New high resolution microscopy solutions are being used for conventional and unconventional reservoir characterization at both micron and nanometer scales. Focused Ion Beam and Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB/SEM) technology combines the high resolution of a SEM with the precise milling capability of a FIB. 3D reconstructions with resolution of a few nanometers are made possible, leading to new insights into rock fabrics, porosity and permeability. Illustrative FIB/SEM data of shale and carbonate reservoirs are presented. High resolution imaging resolves the complex micro-structure and microporosity present in the shale and carbonate.

Automated Mineralogy, another emerging solution for petrological analysis, involves the ultrafast mineral and textural mapping of cuttings and cores, achieved through a fully integrated system comprising automated SEM imaging and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Through customized analysis software, the resulting false-colored images can be used to quantify the mineralogy, grain size, grain density, porosity, and lithotypes, on a cutting-by-cutting or core-by-core sample basis. These data in turn can be used to provide objective inputs into geological, geophysical, and engineering interpretations of reservoir properties.

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