Simple qualitative methods are explained for identifying those shaly sands in a well that are most likely to contain oil. A need for more precise measurement of the variables that enter shaly sand analysis is indicated. Field examples are given to illustrate the methods.

A theoretical discussion of the quantitative interpretation of shaly sands is given as a basis for discussion and as a guide for the future. While not generally capable of practical application at the present time because of the lack of sufficient accuracy of the electric log data, these methods may become more feasible in the future as the result of the improved logging methods now being introduced.


Experience has shown that for porous formations containing only a negligible amount of clayey material, reliable information on the fluid saturation and porosity of the reservoir rocks can usually be derived from the electrical logs. The interpretation is based on empirical formulae relating the true resistivity of a porous formation to its lithologic character, to the resistivity of the interstitial water, and to the proportions of water and hydrocarbons in the pores. If the resistivity of the interstitial water is not known, its approximate value can be derived from the SP curve. The porosity can usually be determined to a good approximation from a MicroLog, or a MicroLaterolog.

When the reservoir rocks contain an appreciable percentage of clayey material, an additional factor is introduced into the analysis. In a clean formation, the matrix is an electrical insulator, so that the ability of the formation to conduct current is due only to the conductivity of the electrolytes in the pores; in a shaly formation, the shale constitutes a part of the rock matrix able to conduct current, and influences the resistivity of the formation.

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