Ramos Oliveira, G.J.; Campos de Oliveira, P.; Surmas, R.; de Paulo Ferreira, L.; Markötter, H.; Kardjilov, N.; Manke, I.; Montoro, L.A.; Isaac, A.: Probing the 3D molecular and mineralogical heterogeneity in oil reservoir rocks at the pore scale. Scientific Reports 9 (2019), p. 8263/1-10
Open Accesn Version

Innovative solutions have been designed to meet the global demand for energy and environmental sustainability, such as enhanced hydrocarbon recovery and geo-sequestration of CO2. These processes involve the movement of immiscible fluids through permeable rocks, which is affected by the interfacial properties of rocks at the pore scale. Overcoming major challenges in these processes relies on a deeper understanding about the fundamental factors that control the rock wettability. In particular, the efficiency of oil recovery strategies depends largely on the 3D wetting pattern of reservoir rocks, which is in turn affected by the adsorption and deposition of ‘contaminant’ molecules on the pores’ surface. Here, we combined high-resolution neutron tomography (NT) and synchrotron X-ray tomography (XRT) to probe the previously unobserved 3D distribution of molecular and mineralogical heterogeneity of oil reservoir rocks at the pore scale. Retrieving the distribution of neutron attenuation coefficients by Monte Carlo simulations, 3D molecular chemical mappings with micrometer dimensions could be provided. This approach allows us to identify co-localization of mineral phases with chemically distinct hydrogen-containing molecules, providing a solid foundation for the understanding of the interfacial phenomena involved in multiphase fluid flow in permeable media.