Interpretation of LWD Acoustic Borehole Image Logs: Case Studies from North American Shale Plays

Gong, Bo (Chevron) | Manuel, Ela (Chevron) | Liu, Youfang (Chevron) | Forand, David (Chevron) | Malizia, Tom (Chevron) | Tohidi, Vahid (Chevron) | Saldana, Alex (Chevron)


Abstract Logging-while-drilling (LWD) acoustic imaging technology emerged in the past few years as a low-cost solution to detect and characterize fractures in high-angle and horizontal wells. This type of imaging tool works in either water-based or oil-based drilling fluids, making it a competitive choice for logging unconventional shale wells, which are often drilled with oil-based mud. With high-resolution acoustic amplitude and travel-time images, fractures, bedding planes and other drilling-related features can be identified, providing new insights for reservoir characterization and wellbore geomechanics. The quality of LWD acoustic images however is directly affected by drilling parameters and borehole conditions, as the received signal is sensitive to formation property and wellbore changes at the same time. As a result, interpretation can be quite challenging, and caution needs to be taken to differentiate actual formation property changes from drilling-related features or image artifacts. This paper demonstrates the complexity of interpreting LWD acoustic images through multiple case studies. The examples were collected from vertical and horizontal wells in multiple shale plays in North America, with the images logged and processed by different service companies. Depending on the geology and borehole conditions, various features and artifacts were observed from the images, which can be used as a reference for geologists and petrophysicists. Images acquired with different drilling parameters were compared to show the effect of drilling conditions on image quality. Recommendations and best practices of using this new type of image log are also shared.

  Country: North America > United States (1.00)
  Industry: Energy > Oil & Gas > Upstream (1.00)

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