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VI Congreso de Exploracin y Desarrollo de Hidrocarburos Ampliando las Fronteras

IAPG, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005.


Simposio Evaluacin de Formaciones, Nuevas Soluciones para viejos problemas IAPG & SPWLA.

USE OF BOREHOLE IMAGE LOGS AS A PLANNING TOOL IN DIRECTIONAL


DRILLING
Christian Hofmann (1)
chofmann@pluspetrol.com.ar
Martn Paris (2)
martin.paris@bakeratlas.com
(1) Pluspetrol S.A.
(2) Baker Atlas
Keywords: image logs, fractured reservoirs, directional drilling.
Resumen: LAS IMGENES DE POZO COMO HERRAMIENTA EN LA PLANIFICACIN DE
PERFORACIONES DIRECCIONALES.
La evolucin de la tecnologa en la perforacin, desde los pozos verticales hasta los direccionales fue
acompaada de una evolucin acorde en lo que se refiere a tcnicas y herramientas de perfilaje, en especial
en lo que corresponde a imgenes, resistivas y/o acsticas a pozo abierto. En el yacimiento Ramos fueron
utilizadas las imgenes a pozo abierto como una herramienta muy importante en un principio, para la
deteccin de fracturas, siendo utilizadas en la actualidad para la determinacin de la trayectoria ptima del
pozo dentro del reservorio con el objetivo de atravesar la mayor cantidad de fracturas abiertas. En el presente
trabajo se describe en detalle esta metodologa.

GENERAL
The Ramos Field is located in the thrusted and folded belt of the Subandean System of Northwestern
Argentina and Southern Bolivia. It consists in a NNE-SSW trending anticline structure of large longitudinal
extension, which may be observed in the attached images. Fig. 1 show Ramos Field located in Northwestern
Argentina thrust and fold belt.
In this basin, which was interpreted as a foreland basin (Uliana, Legarreta et al. 1999), Early SilurianJurassic sediments deposited overlying a Cambrian-Ordovician basement (Starck 1999).

Stratigraphy
The Silurian-Devonian sediment cycle in the stratigraphic column (Fig. 2) is the most important one from the
petroleum point of view, since it contains the source rock and major reservoirs, consisting in the gas-andcondensate bearing fractured quartzites of the Huamampampa, Icla and Santa Rosa formations, mentioned
in increasing order of importance. These rocks underlie the Carbonic sediments represented in the Ramos
Field by the oil-bearing Tupambi and Tarija Formations. These formations were exploited at the beginning
of the 20th century, but turned out to be of no commercial interest.
The main Formations of the stratigraphic column penetrated by Ramos wells are described below:
Kirusillas Lipeon Fms.: predominantly Silurian shales, with hydrocarbon source rock characteristics,
currently in the gas window (Cruz et al. 2001). It remains undrilled within the field area.
Santa Rosa Fm.: predominantly psammitic rocks of the Lower Devonian, which forms a thicking-up and
normal grading bed sequence. It has been reached by a total of 6 wells, two of which are currently productive.

VI Congreso de Exploracin y Desarrollo de Hidrocarburos Ampliando las Fronteras


IAPG, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005.
Simposio Evaluacin de Formaciones, Nuevas Soluciones para viejos problemas IAPG & SPWLA.

Ramos Area

Fig. 1: Ramos Field satellite image and location map.


Icla-Huamampampa Fms:. Middle Devonian shales culminating in quartzitic sandstones (Huamampampa),
which make up a perfect thicking-up and normal grading bed sequence. The Icla Fm. has been penetrated by
9 wells -one producing from these levels. The Huamampampa Fm., which has been drilled through in all
cases, is the main reservoir of this field.
Los Monos Fm.: 600-m package of Middle-to-Upper Devonian shales interbedded with sandstones of little
continuity and thickness. It is the main source rock of the HC basin, and is overlaid by the Carbonic Tarija
and Tupambi Fms. The seal rocks and reservoirs are influenced by the events of the Upper-Paleozoic
Gondwanic glaciation (Schulz et al. 1999).
This study is limited to the Huamampampa, Icla and Santa Rosa Formations, which represent the Ramos
Field reservoirs.

VI Congreso de Exploracin y Desarrollo de Hidrocarburos Ampliando las Fronteras


IAPG, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005.
Simposio Evaluacin de Formaciones, Nuevas Soluciones para viejos problemas IAPG & SPWLA.

Fig. 2: Ramos Field generalized stratigraphic column.


General Characteristics of Reservoir Rock
Considering these are naturally fractured reservoirs, Structural Geology is of paramount importance to
reservoir analysis and crucial to field prospecting and development. The structural style definition and the
angle relationship among limbs, plunges and anticline crests are important to establish a distribution model
of the fracture systems existing in the anticline structure.
After establishing the structure
deformation pattern, the natural
fractures that affect the rocks may
be classified (Figure 3, Stearns et
al., 1972) considering the
predominant trend of fracture
planes and their relationship with
stress diagrams. This also helps in
planning field development, i.e.
determining
well
locations,
horizontal
wells
preferred
direction, relation with aquifer, etc.
The complex system of the rock
fracture
and
microfracture
controls the reservoir drainage
mechanism
and
remarkably
improves the low primary porosity,
as well as permeability and

Fig. 3: Fold-associated fracture models (Stearns and Friedman 1972).

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transmissibility, mainly along the main structure axis.
The microfracture system greatly enhances the storage capacity of the Devonian reservoirs, which generally
present a significant degree of diagenesis by siliceous cementation and recrystallization. The hydrocarbon-inplace volumes present in this structure would otherwise be uncommercial.
These characteristics are very important and make our Devonian reservoirs a single case. The compound
system, i.e. fractures and matrix, depends on the scale; in both cases consider rocks where primary porosity
has almost disappeared, as mentioned before. This is the reason why this type of reservoirs is so difficult to
characterize.
With reference to log interpretation, normalization and calibration to core data was required for each well.
Image logs become highly useful when reservoir characterization is required, because they are the only logs
that effectively resolve reservoir fractures, which is essential to reservoir characterization.

Ramos Field Drilling History


The first deep well in Ramos Field was drilled in 1977. It was a vertical well reaching deep levels into the
Santa Rosa Formation.
Vertical drilling took place in this field till 1996, when the first high-angle horizontal well (R.e-15H) was
successfully drilled by deviating at depth from a pre-existing vertical well (R.e-15).
The success of this well as a productive well encouraged the use and optimization of this technique, and not
only were high angle directional wells drilled, but also underbalance drilling was applied in the last drilling
projects.
Drilling technology evolution was parallel by the evolution of open-hole logging tools and techniques. The
first open hole logs were limited to traditional tools such as Dual Laterolog, Acoustic, Density and Neutron
logs. Interpretation based on these logs has always been an issue difficult to solve. As previously described,
the reservoir had little or no primary porosity, and its main porosity system was provided by fractures,
macrofractures and microfractures. Considering that no logging tool detects these features accurately, core
data and well tests were only the reliable sources.
In 1996, when R.-1005 well was drilled, image logging was introduced by Western Atlas, which ran the first
acoustic image log, called CBIL. Image logging was incorporated to the standard set of logging tools to be
run in the reservoir, and was the first log to show visually identifiable and measurable fractures (fracture
zones, orientation and density).
In other words, it was the first attempt to characterize reservoirs using image logs. From this moment
onwards, the advance in image logging was followed by the improvement of logging interpretation achieved
by resorting to the commercially available methods (Archie, Aguilera, etc.).
When drilling R.-1010 west branch, a new methodology emerged including borehole imaging as a
directional well planning tool. It consisted in developing a structural model in advance, in order to predict
fracture set behavior and calculate the direction of the well to reach as many fractures as possible. This plan
was monitored while drilling by means of intermediate logs which made it possible to reorientate the well
direction based on the orientation of the fracture sets to be detected, which could depart from their theoretical
behavior. This method required interpreting image logs at wellsite because it was necessary to know the
fracture pattern to plan the next section of the hole. This project also confirmed the convenience of drilling a
pilot well that made it possible to know the structural position of landing at the top of the reservoir
(proximity to axis) as well as the pattern of the fracture sets, in order to determine the initial well direction.
Finally, this technology incorporated the in-situ stress analysis by means of the interpretation of the borehole
Breakout derived CBIL. Table 1 summarizes the main elements considered when planning and drilling a
horizontal well in Ramos Field.

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IAPG, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005.
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Use of available data:


- Core data
Structural analysis of
neighboring wells and existing
theoretical model.

- Well tests
- Borehole images and other logs
- Structural model in use

Detail model for the new drilling


well :
Development of a theoretical
model for the new drilling
well.

- Structural position
- Bedding inclination
- Fracture sets attitude.
- In-situ stress model.
Model Adjustment to actual
data:
- Image logs

Adjustment of model to actual


data taken while drilling.

- Wellsite interpretation.
- Fracture orientation rose plots
- Well path trajectory
modification.

Development of a reservoir
model to be used in reservoir
characterization.

Development of final model :


- Fracture and bedding attitude
- Structure adjustment
- Measurement of fracture
opening, in-situ stress, etc.

Table 1: Flowchart used to develop new drilling projects.

BOREHOLE IMAGE LOGS


Borehole images have been given multiple applications.
In this particular case, because of the reservoir characteristics, images have been regularly used since 1996,
in order to accurately define the structure (structural dip, faults) and, specially, to characterize fractures (type,
density and orientation).
Considering the fact that the orientation of natural fracture sets is used to define and adjust the direction of
the following section of the hole, most image interpretations were performed at wellsite while logging.

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IAPG, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005.
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Image logs are the main logging tools in Ramos field development and are complemented by full wave
acoustic logs (MAC) as secondary tool.
Whereas the resistivity image provides a unique image, the CBIL provides two images -amplitude and travel
time. Fig. 4 shows a comparison of the three images. The fractures observed are subvertical and with
irregular planes; these features have also been found in cores.

Fig. 4: Resistivity image & Acoustic image in


amplitude and travel time presentation.

Fig. 5: Resistivity image (STAR), Acoustic


image (CBIL) & MAC (full wave).

The authors believe the resistivity image by itself is optimistic in the number of open fractures it detects.
When compared to travel time, some conductive fractures observed in the resistivity image may have little
or no expression on travel time, and they should consequently be interpreted as partially open or closed
fractures. Even when travel time is a lower quality image, it may be greatly useful to characterize fractures.
On the other hand, the electrical image makes it possible to confirm the continuity of the fractures detected
on the borehole wall by the CBIL, within the formation.
Another feature of this reservoir is the existence of large fractures. Fig. 5 shows an example of these
fractures which are confirmed by the acoustic log (MAC) full waveform attenuations. Even when Stoneley
wave permeability indexes were also computed, the examination of the full waveform raw data was also very
useful.
From the borehole breakout analysis, the minimum horizontal stress direction was determined at five vertical
borehole sections from 151 to N-S azimuth, and is consistently with a WSW stress, probably related to the
present-day Nazca plate thrust.

FRACTURE ANALYSIS
The relationship between the fractures and the structure must be considered to properly understand the
reservoir.

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Based on Stearns and Friedman classification (1972), fractures in anticline reservoirs may be grouped into
different genetically related sets (Fig. 3).
The main natural fractures identified in PP.St.R-1003 for the Huamampampa and Icla formations were sorted
based on this classification. Fig. 6 provides a comparison between the theoretical models and the
open/partially open fracture rose plots.
Type I fractures include two sets of shear fractures and one set of tension fractures. These fractures are
parallel to the regional stress that generated the structure. The big fractures shown in Fig. 5 are within this
category.
Type II fractures also comprise two sets of shear fractures and one tension fracture set. They are
perpendicular to the regional stress and may be observed on Figure #10.
The fact that Type I fractures more commonly develop on fold limbs whereas Type II fractures are more
common on anticline crests is a generally accepted paradigm.
However, no simplifications should be made on this type of reservoirs since fracture distribution may be
determined by a great number of factors.
Fig. 7 presents Fig. 6 data set considering depth and hole sections. Type I fractures prevail in the lower
section, where the bedding thickness is relatively low, and Type II fractures are predominant in the middle
section, where the bedding is the thickest. In the upper section, where the bedding thickness is intermediate,
both types of fractures coexist. As a conclusion, bedding thickness should also be considered when fracture
distribution is being analyzed.

Fig. 6 Fracture classification for Huamampampa


Fm., R.-1003 well.

Fig. 7 Variation of fracture orientation in depth


for Huamampampa Fm., R.-1003 well.

CASE STUDIES
There follow three case studies showing the application of the above described methodology and the way
borehole-image-based fracture interpretations were used to optimize well path trajectory. The structural
map on Fig. 8 shows well locations and cross-sections.

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Fig. 8: Structural map at the top of Huamampampa Fm., the main Ramos Field reservoir, with the location
of each cross section.
Huamampampa Formation: Well R-1010
To better understand the text, refer to Fig. 8 (Structural Map), Fig. 9 (Cross-section and Plain View) and
the different runs presented on Figs. 11a and 11b (Rose Plots).

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Fig. 9: Well R.-1010 structural cross-section with west and east branches, and fracture
distribution rose diagrams along the well path.
A bilateral wellbore was projected for the Huamampampa
Fm. in well R-1010. With the purpose of determining the
direction of both branches, a pilot well was drilled in the
western limb of the structure, near the crest.
Fig. 10 presents and acoustic image of the pilot well. Open
fractures detected are Type II, being the East and West
directions the most suitable directions to drill the sidetracks.
Following the drilling chronology, run #4 was drilled in an
initial NW direction, and after 653 meters a CBIL was
logged. Compared to the pilot well, a relative increase in
Type I fracture is observed in this run (4.2% vs. 37.3%); this
was logical since on the anticline western limb, from an
initial position near the axis drilling directed to the limb (see
Fig. 13a).
It must be remembered that Type I fractures are more
frequent on limbs.
Considering drilling would continue towards the western
limb, an increase of Type I fractures and a reduction of Type
II fractures were expected. For this reason, drilling direction
was changed NNW so as to reach as many fractures as
possible, and 305 meters of horizontal drilling were
completed.

Fig. 10: Well R-1010 acoustic image log.

After concluding the drilling, a CBIL was logged. The


analysis of the fractures identified in this run (#5) did not
confirm the prediction since Type II fractures were more
relatively frequent (87.1%).

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Western Limb
WNW

ESE

All Open Fr.

Run #5

Run #4

Type I

25 %

14 %

Total Open Frac.:306

8%

6%

Fractures Nr 114 (37.3 %)

Fractures Nr 1 (4.2%)

38 %

Fractures Nr 74 (87.1 %)

Total Open Frac.:24

3%

Fractures Nr 11 (12.9 %)

Type II

38 %

Total Open Frac.:85

Pilot Well

14 %

25 %

Fractures Nr 192 (62.7 %)

Fractures Nr 23 (95.8%)

Fig. 11a: Rose diagrams with fracture distribution in R.-1010 west branch. The figure shows Type I
fractures in red and Type II fractures in green, depending on the structure location along the well path for
each logging run. All Open fractures are printed in blue.

Western Limb (near


Axial Zone)

Axial
Zone

Eastern
Limb

WNW

ESE

Run #6

25 %

7%

Total Open Frac.:57

8%

5%

Fractures Nr 5 (8.8%)

15 %

Fractures Nr 26 (54.2%)

No

Type II

Fractures Nr 1 (4.2%)

17 %

Total Open Frac.:48

Fr
ac
tu
re
s

5%

Total Open Frac.:60

Op
en

Type I

Total Open Frac.:24

di
ffe
re
nt
iat
ed

All Open Fr.

Pilot Well

25 %

Fractures Nr 23 (95.8%)

19 %

Fractures Nr 52 (91.2%)

17 %

Fractures Nr 22 (45.8%)

Fig. 11b: Rose diagrams with fracture distribution in R.-1010 East branch.

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Once the West branch had been finished (runs #4 and # 5), the East branch was drilled (run #6).
844 meters of subhorizontal drilling were completed in a SE direction, drilling through part of the western
limb, the anticline axis and the whole Huamampampa Fm. on the eastern limb.
Fig. 11b shows the location of fracture sets considering their position in the anticline structure.
The first section of the horizontal well is similar to the pilot well; both are located in the western limb near
the axial plane and show the predominance of Type II fractures.
The fractures encountered when drilling through the axial zone could not be classified because of the
chaotic fracturing pattern.
The final section of run #6 investigates the anticline eastern limb. At this flank bedding dip east 58 on
average.
Type I fractures are slightly more frequent (54.2%) on this limb, which is consistent with the theory.

Santa Rosa Formation


Well R-1010 transversely drilled through the Ramos structure. In the Huamampampa Fm., the anticline has
a vast extension.
Consequently, it could be subhorizontally drilled, with deviations in the order of 75 from the vertical,
completing a good length of drilling (1802 meters).
The Ramos structure for the Santa Rosa Fm. is narrower, and may transversely have amplitude estimated of
50 meters on the crest.
For this reason, it is convenient to plan inclined wells instead of horizontal wells to obtain a reasonable
wellbore length.

Well R-1003
To better understand the text, refer to Fig. 12 (Cross-section & Plain View) and the different runs on Fig.
13 (Rose Plots).
Well R-1003 was drilled on the eastern limb of the structure. Runs #4 and #5 subvertically tested the Icla
Fm. and the top of Santa Rosa Fm. as a pilot well.
A sidetrack (run #6) was initiated in the Icla Fm in a WSW direction up to Santa Rosa Fm at a 64
inclination. Drilling continues through the Santa Rosa Fm in the same direction with a horizontal well (run
#7) across the axial plane and part of the anticline western limb.
After drilling each section, an image was logged and interpreted to monitors the evolution of fracture
distribution.
The fracture distribution analysis reveals that Type I fractures are abundant (70%) in the pilot well, and
decrease relatively in number towards the structure axis: 67.6% in run #6, 43.7% in run #7, still on the
eastern limb (near the axial zone), and 48.6% on the axial zone.
Finally, in run #7 section, which tests the western limb, the number of Type I fractures remarkably
increases representing 77% of the total number of open/partially open fractures.

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Fig. 12: Structural cross section with well path for R.-1003 well, with the horizontal branch in Santa
Rosa Fm. The figure shows the rose diagrams for fracture distribution along the well path.

Axial
Zone

Western
Limb

Eastern Limb

WSW

ENE

All Open Fr.

Run #7

17 %

Type I

Total Open Frac.:148

17 %

Type II

Fractures Nr 114 (77%)

5%

13 %

Fractures Nr 49(43.7%)

9%

Fractures Nr 54 (51.4%)

13 %

Fractures Nr 63 (56.3%)

Fig. 13: R-1003 Rose plots showing fracture distribution.

9%

Total Open Frac.:140

15 %

Fractures Nr 46 (67.6%)

15 %

Total Open Frac.:68

16 %

Pilot Well

13 %

Total Open Frac.:112

Fractures Nr 51 (48.6%)

16 %

Total Open Frac.:105

Fractures Nr 34 (23 %)

Run #6

9%

Fractures Nr 98 (70%)

12 %

Fractures Nr 22 (32.4%)

8%

Fractures Nr 42 (30%)

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Well R-1011
Well R-1011 was drilled in the anticline eastern limb, towards the structure axis. The different sections of
the hole were drilled at about 40 of deviation (see Cross-section and Plain View on Fig. 14).
Fig. 15 presents the evolution of the different sets of fractures as the drilling proceeds to the structure axis.

Figure 14: Structural cross-section with R.-1011 well path. The figure shows the rose diagrams for fracture
distribution along the well path.
Run #4 drilled the Icla Fm. and the Santa Rosa Fm. upper section, on the structure limb, in a WNW
direction. Type I fractures clearly prevail over Type II fractures (70.6% versus 29.4%).
In run #5, the hole was gradually NW deviated because of the number of Type I fractures encountered in
the previous run. However CBIL analysis reveals at this section a gradual increase of Type II fractures.
The last section (run #6) of the drilled hole and the subsequent analysis of its image confirmed this trend.
The analysis of the different sections of hole shows that as we move from a limb location (run #4) to a
location nearer the structure axis (run #6), the number of Type II fractures (29.4%, 41.5% y 79.7%)
gradually increases over Type I fractures.
The comparison of wells R-1011 and R-1003 interestingly reveals some similarities with reference to their
drilling trajectory. R-1011, in its closest position to the structure axis (run #6) shows a clear predominance
of Type II fractures (79.7%).
In the case of R-1003 (run #7), the percentage of Type II fractures in the same structural position reaches
56.3%, and 51.4% in the axial zone.
The relatively greater number of Type II fractures (in theory, more numerous in the axial zone) in R-1011
is presumably due to the fact that it is near the structure culmination (maximum curvature), whereas R1003, which is more towards the North, is located on the plunge.

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Axis Direction

Eastern Limb

WNW

ESE

All Open Fr.

Run #6

Run #5

14 %

Type I

Total Open Frac.:202

5%

Fractures Nr 41 (20.3 %)

14 %

Fractures Nr 161 (79.7%)

11 %

Total Open Frac.:142

Type II

Run #4

15 %

Total Open Frac.:327

11 %

Fractures Nr 83 (58.5%)

7%

Fractures Nr 59 (41.5%)

15 %

Fractures Nr 231 (70.6%)

6%

Fractures Nr 96 (29.4%)

Figure 15: R-1011 Rose plots with fracture distribution showing all open fractures in blue, Type I fractures
in red and Type II fractures in green, related to structure location along the well path for each logging run.
CONCLUSIONS
Borehole image logs proved to be the main logging tool to drill wells directionally. The combination of
resistivity images with acoustic images is considered to be optimum. However, whenever the operation
restricted logging to one image, CBIL was preferred.
The full wave acoustic log (MAC) verified fractured zones and provided fracture permeability indexes, but
did not replace borehole imaging because the proposed methodology is based on the knowledge on fracture
orientations.
In general terms, the paradigm that Type I fractures are more frequent on anticline limbs and Type II
fractures on the axial zone was confirmed throughout the study. However, as some exceptions and
variations have been encountered, it should not be taken as law. This is where the validity of this method
lies -the evolution of the different sets of fractures is monitored while drilling the successive sections of a
wellbore.
Whenever horizontal drilling was planned, the information provided by the pilot well with reference to
image interpretation was crucial to determine the direction of the branch.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The author thank to PLUSPETROL S.A. and BAKER ATLAS for permission to publish the paper.

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