Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 1

FUNDAMENTALS OF
QUANTITATIVE LOG INTERPRETATION

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Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC i
Table of Contents
Reservoir Parameters to be Evaluated .............................................................................................................. 1
Resistivity ................................................................................................................................................ 2
Metallic Conduction ................................................................................................................................. 2
Shale Conduction ...................................................................................................................................... 2
Formation Factor and Porosity .................................................................................................................. 2
Water Saturation ....................................................................................................................................... 3
Invasion .................................................................................................................................................... 3
Vertical Saturation Gradients ........................................................................................................................... 4
Water Fluid Migration ..................................................................................................................................... 4
Porosity ........................................................................................................................................................... 5
Secondary Porosity ................................................................................................................................... 5
The Spontaneous-Potential (SP) Curve ............................................................................................................. 6
Focusing-Electrode Logs ................................................................................................................................. 6
Equipment ................................................................................................................................................ 6
The Microresistivity Devices ........................................................................................................................... 8
Microlaterolog .......................................................................................................................................... 8
Conclusions .............................................................................................................................................. 9
The Sonic Log ................................................................................................................................................. 9
The Borehole Compensated (BHC®) System ............................................................................................ 9
Evaluation of Porosity ................................................................................................................................... 10
Consolidated and Compacted Sandstones ................................................................................................ 10
Carbonates .............................................................................................................................................. 10
Uncompacted Sands ................................................................................................................................ 11
The Formation Density Log ........................................................................................................................... 11
Equipment .............................................................................................................................................. 11
Neutron Logs................................................................................................................................................. 12
Effect of Lithology ................................................................................................................................. 13
Determining Porosity from Neutron Logs ................................................................................................ 13
Summary of Neutron Log Applications ................................................................................................... 13
The Gamma Ray Log..................................................................................................................................... 14
Properties of Gamma Rays ...................................................................................................................... 14
Applications of the Gamma Ray Log....................................................................................................... 14
Table of Contents
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The Thermal Decay Time Log ....................................................................................................................... 15
Identification of Gas Zones ..................................................................................................................... 16
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................. 16
Determination of Lithology and Porosity ........................................................................................................ 17
Determination of Rw ..................................................................................................................................... 17
Rw from Water Catalogs ......................................................................................................................... 17
Rw from Chemical Analysis ................................................................................................................... 17
Rw from the SP ...................................................................................................................................... 18
Resistivity Interpretation (Rt, Rxo/Rt, Rxo) ............................................................................................. 18
Qualitative Interpretations ....................................................................................................................... 19
Determination of RXO................................................................................................................................... 19
Shaly Formations ........................................................................................................................................... 20
Permeability, Definitions ........................................................................................................................ 21





Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 1

Reservoir Parameters to be Evaluated
Almost all oil and gas produced today comes from accumulations in the pore spaces of reservoir rocks.
The amount of oil or gas contained in a unit volume of the reservoir is the product of its porosity by the
hydrocarbon saturation. Porosity is the pore volume per unit volume of formation. Hydrocarbon
saturation is the fraction (or percentage) of the pore volume filled with hydrocarbons.
In addition to the porosity and the hydrocarbons saturation, the volume of the formation containing
hydrocarbons is needed in order to determine if the accumulation can be considered commercial.
Knowledge of the thickness and area of the reservoir is needed for the computation of its volume.
To evaluate the producibility of a reservoir, it is useful to know how easily fluid can flow through the
pore system. This property of the formation, which depends on the manner in which the pores are
interconnected, is its permeability.
The main physical parameters needed to evaluate a reservoir, then, are its porosity, hydrocarbon
saturation, permeable bed thickness, and permeability. These parameters can be derived or inferred for
electrical, nuclear and acoustic logs.
This article is concerned mainly with the determination of porosity and water saturation. It also explains
how logs are used to obtain valuable information about permeability, lithology, and producibility, and to
distinguish between oil and gas.
Of the formation parameters obtained directly from logs, resistivity is of particular importance. It is
essential to saturation determinations. Resistivity measurements are used, singly and in combination, to
deduce formation resistivity in the uninvaded formation; i.e., beyond the zone contaminated by borehole
fluids. They are also used to determine the resistivity close to the borehole, where mud filtrate has largely
replaced the original fluids. Resistivity measurements, along with porosity and water resistivity, are used
to obtain values of water saturation. Saturation values from both shallow and deep resistivity
measurements are compared in order to evaluate the producibility of a formation.
Several different logs may be used to determine porosity: Sonic, Formation Density, and Neutron Logs
have responses that depend primarily on formation porosity. They are also affected by rock properties,
each in a different way, so combinations of two or three of these logs yield better knowledge of the
porosity, lithology, and pore geometry; also, they will frequently distinguish between oil and gas.
Permeability, at the present time, can only be estimated from empirical relationships. These estimates
should be considered as having only order-of-magnitude accuracy.

Reservoir Parameters to be Evaluated
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Resistivity
The resistivity of a substance is its ability to impede the flow of electric current through that
substance. The resistivity unit used in electrical logging is the ohm-meter2/meter, usually written
ohm-m. The resistivity of a formation in ohm-meters is the resistance on ohms of a one-meter cube
when the current flows between opposite faces of the cube.
Electrical conductivity is the reciprocal of resistivity, expressed in mhos per meter. In electrical
logging practice, to avoid decimal fractions, conductivity is expressed in millimhos per meter
(mmho/m). A resistivity of one ohm-m corresponds to a conductivity of 1000 mmho/m; 100 ohm-m
corresponds to 10mmho/m, etc.
Formation resistivity usually falls in the range from 0.2 to 1000 ohm-m. Resistivity higher than 1000
ohm-m is uncommon in permeable formations.
Metallic Conduction
Logs are sometimes used to locate and evaluate ore bodies. Many ores, such as galena, chalcopyrite,
etc., have very high conductivities. Their depth and thickness may be readily determined from
resistivity logs run in test borings.
Most formations logged for oil and gas are made up of rocks which when dry, will not conduct
electrical current. Current flows through the interstitial water, make conductive by salts in solution.
These salts dissociate into positively-charged cations (Na+, Ca++…) and negatively charged anions
(CI-, SO4–…). Under the influence of an electrical field these ions move, carrying an electrical
current through the solution. Other things being equal, the greater the salt concentration, the lower the
resistivity of the formation water,* hence of the formation.
Shale Conduction
Shaliness also contributes to formation conductivity. Shale conduction differs from electrolytic
conduction described above in that the current is not carried by ions moving freely in a solution.
Rather, conduction is an ion-exchange process whereby (usually the positively charged) ions move
under the influence of the impressed electric field between exchange sites on the surface of the clay
particles.
Surface conductance at the shale-liquid interfaces is an important factor in the effect of shaliness on
conductivity, and its influence is often disproportionate to the quantity of shale. The net effect of
shaliness depends on the amount, type, and distribution of the shale, and on the nature and relative
amount of the formation water.
Formation Factor and Porosity
It has been established experimentally that the resistivity of a clean formation (i.e., one containing no
appreciable amount of clay) is proportional to the resistivity of the brine with which it is fully
saturated. The constant of proportionality is called formation resistivity factor, F. Thus, if Ro is the
resistivity of a non-shaly formation sample 100% saturated with brine of resistivity Rw.
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 3
Water Saturation
In a formation containing oil or gas, both of which are electrical insulators, the resistivity is a function
not only of F and Rw, but also of the water saturation, Sw. Sw is the fraction of the pore volume
occupied by formation water (1 – Sw) is the fraction of the pore volume occupied by hydrocarbons.
Archie (3) determined experimentally that the water saturation of a clean formation can be expressed
in terms of its true resistivity, Rt, as: FRw
Snw (1-3) n, the saturation exponent, is generally taken equal to 2.
In Eq. 1-3, FRw is equal to Ro, the resistivity of the formation when 100% saturated with water of
resistivity Rw. The equation may then be written: Ro
Sw =  (1-4) Rt
The earliest quantitative interpretation used this formula based on resistivity only. Its use assumed
that the permeable formation had the same formation factor in the water-bearing interval of the bed
(where Ro was determined) as in the hydrocarbon-bearing interval (where Rt was determined). The
ration Rt/Ro was called the “resistivity index.”
The above formulas are good approximations in clean formations having a fairly regular distribution
of the porosity (intergranular or intercrystalline porosity). In formations with fractures or vugs, the
formulas can still be used, but the accuracy is not as good.
Invasion
During the drilling operation, the mud in the borehole is usually conditioned so that the hydrostatic
pressure of the mud column is greater than the pressure of the formation. The differential pressure
forces mud filtrate into the permeable formations, and the solid particles of the mud are deposited on
the borehole wall where they form a mud cake. Mud cake usually has very low permeability and
considerably reduces the rate of infiltration.
Very close to the hole all the formation water and some of the hydrocarbons, if present, are flushed
away by the filtrate. The resistivity, Rxo, of this “flushed zone” is expressed by the Archie formula
(Eq. 1-3) as: FRmf
Rxo =  (1-5)
Sxo2
where Rmt is the resistivity of the mud filtrate and Sxo is equal to (1 – Shr), Shr being the residual
hydrocarbon saturation in the flushed zone. Shr depends to some extent on the hydrocarbon viscosity,
generally increasing as the viscosity increases.
Farther out from the borehole the displacement of formation fluid is less and less complete, resulting
in a transition zone with a progressive change in resistivity from Rxo to the resistivity Rt of the
uninvaded formation. Sometimes, in oil- or gas-bearing formations, where the mobility of the
hydrocarbons is greater than that of the water due to relative permeability differences, the oil or gas
moves away faster than the interstitial water. In this case, there may be formed between the flushed
zone an annular zone with a high formation water saturation; if Rmf is greater than Rw, this annulus
Vertical Saturation Gradients
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will have a resistivity lower than either Rxo or Rt. Annuli do not occur in all oil-bearing formations,
and when they do, they generally disappear with time.
In fractured formations the mud filtrate goes easily into the fissures, but penetrates very little into the
unfractured blocks of low-permeability matrix. Therefore only a small proportion of the original fluid
is displaced by the filtrate even very close to the borehole. Rxo then, does not differ much from Rt,
and the Archie relationship as expressed in Eq. 1-5 is not applicable.
Vertical Saturation Gradients
In a reservoir, which contains water in the bottom and oil in the top, the demarcation between oil and
water is not always sharp; there is a more or less gradual transition from 100% water to mostly oil. If the
oil-bearing interval is thick enough, water saturation at the top approaches a minimum value, the
irreducible water saturation, (Sw) irr. Because of capillary forces, some water clings to the grain of the
rock and cannot be displaced. A formation at irreducible water saturation will produce water-free
hydrocarbons. Within the transition interval some water will be produced with the oil, the amount
increasing as Sw increases. Below the transition interval, water saturation is 100%.
Water Fluid Migration
When an invaded zone possesses appreciable vertical permeability, the process of invasion may be
divided into two distinct phases. The first proceeds as described above until the mud cake seal becomes
effective, after which only insignificant further quantities of filtrate enter the formation. The zone then
contains two or three fluids of different physical characteristics, including densities. (filtrate, formation
water, and possibly oil.) There being nothing to prevent it, a process of gravity migration begins to change
the vertical profile of the invaded section. (It actually begins at the same time as radial invasion, but it is
believed that little vertical profile of the invaded section. (It actually begins at the same time as radial
invasion, but it is believed that little vertical movement occurs until the mud cake seal becomes effective.)
In water-bearing zones, only two liquids are present, filtrate and formation water. With relatively fresh
muds, the filtrate is less dense, and will move upward toward the boundary of the permeable bed. (6)
Extreme cases have been observed in which the invaded zone has disappeared in the lower part of the
bed.
When oil is present as the movable liquid, two general patterns are possible. One appears after the
development of an annulus of formation water. This water, being the most dense fluid present, will have
the greatest tendency to migrate downward. The quantity to filtrate in the system is effectively fixed, so
oil will replace this migrating formation water. The zone formerly occupied by the annulus will then be
near Swirr in the upper part of the bed, and will follow a transition gradient toward the bottom boundary,
Sw increasing with depth.
When no annulus is formed, the vertical migration pattern can be more seriously significant. In this case,
also oil will displace the migrating fluid, which now is filtrate. The upper section will approach (Sw)irr
near the borehole, but the irreducible water will consist mainly of filtrate. One consequence of this is the
persistent presence close to the hole of a cylindrical volume whose resistivity is greater than either Rxo or
Rt (7). This condition has been termed an “antiannulus.”
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 5
Porosity
Porosity values can be obtained from a Sonic Log, a Formation Density Log, or a Neutron Log. In
addition to porosity, these logs are affected by other parameters, such as lithology, nature of the pore
fluids, and shaliness. More accurate values of porosity, as well as information about the other parameters,
can be obtained from a combination of two or three porosity logs.
The readings of these tools are determined by the properties of the formation close to the borehole. The
Sonic Log has the shallowest investigation. Neutron and Density Logs are affected by a little deeper
region, depending somewhat on the porosity, but generally within the flushed zone.
Secondary Porosity
Vuggy Formations
In addition to the intergranular or intercrystalline voids, which comprise primary porosity, carbonates
may contain vugs.
Neutron and Density tools respond to total porosity, regardless of porosity type. However, a Sonic Log
tends to ignore the vugs because the sound energy is propagated through the surrounding matrix,
bypassing the vugs. Therefore the use of a Sonic Log plus the Density and/or Neutron Log can provide an
estimate of the secondary porosity as well as intergranular porosity of a formation of know lithology.

Dolomitization
In Dolomitization the atom-for-atom replacement of calcium by magnesium results in less matrix
volume, hence more pore volume (greater porosity).
Fissured or Fractured Formations
These formations may show extremely high permeabilities together with low porosities. The matrix
material between fissures is usually dense, but even a small fissure can have a very high permeability.
As with vuggy formations, the porosity determinations are more complicated.
Shaly Formations
In shaly formations the shales contribute to the conductivity of the formations, and the usual
resistivity relationships do not apply. SP deflections are smaller than in the case of clean formations.
Also, all the “porosity Logs” (Neutron, Sonic, Density) are affected by the shale. For these reasons,
the evaluation of shaly formations is more difficult than for clean formations, and different
approaches must be used.
Overpressured Formations
When the fluids are trapped in compressible strata during the burying process, some of the
overburden pressure is borne by the hydraulic system. The physical traits governing log responses
The Spontaneous-Potential (SP) Curve
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differ from those of normally compacted strata. These differences have been used in several ways to
predict abnormal pressure gradients and other geophysical parameters.
The Spontaneous-Potential (SP) Curve
The Spontaneous-Potential (or SP) curve is a recording versus depth of the difference between the
potential of a movable electrode in the borehole and the fixed potential of a surface electrode.
The SP is useful to:
 Detect the permeable beds.
 Locate their boundaries and to permit correlation of such beds.
 Determine values of formation-water resistivity, Rw.
 Give qualitative indications of bed shaliness.
The SP is generally recorded in Track 1 (left-hand track) of the log, usually in conjunction with resistivity
surveys, but it may also be recorded along with other logs, such as the Sonic.
Opposite the shales, the readings of the SP curve are usually fairly constant and tend to follow a straight
line on the log, called the shale base line. Opposite the permeable formations, the SP curve shows
excursions from the shale base line; in thick enough beds they often tend to reach an essentially constant
deflection defining a sand line. The deflection may be either to the left (negative) or to the right (positive),
depending mostly on the relative salinities of the formation water and of the mud filtrate.
The position of the shale base line on the log recording has no useful meaning for interpretation purposes.
The SP sensitivity scale is chosen and the shale-base-line position is set by the engineer running the log
so that the SP curve deflections remain in the SP track.
The SP cannot be recorded in the holes filled with non-conductive muds because such muds do not
provide electrical continuity between SP electrode and formation. Furthermore, if the resistivities of the
mud filtrate and formation water are about equal, the SP deflections will be small and the curve will be
rather featureless.
Focusing-Electrode Logs
Chapter I-3 reveals that the responses of conventional electrical logging (ES) systems can be greatly
affected by the borehole and adjacent formations. These influences are minimized by a family of
resistivity tools, which use focusing currents to control the path taken by the measure current. (1) These
currents are supplied from special electrodes on the sondes.
Equipment
The focusing-electrode tools include Laterlogs® and Spherically Focused Logs (SFLtm). These tools
are much superior to the ES devices for large Rt/Rm values (salt muds and/or highly resistive
formations) and for large resistivity contrasts with adjacent beds (Rt/Rs or Rs/Rt). They are much
better for resolution of thin to moderately thick beds. Focusing-electrode systems are available with
deep, medium, and shallow depths of investigation.
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 7
Devices using this principle have as quantitative applications the determination of Rt and of Rxo. The
Rt tools are Laterolog 7, Laterolog 3, and LLd of the Dual Laterolog. The medium-to-shallow-reading
devices, all integral with combination tools, are Laterolog 8 of the Dual Induction-Laterolog, LLs of
the Dual Laterolog, and the Spherically-Focused log of the ISFtm/Sonic.
Dual Laterolog
Since the measure current of a Laterolog has to traverse mud and invaded zone to reach the
undisturbed formation, the measurement is necessarily a combination of effects. With only one
resistivity measurement is necessarily a combination of effects. With only one resistivity
measurement, the invasion profile and Rxo had to be known or estimated in order to calculate Rt. The
need for a second measurement at a different depth of investigation resulted in the Dual Laterolog-
Gamma Ray tools(2)
One version of the tool records the two Laterologs sequentially, while another does it simultaneously,
and has added shallow SFL for Rxo information. Both can record a Gamma Ray curve on depth,
simultaneously with the resistivity curves. An SP can also be run.
By using effectively longer bucking electrodes and a longer spacing, the LLd (deep Laterolog) has
been given a deeper investigation than either LL7 or LL3.
The LLs (shallow Laterolog) uses the same electrodes in a different manner to achieve a current beam
equal in thickness to that of the LLd, 24 inches, but having a much shallower penetration. The LLs
depth of investigation lies between those of LL7 and LL8.
Spherically-Focused Log
The SFL is part of the ISF/Sonic combination,(3) and was developed as an improvement over both
the 16-inch normal and the LL8 as a short-spacing companion to the deep Induction log.
Induction Logging
The Induction Log was developed to measure formation resistivity in boreholes containing oil-base
muds. (1) Electrode devices do not work in these non-conductive muds, and attempts to use wall-
scratcher electrodes proved unsatisfactory. Experience soon demonstrated that the Induction tools had
many advantages over the conventional ES for logging wells drilled with water-base muds.(2)
Induction Logging devices are focused in order to minimize the influence of the borehole and of the
surrounding formations. They are also designed for deep investigation and reduction of the influence
of the invaded zone.
Principle
Practical Induction sondes include a system of several transmitter and receiver coils. However, the
principle can be understood by considering a sonde with only one transmitter coil and one receiver
coil.
High frequency alternating current of constant intensity is sent through the transmitter coil. The
alternating magnetic field thus created induces secondary currents in the formations. These currents
flow in circular ground-loop paths coaxial with the transmitter coil. These ground-loop currents, in
turn, create magnetic fields, which induce signals in the receiver coil. The receiver signals are
The Microresistivity Devices
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essentially proportional to the conductivity of the formations. Any signal produced by direct coupling
of transmitter and receiver coils is balanced out by the measuring circuits.
The Induction Log operates to advantage when the borehole fluid is an insulator – even air or gas. But
the tool will also work very well when the borehole contains conductive mud, provided that the mud
is not too salty, the formations not too resistive, and the borehole diameter is not too large.

The Microresistivity Devices
Microlaterolog
On Microlog Chart Rxo-1, for values of Rxo/Rmc greater than about 15, the curves for constant
values of Rxo/Rmc are crowded; as a result, the accuracy of the determination of Rxo from the
Microlog is poor in the region. With the Microlaterolog method, it is possible to determine Rxo
accurately for higher values of Rxo/Rmc, provided, however, that the mud-cake thickness does not
exceed 3/8 in.
Principle
The Microlaterolog pad is shown in Fig. 6-2.(3) A small electrode, Ao, and three concentric circular
electrodes are embedded in a rubber pad applied against the hole wall. A constant current, Io, is
emitted through electrode Ao, Through the outer electrode, A1 is sent a current automatically
adjusted so that the potential difference between the two monitoring electrodes is maintained
essentially equal to zero. The I0 current flowing past the M1, electrode cannot reach M2 and is forced
to flow in a beam into the formations. The current lines are shown on the figure. The Io current near
the pad forms a narrow beam, which opens up rapidly at a few inches from the face of the pad. The
Microlaterolog reading is influenced mostly by the formation within this narrow beam.
THE MICRO-SFL
This is a pad-mounted Spherically Focused Logging device. It embodies two distinct advantages over
other microresistivity devices.
The first is its combinability with other logging with other logging tools, specifically the
Compensated Formation Density and the Simultaneous Dual Laterolog at present. This eliminates the
need for a separate logging run to obtain Rxo information.
The second improvement is in the tool’s response to shallow Rxo zones in the presence of mud cake.
The MICRO-SFL gives good Rxo resolution in thick-mud-cake conditions, but does not require as
great an invasion depth as does the Proximity Log. This characteristic makes it useful in a wider
range of conditions than either the Proximity Log or the Microlaterolog.
Principle
Spherical Focusing is the shaping of the equipotential surfaces produced by a resistivity device to
approximately spherical form. The focusing is accomplished by auxiliary instead of being focused
into a narrow beam, the measure current is merely prevented from following the borehole mud or
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 9
mud-cake paths. A careful selection of electrode spacings achieves an optimum compromise between
too much and too little depth of investigation.
Conclusions
The Microlog permits a very accurate delineation of permeable beds in all types of formations. It can
also provide satisfactory Rxo and porosity determination under favorable conditions, which are in
brief:
Rxo/Rmc  15; hmc  ½ in.; depth of invasion greater than about four inches.
The focused microresistivity tools can provide good Rxo values under a much wider range of
conditions. The Microlaterolog is limited chiefly by mud-cake thickness, but is well adapted to salt-
base muds. When hmc exceeds 3/8 in., the Proximity Log or the MSFL is preferable.

The Sonic Log
The Sonic Log is a recording, versus depth, of the time, Δt, required for a compressional sound wave to
traverse one foot of formation. Known as the interval transit time, Δt is the reciprocal of the velocity of
the compressional sound wave. The interval transit time for a given formation depends upon its lithology
and porosity. Its dependence upon porosity, when the lithology is known, makes the Sonic very useful as
a porosity log. Intergrated Sonic transit times are helpful in interpreting seismic records.
The Borehole Compensated (BHC®) System
Sonic tools in current use are of the BHC (borehole compensated) type. This type sonde substantially
reduces spurious effects at hole-size changes (1) as well as errors due to sonde tilt.
The BHC (2) system uses one transmitter above and one transmitter above and one transmitter below
two pairs of Sonic receivers. When one of the transmitters is pulsed, the sound wave generated enters
the formation; the time elapsed between detection of the first arrivals of compressional sound energy.
The speed of sound in the Sonic sonde and in the drilling mud is less than that in the formations.
Accordingly, the first arrival at the two corresponding receivers is measured. The ray paths indicate
the paths followed by the first arrivals of compressional sound energy.
The BHC transmitters are pulsed alternately, and Δt values are read on alternate pairs of receivers.
The Δt values from the two sets of receivers are averaged automatically by a computer at the surface.
The computer also integrates the transit-time readings to obtain total travel times.
Sometimes the first arrival, although strong enough to trigger the receiver nearer the transmitter, may
be too weak by the time it reaches the far receiver to trigger it. Instead, the far receiver may be
triggered by a different, later arrival in the sonic wave train, and the travel time measured on this
pulse cycle will then be too large. When this occurs, the Sonic curve shows a very abrupt and large
excursion toward higher Δt values; this is known as “cycle skipping”. Such skipping is more likely to
occur when the signal is strongly attenuated by unconsolidated formations fractures, gas saturation,
aerated muds, or rugose salt sections.
Evaluation of Porosity
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Evaluation of Porosity
Consolidated and Compacted Sandstones
After numerous laboratory determinations, M. R. J. Wyllie (4) (5) concluded that in clean and
consolidated formations with uniformly distributed small pores there is a linear relationship between
porosity and transit time:
Δtlog =  Δtfluid + (1 – ) Δtmatrix
Or
Δtlog – Δtma
 =  (7-1)
Δtf – Δtma
where
Δtlog = reading on the Sonic Log in μsec/ft
Δtma = transit time of the matrix material
Δtf = about 189 μsec/ft (corresponding to “fluid velocity” vt of about 5,300 ft/sec)
Generally, these consolidated and compacted sandstones have porosities which are in the range of
perhaps 18 to 25 percent. In such formations, the response of the Sonic Log seems to be independent
of the contents of the pores: water, oil, gas, or disseminated shale. In some regions, on the other hand,
the porosities may be very high, around 30 to 35 percent. Then, in reservoirs which have very low
saturation, high residual-hydrocarbon saturation, and shallow invasion, the Δt values may be
somewhat greater than those in the same formations which are water-saturated.
If any shale laminae exist within the sandstone, the apparent Sonic porosity values are increased by an
amount proportional to the bulk-volume fraction of such laminae. The Δt readings are increased
because Δtshale generally exceeds Δtma of the sandstone.
Carbonates
In carbonates having intergranular porosity, Wyllie’s formula still applies. But sometimes pore
structure and poresize distribution are quite different from what they are in sandstones. There is often
some secondary porosity, consisting of vugs and/or fractures with much larger dimensions than the
pores of the primary porosity.
In vuggy formations, according to Wyllie, the velocity of sound depends mostly on the primary
porosity, and the porosity derived from the Sonic reading through the time average formula will tend
to be low by an amount approaching the secondary porosity.
Nevertheless field experience indicates that in many cases a time-average formula
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 11
Δt=A + B (1 – ), is useful in carbonates to represent the relationship between Δt and . However,
the coefficients A and B no longer correspond to well defined physical parameters as they do in the
case of the Wyllie formula (Eq. 7-1). They have to be determined empirically for each problem (that
is, for a given formation, or interval, in a given field).
Uncompacted Sands
Direct applications of the Wyllie formula gives values of porosity which are too high in
unconsolidated and insufficiently compacted sands. Such uncompacted sands are most prevalent in
the geologically younger formations, particularly at shallow depths. However, even in deep
formations these younger sands are uncompacted when the overburden-to-formation-fluid pressure
differentials are less than about 4000 to 5000 psi. Such lack of compaction may be indicated when
adjacent shales exhibit Δt values greater than 100 μsec/ft.

The Formation Density Log
The Formation Density Log is useful as a porosity-logging tool. Other uses of density measurements
include identification of minerals in evaporate deposits, detection of gas, determination of hydrocarbon
density, evaluation of shaly sands and complex lithologies, and determinations of oil-shale yield.
Principle
A radioactive source, applied to the hole wall in a shielded sidewall skid,(1) emits medium energy
gamma rays into the formations. These gamma rays may be thought of as high-velocity particles
which collide with the electrons in the formation. At each collision a gamma ray loses some, but not
all, of its energy to the electron, and then continues with diminished energy. This type of interaction
is known as Compton scattering.(2) The Schlumberger source and detector are so designed that the
tool response is predominantly due to this phenomenon. The scattered gamma ray reaching the
detector, at a fixed distance from the source, are counted as an indication of formation density.
The number of Compton-scattering collisions is related directly to the number of electrons in the
formation. Consequently, the response of the Density tool is determined essentially by the electron
density (number of electrons per cubic centimeter) of the formation. Electron density is related to the
true bulk density, ρb, in gms/cc, which in turn depends on the density of the rock matrix material, the
formation porosity, and the density of the fluids filling the pores.
Equipment
In order to minimize the influence of the mud column, the source and the detector, mounted on a skid,
are shielded. The openings of the shields are applied against the wall of the borehole by means of an
eccentering arm. The force exerted is substantially greater than in the case of a microsonde, and the
skid has a plow-shaped leading edge. Therefore, it is able to cut through soft mud cakes usually
encountered at medium and shallow depths. Some mud cake may remain interposed between the skid
and the formation at greater depths, when mud cakes are hard. Any mud cake or mud remaining
between the tool and the formation is “seen” as part of the formation and must be accounted for.
Neutron Logs
12 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC Copyright 2012
A correction is needed when the contact between the skid and the formations is not perfect (due to
mud cake or roughness of the borehole walls). In favorable cases this correction can be fairly large. If
only one detector is used, the correction is not easy to determine, as it depends on the thickness, the
weight, and even the composition of the mud cake or mud interposed between the skid and the
formations.
In the FDC (Formation Density Compensated) tool,(3) two detectors are used. Points for a given
value of ρb and various mud cake conditions fall on or very close to an average curve. Using these
average curves it is possible to enter the chart with the two count rates and determine the corrected ρb
from the plot without any explicit measurement of mud-cake density or thickness.
The distance between the face of the skid and the extremity of the eccentering arm is recorded as a
caliper log, from which it is possible to assess the quality of contact between the skid and the
formation.
A combination FDC-Rxo tool is also available. It uses a MICROSFL resistivity measurement for Rxo
determination.
Neutron Logs
Neutron Logs are used principally for delineation of porous formations and determination of their
porosity. They respond primarily to the amount of hydrogen present in the formation. Thus, in clean
formations whose pores are filled with water or oil, the Neutron Log reflects the amount of liquid-filled
porosity.
Gas zones can often be identified by comparing the Neutron Log with another porosity log or a core
analysis. A combination of the Neutron with one or two other porosity logs yield even more accurate
porosity values and lithology identification, including evaluation of shale content.
Principle
Neutrons are electrically neutral particles, each having a mass almost identical to the mass of a
hydrogen atom.(1) High-energy (fast) neutrons are continuously emitted from a radioactive source
which is mounted in the sonde. These neutrons collide with nuclei of the formation materials in what
may be thought of as elastic “billard-ball” type collisions. With each collision a neutron loses some of
its energy.
The amount of energy lost per collision depends on the relative mass of the nucleus with which the
neutron collides. The greatest energy loss occurs when the neutron collides. The greatest energy loss
occurs when the neutron strikes a nucleus of practically equal mass, —i.e., a hydrogen nucleus.
Collisions with heavy nuclei do not slow the neutron down very much. Thus, the slowing-down of
neutrons depends largely on the amount of hydrogen in the formation.
Within a few microseconds the neutrons have been slowed down by successive collisions to thermal
velocities, corresponding to energies of around .025 electron volts. They then diffuse randomly,
without losing any more energy, until they are captured by the nuclei of atoms such as chlorine,
hydrogen, silicon, etc.
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 13
The capturing nucleus becomes intensely excited and emits a high-energy gamma ray of capture.
Depending on the type of Neutron Logging tool, either these capture gamma rays or neutrons
themselves are counted by a detector in the sonde.
When the hydrogen concentration of the material surrounding the neutron source is large, most of the
neutrons are slowed down and captured within a short distance of the source. On the contrary, if the
hydrogen concentration is small, the neutrons travel farther from the source before being captured.
Accordingly the counting rate at the detector (with the source-detector spacings commonly used)
increases for decreased hydrogen concentration, and vice versa.
Effect of Lithology
The readings of all Neutrons logs are affected to some extent by the lithology of the matrix rock.
GNT readings are converted from API units to porosity index assuming a limestone matrix; if the
lithology is known to be sandstone or dolomite, the limestone porosity values are the corrected using
a lithology correction chart. SNP logs are usually scaled assuming a limestone matrix. Porosities for
other lithologies are obtained from charts, or from scales printed on the log headings. These SNP
corrections apply only to logs run in liquid-filled holes. When the hole is gas-filled, the lithology
effect is reduced to a negligible level, and porosity may be read directly subject to limitations
discussed below.
Most interpretation charts are entered with porosities recorded assuming a limestone matrix. .
Determining Porosity from Neutron Logs
Subject to various assumptions and corrections, values of apparent porosity may be derived from the
readings of any type of Neutron Log. However certain effects, such as lithology, clay content, and
amount and type of hydrocarbons, can be recognized and corrected for only if additional porosity
information – Sonic and/or Density Logs – is available. Therefore, any interpretation of a Neutron
Log alone should be undertaken with a realization of the uncertainties involved.
The following paragraphs discuss the use of each type of Neutron Log for porosity determination.
Summary of Neutron Log Applications
 Determination of porosity is one of the most important uses of Neutron Logs. Corrections for
lithology and borehole parameters are necessary for accurate porosity determinations.
 The SNP is specifically designed for use in open holes, and provides porosity readings having
minimum borehole effect. It is the only effective Neutron tool for use in gas-filled holes.
 The CNL is designed for use in combination with other open-hole or cased-hole tools. The
compensation feature greatly reduces the effects of borehole parameters.
 The GNT is applicable in either open holes or cased holes. Recorded in combination with a
Gamma Ray Log it qualitatively delineates shales, tight formations and porous sections.
 In combination with another porosity log (or other porosity data) or used in a resistivity crossplot,
the Neutron Log is useful to detect gas-bearing zones. For this application the Neutron-Density
The Gamma Ray Log
14 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC Copyright 2012
combination is best, since the responses to gas are in opposite directions. Neutron Logs should be
corrected for excavation effect in gas zones, for greater accuracy in determining porosity and gas
saturation.
 The Neutron Log is used in combination with other porosity logs for lithology interpretation.
 The Neutron Log is used in combination with other porosity logs for shaly-sand interpretation.
The Gamma Ray Log
The Gamma Ray Log is a measurement of the Natural radioactivity of the formations. The log is therefore
useful in detecting and evaluating deposits of radioactive minerals such as potash or uranium ore.
In sedimentary formations the Gamma Ray Log normally reflects the shale content of the formations.
This is because the radioactive elements tend to concentrate in clays and shales. Clean formations usually
have a very low level of radioactivity, unless radioactive contaminants such a volcanic ash or granite
wash are present, or when the formation water contain dissolved potassium salts.
The Gamma Ray Log can be recorded in cased wells, which makes it very useful in completion and
workover operations. It is frequently used as a substitute for the SP in cased holes where the SP is
unsatisfactory. In both cases it is useful for the locations of the non-shaly beds and for correlation.
Properties of Gamma Rays
Gamma rays are bursts of high-energy electromagnetic waves which are emitted spontaneously by
some radioactive elements. Nearly all of the gamma radiation encountered in the earth is emitted by
the radioactive potassium isotope of atomic weight 40 and the radioactive elements of the uranium
and thorium series.
Each of these elements emits gamma rays, the number and energies of which are distinctive of each
element. Potassium (K40) emits gamma rays of a single energy at 1.46 MeV, whereas the two
radioactive series emit many gamma rays of various energies.
In passing through matter, gamma rays experience successive Compton-scattering collisions with the
atoms of the formations, losing energy with each collision. Finally, after the gamma ray has lost
enough energy, it is absorbed via the photoelectric effect. (In the photoelectric effect, low energy
gamma rays are completely absorbed by atoms of the formation material, resulting in the ejection of
electrons from the absorbing atoms.)
Applications of the Gamma Ray Log
 The Gamma Ray Log is particularly useful for defining shale beds when the SP curve is rounded
(in very resistive formations) or flat (Rmf ≈ Rw), or when the SP curve cannot be recorded (non-
conductive muds – empty holes – cased holes).
 The Gamma Ray Log reflects the proportion of shale and, in some regions, can be used
quantitatively as an indicator of shale content.
 The Gamma Ray Log is used for the detection and evaluation of radioactivity minerals, such as
potash or uranium ore. The radioactivity reading corrected for borehole effect (Chart Por-7 or
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 15
Por-8) is practically proportional to the K2O content, approximately 15 API units for 1% of K2O.
This proportionality is due to the fact that potassium 40 emits mono-energetic gamma rays of
1.46 MeV. The Gamma Ray may also be used to detect and to evaluate uranium deposits, but in
this case there is no simple proportionality between Gamma Ray deflections and the “richness” of
the deposits.
 The Gamma Ray Log can also be used for the delineation of non-radioactive minerals including
coal beds.(3,4)
 The Gamma Ray Log is used for correlation in cased holes. The simultaneous recording of the
Gamma Ray and of a Casing Collar Locator makes it possible to position perforating guns very
accurately. As compared with the corresponding open-hole log, the deflections on the cased-hole
log are somewhat attenuated due to absorption of the gamma rays in the steel casing and cement.
 The Gamma Ray Log is sometimes used in connection with radioactive tracer operations.(5)
 Another specialized application is sometimes made possible by a phenomenon peculiar to old
wells, which have produced for long periods. The radiation level of zones believed to have
experienced large-scale passage of formation waters has been observed to increase significantly,
giving useful workover information.
The Thermal Decay Time Log
The Thermal Decay Time (TDTtm) Log records, versus depth, a time value indicating the rate of decay of
thermal neutrons in the formation. Because chlorine is by far the strongest neutron absorber of the
common earth elements, the response of the TDT log is determined primarily by the chlorine present (as
sodium chloride) in the formation water. Since the effects of water salinity, porosity, and shaliness on the
TDT are similar to those on resistivity logs, the TDT resembles the usual open-hole resistivity logs and is
easily correlatable with them. But the TDT differs in that it can be run in cased hole. Also, it is relatively
unaffected by drilling and completion conditions for the usual borehole and casing sizes encountered over
pay zones. Consequently, when formation-water salinity permits, TDT logging provides the means to
recognize the presence of hydrocarbons in formations which have been cased, and to detect changes in
water saturation during the production life of the well. The TDT log is thus useful for the evaluation of
old wells, for diagnosing production problems, and for following reservoir performance.
While the accuracy of the TDT measurement depends of conditions, so it can be used for quantitative
analysis. As in the case of the resistivity log, the most important parameter values needed for quantitative
interpretation are porosity and water salinity. Information is also required on shaliness, lithology, and the
nature of the hydrocarbon. Modern openhole logging programs and crossplot techniques usually provide
such information.
Principle
A neutron generator in the TDT sonde repeatedly emits pulses of high-energy neutrons. Following
each burst the neutrons are rapidly slowed down in the hole and information to thermal velocities.
They are the captured b nuclei with corresponding emission of gamma ray.(1,2,3) Relative changes in
the thermal neutron population in the media are sampled by a gamma-ray detector placed at a short
distance from the source. During the period of measurement the thermal neutron population decreases
exponentially. The thermal decay time measurement “log” is the corresponding decay time constant.
This decrease is due to either neutron capture or neutron migration (diffusion). The capture process is
The Thermal Decay Time Log
16 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC Copyright 2012
by far the most important in producing thermal neutron decay. Hence log reflects essentially the
neutron capture properties in the formation.
Identification of Gas Zones
Gas bearing zones have smaller capture cross sections than oil-bearing zones of the same porosity and
saturation; consequently gas levels generally plot apart from and below the general trend of oil-
bearing levels. In formation of low irreducible water saturation, the apparent water saturations of gas
zones (using saturation lines computed for oil) are much too low. Typically a point falling on the Sw
= 0% oil line corresponds to 15-25% water saturation for a gas zone.
Conclusion
Method for computing water saturation from TDT logs have been presented and illustrated on field
examples. Quantitative analysis depends on many parameters, the most important of which are water
salinity, formation porosity, formation shaliness, and lithology.
Although interpretation can be achieved with the help of only Neutron-porosity and Gamma Ray logs
in favorable cases, a complete set of open-hole logs is normally required to insure sufficient control
on the interpretation parameters. Even so the computed saturation becomes questionable at low water
salinity (less than 100,000 ppm) and low porosity (less than 15%) and particularly in shaly
formations. The time lapse technique offers an alternate approach which removes the main
uncertainties and extends considerably the range of an application of TDT. In this respect the
production cannot be overemphasized.
One serious limitation is TDT analysis is related to the shallow investigation of nuclear techniques.
TDT logs run in open hole are usually affected by filtrate invasion in permeable beds and are of little
value for quantitative evaluation of reservoirs. Even in cased holes, invasion may prevail, especially
when the log is run too soon after completion. This condition may be recognized by some crossplot
techniques. Invasion by casing fluid also occurs when the well is killed 1 11/16-inch TDT tool most
of the uncertainty concerning invasion has been removed, since this tool can be run through the
tubing under producing conditions. Thus the TDT log represents effectively the water saturation of
the producing zones during production.
With the appropriate technique, the TDT can be used to monitor changes in fluid saturation during the
life of the well. This unique ability has been used with remarkable economics success in several
ways, among them the following:
1. To detect channeling behind casing.
2. To permit control of reservoirs by detecting changes in water tables and in gas-oil ratios.
3. To allow better evaluation of the efficiency of recovery by measuring residual oil saturation, and
by detecting by-passed production intervals.
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 17
Determination of Lithology and Porosity
The readings of the Neutron, Sonic, and Density logs depend not only on porosity, but also on formation
lithology and fluid content. As explained in earlier chapters, when the appropriate matrix-lithology
parameters (Δtma, ma, ma) are known, correct porosity values can be derived from these logs,
appropriately corrected, in clean, water-filled formations. Under these conditions a single log, either
neutron or Density, or, if there is no secondary porosity, the Sonic, should suffice to determination .
Accurate porosity determination becomes more difficult when the matrix lithology is unknown or consists
of two or more minerals in unknown proportions. The interpretation is further complicated when the
influence on the log response of the pore fluid, in the portion of the formation investigated by the tools,
differs appreciably from that of water. In many open-hole cases, however, the invaded zone is well
flushed or originally fully saturated with water.
Sonic, Density, and Neutron logs respond differently and independently to the different matrix
compositions, and to the presence of gas or light oils. Combinations of these logs can furnish more
information about the formation and its contents than can be obtained from a single log.(1)
Except as indicated, clean (non shaly), liquid saturated formations with only primary porosity will be
assumed in the discussion, which follows.
If a formation consists of only two known minerals a pair of porosity logs, one of which is a Neutron Log,
will suffice to determine the proportions of the minerals in the rock matrix and to determine a better value
of porosity. Furthermore, if it is known that the lithology is more complex, but consist of only quartz,
limestone, dolomite, and anhydrite, then a relatively accurate value of porosity can again be determined
with the same two porosity logs; however, the mineral fractions in the matrix cannot be determined unless
the lithology is known.
Determination of Rw
Formation water resistivity, Rw, is an important interpretation parameter, since it is necessary for
saturation determination from electrical logs.
Rw from Water Catalogs
Water catalogs usually list chemical analyses and, sometimes, resistivity data for formation waters
collected from different fields and different producing horizons. Such catalogs have been compiled by
many geological societies, oil companies, etc. When available, they should be consulted, to augment
and verify Rw values obtained from the SP or by resistivity methods.
Rw from Chemical Analysis
Although direct measurements of Rw is to be preferred, sometimes only a chemical analysis of the
formation water is available, even in catalog listings.
Determination of Rw
18 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC Copyright 2012
A method for deriving electrical resistivity of a solution from its chemical analysis is described on
Chart Book page Gen-8. This method, using weighting coefficients proportional of concentrations, is
a refinement over the original Dunlap method (1) in which the coefficients had fixed values.
The method of Gen-8 uses a chart which, for the more concentrated solutions, incorporates data of
Desai and Moore and others.
Rw from the SP
In many cases a good value of Rw can easily be found from the SP curve. In some cases, however,
(where salts other than NaCl are present, where there are shifting base lines, or where Rw is variable)
certain precautions are required.
There are conditions in which important electrokinetic potentials sometimes exist (e.g. very-low-
permeability formations, depleted-pressure formations, and very heavy muds). In these cases it may
be inadvisable to use a value of Rw derived from the SP. However experience indicates that the
elecrokinetic component of the SP may generally be considered negligible when the formations have
appreciable permeability, formation waters are saline, and muds are not too resistive. In these cases
the Static SP is considered to be equal to the electrochemical potential.
For NaCl solutions, K=71 at 77F (25C), and K varies in direct proportion to absolute temperature.
For pure NaCl solutions that are not too concentrated, resistivities are inversely proportional does not
hold exactly at high concentrations or for all types of water. Therefore we use “equivalent
resistivities”, Rwe and Rmfe, which, by definition, are inversely proportional to the activities. (Rwe =
.075/aw at 77F.)
Resistivity Interpretation (Rt, Rxo/Rt, Rxo)
Interpretation of resistivity logs provides the most general approach for the detection and quantitative
evaluation of hydrocarbon saturation.
The resistivity parameters of interest are:
Rt (the resistivity of the formation far enough from the borehole to be unaffected by invasion). Rt is
used for determination of Sw in the Archie Saturation Equation
Rxo (the resistivity of the flushed zone near the borehole). The value of Rxo helpful in invaded cases
to obtain a better value or Rt. Rxo may also be used to obtain Sxo (to indicate residual saturation or
hydrocarbon movability), and to get a value of F.
Rxo/Rt is used in the ratio formula to obtain Sw/Sxo (itself an indicator of hydrocarbon movability),
and, if Sxo is know or estimated, to find Sw.
When invasion is very deep an accurate value of Rt is sometimes difficult to measure, because the
reading of the deep-investigation log is also affected by Rxo. This effect will be greater for larger
values of Rmt/Rw, because then the contrast between Rxo and Rt will be greater. When invasion is
very shallow, the measurements of so-called Rxo logs may be affected by the Rt zone.
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 19
It may also become very difficult or impossible to make accurate corrections for invasion for beds
that have been invaded by filtrates of different kinds. If a mud change is anticipated, the resistivity
logs should preferably be run before the change.
Assuming a sharp transition between the Rxo zone interpretation problem involves three unknown
parameters: Rxo, di and Rt. To solve it, as many as three different logs may be required. These
preferably include one whose response is affected by Rt, another mostly by Rxo, and a third by
variations in di.
When the invasion profile cannot be regarded as a step contact between the Rxo, and Rt zones, as, for
example, in the case of an annulus, the problem acquires additional unknowns, and an additional log
may be required.
Qualitative Interpretations
Quite often good qualitative interpretations can be made by visual inspection of resistivity and
associated logs. Steps involved are:
1. Identification of the permeable formations. This is usually done: by means of the SP; from
indications of presence of mud cake (by readings of decreased diameter on the Microcaliper,
or by positive separation between shallow and deep investigation resistivity curves.
2. Determination, by deep-investigation resistivity devices, that Rt in the permeable formation is
appreciably larger than Ro, the resistivity the formation would have if water bearing
3. When the resistivity logs are recorded on logarithmic scale the separation between the curves
is equal to the logarithm of the ratio of the two resistivity readings. The value of this ratio can
be read by measuring off the separation between curves on the logarithmic scale under the
heading, starting at the unity graduation. The value of Rshallow/R deep so determined can be
used to obtain an approximation of Rxo/Rt.
Determination of RXO
Rxo is determined preferably from the Microlaterolog or MSFL as disscused in Chapter I-6. Rxo can
sometimes be derived from the Micrology or the Proximity Log. The Proximity Log can be used directly
as an Rxo tool if invasion is deep enough (di greater than about 40”), For shallower invasion, the
Proximity Log is affected by the Rt zone; however, the log reading can be used to enter appropriately
constructed charts.
If necessary, the value of Rxo may be estimated from the porosity using a formula such as
.62 Rmf
Rxo =  (14-1)
2.15(1 – Sor)2
using  from a porosity log and an assumed value of Sor. The error in the estimated Rxo can be fairly
large, due to the uncertainties in  and Sor, and this error will affect the Rt determination somewhat.
Shaly Formations
20 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC Copyright 2012
Pad devices for Rxo determination are sensitive to mud cake effects and boreholes rugosity, but are
usually insensitive to bed thickness effects.
Shaly Formations
The responses of many well logs are affected by formations shaliness. As a result, interpretation for
shaly formations become somewhat more involved than for clean formations.
In this chapter we will usually be talking about shaly sands. This is because of the high frequency of
occurrence of shaly sands in sand-shale sequences.(1) However, many of the techniques will be
applicable to shaly carbonates as well.(2)
The way shaliness affects a log reading depends on the proportion of shale and its physical properties.
For several logging tools (Resistivity, Sonic, SP, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance log) it also
depends on the way the shale is distributed in the formation. Responses of the radioactivity tools
(Gamma Rays, Neutron, Density, Thermal Neutron Decay Time) are not affected by the way the
shale is distributed.
Inspection of cores reveals that shaly material may be distributed in formation in three possible ways
(Fig. 16-1):
1. Shale may exist in the form of laminae between which are layers of sand. The laminar shale does
not affect the porosity or permeability of the sand streaks themselves. However, when the amount
of laminar shale is increased and the amount of porous medium is correspondingly decreased,
overall porosity is reduced in proportion.
2. Shale may exist as grains or nodules in the formation matrix. This matrix shale termed structural
shale, and is considered to have properties similar to those of laminar shale.
3. The shaly material may be dispersed throughout the sand, partially filling the intergranular
interstices. The dispersed shale may be in the form of accumulations adhering to or coating the
sand grains, or it may partially fill the smaller pore channels. Dispersed shale in the pores
markedly reduces the permeability of the formation. All these forms of shale may, of course,
occur simultaneously in the same formation.
Laminar and structural shales have been subjected to the same overburden pressure as the bedded
shales, thus are presumed to have the same water content. In practical interpretation, they are
considered to have the same average properties as the shales in the adjacent beds. Log esponses are
taken to be identical for these two types of shales.
Dispersed shale may be assumed to have the same mineral composition as the “average” shale in the
interval. However, being subjected to only hydrostatic rather than overburden pressure, it can be
expected to contain more bound water. In usual core analysis determinations of porosity much of this
loosely bound water is removed during the drying process.(3) This results in an increased porosity
indication by the core analysis results, it may be desirable in log analysis to include some of the
bound water of dispersed shales in the porosity.
Useful shaly-sand evaluations may be performed by assuming one or both of two simplified
distributions. In one of these models laminated shale is interbedded with clean sand streaks. In the
other, all shale is dispersed. Relations will therefore be shown for use of these two simplified shale
Fundamentals of
Quantitative Log Interpretation
Copyright 2012 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC 21
distribution models. Interpretation experience has shown that the final saturation values found with
the two assumptions are generally not too different when the shale fraction is small.
With the availability of computers, a more nearly complete interpretation model is used. This model
incorporates to be deposited. Shales contain, in various proportions, the clay minerals (illite,
montmorillonite, kaolinite, etc.), as well as silt, carbonate, and other non-clay materials. Silt is a very
fine grained material that is predominantly quartz, but may include feldspar, calcite, and other
minerals. In sandshale areas where the principal non-clay material is silt, the silt content of the shale
has been observed to vary, being maximum near the sand bodies and minimum in the shale far from
the sands. This is consistent with sedimentation principles; silt is more likely to be present in the
higher energy environment associated with sand deposition than in the low-energy environment
required for the deposition of fine clays. When the shale is composed of wet clay and silt, obviously,
in terms of bulk-volume fractions
Peremeability, (Sw) irr, Water Cut
This chapter will develop some working concepts about permeability and capillary pressure, and
prevent some empirical methods in which well log data have been successfully used to determine
permeability, producibility, and water cut.
Permeability, Definitions
Permeability is a measure of the case with which a formation permits a fluid of given viscosity to
flow through it. To be permeable, a rock must have interconnected porosity (pores, vugs, capillaries,
or fractures). Greater porosity usually corresponds to greater permeability, but porosity which is not
interconnected (as is sometimes true of vuggy porosity) does not constitute effective (producible)
porosity and does not contribute to formation permeability.
Some fine-grained sands can have large interconnected porosities, but, at the same time, the paths
available through the narrow pores for the movement of fluid are quite restricted and tortuous; the
permeabilities of very fine-grained formations may be quite low.
Other formations, such as limestone, may be composed of a dense rock broken by a few small fissures
of great extent. The porosity of the dense formation would surely be very low, but the “permeability”
of a fissure can be enormous. Fissured limestones may thus have very low porosities, but exceedingly
high permeability.
The permeability of a given sample of rock to the flow of any homogenous fluid is a constant,
provided the geometry of the rock is not altered by the way the core is prepared or by the permeability
test itself. Permeability determined for a homogeneous liquid is called absolute permeability (k).
Permeability measurements made using air or gas have to be corrected for “slippage” effects, to
equivalent liquid permeability, by use of the so-called Klinkenberg corrections.
The unit of permeability is the “darcy”. This is a very large unit, so in practice the thousandth part of
a darcy, the millidarcy (md), is commonly used.
The range of permeabilities of producing formations is extremely wide – from less than 0.1 md to
well over 13,000 md. The lower limit of permeability for a commercial well depends on several
factors: the thickness of the pay, whether oil or gas, hydrocarbon viscosity, formation pressure, water
saturation, the price of oil, etc.
Shaly Formations
22 Southern Pacific Exploration Company, LLC Copyright 2012
When two or more immiscible fluids (e.g., oil and water) are present in the formation their flows
interfere. The effective permeabilities (ko, kw) in these cases are therefore less than the absolute
permeability (k). The effective permeability depend not only upon the rock itself, but also upon the
relative amounts of the different fluids present in the pores.
The relative permeabilities are the ratios of the effective permeabilities to the absolute (homogeneous-
fluid) permeability. Thus, for an oil-water system the relative permeability-to-water (krw) is equal to
kw/k; similarly the relative permeability for oil (kro) is equal to ko/k. It is apparent that relative
permeabilities must lie between zero and unity. Relative permeabilities are usually expressed in
percent.
The shapes of the relative permeability diagram will depend on the formation and pore characteristics,
and on which fluids are present (water, oil, gas).

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