What If There Was a Better Formation-Testing Probe? A Case Study on Optimizing Flow Geometry

Gelvez, Camilo (The University of Texas at Austin) | Torres-Verdín, Carlos (The University of Texas at Austin) | Se, Yegor (Chevron Corporation) | Malik, Mayank (Chevron Corporation)

OnePetro 

ABSTRACT

Selecting the best tool for a specific type of reservoir condition is a crucial part of a fluid sampling job. Moreover, uncertainty in sample quality increases when the fluid phases are miscible. On a recent logging job, a formation tester was used to acquire water samples across a zone drilled with water-base mud (WBM). We examine the performance of several probe configurations (both existing and prototype) under equivalent reservoir conditions to quantify and optimize filtrate cleanup efficiency. The study is carried out using a compositional simulator for a water-saturated reservoir invaded with blue-dye tracer included in WBM filtrate.

History matching of field measurements allows the calibration of the model for further modification to account for a variety of reservoir conditions. Complex tracer dynamics of a blue-dye WBM invading a water-saturated formation and fluid pumpout are accurately and expediently modeled using a flexible numerical algorithm to account for different probe types and tool configurations. Under normal operating conditions, the chosen formation tester would have taken around one hour to clean the filtrate contamination to a target value of 5%. On the other hand, the best choice was the Focused Elliptical Probe, for which fluid cleanup would take less than 40 minutes. Additionally, a different tool configuration with a combination of multiple probe geometries spaced radially around the tool would provide faster cleanup times of only 32 minutes, thereby saving rig time.

We rank eight formation testing tools designs under equivalent reservoir conditions. The examples highlight the importance of probe geometry and configurations together with reliable and expedient numerical modeling during the pre-job phase to reduce cleanup time in anticipation of complex reservoir conditions. Furthermore, numerical simulations compare the fluid cleanup efficiency for various commercial formation-testing probes together with innovative probe designs that could potentially lead to a new tool or probe development. Perfecting both probe geometry and fluid pumping schedule is the most important output of our study.