Formation Evaluation by Analysis of Hydrocarbon Ratios
- B.O. Pixler (Baroid Div. National Lead Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- June 1969
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 665 - 670
- 1969. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.11.2 Drilling Fluid Selection and Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.12.3 Mud logging / Surface Measurements, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis, 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.10 Drilling Equipment
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The ratio of methane to the heavier hydrocarbon components ethane, propane, butane, and pentane is indicative of gas, oil and water propane, butane, and pentane is indicative of gas, oil and water productive potential. The Steam Still-Reflux Unit, used in conjunction productive potential. The Steam Still-Reflux Unit, used in conjunction with mud logs and gas chromatographs yields a quantitative analysis from which this ratio can be plotted.
Mud logging was first offered commercially in Aug., 1939. This logging method quickly gained favor among many operators because the type of fluid in the formation could be determined within minutes after the formation was drilled. The presence and magnitude of the methane show was and is the most important factor in mud log interpretation. However this magnitude in some instances was improperly understood, and as a consequence some operators still do not use mud logging, even though the early technique frequently made the difference between a successful well and an abandoned hole. Both the "hot wire" log of gas combustibles in the sample and the percent-of-gas log obtained with the conventional gas percent-of-gas log obtained with the conventional gas trap and the gas chromatograph indicate only that the reservoir in question contains hydrocarbons. These methods do not necessarily indicate the quantitative amounts of the various hydrocarbons in the mud.
The addition of a new Steam Still-Reflux gas sampling system to gas chromatography enables accurate determination of the composition of the mud gas sample. A knowledge of gas composition makes it possible to establish the relationship of methane to possible to establish the relationship of methane to the heavier hydrocarbon shows. An awareness of this relationship led to a new, additional mud log interapretative technique that permits relating the quantitative amounts of methane (C1), ethane (C2), propone (C3), butane (C4), and pentane (C5) in-place propone (C3), butane (C4), and pentane (C5) in-place reservoir fluid content.
A long-accepted premise is that as formations are drilled, the drilling mud filtrate partially flushes the formation fluid ahead of the bit. It was generally thought that the formations were flushed to an irreducible minimum generally considered to be about 30 percent of in-place fluid. Experience in mud logging, however, has shown that this rarely happens. This partial flushing does not prevent mud logging from successfully determining productive or nonproductive formations. Experienced logging engineers, in possession of quantitative gas analyses, make interpretations that take into account the flushing that results in rocks of various permeabilities, the effect of overbalanced mud weight and the effect of initial filtrate loss.
Ordinarily, when formation cuttings are drilled they retain much of the formation pore fluid. This fluid is released to the mud column as the cuttings travel up the annulus. Most of the formation fluid in the cuttings will be "produced" into the drilling mud during the top 500 ft of hole travel. Conventionally, a mud sample is diverted to a mechanically operated gas trap to obtain a sample of the gas in the mud. The efficiency of this trap is from 15 to 70 percent, depending upon the gel strength of the mud, the amount of mud flowing through the trap and the rotation speed of the trap impeller.
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