The exploration and evaluation steps in a field development project are two of the most difficult processes in the entire field development life cycle, as history dictates. This is due to the complex nature of determining the quality, type and characteristics of reservoir rocks. These challenges necessitate accurate reservoir analysis, modeling, and other geological services that tie back into exploration and evaluation.
But those factors are only the beginning. If your goal is to make a power play that puts you ahead of your competition, you have to consider the role of petrophysical analysis in field development.
Understanding petrophysics, and what it means for the future of your company can help you integrate related practices and technology to your current field development program to ensure that you stay efficient in an ever-evolving industry.
The Future of Oil and Gas
If you look at the history of the hydrocarbon exploration and production, you’ll see that Big Oil usually took their time with new, offshore projects. The main considerations for their level of patience were rooted in petrophysical considerations such as exploration, evaluation, and securing the appropriate equipment. But as recent developments suggest, taking time with new projects is a thing of the past.
Egypt’s massive Zohr gas field began production in December 2017, marking a massive change in how Big Oil approaches new projects.
The 2014 oil price collapse, which instigated cost reduction races among upstream oil and gas companies, is a big reason for this change. It forced big companies to become more nimble, leading pioneers and smaller operators alike to take advantage of opportunities and new technologies.
Italy’s Eni is a prime example of a company that adapts to change. When the company discovered the 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lying dormant in the fields of Zohr, they made 3D models of the deposit. As Big Oil continues to evolve, your company must learn to adapt to stay competitive.
Embracing New Technology
PWC predicts that companies will begin to implement new forms of technology deployment to improve productivity in the field. One foreseeable instance is robots replacing human workers in pipe connection and machine repairs, effectively reducing labor requirements.
This industrial revolution paves the way for new petrophysical software to emerge. This kind of software ranges from analysis to interpretation. Following this trend of innovation, you must put more emphasis on petrophysics.
Understanding Petrophysics Further
- E. Archie and J.H.M.A Thomeer coined the term petrophysics, which is the study and analysis of the physical and chemical properties of rock. This includes the contained fluids of rocks as well, such as hydrocarbons, a section where gas and oil fall under.
The fundamental concerns of petrophysics are the condition and properties of a reservoir, which makes it an essential part of reservoir modeling and analysis.
Meanwhile, Petrophysical engineers (petrophysicists) are responsible for the application of petrophysical techniques and analysis relating to the reservoir’s pore system, fluid distribution, and flow traits. There are numerous considerations for reservoirs that determine the probable productivity of oil from the site, which include:
- Fluid Saturations and Pressures
- Fluid Identification and Characterization
- Absolute Flow
There is also a general starting point for petrophysicists to identify rock types (petrofacies,) categorized under the following:
- Pore type
- Pore size distribution
- Pore throat type
- Pore throat distribution
While the above-stated factors make it easy to define reservoirs’ characteristics, uncertainty makes it difficult to determine their value from an economic standpoint. This is where the power of data management and review utility software comes into play. By streamlining petrophysical data records and automating log interpretations, there’s no more room for inaccuracy.
This ties back into how petrophysics allows you to succeed in your field development endeavors. In the upstream oil and gas industry, determination of adequate resources is key, an endeavor where petrophysics plays an important role.
Petrophysics: Using the Right Strategies
Petrophysicists use the following methods to determine if the reservoir you’re working on meets the criteria for a high-yield field, ensuring that you secure a stable ROI:
- Mud Logging
This process includes the rig-site monitoring and assessment of information that comes to surface during drilling. Mud logging identifies potentially productive hydrocarbon-yielding formations through the collection and assessment of drill cuttings. Petrophysicists determine properties such as porosity and permeability, allowing them to record pertinent information for data management.
- Measurements While Drilling (MWD) and Logging While Drilling (LWD)
MWD refers to the measurements taken by an electromechanical device lodged in the bottomhole assembly (BHA.) LWD takes place when you add wireline-quality formation measurements to the MWD’s directional data. What this provides is an accurate measurement of the reservoir’s absolute depth, from the top of the field to its oil/water reserves.
- Core Sampling
Core sampling refers to the geologic analysis of small portions taken from the well. From one sample, petrophysicists can determine the porosity, permeability, age, fluid content, and oil productivity from the field.
Today, these tools are still very much essential in identifying the potential of a field. But as petrophysical software continues to emerge, positive changes are bound to affect how your team implements these strategies.
Petrophysical Software is the Future
The state of petrophysical software now is promising. Companies continue to develop and improve their approach to this kind of software, adding more features to streamline field development processes even further.
Exploring and evaluating fields, for example, is made easier through petrophysical interpretation software. It lets you evaluate a field according to different measures, such as the property’s level of granularity.
Another strategic advantage of using petrophysical software is data compilation. With all the data collected from different processes you’ve performed available on one piece of software, you can easily make decisions based on the data you’ve accrued.
Petrophysical software also streamlines important activities on a single platform. It performs PVT analysis, log and core interpretations, and other petrophysical processes conveniently.
You should note, however, that using innovative strategies and software is not an alternative to partnering with experienced petrophysicists for field development. Here’s a piece of advice: utilize all the measures you can to achieve your desired outcomes, and that includes integrating new strategies with skilled personnel to get the job done.
If you would like more information about how SPRI is leading the way into the future of field development and how we help our clients reduce costs at the same time we are able to increase the recoverable hydrocarbons from a single well or entire field you can send us an inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org.