Accurate monitoring of multiphase displacement processes is essential for the development, validation and benchmarking of numerical models used for reservoir simulation and for asset characterization.
Here we demonstrate the first application of a chemically-selective 3D magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique which provides high-temporal resolution, quantitative, spatially resolved information of oil and water saturations during a dynamic imbibition core flood experiment in an Estaillades carbonate rock. Firstly, the relative saturations of dodecane ( and water (, as determined from the MRI measurements, have been benchmarked against those obtained from nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and volumetric analysis of the core flood effluent. Excellent agreement between both the NMR and MRI determinations of and was obtained. These values were in agreement to 4 and 9% of the values determined by volumetric analysis, with absolute errors in the measurement of saturation determined by NMR and MRI being 0.04 or less over the range of relative saturations investigated. The chemically-selective 3D MRI method was subsequently applied to monitor the displacement of dodecane in the core plug sample by water under continuous flow conditions at an interstitial velocity of (. During the core flood, independent images of water and oil distributions within the rock core plug at a spatial resolution of were acquired on a timescale of 16 min per image. Using this technique the spatial and temporal dynamics of the displacement process have been monitored. This MRI technique will provide insights to structure–transport relationships associated with multiphase displacement processes in complex porous materials, such as those encountered in petrophysics research.