Technology Focus: Formation Evaluation (August 2011)
- Bob Harrison (British Gas and Enterprise Oil)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 54 - 54
- 2011. 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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Reportedly, companies are struggling to find petrophysicists for their subsurface teams, especially companies exploiting unconventional resources that require a major petrophysical effort to unlock their reserves potential. How has this state of affairs come about?
Undoubtedly, there are fewer routes into the discipline because few universities offer degrees in the subject. Most petrophysicists either have a logging-company background or are professionals from other disciplines who developed a taste for it.
Yet, there are more-deep-seated issues at play, concerning the nature of the job itself and how petrophysicists are perceived in the industry. Practitioners must spend considerable time performing the less-glamorous tasks of gathering, checking, loading, merging, shifting, and correcting raw data before any analysis can be performed. This may discourage professionals from joining the discipline before they can appreciate its richness.
Some petrophysicists feel undervalued. Their main workload comes early in a project and ends when they pass their well/rock-property data to the geomodelers. By servicing several teams, particularly in operational environments, they end up belonging to none and feeling isolated. Some suspect that other disciplines offer greater career mobility, with increased chances of fast tracking into management.
In reality, the role has a unique multitasking and technically challenging nature, with a blend of fundamental science and applied practices in which reservoir studies are interjected with designing laboratory core-analysis programs and monitoring wellsite operations. Thus, it seems that a make-over is required to enhance the petrophysicist’s image, standing, and popularity.
To address the reported shortage, the role must be broadened to attract and retain high-caliber people. Newcomers must be taught integrated working practices instead of how to push buttons of sophisticated software that provides analysis products of which they have little understanding. Quality-focused training from academia and the industry is essential to achieve this aim.
For their own part, petrophysicists must contribute more than porosity, saturation, net-reservoir, and permeability data. They must step into the limelight and be acknowledged by peers for their help and advice in all areas of established subsurface workflows, while providing input throughout a project’s life.
Petrophysicists perform a complex and onerous role, synthesizing multifarious data into a single coherent interpretation. Their work impinges on every discipline, providing deliverables for drillers, geologists, geophysicists, reservoir simulators, and production engineers. We need more of these valuable people.
Formation Evaluation additional reading available at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org
SPE 137766 • “Barnett Shale (Mississippian), Fort Worth Basin, Texas: Regional Variations in Gas and Oil Production and Reservoir Properties” by Y. Tian, SPE, Texas A&M University, et al.
SPE 134515 • “Novel Approach To Quantifying Deepwater Laminated Sequences Using Integrated Evaluation of LWD, Real-Time Shear, Porosity, Azimuthal Density, and High-Resolution-Propagation Resistivity” by Katerina Yared, SPE, Baker Hughes, et al.
SPE 121313 • “Petrophysical-Analysis Method To Identify ‘Sweet Spots’ in Tight Reservoirs: Case Study From Punta Rosada Formation in Neuquen Basin, Argentina” by C. Naides, Petrobras.
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