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Introduction Modern wireline logging tools such as Schlumberger's MDT tool are now routinely used to rapidly acquire multiple, highly accurate measurements of reservoir formation pressure. In reservoirs with reasonable permeability the tools record the pressure of the continuous fluid phase in the formation. The pressure gradient (slope of line connecting pressure measurements) is proportional to the in-situ fluid density. One of the many invaluable uses of the formation pressure data is the determination of fluid contacts. Free Fluid Level is the generic term for fluid contacts without the perturbations of reservoir capillary effects. In other words this would be the elevation of the fluid interface if the rock material were removed. The FFL in gas-water and oilwater systems is usually referred to as the Free Water Level (FWL). In water-wet reservoirs the FWL is always below the lowest occurrence of hydrocarbons. In oil-wet reservoirs the FWL is at the top of the transition zone. The following sections describe three methods of using the formation pressure data to determine fluid contacts. The first method is the traditional graphical or algebraic method of determining the intersection of two straight lines. The second and third methods involve data visualization and normalization procedures to evaluate the statistics of the Free Fluid Level estimate. The Data Model: Figure 1 shows formation pressure data from a contiguous oil-water system. Subsea depth is plotted on the y-axis and formation pressure is on the x-axis. In the analysis models presented below the data has the following nomenclature;

• • • • • •

Po is oil zone formation pressure at depth Dw, Pw is water zone formation pressure at depth Dw, OG is the oil fluid pressure gradient. Units are psi/m of psi/ft, WG is the water fluid pressure gradient, bo is the x-intercept of the oil zone formation pressure trend line, bw is the x-intercept of the water zone formation pressure trend line.

Henderson Petrophysics

Estimating Free Fluid Level

Page 1 of 1

Henderson Petrophysics Estimating Free Fluid Level Page 2 of 2 .bo ) (OG − WG) (3) The depth of the Free Water Level is calculated by entering this pressure value into either equation 1 or equation 2. Water zone : Dw = WG Pw + bw (2) These two lines will intersect at the Oil-water Free Fluid Depth (Free Water Level).Figure 1: Formation Pressure Data Method 1: This is the traditional method of algebraically determining a Free Fluid Level. the formation pressure at the oil-water interface. Oil zone : Do = OG Po + bo (1) A straight line through data points in the water column will have general form. Po = Pw = Pfwl Do = Dw = Dfwl Setting equation 1 equal to equation 2 and solving for pressure yields Pfwl. with. Pfwl = ( bw . The above method is easy to implement but has the disadvantage that there is no information on analysis uncertainty. It is often difficult to identify and remove noisy data or 'outliers' that can result in incorrect estimates of the fluid contact. A straight line through data points in the oil column will have the general form.

Method 2: With this method the Free Fluid Level is calculated using formation pressure data that has been projected to a datum (common) depth. The data plotted in Figure 2 is very good but there are a few points that are clearly anomalous. Oil zone : Pdo = Po − OG(Do − Dd) (4) For data points in the water zone. Pdo − Pdw FWL = Dd + WG .OG (6) One advantage of this method is that the FFL can be calculated using either the average or median (middle) values for the Datum pressure. Datum pressure is calculated using. Water zone : Pdw = Pw − WG(Dw − Dd) (5) Figure 2: Formation pressure data projected to a common depth A plot like that in Figure 2 is excellent for assessing data quality. For example. The Free Water Level (Free Fluid Level in an oil-water system) is defined as the depth where the two Datum fluid pressure values are equal. Dd (Figure 2) For data points in the oil zone. the middle point and second from the right in the oil zone data are off-trend enough to significantly affect the variance (uncertainty) of the calculated fluid contact. This is calculated by subtracting the Datum Pressure values and dividing by the difference in fluid pressure gradients. The median value is preferred because it is less affected by anomalous data points than the average value. Datum pressure is calculated using. Henderson Petrophysics Estimating Free Fluid Level Page 3 of 3 . In a perfect data set (unlikely ever to be obtained) all of the individual datum pressure values in a fluid system will be equal.

In the water data.With this method it is also very easy to identify data points that contribute to uncertainty in the FFL estimate. For example. Henderson Petrophysics Estimating Free Fluid Level Page 4 of 4 . For data in the oil zone pressure at the Free Water level is calculated using. Combining Equations 7 and 8 the Free Water Level is calculated using Pw − Po + OG Do . the above described method is good for data visualization and quality control of the input data. the highest and lowest points could be removed from the calculations.WG (9) Since this method uses all of the available pressure data it is easy to evaluate the uncertainty in the FWL estimate. For illustration purposes this example uses data from an oil-water system. Oil zone : Pfwl = Po − OG(Do − FWL) (7) For data in the water zone pressure at the Free Water level is calculated using. Method 3: This method uses all possible combinations of pressure data in two contiguous fluid systems to estimate the Free Fluid Level. looking at the oil datum pressure values in Figure 2. Water zone : Pfwl = Pw − WG(Dw − FWL) (8) At the Free Water Level Equation 7 and Equation 8 are equal. It is very easy to calculate the average. In summary. the ninth data point from the left and the second point from the right could be removed from the data set to reduce uncertainty in the FFL estimate. median(middle) and uncertainty (Standard Deviation) values for the FWL estimate. Figure 3 shows the frequency distribution of the Free Water Level estimates. Any combination of data points in the oil and water zone can be used to calculate the FWL.WG Dw FWL = OG . A Datum Pressure Plot such as Figure 2 is ideal for identifying anomalous data points that can be eliminated from the analysis to improve the accuracy of the FWL estimate.

Figure3: Free Water Level Frequency Distribution Henderson Petrophysics Estimating Free Fluid Level Page 5 of 5 .

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