For every barrel of oil, about three to four barrels of water is produced. Water is part of every operation in upstream oil and gas: we produce it, we process it, we inject it. It affects our reserves because it may drive or sweep the oil out of the pores. It is a source of corrosion and scaling in pipe and in the reservoir. Measuring formation water resistivity (Rw) goes beyond using it as the basis of petrophysical well log interpretation. It is the key to telling different waters apart for taking the most representative samples.

We introduce a calibrated induction-based water resistivity measurement sensor, which is configured to accurately measure Rw in the flowline of a formation testing tool. The induction-based operating principle of the sensor eliminates the use of electrodes and the associated fouling of the measurement due to coating or accumulation of particles on the electrodes. Instead, the sensor induces an electric current through a nonconductive, neutrally wetting flowline tube that is proportional to the conductivity of the fluid column within the tube. The resulting current at the receiver coil is then converted into resistivity.

A case study presents data from a focused water-sampling station in a transition zone in a well drilled with water-based mud (WBM). The resistivity contrast between the mud filtrate and the formation water is low and mobile oil mixes with the formation water and mud filtrate. Despite these difficult conditions, the downhole measurement clearly shows the cleanup progress in real time and compares well with the surface measurements of the water samples. The ability to differentiate formation water from WBM filtrate with low resistivity contrast in the presence of oil places the station depth in the transition zone and enables accurate interpretation of contacts, saturation, and ultimately hydrocarbon in place.

The sensor package is suitable for use up to 200-degC temperature and 35,000-psi pressure. The sensor can measure a wide range of resistivity, from 0.01 to 65 ohm.m. Measurements performed on known fluids prove its high accuracy of ±5% or less for resistivity below 10 ohm.m at a resolution of 0.001 ohm.m. The design eliminates any dead volume and all flowline fluid passes through the sensor. The sensor tube is smoothly flushable for fast dynamic response in multiphase slug flow.

This paper also discusses optimal sensor placement and operational techniques to achieve best results in multiphase flow environments.

The accuracy and resolution of the resistivity measurement enables direct comparison of guard and sample flowlines during focused sampling and provides differentiation even when the contrast between filtrate and formation water is low. The results can serve as a direct Rw measurement, for example in an exploration scenario, as successfully shown in another PDO trial, or can be compared to other sources of Rw measurement or used to improve the accuracy of alternatives to the Archie equation, such as dielectric dispersion.

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