Trapping of carbon in deep underground brine-filled reservoirs is a promising approach for the reduction of atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions. However, estimation of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be captured in a given reservoir and the long-term storage stability remain a challenge. One difficulty lies in the estimation of local capillary pressure effects that arise from mineral surface heterogeneity inherent in underground geological formations. As a preliminary step to address this issue, we have performed dynamic pore network modelling (PNM) simulations of two-phase immiscible flow in two-dimensional structured porous media with contact angle heterogeneity under typical reservoir conditions. We begin by characterizing the network with a single, uniform contact angle. We then present saturation patterns for networks with homogeneous and heterogeneous contact angles distributions, based on two common reservoir minerals: quartz and mica, both of which have been well-characterized experimentally for their brine–CO2 contact angles. At lower flow rates, we found moderately higher saturations for the heterogeneous networks than for the homogeneous ones. To characterize the fingering patterns, we have introduced R as the ratio of filled throats to the total network saturation. Based on this measure, the heterogeneous networks demonstrated thicker fingering patterns than the homogeneous networks. The computed saturation patterns demonstrate the importance of considering surface heterogeneity in pore-scale modelling of deep saline aquifers.
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