You are on page 1of 34

Lithology Indicators

Logs can be used to interpret lithology. The most useful logs for this purpose are

gamma ray: natural gamma and gamma ray spectra density: D and b neutron: N acoustic: t
In some cases, resistivity or conductivity logs can be of value. With the exception of the photoelectric factor measurement, e, and the natural gamma ray spectra log, no single porosity tool measurement gives, by itself, an indication of lithology. However, much useful information can be gathered by using combinations of porosity tool measurements. The most useful combinations are

crossplots such as b versus N, e versus t, and t versus N the M-N plot the MID plot combinations of the above with e and/or the gamma ray spectra
measurements of K, U, and Th In many cases, it is possible to scale porosity logs in such a way that two curves, when overlaid, give an immediate visual indication of the rock type. These methods are to be encouraged. A very good picture of a geologic column may be gained by simply color-coding an appropriately scaled combination porosity log suite. In mixed lithology it is essential to identify the rock type in order to pick correctly the parameters needed to perform other log analysis calculations for porosity and water saturation. Correct identification of lithology also assists in well-to-well correlation.

Estimating Shale Content from Gamma Ray Logs

Since it is common to find radioactive Materials associated with clay minerals that constitute shales, it is also common practice to use the relative gamma ray deflection as a shale volume indicator. The simplest procedure is to rescale the gamma ray between its minimum and Maximum values (in one consistent geologic zone consisting of both sands and shales) from 0% to 100% shale. A number of studies have shown that this is not necessarily the best method, and alternative relationships have been proposed. To explain these methods in detail, the gamma ray index is defined as a linear rescaling of the OR between GRmin and GRmax such that

If this index is called X, then the alternative relationships can be stated in terms of X as follows: Relationship Linear Clavier Equation Vshale = X Vshale = 1.7 - (3.38 - (X + .7)2)1/2



Vshale = X(X + GR factor)

In the Bateman equation, the GR factor is a number chosen to force the result to imitate the behavior of either the Clavier or the Steiber relationship. Figure 1 illustrates the difference between these alternative relationships.

Figure 1

Gamma Ray Figure 1 illustrates a gamma ray spectral log.

Figure 1

Note that in the left-hand track both total gamma ray activity (SGR) and a "uraniumfree" (CGR) version of the total activity are displayed. Units are in API. In the two right-hand tracks the concentrations of U, Th, and K are displayed. Depending on the logging service company, the units may be in counts/sec, ppm, or percentage. Interpretation of the gamma ray spectra log is a relatively new and developing art. One approach is to take ratios of elemental concentrations as indicators of formation properties or of formation type. The thorium/uranium (Th/U) ratio, for example, varies with depositional environment; it is highest for a continental, oxidizing environment and lowest for a marine, reducing one that produces, for example, black shales. It can thus be used in gauging the distance to ancient shorelines or the location of rapid uplift during the

time of deposition. Similarly, stratigraphic correlations of transgressions or regressions are possible using the Th/U ratio. The uranium/potassium (U/K) ratio has been found to be a good indicator of the potential of source rocks in argillaceous sediments. The ratio also correlates well with vugs and natural fracture systems and, at times, with hydrocarbon shows in both clastic and carbonate reservoirs. The thorium/potassium (Th/K) ratio has proved useful in rock typing. It is particularly useful in clay typing, because it increases from glauconite through to bauxite ( Figure 2 ).

Figure 2

Alternatively, the uranium versus potassium crossplot ( Figure 3 ) may be referred to as a guide to rock type.

Figure 3

If additional data are available -- for example, the photoelectric absorption coefficient ( e) -- then additional plots of the sort shown in Figure 4 and Figure 5 can be made.

Figure 4

Figure 5

Field presentations of gamma ray spectral logs can assist the analyst in the task of mineral identification by offering curve plots with the ratios of the three components (U, Th, and K) already computed. Figure 6 gives an example of one such presentation.

Figure 6

The left-hand track shows total gamma ray together with a uranium-free curve. The middle track gives three ratios: U/K, Th/U, and Th/K. The right-hand track gives a coded display on which the coded area represents the formations with both the highest potassium and the highest thorium content, generally the non-reservoir rocks, such as shale.

Use of Porosity Logs for Lithology Identification

Logs can be used as indicators of lithology. The most useful curves for this purpose are density - b and Pe neutron - N acoustic - gamma ray - natural gamma and gamma ray spectra With the exception of the photoelectric factor measurement, Pe, and the natural gamma rayspectra log, no single porosity tool measurement will, by itself, give an indication of lithology. However, we can gather much useful information by using combinations of porosity tool measurements. The most useful combinations are

crossplots such as bulk density versus neutron porosity, bulk density versus interval transit time, and interval transit time versus neutron porosity the "M" and "N" plot the "MID" plot one or more of the above with Pe
In many cases it is possible to scale porosity logs in such a way that two curves, when overlaid, immediately give a visual indication of the rock type. The use of these methods is to be encouraged. A very good picture of a geologic column may be gained by simply color coding an appropriately scaled combination porosity log suite. In mixed lithology it is essential to identify the rock type to choose the correct parameters needed to perform other log analysis calculations for porosity and water saturation. Correct identification of lithology will also assist in tasks of well-towell correlation.

Conventional Porosity Logs

The neutron-density crossplot appears in two versions. Figure 1 is to be used in the case of fresh mud filtrates with f = 1.0,

Figure 1

and Figure 2 is to be used in the case of salt mud filtrates with f = 1.1.

Figure 2

The differences between the two are slight. The lithology is indicated by the location of the plotted point. The positions of various nonporous minerals are shown on these charts as points. However, the porous reservoir rocks appear as lines. Shales typically fall in the southeast quadrant of the chart in Figure 1 . A visual reading of a log display on compatible limestone scales yields similar information ( Figure 3 ).

Figure 3

Note that the scale for the density log is from 2 to 3 gm/cc across Tracks 2 and 3. The neutron, in limestone porosity units, is scaled from 42 to -18% across the same tracks. The 0% limestone point thus coincides for both devices at four divisions from the left of Track 3. Where the neutron curve lies to the right of the density curve, sandstone is indicated. This corresponds to the area to the northwest of the limestone line in Figure 1 . When the two coincide, limestone is indicated. Large separations, such as in anhydrite, are easily recognized. Another frequently used pair are the neutron and sonic devices. When a density log is missing or is error prone due to bad hole effects, this plot should be used. Figure 4 illustrates the neutron-sonic crossplot.

Figure 4

It is used in much the same way as the neutron-density crossplot. Shales typically fall near or to the right of the dolomite line. The final combination of our trinity of porosity devices is the density-sonic crossplot ( Figure 5 ).

Figure 5

This plot is particularly useful in identifying minerals as well as reservoir rocks.

M-N Plot
Pairing of Porosity devices does not make full use of all the data when three devices are available. If a three-dimensional graph could be built with X, Y, and Z axes corresponding to the neutron, density, and sonic responses, then identifiable minerals would occupy unique Points in space. Cases in which a lithologic mixture exists could be more easily interpreted. For example, a mixture of sand and dolomite appearing as limestone on the neutrondensity and neutron-sonic Plots would be correctly identified by the density-sonic plot. Various attempts have been made to resolve the Problem of reducing three log readings to a two-dimensional crossplot. One of the first, the M-N plot, requires that the two parameters M and N be defined as

where f is fluid density. Note that N needs to be in fractional units and that N fluid is assumed to be 1.0. Effectively, these two definitions are algebraic methods of finding the slope of a line that passes through a Plotted point and the 100% Porosity point. Since any pure reservoir rock will plot on a line on the crossplots, and the slope of this line is substantially constant, that slope is a characteristic of the rock type. Having defined M and N and determined them for a given point on the log, their values may be plotted on an M-N plot ( Figure 1 ).

Figure 1

The M-N plot has a number of shortcomings. For example, it is not truly porosity independent in the case of dolomite since the neutron response is not linear. Another annoying feature is that the plotted point depends on f, the fluid density. Finally, the actual values of M and N for common minerals and reservoir rocks are not easy to remember and have no particular significance in themselves. Although the M-N plot is still used by some analysts, it has largely been superseded by another plot that accomplishes the same end result more elegantly the MID plot.

The Matrix Identification Plot (MID)

This plot requires three porosity tools for input. Its main advantages over the M-N plot include its independence from porosity and mud type and the fact that it uses meaningful parameters directly related to rock properties that are easily remembered. The neutron and density logs are combined to define an apparent matrix density, (ma)a . The neutron and sonic logs are combined to define an apparent matrix travel time, (tma)a These two parameters are then crossplotted to define lithology mixtures.

The value of (ma)a a can be computed from the equation



However, in practical log evaluation, these values can be found more simply from charts. For example, Figure 2 defines (ma)a for any b,

Figure 2

N pair and Figure 3 defines (tma)a for any t, N pair.

Figure 3

Figure 4 should be used in place of Figure 3 when f = 1.1 (salt mud filtrate).

Figure 4

Once (ma)a and (tma)a have been determined, they are crossplotted on the MID plot chart shown in Figure 5 .

Figure 5

When using either the MID plot or the M-N plot, it is useful to have available a reference table which summarizes the values of ma, t ma, M and N for common minerals and reservoir rocks.

Photoelectric Factor (Pe)

In most lithologies, minerals exist in combination. Since the overall photoelectric index is not a linear function of the Pe values of the individual components, a new term, the volumetric photoelectric absorption index (U), has to be calculated. This index is the product of electron density and the photoelectric absorption index.

An approximation is usually made by using bulk density b rather than electron density e . In a complex lithology formation, the measured volumetric photoelectric absorption index is the sum of the individual volumetric photoelectric absorption indexes weighted by their relative proportions in the formation: U = U1V1 + U2V2 + ... U1 = volumetric photoelectric absorption index of mineral 1 V1 = volumetric fraction of mineral 1 in the formation, etc. For a porous, single-mineral, shaly formation containing hydrocarbons, a general equation can be written as

matrix term

water term

hydrocarbon term

shale term

Table 1 shows that the absorption coefficient, Uf, of fresh water is substantially lower than any of the matrix coefficients, Uma, and can therefore be neglected without introducing a major error.

Table 1

Only if very salty muds are used would the term need to be included. The hydrocarbon contribution can also be neglected since Uhy is less than 0.12. If the shale content of the formation is included in the matrix, the foregoing equations can be combined to produce the relationship

or more strictly

This equation can be solved using the nomogram shown in Figure 1 .

Figure 1

For a quick-look interpretation, the porosity can be taken from a density-neutron crossplot. In complex lithology (a mixture of up to three minerals), a second physical parameter is needed to define the individual minerals and their volume percentage in

the formation. The apparent matrix density (ma)a derived from the density-neutron crossplot may be used or (ma)a can be calculated using the standard formula:

where: f = fluid density of the invaded zone f= apparent porosity from density and neutron data Once the values of (ma)a and (Uma)a have been calculated, they may be crossplotted against one another to help in identifying lithology. Figure 2 shows such a crossplot, made over a depth interval that includes anhydrite, dolomite, and shaly sand.

Figure 2

An overlay can be constructed ( Figure 3 ) which, when placed over the crossplot, indicates the most probable mineral composition. Of course, geological knowledge

and cuttings analysis are a substantial help in selecting the main contributing components.

Figure 3

Once the main mineral components of the formation have been identified, a plot can be made to determine their relative proportions. Figure 4 illustrates a valid plot for a quartz-calcite-dolomite composition, with a grid already established.

Figure 4

Continuous computation of the relative proportions of up to three minerals is possible using this approach. Wellsite computation and display can be illustrated by an example. A section logged with neutron, density, and Pe curves is first analyzed by a (Uma)a versus (ma)a crossplot ( Figure 5 ), which indicates the three main components of the formation to be magnesite, dolomite, and anhydrite.

Figure 5

The relative proportions of the three minerals at each depth are computed according to the data points within the defined triangle. Figure 6 shows the corresponding playback over the same interval.

Figure 6

The average grain (matrix) density (RHGA) is displayed in Track 1; the lithology in the depth track; and the photoelectric absorption index (PEF), density porosity (DPL), average porosity (PHIA), and neutron porosity (NPL) in Tracks 2 and 3. The porosity values are scaled in limestone units. Because of the statistical nature of the measurements, not all data points will plot inside the selected solution triangle defined by the three minerals. When a point falls outside the triangle, a flag is raised on the left edge of Track 1, and only one or two minerals will be displayed. Drilling muds loaded with barite present a burdensome problem for the lithodensity log. If there is a high concentration of barite in the mud cake or in the drilling mud, the very high Pe value of barite can severely affect the quality of the Pe curve. Both gas in the formation pore space and barite in the mud can be detected on a (Uma)a versus (ma)a crossplot ( Figure 7 ).

Figure 7

Because of its high atomic number, barite moves the (Uma)a points toward the right (higher (Uma)a Gas influences the (ma)a values, but has little effect on (Uma)a, and so moves the points upward.

Chaveroo Method
A classical method of solving multimineral log problems is historically known as the Chaveroo method. It was developed when the Chaveroo field was being actively drilled and logged in New Mexico in the l960s. The method reduces the problem to a simple inversion of a "response" matrix. It is most easily understood by reference to the Martini Problem.* * I am indebted to John Doveton of the Kansas Geological Survey for the original Martini Problem, which I have adapted slightly for the present purpose. A log analyst, after a hard days work, sought comfort and deserved repose in a bar. He ordered a martini and was immediately struck by the harmonious and mellow proportions of its ingredients. Wishing to learn the secret of the "perfect martini," he asked the bartender to tell him how much gin, dry vermouth, and sweet vermouth had been used. The bartender (a geologist perhaps?) could only reply that it was

mostly made of gin "with occasional vermouthian tendencies." The analyst thereupon set out to back-calculate the relative proportions of the mix using the alcohol and sugar contents of the ingredients and of the mixture. He "logged" his martini to find it had 35% alcohol and 3.4% sugar. He consulted a reference book to find the amount of alcohol and sugar in each ingredient. Here is what he found:

Alcohol martini gin dry vermouth sweet vermouth 35% 47% 18% 16%

Sugar 3.4% 0% 3% 16%

He solved the problem by setting up three simultaneous equations: alcohol: 35 = 47 VG + 18 VDV + 16 VSV sugar: 3.4 = 3 VDV + 14 VSV material balance: 1 = VG + VDV + VSV where VG is the fraction of gin, VDV the fraction of dry vermouth, and so on. He then solved the three equations to find VG, VDV, and VSV, the respective fractions of gin, dry vermouth, and sweet vermouth. This is not a trivial example. Each logging tool can be used to set up a response equation describing a lithology mix. If VL, VD, and VS are the bulk volumes of limestone, dolomite, and sandstone in some lithology mixture, for example, the density of the mixture can be expressed in terms of the relative quantities of each, and the density tool response to each:

In a similar fashion, the sonic and neutron logs can also define a response equation. t = 47.5 VL + 43.5 VD + 55.5 VS + 189 = 0.07 VD + (-0.03 VS) + Finally, the material balance equation reveals that 1 = VL + VD + VS + Elaboration of examples such as these should convince even the most mathematically inclined analyst that level-by-level solutions to matrix inversion problems using only a hand-held calculator are not recommended. Clearly, this type of processing is best left to a computer that has been fed log data in digital form. In the last example, three independent formation measurements were combined to solve for four unknowns: porosity and the volume fractions of limestone, dolomite, and sandstone. Since it requires four equations to solve for four unknowns, the material balance equation (stating that the sum of the component fractions is equal

to one) provided the missing equality. Thus, in general, given "n" independent logging measurements, a solution may be found for "n + 1" components. For example if, in addition to neutron, density, and sonic measurements, measurements of Pe and gamma ray were also available, then a solution could be sought for two additional components -- anhydrite and salt, for example. While the mathematics of the method is straightforward, its weakness lies in the analysts choice of components for which the equation is intended to solve. What happens, for example, if a heavy mineral (e.g., pyrite with Pma = 4.99 gm/cc) is present but not specified as a component for solution in the equation? There is a good chance that, in such a case, the point in question will fall outside the solution polygon and result in an apparent negative amount of one of the other components meant to be solved for in the equation. Many computer programs have been written to handle the Chaveroo approach to log analysis in multimineral environments. Some have elegant logic to handle cases where an unspecified component appears or a negative amount of a specified component results. Such programs have their place and their application in situations where either the lithology is reasonably well known (from experience, core analysis, etc.) and where a knowledgeable analyst is employed to select both the components and their correct end points. An example of the result obtained from this kind of processing is shown in Figure 8 .

Figure 8

The column logged is Predominantly anhydrite and dolomite with occasional appearances of sand and gypsum. The well was completed in the intervals shown, acidized and fractured and put on production at 609 BOPD and 6 BWPD. Application of the Chaveroo method generates only one answer set for a given input set, since the system is exactly determined. Once the response equations are written and the end points chosen for each component, one, and only one, solution can be found for any given set of log data. What happens then if our log data are subject to statistical variations (neutron, density, gamma ray) or our response model is inaccurate? Logically, the answers produced will also suffer from such variations and inaccuracies and there will be no way to assess the magnitude of the error. In general, it can be stated that the most accurate assessment made by a Chaverootype processing will be that of porosity. However, if the inaccuracies are to be properly gauged, another type of processing is called for.

Overdetermined Systems
Naturally, the interpretation model selected by the log analyst depends a great deal on the logging program and the log responses. Ideally, the system should remain balanced or overdetermined; in other words, the number of log inputs should not be less than the number of unknowns. For example, with five log measurements (b, N, t, Pe, and GR) a solution is sought to the relatively simple problem of finding the relative proportions of three components (sand, lime, and dolomite). Now, instead of only one solution being possible, many are. Any three log measurements suffice to form an exact solution subset, and in this case there are 10 different ways to choose three logs out of five. (The reader may choose to write down all possible combinations of any two log measurements to be omitted.) If the log measurements are perfect and the model perfect, then all 10 possible solutions will coincide. In practice this never happens, and the result is a set of 10 possible answers for each component. Which one is correct? For each possible answer, a value for the original log measurements may be back-calculated. For example, the density tool response equation may be written

where 1, 2 etc. are the log responses to components 1, 2, etc., and V1, V2, etc. are the volume fractions of components 1, 2, etc. If V1,1 is the estimated value of V1 by the first of our 10 possible answer sets, then the back-calculated value of b will be

This may then be compared with the actual log reading of b and an error function defined:

If the process is repeated for all the possible solutions, the individual error function may be summed. The same procedure may then be repeated in turn for each of the logging measurements. The problem now transforms itself into one of minimizing the error function; i.e., a solution set in which the differences between the observed log readings and the back-calculated log values are minimal is the most probable solution set. This type of processing, generically referred to as global logic, may equally be applied to any log response equation, including resistivity log responses to both the invasion process and to water saturation variations. Figure 9 shows a generalized flow diagram of the logical steps involved in such a processing chain.

Figure 9

Advantages of global logic processing are that places where the raw log data are unreliable will become evident and that in zones of special interest the analyst will have a rigidly mathematical estimate of the probability of the analysis being correct.

A major disadvantage is that the processing is so complex it requires specialists to apply it.