Digital rock physics in low-permeable sandstone, downsampling for unresolved sub-micron porosity estimation

Mohammad Ebadi, Ivan Makhotin, Denis Orlov, Dmitri Koroteev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The approach to handle the unresolved pores at 3D X-ray Micro Computed Tomography (μCT) images of core samples is developed. It enables a sufficient widening of digital rock studies for tight rocks. The μCT images of a low-permeable sandstone with a resolution of 1.2 μm/voxel have been generated. Pore Size Distribution shows the presence of a significant amount of sub-resolution pores. Downsampling has been applied to estimate the actual porosity with extrapolation. Visual noise, artifacts, and roundoff errors are the major factors affecting the quality of μCT images. We apply transform and spatial domain filtering to minimize all the artifacts. Regarding the overall concept of porosity and through running a geometrical histogram analysis, the Random Walker segmentation as a robust mathematical algorithm has been applied to turn the greyscale μCT images into binary ones resembling pores and grains. Next, the porosity of the binary images with a resolution of 1.2 μm/voxel has been calculated. The procedure continues with downsampling to artificially reduce the resolution and calculate the corresponding porosity. It has been observed that the calculated porosity for the highest resolution of 1.2 micrometer is still lower than the experimental value which is due to the existence of pores which their sizes are less than 1.2 micrometer, and cannot be seen in the CT images. In order to take the effects of sub-resolution pores into account, an extrapolation relying on the downsampling technique has successfully been applied. The implemented technique is based on the fact that the porosity of the reservoir rock sample is not a function of resolution. However, plotting of the calculated porosities versus their relevant resolutions indicates that the value of porosity has an inverse relationship with the voxel size. In other words, it could be interpreted that the closest values of the calculated porosity to the laboratory reports will be the output of the image processing when the size of voxel moves towards zeros as much as possible, which is technically impossible. Instead, a trendline can be fitted into the scatter plot of porosity versus resolution and find its extrapolation value for the voxel size of zero, which provides the porosity as close as possible to the experimental value. The main logic behind the digital core analysis is to calculate the properties only according to the digital images. Although there are some studies in which modifications have been done to consider the effects of sub-resolution pores, they are severely suffering from mathematical complexities, and they are mainly based on the global thresholding. The proposed technique can provide an accurate value of porosity when there are no additional data about the pore structure of the sub-micron scale.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociety of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Europec Featured at 82nd EAGE Conference and Exhibition
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)9781613997123
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventSPE Europec Featured at 82nd EAGE Conference and Exhibition - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 8 Dec 202011 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameSociety of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Europec Featured at 82nd EAGE Conference and Exhibition


ConferenceSPE Europec Featured at 82nd EAGE Conference and Exhibition


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