Recent Advances in Core Analysis
- John Shafer (Petrophysical Consultant)
- Document ID
- Society of Petrophysicists and Well-Log Analysts
- Publication Date
- December 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 554 - 579
- 2013. Society of Petrophysicists & Well Log Analysts
- 8 in the last 30 days
- 2,033 since 2007
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It has been just over 20 years since the last review paper on core analysis appeared in Petrophysics (Skopec, 1992). Comparing the topics covered in that review with the topics of interest to industry today, one is immediately struck by the recent rise and focus in two new areas: digital rock physics and the petrophysical characterization of unconventional source-rock reservoirs, i.e., ‘shale’. This review, which consists of contributions from nine specialists in their respective fields, covers (a) wellsite coring and coring handling, (b) conventional and unconventional core analysis, (c) rock mechanics in support of reservoir engineering, and (d) digital core analysis.
The goals of core analysis today remain the same as those identified 21 years ago: to "reduce uncertainty in reservoir evaluation" and finding ways to obtain this information faster. In the past, the focus was on developing experimental protocols that could shorten the experimental time, such as the continuous-injection-resistivity protocol. Today, the focus has changed to simulating rock properties from micro- and nano-CT images. In the past, we had to be concerned about how to scale up results on a 4×7 cm core plug to reservoir scale. With today’s use of micro-CT imaging, which uses millimeter-size samples, the upscaling to reservoir scale has increased by an additional three orders of magnitude.
With the huge success and rapid development of ‘shale’ resources, the United States is fast becoming the world’s leading producer of hydrocarbons. Underpinning and supporting this effort has been the enormous interest and increase in studying the petrophysics of these reservoirs. In particular, developing shale core-analysis experimental protocols for these challenging ultralow-permeability resesrvoirs and developing characterization methods and techniques that often involve digital rock physics.
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