Carbon Dioxide Capture, Utilization & Sequestration Technical Section

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  • 1.  CO2/water relative permeability

    Posted 17 days ago

    I'm trying to get a better understanding of CO2/water relative permeability and possibly collect an analog database or relative permeability curves for first-pass use in numerical models for sandstones and carbonates (mostly dolomites) that do not have SCAL work done yet.  Primarily interested at this point in time in the Appalachian Basin (Rose Run, Medina/Clinton, Beekmantown Group, Knox Group).  Very few, if any, publications of actual core data in the literature.  Ideally, I'd like to have an analog database or eventually develop an internal knowledge-base where we can look up appropriate information on relevant systems.

    Does this approach seem reasonable?  If so, can anyone help with data or commentary?


    Eric Robertson
    Projeo Corporation
    Sr. Reservoiring Engineer Manager

  • 2.  RE: CO2/water relative permeability

    Posted 16 days ago

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for your question. CO2-brine relperm has been a topic of research for at least 15 years and there are several literature papers available. However, as with any data in the literature it really pays to carefully consider the quality of the data and the applicability to your situation.

    Before diving into literature papers it's worth revisiting the parameters that effect the relperms – which are primarily the wettability of the rock-fluid system and the characteristics of the porous media itself. For wettability there are papers which indicate that CO2-brine systems remain largely water-wet, except for rocks that contain a large amount of organic material (e.g. coal, bitumen) or have previously contained an oil charge that altered the wettability of the system. You could refer to this reference for example:
    CO2 wettability of seal and reservoir rocks and the implications for carbon geo‐sequestration - Iglauer - 2015 - Water Resources Research - Wiley Online Library
    Next the rock properties (e.g. tortuosity, porosity etc) would impact the relperms in the classical sense many of us are familiar with for water-wet hydrocarbon systems (e.g. a tighter rock would have a higher irreducible water saturation and the Corey exponent of the wetting brine phase would be higher).

    With the understanding of wettability and the rock's characteristics I would suggest you can then start screening legacy (hydrocarbon-water) data for analogues. It is often the case that a lot of that data (so long as it is good quality) can be analogous for CO2-brine behaviour.
    Finally, I would look to complement the summarised analogue hydrocarbon-brine data with some CO2 specific data – either through direct measurement or through a review of the CO2 literature. I have not worked the Appalachian Basin personally but there are high quality CO2 relperm datasets published from universities including Wyoming (Prof. M.Piri), Stanford (Prof. S.Benson) and Imperial College London (Prof. M.Blunt, Dr S.Krevor). As with any SCAL data set I would be checking to see that the report includes raw data (effluent volumes and pressure drops versus time, in-situ saturation monitoring by x- or gamma-ray) and has used appropriate procedures (e.g. care must be taken with unsteady-state floods if the CO2 and brine are not properly equilibrated as saturation changes can occur through dissolution) in order to judge the quality of the final relperms.

    Hopefully this acts as a useful starting off point – all the best pulling your dataset together.

  • 3.  RE: CO2/water relative permeability

    Posted 14 days ago

    Hi Eric

    At some point, Sally Benson (Stanford University) build a data repository for relative permeability of CO2 and water/brine for different rock types.

    Relative Permeability Explorer Goes Live | Benson Lab (

    I am not sure if this is still online. maybe dropping an email to one of her staff could point you to these data.

    This link points to a report in which there is a figure that shows the variability in rel perms.

    relative-permeability-analysis-describe-multi-phase-flow-co2-storage-reservoirs.pdf (

    and a lot of literature therein.

    Here are a few links to publications that mention carbonates.

    Review and implications of relative permeability of CO2/brine systems and residual trapping of CO2 - ScienceDirect

    Relative Permeability Characteristics for Supercritical CO2 Displacing Water in a Variety of Potential Sequestration Zones in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin | SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition | OnePetro

    Migration of CO2 through Carbonate Cores: Effect of Salinity, Pressure, and Cyclic Brine-CO2 Injection | Journal of Environmental Engineering | Vol 146, No 2 (

    Drainage and Imbibition CO2/Brine Relative Permeability Curves at Reservoir Conditions for Carbonate Formations | SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition | OnePetro

    Carbonates are quite complex so finding the right analogue is probably not straightforward and you might need a carbonate geologist to help out.

    I hope this helps. All the best !


    Suzanne Hurter
    Senior Scientist Specialist CCS
    The Netherlands