Fast imaging of laboratory core floods using 3D compressed sensing RARE MRI.

Journal of magnetic resonance (San Diego, Calif. : 1997)

PubMedID: 27500742

Ramskill NP, Bush I, Sederman AJ, Mantle MD, Benning M, Anger BC, Appel M, Gladden LF. Fast imaging of laboratory core floods using 3D compressed sensing RARE MRI. J Magn Reson. 2016;270187-197.
Three-dimensional (3D) imaging of the fluid distributions within the rock is essential to enable the unambiguous interpretation of core flooding data. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been widely used to image fluid saturation in rock cores; however, conventional acquisition strategies are typically too slow to capture the dynamic nature of the displacement processes that are of interest. Using Compressed Sensing (CS), it is possible to reconstruct a near-perfect image from significantly fewer measurements than was previously thought necessary, and this can result in a significant reduction in the image acquisition times. In the present study, a method using the Rapid Acquisition with Relaxation Enhancement (RARE) pulse sequence with CS to provide 3D images of the fluid saturation in rock core samples during laboratory core floods is demonstrated. An objective method using image quality metrics for the determination of the most suitable regularisation functional to be used in the CS reconstructions is reported. It is shown that for the present application, Total Variation outperforms the Haar and Daubechies3 wavelet families in terms of the agreement of their respective CS reconstructions with a fully-sampled reference image. Using the CS-RARE approach, 3D images of the fluid saturation in the rock core have been acquired in 16min. The CS-RARE technique has been applied to image the residual water saturation in the rock during a water-water displacement core flood. With a flow rate corresponding to an interstitial velocity of vi=1. 89±0. 03ftday(-1), 0. 1 pore volumes were injected over the course of each image acquisition, a four-fold reduction when compared to a fully-sampled RARE acquisition. Finally, the 3D CS-RARE technique has been used to image the drainage of dodecane into the water-saturated rock in which the dynamics of the coalescence of discrete clusters of the non-wetting phase are clearly observed. The enhancement in the temporal resolution that has been achieved using the CS-RARE approach enables dynamic transport processes pertinent to laboratory core floods to be investigated in 3D on a time-scale and with a spatial resolution that, until now, has not been possible.