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Pore-to-regional-scale, integrated characterization workflow for unconventional gas shales Roger M. Slatt1, Paul R. Philp1, Neal O'Brien2, Younane Abousleiman1, Prerna Singh1,3, Eric V. Eslinger4, Roderick Perez1, Romina Portas1,5, Elizabeth T. Baruch5, Kurt J. Marfurt1 and Steven Madrid-Arroyo1
Conoco-Phillips School of Geology and Geophyscs, University of Oklahoma Department of Geology, State University of New York, Potsdam 3 Current Address: Chevron-Texaco Inc. 4 Eric Geoscience Inc. and The College of St. Rose, Albany, New York 5 Current address: Conoco-Phillips, Inc.
Based upon recent studies of Barnett and Woodford gas shales in Texas and Oklahoma, a systematic characterization workflow has been developed which incorporates litho- and sequence-stratigraphy, geochemistry, petrophysics, geomechanics, well log, and 3D seismic analysis. The workflow encompasses a variety of analytical techniques at a variety of geologic scales. It is designed as an aid to identifying the potentially best reservoir, source, and seal facies for targeted horizontal drilling. Not all of the techniques discussed in this paper have yet been perfected, and cautionary notes are provided where appropriate. Rock characterization includes: (1) lithofacies identification from core based upon fabric, mineralogic (and chemical if possible) analyses; (3) scanning electron microscopy to identify nano- and micro-fabric, potential gas migration pathways, and porosity types/distribution; (4) determination of lithofacies stacking patterns; (5) geochemical analysis for source rock potential and for paleoenvironmental indicators; (6) geomechanical properties for determining fracture potential of lithofacies. Well log characterization includes: (1) core-to-log calibration which is particularly critical with these finely laminated rocks; (2) calibration of lithofacies and lithofacies stacking patterns to well log motifs (referred to as 'gamma ray patterns' or GRP's in this paper); (3) identification and regional to local mapping of lithofacies and GRP's from uncored vertical wells; (4) relating lithofacies to petrophysical, geochemical and geomechanical.properties and mapping these properties. 3D seismic characterization includes: (1) structural and stratigraphic mapping using seismic attributes; (2) calibrating seismic characteristics to lithofacies and GRP's for seismic mapping purposes; and (3) determining and mapping petrophysical properties using seismic inversion modeling. Integrating these techniques into a 3D geocellular model allows for documenting and understanding the fine-scale stratigraphy of shales and provides an aid to improved horizontal well placement. Although the workflow presented in this paper only relates to two productive gas shales, we consider it to be more generically applicable.
Recent discoveries of potentially vast global gas resources locked in shales has led to a need to understand their stratigraphy for (1) regional to local correlations, (2) determining the most favorable internal gas source and migration pathways, and (3) identifying the best strata for horizontal well placement and artificial fracture treatment. Recent shale stratigraphic studies (Bohacs and Schwalbach, 1992; Bohacs, 1998; Macquaker et al., 1998; Schutter, 1998; Almon et al. 2002; Paxton et al, 2006; Loucks and Ruppel, 2007; Singh. 2008 ; Mazzullo et al, 2009) have clearly demonstrated that shales are not usually stratigraphically homogenous, and that their stratigraphic variability can be explained using well established sequence stratigraphic principles. For the past few years, we have been evaluating some U.S. mid-continent gas shales--principally the Barnett and Woodford shales---which has led to development of a systematic, integrated characterization methodology or work flow. The work flow combines a variety of analytical techniques to characterize these strata at a variety of scales (Figure 1). In this paper, we present these techniques, provide some examples to demonstrate our findings, and point out some potential pitfalls in their application. It is not our intent to present a comprehensive analysis of individual shales we have been studying, but rather to provide examples of the techniques, applications and results of our workflow approach for more generic application. This paper is organized approximately according to the headings and subheadings in the work flow (Figure 1). The first part of the workflow---regional tectono-stratigraphic aspects of these gas shales---has been published, so is not repeated here (Montgomery et al., 2005; Pollestro, 2007).
dolomite. feldspar. preferably whole core. Mineralogic analyses were conducted by standard X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) techniques. outcrops. coupled with Total Organic Carbon content (TOC) by combustion provide the basis for identifying lithofacies based upon compositional and fabric features (Figure 1). Cm-scale core description of sedimentary structures. textures. More recent. supplemented by chemical analyses. Table 1) in some Barnett shale core. but if not available. The dominant minerals comprising the lithofacies are quartz. ROCKS Identify lithofacies in core and their properties Techniques Any study of gas shales should begin with the rocks. clay minerals. muscovite and phosphatic grains (Figure 2). and if possible. at the SEM (scanning electron microscope). and hand specimen (core) scales. unpublished XRD analyses indicate the only clay mineral is mixed layer illite/smectite with 70 to 95% illite layers. Similar lithofacies were identified by Hickey and Henk (2007). Core samples from both the Barnett and Woodford shales were studied according to the methods of O'Brien and Slatt (1990)---that is. cuttings. and stratification styles form the primary basis of core and thin section characterization. calcite. thin section. Example: Singh (2008) used the above techniques to identify nine lithofacies (Figure 2 and Figure 3.Figure 1 . .Flow chart for integrated characterization of unconventional gas shales. These analyses.
Figure 2 . Also shown is the lithofacies distribution in a cored well. Each lithofacies lists the name. non calcareous mudstone) and lithofacies 9 is at upper right (fossiliferous deposits).Left column shows the distribution of lithofacies in a Barnett core (after Singh. 2008). red arrows to the left indicate upward increase in carbonate lithofacies. . Numerical coding for figure 4 is: Lithofacies 1 is at the top left (siliceous. indicating cyclic variations in water depth and oxicity levels. Figure 3 . GRP = gamma ray pattern.Nine lithofacies defined by Singh (2008). red arrows highlight interpreted deposits of a shallowing sea during deposition. The right curve is the Residual Hydrocarbon Potential (RHP) curve which shows trends of anoxic-to-oxic (red arrows) and oxic-to-anoxic (green arrows) depositional environments. Note the close correspondence among the three sets of arrows. green arrows highlight interpreted deposits of a deepening sea. green arrows to the left indicate upward decrease in carbonate lithofacies. which we relate to eustatic sea level cyclicity. The middle curve is the interpreted relative sea level curve of Singh (2008) based upon GRP's. the average mineral composition and illustrates the core and thin section characteristics.
Also. Different colors are coded to different lithofacies. Carbonate-rich lithofacies contain sparse TOC (Table 1). fossiliferous deposits. See Figure 2 for lithofacies 1-9.Porosity-permeability cross plot from 182 core plug samples from a Barnett Shale core. and small pores (Bowker. Phosphatic deposits are also enriched in TOC. This plot could represent true values from undisturbed and uniform samples. Some of the carbonate is detrital and some is authigenic. Table 1). small pore throats.Table 1 Nine lithofacies in Barnett Shale At one end of the lithofacies spectrum is siliceous mudstone. Because lithofacies may be thinly interbedded . 2007). Even though there is a vague positive relation between porosity and permeability. a result of the difficulties in sample collection and measurement described in the pitfalls section of this paper. data points for the nine different lithofacies appear to be randomly dispersed throughout the data cloud. concretions and dolomitic mudstone (Figure 2). the credibility and reproducibility of porosity and permeability measurements of shales using standard techniques is complicated by small grain size. Example: One hundred and eighty-two(182) porosity and permeability core plug measurements of different Barnett lithofacies failed to reveal any significant causal relationship (Figure 4). or a combination. which include micritic/limy mudstone. so the standard techniques are not discussed here. it is often difficult to physically acquire an intact core plug for analysis. Porosity and permeability Techniques Porosity and permeability measurements are routinely made on core plugs of sandstone and carbonate rocks. retrieval of a homogeneous sample representative of a given lithofacies is often difficult. At the other end of the spectrum are carbonate-rich deposits. However. . which is enriched in clay minerals and TOC (Figure 2. Figure 4 . because shales are commonly fissile.
to nano-scale pores. B. A. In addition.SEM for pore types and networks Techniques Irrespective of the difficulty in confidently obtaining reliable.phosphatic pellet morphology. C. the style and degree of alignment of individual grains comprising shale samples were documented. 1990). Figure 5A and Figure 5B. which are most visible under the FE-SEM at high magnifications (pores approximately 100nm). Notice the sharp contact of pellet edges with the adjacent matrix (arrow). pores and their connectivity can be directly observed and to some degree. Inside of framboid showing smaller pyrite crystals and internal porosity. and which can occur together in the same pellet-rich laminae (Figure 6 and Figure 7). We have accomplished this on both Barnett and Woodford shale samples using standard SEM techniques (O'Brien and Slatt. as well as by higherresolution field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). Grain morphologies and elemental compositions (for mineral identification of grains) were also determined from energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) analysis. D. Under the SEM/EDX. Figure 6 and Figure 7). The pellets are enriched in micro.pellet morphology. (2009) conclusion that most pores in the Barnett Shale siliceous mudstone are contained within organic particles rather than within the mudstone matrix. Notice the orientation of particles in matrix surrounding the pellet (arrows). Pyrite framboid (red circle) cluster and quartz crystal (blue circle). two types of fecal pellets are recognized: calcium-rich pellets and calcium-phosphatic pellets (Table 2. reproducible porosity and permeability measurements from shales. SEM of calcium.Scanning Electron Micrographs of Barnett Shale. confirming the presence of the mineral apatite. both of which lack the silicon and aluminum present in the shale matrix (Figure 7C and Figure 7D). Some calcium-phosphatic pellets are composed of crystalline phosphatic grains with associated elemental fluorine. We have also found that fossil fecal pellets. on the order of 100-300um in diameter comprise up to 50% of the grains within some lithofacies (Figure 5A and Figure 5B). quantified. Example: Our studies concur with Loucks et al. . SEM of calcium. Figure 5 .
EDX distribution of Silicon (Si) highlighting the shale matrix. 2%. C. EDX image showing location of calcium (Ca) in pellets (dots). Feldspar 6%. Notice those pellets also contain calcium (compare to 6B). A. The upper pellet is a calcite-phosphatic pellet and the lower pellet is a calcite.pellet that has 'exploded' when hit with the electron beam. EDX image showing location of silicon (Si) distribution. . Flourapatite 23%. D. Same view with different lighting. B. determined by X-ray diffraction (XRD) is: Quartz 26%. Misc. Kerogen 9%. EDX distribution of Phosphorous (P) highlighting the upper pellet only. D. Notice all pellets contain calcium. Illite/muscovite 15%. Calcite 12%. F. Backscatter mode – SEM image of all pellet locations (high concentrations of dots outline the pellets). The gross mineral composition of this sample.Figure 6 . Figure 7 .EDX dot maps of elemental distributions in Barnett Shale pellet zone. A.Close-up view of two pellets in a shale matrix. Dark area is matrix. E. EDX distribution of Aluminum (Al) highlighting the shale matrix. Pyrite/Marcasite 3%. Silicon is in the matrix and not in the pellets. EDX image showing location of phosphorus (P) in some pellets. C. EDX distribution of Calcium (Ca) highlighting both upper and lower pellets. B.
B. (2) they are not perfectly horizontal and parallel to bedding. thus suggesting the “explosion" is due to the generation of CO2 or other gas (methane?) in the calcite-rich pellets. thus preventing perfect platy orientation. Microchannel in shale sample. These features superficially resemble parting planes that have unloaded when the rock was brought to the ground surface. as was determined by O'Brien et al. They are interpreted to be primary openings in the original flocculated clay sediment that remained after lithification. A. we have concluded that they are not parting planes parallel to bedding. whether it is carbon associated with carbonate or organic matter has not been ascertained. In the case of the Monterey Shale. Potential hydrocarbon migration pathways between grains (red arrows). Commonly. we use the term 'microchannel' for these elongate pores to indicate their potential as hydrocarbon migration pathways. . An outcrop sample of Woodford Shale exhibits oil droplets which appear to have partially migrated out of the shale matrix and into these elongate pores during a hydrous pyrolysis experiment (Figure 9). pore spaces that do occur within the shale matrix in both the Barnett and Woodford shales appear elongate (Figure 8). Neither coated nor non-coated calcium-phosphatic pellets change their shape when subjected to 15 KV voltage (Figure 7A). (1996) from similar experiments performed on the petroliferous Monterey Shale.Table 2 Characteristics of pellets An interesting feature of the calcium-pellets is that samples which have not been goldcoated during preparation for analysis change their shape or appear to “explode" under a high voltage (15 KV) electron beam (Figure 7A). Although EDX analysis revealed the presence of elemental carbon. as well as with the Barnett and Woodford shale samples discussed in this paper. based upon the following observations: (1) the microchannels do not extend across the entire viewing area of the sample on an SEM stub nor at the core plug scale. Orange oval highlights bacterium-like structure on a grain surface. However.Scanning Electron Micrographs of Woodford shale. It is possible that these elongate pores provide early migration pathways for hydrocarbon molecules. C and D. Four arrows outline a "microchannel". California. Figure 8 . (3) they form a stairstep pattern.
. The S1+S2 peaks normalized to TOC content of analyzed samples provide the parameter referred to as the residual hydrocarbon potential (RHP) (Fang et al. then into and through the larger microchannels in the shale matrix. two important parameters in our shale studies are the (1) amount of extractable organic material in the source rock. and (2) residual kerogen (S2 peak). it is first assumed that all of the samples are at similar levels of maturity. pellet-rich lithofacies might be preferential zones of gas generation and primary migration. Oil droplets oozing from rock matrix into open microchannels. we speculate a similar origin for the micro. and that generated gas first migrates through these pores. where less TOC is preserved and the S2 peak will be smaller. but reflects changes in the amount of preserved organic matter (kerogen). B.Scanning Electron Micrographs of Woodford Shale during hydrous pyrolysis experiment of heating to 350oC for 4 days. Among the many parameters that can be obtained from ROCK-EVAL analyses. larger amounts of organic matter (TOC) will be preserved in the sediment and the S2 peak will be greater than under oxic conditions. Thus. Geochemistry for source rock potential and paleoenvironmental indicators Techniques ROCK-EVAL is a classical technique widely used for the characterization of source rock quality.to nanoscale pores in the fecal pellets. It is conceiveable that pores are generated during maturation of the organic particles within the pellets. Oil droplet in microfracture. Here. . generally derived from kerogen breakdown (S1 peak on a gas chromatogram). Loucks et al.Figure 9 . C and D. In order to apply the RHP parameter for this purpose. (2009) have suggested the pores within organic particles are generated during thermal maturation of the organics. the calculated RHP value [(S1 + S2/TOC)] will be larger for sediment deposited under anoxic conditions than for sediment deposited under oxic conditions. 1993). as was determined for shales in our study area (samples from a single well are at similar depths of burial). Therefore it can be expected that under anoxic conditions in the depositional environment. Therefore any change in S1 and S2 is not due to any maturity changes. We use RHP as a paleoenvironmental indicator. Oil 'slick' near microfracture showing the contact between the oil and the matrix. Thus. A.
. 1. The lower. Biomarkers helped to determine the environment of deposition in a Woodford shale core. 11)--which can measure displacements from 200nm to 10 um. even when sample sizes are necessarily small owing to difficulties in sampling mentioned above.2).e. Examples: Both the RHP and biomarker data were used as indicators of oxic and anoxic environments of deposition. Experimental rock mechanics techniques that measure these and related properties were used to test small samples of both Woodford and Barnett shale (Abousleiman. et al. Biomarkers have been used for many years not only to interpret depositional environments. maturity. extent of biodegradation and a number of other characteristics.Vertical distribution of geochemical biomarkers in a Woodford Shale core. that are associated with oxic conditions (Figure 10).. probably indicative of a stratified water column The horizontal dashed line corresponds to the boundary between clay-rich shale below and more quartz-rich shale above. Two critical properties that affect wellbore stability and hydraulic fracturing are Young's modulus (E) and Poisson's Ratio (v). Measurements of applied force and displacement are required to quantify shale properties.5) alternating with periods of high RHP (1. RHP values for a number of samples in a Barnett core revealed cyclicity between oxic and anoxic conditions during sediment deposition (Figure 3): i. Higher concentrations of Chlorobiaceae indicate anoxic conditions (H2S rich conditions). 2007 and 2009). more clay-rich part of the core contains fewer eukaryotic biomarkers.Analysis of eukaryotic biomarkers in the extractable material from the shales provides an additional analytical tool for paleoenvironmental interpretation.6-2. Geomechanical properties of shales Techniques: Being able to visualize small-scale properties of shales is not sufficient to mechanically characterize them . Higher concentrations of eukaryotic biomarkers-C29 steranes indicate more oxic conditions. The technique combines a nano-indentor (Fig. intervals of low RHP (app. and maximum applied forces < .31. quartzose part of this core contains higher concentrations of the eukaryotic biomarkers. Woodford shale samples were preserved at the wellsite in non-reactive decane and mineral oil PG1 in order to prevent possible dessication and rearrangement of grains before analysis. The upper. indicating more anoxic conditions Figure 10 . Low RHP intervals generally correspond with Singh's (2008) carbonate-rich lithofacies and higher RHP intervals are associated with the more siliceous-organic mudstone lithofacies (Figure 3). specifically C29 steranes. but also to determine source rocks.
. and an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) image of a nano-indention with dimensions of 4 um × 4 um on the surface of a Woodford sample. Buckner. Buckner. See text for explanation. the indentation modulus can be expressed in terms of the Young's modulus. 2010). 2010) 2. with fractures being more abundant in a quartzose upper Woodford interval than in a lower. with laboratory-based Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV) and mineralogic (XRD) measurements. Mineral composition: Elastic and pororelastic moduli and coefficients have been estimated from the measurement of porosity. Abousleiman et al. information about the material hardness (or strength) and elastic modulus (or stiffness) can be obtained from the following equations: Figure 11 . Lithofacies: Filled fractures sometimes terminate at lithofacies boundaries. some of which are listed below. For example. This observation suggests that the more porous phosphatic bed may be able to absorb more stress than the siliceous bed. E. 2009)---. (1) (2) Where H is the hardness of the material. The depth of indentation is a function of the micro. 2006. and thus be less capable of fracturing. for an isotropic material. The fracture frequency in a Woodford Shale core appears to be at least generally related to overall mineral composition (Abousleiman et al.and nanoscale strength properties of the rock. comm. and Poisson's ratio: Examples: Results of a nano-indentor test on a Woodford Shale sample are shown in Figure 11. more clay-rich cored interval (Figure 12). 1992). then re-emerging back into the siliceous shale which underlies the phosphatic bed. 2007 and 2009. the force-displacement curve from a nano-indentation test.. P is the peak load of the loading curve..Schematic of the nano-indentor. a indentation mark on a Woodford Shale sample and a force-displacement curve for the sample (from Abousleiman et al. and then the load was removed. M is the indentation modulus. Indentation depth increased to 1000nm with an increasing indentation load to a peak load of almost 5mN. These observations were verified by fracture distributions measured in a borehole image log in the corehole (Portas. . density and mineral composition. The indentation moduli are directly related to the engineering elastic properties of the material (Oliver & Pharr. Shown in Figure 11 is a schematic of a nano-indenter. Delafargue & Ulm. 2004). h is the indentation depth. 1992. with examples. pers. 2009). 2009. 1. An example in Figure 13 shows a fracture within a siliceous shale terminating within a phosphatic bed.1000uN by indenting drill cuttings-size (<1cm) shale samples (Ulm & Abousleiman. and Ac is the area of the contact surface between the indentor cone and the indented material (Oliver & Pharr. From the peak load and the slope of the rebound curve.
Figure 13 . (2010) have demonstrated in the Woodford Shale core discussed above that small shale samples are weaker when stress is applied parallel to laminations. microchannels are common in the shales (Figure 8) They are important not only as potential hydrocarbon migration pathways. is most likely a result of the preferred orientation of fabric in most shales. and thus mineralogy.Shale core showing a near-vertical filled fracture offset and separated by a phosphatic bed. . Figure 12 . This affect. Rock Fabric (lineations/laminations/bedding): Sierra et al. Microchannels: As noted above. might help initiate micro-fractures. tensional microfractures which resemble mineral fabric (i. crystal structure) (Figure 14).5ft. Mineral crystal structure: FE-SEM microscopy revealed aligned. but also because they likely will affect geomechanical properties of the shales.e. The phosphatic bed appears more porous than the adjacent shale beds. which we deem to be very important to geomechanical properties of shales.3. 5. Lower left figure shows a filled fracture (white vertical plane) in the core. Center figure is an FMITM log of part of the well showing a fracture through thin-bedded strata. then when stress is applied perpendicular to laminations. suggesting that crystallographic planes of weakness..The left figure is an ECSTM mineralogy log of the behind-quarry well showing the higher quartz content (yellow) in the upper Woodford and higher clay content (gray) of the middle Woodford Shale. and thus may be more capable of absorbing fracture stresses.as measured from the FMITM log. Right graph shows the density of fractures per 2. 4.
000X magnification showing linear tensional partings. WELL LOGS Core-to-log depth correction Techniques: In order to correlate well log properties to core characteristics. possibly aligned with crystal structures.000X.Large figure is FE-SEM Electron Micrograph at 100. without a precise core-to-log depth correction. Figure 15 . even if a gamma scan has been run on core. which adds considerable uncertainty when attempting to relate geological observation and laboratory-derived petrophysical properties with well log-derived properties. In the core description.Figure 14 . concretions are yellow. 2006).Depth calibration of calcite concretions in core description (yellow) and static and dynamic FMITM log (white). it is essential to first very carefully and accurately determine a core-to-log depth correction. . The three smaller figures on the left are--from top to bottom---of a propagated fracture tip at 200. details of stratification may be overlooked. Therefore. Conventional well logs such as the gamma-ray log do not have the resolving power for detecting thin-bedded lithofacies in uncored wells (Figure 15). As well. Notice the stratigraphic detail provided by the FMITM log and the relatively flat gamma ray log. 300.. siliceous mudstone is gray. the human eye often can miss the fine-scale stratigraphy detected by a borehole image log (Figure 15) (Davis et al. and siliceous-calcareous mudstone is brown.000X and 600.000X magnification.
resulting in the identification and well-to-well correlation of major stratigraphic intervals (Figure 17). so is not repeated here. 2007 and 2009) which estimates shale anisotropic elastic and poroelastic properties from the combined rock-log data set (Ortega et al. This approach is described by Eslinger and Everett (2004. but uncored wells Techniques: Typical problems associated with calibration of well logs with core characteristics and then prediction of lithofacies in uncored well intervals include: (1) the core-to-log depth correction mentioned above. . Formation Micro Imager (FMI) and Sonic Scanner (MSIP) logs (Herron.. Ortega et al. can be used if they are thick enough to emit a detectable gamma ray log response. such as calcareous concretions. NPHI. 2009). (2) well log insensitivity to thin beds. so this log was a primary tool for identification of lithofacies and their stacking patterns in uncored wells. For relating geomechanical properties measured on shale samples to well log response. which are visible on a borehole image log (Figure 15) and which exhibit relatively high density and velocity (reciprocal of sonic transit time) on logs.Example: We have found the best way to obtain a reliable core-to-log correction is to calibrate depths using easily-identifiable lithofacies. Combination Magnetic Resonance (CMR). such as phosphatic rocks. Pemper et al. 2006)---all trademarks of Schlumberger---were calibrated to core. Four well logs (RHOB. The method was tested for automated correlations with a set of eleven Barnett Shale wells forming a 42km (~24-mile) long cross section. 1986. (3) well log insensitivity to some textural and bedding features visible in core and sometimes on borehole image logs (Davis et al. In the absence of an image log. radioactive lithofacies. more automated approach that we tested to identify lithofacies in uncored wells was a probabilistic clustering procedure (PCP) within a proprietary computer program (GAMLS [Geologic Analysis via Maximum Likelihood System]). A second.. However. Examples: A comparison between core-described lithofacies and lithofacies predicted using the PCP method shows good predictive capabilities for an interval of thin. We have also found that the core-to-log depth correction is not a constant length throughout a well.. then input to a theoretical GeoGenome model (Abousleiman et al. there is sufficient contrast in mineral composition and TOC content of the lithofacies we studied to affect gamma ray log response. thus corrections must be made at shorter stratigraphic intervals. and PEF) were used as clustering variables. and more advanced Element Capture Sprectroscopy (ECS). neutron and density porosity (NPHI and DPHI) logs.. and (4) insufficient core to represent all facies types. Determining lithofacies and their properties in logged. 2006 and this volume). 2007. 2006). compositionally diverse Barnett Shale beds (Figure 16). GR.
Thus. compare at 130ft. Poisson's Ratio and porosity between the less clay rich (20% from ECS log) upper Woodford and the more clay-rich (32%) middle and lower part of the Woodford core (Figure 18). Grays are siliceous mudstones.Figure 16 . and purple is phosphatic deposit. mentioned earlier. . clay rich zone exhibits a relatively low Young's Modulus and high Poisson's Ratio and the 170ft. zone of similar composition exhibits the opposite trend. Figure 17 . besides porosity. green = calcareous mudstone. and 170ft. the other lithologic factors. Young's Modulus and Poisson's Ratio are lower for the more clay poor interval. However. on Figure 18) the 130ft. at a finer scale (for example. Geomechanical properties calculated from the acoustic log revealed significant variations in Young's Modulus.Gamma ray (GR) and resistivity logs of a portion of a Barnett Shale core alongside a measured core description and a predicted lithofacies distribution based upon the probabilistic clustering procedure described in the text. Red = phosphatic deposit. probably due to the higher porosity of that interval. non-calcareous mudstone. blue = muddy limestone. In general. Gray = siliceous. play a role in geomechanical properties of similar lithologies. black/tourquise are calcareous mudstones.42km long well log cross section using the PCP method (see text for description) to identify rock groups for correlation purposes.
Once this match is accomplished. More TOC is associated with the siliceous lithofacies than with the carbonate rich lithofacies (Table 1). blue = neutron porosity). Using these three gamma-ray log motifs. Example: Singh (2008) identified three distinctive lithofacies stacking patterns in Barnett cores: 1) upward increase in carbonate lithofacies (upward decrease in siliceous lithofacies). . gray is clay minerals). it is possible to relate subtle stratigraphic variations in log character to different lithofacies stacking patterns. Contact between the upper and middle/lower Woodford is at 37m (122ft. so the corresponding three gamma-ray log patterns. several GRP's were identified and correlated on logs from 602 uncored. and 3) no vertical change in gamma ray log response. See text for explanation.Depth plot of gamma ray log. and log-derived Young's Modulus and Poisson's Ratio. 2) upward increase. vertical wells for subregional mapping in the area (Singh.) (red line). 2) upward increase in siliceous lithofacies. here termed GRP) are: 1) upward decrease. respectively (Figure 19). 2008). For example. ECSTM mineralogy log (yellow is quartz. Figure 3 shows 13 GRP's in one Barnett core and Figure 20 shows regional maps of two of these (GRP-4 and -5).Figure 18 . porosity (red = density porosity. (upward decrease in carbonate lithofacies) and 3) no significant vertical change in lithofacies (Figure 19). lithostratigraphy in uncored wells can be (sub)regionally correlated and mapped. Define lithostratigraphy and stacking patterns in uncored wells for (sub)regional mapping Techniques: Identifying the lithostratigraphy or vertical stacking of a set of shale lithofacies is not as straightforward as it is for sandstones or carbonates owing to shales' finer grain size and degree of stratification. However. once a good match between log and core depths is obtained for a well.
Two gross isopach thickness maps of GRP's. (10m) and dark blue = 4 ft. (30m) and tourquise = 10 ft. the vertical stacking pattern of lithofacies. . red = 30ft.3m) Black dots are cores examined by Singh (2008). . Figure 20 . For GRP-5. (1. For GRP-4. and upward-constant gamma ray pattern. Color bars are thicknesses in feet. and thin section photomicrographs of the lower and upper lithofacies within each GRP.Characteristics of the three gamma ray stacking patterns (GRP's): Upward-decreasing gamma ray.Figure 19 . (3m). upwardincreasing gamma ray. Each figure illustrates the gamma ray curve. red = 90ft.
(1990) and (3) the influence of periodic tectonic activity on sub-regional depositional patterns (Borges. . Example: Local structure Figure 21A displays the major stratigraphic and structural features from a seismic section in part of the Newark East Field. etc. Horizontal wells limit the ability to apply techniques described above for regional and local mapping of strata that are stratigraphically beneath the horizontal wells.. Abou Elresh and Slatt. systems tracts. 2007. 3rd order. and aggradational parasequence sets of VanWagoner et al. SEISMIC REFLECTION ANALYSIS Techniques The drilling of horizontal wells in the Barnett and Woodford shales has become the norm (Montgomery. a structural analysis should be conducted prior to attempting seismic stratigraphic correlations of shales. The GRP with the upwardincrease in siliceous lithofacies corresponds with anoxic (high RHP) conditions. 2nd oder. their Figure 3). It is possible that some productive zones that are stratigraphically beneath a horizontal well could be missed. which corresponds to the trend of basement features imaged from a horizontal tilt derivative map. (1990. 2005). trends northeast-southwest (Figure 21B). it is imperative to establish relations between existing vertical wells and seismic reflection data. The GRP with an upward-increase in carbonate lithofacies corresponds with oxic (low RHP) conditions. preferably 3D seismic volumes. named the Mineral Wells fault. Although oxic/anoxic near-bottom water conditions are a firstorder effect of oceanic circulation and associated oxygenation levels. 2008). in press).Interpreting depositional history from GRP stacking patterns and related data Technique: At this stage of characterization. plus the sub-regional extent of the mapped GRP's (Figure 20) and their correspondence with RHP geochemistry (Figure 3) indicate the depositional history of the shale strata can be explained within the sequence stratigraphic context of cyclical fluctuations in eustatic sea level. The main fault. Example: Singh (2008) interpreted the (1) upward-increasing carbonate/-decreasing TOC GRP as indicating a progressive shallowing of water over the time interval of GRP deposition. Singh. generated from high resolution aeromagnetic data (Figure 21C) (Elebiju et al. This similarity. as suggested from Loucks and Ruppel's (2007) Mississippian eustatic sea level curve for the Barnett and related strata. Some major faults appear to extend upward from the basement into the Barnett Shale. vertical wells provide hard information on the stratigraphy. Unfortunately the lack of high-frequency age dates within the Barnett and Woodford shales discussed in this paper precludes determining: (1) the hierarchy of eustatic cyclicity (i. as would be more likely in a deeper water setting. (2) upwardincreasing siliceous/-increasing TOC GRP as indicating an upward deepening of water and (3) uniform GRP as indicating aggradation during a time interval of unchanging depositional environment. Although horizontal wells are more appropriate for production. Ideally.). integration of the above techniques and results provide the means to interpret the origin and depositional history of the shale strata being studied. progradational. or parasequences (as defined by VanWagoner et al. Examples are provided below.e. These three stacking patterns bear resemblance to the retrogradational. as might be expected in a relatively shallow marine setting. the cyclicity of the shale strata (Figure 3) point to eustatic causes. To extend stratigraphic analysis to deeper horizons. 2008. (2) whether these stacking patterns represent depositional sequences.
. Baruch et al.this volume). 2007). water-bearing Ellenburger Group (and Viola) carbonates can affect well performance. In the study areas. this volume). mapping the GRP's from seismic does provide a technique for indirectly mapping individual lithofacies. Perez (2009) developed acoustic impedance profiles from well and seismic control and correlated GRP horizons.. Lower left figure (B) is a horizon slice showing a major northeast-southwest trending fault through the Barnett Shale (after Borges. Lower right figure (C) is a horizontal derivative of the tilt derivative map (HD_TDR) beneath the Barnett Shale (Elebiju. However. within 3D seismic volumes. Seismic attribute analysis of 3D seismic volumes in and south of the Newark East field provides a means of imaging the details of unconformity fault.. it would be desireable to seismically map individual lithofacies. Thus. which is at or near the resolution of our seismic volumes (Perez.fracture. Smaller faults and fault-related karst on the unconformity surface which separates the Barnett Shale from the underlying. internal seismic reflections are present and mappable between the top of the upper Barnett and base of the lower Barnett (Figure 22) (Borges et al. because lithofacies are predictably stratified into the three possible GRP's.Top figure (A) is a pre-stack. Anomalously thick lower Barnett intervals (potential sweet spots?) deposited over karst sinkholes have also been identified and mapped using seismic attribute analysis (Baruch et al. 2008).. which demonstrated that at least some GRP's could be resolved and mapped serismically (Figure 23). Water-encroachment into a wellbore can be a limiting factor in gas production because the water moves upward into the reservoir from these faults and associated fractures.Figure 21 . this volume). However. this is not usually feasible because individual lithofacies are often beneath seismic resolution. petrophysical. individual GRP's are 10-25m thick (Figure 3). . 2009.. For example.and related karstpatterns and their effect on overlying shales (Baruch et al. time migrated seismic section showing interpreted major stratigraphic and structural features in part of the Newark East Field. and geomechanical properties of lithofacies implies that some lithofacies would be more favorable horizontal drilling targets than others. 2007.. this volume). Example: Stratigraphy and GRP stacking patterns Variations in the compositional. Baruch et al.
643 cells enclosing an area of approximately 59km2 (19 mi2) (Figure 24). Horizons used in the model are those that were mapped seismically. . and the vertical dimension varies according to thickness of each GRP. Integrating data sets for stratigraphic properties modeling and mapping Techniques: The principle objective of our stratigraphic characterization workflow is to construct a 3D model of GRP stratification of an area of interest utilizing the techniques described in this paper. and sonic logs from 45 wells in a 3D seismic volume area (Perez. various compositional. this volume). Example: To demonstrate our objective. The upscaled GRP's were then interpolated using Sequential Gaussian Simulation (SGS) based upon variograms in order to estimate the petrophysical properties at inter-well locations (Perez.) in the horizontal direction. Figure 23 .Seismic reflection and corresponding impedance sections from three Barnett wells showing correlations with GRP's. a 3D geological/petrophysical model for part of the Newark East Field is shown in Figure 24. Each resulting 3D grid block is 76 x 76m (250 x 250ft. Once constructed. 2009).Figure 22 . The resulting model consists of 463. petrophysical and/or geomechanical properties of lithofacies and/or GRP's can be input into the model for the purpose of selecting most suitable stratigraphic intervals (lithofacies or GRP's) for horizontal drilling. The logs were upscaled (blocked) (Figure 25) in order to build the 3D model. The model comprises 14 GRP's that were identified and correlated from lithofacies-calibrated gamma ray. density. 2009).3D seismically-mapped horizons in the southwest part of the Fort Worth Basin (Baruch et al.
C.Figure 24 . is a sonic transit time (delta-T) cross section of the model. is a gamma ray (GR) cross section of the model. Figure 25 . is a 3D GRP model for an area of the Barnett Shale in Newark East Field.A. D.Interpreted gamma ray log and blocked/upscaled version based upon GRP distribution and used for seismic inversion. is a bulk density (RHOB) cross section of the model. . B.
for financial and data support for much of this research. It is particularly important to note that not only do properties vary stratigraphically among GRP's. Accordingly. well log. 3. and only detectable with high resolution logging tools such as the borehole imager (Figure 15). machine conditions. It has become apparent from comparative studies that results using the two analytical methods on the same sample mixes may be inconsistent in terms of the reported absolute weight percentage values for various major minerals (calcite. CONCLUSIONS A workflow has been developed which incorporates a variety of analytical techniques for characterizing rock. Geological Survey. It is insufficient to classify shales only on readily-obtained numerical parameters such as mineral composition and porosity. 1. Macro. but they also vary within individual GRP's along their modeled length. petrophysical and acoustic properties. but in fundamentally different ways. clays. Shale cores can be stratified at a cm or even mm scale.and micro-fabrics of shales influence rock strength. and more importantly. including sample preparation. thin section. quartz.S. Potsdam New York and Carol McRobbie of SUNY-Potsdam for technical assistance with SEM and FE-SEM analyses. well log. Common procedure calls for sampling core at uniform depth intervals. 3D stratigraphic model to better understand the fine-scale stratigraphy of shales and as an aid to improved horizontal well placement. fabric analysis at the SEM. and gas migration. Sampling and analytical issues related to accurate porosity and permeability determination have been mentioned earlier. 5. At best. As such. Thus. 4. 2. Although the examples presented in this paper are from the productive Barnett and Woodford shales. Both XRD and FTIR techniques determine mineral composition. and seismic data into a coherent. and coresize scales should be included in any shale characterization study (O'Brien and Slatt. The objective is to integrate analyzed properties into a geologically-realistic. Because of the laminated character of gas shales. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We would like to acknowledge Devon Energy Co.). and Dennis Eberl. for XRD and chemical analysis of shales. it is possible to overlook some lithofacies if sampling is conducted only at pre-set. This research was conducted largely by graduate students in University of Oklahoma's College of Earth and Energy's Institute of Reservoir Characterization and Poromechanics Institute. most such analyses currently provide 'semi-quantitative' results with possibly significant error bars. and the manner in which quantitative analyses are 'calibrated' using standards. we treat reported values as semiquantitative as opposed to quantitative. the workflow is intended to be for generic use. 1991). These differences can be attributed to a variety of factors. etc. so results should be used with caution. geologically-realistic 3D model that can be used for improved understanding of gas shale stratigraphy. an accurate core-to-log depth correction is critical before attempting any core-log petrophysical comparisons or analyses. Potential Pitfalls in shale analysis Based upon our studies. as an aid for stratigraphically-based placement of horizontal wells. This model demonstrates the ability to integrate rock. Some analytical techniques currently are not perfected. and seismic properties of gas shales at a variety of scales. equal stratigraphic intervals. Ted Champagne of Clarkson University. the following cautionary notes are provided with regards to sampling and lithofacies analysis of shale cores.Figure 24A shows the resulting 3D distribution of the stacked GPR's. and we provide mineralogical-based descriptive conclusions more on 'trends' than on absolute percentages. . and sometimes so subtly that fine stratification is missed with the naked eye. and figures 24 B-D show selected cross-sections of some of the interpolated petrophysical properties. until the 'best' procedures for obtaining accurate and consistent mineral analyses are determined. U.
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