Reservoir characterization

Digital Rock Analysis of Complex Porous Media using High-Performance Computing Technology

Thermo Scientific e-Core Software is a unique, high-performance computing platform for the characterization of complex porous media. It focuses on the three essential components of Digital Rock Analysis: parallel computing, multiscale modeling, and process-based reconstruction of 3D volumes.

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3D computer view giving insight to characterization of complex porous media
Source: Thermo Scientific

As the application of Digital Rock Analysis (DRA) expands in industrial and academic settings, the need for digital investigation of more complex porous media, such as carbonates and tight rocks, has increased in the market. These materials exhibit a wide range of different mesoscale properties induced by their complex, multi-scale pore structures and their connectivity. The existence of complex pore space topology and wide pore size distributions requires computations to be done at high resolutions and in a large field of view. This means that the DRA of these samples must have three essential components of "parallel computing, multiscale modeling, and process-based reconstruction of 3D volumes." These are the three main pillars of Thermo Scientific™ e-Core Software, making it a unique solution for the characterization of more heterogeneous porous materials.

e-Core Software is an electronic rock core laboratory that supports high-performance computing, multi-node (parallel), and multi-instance (external) simulations. It computes single and multiphase petrophysical properties by simulating fluid flow in the pore space of permeable rocks. The calculation of petrophysical parameters, e.g., absolute permeability, formation factor, and NMR, and the calculation of multiphase flow properties are based entirely on the 3D numerical rock models, imported micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), or imported focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM) volumes, combined with information on the fluid characteristics.


Additionally, the e-Core Software technology simulates the natural processes of sedimentary rock formation: sedimentation, compaction, and diagenesis. This process-based 3D reconstruction technique enables the generation of different statistical representations of a 3D volume from statistical analysis of 2D images. Computation of the corresponding petrophysical properties for each of the generated 3D volumes can produce probability functions for each of the computed petrophysical properties, such as absolute permeability, formation factor, and NMR, as well as the capillary pressure and relative permeability curves. Another highlight of e-Core Software is its ability to create "sensitivity analysis" case studies with a single mouse click. These case studies can be run in a parallel or batch mode, depending on available computational resources.

The "multiscale feature" of e-Core Software is specifically designed to deal with heterogeneity at different scales. e-Core Software combines the resolvable pore space with different rock types for the simulation of petrophysical properties in the whole-core samples. These rock types are defined to capture different scale-dependent heterogeneity that could be caused by different pore space topology at different scales or different minerals or a combination of both scenarios.

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