You are on page 1of 3


Log Interpretation Case Studies

A major hurdle for geologists is learning how the theory and the many formulas of log interpretation are translated into practice. The learning process is slow, and takes place only after a good deal of repetitive effort is supported by actual experience with logs. There are absolutely no shortcuts. Memorizing log patterns and curve values just doesnt work, and can, in fact, prove disastrous. However, to assist the process of changing whats done into how its done, case studies can be an invaluable asset. The ones presented here cover several geographical areas, geologic ages, lithologies and log packages. This variety is not necessarily a classic representation of any of the categories. The reader will need to engage his or her intellect in finding appropriate solutions for each problem, and will also need to apply material already learned from thorough study of the preceding text. In these case studies, the authors are trying to: show examples of evaluation under a range of conditions: clastic rocks and carbonate rocks, oil and gas; show examples with ranges of data, from minimal to substantial, from old to new; and move the reader from observing an illustration of an interpretation to interpretation as a selfdirected exercise (with a solution provided, to verify the readers conclusions). Although all the case studies are based on actual field examples, in some studies the amount of log data analyzed would be superfluous in practice. In many instances, to set pipe or not doesnt require a complete log analysis. The unusual amount of detail is offered here for use in a learning experience. Nevertheless, careful study of a log almost always yields information that furthers the development of expertise. These case studies are a progressive series of problems. In solution of the first example the reader is

Asquith, G., and D. Krygowski, 2004, Log Interpretation Case Studies, in G. Asquith and D. Krygowski, Basic Well Log Analysis: AAPG Methods in Exploration 16, p. 165239.

asked to do very little, but to solve the final example the reader should be prepared to work almost independently. An effort is made to define variables and terms in the case studies, even though they may have been defined earlier in the text. No matter how significant log interpretation is to a geologist as an exploration method, it must also be viewed in the larger context of exploration decisionmaking. Thats why each case study includes a volumetric calculation of reserves. In several studies, the reader is asked to determine a rate of return on investment. As everyone intimately connected with petroleum exploration knows, wells can be geologic successes but economic failures. In a successful exploration program, petrophysical log interpretation is used as a way to tip the risk scale toward economically successful wells. The list of equations that follows is an important part of petroleum exploration. Derivation of variables is included in this listing, although in most instances the reader is not asked to solve them. Instead, the values will be given, for use in the formulas.

Items of note
In all the case studies, only a small number of representative depths is used in the Work Tables to illustrate reading the raw-curve data and making the calculations, whereas the graphical displays (crossplots and log plots) show data from every half-foot of the intervals of interest. In the solutions to these case studies, the values of the raw log dataresistivity, bulk density, neutron porosity, and so onwere determined from visual inspection of the data and verified with the digital data, which itself was derived from paper copies of the logs. In that process, the number of significant digits determined in the visual inspection was retained. Those numbers were believed to be more representa165


tive of the results of the readers efforts to determine the log values than reversion to the digitally derived data, which is displayed to an arbitrary number of digits to the right of the decimal point. The reader will note that some types of dataneutron porosity and sonic porosity, for exampleare shown to the same number of significant digits, whereas other data, notably resistivity, vary in the number of significant digits shown; this practice is based on the ability of the analyst to read that data from logarithmic scales. Computations were done with a variety of machine-assisted methods, rather than by hand; therefore the computations tend to reflect an arbitrary number of values to the right of the decimal point. The values that the reader determines should be close to those in the solutions tables, but they probably will not match exactly. In general, if the reader has read the original log values to the best of his/her ability and made the calculations properly, the decisions derived from those calculations will agree with the solutions to the case studies.

10.4 (Equation 7.4)

Bulk Volume Water: The proportion of water in the total formation is referred to as bulk volume water. It can be an indicator that the formation is at irreducible water saturation. 10.5 (Equation 7.22) Residual Oil Saturation: 10.6 Moveable Oil Saturation: 10.7

Equations useful for the following case studies

The equations are presented in most, if not all, the case studies. They are reproduced here and referenced from those studies. Equations specific to each study will appear in the corresponding text. Archie Water Saturation: 10.1 (Equation 7.1) Flushed-zone Water Saturation (Archie Equation):

Equations used for calculating volumetric producible hydrocarbon reserves

Oil-bearing formations: 10.8 where: Nf = volumetric recoverable oil reserves in stocktank barrels (STB) 7758 = barrels per acre-foot A = drainage area in acres h = reservoir thickness in feet = porosity (decimal fraction) Sh = hydrocarbon saturation (1.0 - Sw) (decimal fraction) RF = recovery factor Boi = oil volume factor, or reservoir barrels per stock-tank barrel 10.9 where:

10.2 (Equation 7.2)

Ratio Water Saturation: This equation can be used to estimate water saturation when no porosity logs are available, but in the case study, the solution of this equation will be compared with calculations of the Archie water saturation. 10.3 (Equation 7.7) Moveable Hydrocarbon Index (MHI): This form of the equation is derived from the ratio water saturation method, above.

10.10 Gas-bearing formations: 10.11

Log Interpretation Case Studies 167

where: Gf = volumetric recoverable gas reserves in standard cubic feet (SCF) 43,560 = area of 1 acre, in square feet A = drainage area in acres h = reservoir thickness in feet = porosity, decimal Sh = hydrocarbon saturation (1.0 - Sw), decimal RF = recovery factor Bgi = gas volume factor (in SCF/cu ft)

Pf1 = surface pressure (psi) (atmospheric, approximately 15 psi) Pf2 = reservoir pressure (psi) 10.14 where: 0.43 is the average pressure gradient (in psi/ft), and depth is in feet. Estimation of formation pressure: Static mud column pressure = depth mud weight 0.052.



Rule of thumb for static bottom-hole pressure: 10.16 where: Pws = static bottom hole pressure (psi) Pwh = well-head pressure (psi) Estimation of geothermal gradient: 10.17 where: g = temperature gradient in F/100 ft Tf = formation temperature in F Ts = mean surface temperature in F depth = formation depth in feet As you begin trying the formulas in case studies, keep in mind the fact that many values such as water saturation (Sw) and porosity () may be expressed in percentages, especially on older logs and in older calculations. So, even though this will be immediately obvious to you, remember to change percentages to decimal fractions before doing the calculations.

where: Tsc = temperature (F) at standard conditions Psc = surface pressure (psi) at standard conditions P = reservoir pressure (psi) Z = gas compressibility factor Tf = formation temperature (F) Equation 10.12 can be solved also by the form below, where Bgi is approximated by the ratio of surface pressure and formation pressures: 10.13 where: Gf = volumetric recoverable gas reserves in standard cubic feet (SCF) 43,560 = area of 1 acre, in square feet A = drainage area in acres h = reservoir thickness in feet = porosity, decimal Sh = hydrocarbon saturation (1.0 - Sw), decimal RF = recovery factor