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Problem Statement
You are a reservoir engineer in a
deep water business unit, tasked
with calculating OOIP for a
prospect with very little data. Your
choices at each step in the
calculation may dramatically
change your outcome. A little
geologic insight will help reduce
the uncertainty of your estimate.

Learning Objectives
1. Calculate original oil in place
for a hydrocarbon
2. Explain why you made the
decisions based on the
3. Explain the value of having
more data that could have
made your decisions easier
4. Explain what you might have
done differently if you had the

Calculating Original Oil in Place with

Geologic Uncertainties

Geoscience Case Study

Project Summary
In this exercise, you will calculate OOIP using real experimental data from an offshore deepwater prospect.
Carefully consider the materials given to you, to find values for reservoir thickness, reservoir area, porosity,
and water saturation. Once you have them, plug and chug!
Calculate OOIP for an oil reservoir by using the following equation:

OOIP = [7758 A h phi (1-Sw)]/Boi

Original Oil in Place

Reservoir Area

Reservoir Thickness

Initial formation volume

factor (rb/stb)
Water Saturation

Reservoir Porosity

Use the following table to record your answers:




(Youre welcome!)

1.646 rb/stb


Engineering Academy 2014-2015

Geoscience Case Study

Background Information
Shown is a 2D seismic line through an offshore deepwater prospect. The black and white lines are seismic
reflectors, or strata in the Earth off of which seismic energy bounces. The black and white lines appear fuzzy
in some parts of the image, largely because of the salt bodies (blue) that cover them. It is very difficult to get
clear seismic images, below salt.
The colored lines (pink, red, green, yellow) represent Miocene-aged geologic horizons that are correlated
regionally across this basin. Two wells were drilled in this prospect. For this case study, you are concerned
with the first, straight well targeting just above the yellow horizon. This is the ADRIAN ANGOVE-ROGERS EA-1.
As you can see, the prospect itself is some kind of structural high, either a ridge or dome.
Gulf of Mexico 2D Seismic
Seafloor Bottom



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Geoscience Case Study

Select the Areal Extent of the Reservoir
The image below is the prospect shown in 3D. 3D seismic volumes are commonly viewed using a red/blue
color bar to show changes in seismic amplitude. Those amplitude values reflect lithology changes as you pass
from one layer (or type) of rock to another. In an area with pancake geology, you would expect a time slice
taken horizontally through the rock to be pretty boring: since it would pass through just one rock type, and
one seismic amplitude, the time slice would look all one color. Here you can see that the region surrounding
our prospect is much more complex: the time slice looks very splotchy, indicating that there are many lumps
and bumps. Our prospect in particular shows a circular pattern, indicating that this prospect may be more of a
dome (anticline) than a ridge. (Think about it: what would a dome look like, if you sliced through the top of
it? What would a ridge look like?) Sometimes, you will hear anticlines referred to as 4-way or 3-way
closure, depending on whether a fault breaches the structure. Obviously, the more closure, the better, for the
purpose of retaining oil.
1. Use this picture to determine the areal extent of your prospect. Is the pink, white, green or yellow
circle the best estimate? Why?

Pink: A = 300 acres

Areas for each of the choices:

White: A = 500 acres
Green: A = 750 acres

Yellow: A = 1200 acres


3D Seismic Image,
W. Steven Holbrook, n.d
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Geoscience Case Study

Calculate the Height (h)
The sidetracked well was logged through the pay interval, which is marked by the red box on the bottom right
of the gamma log. The reservoir occupies just a tiny fraction of the wellbore. The operator reported $118
million in costs, associated with appraisal of this prospect: just think about how much oil must be lurking
there, in order to make this well pay out! The exact location of the horizontal time slice is also indicated on
this slide.

2. Calculate the height of the pay from the logs below:

Gamma Ray





Time slice

Gamma Ray Log

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Geoscience Case Study

Identify the Porosity (phi)
Here is a photomicrograph of a thin section taken from the reservoir unit. Thin sections are slices of rock that
are polished down to about 30 microns thick, so they are thin enough for light to pass through. In this slide,
white and black are grains of rock; blue is the epoxy used to fill in the pore spaces. Sedimentary rocks are
commonly prepared using a blue epoxy to fill in pore spaces. The epoxy serves two purposes: first, to protect
the fragile rock as it is polished and second, make the pores more visible.


Image retrieved from CoreLab

Engineering Academy 2014-2015

Geoscience Case Study

This is a visual aid to help

with estimating porosity
from the thin section. If the
black dots represented pores
in this chart, then the upper
left box would have 1%
porosity, the bottom right
square would have 75%
porosity, etc. Of course,
there are more precise tools
for estimating porosity
(including a variety of
wireline logs), but it is also
useful to train your eye for
visual estimates.
**Use this chart alongside
the thin section to arrive at a
porosity estimate for your
reservoir. Remember that in
the thin section, pore space
is blue.

Image retrieved from external site - Stevenson, 2012


What is your porosity estimate from the thin section on page 5?

Engineering Academy 2014-2015

Geoscience Case Study

Calculate the Water Saturation

The final value you will need to calculate to determine the OOIP will be water saturation (Sw). This is
commonly calculated using Archies Equation, as follows:

Sw = (Ro/Rt)^(1/N)

Sw = water saturation
Ro = Resistivity of a Rock with only water or brine in its pores (ohm-m)
Rt = Resistivity of a rock with a mix of oil and brine in its pores (ohm-m)
N = Saturation Exponent, Constant = 2

The trick for you will be deciding what is the wet rock (water or brine only), and what is the rock with the
mixture of oil and brine. You should use the logs given previously to determine this.
HINT: Brine is considered conductive, whereas oil is considered resistive.

4. What is the water saturation (Sw)? Refer to page 4 to find Ro and Rt.

Engineering Academy 2014-2015