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SPE 132799

Trinidad Columbus Basin Petrophysics Field Study (Part 2):


Permeability and Water Saturation
K. Cross, H.J. Rose, J. Ali-Nandalal, SPE, and S. Teelucksingh, BP Trinidad and Tobago

Copyright 2010, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the Trinidad and Tobago Energy Resources Conference held in Port of Spain, Trinidad, 2730 June 2010.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed
by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or
members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is
restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

Abstract
A petrophysical refresh of the bpTT fields in the Columbus Basin in Trinidad has been carried out. The objectives of the refresh
were to provide continuity and consistency in petrophysical interpretations in this mature basin where over the years multiple
vendors and differing interpretational approaches have been employed.

In an effort to create a more robust core data set, data gaps were identified in the existing core analyses and supplemental
analysis performed. The core data set was expanded to include Co/Cw measurements on plugs from 2 wells to augment legacy
data to investigate log-based water saturation methods.

New models were developed for permeability and water saturation and each of these models were calibrated against the core
dataset. Permeability was re-evaluated with the new model being based on core-derived measurements and tuned to dynamic well
test data to incorporate upscaling heterogeneities. Both log-based and core-based water saturation models were explored. The new
core conductivity measurements provided support for the log-based method selected. Air-brine capillary pressure data have
provided a key input to the development of a new saturation height function. The match between the new saturation height
function water saturation and that derived from resistivity-based saturation is good, reinforcing its validity.

Introduction
Oil production in the bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) fields in the Columbus Basin started in the 1960s with modest commercial
gas production in the 1980s (Lachance, 1999). An aggressive gas exploration program commenced in the 1990s and a consortium
formed that resulted in the construction of the Atlantic Liquified Natural Gas (ALNG) plant in Point Fortin. The original wells
supplying the ALNG plant in 1998 produced 75 MMSCF/D, however, typical gas production rates increased to over 100
MMSCF/D/well with some wells producing over 200 MMSCF/D on occasion (Jemmott et al, 2003). A robust Gas Initially in
Place (GIIP) estimate is key to delivering the current bpTT business of over 450 MBOE/D (>2600 MMSCF/D). Consistent
petrophysical inputs are required to assure this estimate.

A petrophysical refresh was carried out to provide continuity and consistency in petrophysical interpretations in this mature
basin where over the years multiple vendors and differing interpretational approaches have been employed.

Geological Overview
The Columbus Basin is located off the southeast coast of Trinidad, at the transpressional boundary of the Caribbean and the
Atlantic plates. It is the youngest in a series of foredeep basins that were formed as a result of the transpressional motion of the
Caribbean Plate along the northern margin of South America. The Columbus Basin receives sediment from the southwest from the
prograding Orinoco Delta and reservoir sands are Pliocene to Pleistocene in age. Sands are well sorted and are composed primarily
of quartz with a minor component of lithics. Depositional environments in the Columbus Basin range from prograding shore facies
to shelf-edge deltaic sands and eventually to slope facies. The basin is dominated by gravity tectonics, and characterized by large
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listric faults which sole out at or near to the Cretaceous basement level. As a result of the growing accommodation space, the shelf
consists of an expanded shelf section, where the most prolific reservoirs reside.

The Columbus Basin is a relatively cool basin, with reservoir temperatures not exceeding 240F. The prevailing pressure
regime in the sands is one of slight overpressure, however, in the disconnected shelf and slope, there is an increase in pressure with
depth, approaching the lithostatic trend line in the slope facies. In terms of fluid distribution, generalized trends are seen across the
basin. The oil accumulations are concentrated to the north, while the northern and southern gas trends are oriented NE-SW and are
perpendicular to the normal faults. There is an increasing proportion of biogenic gas to the east, with very little thermogenic
character in these easterly fields. This reflects the young age of the reservoirs, as they have not yet received thermogenic charge
from the Cretaceous source rock. Cementation is minimal and diagnosis is limited to mechanical compaction.

Methodology

Core Database
Thirty-five cores have been acquired in the bpTT gas fields in the Columbus Basin. Fourteen of these cores with more
comprehensive quality controlled core and log data were chosen to form a gold data set for use in the development of a new
permeability model where total porosity was measured. All core to log depth shifts were performed and raw laboratory
measurements were collated. In an effort to create a more robust core dataset, data gaps were identified in the exisiting core
analyses and supplemental analysis performed.

The gold dataset covered sixteen sands ranging between 4300 ft 16000 ft TVDSS with a total of 767 routine core analysis
(RCA) plug points. Grainsize data from both laser particle size analysis (LPSA) and from thin section petrography were available
to assist in textural understanding. Sedimentological core descriptions were also used to assist in the basic reservoir quality
assessment.

A variety of core data were used for calibrating the log-derived water saturation (Sw) functions, as well as in the development
of the saturation height function (SHF) model. Core calibration data included direct Dean Stark Sw measurements from wellsite
plugs, as well as capillary pressure data from both air-brine and high pressure mercury injection. Excess conductivity (Co/Cw)
measurements, electrical properties and high speed centrifuged water resistivities (Rw) were used to assist in the Sw log model.

New models were developed for permeability and water saturation and each of these models were calibrated against the core
dataset. The core data therefore provided an independent check on the calculated petrophysical properties and proved the
robustness of the selected method.

Permeability
Previously permeability was calculated from regional, core-based porosity to permeability (phi-K) equations and applied to
effective porosity from logs, to produce a log-derived calculated permeability. To account for two phase flow, a correction factor
was applied to the core-derived equations which were subsequently tuned to well test permeabilities from pressure transient
analysis (PTA). These legacy models were inconsistent in both their mathematical functions but also their relationships to
permeability with some models incorporating water saturation and volume of shale (Vsh).

Three key elements were identified from this study in generating robust permeability models. These are:
1. Compute Age dependant perm (five phi/k transform) : perm_age1 through perm_age5
2. Compute Sand specific perm (sixteen phi/k transform) : perm_sand1 through perm_sand16
3. Compute NMR perm (Resistivity-Coates equation) when Sw < 1: perm_coates_mod

Where perm_age1 to perm_age5 spans <1.55 Ma yrs to 3.46 Ma yrs

These phi-K transforms are merged based on the following hierarchy:


1. Reservoirs with core use perm_sand specific to each reservoir
2. Reservoirs without core use perm_age specific to age of reservoir
3. Reservoirs with known gas-water-contact (GWC) use perm_nmr above GWC

Permeability is controlled by the interconnectedness of pores and the diameter of the pore throats. These are a function of the
original sediment (grain size and sorting) together with any subsequent diagenetic modification (compaction, cementation,
SPE 132799 3

dissolution etc.) In the Columbus basin, the original depositional texture is the predominant control on permeability.
Fundamentally permeability is controlled by three main elements, namely texture, which directly affects pore type and geometry,
compaction (causing dissolution) and clay volume and ductile content, whereas porosity is controlled by sorting and is independent
of grainsize.

Diagenesis in Trinidad sands is relatively simple due to the very quartz-rich composition combined with a low geothermal
gradient (10 degF per 1000 ft). The sands are mineralogically mature and dominated by typically ~90% quartz with minimal
detrital clay. Clay when present is laminated with only trace amounts of authigenic clay growths. Generally as detrital clay
increases in proportion, permeability decreases.

From the thin section petrography and LPSA, the textural controls of grainsize, sorting and roundness show the expected
relationships in these Trinidad sands. Permeability decreases with decreasing mean grainsize, decreasing sorting and increasing
clay mineral and clay-sized grain content. These trends reflect changes in the energy regime of the deltaic system under which the
sands were deposited, i.e. the major controls on reservoir quality are detrital and not diagenetic.

The new permeability model is based on simple linear


regressions of phi-K relationships which were tested by sand,
age, depth, geography and depositional facies associations.
Although decent trends were observed with geography, it would
be erroneous to use a single geographical based function in an
entire well. Good phi-K relationships were also observed when
the depositional facies associations from the sedimentological
logs were incorporated. This data did not extend across the
entire database and thus was only used as verification in those
wells where a core sedimentology log was present.

The best phi-K relationships exist on an individual sand basis


with each sand displaying a strong correlation with a least
square linear regression varying between 0.68 and 0.98, with an
average of 0.86 (Figure 1). The lower regression values in
specific sands were due to biased sampling where only high
quality sands were plugged for analysis and thus there was
limited spread in the data distribution. It is clear the majority of
the sands follow the same general trend with the exception of
three sands which have markedly different slope angles. It is
postulated these differences are due to depositional controls.
The solid line represents a single regression through the entire Figure 1: Porosity-Permeability cross-plot showing
dataset. individual sand regressions.

Sand specific functions are excellent but limited across the basin where currently >70 horizons are mapped. To regionalize
these trends, age-defined brackets (in Ma years) were investigated and proved to be robust given the Columbus Basins simple
structural setting (extensional with N-S trending faults), with the younger reservoirs trending in an eastwards direction.
Interrogation of the sixteen sands resulted in the generation of four age-defined algorithms for phi-K with a fifth being a regional
transform through the entire dataset. The Age-1sands (<1.55 Ma yrs) conform to a single transform. The Age-2 sands (> 1.55 Ma
yrs 3.45 Ma yrs) did not follow a single relationship and were sub-divided into three age brackets, Age-2:1, Age-2:2 and Age-2:3
(1.8 Ma yrs, 2.46 Ma yrs young and 2.46 Ma yrs old respectively (Figure 2). These functions have excellent least square
regressions varying between 0.82 and 0.93 with an entire well function average of 0.82. The input data for these regressions were
from shelf samples and the effect of sampling the slope was not been investigated here.
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Age-2:2, 1.8 2.46Ma yrs


Age-1 <1.55Ma yrs Age-2:1 < 1.8Ma Age-2:3, 2.46 3.45Ma

Figure 2: Plots showing age-derived phi-K transforms. The black line on all plots shows the regression through the entire
gold well dataset

Relative permeability data from fourteen wells were used to determine the correction factor for two-phase flow (the
relationship of air permeability to relative gas permeability at irreducible water saturation). An average value from 37 samples was
used and is included into the new permeability equations.

The individual sand specific regressions and the age-defined group regressions form the basis of the new predicative
permeability model which is hierarchical in nature. For example, when interpreting a new well, if a sand is present and a core
exists from that sand, then the sand-specific algorithm is used. If no cored sands are present, then the default is to use the aged
defined algorithms. In conjunction with both of these, a phi-K transform through the entire dataset is also calculated.

Mini-probe permeability data has been used to confirm the new core-based algorithms. Although an un-calibrated
measurement, once tuned to the RCA permeability, mini-probe permeametry offer a high-resolution solution (typically 12 samples
per foot) which can be used to infill between core plugs and provide an understanding of fine-scale permeability heterogeneity.
Mini-permeability data are of particular importance in reservoirs with thinly bedded sands, where conventional routine
measurements cannot accurately determine the individual beds intrinsic properties due to resolution issues.

Permeability from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) logs was also investigated. NMR permeability is based on a
combination of experimental and theoretical models and relationships. When all factors are kept constant in these models and
relationships, permeability increases as connected porosity increases. The Free-Fluid model was applied in formations containing
both gas and water in this study.
a b
FFV PHIE
k = c
BFV 10
Equation 1: The free-fluid or Coates equation of NMR permeability

The database was limited to three wells, of which core was present in two. Typically a permeability log, KTIM is provided by
the logging contractor which is based on default constants. Permeability was back-calculated from Equation 1, with the constants
being amended until a good match was established to the core derived permeabilities from the 2 wells with core data. The third
well without core data did encounter both gas and water in the reservoir and as NMR measurements are calibrated in wet zones,
those permeabilities from these wet zones should read accurately. A new NMR KTIM log was generated matching to the water
zone field measured log and then with the appropriate constants was also calculated in the gas leg.
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In the absence of NMR data a modified Coates equation using resistivity logs can still be utilized by substituting Swt * Phit for
BFV (Equation 2). This approach is only valid in hydrocarbon legs above the transition zone as the introduction of free water
leads to under-estimation of permeability. Total porosity curves can replace effective porosity curves and thus be aligned to the
new porosity model presented in Part 1 of this paper (SPE 132798-PP in press).

a
PHIT
B
FFV
k = c
10
wt
S PHIT
Equation 2: - Modified resistivity - Coates equation

This method is remarkably robust when tested against the core-derived age-defined algorithms presented as the new base
model. This alternate NMR-resistivity method can be used where appropriate in conjunction with the core-based algorithms as a
second permeability check.

The permeability functions described above should assist in


improved predictors of well rate for new production wells in
Trinidad. To fully understand these matrix permeabilities at the
reservoir scale, these permeabilities need to be up-scaled and
calibrated to well test horizontal permeabilities (kh) from PTAs.
Both sources of permeability, core/log and PTA have pit-falls
and limitations. PTA permeability are considered the
benchmark and more representative of reservoir scale flow into
the wellbore. This up-scaling / averaging factor accounts for
mega-scopic fluid, rock and fault variations whereas core
measurements are made on 1.5" diameter plugs in a laboratory
with simulated reservoir stress using a single phase (usually
air). Comparisons of core/log kh and well test interpretation kh
have been made with care being taken to ensure that data is
directly comparable, (intervals, correct handling of missing
data, and all data is referenced to true stratigraphic thickness
TST). From this a correction factor was developed to further Figure 3: Plot showing the comparison of core/log kh and
tune the log-based permeability function (Figure 3). well test PTA kh

Water Saturation: Log-based Method


Water Saturation is a key parameter used to estimate volumetrics. This re-evaluation of the log-derived water saturation estimate in
the Columbus Basin provided a total rather than the legacy effective water saturation solution. Total water saturation (Swt) is
compatible with the total porosity method presented in Part 1of this paper (SPE 132798-PP in press).

A variety of core data were used for calibrating the log-derived Sw: direct Dean-Stark extraction, high speed centrifugation and
Special Core Analysis including electrical rock properties and excess conductivity measurements. A log-derived Sw calculation
remains the basic standard calculated curve; however, if a reservoir has a hydrocarbon-water contact, then a saturation height
function should also be calculated and used in combination with the log-derived Sw.

Three total water saturation models were tested on four key test wells: the Archie (Archie, 1941), the Waxman-Smits
(Waxman-Smits, 1968) and the Dual Water (Clavier and Coates, 1984) models. Prior to testing these models the input parameters
necessary for each methodology were investigated. An extensive electrical rock properties database existed consisting of 161
measurements on 21 reservoirs. Although various laboratories were used, only slight differences were observed in the comparative
measurements. Specifically for the Waxman-Smits methodology, clay conductivity was obtained from direct measurements of
Co/Cw on core plugs. Relationships between the cementation exponent (m) with depth, porosity, permeability and phi-K ratio
were explored with no single strong co-efficients evident and as such, an average value m was taken. Relationships were also
investigated with the saturation exponent with similar observations and thus a single averaged n value was established.
Uncertainty analysis showed that the value of n had the largest impact on Archie-derived water saturation (Figure 4).
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Figure 4: Uncertainty analysis of input parameters for Archie-derived water saturation showing n has largest impact

Table 1: Comparison of Water Saturation Equations

Sw Model Sw Equation Advantage Disadvantage


Archie Rw Simple clean model Most pessimistic
a
Swt = n *
m
Rt

Dual Water
S wt Trinidad experience Rw derived from logs.
n
vQ Qv
Ct = C w + * (Ccw C w ) to date Shale Rw reliant on shale
Fo S wt m.

( n 1)
Waxman-Smits C t = C w * t * S wt + BQv * t S wt Only core-based Requires extensive
m m
method. Most SCAL. Dependant on
optimistic clay mineral type. False
HC in shales

Formation water resistivity, Rw is a function of salinity and formation temperature. Salinities of pore water in sandstones can be
measured directly from three main sources, by: chemical and/or resistivity analysis of surface samples from production separators;
chemical analysis of spun water from wellsite plugs from conventional core, and from chemical analysis of down-hole fluid
samples. Salinity has the greatest effect on the resistivity of water and with analyses from over 400 produced water samples,
combined with direct centrifuged core derived measurements, a robust Rw model was developed. The use of Rw trendlines is
preferred over a constant Rw value as determined from a Pickett plot or other Rw methods. Trendlines naturally allow Rw to vary
with depth as observed from the Rw database.

The Archie method was originally developed with data from onshore Gulf Coast, US and assumes the rock framework has no
electrical conductivity. Archie rocks generally have simple intergranular pore systems i.e. clean, well sorted clastics and
carbonates with unimodal pore system. In addition, minimum cation exchange capacity (CEC) is assumed. The Archie-derived
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total water saturation for the four test wells confirmed that this method was not the optimized water saturation solution but did
clearly demonstrate its lack of applicability to thinly bedded formations.

The Waxman-Smits model was proposed to account for the effects of clays on resistivity of shaly sands. Clay conductivity in
this study was directly measured with Co/Cw tests. The total water saturation, Swt, is solved iteratively using the basic Archie
solution as a starting point. The model incorporates BQv (scaled CEC per unit of rock volume) and modified Archie constants
(formation factor F*, m*, n*). This total water saturation solution was successfully applied to three of the four test wells. Improved
results over the Archie method were observed for the thin-bedded formations only, with similar results being observed in more
conventional thick bedded sands.

The Dual Water is derived from the Waxman-Smits model but is based on the ionic double layer associated with hydrated clay
mineral in shaly sandstones. The model considers both bound water and free water in the pore space and can be either core-based
(F0, vQ, Qv, B, CEC) or log-based (PHIT, RWB, RWF, Vsh) (Figure 4). The Dual Water model was selected as it gave improved
results for conventional reservoirs and comparable results to Waxman-Smits model but did not require the number of core-derived
properties that were required by the Waxman-Smits methodology. The selection of this model was further endorsed as calculated
saturation values showed a closer correspondence to the rock types/facies than the other models. It should also be noted here that
the Dual Water equation assumes dispersed clay and while applicable to conventional reservoirs; it is not recommended for thinly
bedded reservoirs where a laminated sand method is more appropriate.

Figure 4: Dual Water model-derived water saturation showing good correlation to core derived measurements

Water Saturation: Saturation Height Function


The objective of this project was to develop a single saturation-height function for Columbus Basin gas reservoirs, or multiple
saturation-height functions based on identifiable criterion/criteria. Capillary pressure data had previously been used for facies
classification of core data but were not routinely used in the development of saturation-height functions. Previously, saturation
height functions had been developed for individual horizons rather than a model intended for more widespread use. However, the
use of saturation-height functions is a useful comparison for resistivity saturation and for calculating reserves using three-
dimensional geologic reservoir models. For reservoirs in which the wells are drilled near the contact, the log-based saturation
calculations would represent largely the transition zone saturations, and would therefore under-represent the gas saturation nearer
the crest of the structure. A SHF would account for the increasing gas saturation with height, and provide a more representative
saturation profile over the entire hydrocarbon column.

A variety of core data was used in developing the SHF:


1. Direct water saturation from Dean-Stark extraction from one core
2. Direct water saturation from high speed centrifugation from three cores
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3. Air-brine porous plate data for ten cores


4. Mercury injection capillary pressure data (not used quantitatively, irreducible water saturations obtained by this
method may be lower than true formation saturations)

Capillary pressure curves are strongly dependent on pore throat sorting and grain size and sorting (Harrison and Jing, 2001).
These parameters cannot be easily derived from logs, so other parameters including age and depth of reservoir, porosity,
permeability and porosity-permeability ratio, were considered in this study. The capillary pressure curves from each plug could be
defined most simply by a power function, of the form Sw=aHAFWLb. The coefficient, a and exponent b control the shape of
the curve i.e. the slope, plateau and inflection. Higher quality rocks are represented by capillary pressure curves that have flatter
plateaux, sharper inflections and slopes, tending to lower irreducible water saturations. It follows that a and b that define the
capillary pressure curves should vary systematically with a parameter that represents rock quality. Rather than a banding approach,
in which different functions are applied to each range of a rock parameter, a single multipart function is created that applies to the
full range of porosity or permeability. In this way, the constants in simple functions that define individual capillary pressure
curves, or are used to describe homogeneous reservoirs, are replaced by functions, thereby broadening the application of the model
to multiple, heterogeneous reservoirs.

The method employed for determining this amalgamated saturation-height function is detailed below:
1. Obtained best fit power function for each capillary pressure curve using a math-based software, Curve Fitting toolbox
2. Plotted exponent and coefficient from each function with various parameters, including, age of reservoir, depth of
reservoir, core-measured porosity, core-measured permeability and associated k/phi ratio, to determine which factors
controlled the shape and position of capillary pressure curves
g y y

Pleistocene reservoirs Pliocene reservoirs Pleistocene reservoirs Pliocene reservoirs


Air-brine data Air-brine data Mercury injection data Mercury injection data

Figure 5: Matrix of cross-plots of coefficient a and exponent b of power functions with rock quality parameters: age,
depth, porosity, permeability and k/phi ratio

3. Selected an exponential function to define the power exponent in terms of permeability (see Figure 5, ninth crossplot
in matrix)
4. Used this function to determine the exponent at each permeability, then generated new best fit power functions for
each plug with their defined exponents to obtain new coefficients
5. Re-plotted new coefficients from each plug with same five rock parameters and obtained a function that defined
coefficient in terms of permeability
6. Performed final tuning to direct core water saturation measurements (primary tuning calibration) and dual water log-
based water saturation (secondary tuning calibration).

( )
S w = 1.27 0.0001 log10 k 7 h 0.2 exp( 0.4*log10 k )
Equation 3: Saturation Height Function developed for Columbus Basin gas reservoirs
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This approach may be used with other functions that are commonly used to define capillary pressure or saturation-height
curves, including exponential functions such as Skelt, which has four coefficients. After the initial fitting of all the capillary
pressure data is completed, a matrix of cross-plots of coefficients with appropriate rock parameters should be created. The cross-
plot with the least scatter should be selected and an appropriate regression applied. The remaining coefficients must be re-
calculated by generating new best fit functions to the capillary pressure data, and the process repeated until all coefficients are
adequately defined by simple regressions. Progressively defining the coefficients that show the least scatter (highest regression
coefficient) allows for dependent tuning of the coefficients; this step is even more important with functions that contain several
coefficients. The form of regression function chosen defines the rate of change of saturation with the parameter; in this case, an
exponential function was used to define the power exponent with permeability, thus modeling small decreases in water saturation
with increasing permeability at the high permeability end of the spectrum, and greater increases in Sw as rock quality deteriorates.

(a) (b) Permeability Water Saturation


Saturation model compared to air-brine capillary pressure data Core Core
Dual Water
Log
300 Saturation Height Function
0.1 mD 10000
CAP PRESSURE DATA
K > 1000mD
500<K<1000
250
100<K<500

10<K<100
200 K<10mD
MODEL
HAFWL (ft)

1000mD
150 500mD
200mD
20mD
100
2mD

50

0
0.00 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.60 0.70 0.80 0.90 1.00

Sw (v/v)
Figure 6: (a) Saturation height model compared to capillary pressure data; (b) Logs of Vsh, estimated permeability (from
porosity) and water saturation from Dual Water model, and Saturation height model

Testing of the SHF was performed against original capillary pressure data (Figure 6a), log-based saturations using Dual Water,
(Figure 6b) and the primary tuning dataset, directly measured core saturations, (Figure 7a). For conventional gas reservoirs
(massive sands, not thinly bedded), which comprise most of bpTTs producing reservoirs, transition zones are thin. Defining these
transition zones was therefore of secondary importance, compared to accurately modelling irreducible water saturation (slope of
the SHF). The matrix of cross-plots indicated that permeability would be a good predictor of irreducible water saturation, and the
testing confirms this; however, it is not a perfect predictor, as Figure 7a shows. At high permeabilities, (hundreds of millidarcies
and greater), saturation may be predicted to within eight saturation units. The plot also suggests that water saturations in very poor
quality rock may not be precisely predicted by permeability alone.

A complicating factor which was not addressed in this study is the complex history of charging and leaking that many
Columbus Basin reservoirs have, as evidenced by palaeo-residual gas saturations that underlie full gas saturation columns. These,
as well as producing reservoirs may be in an imbibition rather than drainage phase. Since this model is primarily based on drainage
capillary pressure curves, it would not accurately predict the saturation profile, particularly at the transition zone. Another factor
which may limit the accuracy of saturation estimation when using an SHF is uncertainty in identifying the true FWL. With gas
reservoirs, the GWC, as identified on logs, may be used to represent the FWL; if formation pressures have been acquired in the gas
column and aquifer, the FWL may be estimated from the intersection of the formation pressure gradients; otherwise, seismic
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amplitude conformance may be used to define the FWL. For some reservoirs, none of these data may be available or appropriate,
and there would be greater uncertainty in the saturation estimates. Another limitation of this function is that it is not calibrated to
oil reservoirs, which tend to have larger transition zones than do gas reservoirs.

Other forms of saturation-functions were investigated and compared, including a simple log-linear saturation-permeability
function and a multilinear regression function of porosity and Vshale, both of which did not account for the transition zone. A
Skelt function (Skelt and Harrison, 1995) was modeled using the same methodology detailed above, in which each of the four
coefficients was replaced by a function of permeability, in order to apply to heterogeneous reservoirs. This resulted in a complex
multipart function, and the simpler power function was preferred. A Leverett-J Function approach revealed that facies
classification (rock typing) and disparate J-functions would be required to address the full range of reservoir quality. This required
a more complex neural network approach for log-based facies classification trained with core facies classification, and was also
rejected in favour of the single amalgamated function.

(a) (b)

Figure 7: (a) Crossplot of core measurements of permeability versus water saturation; (b) Crossplot of core measurements
of water saturation versus calculated water saturation from Saturation height model

Conclusions
A new consistent core-based log permeability estimation model has been re-defined using a gold dataset of RCA
measurements. A variety of phi-K relationships were tested including sand, age, depth, geography and depositional facies
association with a consequential hierarchical series of functions being recommended based on age brackets. This core based model
was tested against NMR derived permeability with a good match being observed.

The Dual Water model was selected as the most appropriate method for determining total water saturation as this provided the
best calibration to the core data.

A single saturation height function was developed for potential application across all conventional gas reservoirs in the
Columbus Basin. A new workflow for saturation height modeling was designed and implemented; several rock parameters that
influence the saturation profile of a reservoir were investigated and permeability was selected as the main controlling factor.
Regressions of the constants that define individual capillary pressure curves were determined for the selected parameter,
permeability. An amalgamated power function of height and permeability was created using capillary pressure data, and then
further calibrated with direct saturation measurements from core. With a spectrum rather than banding or rock typing (facies
classification) approach, this model may be applied to heterogeneous reservoirs that do not have core, and therefore allows for a
seamless upscaling of a core-based function to logged reservoirs. The model is well constrained for higher quality rocks, where
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there is greater data density, and saturation varies predictably with permeability, but is less precise at the very low permeability
range.

The Arche saturation exponent is the most significant potential contributor to uncertainty in resistivity based saturation. More data
and additional work is required to reduce the uncertainty in the saturation exponent n.

Incorporation of the geological core facies classification into a rock typing approach for application of facies specific saturation-
height models may further enhance the petrophysical model.

Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank bpTT LLC for permission to publish this paper and Robert Elliott who worked on the log-based
water saturation methods. We would also like to express appreciation to Edward Warren, Michael Webster and Chris Cade for
their contributions to editing the manuscript.

Nomenclature
Term Description
a&b exponents in Coates equation
BFV bound fluid volume (v/v)
B ionic equivalent conductance of the exchange ion
BQv scaled cation exchange capacity per unit of rock volume (see also B and Qv)
c* scaling factor in Cpates equation
CEC cation exchange capapcity
Co/Cw ratio of conductivity of 100% water saturated formation to formation water conductivity
Ct total conductivity (mho/m)
Cw formation water conductivity (mho/m)
F formation factor in Archie rock
F* formation factor for non-Archie rock
FFV free fluid volume
FWL free water level (TVDSS ft)
GWC gas water contact (TVDSS ft)
GIIP gas Initially In place (mmscf)
HAFWL height above free water level (TVDSS ft)
k permeability (mD)
kh horizontal permeability (mD)
kH permeability x well length (mD-ft)
KTIM permeability from the Timur-Coates NMR tool
kv vertical permebility (mD)
LKG lowest known gas (TVDSS ft)
LPSA laser particle size analysis
m cementation factor in Archie rock
m* cementation factor in non-Archie rock
Ma million years
n saturation exponent in Archie rock
n* saturation exponent in non-Archie rock
NMR nuclear magnetic resonance log
NCS net confinig stress (psi) - same as NMS
NMS net mean stress (psi)
MD measured depth (ft)
Pc capillary pressure (psi)
PHIE effective porosity (v/v)
PHIT total porosity (v/v)
PTA pressure transient analysis
Qv concentration of clay exchange ions per unit pore volume
RBW resistivity of the bound water (ohm.m)
12 SPE 132799

RCA routine core analysis


Rw resistivity of formation water (ohm.m)
RWF resistivity of filtrate water (ohm.m)
SHF saturation height function
Sw water saturation (v/v)
tbp thin bed pay
TST true stratigraphic thickness (ft)
TVDSS true vertical depth subsea (ft)
vQ amount of clay water associated with 1 unit of clay exchange ions
Vsh volume of shale (v/v)

References
Alger, R.P., Luffel, D.L., Truman, R.B., 1989. New Unified Method of Integrating Core Capillary Pressure Data with Well Logs.
SPE Formation Evaluation.

Archie, G.E., 1941, The Electrical Resistivity Log as an Aid in Determining Some Reservoir Characteristics, Published in
Petroleum Technology (1942)

Clavier, C., Coates, G., and Dumanoir, J., 1977, The Theoretical and Experimental Bases for the Dual Water Model for the
Interpretation of Shaly Sands, SPE of AIME, 52nd Annual Fall Technical Conference, Denver, Colorado

Clavier, C., Coates, G., and Dumanoir, J., 1984, The Theoretical and Experimental Basis for the Dual Water Model for
Interpretation of Shaly Sands: SPE Journal, April 1984, p. 153-168
Gunter, G.W., Smart, C.R., Miller, M.A., Finneran, M.J., Saturation Modeling at the Well Log Scale Using Petrophysical Rock
Types and a Classic Non-Resistivity Based Method

Harrison, B., Jing, X.D., 2001. Saturation Height Methods andTheir Impact on Volumetric Hydrocarbon in Place Estimates (SPE
71326): SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition

Jemmott S., Hallam, R., and Maharaj, S., Condensate Performance Trends in Trinidad Gas Reservoirs, SPE 81011 presented at
SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, 2730 April
2003

Lachance, D.P. and McCleary, N.R. Offshore Mahogany Field Development to Support Trinidads LNG Plant, paper OTC
10733 presented at 1999 Offshore Technology Conference, May3-6

Skelt, C., and Harrison, B., An Integrated Approach to Saturation Height Analysis, SPWLA 36th Annual Logging Symposium,
June 26-29, 1995

Waxman, M. H., and Smits L. J. M., Electrical Conductivities in Oil-Bearing Sands, SPE Journal (June 1968) Pages 107-122;
Trans., AIME 243