Impact of clay mineralogy on the petrophysical properties of tight sandstones

Hamad S. Al-Kharra'a*, Karl Heinz A.A. Wolf, Abdulrahman A. AlQuraishi, Mohamed A. Mahmoud, Ivan Deshenenkov, Mohammed A. AlDuhailan, Sulaiman A. Alarifi, Naif B. AlQahtani, Pacelli L.J. Zitha, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

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A full petrographic and petrophysical characterization of tight sandstones has been conducted as part of ongoing study of Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil and Gas Recovery (CO2-EOR/EGR) and CO2sequestration. The main purpose of this study is to give novel perception into the interplay of the rock characteristics and fluid flow in tight formations, which are candidates for EOR/EGR processes (macroscopic sweep vs. microscopic displacement efficiency). To achieve this, several experimental techniques, including routine core analysis, X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), thin sections petrography, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and capillarity/pore size distributions by using Mercury Injection Capillary Pressure (MICP), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), and Micro-Computed Tomography (Micro-CT), were conducted. Three tight sandstone rock samples (Bandera, Kentucky, and Scioto) were used in this work and particular attention was paid to the impact of clay content on rock's pore system and other petrophysical characteristics and hence fluids flow during production process. Results indicate that the presence of fibrous illite clay acting as pore bridging in Bandera and Kentucky samples have blocked the overall micro-pore system causing a significant reduction in the micro-pore throat system to 36% in Bandera sand and 50.9% in Kentucky sample. On the other hand, absence of fibrous illite and the presence of illite platelets in the Scioto sandstone led to a clear preservation of the sample's micro-pore throat attributing to a total of 59.1% of the total pore throat system. A new dimensionless number (dimensionless micro-pore throat modality) was established, defined as the ratio of micro-to macro-pore sizes. This shows that Scioto has the highest value of 1.44 implying that both macro- and micro-pore systems contribute to flow. Therefore, the mitigation of oil bypass from smaller pores should be a key criterion in selecting the proper recovery methods. Results show the effect of clay mineralogy on pore system considering a part of the physical and spatial properties the pore/grain framework of the tight sandstones.

Original languageEnglish
Article number211883
Number of pages13
JournalGeoenergy Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • EOR
  • Filamentous illite
  • Kaolinite booklets
  • Pore size distribution
  • Tight sandstone reservoirs


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