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Characterization of fluid distributions in porous media by NMR techniques



Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spin-lattice relaxation measurements are used to investigate pore structures and fluid phase distributions in porous media. A new method for estimating relaxation time distribution functions from measured relaxation data is presented using a B-spline basis to represent the distribution function and Tikhonov regularization to stabilize the estimation problem. Surface relaxivity, which is required to convert relaxation time distributions to pore-size distributions of fluid phase distributions at partial saturations, is determined using pore volume-to-surface-area ratios estimated by NMR diffusion measurements. This approach was validated by analyzing certain model porous media with known pore volume-to-surface-area ratios. The method is demonstrated by determining pore-size and fluid phase distributions of sandstone and carbonate samples, as well as by comparing the pore-size distributions of chalk samples obtained by this methodology with those estimated by mercury porosimetry.

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