Thursday, February 7, 2013

Highlights—Don’t Underestimate Perms (with apologies to Charles Nessler)

Predicting the permeability of subsurface sandstone bodies is a major challenge for petroleum production and ground water management. In this study, Walderhaug et al. test several methods of permeability prediction using almost 1900 samples from the Norwegian continental shelf and the Fontainebleau Sandstone.  The data indicate that for clay-free and very clay-poor sandstone, permeability can be calculated with the Kozeny equation.  In contrast, for sandstones containing more than ~ 3% clay, a modified Kozeny equation that accounts for pore system geometry provides more accurate results for sandstone with higher clay contents.  These results emphasize the hazards of predicting permeability from grain size and porosity alone, and illustrate the complexity of permeability-porosity relations in sandstones with clays.

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