The Southern Delaware basin has proven to be prolific for production of liquid rich hydrocarbons with operators targeting in the various layers of the Permian and deeper Paleozoic formations. With deeper formations, the thermal maturity of the source rocks increase and the reservoir fluid expected is predominantly Gas. There have been indications of potential liquid rich production in specific geological, structural and thermal maturity settings, but data points are limited and not many laterals have been drilled, and completed yet.

Recent log and core evaluations have shown presence of natural micro and large aperture fractures in the Permian and other formations in the basin. These fractures can potentially enhance production and sometimes cause challenges to the drilling process. Operators can utilize superior technology from advanced surface logging to characterize many important aspects of formation evaluation which can be performed while drilling. Cost-effective technologies utilized in this study include advanced mud gas geochemistry, fracture detection from mud flow, chemostratigraphy and source rock evaluation. These data were then combined with open-hole wireline logs to determine the best approach to identify targets and plans for completions.

This paper will demonstrate how an integrated approach to reservoir characterization was utilized by an operator in the Southern Delaware basin to evaluate their prospect in a vertical pilot and 2 laterals targeting the Paleozoic formations. The operator selected the best points for landing depths in both the Wolfcamp and Woodford by integrating an evaluation of the reservoir quality, production potential, reservoir compartmentalization, source rock character, micro-fractures (compared to interpreted FMI log), an estimation of reservoir fluid type and predicting GOR. These techniques were used to aid geo-steering the laterals and provide more inputs for rock typing.

This integrated approach is a non-intrusive and cost-effective alternative for reliable formation evaluations. These insights can aid operators to map regional hydrocarbon distribution, locate fracture prone reservoirs, predict porosity permeability related to fractures, identify faults, estimate GOR or CGR, identify higher water production intervals, and plan future drilling and completions strategies. These deliverables are applicable for targeting primary and secondary targets within the greater Permian basin.

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