Digital rock physics (DRP) has received considerable attention in recent years as an alternative to laboratory measurement, especially for the prediction of reservoir properties for which the right laboratory measurements are difficult to perform or require long measurement times such as the special core analysis (SCAL) properties relative permeability and capillary pressure. While measurement of these reservoir properties can certainly be challenging to execute, there is a long history of successful, high-quality laboratory SCAL measurements. Before adoption of a DRP approach to generate reservoir properties that have significant impact on expected reservoir performance, it is important that the uncertainties introduced by use of DRP are better understood. To this end, we have utilized samples from a large Middle Eastern carbonate reservoir to benchmark vendor DRP predictions of water-oil imbibition relative permeability and capillary pressure against high-quality SCAL results that were measured using consistent laboratory methods. Considerable scatter are observed in the DRP predictions that do not exist in the measured SCAL data and cannot clearly be attributed to sample heterogeneity. Wettability, which is an important input into digital rock predictions but is especially challenging to quantify in the laboratory, is shown to have a significant impact on DRP predictions of relative permeability and capillary pressure. Nevertheless, the dependence of the DRP results on wettability is inconsistent with the SCAL data. Given the additional scatter and inherent uncertainties associated with use of the DRP approach, we find that a high-quality laboratory program employing consistent test methods remains the best approach to obtain SCAL data to support reservoir definition development, and depletion objectives.


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