How Does Core Analysis Work?

A way of measuring well conditions downhole by studying samples of reservoir rocks, core analysis gives the most accurate insight into the porosity and permeability, among other characteristics, of the well.

Core SamplesSource: Intertek Exploration and Production

A core is a sample of rock in the shape of a cylinder. Taken from the side of a drilled oil or gas well, a core is then dissected int o multiple core plugs, or small cylindrical samples measuring about 1 inch in diameter and 3 inches long. These core plugs are then dried and measured. In order to complete a core sample, drilling must be halted at the top of the subsurface of the reservoi r. The drillstring is removed from the wellbore, the drillbit removed and a rotary coring bit is attached in its place. Similar to a drillbit, the rotary coring bit consists of solid metal with diamonds or tungsten for cutting at the reservoir rock; but unlike a drillbit, a rotary coring bit has a hollow center.

called the core barrel. oriented cores. which allow the inner barrel to remain stationary and retain the core sample while the outer barrel is rotated by the drillstring and cuts the core. and drilling can commence again. native state cores and sidewall cores. where the core sample is stored. and thus very porous.75 to 5. The drillbit is reattached. instead of having the pieces of broken rock removed from the well via drilling fluids. l oss of core can be a very strong sign for the reservoir rock. After the core sample has been cut from the well.25 inches in diameter and about 400 feet to 20 feet in length. or encircled by a rubber sleeve as the sample is drilled. Types of Cores There are several types of cores that can be recovered from the well. the drillstring is raised. a full-diameter core is the typical coring sample that is taken from a well. the cutting appar atus surrounds a hollow center. When performing coring operations.native state cores are bagged. including full diameter cores. the rock is kept intact and raised to the surface for study. The core catcher has finger -like apparatuses that move the core sample farther into the barrel and keep it from falling back into the wel l. barrel and catcher are removed -. This core barrel is made up of an inner and outer barrel separated by ball bearings. Because coring requires the suspension of drilling.and the core sample is retrieved. Ranging in size from approximately 1. the process is quite expensive and usual ly only performed at the reservoir interval.Rotary Coring BitSource: Integrated Ocean Drilling Program On a rotary coring bit. are not retained in the core barrel. . and the rotary coring bit. In an effort to contain all the fluids in the core under reservoir conditions . Because reservoir rocks that are highly fractured. Oriented cores are marked with a groove along the length of the sample to indicate the geographic or magnetic north. The core catcher is located within the core barrel.

The ease by whi ch a fluid can flow through the reservoir rock. One type of sidewall coring requires a percussion sidewall coring tool to be lowered into the wellbore. Examining Core Samples Source: US Department of Energy. the samples follow. engineers and drillers better understand the conditions of the well and its potential productivity. permeability is measured on the core plug via a permeameter. The detonation of these bullets launches them into the sides of the wellbore to take the samples. Lessening the amount of change enacted on the sample. N. but also to unearth the fluid saturation and grain density.L. in the core plug. The bullets are connec ted to the instrument via wires. or the amount of space within the rock not occupied by solids. which then falls into the tools. All of these measurements help geologists. another method of obtaining sidewall core samples is to lower a rotary sidewall coring instrument into the well.E. sidewall coring involves retrieving several small core samples measuring approximately 1 inch in diameter and 1. Core Measurements Core analysis is used to define not only the porosity and permeability of the reservoir rock. which are separated from each other via discs within the tool. Porosity measures the capacity of the reservoir rock to hold fluids. This device includes a small bit that rotates to drill the sample. permeability is usually .A less expensive and less time -consuming option to obtain a core sampling.T.75 inches long. Measured in darcies by studying the speed air or nitrogen passes through the dried core plug. The instrument contains 30 small coring tubes called bullets that have explosive charges behind them. A porosimeter is the instrument used to determine porosity. The rotary sidewall coring instrument can obtain a number of different samples throughout the well. and when the percussion sidewall coring tool is raised.

In oth er words. special core analysis usually involves measuring the reservoir characteristics to determine permeability. and electrical characteristics to understand resistivity. Moving beyond the basic petrophysical properties of the core. Petrographic studies and sieve analysis are also types of special core analysis that can be undertaken. porosity and permeability typically go hand -inhand. wettability and capillary pressure. formation factor and cation -exchange capacity. .connected to porosity.

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