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Heterogeneity of Subsurface Pore Distribution: Characterization based on Pressure and Tracer Responses to Identify Undiscovered Permeable Structures in Reservoirs
  • Mitsuo Matsumoto,
  • Kazuki Sawayama
Mitsuo Matsumoto
Kyushu University

Corresponding Author:matsumoto@mine.kyushu-u.ac.jp

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Kazuki Sawayama
Kyoto University
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Pressure transient and tracer testing are conventional methods employed to investigate physical properties associated with fluid flow and/or storage in subsurface reservoirs or aquifers. These methods have been adopted independently to investigate from different physical aspects. Here, to quantify the heterogeneity of pore distributions containing subsurface fluid, a novel concept, which combines the pressure and tracer concentration responses obtained during pressure transient and tracer tests, respectively, has been proposed and validated. Herein, the key parameter is the difference between the apertures of the equivalent planar fractures estimated from the pressure and tracer concentration responses. In particular, this difference is attributed to the fact that the pressure and tracer concentration responses obey different physical mechanisms, diffusion and advection–dispersion problems, respectively, that generate dissimilar responses to the heterogeneity of pore distribution. The concept was successfully validated using laboratory experiments and reservoir simulations conducted at multiple scales. As observed, the apparent pore volume estimated from the pressure responses tended to be larger than the actual value owing to the delay in pressure responses during propagation through the pore. By quantifying the existence of undiscovered permeable structures in a reservoir simulation model, the proposed concept provides an insightful guide for successful decision-making in explorational and developmental geothermal projects. Furthermore, the concept provides a scale for assessing the accuracy of a reservoir simulation model in expressing an actual heterogeneous permeable structure.