CORING AND CORE ANALYSIS

CORING: Definition: A core sample is a cylindrical section of (usually) a naturally occurring substance. Most core samples are obtained by drilling with special drills into the substance, for example sediment or rock, with a hollow steel tube called a core drill. The hole made for the core sample is called the "core hole". A variety of core samplers exist to sample different media under different conditions. More continue to be invented on a regular basis. In the coring process, the sample is pushed more or less intact into the tube. Removed from the tube in the laboratory, it is inspected and analyzed by different techniques and equipment depending on the type of data desired.

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• Saturation . Of a secondary importance is the additional information relating to formation boundaries. large scale sedimentary structures. Stratigraphically .The volume of voids within a unit volume of rock. undisturbed paleontological data. recovered cores allow more detailed assessment of rock properties. • Permeability .the oil company will core a formation (generally accomplished on development wells) 2.Introduction: Since most coring operations are conducted for geological information. coring operations are undertaken for a variety of reasons. TYPES OF CORING: Two types of coring operations are used: 1. it is best to review the two main reasons why coring takes place at the Well site 1.the oil company will core any formation based upon unexpected hydrocarbon shows (generally done on wildcat wells). and the opportunity for uncontaminated geochemical sampling. Due to the larger size of the sample. however.The quality of the connections between the voids. Conventional (at the time of drilling) 2. Sidewall (while wireline logging) 2 . Hydrocarbon Shows .The composition of the fluids filling the voids. Most of the basics behind coring operations is presented in the Advanced Logging Procedures Workbook. Primarily a core allows quantitative measurements of the following: • Porosity . the oil company's geology department will put forth their expectations on the type of data they want from the core. As a result.

This requires the full attention of a crew member at the brake. tong dies. Running a subtype junk basket with the last' two or three bits will usually provide safe conditions. 4. involving rigtime. Stabilizers have been successfully applied in some cases to prevent drill string wobbling. Core heads should be run into the hole at a safe speed to avoid plugging or damage from hitting a bridge or dog-leg. During coring the weight should be fed off smoothly and uniformly — not in bunches. The core barrel itself should be inspected for straightness. it must be recognized from the beginning that the objective of the coring operation is not to make hole rapidly. Make no mistake about it. the Well site Geologist's duties will involve seeing that the core is cut at the correct depth. and expertise is required to successfully cut and process a core. 3. A crooked inner barrel will cause eccentric action on bottom. success is measured by core recovery. To achieve this. Just as in normal drilling. packed and dispatched in an expedient and safe manner. Therefore. described. coring operations are complex. extra contractors and laboratory analysis. these may be increased as soon as cutting action is established. sufficient dry collars should be run to furnish the bit weight. This is especially true if basement is encountered very high in relation to the well’s prognosis. In order for coring to be successful. Normally the applied bit weights and table speeds should be held within the limits. The Well site Geologist may be involved with decisions to include coring in the well program. Every precaution should be taken to insure that the hole is junk free. and they should be aware that the decision to cut a core is a costly one. either as company policy or as a government requirement. Coring should begin at light bit weight and low rotary speed. unless an automatic feed control is available. Circulating volumes for conventional 3 . but to successfully obtain the core.) will quickly ruin a core bit. small pieces of steel (bit teeth.CONVENTIONAL CORING: Cores can be cut as lithological confirmation (primarily at TD or in reservoirs). 2. that it is retrieved properly. whether diamond or conventional. 5. The following are recommendations which apply to conventional coring: 1. unless specific experience in the area dictates otherwise. etc.

Diamond bits require less fluid volume. may mean that the core barrel is plugged by trash in the mud. Sidewall coring is useful in paleontological work. With the bit on bottom. 6. If electric logs have been run previously. Pump pressure should be closely watched during diamond coring as an indication of whether drilling fluid is passing over the face of the bit. Also. then pulling it out of the wall and up to the surface. and may actually be pumped and bounced off bottom by excessive circulating rates. The sidewall coring device is lowered into the hole on a “wire line cable” and a sample of the formation is taken at the desired depth. This is essential to bit cleaning and performance. it should be pulled for inspection. up to sixty cores can be obtained during one run. This is done by shooting a hollow “bullet” into the borehole wall. for it is possible to get shale samples for micropaleo analysis at definite depths. a spontaneous potential (SP) or gamma-ray (GR) curve is used to determine gun position by direct log correlation. and since two guns can be used. A sudden pump pressure increase not alleviated by raising the bit off bottom. SIDEWALL CORING: Sidewall coring is a supplementary coring method used in zones where core recovery by conventional methods was less than expected or where cores were not obtained as drilling progressed. includes recommended circulating rates for diamond coring. severe erosion of the water courses and bit matrix may occur. pressure should be higher than when the bit is off-bottom. if this happens. There are as many as thirty bullets per gun. 4 .core bits approach those of regular bits of the same size.

drilling is resumed until the correct depth is reached. • The actual coring depth is always confirmed by the Well site Geologist. Since exponents have lithology and porosity dependent characteristics. they can illustrate minor. drilling exponents. gas shows. From seismic data and correlation wire line and mud logs. torque. confirmation of the core point generally requires gas or lithology data. • When the core point is reached. gas shows in terms of percentages. • In any event. If not.CORE POINT SELECTION: Coring points are usually selected through correlation with known marker horizons. Review of the various correlation plots and logs. 3. before the possibility of coring occurs. Confirmation of the core point from circulation data.) prior to making the decision to trip out of hole. ROP. This practice is more common in development or delineation wells. if a database exists. correlation with offset logs is used to pick a point as close as possible to the top of the selected formation. Review of the prognosis concerning the formation to be cored and comparison with data from the present well. • When the criterion for coring is met. porosity. then the decision to core can be made. circulate bottoms up and evaluate all the data available (cuttings for lithology. possibly requesting a slower ROP when approaching the potential core point. Several criteria that will assist in selecting the coring depth are: 1. it is best to clarify what constitutes a good show in terms of percentages of fluorescence. and at the Well site. The decision can then be left to the discretion of the Well site Geologist. which can be correlated with other logs from offset wells. 2. flow check. when plotted on suitable scales. • Even when drilling exponents and drill rate are used for correlation. but distinctive variations (related to lithology). hydrocarbons and lithology from drill cuttings. • One drilling parameter that can be used at the Well site is the drilling exponent. types of fluorescence. oil shows. the usual routine is to stop drilling. the approximate top of the reservoir will be known. Picking the core point is thus a matter of stratigraphic correlation. This means frequent circulation of bottoms-up. • If drilling exponents are not being calculated. • 5 . This requires the geologist to monitor the well very closely. correlation between the drill rate and offset logs is possible. etc.

and the ball is dropped into the drill pipe. the drill string is returned to bottom. • When the core barrel is nearing the bottom of the hole. the kelly is removed. 4. The drilling supervisor must ensure that: • All drilling-related items in the prognosis are satisfactory. • As the ball nears the setting position. the pump rate is reduced to allow the ball to seat properly. • Be sure that all measurements are correct to determine the bottom has been reached. The length of the core to be cut. if contact is made with cavings. a careful watch must be maintained on the pit level. 2. the drill string should be raised several feet off bottom while circulating to ensure the inner barrel is clean. Positioning the core catcher for the best recovery. and 5. BHA design. • The kelly is then raised to the first joint of drillpipe. CORING PROCEDURES: Prior to the coring process. or longer if necessary. pick up off bottom one to two feet and circulate with sufficient annular velocity to condition the mud and keep the hole clean. • While the ball is falling. • This is done with the ball out. gauges and indicators • The correct drilling fluid properties have been obtained • The borehole is cleaned • The core barrel has been assembled correctly Arriving at the optimum coring parameters is based on many factors: 1. 3. • Abnormally high pump pressures can indicate that there is debris in the core barrel or core catcher.• The correct depth must be confirmed. The coring parameters. • Including the rig equipment. The type of core bit being used. all coring parameters and gas values. • After the bottom is cleaned. there should be a Well site meeting with all those involved in the coring operations. it will be necessary to rotate and circulate (wash) ten feet at a time until the hole is clean. which must be pumped clear before coring can commence. • Once bottom is reached. • As soon as the ball is seated. • Once the ball has been dropped. All have to be taken into consideration. record the pump rate and standpipe pressure. Any discrepancies must be resolved before the trip out begins. • During coring. the kelly is replaced and circulation started to pump the ball down at a good rate. 6 . for 15 minutes to one hour. • Circulation is stopped.

space constraints may make this difficult. • The first few inches of actual coring are the most important because: 1. A pump-out connector may be made up on the inner core barrel and high pressure air or water is used to pump-out the core. or if specialized coring has been done (sponge coring. a hammer and a note book should also be present on the rig floor. do not rush the removal or initial inspection of the core. • Coring parameters (weight-on-bit. • While the core is being cut. • Security precautions should also be taken into consideration. flow rate. it will determine the optimum coring parameters required to cut and recover the core 2. it will verify that all the planning and precautions taken have proven worthwhile. they are placed into a rigid container before being laid down. 7 . • Most conventional cores are handled on the rig floor. in the conventional manner. RPM and GPM until optimum coring rates and conditions are found. • If there are problems with the core sticking in the core barrel. the circulating fluid is diverted through the circulating ports between the inner and outer barrels and out the discharge ports in the bit face. It is advisable to perform tests on the WOB. • In offshore locations. • Once found. CORE RETRIEVAL: • The type of core being cut will have a direct bearing on the handling procedures once the core is on the surface. special liners). marked Top and Bottom and numbered should be present near the drill floor prior to the core reaching surface. To prevent small diameter cores from breaking. • It is the Well site Geologist’s responsibility to retrieve the core correctly and allow these operations to continue as soon as possible without jeopardizing the quality of the core. lifting subs are removed and a rubber plug or core pusher may be inserted in the top of the barrel. The inner core barrel is suspended in the derrick and raised periodically to allow the core to slide onto the rig floor to be collected. A methodical approach is required. • Some sample bags. • A supply of core boxes. careful monitoring of the coring variables is important to detect problems which may cause a halt to the coring operations. rubber sleeve. • Once on the catwalk. Some wire line retrieval core are caught this way. Wire line cores are often laid down this way to facilitate removal. and standpipe pressure) must be closely monitored and held as constant as possible. these parameters should be held constant until there is a definite change in the coring rate or the entire core is cut. but the Well site Geologist should strive for as large an area as possible. rotary speed. the core barrel will have to be laid down on the cat walk. it will signify if problems are going to occur during the coring process 3. • It is important to know the type of bit that has drilled the previous section of hole. and broken into lengths for easy handling.• Once the ball is seated in the check valve. pressure coring.

1B. or the Operations Geologist has requested notification. Lithology of core 4. the Well site Geologist should be making an assessment of the lithology. Well Name 2. after measurement and marking.e. so it will fit into the core boxes Retrieval rate is governed by the rate at which you can catch and box the core. Recovery of core 3. Top and bottom number (i. core #1. • The liner lengths are then packed in core boxes or placed into core crates. Core chips are removed from the cut sections for “quick look” inspection. it is placed back into it's respective boxes and the boxes filled with either paper or rags to ensure that the core does not shift within the box during shipment. Box 2 of 7) • If a fiberglass or metal liner is used.e. 1T. The address of the recipient. Box 1 of 7.) 3. The core number (i. 2B etc. the recovery process and packing procedures are somewhat different. 2T.• When the core reaches the surface the Well site Geologist should supervise the catching of the core. Depth interval of core 2. • The liner is laid down on the catwalk and cut into 3 feet (1 m) lengths. the following information should be relayed: 1. The box number and total number of boxes (i. closing any gaps or fractures so that an accurate length measurement can be made. caps are fitted to the ends of the liner and taped on. • At no time should you place a hand under the core barrel! If the core leaves the barrel in a continuous piece it will have to be broken using a hammer in lengths of less than 3 ft. • If the decision to resume drilling or coring is in doubt. • Small samples may be taken from the base of the core for examination under the UV lamp and microscope. • Once the chips are taken. unless specifically instructed to use damp rags (to remove the filter cake). 4. 8 . • The core is then re-aligned. • The core must be retrieved so that no confusion occurs as to the orientation of fragments. PACKING THE CORE: • Once the core has been described and wrapped. core #2) 5.e. The outside of the core boxes should be marked with the following information: 1. • While recovering the core. Hydrocarbon shows observed • The core is then cleaned with dry rags.

this is the most important source of information source of information in that it furnishes measured values of basic rock properties. coloring of the rock. presence of laminations and other important structures are described in the following table: 9 . residual fluids. permeability. an indication of sorting.Labeling and Packing a Core CORING ANALYSIS CONVENTIONAL CORE ANALYSIS: • Of all commonly available coring methods. • Grain size. • Porosity. lithology and texture are some of the parameters that characterize a core vertically. and representative samples are commonly taken every foot (and more frequently when core examination indicates the need).

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SIDE WALL CORE ANALYSIS: Core Lab offers the innovative evaluations needed to evaluate the most difficult reservoirs Core Lab was the first company to introduce laser optics particle size analysis as a commercial. net pay determination) or when well participants are located at prohibited travel distances from the point of analysis.• Fractures.e. With a range of measurement which covers sand. gravel pack design and capillary pressure simulation. the applications of the data have grown to include enhanced sidewall permeability determination. intensity and distribution of oil fluorescence are also reported. 11 . vugs and color. silt and clay size particles. • Core photography offers a permanent and objective record of both the core’s appearance and fluorescence.. • This is of particular value needs that may occur years after the core is cut (i. routine service. • Color video with audio lithologic description is another new and innovative means of recording and presenting core data.

• The analysts at Core Laboratories are trained in methods of analysis. both white and ultra-violet. but reliable data may certainly be acquired for the sample recovered. • The fact that one point may have to be chosen to represent many feet of reservoir rock makes this method of sampling less desirable than a full section of conventional core. which will provide to the client a reliable. • Porosity and permeability may be measured in a core holder. • Fluid saturations may be determined by either the Dean-Stark method or the summation of fluids technique. permeability (enhanced by Laser Particle Size Analysis). as with any conventional plug sample. sample quality index and lithological description. ROTARY SIDEWALL CORES: • Rotary tools have provided samples. description of probable production. and Laser Particle Size Analysis are often added for a more complete evaluation. • Digital photography.PERCUSSION SIDEWALL CORES: • Data provided by the analysis of percussion cores has been in use in the industry for more than half a century. fast and accurate data set that can aid in completion decisions. which are suitable (subject to good recovery) for all tests. drilled from a conventional core. which can be provided on plug samples. • All data presentations are available in a digital format. fluid saturations. Data normally provided include porosity (summation of fluids method). 12 . at stressed conditions. • Rotary cores are most often quite suitable for more advanced testing when required.

ENGINEERING DATA OBTAINED BY CORE ANALYSIS: The following table shows the engineering data obtained by core analysis: 13 .

14 .SPECIAL CORE ANALYSIS: • This field consists of several more complex and time-consuming measurements that extend and supplement the more commonly available information.

as some are appropriate for all three categories. average values that may be inappropriate. yet the variation noted in the routine data forms the basis of subsequent special core analysis sample section. Reservoir engineering data • Overlapping use of these areas of data defy sharp demarcation lines. • Detailed core descriptions are aided by microscopic examination that includes thin section analysis. diagenesis. porosity type and control. potential completion damage production problems and authigenic (formed-in-place) minerals. completion. • Drilling. as they furnish information to quantify oil-in-place (capillary pressures). • These special tests are generally made on fewer samples than used for routine measurements. characteristics and origin of sediments. • Log-related parameters such as formation factor-porosity and acoustical properties are also measures. X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). Completion data. the depth and detailed knowledge required to use a particular geological property increases as use of that property is focused on a particular problem. and these relieve the need to use published. work over and injection fluid reactions with the reservoir rock can be evaluated with special core analysis so that suitable fluids can be selected that will not damage the formation or reduce productivity. • Its use has expanded as instrumentation has improved and been reduced in cost. 15 . 2. PETROLOGY: • The study of rock composition. and as operator awareness of the cost benefits from utilizing the information has increased. and 3. • These data yield information on depositional environment. Including core data for geological parameters.• A number of these tests are utilized in the reservoir engineering applications. reservoir potential. fluid flow characteristics (relative permeability) and recovery anticipated with various improved recovery schemes (water flood and enhanced oil recovery). • In many instances. adds depth to information generated by both conventional and special core analysis. INFORMATION FROM CORE STUDIES AND SAMPLES: • Information gained from core study and physical measurements on samples is divided into three major categories designed to satisfy various needs and objectives: 1.

Dallas. • While certain core data stand alone. and allow interpretation. completion and engineering purposes. • Directly measured data that quantify the presence and character of the formation of interest reduce uncertainty. deduction and prediction of well and reservoir performance as well as basin characteristics. REFERENCES: 1. Vice President of Core Anlaysis. some support. http://www. • Coring tools.aspx 16 . • Coring should be considered early in a project to furnish information for subsequent wells. coring fluids and appropriate analyses should be selected to furnish data that best meet the operator’s current and future needs for geological.CONCLUSION: • Core data furnish much information available from other sources. Core Laboratories Inc. 2. strengthen and improve understanding of other formation evaluation tools. B April 1996: Baker Hughes.corelab.com/rd/petroleumservices/Routine/sidewall. 3.. Coring by Dare Keelan. • Physical and chemical analysis of the rock and its contained fluids supplies valuable geological and engineering input and enhances understanding of current well or reservoir response and potential difficulties to be avoided. Well Site Geology-Reference Guide 80825 Rev. and to cover aerial and vertical diversity of the rock.