Nano- to Millimeter Scale Morphology of Connected and Isolated Porosity in the Permo-Triassic Khuff Formation of Oman

Carbonate reservoirs form important exploration targets for the oil and gas industry in many parts of the world. This study aims to differentiate and quantify pore types and their relation to petrophysical properties in the Permo-Triassic Khuff Formation, a major carbonate reservoir in Oman. For that purpose, we have employed a number of laboratory techniques to test their applicability for the characterization of respective rock types. Consequently, a workflow has been established utilizing a combined analysis of petrographic and petrophysical methods which provide the best results for pore-system characterization. Micro-computed tomography (μCT) analysis allows a representative 3D assessment of total porosity, pore connectivity, and effective porosity of the ooid-shoal facies but it cannot resolve the full pore-size spectrum of the highly microporous mud-/wackestone facies. In order to resolve the smallest pores, combined mercury injection capillary pressure (MICP), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and BIB (broad ion beam)-SEM analyses allow covering a large pore size range from millimeter to nanometer scale. Combining these techniques, three different rock types with clearly discernible pore networks can be defined. Moldic porosity in combination with intercrystalline porosity results in the highest effective porosities and permeabilities in shoal facies. In back-shoal facies, dolomitization leads to low total porosity but well-connected and heterogeneously distributed vuggy and intercrystalline pores which improves permeability. Micro- and nanopores are present in all analyzed samples but their contribution to effective porosity depends on the textural context. Our results confirm that each individual rock type requires the application of appropriate laboratory techniques. Additionally, we observe a strong correlation between the inverse formation resistivity factor and permeability suggesting that pore connectivity is the dominating factor for permeability but not pore size. In the future, this relationship should be further investigated as it could potentially be used to predict permeability from wireline resistivity measured in the flushed zone close to the borehole wall.


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