This paper develops a method for estimation of rock fabric number (RFN) from well logs in unconventional tight oil carbonates with permeability less than 0.1 md. The objective is to investigate the oil potential of a Middle Cretaceous tight carbonate in Mexico. The development of a method for these conditions is challenging as the current approach developed by Lucia (1983) has been explained for carbonates with permeability more than 0.1 md.

Core data and drill cuttings available for this study are limited but provide important insights for the log interpretation and for identifying the presence of grainstone, packstone, and wackstone rocks in the unconventional tight carbonate under consideration. A crossplot of RFN vs. rp35 (pore throat radius at 35% cumulative pore volume) permits delimiting intervals with good production potential that are supported by well testing data. Information for the analysis of the Mexican carbonate comes from well logs of nine wells and two re-entry wells, four buildup tests, and a limited amount of core and drill cuttings information. All data were provided by a petroleum company and have been used, for transparency, without any modifications.

An unconventional tight carbonate as defined in this paper has a permeability smaller than 0.1 md. The unconventional tight oil carbonate reservoir considered in this study includes 95% of data with permeabilities smaller than 0.1 md and only 5% with permeabilities larger than 0.1 md. The method introduced by Lucia (1983) and Jennings and Lucia (2003) for determining RFN is powerful, but they explained it only for permeabilities larger than 0.1 md, thus the need for a methodology that allows estimating from well logs the presence of grainstone, packstone, and/or wackstone in unconventional tight carbonate reservoirs with permeabilities smaller than 0.1 md.

Results indicate that the RFN provides a useful approach for distinguishing grainstone, packstone, and wackstone rocks in unconventional tight carbonate reservoirs. Furthermore, rock fabric can be linked with Pickett plots to provide an integrated quantitative evaluation of RFN, porosity, water saturation, permeability, pore throat radius, and capillary pressure. This integration indicates that there is good oil potential in the Middle Cretaceous unconventional tight carbonate in Mexico.

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