Technology Focus: Formation Evaluation (August 2008)
- Martin Kennedy (Woodside Energy Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2008
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 50 - 50
- 2008. 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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There is a perception in our business that we have a poor track record of introducing new technology. At various times, I have seen unfavorable comparisons with pharmaceuticals and personal electronics. Is this fair? Consider two examples of the introduction of new technology to well logging.
There are practical restrictions on which measurements can form the basis for a logging tool. Nearly all possibilities had been tried by 1960, at least in an experimental tool, and many have been in use ever since. The last measurement to enter service was nuclear magnetic resonance, which exploited an effect first demonstrated in 1946. Even for this technology, the potential had been realized in the 1950s, about the same time as the first laboratory instruments exploiting the effect went on sale. The medical profession began to make use of magnetic-resonance-imaging scanners in the early 1980s; shortly afterward, a logging tool was brought into service. This tool was not a great technical or commercial success, and it was another 10 years before a viable logging tool appeared. Nowadays, the measurement is routine and new applications are announced every year. Is this an example of us being slow on the uptake? Absolutely not—the potential was realized early, but several individual technical hurdles had to be overcome before it became a viable logging tool. For example, laboratories and hospitals are not constrained by space or power and can use powerful electromagnets (often superconducting). Those sources are not real-istic in the borehole environment, and small strong permanent magnets had to be developed before the effect could be exploited satisfactorily.
Consider individual components rather than a whole system. Microprocessors went downhole in the 1980s, having appeared only a decade earlier. The Intel 8080 processor, arguably the first commercial device that contained the functionality needed for a logging tool went on sale in 1974 (at a cost of USD 385). This time scale is similar to the time required for a novel digital audio-encoding technology to appear as MP3.
I could go on and on, but space is limited. A bit of self-criticism is a good thing, but claiming we are slow to introduce new technology is damaging and does not stand up to scrutiny. Papers highlighted here demonstrate how our industry is taking advantage of the latest technologies to find better answers and make more-informed decisions.
Formation Evaluation additional reading available at the SPE eLibrary: www.spe.org
IPTC 11201 • “Identifying Fluid Type and Contacts in Carbonate Reservoirs” by Hsin-Yi Tseng, ExxonMobil, et al.
IPTC 11308 • “Carbonate-Rock Physics: Analytical Models and Validations Using Computational Approaches and Laboratory/Log Measurements” by Shiyu Xu, ExxonMobil, et al.
SPE 105353 • “Crosswell Electromagnetic Resistivity Tomography: Pushing the Limits” by M.L. Sanni, Saudi Aramco, et al.
SPE 105605 • “Nuclear-Magnetic-Resonance Logging: While Drilling, Wireline, and Fluid Sampling” by Douglas J. Seifert, Saudi Aramco, et al.
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