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Well Logging PE-307

Resistivity Lecture 1- Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

The resistivity log involves measurement of the rock layers resistivity against an
induced current from source. The principal use of resistivity logging is to detect
hydrocarbons in the subsurface.
The resistivity of a rock is a measure of the degree to which it can impede the flow
of an electric current. In petrophysical logging of electrical rock properties, there
are two main types of tool. One type measures resistivity directly; it is measured in
ohm.m2/m, which is usually referred to simply as ohm.m (.m). The reciprocal of
resistivity is conductivity, which is the other property (in mho.m or seimens/m).
The ability to conduct electrical current is a function of the conductivity of the
water contained in the pore space of the rock. Fresh water does not conduct
electricity; however, the salt ions found in most formation waters do. Thus, unless
that water is fresh, water-saturated rocks have high conductivity and low
resistivity. Hydrocarbons, which are non-conductive, cause resistivity values to
increase as the pore spaces within a rock become more saturated with oil or gas. In
this way, the basic idea of hydrocarbon detection is based on hydrocarbons high
But why we are we using resistivity instead of resistance; we can use resistance
as it, too, is impedance against current, but why we dont use it?
The story begins with Ohms Law. Ohms Law states that the current,I, flowing
from point A to point B in a conductor is proportional to the difference in electrical
potential E between point A and point B. The constant of proportionality is called
the electrical conductance c.
We also define an electrical resistance r, which is the
inverse of conductance. So,
If we take a cylindrical rock sample with two flat faces
A and B, and set a potential difference E =EA-EB
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Well Logging PE-307
Resistivity Lecture 1- Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

between its end faces, a current I will flow through the rock from face A to face B
(Fig. 17.1). If we measure the current and the potential difference, we can calculate
the resistance of the rock sample using the previous described ohms law equation.
The value of resistance is a property of the material which describes how much the
material resists the passage of a current for a given applied potential difference.
Now, if the length of the sample is doubled, one can see that the resistance of the
sample to the passage of a current should also double. If the area perpendicular to
the current flow doubles (the cross-section area of the end face), there is twice the
material for the current to pass through, the resistance of the sample to the passage
of the current should therefore fall to a half of what is was before. So, the
resistance depends upon the size of the sample.
If we take the resistance per unit length and area, we can remove the effect of the
dimensions of the sample. The value we obtain is then only a function of the
property of the material and not its dimensions. The resistance per unit length and
area is called the resistivity R, and can be expressed as;
where: R = the resistance of the sample (m or ohm.m), E = the potential
difference across the sample (volts, V), I = the current flowing through the sample
(amperes, A), A = the cross-sectional area of the sample perpendicular to the
current flow (m2), L = the length of the sample (m).
The whole of resistivity logging is based upon a few very important equations. The
equations, which are known as the Archie Equations, relate the resistivity of a
formation to the resistivity of the fluids saturating a formation, the porosity of the
formation and the fractional degree of saturation of each fluid present. Archie
developed his famous equation to calculate, from well log parameters, the water
saturation (Sw) of the uninvaded zone in a formation next to a borehole. The Archie
equation can be expressed as follows:
a Rw n
SW = ( )
m R t

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Well Logging PE-307
Resistivity Lecture 1- Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

Sw = water saturation of the uninvaded zone, Rw = resistivity of formation water at

formation temperature (a nearby water-bearing interval can be used to compute the
Rw), = porosity. The other parameters, we will discuss below.
1. Rt = true resistivity of the formation, corrected for invasion, borehole,
thin bed, and other effects
The resistance in 1 (ohm) of 1m3 of formation, as measured in the classical
method using ohms law, is defined as the formation resistivity and is denoted by
Rt is the resistance which is measured by the resistivity log tool. It is the subsurface
formations resistivity. In some cases, borehole environment may impact
formation, like invasion, in which case your Rt is not reliable, and correction is
2. m=cementation exponent
The cementation index is the factor that describes the increase in resistivity that
results from the insulating mineral grains forcing the current to take tortuous
pathways through the conducting fluid.
The cementation factor has a theoretical value of unity for uniform pores that
penetrate the rock directly from one side of the sample to the other (i.e., direct
tubes of pore space), and is zero for a rock with 100% porosity (i.e., no grains to
get in the way of the fluid flow). No other values of the cementation factor are able
to be defined in a purely theoretical way in rocks due to the complexity of the way
that pore spaces are arranged.
In real rocks the cementation index usually varies between 1.0 and 3.0; it varies
from 1.7 to 3.0 but normally is 2.0. For fractured reservoir m is less, for poorly
sorted, m is more.
3. n=saturation exponent
the saturation exponent is the factor that expresses the effect on the resistivity of
desaturating the sample, or replacing water with a non-conductive fluid.
It varies from 1.8 to 4.0 but normally is 2.0.
4. a= Archies constant
It has been related to grain shape and tortuosity of the rock.

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Well Logging PE-307
Resistivity Lecture 1- Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

a is essentially an empirical factor for rocks and as such can take any value. A
wide range of values has been found, from 0.5 to 5, but usually 1. For sandstones,
it is 1, for limestone, it is 0.8.
Fundamentally, we get to know from Archies equation that Resistivity of
formation will change with porosity, fluid contents present in the pores and their
saturation and the solid grain matrix.
It is useful to know that the Archies equation is a result of Archies First and
Second Law. Let us briefly discuss them as well.
1. Archies First Law & Formation Resistivity Factor, F:
There is another resistivity, denoted as Ro, which is the resistivity of a formation
just containing water. Archie observed that the resistivity of a rock fully saturated
with water, Ro, is directly proportional to the resistivity of the water, Rw.
The constant of proportionality is called Formation Resistivity Factor, denoted by
F. It is the ratio of the resistivity of a rock filled with water (Ro) to the resistivity of
that water (Rw).
Since formation matrix resistivity is greater than water, Ro>Rw (always). And thus
F is always greater than 1.
The plot of F vs. porosity yields a straight line, with slope equals to -m. Thus,
another relation in Archies 1st law is,
F= -m (Archies First Law)
And the negative slope of the straight line resulting from the plot of F vs. porosity
gives you the cementation factor, m. The 1st and the 3rd equations are often
combined and called Archies first law (m = RoRw)

2. Archies 2nd Law & Resistivity Index, I:

Archie observed that the formation resistivity, Rt partially saturated with water is
directly proportional to the resistivity of the rock when fully saturated with the
same fluid, Ro i.e., Rt=I*Ro.

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Well Logging PE-307
Resistivity Lecture 1- Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

The constant of proportionality is called Resistivity Index. It is the ratio of Rt and

Ro. We will study this constant later, but for now, we must know that the plot of I
vs. porosity yields a straight line whose slope is equal to -n, where n is saturation
exponent. Such that, Archies Second law mathematically becomes,

Both these laws combined give us Archies equation.

F=-m so, m = RoRw

I = Sw , so Sw n = RtRo

Combining these two, we isolate both in terms of Ro and we compare them. Thus,
we get;
m Rw = Rt/Sw n
Sw n =
Rw m
Coefficient of Rw is 1, let a=1,
a Rw
= ( )
Rw m
This is the Archie equation.

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Well Logging PE-307
Resistivity Lecture 1- Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

Parameters affecting Resistivity:

Reservoir rocks contain the following constituents;
Constituents Resistivity
Matrix material High resistivity
Formation waters Low resistivity
Oil High resistivity
Gas High resistivity
Water-based mud filtrate Low resistivity
Oil-based mud filtrate High resistivity

Resistivity of reservoir rocks depends on;

Salinity of water
Fluid Saturation (Fluid(s) in pores)
Rock matrix
Porosity & Sorting


Formation water (brine) is 10 times more saline (salty) than sea water. Sea water
salinity is around 35,000 ppm (pounds per million; salt density unit) whereas
formation brine water salinity is 350,000 ppm.

Salinity increases with depth. High saline water carries more salt. Salts are ionic
compounds, and they dissolve into ions. Presence of ions enhances conductivity
(ionic solutions are electrolytes; they carry/conduct current). More current passes
on a potential difference means the fluid has less resistivity.


Hydrocarbons, specifically oil and gas, are organic compounds, that carry covalent
compounds that share electrons. Covalent bonds are strong and the compounds
dont dissociate into ions. Thus, no ions mean they cannot conduct electricity well.
Low conductivity means high resistivity.

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Well Logging PE-307
Resistivity Lecture 1- Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

Water, despite being a covalent bond itself, is a polar molecule, which means it
carries a slight negative charge on its oxygen atom (-ve pole) and a slight positive
charge on its hydrogen atoms (+ve pole). It can allow some electricity through it if
a high current is applied to it. This is due to the presence of a minute concentration
of H+(aq) and OH-(aq) ions in the water. However, electrons cannot flow through
water, without some salt ions present in it.
When you pass electricity through the ionic solution, the ions are able to carry the
electric current because of their ability to move freely. Covalent compounds dont
have free ions, so they dont carry current at all. Pure water is not a good
conductor, but you dont find pure water in the subsurface. Even fresh water has
some salts dissolved in it, so all subsurface water carry salt ions. Now water
resistivity decreases with the salt ionic concentration (as discussed in salinity).
Pure quartz, calcite, dolomite and coal are not conductive. Since most reservoir
rocks have solid granular part and matrix made up of these minerals, so most
matrix solid have high resistivity. Except Shales, shale is a good conductor (as
solid) so its resistivity is low. Shale is sodium silicate and it conducts current.
Low porosity means solid grains are more in contact and there is less residual
water to conduct electricity. So, low porosity means high resistivity.

Porosity 1resistivity

Same is the case with permeability. Now, good sorting occurs when grains that are
forming the rock are all of same uniform size. Good sorting results in high
porosity. Poor sorting means grain size is not uniform, but variable; small grains
occupy parts of pores. So, poor sorting means high resistivity.

Sorting 1resistivity

Wettability is the tendency of one fluid to spread on, or adhere to, a solid surface in
the presence of other immiscible fluids. There can be water-wet, oil-wet, mixed-
wet or neutral-wet reservoirs. Wettability comes closely with fluids tendency to
resist current. If water-wet rock, then resistivity is low, if oil-wet rock, resistivity is

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Well Logging PE-307
Resistivity Lecture 1- Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

The following figure can be observed to study changes in resistivity when fluids
are changed, when wettability changes, when salinity changes, when sorting
changes, when HC saturation increases etc.

Change in resistivity
Change in resistivity due to due to HC saturation
Change in resistivity due to salinity change in residual increase.
sorting (& porosity) and also water and wettability at same
due to salinity. HC saturation.

Note resistivity changes with wettability; oil-wet rock has high resistivity.

Resistivity increase with low porosity and also with low permeability, because of
pores are not connected then current cannot pass, as most solid matrix dont
conduct current. The left figure with vugs will have high resistivity than the right
fractured rock, considering same rock matrix, saturation and wettability, because in
left, pores are not connected.

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