Relative permeability is one of the key parameters governing fluid flow through porous media. Determination of relative permeability is traditionally conducted in the laboratory using either recombined reservoir oil or laboratory oil at simulated reservoir conditions or simply at laboratory room conditions. This is because it is expensive to sample representative uncontaminated reservoir fluids and extremely difficult to cut reservoir cores without altering their surface properties. Restoring rock properties to their original reservoir conditions has been a technical challenge to the industry. Upscaling laboratory special core analysis data to reservoir scale is also a concern. Consequently, the industry has been researching new methods to extract relative permeability in-situ including using specially designed permanent downhole electric resistivity array measurements.

In this study, a different approach was taken. A semianalytical model, developed to infer relative permeability from resistivity, was verified using experimental and field data. Relative permeability and resistivity were measured simultaneously in the laboratory. The results demonstrated that relative permeability derived from measured resistivity were close to the measured relative permeability. Relative permeability calculated from resistivity logs in two wells was compared to measured relative permeability with encouraging results. With this approach, it would be possible to obtain a distribution of relative permeability characteristics throughout an entire reservoir for enhanced reservoir engineering studies.

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