Gas shales are economically viable hydrocarbon prospects that have proven to be successful in North America. Unlike conventional hydrocarbon prospects, gas shales serve as the source, seal, and the reservoir rock. Generating commercial production from these unique lithofacies requires stimulation through extensive hydraulic fracturing. The absence of an accurate petrophysical model for these unconventional plays makes the prediction of economic productivity and fracturing success risky.
This paper presents an integrated approach to petrophysical evaluation of shale gas reservoirs, specifically, the Barnett Shale from the Fort Worth basin is used as an example. The approach makes use of different formation evaluation data, including density, neutron, acoustic, nuclear magnetic resonance, and geochemical logging data. This combination of logging measurements is used to provide lithology, stratigraphy and mineralogy. It also differentiates source rock intervals, classifies depositional facies by their petrophysical and geomechanical properties, and quantifies total organic carbon. The analysis is also employed to locate optimal completion intervals, zones preferable for horizontal sections, and intervals of possible fracture propagation attenuation. Resistivity image analysis complements the approach with the identification of natural and drilling induced fractures. We compare results from three different wells to show the effectiveness of the method for shale gas characterization.
The methodology presented provides a means to understand the geomechanical and petrophysical properties of the Barnett Shale. This knowledge can be used to design a selective completion strategy that has the potential to reduce fracturing expenses and optimize well productivity. Though developed specifically for the Barnett Shale, the underlying ideas are applicable to other thermogenic shale gas plays in North America.