PIRI Research Group operates two distinct state-of-the-art laboratories and one advanced computing cluster at the University of Wyoming (UW) campus in Laramie, Wyoming. The first of these laboratories include the Encana Research Laboratory: Three Phase Flow in Porous Media and Computed Tomography constructed in 2008 located in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In early 2013 the construction of the Hess Digital Rock Physics Laboratory was completed and is housed on the third floor of the new Energy Innovation Center at UW. The computing cluster, CESERFer, is located in the engineering facilities and supports the Encana Research Laboratory.
A. HESS DIGITAL ROCK PHYSICS LABORATORY
A.1) Micro Computed Tomography (CT) and Three-Phase Micro Core-flooding
X-ray micro computed tomography (CT) scanning is a nondestructive technique to visualize a three-dimensional microscopic internal structure of a sample. In this lab, a state-of-the-art high resolution (To 300nm) micro-CT scanner is coupled with a three-phase sensitive core-flooding apparatus to perform flow experiments in different samples with various geological and geometrical properties. The system can be used to investigate multiphase flow in porous media, characterize the associated phenomena and finally map the pore network, fluids occupancy and interfacial areas. A new designed core holder allows flow experiments through small core samples (1-12mm) under confining pressure inside micro-CT scanner. The core flood system is designed to inject three phases with very small flow rate (Down to 0. 0001 cc/min) with constant back pressure regulation at controlled pressure and temperature conditions. It also has ability to measure and monitor flow parameters such as gauge and differential pressures, flow rates, temperature and viscosities. These systems are used for a wide variety of experimental research to develop, evaluate or prove new displacement concepts and physics in pore scale under unsteady or steady state conditions.
A.2) Nano CT
X-ray computed tomography recently has been considered as an excellent method to obtain information regarding the pore structure, fluid occupancy, size, shape, and configuration of the various fluid clusters in the pore space. This non-destructive technique generates a stack of 2D images of the sample that can be visualized using a visualization software such as Avizo fire to establish a 3D view of the pore structure and fluid distribution through out the sample during a core-flooding experiment. In this lab, we’ve acquired a nano-CT scanner from X-radia, i.e. Ultra XRM L-200, to characterize samples such as shale that consist of large number of sub-micron pores, which cannot be discretized using a micro-CT scanner. This machine enables us to scan the sample at two different imaging modes: Large Field of View (LFOV) with the resolution of 150 nm and the maximum field of view of 60 μm, and High Resolution (HRES) with the resolution of 50 nm and the maximum field of view of 15 μm. A multi-phase flow core-flooding facility will be incorporated with the Ultra XRM to perform multi-phase flow experiments on various rock samples, and investigate the fluid flow behavior in the nano scale.
A.3) FIB/SEM Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electronic Microscope
Focused Ion Beam and Scanning electron Microscope (FIB/SEM) instrument combines the high resolution of a SEM with the precise milling capability of a FIB. Automated sequential sample milling and imaging allows for the creation of serial 2D images, which in turn leads to 3D volume reconstructions. The high resolution imaging (down to 1 nanometer) enables us to study the complex micro- and nano-structures in conventional and unconventional reservoir rock samples.
A.4) Interfacial and Contact Angle Measurement
The high-pressure high-temperature Interfacial Tension (IFT) and Contact Angle (CA) measurement apparatus was built entirely in the University of Wyoming. It includes several advanced modules in order to accurately and reliably measure IFT, dynamic and static CA. This apparatus is compatible with partially miscible fluids (by a phase pre-equilibration module), corrosive fluids such as sour gases (i.e. the entire setup is made out of Hastelloy C276), surfactant systems with very low IFT values (as low as 0.001 mN/m), and reservoir rocks (or carbonate) systems. The results from this setup provide a better understanding of fluid-fluid and rock-fluid interfacial interactions at reservoir conditions.
A.5) Polishing and Saw Systems
A precision diamond saw with variable speed (400-3,000 RPM) is used to prepare clear-cut rock samples for micro-scale core flooding experiments. Also automatic grinding-lapping-polishing equipment (50-500 RPM) facilitates preparing very smooth polished solid surfaces (i.e. from mineral and rock samples) with sub-micron roughness. These polished mineralogical surfaces are used for either contact angle measurements or rock characterization with reflected light microscope and SEM imaging.
B. ENCANA RESEARCH LABORATORY
B.1) Three Phase Flow in Porous Media and Computed Tomography
- Nine cylinder Quizix pump system
- Three in-line Cambridge viscometers
- Hastelloy wetted parts
- 10,000 psi & 140°C
- Three-phase acoustic separator
- Medical CT scanner to measure in-situ saturations (horizontal and vertical orientations)
- Steady-state experiments through vertically-placed rock samples (recirculation)
- Reservoir condition experiments
The Three Phase Flow in Porous Media and Macro Computed Tomography Laboratory is a state-of-the-art reservoir condition two- and three-phase core-flooding facility located in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Wyoming (UW). The facility provides a combination of capabilities that makes it one of its kind in the world. The laboratory hosts a medical CT scanner that can be rotated to the horizontal orientation allowing experiments through vertically-placed rock samples–this greatly reduces the gravity segregation effects during experiments. The scanner is used to measure in-situ phase saturations and saturation distribution along the core length. The flow system consists of an oil, brine and gas pulse-free Quizix pumping system (six cylinders), differential pressure measurement arrays (for multi-pressure-tap experiments), a three-phase acoustic separator, two Quizix compensation cylinders for back pressure regulation, and three in-line Cambridge viscometers. The flow system is capable of simultaneous injection and recycling of one, two or three phases at reservoir conditions allowing both steady- and unsteady-state core-flood experiments to be carried out. The x-ray imaging system includes a high energy x-ray tube, power supply and highly sensitive detectors. The scanner can be configured to perform dual energy scanning for three-phase saturation measurements. Confining pressure is controlled by a Quizix cylinder that can automatically maintain a constant confining pressure despite variations in the pore pressure during the experiments.
C. HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING RESOURCES
C.1) Piri Research Group CPU Computing Resource
c.1.1) Head Node
- 8 CPU’s (2.27 GHz)
- 16 GB memory
c.1.2) 13 Compute Nodes
- 104 CPU’s (2.27 GHz)
- Total Memory: 104 GB
- Infiniband for communication
C.2) Piri Research Group CPU-GPU Computing Resource