Numerical estimation of carbonate rock properties using multiscale images

Mohamed Soufiane Jouini, Sandra Vega, Ahmed Al-Ratrout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Characterizing the pore space of rock samples using three-dimensional (3D) X-ray computed tomography images is a crucial step in digital rock physics. Indeed, the quality of the pore network extracted has a high impact on the prediction of rock properties such as porosity, permeability and elastic moduli. In carbonate rocks, it is usually very difficult to find a single image resolution which fully captures the sample pore network because of the heterogeneities existing at different scales. Hence, to overcome this limitation a multiscale analysis of the pore space may be needed. In this paper, we present a method to estimate porosity and elastic properties of clean carbonate (without clay content) samples from 3D X-ray microtomography images at multiple resolutions. We perform a three-phase segmentation to separate grains, pores and unresolved porous phase using 19 μm resolution images of each core plug. Then, we use images with higher resolution (between 0.3 and 2 μm) of microplugs extracted from the core plug samples. These subsets of images are assumed to be representative of the unresolved phase. We estimate the porosity and elastic properties of each sample by extrapolating the microplug properties to the whole unresolved phase. In addition, we compute the absolute permeability using the lattice Boltzmann method on the microplug images due to the low resolution of the core plug images. In order to validate the results of the numerical simulations, we compare our results with available laboratory measurements at the core plug scale. Porosity average simulations for the eight samples agree within 13%. Permeability numerical predictions provide realistic values in the range of experimental data but with a higher relative error. Finally, elastic moduli show the highest disagreements, with simulation error values exceeding 150% for three samples.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)405-421
Number of pages17
JournalGeophysical Prospecting
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Carbonate
  • Elasticity
  • Microtomography
  • Multiscale analysis
  • Permeability
  • Porosity


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