Technology Focus: Formation Evaluation (August 2010)
- Bob Harrison (Consultant Petroleum Engineer)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2010
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 42 - 42
- 2010. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Analysts of conventional logs, who routinely evaluate complex formations, may be less productive when faced with more-esoteric responses from modern tools, especially because the latter often are interpreted by the logging contractors themselves. This situation arises because available petrophysical software may not be capable of handling the new log responses, and the required interpretive algorithms often are claimed as proprietary and, therefore, are withheld.
Logging-contractor-generated results from new logs may bring additional insight that is not readily apparent from basic logging suites, but end users must beware of blindly accepting these results and the implication that the new tools are necessary.
Many published case studies that claim new logging services are essential do not prove that basic logs are inadequate. Readers should be skeptical if these conference papers do not conform to Richard Feynman’s exhortation, “The idea is to try and give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution, not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.” We should always ask ourselves three questions:
- Was the log really necessary?
Does it add new information or simply confirm what could have been determined from a basic logging suite? For example, a nuclear-magnetic-resonance log in shaly gas-bearing sands with oil-based-mud-filtrate invasion may be able to distinguish gas from oil, but invaded-zone fluids also can be solved for by use of a combination of conventional logs.
- Is the logging-contractor interpretation correct?
New logs should be validated against careful traditional-log analysis, which has been calibrated against core.
- Can operators improve on the logging-contractor interpretation?
Yes! Operators have more relevant data and local knowledge, so they can use the log data more effectively. Petrophysical software and a log analyst’s time cost much less than log acquisition.
Logging contractors should run a safe and efficient operation while acquiring good raw data. If they also can supply an interpretation, then this is a bonus. End users must not abdicate their responsibility for the interpretation of log data that their employer pays to acquire.
Formation Evaluation additional reading available at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org
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