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PfEFFER Concepts

Archie Computational Equations


Fifty years after it was introduced, the Archie equation remains the keystone of log
analysis for the solution of water saturation of potential oil and gas zones:

The equation is actually made up of two separate equations. The first describes the
relationship of the ratio of the resistivity of a water saturated rock, Ro, to its formation
water resistivity, Rw, to the fractional porosity,

This resistivity ratio is also known as the formation factor, F. The second equation
relates the ratio of the observed formation resistivity, Rt, to its expected resistivity,
Ro, if it was completely saturated with water, to the fractional water saturation, Sw:

The equations are universally applied to reservoir fluid calculations from wireline
logs in clean (shale-free) formations. Even when specialized equations are applied
to clastic reservoirs that are markedly shaley, these same equations are adaptations of
the Archie equation that accommodate shale effects.
The application of the Archie equations presuppose a knowledge of the parameters, or
at least reasonable estimates of them, in order to calculate acceptable water
saturations. Formation water resistivity can usually be established from field
measurements and/or log analysis estimations. However, the quantities of a, m (the
cementation factor), and n (the saturation exponent) are usually unknown and their
values are given as a matter of experience. The range of values for m and their
relationship with rock texture has been the subject of much measurement and
discussion. By contrast, the variability of n is less well understood, but is generally
taken to be the number 2 (at least, in water-wet zones). The problem is further
compounded by the realization that these constants are only likely to remain so in
relatively homogeneous reservoirs, where rock texture and pore geometry remain
fairly uniform. Continuing advances in theory and measurement demonstrate that
simple models may be poor (and puzzling) representations, or even downright
misleading in heterogeneous and complex reservoirs that are the targets of many of
todays energy companies.

Evaluation of Water Saturation when either or both the Formation


Water Resistivity and Constants of the Archie Equation are Known or
Unknown
A direct solution for water saturation is predicated on a knowledge of both the
formation water resistivity and the constants of the Archie equation. There are many
occasions when either or both of these quantities are unknown. There will also be
situations where, for example, the Humble form of the Archie equation will not be
deemed a satisfactory approximation for evaluation of relatively tight sandstones, or
the "limestone" form of the equation adequate for certain carbonates. However, both
water resistivity and an appropriate form of the Archie equation may be deduced from
logs provided that some zones with 100% water saturation occur in the unit of
interest. This is not usually a difficult stipulation to meet since many productive units
will have a hydrocarbon/water contact separating the reservoir from a lower, watersaturated section. Failing this, an adjacent water-saturated unit of similar lithology and
(hopefully) with similar water resistivity may be used as a surrogate for the critical
zones. These critical water zones do not have to be recognized initially, but will
manifest their presence (or absence) in the methods of analysis described in the
following pages.
The zone readings of porosity and resistivity of the hypothetical Rottweiler
Sandstone (Figure 1) can be used to demonstrate log analysis procedures for varying
degrees of uncertainty, and how these techniques are enhanced considerably when
used in PfEFFER within GEMINI.

When both water resistivity and Archie equation constants are known
If the Archie equation constants in Rottweiler Sandstone samples were determined as
a=1 and m=1.8, n=2, while the formation water resistivity in the formation was 0.10
ohm-m at formation temperature, then:

Applied to the zone readings:


%

Zone Rt

Sw

Sh

39

24

0.18

0.82

31

10

0.45

0.55

36

20

0.22

0.78

30

20

0.25

0.75

19

22

0.28

0.72

18

0.49

0.51

19

1.00

0.00

1.5

23

0.97

0.03

4.0

12

1.07

-0.07

10

0.95

0.05

When water resistivity is unknown, but Archie constants are known


The reconnaissance water resistivity (Rwa) technique is the most widely used method
under these conditions.
Now, F = a/m ( the Archie equation) and

F = Ro/Rw (by definition)


Therefore, Rw = Ro m/a
By analogy, Rwa = Rtm/a

Note that for any zone:

when Sw = 1, Rwa = Rw
and

when Sw < 1, Rwa > Rw

If the Archie equation constants are known, R wa values may be calculated from the
resistivity and porosity log readings. Within the oil or gas reservoir section, these
values will be high and will fluctuate in sympathy with variations in water saturation.
Below the hydrocarbon/water contact or in adjacent , similar water-wet units, the
values will tend to stabilize at a lower limiting value which corresponds to an estimate
of the true formation water resistivity, Rw.
In the Rottweiler Sandstone example, F=1/1.8 and so the equation for Rwa is:

So the zone values of Rt and F can be transformed into Rwa values:


Zone

Rt

Rwa

39

24

2.988

31

10

0.491

36

20

1.987

30

20

1.656

19

22

1.245

18

0.411

19

0.101

1.5

23

0.106

12

0.088

10

0.111

It is fairly obvious that the water zones are G, H, I and J. A representative value can
be picked out by eye and would be a value of about 0.1 ohm-m.
In PfEFFER, the reconnaissance water resistivity values are stored in column RWA of
the Computational section. When the user has selected an Rwa value that appears to
be a reasonable estimate of the actual formation water resistivity, Rw, this number
should be typed into the RW cell in the PARAMETERS box. Water saturations and
other quantities will then be recomputed automatically in the Home Area.

When water resistivity is known, but the Archie constants are unknown
The reconnaissance cementation exponent (ma) method can be used, and has
conceptual similarities with the Rwa technique.
Now,

F = a/m ( the Archie equation)

and

F = Ro/Rw (by definition)

If the formation water resistivity, Rw, is known and the Archie equation constant, a is
assumed to be of unit value ( a = 1), then:
m = log(Rw/Ro) /log ()
By analogy,
Note that for any zone:

ma = log(Rw/Rt) /log ()

when Sw = 1, ma = m

and

when Sw < 1, ma > m

In the Rottweiler Sandstone example, the formation water resistivity, Rw = 0.1


So the zone values of Rt and can be transformed into ma values:
Zone

Rt %

ma

39

24

4.18

31

10

2.49

36

20

3.66

30

20

3.54

19

22

3.47

18

2.62

19

1.80

1.5

23

1.84

12

1.74

10

1.85

In PfEFFER, the reconnaissance cementation exponent values are stored in column


MA of the Computational section. When the user has chosen an MA value that
appears to be a reasonable estimate of the Archie equation cementation exponent
(based on BOTH the calculated values AND expectations for the reservoir rock type),
this number should be typed into the M cell in the PARAMETERS section.

When both water resistivity and the Archie constants are unknown
It would be rare for the log analyst to be confronted by a situation where the Archie
equation parameters and formation water resistivity were completely unknown.
However, it is very common that the parameters are known to either a lesser or greater
degree of uncertainty, particularly as the Archie "constants" will show some degree of
variability in even mildly heterogeneous formations. In the next two sections, we
discuss the use of the Pickett resistivity-porosity crossplot as a powerful graphical
method of analysis and an application of the Hough transform in an approach that
combines the reconnaissance water resistivity (Rwa) and reconnaissance cementation
exponent (Ma) simultaneously.