SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1967

Permeability and Capillarity in Petroleum Reservoir Engineering


The common methods for determining permeability and capillarity are outlined, and the uses of these results in petroleum engineering are summarized. Most of the changes noted when the single-phase permeability of a specimen is determined with gas and with water are attributable to such factors as gas slippage, interactions between the media and the fluid, bacterial growths, and incomplete saturations. Multiphase permeability, used in most reservior calculations, is best determined by the unsteady-state displacement method. Analyses of data obtained from well tests are based either on the assumption of steady-state flow of incompressible fluids or the unsteady-state flow of slightly compressible fluids. Analyses of pressure buildup curves using the concept of unsteady-state flow are proving very useful in determining a variety of reservoir conditions such as permeability, well damage, reservoir volume, distance to faults, static reservoir pressure, and interference between wells. Capillary pressure relations, used to predict connate water saturation in the reservoir, are best determined by displacement of fluids through a semipermeable barrier. The centrifuge method gives good results in homogeneous specimens, while the mercury injection method is useful for specimens not containing swelling clay minerals.

Author Information

Baptist, O., C.
U.S. Department of the Interior, Laramie Petroleum Research Center, Wyo.
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 84–105
DOI: 10.1520/STP47261S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6933-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6635-6