Date of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Committee Chair

B. Todd Hoffman

First Advisor

Burt Todd

Second Advisor

Gary Wyss


Identifying contact angles in porous media is essential for characterizing multiphase flow of fluids in reservoirs. Traditional methods to measure contact angles assume a homogenous structure of reservoir rock; however, microscale pictures by Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) show that rock composition varies even inside a single pore. In addition, the preferentiality of oil layer formation is different according to the minerals constituting the reservoir rock. As a result, contact angles have heterogeneous behavior at the pore-scale.

For the purpose of this research, contact angles are measured on the pure minerals that make up the main components of a Bakken reservoir rock. Investigations of different minerals show that each mineral has a different contact angle from the other minerals at the same medium properties. Altering medium properties also shows different contact angle behavior according to the mineral tested. The results from the experimental work shows that contact angles decrease with low salinity media. In addition, these results were used in a pore-scale network model to study the behavior of these minerals combined with each other.

In general, this research gives more attention to mineral properties of reservoir rock which leads to a better understanding and characterization of the reservoir. It became clear that the mineralogical content plays a significant role in low salinity flooding where contact angles generally decreases with water compared to contact angles measured in brine. The pore-scale network model is built to simulate the flow of fluids in heterogeneous rock formation. This work has allowed the calculation of relative permeability curves, which are difficult to obtain for unconventional reservoirs. These results will lead to better understanding of heterogeneous reservoir behavior, as well as the effect of Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) projects, such as waterflooding, on oil production in shale formations.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Science in Petroleum Engineering