The approach to residual oil saturation during the immiscible displacement of oil as predicted by the multiphase Darcy equations is studied. It is well known that when the capillary pressure term is neglected, one arrives at the Buckley-Leverett formulation according to which the inlet face attains residual oil saturation instantaneously. This result may, however, be strongly influenced by the inclusion of the capillary pressure term. In this paper it is shown that when the relative permeability and capillary pressure functions have power law dependencies on the saturation deviation from residual oil condition, the long time solution exhibits a power law decay toward residual saturation. Moreover, the power law decay solution is found to be unique and independent of the initial condition. The relationship of this solution to the classical Buckley-Leverett result is shown. Finally, generalization to the time varying flow rate case is addressed. As a verification of the theoretical conjectures, the power law solution is compared with direct numerical simulation of the two phase flow equations. Â© 1988 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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