Better Permeability Estimation From Wireline Formation Testing
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 66 - 68
- 2017. International Petroleum Technology Conference
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 118 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper IPTC 18914, “Extracting More From Wireline Formation Testing: Better Permeability Estimation,” by S.R. Ramaswami, P.W. Cornelisse, SPE, H. Elshahawi, M. Hows, and C.L. Dong, SPE, Shell, prepared for the 2016 International Petroleum Technology Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, 14–16 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2017 International Petroleum Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
The use of pressure-transient data in formation testing to describe reservoirs is considered mature technology, particularly when applied to data collected through production testing. The extension of this technique to data obtained using wireline formation testers (WFTs) has been gaining momentum in the industry; however, the integration of these outputs with other measurements of data is not always straightforward. The complete paper presents different methods of using pressure-transient data from WFTs; many of these methods are summarized here.
Pressure-Transient Data From WFTs
Perhaps the most widely used form of WFT pressure-transient data is that derived from small-volume drawdowns and buildups during a pressure test. The volume of fluid withdrawn from the formation, and the resulting depth of the pressure pulse, is limited to the near-wellbore region. The flow regime that develops during these tests is typically spherical flow in an infinite medium; hence, the mobilities derived from these sorts of pressure-transient tests are spherical mobilities and need to be converted to radial mobilities to quantitatively compare the tests. Additionally, pretest-derived mobilities have two fundamental challenges: the unknown effect of skin caused by drilling damage and the uncertainty of fluid viscosity to be used to convert the resulting mobility to permeability.
The other common application of pressure-transient information during wireline-formation tests uses pressure data over a much longer interval. During an extended pumping station with a WFT, a particular flow-rate history is applied to a well and the resulting pressure changes are recorded. From the measured pressure response, and from predictions of how reservoir properties influence that response, an insight into the reservoir can be gained. In order to make these predictions, it is necessary to develop mathematical models of the physical behavior taking place in the reservoir. Fig. 1 shows the difference between the volume investigated with a small-volume pressure test and an extended pumpout station. The most-common well model that is used when interpreting WFT data is the vertical limited entry model.
Fluid flow in porous media is governed by the diffusivity equation. To derive it in its simplest form, the following assumptions and simplifications have to be made:
- The reservoir is homogeneous, isotropic, and of constant thickness
- The flow is horizontal
- The fluid is monophasic and slightly compressible
- Pressure gradients are small, and Darcy’s law applies
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