, Cesar Atsushi Ushirobira 2

Copyright 2012, Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute - IBP
This Technical Paper was prepared for presentation at the Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012, held between September, 1720, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. This Technical Paper was selected for presentation by the Technical Committee of the event according to the information contained in the final paper submitted by the author(s). The organizers are not supposed to translate or correct the submitted papers. The material as it is presented, does not necessarily represent Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute’ opinion, or that of its Members or Representatives. Authors consent to the publication of this Technical Paper in the Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 Proceedings.

Mexilhão Field is located in Santos Basin, 138 km from the coast in water depth ranging from 270 m to 550 m. It is the biggest Brazilian gas field with 2.5 trillions cubic feet (70792 million m3) of original gas in place and 1.67 trillions cubic feet (47289 milhões de m3) recoverable gas reserves. This work presents on the characterization and distribution of sweet spots in the low permeability reservoir of Mexilhão Field. The reservoir comprises fine to very fine sandstone turbidite from Itajaí Açu Formation (Santonian) accumulated at shallow shelf to upper slope. The sandstone depositional system is closely related to depositional regimen of coastal deltas. Early phase wells have sampled mostly low permeability reservoirs including rare portions of differentiated permeability (values higher than 5 mD considered sweet spots). Sampling strategy has been proved to be very important for understanding the reservoir and for the development of the field as a whole. The complexity and low permeability of the reservoir lead to the use of horizontal well drilling preceded by pilots. Two pilots (wells P2 and P7) were designed to sample negative seismic amplitudes in different geological context: the pilot P2, located along the mid fan axis of ITA230 zone and the pilot P7, located on supra fan lobes depositional axis of the ITA240 zone. Both wells were continuously cored and important information was achieved about facies, porosity and permeability distribution and mainly the recognition of sweet spots vertical distribution pattern and seismic potential to detect then. Besides the low permeability, the reservoir has an average porosity of 15 %. Reservoir quality is controlled mainly by depositional systems characteristics like grain size, sorting, matrix distribution and additionally by diagenesis, responsible for the authigenic clay, mainly chlorite. Petrographic studies pointed out a close relationship between grain size decreasing, clay content increasing and sandstone permeability decreasing. The sweet spots are clean sandstones distributed in two main patterns: as thin sweet spot beds within low to very low permeability sandstones and as thick sweet spot beds (with effective thickness higher than 15 meters). Sweet spots represent 12 % from 1880 plugs data set samples. Only the thick ones have better probability to be detected by seismic (negative amplitudes). Cores extracted in the field in poor and good sweet spot areas have permitted a good seismic-core-log calibration. Areas with high probability of existence of thick sweet spot beds were interpreted on seismic maps. The knowledge acquired during early field and development project phases was important to field development.

1. Introduction
Mexilhão Field was discovered in 1996 and its production started in 2011. Present field production is around 4 millions cubic meter of gas per day from 4 horizontal wells. The santonian reservoir of Santos Basin typically exhibits gas or light oil in low permeability sandstones. Some related field are producing gas and condensate (Mexilhão, Merluza and Lagosta) and others are in appraisal or early field stage phases (Piracucá, Guaiamá, Vampira and Panoramix). Fields with this type of reservoir have their economicity very dependent on well success going through differentiated reservoir regions with higher permeability, the sweet spots. Enhance reservoir knowledge is the first step for developing fields efficiently by selecting the right drainage strategy. The general goal is to increase the chances of

______________________________ 1 Master, Reservoir Geologist - PETROBRAS 2 Master, Reservoir Geophysicist - PETROBRAS

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 wells pass through preferential sweet spot areas within reservoir and improve well productivity. The knowledge background starts with a good reservoir sampling coupled with integrated reservoir characterization studies. Fracturing are very common causes related to sweet spots. Mexilhão field is an example of sweet spot generated by textural parameters mainly related to depositional process and diagenesis. All cores from wells V1, P1, D4, P2 and P7 present same suite of facies and there was not detected any important changes in facies distribution along field. Only well V1 shows higher frequency of non-reservoir facies with respect to other wells. Subtle variation in textural parameters from well to well was not investigated. The present work is based upon permeability data. Geomechanics studies made on image logs and cores have indicated very rare natural fractures. The estimated fracture density is less than 1 fracture per meter.

2. General geology
The burial depth and reservoir temperature are respectively 5000 m and 145° C. Original pressure is 9.900 psi (697.4 Kg/f cm2) at -5000 m. The registered pressure at the top of the reservoir (-4400 m) is 6950 psi (488.8 Kgfcm2). Therefore the reservoir has an overpressure about 2800 psi (196.1 Kg/f cm2). Main lithologies are fine to very fine arkosic sandstones with chlorite from subaqueous high density gravity flow (turbidites) accumulated on shallow shelf/upper slope settings. Multiple feeding channels connect the source area to the fan. Organic rich fragments present in the sandstones pointed out a nearby source area. Flooding in deltaic coast might have influenced gravity flow process. The field are located in a major regional horst. Salt tectonics built a great half-dome structure dipping towards basin. A non-reservoir bed, 15 meters thick, is defined almost everywhere in the field and separates the reservoir in an upper, ITA230 and lower, ITA240, zones. The non-reservoir layer showed up as a positive pick on seismic, very useful for reservoir mapping criteria. Pressure data shows hydraulic communication between these two zones.

3. Early field phase
After Mexilhão Field discovery and appraisal it was also characterized a gas bearing reservoir with low permeability. Two well tests performed during early phase yielded an absolute open flow rate (AOF) of 2 MM m³/d of gas (well D3) and 600 M m³/d of gas (well D4). Estimated permeability was 2.0 and 1.1 mD respectively. The appraisal well V1 has reduced gas/water contact and field volumes to a narrow range of uncertainty. All these three wells were cored and the average arithmetic mean obtained on core is 2 mD. However some small intervals exhibit permeability very differentiated from the rest: values higher than 5 mD up to 276 mD. These intervals are considered sweet spots. Facies, porosity and permeability from cores and well test were correlated with seismic data and integrated in a 3D model by means of geostatistics algorithms (collocated cokriging for permeability model population). Permeability was modeled along wells (1D) by means of neuronal network approach. This model guided the well P1, drilled as pilot of the first horizontal well H1. Minipermeameter data was useful for identification of the best permeability intervals from P1 (pilot) of well H1. The well H1 test showed 1.8 mD average permeability and 6 MM m3/d AOF rate, enough to forecast 1 million m3/d gas production rate and ensuring a positive economic project evaluation, based on horizontal well drainage strategy. The permeability model has considered the regions exhibiting negative amplitude (see seismic interpretation), along depositional axis as the best permeability regions in the reservoir. Uncertainties related to seismic resolution and background reservoir permeability are the main concerned problems faced by G&G teams. Reservoir productivity depends on more permeable sandstones. Find them is the big challenge for reservoir development and management. P2 (pilot) was designed to investigate North field area and additionally to obtain representative cores from depositional axis of the ITA230 zone that appears as negative amplitude on seismic maps. The pilot P7 was designed to investigate the center of the field along depositional axis of ITA240 zone, area with negative amplitudes on seismic maps.

4. Core description and laboratory petrophysical data
Sedimentologic core description and grain size analysis indicated that 80% of the facies are fine to very fine, poorly sorted, massive and stratified sandstones. Medium, coarse and gravelly sandstones represent 5% and nonreservoir facies (shale, siltstone, and thin bedded sandstone and shale) represents 15% of the cored interval. The sandstones show 15 % of porous system filled by matrix and authigenic clay, mainly chlorite. Petrographic evidence pointed out that the high clay content is linked to feldspar alteration derived from volcanic rocks fragments accumulated on shelf. Clay content, grain size and sorting are the main controls over reservoir permeability. 2

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 The average geometric mean of permeability from 1880 samples is around 0.3 mD. The average arithmetic mean of porosity from 1880 samples is around 15 %. The intervals considered as sweet spot (permeability higher than 5 mD) represents only 12 % of core data (Figure 1). The wells V1, P1, D3 and D4 have sampled low permeability intervals with rare sweet spots and they show lower permeability than the wells P2 and P7 (Figure 2).
700 600 500

FFrequenc y reqüência

400 300


279 188 194 121 97 4 6
100 5 00

200 100 0 < 0.0 001 0.0001 - 0 .0 01 0.001 0.005 0.005 0.0 1 0.01 0.0 5




58 0
500 1000

> 10 00

0.05 0.1

0.1 - 0.5

0.5 - 1

1- 5

5 - 10

1 0 - 50 50 - 100

Figure 1. Permeability histogram showing the low permeability reservoir profile. Only 12 % of the samples have permeability higher than 5 mD (considered as sweet spot).
0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.0 4-SPS-35 D3 3-SPS-41 D4 9-MXL-1D-SPS P1 3-MXL-3-SPS V1 9-MXL-6DA-SPS 9-MXL-8D-SPS P2 P7 Total Horizontal Vertical

Figure 2. Geometrical average mean of permeability obtained from cored wells. Early phase wells (D3, D4, V1 and P1) sampled only thin bed sweet spot intervals and they represent mostly poor sweet spot areas. The wells P2 and P1 were designed to cut probable sweet spot areas and the good results obtained have confirmed the geological concepts of permeability distribution. The permeability data reflects the improvement of the reservoir acknowledge. All these wells served to build a seismic-core model very useful for mapping probable thick sweet spot throughout the field. Vertical permeability is lower in well P1 because it reflects permeability data from laminated sandstones from mid fan channel axis. Permeability follows high frequency depositional sequences (0.5 to 5 m thick) very related to stacking pattern as observed on gamma ray logs. ITA 230 presents fining upward sequence of retrograding stacking pattern. ITA240 presents high order coarsening up sequences with progradation/aggradation stacking pattern. It can be noticed good matching between gamma ray logs and porosity/permeability trends following fining/coarsening upward and aggradation sequences (Figure 3). Log patterns reflect subtle grain size, sorting and matrix content changes. Best permeability intervals and the sweet spots are concentrated mainly at the bottom of fining upward sequences and on top of coarsening upward ones. Porosity changes slightly with respect to permeability variation. The well V1 shows a 3

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 general decreasing trend of permeability from ITA240 to ITA230 (Figure 3). The well H1 (from pilot P1) was designed with the help of minipermeameter data and go trough the best permeability intervals from ITA230b subzones (Figure 3). Well H1 intersect a probable thick sweet spot at ITA240 zone (see seismic section).

Figure 3. Left, P1 well and right, V1 well. The cores exhibits low permeability sandstones with thin bed sweet spots Permeability higher than 7 mD is rare. The horizontal well H1 were designed to cross preferentially the bracket interval from P1 (pilot). PHIlab and Klab (conventional porosity and permeability from lab); MINI_PERM (permeability measured with minipermeameter); HLLD/HLLS (resistivity logs); NPHI/RHOB (neutron and density logs); GR (gamma ray). 230abc/240abcd are reservoir units defined by petrophysical properties, specially permeability. Sweet spots are texturally more mature and better sorted than background sandstones. They exhibit clay content (2-3%) and quartz/feldspar cements (Figure 4 and 5). Sweet spots characterization must rely on core data analysis especially conventional permeability and porosity, thin section description and textural analysis. The information obtained with the cores from the well P2 have confirmed the hypothesis of occurrence of detectable sweet spots along the mid fan channel axis from North area associated with negative amplitudes (see seismic section). It was recovered almost 15 meters of net sweet spot thickness composed by fine to very fine laminated sandstones, almost clean, in the middle of ITA230 zone. Permeability ranges from 7 to 12 mD. Laminated sandstone facies within gravitational flow indicates upper flow regimen and it explains the relatively clean sandstone (absence of clay matrix). Presence of higher energy facies in the mid fan channel axis was important for the understanding of sandstone distribution and reservoir quality. The hypothesis of random distribution of clean sands was discharged with this core. Clean sandstone presents a more logical distribution pattern. Lower clay content and better permeability are related to a more efficiency in grain size flow segregation along channel axis. The well P7 cores were extracted very close to proximal areas of fan lobes from ITA240 zone (see seismic section). The cores show the best sweet spots ever drilled in the field. It was sampled almost 30 meters of net sweet spot fine sandstones mostly massive with permeability ranging from 7 to 60 mD, (Figures 6 and 7). Most of ITA240 sweet spots show thin clay film and residual oil “rings” lining pore surface (Figure 6).


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Figure 4. Thin sections showing immature arkosic and chloritic sandstones. Left, intergranular chlorite, PHI=15.6 % Perm=0.04 mD. Center, poor sorting – PHI=16.5 Perm 0.362 mD. Right, clean sandstone with a thin chlorite pore lining film PHI=17.9% Perm=5.56 mD. Porosity change slightly with respect to permeability changes (4900 m).




Figure 5. Left, MEV picture showing chlorite pore filling and pore lining. Right, thin section of a coarse grained sandstone sweet spot showing quartz, (black arrow), feldspar (red arrow) and calcite (c) cements (PHI=10.1 %; PERM=159.5 mD (5166.4 m).

Figure 6. Thin section showing sweet spot in fine sandstone with chlorite lining the pores followed by a residual oil film (Well P7, ITA240).


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I T A 2 3 0

non-reservoir bed I T A 2 4 0

Figure 7. Left, logs and petrophysical data from well P7 (pilot) showing the thick sweet spot bed (arrow) within ITA240 zone. Right, 6 m recovered cores from corresponding sweet spot. Textural changes and permeability variation are very difficult to be perceived by naked eye in such as massive sandstone. Permeability track shows a permeability log adjusted to the data by neuronal network approach. ITA230 has lower permeability than ITA240.

4. Seismic interpretation
Mexilhão Field is covered by 3D seismic survey of Santos Basin BS-400, acquired and processed in 2002, on fast track mode with post stack migration (DMO/stack/migration). In 2006-2007 seismic data reprocessing was done by Petrobras with PSTM (prestack time migration) in order to improve imaging. These PSTM data were used to generate PSDM volume. PSDM volume presented good results in amplitude and imaging terms, so from these data, in order to increase vertical resolution, iterative deconvolution was applied generating Iterdec volume. Theoretically, PSDM data have better spatial positioning than conventional data, but sometimes is necessary to adjust seismic reflections to geological markers. This adjust is essential to help in events mapping because vertical seismic resolution increasing has direct influence in geological model and also in the well producers positioning, mainly horizontal producers. The Iterdec volume adjusted to wells was used in seismic interpretation because it has good results in terms of reservoir depth forecast (Figure 8). Both zones (ITA230 and ITA240) were mapped using non-reservoir bed between zones as reference, a positive continuous pick marker. Sandstones external limits present very nice pinch out terminations (Figure 9). Architectural fan elements can be interpreted based on ITA230 and ITA240 amplitude maps, like general depositional system axis, mid fan channel axis, interchannel areas, supra fan lobes and interlobes areas. Although seismic resolution does not allow discrimination of anomalous permeability zones in the well logs scale, with the help of core and logs it was possible to establish a reasonable empirical correlation between higher thickness (more than 15 meters) of cored sweet spots and negative amplitudes. Thickness smaller than 15 meters is beyond seismic resolution. As the amplitude is extracted in a rock package instead of a single layer there are limitations in the sweet spot limits definition. Negative amplitudes (in red colors) are considered probable thick bed sweet spots areas. Thin bed sweet spot areas appear as green/light blue colors and non-reservoir regions are showed as dark blue colors. 6

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Figure 8. Comparison of Mexilhão 3D data in terms of seismic resolution: (a) PSDM; (b) Iterdec and (c) Iterdec adjusted to wells. Observe increased resolution and adjustment to geological markers importance. Volume (c) was used in 2008 seismic interpretation.

Figure 9. Seismic perspective view of Mexilhão Field. Seismic amplitude section illustrates sandstones geometry pinching out from right to left (background). Top reservoir is indicated as yellow (amplitude). Bottom reservoir is indicated in grey (dip attribute).


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H2 P2 D4

P1 H1 P7 H7



5 km
Figure 10. Negative amplitude map (ITA230). The well P2 cored thick sweet spot from to mid fan channel axis associated to red amplitudes. The wells D3, D4, V1, P1, P2 and P7 represent poor sweet spot areas (only thin bed sweet spots may occur) associated to light blue/green amplitude on seismic map. Red amplitudes on other field areas must be considered high probable areas of sweet spot occurrence. Arrows indicate interpreted depositional axis. The early phase wells D3, D4, V1, P1 (ITA230 and ITA240); well P2 (upper part of ITA230 and ITA240 zones) and well P7 (ITA230 zone) represent thin bed sweet spots as observed on cores and logs and they appear as light blue/green amplitude on seismic map. The well P2 (middle of ITA230) and well P7 (ITA240) represent thick bed sweet spots and they appear as red amplitude on seismic maps, (Figures 10 and 11). Thick sweet spot crossed by P2 well have sampled the fan channel axis of the turbidite system and the thick sweet spot crossed by well P7 sampled supra fan lobes from turbidite system. Both thick sweet spots were cored and this information had confirmed geological assumptions in early geological models and also was very important for sweet spot-seismic calibration that was critical for reservoir management. The sweet spot related to well P7 grows down dip along red amplitude areas (Figure 11). Some of the best red amplitude areas are located down dip, close to water/gas contact. High dipping angle beds poses a great differential pressure from top to reservoir bottom. In order to avoid drilling operational risks most of the wells were drilled strike oriented with a certain distance from the contact.


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H2 P2 D4







5 Km
Figure 11. Negative amplitude map (ITA240). The well P7 intersect ITA240 almost vertically. The trajectory crosses yellow/red amplitude within supra fan lobes. The cores from have sampled the best field sweet spot. The wells P1, V1, D3 and D4 intersect light blue/green amplitude areas. The cores and logs show from these wells show poor sweet spot sections. Red amplitudes on other field areas must be considered high probable areas of sweet spot occurrence. Arrows indicate interpreted depositional axis.

4. Summary and conclusions
Mexilhão is a case history of low permeability reservoir with sweet spots defined here as portions of the reservoir composed by relatively clean; fine to coarse grained sandstone; cemented by quartz, feldspar and calcite with average permeability ranging from 5 to 270 mD whereas background facies are fine/very fine grained and poorly sorted sandstones with average permeability ranging from 0.001 to 2 mD. The importance of studying sweet spots is the direct dependence of project economicity and the success of the horizontal wells to find then in order to get better AOF. Textural parameters and authigenic clays control permeability and sweet spot distribution. Permeability follow high frequency depositional sequences and sweet spots concentrate preferentially at bottom of fining upward sequences and on top of coarsening ones. Average porosity is 15% and it changes slightly if compared to permeability changes. Sweet spot occurs in two main vertical patterns: as thin beds and as thick beds (higher than 15 m). Thin bed sweet spots were recognized on cores from appraisal field phase. Cores especially dedicated to sample thick sweet spot were extracted from selected areas based on integrated reservoir characterization studies and 3D geological model built with core, logs, seismic and production data. The selected cores find rich sweet spot areas in mid fan channel axis from ITA230 zone and supra fan lobes from ITA240 zone. It seems that ITA240 has more and better sweet spots than ITA230. There is a general permeability decreasing pattern from ITA240 to ITA230. Changing permeability patterns from ITA240 to ITA230 could be related to contrasting aggradation/progradation stacking pattern of ITA240 and retrogradation stacking pattern of ITA230.


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5. Acknowledgements
The authors are very grateful for Petrobras permission to publish this paper and to Engineers Paulo Roberto Filoco and Alexandre Monticuco Xavier who revised the paper.

6. References
BARROSO, A. S., SILVA C. T. S., DAMASCENO, L. C., FILOCO, P. R. Estratégia de produção e desafios tecnológicos no desenvolvimento da produção de gás nos reservatórios de baixa permeabilidade dos Campos de Mexilhão, Uruguá, e Tambaú, Bacia de Santos. Rio Oil& Gas, 2008.