Imperial College London

Dr Craig Smalley

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Visiting Professor







Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Muggeridge, AH and Smalley, PC},
doi = {10.2118/118323-ms},
pages = {1699--1709},
title = {A diagnostic toolkit to detect compartmentalization using time-scales for reservoir mixing},
url = {},
year = {2008}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Unidentified reservoir compartmentalization through faulting or depositional heterogeneity can have a profound, usually adverse, effect on oil or gas recovery. Thus it is vital to characterize reservoir compartmentalization as early as possible in field life, ideally during appraisal. One signature of compartmentalization is the detection of variable fluid properties (e.g. pressure, fluid contacts, oil or water composition) in different parts of the reservoir. Such spatial variations arise during the burial, structural and filling history of the reservoir, and gradually equilibrate through time. However such spatial variations may persist simply because sufficient time has not yet elapsed for that property to equilibrate, potentially leading to false-positive diagnoses (variations are present but relate to insufficient mixing times, not compartmentalization). In other cases, mixing can occur so rapidly that fluid variations have already mixed, leading to potential false-negative diagnoses (variations not present because mixing has occurred quickly in spite of compartmentalization that will affect the production timescale). It is thus vital to incorporate an understanding of reservoir mixing timescales into the early diagnosis of compartmentalization. This paper provides simple analytic expressions for estimating the time taken for tilted contacts and spatial pressure or compositional variations to return to their equilibrium distribution, as a function of reservoir thickness, length, porosity, permeability, fluid viscosity, density and compressibility. These form a simple and practical diagnostic toolkit. Use of this toolkit reveals many cases where lateral compositional variations do not indicate compartmentalization but result from incomplete mixing due to very slow molecular diffusion. In contrast, pressure may equilibrate across a micro-Darcy, permeability fault in 100,000 years, so uniform pressure does not necessarily guarantee good reservoir communication on
AU - Muggeridge,AH
AU - Smalley,PC
DO - 10.2118/118323-ms
EP - 1709
PY - 2008///
SP - 1699
TI - A diagnostic toolkit to detect compartmentalization using time-scales for reservoir mixing
UR -
ER -