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The Impact of Reservoir Heterogeneity on Fluid Flow in the Tensleep Sandstone of the Bighorn Basin
The reservoir properties of 3000 ft (1000 m) of core from the Tensleep Sandstone from 15 oil fields in the Bighorn Basin were studied to determine their effect on porosity and permeability distribution and fluid flow. The Tensleep depositional environment ranges from eolian to shallow marine, and encompasses many subenvironments (e.g., sand dunes, interdunal sand deposits, playa-lakes, and sabkhas, shoreface sabkhas, wadi, subtidal, lagoonal, tidal storm deposits, and shallow marine carbonates).
Inherent heterogeneity, which is due to changes in facies, internal fabric, and sedimentary structure, exerted significant control on fluid flow in the Tensleep reservoirs. Modified heterogeneity, which is due to diagenetic processes, altered these lithologic elements, thereby changing the original porosity and permeability. Both inherent and modified heterogeneity have resulted in layered fluid flow in Tensleep reservoirs, in which flow parallel to bounding surfaces is preferentially higher than across them. An understanding of Tensleep heterogeneity may constitute a powerful tool for predicting fluid flow and trapping characteristics and may optimize enhanced oil recovery efforts.
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