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Resistivity and saturation in shales

Over the years, a large number of models relating resistivity and fluid saturations have been
proposed. Many have been developed assuming the shale exists in one of the three specific
geometric forms. All these models are composed of a clean sand term, described by the Archie
water saturation equation, plus a shale term. The shale term may be fairly simple or quite complex;
the shale term may be relatively independent of, or it may interact with, the clean sand term. All the
models reduce to the Archie water saturation equation when the fraction of shale is zero; for
relatively small amounts of shaliness, most models and methods yield quite similar results.
Only a very few of these models will be reviewed here to provide some flavor and understanding for
the evolution of shaly-sand interpretation logic.

Laminated sand/shale simplified model

In this laminar shale model, Rt, the resistivity in the direction of the bedding planes, is related
to Rsh (the resistivity of the shale laminae) and to Rsd (the resistivity of the clean sand laminae) by a
parallel resistivity relationship,

where Vlam is the bulk-volume fraction of the shale, distributed in laminae, each of more-or-less
uniform thickness.
For clean-sand laminae,

, where Fsd is the formation resistivity factor of the clean

sand. Because
(where sd is the sand-streak porosity) and f =
(1 Vlam )sd (where is the bulk-formation porosity), then

To evaluate Sw by the laminated model, Rt, Rw, , Vlam, and Rsh must be determined.
For the determination of Rt, the problem is the same as for clean formations. If Rw is not known, its
determination usually involves looking at a nearby clean sand and solving for Rw using the SP
measurement. If the formation is water-bearing, the resistivity and porosity measurements can be
For the determination of and Vlam, a combination of porosity logs can be used. For example, as
illustrated in Fig. 1, a crossplot of N and B from a density log is effective. The triangle of the figure
is defined by the matrix point, water point, and shale point. In this example, the matrix point is

at N = 0 (the neutron log was scaled in apparent sandstone porosity) and ma = 2.65 g/cm3(quartz
matrix). The shale point is at N = 50 p.u. and sh = 2.45 g/cm3. These values were taken in a nearby
thick shale bed; it is assumed that shale laminae in the shaly sand under investigation are similar to
the nearby massive shale beds. The water point is, of course, located at N = 100 p.u. and B = 1
g/cm3. The matrix-water line and shale-water line are linearly divided into porosity; the matrix-shale
line and water-shale line are linearly divided into shale percentages.

Fig. 1 Neutron-density crossplot showing matrix, water, and shake points, scaled for determination
of Vshale and porosity.

Point A, plotted as an example, corresponds to log readings of B = 2.2 g/cm3 and N = 33 p.u.
Interpretation by the lines on the plot yields 23% and Vsh (or Vlam) = 16 %.
Direct use of this crossplot assumes 100% water saturation in the zone investigated by the tools.
Because oil has a density and hydrogen content normally not greatly different from water, this
crossplot technique can be used with acceptable accuracy in oil-bearing formations. The presence
of gas or light hydrocarbon, however, decreases N and decreases B. This would cause the point to
shift in a northwesterly direction. When gas or light hydrocarbons are present, an additional
shaliness indicator, such as GR or SP data, is needed to evaluate the amount of the shift.
Using the laminated model, an equation for Rxo analogous to Eq. 2 could be written. Sxo would
replace Sw, and Rmf would replaceRw. The other terms (, Vlam, and Rsh) remain the same in the two
equations. Assuming S xo = S w 1/5 (as in the flushed-zone ratio method) and the ratio of the PSP
(SP deflection in the shaly sand) to the SSP (SP deflection in a nearby clean sand of similar
formation water) is a measure of shaliness, Vlam, water saturation could be calculated from Rxo/Rt and
PSP in the shaly sand and SSP (or Rmf/Rw) in a nearby clean sand.

Dispersed clay
In this model, the formation conducts electrical current through a network composed of the pore
water and dispersed clay. As suggested by de Witte,[1] it seems acceptable to consider that the
water and the dispersed shale conduct an electrical current like a mixture of electrolytes.
Development of this assumption yields

where im = intermatrix porosity, which includes all the space occupied by fluids and dispersed
shale; Sim = the fraction of the intermatrix porosity occupied by the formation-water, dispersed-shale
mixture; q = the fraction of the intermatrix porosity occupied by the dispersed shale; and Rshd = the
resistivity of the dispersed shale. Also, it can be shown that Sw = (Sim q)/(1 q), whereSw is the
water saturation in the fraction of true effective formation porosity.
Combining these relations and solving for Sw yields

Usually, im can be obtained directly from a sonic log because dispersed clay in the rock pores is
seen as water by the sonic measurement. The value of q can be obtained from a comparison of a
sonic and density log. Indeed, if shd ma, then qsv (SV D)/ SV, where SV and D are the sonic
and density derived porosities, respectively. In this case, D approximates , the effective porosity
available for fluid saturation.
The value of Rsh is more difficult to evaluate. It is usually taken as equal to Rsh in nearby shale beds.
Fortunately, its value is not too critical if it is at least several times greater than Rw. In fact,
when Rw is small compared to Rsh and the sand is not too shaly,Eq. 4 can be simplified to a form
independent of Rsh:


Total shale relationship

Based upon the previously described ideas, laboratory investigations, and field experience, it has
been found that a simple relationship of the following form works well for many shaly formations
independent of the distribution of the shale and over the range of Sw values encountered in practice:


In using this equation, Rsh is taken equal to the resistivity of the adjacent shale beds, and Vsh is the
shale fraction as determined from a total shale indicator.
Before the Waxman-Smits formulation, equations of the form of Eq. 3 and 6 gained wide
acceptance in the evaluation of shaly sands. These equations have a general form of

where denotes a predominant sand term that is dependent on the amount of sand, its porosity,
and the resistivity of the saturating water. The sand term always reduces to Archies water
saturation equation when the shale fraction is zero. denotes a predominant shale term that
depends on the amount and resistivity of the shale.

Dual water model

In 1968, Waxman and Smits proposed, based on extensive laboratory work and theoretical study, a
saturation-resistivity relationship for shaly formations that related the resistivity contribution of the
shale (to the overall resistivity of the formation) to the CEC of the shale. [2] The Waxman-Smits
relationship is

where F* is the formation factor of the interconnected porosity, Sw also relates to the interconnected
pores, B is the equivalent conductance of the sodium clay-exchange cations as a function of the
formation water conductivity, and Qv is the CEC of the rock per unit pore volume.
Unfortunately, a continuous in-situ measurement of rock CEC was not available when this study
was presented. As a result, the dual water model was developed as a practical solution. [3] The dual
water method is based on three premises:

The conductivity of clay is because of its CEC.

The CEC of pure clays is proportional to the specific surface area of the clay.

In saline solutions, the anions are excluded from a layer of water around the surface of the
grain. The thickness of this layer expands as the salinity of the solution (below a certain limit)
decreases, and the thickness is a function of salinity and temperature.

Therefore, because CEC is proportional to specific area (area per unit weight) and to the volume of
water in the counter-ion exclusion layer per unit weight of clay. Consequently, the conductivity of
clay is proportional to the volume of the counter-ion exclusion layer, this layer being "bound" to the
surface of the clay grains. For clays, this very thin sheet of bound water is important because of the

large surface areas of clays relative to sand grains (several magnitudes greater). Therefore, in the
dual water model, a clay is modeled as consisting of two components: bound water and clay
The clay minerals are modeled as being electrically inert; the clay electrical conductivity is modeled
as being derived from the conductivity of the bound water, Cwb. Cwb is assumed to be independent of
clay type (from the second postulate described previously). The amount of bound water varies
according to clay type, being higher for the finer clays (with higher surface areas), such as
montmorillonite, and lower for coarser clays, such as kaolinite. Salinity also has an effect; in lowsalinity waters (roughly < 20,000 ppm NaCl), the diffuse layer expands.
The bound water is immovable under normal conditions; therefore, the volume it occupies cannot
be displaced by hydrocarbons. Because the clay minerals (dry colloids) are considered electrically
inert, they may be treated just as other minerals. Schematically, shaly formations are modeled with
the dual water model, as illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1

For most rocks (except for conductive minerals such as pyrite, which cannot be treated in this way)
only the porous part needs to be considered when discussing electrical properties, and it is treated
according to the Archie water-saturation equation. The equation becomes

where a, m, and n have the usual Archie connotations. t is the conductivity of the noninvaded,
virgin formation (1/Rt), and we is the equivalent conductivity of the waters in the pore space.
Note that t and Swt refer to total pore volume; this includes the pore volumes saturated with the
bound water and the formation connate water (sometimes called the "free" water). The equivalent
water conductivity, we, is

where Vw and Vwb are the bulk volumes of formation water and bound water, respectively,
and w and wb are their conductivities.
In terms of saturation, Eq. 10 becomes





where Swb is the bound water saturation (i.e., the fraction of the total pore volume occupied by the
bound water).
Eq. 13 describes the equivalent-water conductivity as a function of the formation water conductivity
plus the bound-water conductivity. The saturation equation (Eq. 9) becomes

The porosity and water saturation of the sand (clean formation) phase (that is, the nonclay phase)
of the formation is obtained by subtracting the bulk-volume fraction of bound water (t Swb).
Therefore, the effective porosity is

and the water saturation is

To evaluate a shaly formation using the dual water model, four parameters must be determined.
They are w (or Rw), wb (or Rwb),t, and Swb. A neutron-density crossplot provides a good value
of t. Swb is obtainable from a variety of shale-sensitive measurements (SP,
GR, N, Rt, N B, t B, etc.). Rwb and Rw are usually determined by the log analyst and entered as
input parameters.