Relative permeability measurements of composite cores - An experimental approach

Abdulrazag Y. Zekri, Reyadh A. Almehaideb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Some experimental tests require floods to be carried out on longer cores, typically 1-3 feet long. When whole cores are not available, side-wall cores each measuring 3-6 inches long are put together to make a composite core. It is the prevailing practice in the industry for composite core floods to order cores in an ascending permeability order, as this is thought to lower capillary forces for high flow rates and thus lessen the capillary end-effect. Langaas et al. (1998) have demonstrated through a theoretical study that a new criteria for composite core ordering should be followed (i.e., ordering cores in a descending order). In this work, we present results of an experimental composite core flooding study that was designed to test how the properties of the individual cores in a composite core-stack influence the measured residual oil saturation and relative permeabilities for an oil-water system typical of a water flood. The study was conducted for carbonate cores, predominant in the lower Arabian Gulf region, and involved composite cores stacked in an ascending, descending, and random order (according to the Huppler criteria; Huppler, 1969). Results of the experimental runs in this study show a significant effect of ordering on relative permeability evaluation, with values for K rw and K ro for composite cores in a descending order significantly different from the values for both random ordering and ascending ordering. Also, the recovery factor was highest for the composite core ordered in a descending order, followed by ordering according to Huppler's criteria, and then ascending order. These findings support Langaas et al. findings (i.e., the best ordering criteria is after decreasing permeability along the flow direction such that the core with the highest permeability is placed at the inlet).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-736
Number of pages20
JournalPetroleum Science and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Composite core
  • Permeability
  • Residual oil saturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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