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GAS REFERENCING PURPOSE, PROCEDURES and INSTALLATION

Gas Referencing was developed and patented by Mr. Randall Amen, from Estes Park, Colorado. The U.S. patent was granted in 1994, and as many as 54 international patents are pending or awarded. The technology was first disclosed publicly at the Houston Geological Society workshop on Advanced Hydrocarbon Detection Technology in 1992, presented jointly by Mr. Amen and Mr. Wayne Greb, a consulting wellsite geologist from Amarillo, Texas. The Gas Referencing technology has been successfully used since 1989 in a number of onshore areas in the Michigan, Permian, and Williston basins, in South Texas, and in offshore California and in the Gulf of Mexico. PURPOSE: Gas Referencing is used to improve formation evaluation, drilling optimization, well completion, and safety. It makes mud-gas measurements more meaningful by maintaining a small, but precise concentration of a select reference fluid in the mud and monitoring that fluid at the same place in the circulating system as indigenous formation gases. Gas Referencing is used in four ways: 1) Meaningful volumetric gas-in-mud measurements are determined from chromatographic measurements using a reference gas added to the drilling fluid. Resulting measurements are in volumetric units such as in3 gas/bbl. mud or percent of mud. 2) Meaningful volumetric gas-in-formation calculations are made from gas-in-mud, drill time, pump rate, and hole (bit) size. Resulting measurements are in volumetric units such as ft3 gas/ft3 formation or percent of formation. 3) On-line Quality Assurance continually checks the system and data quality. If the reference gas is not being measured, something is wrong with the detection system. 4) Convenient Lag Measurement is easy, routine, and non-disruptive. PROCEDURES: A non-indigenous reference gas such as acetylene or propylene is continuously injected into the drilling fluid, at the suction line of the pumps. The amount is small and designed to result in a nominal concentration of 0.01% by volume at surface conditions. At the bit, formation fluids are released into the drilling fluid containing the reference gas. At the surface, the reference gas and formation gases are extracted in proportion to their respective concentrations and submitted to a gas chromatograph for analysis. Most of the remaining reference gas is expelled from the drilling fluid along with formation gases by surface mud conditioning equipment (shale shakers, pit stirrers, hydrocyclones, degassers, etc.) allowing continuous reference gas injection at the suction line without buildup or recycling.

Since the concentration of reference gas in mud is known along with its measurement at the chromatograph, gas-in-mud can be determined by normalizing the formation gases with the reference gas. This assumes that the reference gas is acted upon in a way similar to the formation gases in the extraction and measurement process. Gas-in-formation calculations can be made knowing the volume of mud required to drill an interval of formation, the volume of gas in the volume of mud, and the volume of formation in the interval drilled. System and data integrity are assured since the reference gas is always present to measure. If the system stops measuring the reference gas consistently, diagnostics can be initiated to identify and correct the problem. By momentarily increasing or decreasing the reference gas injection rate, a pulse or tracer is created which can be used to measure lag. This does not interfere with the drilling operation and it will not damage downhole tools. Volumetric gas-in-mud from chromatograph measurements and reference gas amount: The formation gas measurements at the chromatograph can be converted to gas-in-mud by dividing the amount of the component formation gas (i.e., Methane in ppm) by the amount of reference gas (in ppm) and multiplying by the concentration of reference gas in the mud. Conversion is made by the logging computer for each chromatogram since changes in mud properties, gas extractor efficiency, evacuation rate, etc. continually affect the amount of gas in the gas stream being submitted to the chromatograph for analysis. Example: Suppose the chromatograph result shows 100 times more methane (12,500ppm) in the gas sample than reference gas (125ppm). With the reference gas concentration in the mud being maintained at a known amount (i.e., 0.01% by volume at surface conditions), the amount of methane being 100 times that of the reference gas is 1% by volume methane-in-mud at surface conditions. Volumetric gas-in-formation from gas-in-mud, drill time, pump rate, and bit size: Gas-in-formation can be calculated knowing the volume of drilled formation, the amount of mud circulated during the time to drill the interval volume, and the amount of the gas-in-mud minus the background gas-in-mud. This calculation assumes that the formation is drilled overbalanced and that no flow or production from the formation into the wellbore occurs. Measured gases must be liberated only. Example: An 8.75" drill bit cuts 721.6 in3 of formation per linear foot.

Drilled at a rate of 2 min./foot at a pump rate of 5 bbls./minute, 10 bbls. are circulated while one foot of formation is drilled. With methane-in-mud at 1% and a hypothetical background gas of 0.75%... (1.0% - 0.75%) x 10 bbls. = 0.025 bbls. = 242.55 in.3 242.55 in.3 methane from 721.6 in.3 formation = 33.6% methane-in-mud at surface conditions. If the reservoir pressure and temperature are known, this volume at the surface can be converted to a volume in the reservoir or a percent gas saturated porosity of the reservoir. On-line Quality Assurance of system and data integrity: An important feature of Gas Referencing is its inherent capability to continually monitor and assure system and data integrity. Decision-making is fundamentally affected by data quality and often dictates whether right decisions are made. Mud gas measurements are affected by several complex factors which often vary during the course of drilling a well. These factors include penetration rate, pump rate, mud properties, extractor efficiency, evacuation rate and measurement system performance. Lost or partial returns change the immersion depth of the gas extractor thereby affecting its efficiency. The amount of gas in the mud also changes the extractor efficiency thereby changing the measurements. Partial degradation or complete system failure such as broken or frozen sample lines, extractor plugged with cuttings, filter leaks, instrument fluctuations, etc. all affect the resulting measurements. Unfortunately, these changes in the measurement system integrity are often subtle and difficult to recognize. Gas Referencing solves this problem by providing built-in quality control as it continuously injects a small, but precisely known amount of reference gas into the mud. Any change in system performance, whether it be subtle, substantial, or sudden is immediately and clearly revealed as changes occur in chromatograph measurements of the reference gas. Decision-making is improved when interpreters are able to distinguish between valid and questionable data. Lag Measurements: Gas Referencing provides a convenient and non-disruptive means to make lag measurements. By momentarily increasing (or decreasing) the injection rate of the reference gas, a tag or tracer is introduced into the drilling fluid. This eliminates any possibility of damage to downhole tools and can be made without having to wait for a connection. The tracer can be used to follow a sweep to clearly determine when it has returned to the surface. This technique has facilitated locating washouts in the drill string when the tracer returned much earlier than expected.

Gas Referencing is easy to install and requires very little hardware. On the rig, a inch NPT injection port is installed at an accessible but out-of-the-way location on each mud pumps suction line between the pits and the charging pump. Where the charge pump(s) are supplied by only one suction line, only one injection port is necessary. This port can simply be drilled and tapped or a collar can be welded to the suction line and then drilled through. The port is preferably on or near the top of the suction line. If necessary, it can be installed on the bottom but is more likely to require maintenance due to being plugged with solid materials from the mud. The potential problem is exacerbated by heavier muds with higher solids contents. A inch NPT ball valve is then added to complete the installation of the injection port(s). Pressure at the injection port is due to the hydrostatic head of the mud in the mud pit. This is typically less than five (5) or six (6) psi. Polyethylene tubing (0.25" x 0.17" x 150 psi) or reinforced acetylene welding hose connects the injection port(s) to the flow controller and supply. The lines should run vertically from the injection port to a height above the top of the mud pit before going to the flow controller. Although a check valve is installed in the logging unit, this helps keep the lines from filling with mud more than a few feet from the injection port. The lines are routed to the logging unit and attached to bulkhead fittings on an enclosed flow-control panel outside the logging unit. In operation, the flow in these lines is both very low volume (on the order of 3-5 cubic feet of reference gas per day) and very low pressure. This is approximately 200 times less than that of an ordinary welding torch. If for any reason these lines were cut, it would take about three to four months to completely empty a full acetylene tank. During use, the integrity of the lines should be routinely tested by simply closing the ball valve at the injection port(s), waiting a few minutes, and checking for flow in the logging unit. There will not be any flow if the lines are intact. The reference gas (acetylene or propylene) is supplied from one of two tanks located directly outside the logging unit and must be properly rack mounted for safety. When the first tank is consumed, use the second tank and order another tank to replace the empty one. An acetylene tank holds approximately 360 cubic feet of acetylene and should last one to four months depending on injection rate and number of lag measurements. Propylene lasts about three times as long as acetylene. The tank valve is opened with either a handle or quarter-inch wrench. The regulator is installed on the tank valve and set to 15 psi for acetylene and 100 psi for propylene. Be sure to test for leaks each time the regulator is installed using a weak soap solution. Use the tank valve and regulator to shut off the system. In the logging unit the logging computer actuates solenoid valves which control the reference gas injection. Each solenoid valve directs the reference gas to the suction lines of the pumps that are in use at the time. These solenoid valves are located on the flow control panel. A gas mass flow controller also located on the flow control panel, takes

pump rate information from the pump stroke counters, and controls the rate of reference gas injection and maintains the concentration of reference gas in the drilling fluid. Injection rate: The nominal injection rate is 0.01% by volume at surface conditions. This equates to about 0.97 in3/bbl or about 16 cc/bbl. This amount can be increased or decreased depending on upon the threshold sensitivity of the instruments, as long as the rate is known and constant. As the pump rate changes, signals from the pump stroke counters pass through the logging computer to the gas mass flow controller which changes the injection rate accordingly, in order to maintain the reference fluid concentration. Presentation: There are three gas track presentation scales. First, raw values from the chromatograph are recorded in ppm or percent. Secondly, normalized volumetric gas-inmud values are in percent of mud or in3/bbl. Thirdly, normalized volumetric gas-information at surface conditions values must be modeled to reservoir conditions (pressure, temperature, and Z-factor) then displayed in percent gas in formation or ft3 gas/ ft3 formation.