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Formation Evaluation

Formation Evaluation

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Published by: Prasanti Plaban Dash on Oct 30, 2010
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Copyright 1997, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Inc.This paper was prepared for presentation at the 1997 SPE Annual Technical Conference andExhibition held in San Antonio, Texas, 5–8 October 1997.This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review ofinformation contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, aspresented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject tocorrection by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect anyposition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented atSPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society ofPetroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paperfor commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers isprohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledg-ment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O. Box833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.
The porosity of a reservoir and its water saturation fractionhave long been at the heart of wireline and MWD log basedformation evaluation. In many formations, however, the com-plexity of the mineralogy and the properties of the formation’sconductivity have only permitted qualitative answers. This haseven been true with evaluations based on multi-log data suites.At the 1996 SPE Conference a new NMR logging process,the MRIL
C/TP system, was introduced. C/TP provides ameasure of total porosity independent of mineralogy and de-pendent only on the hydrogen density of the fluids themselves.This represents a significant advantage over the conven-tional density, neutron, and acoustic ‘porosity’ logs, whichmostly respond to rock properties. Furthermore, the C/TP am-plitude can be subdivided into pore size groups associated withclay mineral bound water, capillary bound water and poresfree to accumulate hydrocarbon (FFI).Usage of the MRIL has proven the benefit of a borehole-centralized log, a feature that makes it largely independent of borehole size and shape. It has also become recognized as thefirst porosity log that truly measures the pore system and notsome inference of porosity based on the rock matrix.Thus the log analyst is provided with a wireline log that istruly a porosity log which provides a quantitative measure of total and effective porosity.To investigate the accuracy and reliability of these methodsand ideas, well bore data are assembled and compared to con-ventional log and core results. A full description of these com-parisons and processes are included to show 
MRIL is a registered trademark of NUMAR Corp.
the benefit of a true porosity measurement that is insensi-tive to matrix mineralogy and only depend on pore sizeand fluid contents,
the advantage of a porosity measurement largely inde-pendent of borehole condition.
Formation porosity is essential information to explore and ex-ploit hydrocarbon reservoirs successfully. Until today, a com-bination of well logs (i.e., neutron porosity and density and, infewer cases, sonic) is used to obtain porosity information.However, bad data quality or, logs missing at all, often affectthe accuracy of the porosity results. Another potential sourceof inaccuracy is the lithology-dependence of the models usedto interpret the individual logs and their combinations.
Since its commercial introduction in 1991,
NUMAR'sMRIL tool has progressively made in-roads into these issues.It began by providing the first well log porosity measure inde-pendent of mineralogy, though limited to measurement of non-clay pore sizes.
3, 4
Also provided by the MRIL was the ability to separate theporosity associated with capillary bound water from the mov-able fluid volume, commonly referred to as the FFI pore vol-ume.
Later, further improvements in logging system designopened the possibility to determine fluid volume, fluid typeand, to estimate diffusion properties directly from MRIL data.
In 1996, the ability to measure the small, clay size, porespreviously missed was added, opening the way to formationevaluation based on gradient-field NMR.
To quantify the capability of the MRIL's porosity methods,and to compare the gradient-field NMR based formationevaluation with the conventional approach, a series of studiesof core and log data were made.
Conventional Methods to Determine Formation Po-rosity
The conventional approach to derive formation porosity fromlogs combines the results of gamma-gamma density, neutronporosity and sonic logs. A minimum of two of these logs isused as input for pre-defined interpretation charts. Those
SPE 38736Applying NMR Total and Effective Porosity to Formation Evaluation
George R. Coates, Stefan Menger, Manfred Prammer, Danny Miller, NUMAR
"litho/porosity crossplots" being derived by semi-empiricaland semi-deterministic methods are strongly lithology de-pendent. Optimal circumstances (i.e., clean, shale free, forma-tions saturated with fresh water, good quality logs, goodknowledge of mineral composition) are prerequisites to deduceaccurate formation porosity values.
The following example shows that under certain, never-theless common circumstances, the conventional approach canyield an incorrect porosity value. The true formation porosityshall be calculated by a combination of neutron porosity andgamma-gamma density log. The density log shows a bulk den-sity of 
= 2.32 g/cm
. The log analyst assumes a matrix den-sity
= 2.65 g/cm
and fluid density
= 1.00 g/cm
In a clean, water saturated formation the neutron log wouldread the correct porosity value
= 0.2. Using equation
(refer to Appendix A), an averaged neutron-density porosity
/ 2 (1)
= 0.2. This is the correct porosity for this forma-tion. In a gas bearing zone however,
will decrease propor-tional to the hydrogen index and the relative fraction of thefluids. In the extreme,
could drop close to 0 p.u. due to thevery low proton density in gas, whereas
= 0.309 will readtoo high. In this situation the averaged porosity would be de-termined with
= 0.219, i.e., the porosity is overestimatedabout 10%.
Although here the neutron porosity log should only be usedas a qualitative indicator, log analysts regularly have to inter-pret
quantitatively due to lack of better alternatives.
In shaly formations the situation is more complicated.Since the log response in shale bearing zones is very difficultto predict, porosity interpretation in those formations poses areal challenge. Interpretation in such zones is based, to at leasta certain degree, on assumptions about the clay content of theformation. This can introduce large uncertainties in the results.For example, a clay contents of only 5% at a true formationporosity
= 0.10 results in a
estimation error of about6% for Illite and 9% for Kaolinite.
In addition to those inherent difficulties, conventional po-rosity analysis methods require a multiplicity of good qualitylogs. In sub-optimal hole conditions the neutron-density log,which is the back-bone of most conventional porosity analysismethods, is prone to give erroneous results caused by, for ex-ample, borehole rugosity. Hence, failure of one of the requiredlogs can jeopardize the entire formation evaluation.
For a review of the physical principles of conventional po-rosity logging, the reader is referred to Appendix A.
MRIL Total Porosity
The MRIL total porosity simply counts the number of hydro-gen atoms in the fluid state within the measurement volume.For details see Appendices A and B.
Historically, relaxation components with relaxation timesT
> 3 ms have been considered a measure of effective poros-ity, i.e., the pore space not associated with clay minerals.
Thus, in liquid-filled pores, the number of hydrogen atoms"seen" by MRIL maps directly into porosity, since the hydro-gen density is very close to that under calibration conditions.
The newly introduced C/TP technique allows MRIL toquantify hydrogen with nuclear relaxation times as fast as 0.5ms and as slow as several seconds.
The NMR signal inte-grated over the complete relaxation spectrum is designated as
(named after the sum-symbol
In gas-bearing (non-flushed) formations, MSIG undercallstrue porosity proportional to gas saturation and inversely pro-portional to gas hydrogen index. Additional processing andinterpretation techniques are required to restore the porosityreading.
A New Approach
Recent papers have demonstrated that NMR can be used toprovide lithology-independent total porosity information.
6, 7
Hence, in contrast to the conventional approach of litho/porosity crossplots, using MRIL data leads to an easierand more reliable approach in estimation of true formationporosity.
Taking into account the MRIL's proven capability to pro-vide highly accurate total porosity values regardless of bore-hole rugosity, pore size, pore contents (i.e., water, oil, gas) orshaliness, a new approach in porosity analysis is proposed.NMR data is to be used to provide reliable porosity informa-tion directly requiring only a single log, which inherently con-tains all information required to satisfactorily determine for-mation total porosity.
The following examples are presented to illustrate thatlithology independent MRIL total porosity can provide accu-rate and more reliable values than conventional porosity logsin mixed mineral formations even under sub-optimal boreholeconditions.
South Texas:
The first example is taken from a well in SouthTexas. The logs show data from a portion of the Wilcox for-mation which, typically, consists of separate lithofacies, fromsand rich to mudstone shales, potentially deposited in six dif-ferent depositional systems.
This well is located in the LaSalle Delta system which Xue and Galloway
identify asshowing “[…] strong dip-dominated sandstone trends.Downdip, several local thicks lie at or near the ancient shelf margin. They reflect shelf-edge delta depositions or shelf margin slump resedimentation of delta facies or both.” Thesemarine environment deposits have also been influenced bywave action and often include shell remnants and resultingcarbonate cementation.
The permeability of the Wilcox reservoir units is deter-mined primarily by grain size, varying from sands size to claysize (Wentworth scale), though other detrital minerals as wellas authigenic changes may also influence the formations flowqualities.
Log based formation evaluation of the Wilcox depends oncorrectly assessing the water content of these units, a particu-larly difficult task since they tend to have high water contenteven when free of water production. The correct assessmentof porosity, needed for formation factor, and the clay mineralcontent, needed to account for equivalent water resistivity ef-fects, are critical to this process.
In track 1 of 
Fig. 1
is the uranium adjusted gamma rayCGR, caliper CAL, and the bulk densities from log RHOB andcore analysis CROB that uses the inversion of core porosityand matrix density. Track 2 shows density porosity PDSS,neutron porosity PNSS and a neutron-density crossplot basedporosity PND, and core porosity PCOR. Track 3 comparesMRIL total porosity MSIG, with neutron-density porosityPND and core porosity PCOR.
Generally speaking, the conventionally derived porosity(e.g., PDSS, PNSS, and PND) exhibit higher values thanMPHI and PCOR. The average difference between PND andMPHI is about 3-5 p.u.
The high reading of the conventional logs might be causedby significant clay mineral content in the formation, whereasthe model to derive porosity from neutron and density logs isbased on a clean, in this case sandstone formation (refer toAppendix A).
In particular the neutron porosity is very sensitive to an in-crease in clay mineral volume as indicated by increased CGRvalues. This behavior is clearly expressed at 10286 – 10290 ft.There are other zones (e.g. 10264 – 10268 ft, 10307 – 10309ft, 10317 – 10319 ft) where PNSS appears influenced by in-creased clay mineral content, although the overestimation of porosity in these intervals is not as prominent as at 10286 –10290 ft.
In contrast to the conventional logs, MRIL total porosityMSIG is in good agreement with core porosity PCOR. How-ever, there are three zones where MSIG and PCOR exhibitdifferent characteristics: In zone 10244 – 10251 ft, core po-rosity shows decreasing values from about 17 p.u. down toapproximately 8 p.u. whereas MSIG slightly increases from 15to 18 p.u. In the same interval the conventional logs show thesame characteristics as the core data. However, the absolutevalue e.g. for PND is still about 6 p.u. too high.
The discrepancy between MRIL data and core porosity canbe explained by the fact that MRIL's vertical resolution is ap-proximately 3 ft.
The tool "sees" the high porosity formationat 10251 ft correctly, but is not able to resolve the low porositysection (10244 - 10249 ft).
The same applies for depth intervals 10262 – 10277 ft and10288 – 10290 ft. In all three zones RHOB as well as CROBshow an increase in bulk density suggesting that the formationis tighter with less pore volume, i.e., porosity.
This example clearly demonstrates that conventionally de-rived porosity can severely suffer from its inherent lithologydependence. Not being affected by such limitations, the lithol-ogy independent MRIL total porosity provides more reliablevalues than the conventional logs.
South Texas: Fig. 2
provides a detailed look at logs recordedin another well logged in the Wilcox formation of SouthTexas. This well is located in the Zapala Delta of the La SalleDelta system where the deposition tends to be shelf edge orslope region facies.
The mineralogy in this well is similar tothe previous Wilcox example with similar formation evalua-tion issues.
Shown in track 1 are uranium adjusted gamma ray CGR,caliper CAL, bulk density RHOB together with core derivedbulk density values CROB from five drilled sidewall samples.Track 2 presents density porosity PDSS, neutron porosityPNSS and the neutron-density crossplot based porosity PND;while track 3 compares MRIL total porosity MSIG and MRILeffective porosity MPHI, with neutron-density porosity PND.
The caliper log CAL indicates a moderately rugose bore-hole with enlargements generally less than 1 in. The disagree-ment between the log measured bulk density RHOB and thecore derived CROB suggests a log error.
The close agreement of MSIG and the over-burden cor-rected core porosity PCOR in contrast to the disagreementbetween PCOR and PND supports the superiority of the NMRmeasurement of total porosity. This conclusion is further sup-ported by comparison of MSIG and MPHI where there differ-ence indicate a minor fraction of clay pore sizes to be presentin the interval thus reducing the possibility that clay mineralsmay have influenced the core derived porosity.
The MSIG-MPHI indication of clay bound water is alsoconsistent with the 6-9 p.u. spread in neutron-density porosity,providing the involved clay is smectite, a distinct possibility inthese formations.
The previously stated concern with conventional porositydetermination in mixed mineral formations is seen in this dis-play. Clearly, mineralogy is affecting the conventional logsmaking the benefit of a mineralogy independent total porosityapparent.
North Sea:
The next example (
Fig. 3
) shows data from anexploration well in the North Sea. The formations are basicallyquartz based shaly sands from estuarine; beach, washover andtidal delta; upper shore face and beach barrier sand, and,braided-delta front. The facies variation and the associateddepositional energy changes results in a considerable variancein reservoir quality due to grain-size and clay mineral contentas well as lithic fragments, commonly associated with micasand other heavy minerals.
Track 1 presents the gamma ray GR, track 2 shows densityporosity PDSS, neutron porosity PNSS and the neutron-density crossplot based porosity PND as well as core porosity

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