Impacts and Lessons Learned from an Applied Case Study in the Williston, Uinta and DJ Basins Utilizing Open Versus Closed Retort Quantification

Perry, Stephanie E. (GeoMark Research Ltd.) | Zumberge, J. Alex (GeoMark Research Ltd.) | Cheng, Kai (GeoMark Research Ltd.)


Abstract Subsurface characterization of fluid volumes is typically constrained and validated by core analytical fluid saturation measurement techniques (example Dean-Stark or Open Retort methodology). As production in resource plays has progressed over time, it has been noted that many of these methods have a large error when compared to production data. A large source of the error seems to be that water saturations in tight rocks have been consistently underestimated in the traditional laboratory measurement techniques. Operators need improved fluid saturation measurements to better constrain their log-based oil-in-place estimates and forward-looking production trends. The overall goal of this study is to test a new laboratory workflow for fluid saturation quantification. Recent advancements have led to an innovative methodology where a closed retort laboratory technique is applied to samples from lithological rock types in the Williston, Uinta and Denever-Julesburg (DJ) basins. This new technique is specifically designed to better quantify and validate water measurements throughout the tight rock analysis process, as well as improved oil recovery and built-in prediction. A comparison of standard crushed rock analysis employing Dean-Stark saturation methods is compared to the closed retort results and observations discussed. Results will also be compared against additional laboratory methods that validate the results such as geochemistry and nuclear magnetic resonance. Finally, open-hole wireline logs will be utilized to quantify the impact on total water saturation and the oil-in place estimates based on the improved accuracy of the closed retort technique.

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