Najmah-Sargelu Formations of Kuwait show considerable potential as a new unconventional hydrocarbon play and produces mainly from fractures. The key uncertainties which affect the productivity are the nature and distribution of permeable fracture networks, and the limits of oil accumulation.
This paper presents the results from whole-rock elemental analysis of three cored wells in UG field. The main objectives of this study are to use high-resolution elemental chemostratigraphy to gain a better understanding of the detailed stratigraphy and correlation of the Najmah-Sargelu Formations, to assess the chemo-sedimentology for determining the intervals of high organic content, to estimate the mineralogy of the sequence using an algorithm developed for an analog formation in North America; and to determine the most likely intervals to contain fractures, using a brittleness algorithm.
A clear chemo stratigraphic zonation is recognized within the Najmah-Sargelu Formation. The larger divisions are driven mainly by inherent lithological variation. The finer divisions are delineated by more subtle chemo stratigraphic signals (K2O/Th and Rb/Al2O3 ratios) and preservation of organic matter (high V, Ni, Mo, and U abundances). Zones of alternating brittleness and ductility are clearly identified within the interbedded limestones and marlstones of Najmah-Sargelu Formation.
Two unexpected but important features of the Najmah-Sargelu limestones were elucidated by the elemental data. Brittle, high-silica spiculites, with virtually no clay or silt, are more common than previously recognized from petrophysical logs and core descriptions in the upper Najmah limestones. In addition, the limestones adjacent to the spiculites tend to contain bitumen as pore-filling are recognized by the trace metal proxies. Ternary plots of V, Ni, and Mo differentiate the combinations of kerogen and bitumen present in the Najmah-Sargelu Formations.
The clarity and sensitivity of the chemostratigraphic signals are sufficient to enhance formation evaluation, and can also assist borehole positioning using the RockWiseSM ED-XRF instrument at wellsite.
Historically, shale instability is a challenging issue when drilling reactive formations using water-based muds (WBM). Shale instability leads to shale sloughing, stuck pipe, and shale disintegration causing an increase in fines that affects the rate of penetration. To characterize shale instability, laboratory tests including Linear Swell Meter (LSM), shale-erosion and slake-durability are conducted in industry. These laboratory tests, under different flow conditions, provide shale-fluid interaction parameters which are indicative of shale instability. The composition of WBM is designed to optimize these interaction parameters, so that when used in the field the fluid helps achieve efficient drilling.
This paper demonstrates modeling of shale-fluid interaction parameters obtained from the LSM test. In the standard LSM test, a laterally confined cylindrical shale sample is exposed to WBM at a specific temperature and its axial swelling is measured with time. The swelling reaches a plateau which is characterized by a shale-fluid interaction parameter called % final swelling volume (A). A typical LSM test runs for around 48-72 hours and many tests may be needed to optimize fluid composition.
In this work, a method/model is developed to predict final swelling volume (A) as a function of the Cation exchange capacity (CEC) of the shale and salt concentration in the fluid (prominent factors affecting shale swelling). An empirical model in the form of A = f(CEC)*f(salt) which describes the explicit dependence on the influencing variables is developed and validated for 16 different shale samples at various salt concentrations. This model would significantly reduce LSM laboratory trials saving time and money. It could also enable rig personnel to obtain quick measure of shale characteristics so that WBM composition could be adjusted immediately to avoid shale instability issues.
Cinar, Yildiray (The University of New South Wales) | Arns, Christoph (The University of New South Wales) | Dehghan Khalili, Ahmad (The University of New South Wales) | Yanici, Sefer (The University of New South Wales)
Resistivity measurements play a key role in hydrocarbon in place calculations for oil and gas reservoirs. They are a direct indi-cator of fluid saturation and connected pore space available in the formation. Carbonate rocks, which host around half of the world's hydrocarbons, exhibit a wide range of porosities with scales spanning from nanometres to centimetres. The often sig-nificant amount of microporosity displayed by Carbonate rocks emphasizes the necessity of an adequate characterization of their micro-features and their contribution to hydrocarbon in place. In this paper we examine upscaling methods to probe for-mation factor of a fully saturated carbonate sample using an X-ray CT based numerical approach and compare to experimental measurements.
Three-dimensional high-resolution X-ray CT enables the numerical calculation of petrophysical properties of interest at the pore scale with resolutions down to a few microns per voxel. For more complex and heterogeneous samples however, a direct calculation of petrophysical properties is not feasible, since the required resolution and a sufficient field of view cannot be obtained simultaneously. Thus an integration of measurements at different scale is required. In this study a carbonate sample of 38mm in diameter is first scanned using the X-ray CT method with a resolution of 26µm. After accompanying experimental measurements on the full plug, four 5mm plugs were drilled vertically from this sample and X-ray CT images of these plugs acquired at resolutions down to 2.74 µm. We calculate the porosity of the sample (macro- and micro-porosities) using the phase separation methods and then predict the formation factor of the sample at several scales using a Laplace solver. The formation factor is calculated by using a general value of m=2 as cementation factor for intermediate porosity voxels. We compare to experimental measurements of formation factor and porosity both at the small plug and full plug scale and find good agreement.
To assess the degree of uncertainty of the numerical estimate, we probe the extent of heterogeneity by investigating the size of a representative elementary volume (REV) for formation factor. We find that for the considered heterogeneous carbonate sam-ple, formation factor varies considerably over intervals less than a centimetre. Our results show that this variation could be explained by different cementation exponents applied at the micro-voxel scale, with the exemption of one plug, for which the cementation exponent would have to be unreasonably low. These cementation factors are derived by direct comparison be-tween numerical simulation and experiment. We conclude that for one plug an error in experimental measurement might have occurred. The numerical approach presented here therefore aids in quality control. Excluding this plug in the upscaling proce-dure improves the agreement with the experimental result for the whole core while still underestimating formation factor. Al-lowing for a constant m=2 in the simulation at the small scale and using directly the resulting relationship between porosity and formation factor in the upscaling process leads to an overestimation of formation factor.
Stanitzek, Theo (AkzoNobel) | De Wolf, Corine (AkzoNobel) | Gerdes, Steffan (Fangmann Energy Services) | Lummer, Nils R. (Fangmann Energy Services) | Nasr-El-Din, Hisham A. (Texas A&M University) | Alex, Alan K. (AkzoNobel)
Matrix acidizing of high temperature gas wells is a difficult task, especially if these wells are sour or if they are completed with high chrome content tubulars. These harsh conditions require high loadings of corrosion inhibitors and intensifiers in addition to hydrogen sulfide scavengers and iron control agents. Selection of these chemicals to meet the strict environmental regulations adds to the difficulty in dealing with such wells. Recently, a new environmentally friendly chelating agent, glutamic acid -diacetic acid (GLDA), has been developed and extensively tested for carbonate and sandstone formations. Significant permeability improvements have been shown in previous papers over a wide range of conditions. In this paper we evaluate the results of the first field application of this chelating agent to acidize a sour, high temperature, tight gas well completed with high chrome content tubulars.
Extensive laboratory studies were conducted before the treatment, including: corrosion tests, core flood experiments, compatibility tests with reservoir fluids, and reaction rate measurements using a rotating disk apparatus. The treatment started by pumping a preflush of mutual solvent and water wetting surfactant, followed by the main stage consisting of 20 wt% GLDA with a low concentration of a proper corrosion inhibitor. Following the treatment, the well was put on production, and samples of flow back fluids were collected. The concentrations of various ions were determined using ICP. Various analytical techniques were used to determine the concentration of GLDA and other organic compounds in the flow back samples.
The treatment was applied in the field without encountering any operational problems. A significant increase in gas production that exceeded operator expectations was achieved. Unlike previous treatments where HCl or other chelates were used, the concentrations of iron, chrome, nickel, and molybdenum in the flow back samples were negligible, confirming low corrosion of well tubulars. Improved productivity and longer term performance results confirm the effectiveness of the new chelate as a versatile stimulation fluid.
On the basis of micro- and mesoscale investigations, a new mathematical formulation is introduced in detail to investigate multiscale gas-transport phenomena in organic-rich-shale core samples. The formulation includes dual-porosity continua, where shale permeability is associated with inorganic matrix with relatively large irregularly shaped pores and fractures, whereas molecular phenomena (diffusive transport and nonlinear sorption) are associated with the kerogen pores. Kerogen is considered a nanoporous organic material finely dispersed within the inorganic matrix. The formulation is used to model and history match gas-permeation measurements in the laboratory using shale core plugs under confining stress. The results indicate significance of molecular transport and strong transient effects caused by gas/solid interactions within the kerogen. In the second part of the paper, we present a novel multiscale perturbation approach to quantify the overall impact of local porosity fluctuations associated with a spatially nonuniform kerogen distribution on the adsorption and transport in shale gas reservoirs. Adopting weak-noise and mean-field approximation, the approach applies a stochastic upscaling technique to the mathematical formulation developed in the first part for the laboratory. It allows us to investigate local kerogenheterogeneity effects in spectral (Fourier-Laplace) domain and to obtain an upscaled "macroscopic" model, which consists of the local heterogeneity effects in the real time-space domain. The new upscaled formulation is compared numerically with the previous homogeneous case using finite-difference approximations to initial/boundary value problems simulating the matrix gas release. We show that macrotransport and macrokinetics effects of kerogen heterogeneity are nontrivial and affect cumulative gas recovery. The work is important and timely for development of new-generation shale-gas reservoir-flow simulators, and it can be used in the laboratory for organic-rich gas-shale characterization.
Clarkson, Christopher R. (University of Calgary) | Wood, James (Encana Corporation) | Burgis, Sinclair (Encana Corporation) | Aquino, Samuel (University of Calgary) | Freeman, Melissa (University of Calgary)
The pore structure of unconventional gas reservoirs, despite having a significant impact on hydrocarbon storage and transport, has historically been difficult to characterize because of a wide poresize distribution (PSD), with a significant pore volume (PV) in the nanopore range. A variety of methods is typically required to characterize the full pore spectrum, with each individual technique limited to a certain pore size range. In this work, we investigate the use of nondestructive, low-pressure adsorption methods, in particular low-pressure N2 adsorption analysis, to infer pore shape and to determine PSDs of a tight gas siltstone reservoir in western Canada. Unlike previous studies, core-plug samples, not crushed samples, are used for isotherm analysis, allowing an undisturbed pore structure (i.e., uncrushed) to be analyzed. Furthermore, the core plugs used for isotherm analysis are subsamples (end pieces) of cores for which mercury-injection capillary pressure (MICP) and permeability measurements were previously performed, allowing a more direct comparison with these techniques. PSDs, determined from two isotherm interpretation methods [Barrett-Joyner-Halenda (BJH) theory and density functional theory (DFT)], are in reasonable agreement with MICP data for the portion of the PSD sampled by both. The pore geometry is interpreted as slot-shaped, as inferred from isotherm hysteresis loop shape, the agreement between adsorption- and MICP-derived dominant pore sizes, scanning-electron-microscope (SEM) imaging, and the character of measured permeability stress dependence. Although correlations between inorganic composition and total organic carbon (TOC) and between dominant pore-throat size and permeability are weak, the sample with the lowest illite clay and TOC content has the largest dominant pore-throat size and highest permeability, as estimated from MICP. The presence of stress relief-induced microfractures, however, appears to affect laboratory-derived (pressure-decay and pulse-decay) estimates of permeability for some samples, even after application of confining pressure. On the basis of the premise of slot-shaped pore geometry, fractured rock models (matchstick and cube) were used to predict absolute permeability, by use of dominant pore-throat size from MICP/adsorption analysis and porosity measured under confining pressure. The predictions are reasonable, although permeability is mostly overpredicted for samples that are unaffected by stressrelease fractures. The conceptual model used to justify the application of these models is slot pores at grain boundaries or between organic matter and framework grains.
Permeability provides a measure of the ability of a porous medium to transmit fluid and is significant in evaluating reservoir productivity. A case study that compares different methods of permeability prediction in a complex carbonate reservoir is presented in this paper. Presence of siliciclastic fines and diagenetic minerals (e.g., dolomite) within carbonate breccias has resulted in a tight and heterogeneous carbonate reservoir in this case. Permeability estimations from different methods are discussed and compared. In the first part of the paper, permeability measurements from conventional core analysis (CCAL), mercury-injection capillary pressure (MICP) tests, modular formation dynamic tests (MDTs), and nuclear-magnetic-resonance (NMR) logs are discussed. Different combinations of methods can be helpful in permeability calculation, but depending on the nature and scale of each method, permeability assessment in heterogeneous reservoirs is a considerable challenge. Among these methods, the NMR log provides the most continuous permeability prediction. In the second part of the paper, the measured individual permeabilities are combined and calibrated with the NMR-derived permeability. The conventional NMR-based free-fluid (Timur-Coates) model is used to compute the permeability. The NMRestimated permeability is influenced by wettability effects, presence of isolated pores, and residual oil in the invaded zone. new modified Timur-Coates model is established on the basis of fluid saturations and isolated pore volumes (PV) of the rock. This model yields a reasonable correlation with the scaled core-derived permeabilities. However, because of the reservoir heterogeneity, particularly in the brecciated intervals, discrepancies between the core data and the modified permeability model are expected.
Recent work has shown the potential usefulness of both magnetic susceptibility and magnetic hysteresis techniques in assessing the effect of fine-grained hematite on permeability, where the hematite was dispersed in the matrix of relatively tight gas red sandstone samples. The present study demonstrates that grain lining hematite cement is also a major controlling factor on permeability in a relatively tight gas sandstone reservoir in the North Sea. Magnetic susceptibility measurements on core plugs in this reservoir showed a strong correlation with probe permeability. Moreover, samples with a higher content of hematite exhibited lower permeability values. Thin-section analysis revealed the presence of a thin (approximately 10 to 15 lm) rim of hematite cement surrounding quartz grains, which block pore connections and reduce permeability. Magnetic hysteresis measurements on representative samples indicated a similar paramagnetic clay content in both the low and high permeability samples, suggesting that the clay (mainly illite) is not the dominant controlling factor that produces the variations in permeability that we observed. Because samples with higher hematite content exhibit lower permeability, it appears that hematite is a major control on the permeability variations seen in this reservoir. Although the paramagnetic clays undoubtedly have an influence on the absolute permeability values (increasing paramagnetic clay content has previously been shown to correlate with decreasing permeability), small amounts of grain lining hematite cement can reduce the permeability significantly further. Analysis of the magnetic hysteresis parameters on a Day plot indicated that the permeability was essentially independent of the hematite particle size for the fine particle sizes observed in this study.
Profice, Sandra (I2M–TREFLE - Universite de Bordeaux) | Lasseux, Didier (I2M–TREFLE - Universite de Bordeaux) | Jannot, Yves (LEMTA - Nancy-Universite) | Jebara, Naime (TOTAL – CSTJF) | Hamon, Gerald (TOTAL – CSTJ)
Permeability estimation of poor permeable formations like tight or gas-shale reservoirs using a pulse-decay experiment performed on crushed samples has been shown in earlier works to be an interesting alternative for it is faster and less expensive than traditional transient tests performed on carefully prepared core plugs, although it is restricted to measurement in the absence of overburden pressure. Due to reservoir depletion during production, sample characterization over a wide range of pore-fluid pressure is essential. If the Darcy-Klinkenberg model is thought to be a satisfactory gas-flowmodel for these tight formations, the full characterization can be achieved by determining both the intrinsic permeability, kl, and Klinkenberg coefficient b.
In this work, the conditions under which reliable estimates of kl, b and porosity, ø can be expected from this type of measurement are carefully analyzed. Considering a bed of monodisperse-packed spheres and a complete physical model to carry out direct simulations and inversion of the pressure decay, important conclusions are drawn opening wide perspectives for significant operational improvement of the method. In particular, it is shown that:
i) The particle size of the crushed sample must be well selected for a reliable pressure-decay signal record.
ii) The simultaneous determination of both kl and b by inversion of the pressure-decay signal is very difficult because the sensitivities of the pressure decay to both coefficients are correlated
iii) The porosity of the particles can be accurately estimated when the experimental setup has been properly calibrated (volumes of the chambers and of the porous sample). The precision on the estimation of this parameter is however strongly dependent on a bias on the crushed sample volume.
iv) When identification of kl and b is possible, a very significant error may occur in the determination of the intrinsic permeability due to a bias on the porous sample volume. Errors on the estimated values of ø and kl due to a bias on the chamber volume are not very significant Moreover, b remains insensitive to bias on both the chamber and porous sample volumes.
Relative permeability to formation fluids is an essential input into reservoir characterization, dynamic modeling, and production prediction. In this work, a method combining evaporation and unsteady-state pressure-falloff technique is developed to measure gas-phase relative permeability on tight-gas cores for both drainage and imbibition cycles. Toluene is used to mimic formation water and its saturation is varied by evaporation and determined by mass balance. Nitrogen gas is used to imitate the hydrocarbon fluid, and the gas effective permeability at certain toluene saturations is measured by the pressure-falloff technique.
The method greatly reduces the measurement duration, and provides a relatively simple and effective way to characterize the gas-phase relative permeability for tight-gas cores. It has been applied on ~30 tight-gas cores from various fields. Results show that the gas relative permeabilities follow the Corey model with a Corey exponent of ~2 for the drainage cycle and ~3 for the imbibition cycle. The assumptions are studied by both numerical modeling and separate experiments.