatter may be attributed to
uncertainty in the experimental procedure and accuracy and remaining variation in the rock fabric/mineralogy not accounted
for. Numerically, error measurements for the five sets are summarized in Table 4. In conclusion, the correlation (approach)
presented should prove useful in obtaining an idea about wettability for a plug that has not been subjected to wettability
testing, but rather has undergone other testing, e.g. relative permeability.

Estimation of Maximum Effective Permeability to Oil (komax)

Relative permeability endpoints may be of interest for various reasons, where komax at Swir is typically obtained from
centrifuge experiments. Alternatively, this parameter may be obtained through correlation of associated parameters, as has
been attempted here. For this purpose, a modified form of the well-known Carman-Kozeny equation has been utilized.
The work published by Kozeny (1927) and later extended by Carman (1938) resulted in the so-called Carman-Kozeny
equation. The equation expresses kabs as a function of porosity and pore structure properties, as follows:

( e ) 3 1 (7)
k abs =
(1 e ) 2 2 2
F S gv

kabs : absolute permeability (m2)
e : effective porosity (fraction)
F : pore throat shape factor (2 for circular cylinder)
IPTC 15230 7

: Tortuosity
Sgv : Surface area per unit grain volume (m-1)
For a particular core plug, the maximum permeability to oil, komax, may be viewed in terms of a modified permeability and
a modified porosity (Soi), resulting in the following, modified Carman-Kozeny equation:

( S oi ) 3 1 (8)
k o max =
(1 S oi ) 2 2 2
F S gv

Dividing Eq. 7 by Eq. 8 and re-ordering,

3 ( 1 )2 ( 2 S gv
2 )
k o max = S oi k abs (9)
( 1 S oi ) 2 ( 2 S gv
2 )

Tortuosity may be evaluated as a function of formation factor, porosity and saturation (Embid,

i = FF S i (10)

where FF is the formation factor

Assuming a plug filled with 100 percent oil (absolute conditions),

= FF (11)

For a plug with irreducible water saturation, tortuosity to oil is then given by:

= FF S (12)
oil oi

Incorporating the ideas of Equations 11 and 12 into Eq. 9,

3 (1 ) 2 1 (S gv2 )abs
k o max = S oi
(1 S oi ) 2 S oi
(S gv2 )oil k abs (13)
8 IPTC 15230

And in terms of Swir,

(1 )2 ( )
Sgv2 abs
ko max = (1 Swir ) kabs
( )
(1 (1 Swir ))2 Sgv2 oil

(S gv2 )abs
(S gv2 )oil
The term Sgv is normally difficult to quantify. If it is assumed, a priori, that the ratio,

is a constant for a particular field (or universally), Eq. 14 becomes,

(1 ) 2
k o max = C1 (1 S wir ) k abs (15)
(1 (1 S wir )) 2

Eq. 15 has been used in an attempt to validate the above-mentioned hypothesis, using data sets from different Australian
basins: Bonaparte, Cooper and Carnarvon. Results are illustrated in Figs. 14 through 17, comparing actual and calculated
results using Eq. 15. For field A, the Bonaparte basin (Fig. 14), and fields from the Cooper basin (Fig. 15), the equation
seems to perform very well, indicating a surface area ratio of unity. However, a different result was obtained for some other
fields tested, as shown in Figure 16 (Field B, the Bonaparte Basin). This means that a universal constant surface area ratio

( )
S gv

cannot be supported by the current work. However, a different constant value may be used to fit the
( )
S gv
= constant

data, as also indicated in Fig. 17. Table 5 gives corresponding error measurements for each data set. Further investigations
are ongoing and it is possible that the non-complying datasets contain too much diversity that has to be further addressed.

Ratio of End Points (wettability indicator); Estimation of Maximum Effective Permeability to Water (kwmax)
Continuing with an imaginary plug with porosity equal to Soi, at maximum effective permeability to water the space
available for water to follow may be considered as Soi - Sor. Equation 9 can now be re-written as,

( (S oi S or ))3 1
k w max = (16)
(1 (S oi S or ))2 F 2 S gv

Similarly, tortuosity for water may be considered as,

water = FF (S oi S or ) (17)

Dividing equation 8 by equation 16,

2 2
k o max (1 (S oi S or ))2 (S oi )3 F S gv water )
k w max
( (S oi S or ))3 (1 S oi )2 F 2 S gv
( )oil (18)
IPTC 15230 9

Incorporating Equations 12 and 17 into Eq. 18,

k o max (1 (S oi S or ))2 (S oi )3 S gv FF (S oi S or ) water
= (19)
k w max ( (S oi S or ))3 (1 S oi )2 (
S gv FFS oi 2
Further simplifying Eq. 19 and using Swir,

k o max (1 (S oi S or ))2
(S oi ) S gv water ( )
k w max
(S oi S or ) (1 S oi )2 S gv
( )oil (20)

( 2
S gv )water , the ratio is replaced with a
(S gv2 )oil
As it is stated above, due to difficulties in quantifying

constant C2, Eq. 21.

k o max (1 (1 S wir S or ))2 (1 S wir )

= C2 (21)
k w max (1 S wir S or ) (1 (1 S wir ))2
Maximum effective permeability to water may be determined employing Eq. 22,

(1 S wir S or ) (1 (1 S wir ))2

k w max = C3 k o max (22)
(1 (1 S wir S or ))2 (1 S wir )
And assuming C2 and C3 in Equations 21 and 22 to be unity reduces equations to the following
forms (Eqs. 23 and 24),

k o max (1 (1 S wir S or ))2 (1 S wir )

= (23)
k w max (1 S wir S or ) (1 (1 S wir ))2
(1 S wir S or ) (1 (1 S wir ))2
k w max = k o max (24)
(1 (1 S wir S or ))2 (1 S wir )
Eq. 24 was used in a comparison study. However, the reader should be reminded that residual oil saturation, Sor, contains
considerable uncertainty for many reasons, among others: general experimental conditions (type of experiment), flooding
conditions such as rate, improper correction of capillary end effect, effects from clay etc. Of course, Sor is a function of

Three data sets from the Bonaparte basin (Laminaria, Corallina and Buffalo fields), and collectively fields from the
Cooper-Eromanga basin were considered using the new methodology. As can be seen, for the Bonaparte basin (Fig. 18), C3
can be assumed to be unity. However, for the Cooper-Eromanga Basin fields and the Buffalo field (Figs. 19 through 21),
values of 0.4 and 0.93 for C3 are calculated respectively and found to give the best performance, see Figs. 20 and 22. Error
measurements (r2, RMSE, MAE) for the three data sets are reported in Table 6. As mentioned above already, the Cooper-
Eromanga dataset represents data from diverse onshore fields, likely leading to a noncompliant C3. The Buffalo dataset
suffers from diverse experimental procedures for the different plugs, perhaps responsible for noncompliant behaviour in this
10 IPTC 15230

Rock wettability influences multi-phase flow during flooding experiments. In order to validate experimental results from
special core analysis studies, knowledge of wettability conditions, in terms of indices or indicators is seen to be of paramount
importance. To address this aspect, the current research has resulted in a number of models or formulae, as follows:

1. A new model to predict USBM wettability has been derived for a particular formation under consideration, provided
a digenetic trend is evident and co-relatable. The new model is able to predict USBM indices using readily available
measurements; namely, absolute permeability, porosity and irreducible water saturation. The new model was
exposed to a number of different data sets from Australian hydrocarbon basins, showing reasonable performance.

2. A new analytical equation to predict maximum effective permeability to oil has been developed. The new equation
is an extension of the Carman-Kozeny equation. To validate the formulation, the output from the equation was
compared with centrifuge experimental data from Australian basins, demonstrating excellent performance.

3. A new equation to predict effective permeability to water at residual oil saturation was also established, again using
the Carman-Kozeny formula as a basis. The equation gave reasonable performance when compared to
laboratory/field data.

4. Equations mentioned under 2 and 3 may be used to determine relative permeability endpoint ratios, being a function
of porosity, Swir and Sor. In the absence of specific wettability measurements (and/or relative permeability data), the
new formula may be used as an indication of wettability.

a1, a2, a3, a4 = correlation coefficients
A1, A2 = areas under capillary curve for determining the USBM index
C1, C2 = correlation coefficients
F = lithology factor; pore throat shape factor
IAH = Amott-Harvey Index
IUSBM = USBM wettability Index
k, kabs = absolute permeability
ko = water permeability
kw = oil permeability
Pe = capillary entry pressure
r = correlation coefficient
R = limit of pore size distribution
Sgv = surface area per unit grain volume
Soi = initial oil saturation
Sor = residual oil saturation
Swir = irreducible water saturation
, e = effective porosity
= pore size distribution index
= contact angle
= volume exponent
= interfacial tension
= tortuosity
IPTC 15230 11

The authors would like to acknowledge that the research presented in this paper was carried out while both were at the
University of Adelaide, with financial support of the following sponsors: BHP Billiton, Chevron, Santos Ltd and Woodside

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IPTC 15230 13

Table 1: Common wettability indices.

Strongly Slightly Neutral Slightly Strongly

oil-wet oil-wet wet water-wet water-wet

Amott -1 0 1

Cuiec -1.0<AI<-0.3 -0.3<AI<-0.1 -0.1<AI<0.1 0.1<AI<0.3 0.3<AI<1.0

A1 A1 A1
USBM < log <0 log =0 0 < log < +
A2 A2 A2

Table 2: Craigs rule of thumb for wettability. Table 3: Corey exponents - matrix for wettability.

Measurement / Type Wettability Class Corey exp. Corey exp.

Oil-wet Water-wet to water to oil
of wettability
Oil-wet 23 68
Irreducible water > 20%
< 15%
saturation, Swir (to 25%)
Slightly oil-wet 24 26

Sw Slightly water-wet 46 26
< 50% > 50%
(at intersection pt.)
Water-wet 6-8 2-4
Max relative > 0.5
permeability to < 0.3
( 0.9)

Table 4 Error Measurements for wettability model. Table 5: Error measurements for maximum
effective permeability to oil formula.

Error r2 RMSE MAE Error RMSE MAE

Measurement r2
Measurements (md) (md)
Data set in Fig. 9 0.951 0.080 0.073 Bonaparte 0.99 67.2 40.0
Data set in Fig. 10 0.935 0.123 0.093 Cooper- 0.82 144.7 73.6
Eromanga Basin
Data set in Fig. 11 0.925 0.118 0.102 Buffalo Field 0.97 500.0 420.1
Data set in Fig. 12 0.990 0.007 0.006 Buffalo Field 0.97 59.3 48.1
C = 0.5
Data set in Fig. 13 0.999 0.008 0.007
14 IPTC 15230

Table 6: Error measurements for maximum

effective permeability to water formula.


Measurements (md) (md)
Bonaparte Basin
0.90 177.1 124.6
C2 = 1
Bonaparte Basin
0.90 115.3 74.7
C2 = 0.70
0.84 423.3 227.1
Basin, C2 = 1

0.84 137.0 85.4
Basin, C2 = 0.43

Buffalo Field
0.92 74.9 47.6
C2 = 1
Buffalo Field
0.92 60.0 46.0
C2 = 0.87
Fig. 1a: Capillary pressure curves for water-wet sample,
modified after Robin, 2001.

Neutral (intermediate) wet

Capillary Pressure (psi)

Water Saturation (%)

Fig. 1b: Capillary pressure curves for oil-wet sample, Fig. 1c: Capillary pressure curves for natural wet sample,
modified after Robin, 2001. modified after Robin, 2001.
IPTC 15230 15

Fig. 2: Residual oil saturation as a function of Amott-Harvey Fig. 4 Relationship between USBM and Amott-Harvey indices
index, Skauge and Ottesen, 2002. as a function of different wettability types, Dixit et al., 1998.

Fig. 3: USBM vs. Amott-Harvey indices correlation, different sources from literature, Dixit et al., 1998.
16 IPTC 15230

Fig. 5a: USBM vs. Amott-Harvey indices for FW type of wettability, Skauge et al., 2003.

Fig. 5b: USBM vs. Amott-Harvey indices for MWL type of wettability, Skauge et al., 2003.
IPTC 15230 17

Fig. 5c: USBM vs. Amott-Harvey indices for MWS type of wettability, Skauge et al., 2003.


Fig. 6: Major Australian hydrocarbon basins, modified after Ruth, 2003.

18 IPTC 15230

First Data Set
Second Data Set
0.5 Third Data Set
Forth Data Set

USBM (estimated)
Fifth Data Set



-1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0
USBM (measured)

Fig. 7: Genetic algorithm flow chart. Fig. 8: Predicted vs. measured USBM cross plot, all data.

Fig. 9: Predicted vs. measured USBM cross plot, first data set. Fig. 10: Predicted vs. measured USBM cross plot, second data

Fig. 11: Predicted vs. measured USBM cross plot, third data set. Fig. 12: Predicted vs. measured USBM cross plot, fourth data
IPTC 15230 19

C = 1.00



komax (estimated)


0.01 0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000
komax (measured)

Fig. 13: Predicted vs. measured USBM cross plot, fifth data set. Fig. 14: Predicted vs. measured komax cross plot,
Bonaparte Basin (C = 1.00).

Fig. 15: Predicted vs. measured komax cross plot, Fig. 16: Predicted vs. measured komax cross plot,
Cooper-Eromanga Basin (C = 1.00). Buffalo Field (C = 1.00).

C = 1.00


kwmax (estimated)



0.01 0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000
kwmax (measured)

Fig. 17: Predicted vs. measured komax cross plot, Fig. 18: Predicted vs. measured kwmax cross plot,
Buffalo Field (C = 0.50). Bonaparte Basin (C = 1.00).
20 IPTC 15230

10000 10000
C = 1.00 C = 0.40

1000 1000

100 100
kwmax (estimated)

kwmax (estimated)
10 10

1 1



0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 0.001
0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000
kwmax (measured)
kwmax (measured)

Fig. 19: Predicted vs. measured kwmax cross plot, Fig. 20: Predicted vs. measured kwmax cross plot,
Cooper-Eromanga (C = 1.00). Cooper-Eromanga (C = 0.40).

1000 1000
C = 1.00
C = 0.93
k wmax (estimated)

100 100
kwmax (estimated)

10 10

1 1
1 10 100 1000 1 10 100 1000
kwmax (measured) kwmax (measured)

Fig. 21: Predicted vs. measured kwmax cross plot, Fig. 22: Predicted vs. measured kwmax cross plot,
Buffalo Field (C = 1.00). Buffalo Field (C = 0.93).