Relevance of Computational Rock Physics - SEG Technical Paper, October 2011
Technical paper in SEG's latest issue of Geophysics.
To validate the transport (fluid and electrical) and elastic properties computed on CT scan pore-scale volumes of natural rock, we first contrast these values to physical laboratory measurements.We find that computational and physical data obtained on the same rock material source often differ from each other. This mismatch, however, does not preclude the validity of either of the data type — it only implies that expecting a direct match between the effective properties of two volumes of very different sizes taken from the same heterogeneous material is generally incorrect. To address this situation, instead of directly comparing data points generated by different methods of measurement, we compare trends formed by such data points. These trends include permeability versus porosity; electrical formation factor versus porosity; and elastic moduli (elastic-wave velocity) versus porosity. In the physical laboratory, these trends are generated by measuring a significant number of samples. In contrast, in the computational laboratory, these trends are often hidden inside a very small digital sample and can be derived by subsampling it. Hence, we base our validation paradigm on the assumption that if these computational trends match relevant physical trends and/or theoretical rock physics transforms, the computational results are correct. We present examples of such validation for clastic and carbonate samples, including drill cuttings.
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