Digital rock physics approach to simulate hydraulic effects of anhydrite cement in Bentheim sandstone

Wetzel, Maria; Kempka, Thomas; Kühn, Michael

Cementation of potential reservoir rocks is a geological risk, which may strongly reduce the productivity and injectivity of a reservoir, and hence prevent utilisation of the geologic subsurface, as it was the case for the geothermal well of Allermöhe, Germany. Several field, laboratory and numerical studies examined the observed anhydrite cementation to understand the underlying processes and permeability evolution of the sandstone. In the present study, a digital rock physics approach is used to calculate the permeability variation of a highly resolved three-dimensional model of a Bentheim sandstone. Porosity-permeability relations are determined for reaction- and transport-controlled precipitation regimes, whereby the experimentally observed strong decrease in permeability can be approximated by the transport-limited precipitation assuming mineral growth in regions of high flow velocities. It is characterised by a predominant clogging of pore throats, resulting in a drastic reduction in connectivity of the pore network and can be quantified by a power law with an exponent above ten. Since the location of precipitation within the pore space is crucial for the hydraulic rock properties at the macro scale, the determined porosity-permeability relations should be accounted for in large-scale numerical simulation models to improve their predictive capabilities.

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Wetzel, Maria / Kempka, Thomas / Kühn, Michael: Digital rock physics approach to simulate hydraulic effects of anhydrite cement in Bentheim sandstone. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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