Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 12

SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 1984

IN-SITU DETERMINATION OF CAPILLARY PRESSURE,


PORE THROAT SIZE AND DISTRIBUTION, AND
PERMEABILITY FROM WIRELINE DATA

by

L. L. Raymer
Schlumberger Well Services, Houston, Texas
and
P. M. Freeman
Schlumberger Offshore Services, New Orleans, Louisiana

ABSTRACT

The combination of wireline formation tester pressure measurements with conventional well log
water saturation and porosity analysis permits the in-situ determination of a capillary pressure profile,
a pore-size distribution profile, the mean effective pore radius, and the rock permeability. In this
application of wireline data, multiple point measurements of fluid pressure recorded with the Repeat
Formation Tester over the reservoir section define the fluid densities of the saturating fluids and the
free water level and permit the calculation of the displacement pressure and the capillary pressure at
any level of the reservoir. From these capillary pressure data, the water saturation versus depth profile
obtained from the appropriate well log analysis can be transformed into a pore-size distribution profile
,- and the mean effective pore radius can be defined. Variations in pore-size distribution over the vertical
section of the reservoir can be recognized and quantified. Furthermore, permeability estimations can
be made using the mean effective pore radius and the displacement pressure.

INTRODUCTION

Over the past decade, digital computers have been used more and more frequently for well log
analysis. These computer-processed interpretations generally are presented as continuous plots of
water saturation, porosity, lithology, and other petrophysical parameters versus well depth (either
actual depth or true vertical depth). The water saturation versus depth plot, in addition to providing
the obvious information concerning water and hydrocarbon saturations, can be transformed into a
pore-size distribution plot. To do this, capillary pressure must be precisely known at each level
throughout the reservoir.

The multiple-point pressure measurement capability of the wireline Repeat Formation Tester can
provide this capillary pressure data when the wellbore cuts both the hydrocarbon- and water-bearing
columns of the reservoir. Multiple-point pressure measurements taken at various levels within the
ccc
hydrocarbon and water columns define a pressure gradient within each column. From these pressure
gradients, the densities of the saturating mobile fluids can be calculated and the free water level
(hydrocarbon-water contact) can be located. Knowledge of saturating fluid densities and the free
water level permits the water saturation versus depth plot from the computer-processed, or other,
interpretation to be transformed into a capillary pressure versus water saturation plot.

The capillary pressure versus water saturation can then, in turn, be transformed into a pore-size
distribution plot provided some knowledge or assumption of interracial surface tension and contact
angle is available. Fortunately, even when exact knowledge of surface tension and contact angle is not
,, available, the terms can often be estimated to an acceptable degree. From the pore-size distribution
plot, the mean effective pore-throat radius can be readily determined. Mean effective pore-throat

-1-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 1984

.,

radius provides a method to predict permeabilityy. Permeability can also be estimated using
displacement pressure; displa=ent pressure is the capillary pressure observed in the reservoir at th~
depth at which water saturation is about 95 percent.

The techniques to determine in situ these several petrophysical parameters are based upon well
established petroleum engineering principles. However, the application of the principles to wireline
measurements and well log computations is not so well recognized.

We will not derive, nor attempt to prove the validity of, these basic petroleum engineering
principles and equations in this paper. For that, the reader is referred to any petroleum engineering
textbook. We will simply present the principles and equations, expand upon them where necessary,
and demonstrate how they can be extended to wireline data.

Determination of Capillary Pressure, Pc, Profile

Determination of capillary pressure, Pc, makes use of the capillary pressure equation relating
fluid pressures, fluid densities, and the elevation within a capillary system. That equation is:

pc=ph-pw=gh(pw-ph) (1)

where

Pc is capillary pressure .-,.


ph is pressure within the hydrocarbon phase at a given elevation
Pw is pressure within the water phase at a given elevation
h is the elevation above the free water level (hydrocarbon-water contact)
Pw is water density
ph is hydrocarbon density
J3 is acceleration due to gravity

Expressed in oilfield terms and rearranged, the relationship becomes:

h(pw - ph)
Pc = (2)
2.3

where

Pc is capillary pressure in psi


h is elevation above the free water level in ft
Pw is water density in g/cm3
Ph is hydrocarbon density in g/cm3

Using this relationship, the true vertical depth scale of a computer-processed (or other)
interpretation of water saturation versus depth computation can be resealed into capillary pressure. To
do so simply requires that the fluid densities of the saturating hydrocarbon and water phases be
accurately known and that the free water level be equally well established. The free water level is, by
definition, the level at which capillary pressure is zero.

-2-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 1984

Although hydrocarbon and water densities and the hydrocarbon-water contact can be
approximated from a variety of well logging measurements (Pw from Rw determination, ‘h from
VOLAN* processing, hydrocarbon-water contact from Rt, etc.), these approximations are not usually
sufficiently accurate for the calculation of capillary pressure. The wireline Repeat Formation Tester
is, however, an accurate source for this data. Multiple pressure measurements taken at several depths
within the hydrocarbon and water columns of the reservoir can be used to generate a plot of pressure
versus depth. These plotted pressure measurements define a pressure gradient over the hydrocarbon-
bearing interval of the reservoir and a pressure gradient over the water-bearing interval of the
reservoir. From these pressure gradients, the fluid densities can be easily calculated. Expressed in
oilfield units, the equation to do so is:

AP/AD
P= (3)
0.4335

where

P is fluid density in g/cm3


AP/AD is the pressure change, AP, over the appropriate depth interval, AD, in psi/ft

Iderdly, several pressure measurements should be made in both the hydrocarbon-bearing interval
of the reservoir and the water-bearing interval — in fact, the more pressure measurements the better.
In deviated wellbores, the depths at which the pressure measurements are made must be corrected to
true vertical depth prior to determination of the pressure gradient and entry into Eq. 3, or Eq. 3 must
include a correction term based on the cosine of the well deviation.

The intersection of the two pressure gradient curves (the water-interval gradient and the
hydrocarbon-interval gradient) locates the free water level. This is the level at which capillary pressure
is zero. The free water level will always be lower in the reservoir than the hydrocarbon-water contact
picked from well log analysis or indicated by production results. In some reservoirs, it maybe much
deeper.

Once fluid densities and the free water level have been accurately established, reservoir elevation
can be resealed into capillary pressure using Eq. 1. This resealing and associated computations are
illustrated on Fig. 1. Fig. 1 shows the computer-processed interpretation and wireline pressure
measurement made in a Gulf Coast well. Seven Repeat Formation Tester pressure measurements were
made within the reservoir — three in the water-bearing interval and four in the hydrocarbon-bearing
interval. The measured pressures have been plotted versus the depths at which the measurements were
made. The three lower measurements, taken in the water column, define a gradient with a slope of ccc
0.467 psi/ft. Similarly, the four upper measurements, taken in the hydrocarbon column, define a
gradient with a slope of 0.110 psi/ft. These gradients inserted into Eq. 3 yield the following fluid
densities:

AP/AD 0.467
Pw = — . 1.08 g/cm3 for the water
0.4335 = 0.4335

AP/AD 0.110
Ph = — . 0.25 g/cm3 for the hydrocarbon
0.4335 = 0.4335

*Mark of Schlumberger

-3-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 1984

The low hydrocarbon density of 0.25 g/cm3 identifies the saturating hydrocarbon as a gas.

The two pressure gradients intersect at 8020 ft. This is the free water level. Note that this is
slightly lower than the gas-water contact which might be picked from the computer-processed
interpretation water saturation curve or bulk volume analysis.

With the fluid densities determined and the free water level located, reservoir elevations above the
free water level can be resealed into capillary pressure values. For example, the capillary pressure at
8000 ft (20 ft above the free water level) is:

h(~w - Ph) = 20(1 .08-0.25)


Pc = = 7.2 psi
2.3 2.3

The capillary pressure at any elevation can be similarly calculated and the elevation depth can be
resealed into capillary pressure. This has been done on Fig. 1.

For clarity, the water saturation versus depth data from the computer-processed interpretation
have been expanded in Fig. 2. The water saturation curve has been reversed to conform with the
conventional petroleum engineering practice of presenting capillary pressure data. An elevation scale
(depth above the free water level) and the calculated capillary pressure scale have been added.

This reservoir is obviously of nonuniform pore structure and permeability. Note the variation in
water saturations. If the sand were of uniform internal structure, the log-derived water saturation ,.
curve would follow one of the dashed curves sketched on the figure. This sand appears to be
composed of rocks having at least three different pore geometries.

Determination of Effective Pore Radius, rp

Once the capillary pressure versus water saturation profile has been established, the effective pore
radius can be predicted through capillary surface tension considerations. The relationship between
capillary pressure and effective pore radius is:

2 y Cosfl
Pc = (4)
‘P

where

Pc is capillary pressure
Y is interracial (surface) tension
8 is contact angle
rp is effective pore (capillary) radius

Evaluation of pore radius in terms of capillary pressure requires knowledge of both the interracial
surface tension, y, and the contact angle, 6. Ideally, these should be determined in the laboratory.
However, in the absence of measurements of interracial surface tension and contact angle, reasonable
estimates usually can be made. Holcott observed that adhesion tension (the product of surface tension
and cosine of contact angle, y cos 0) in many oil-bearing reservoirs was typically 30 dynes/cm at
reservoir conditions. Hough, Rzasa, and Wood observed a similar consistency in adhesion tension of
35 dynes/cm in gas-bearing reservoirs.

-4-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 1984

Using these values of adhesion tension as good approximations in the absence of measured values,
Eq. 4 may be written as:

a
rP=p
(5)
c

where

rp is effective pore radius in Mm (microns)


Pc is capillary pressure in psi
a = 8.7 for oil-water at typical reservoir conditions
= 10 for gas-water at typical reservoir conditions

Effective pore radius can now be directly equated to capillary pressure. This has been done on Fig.
2.

AS an example of the calculation, the following table relates pore radius, rp, to the capillary
pressure, Pc, for the reservoir shown in Figs. 1 and 2 (a = 10 since this is a gas-bearing reservoir):

a 10
r p___
Pc = Pc

for

Pc=O, rp=oo
Pc= l,rp =10
Pc= 5,rp=2
Pc=lO, rp=l
Pc = 20, rp = 0.5

The pore-radius scale determined by this method has been added to Fig. 2.

The water saturation values now become a measure of the number of capillaries which are smaller
or larger than a particular size. For example, in the high-permeability component of the sand (dashed
line H), 50 percent of the capillaries are less than 7 wm in radius (50 percent are greater than 7 km); 30
percent are less than 4 Vm (70 percent are greater than 4 vm); 20 percent are less than 1 pm (80 percent
are greater); and so on. Furthermore, the mean effective pore radius 7P is, by definition, that value ccc
around which the greatest change in water saturation occurs. For the high-permeability component of
this rock, mean effective pore radius appears to be about 9 ~m.

Of course, if adhesion tension is known from a laboratory measurement or from experience in the
area, then Eq. 5 becomes

0.29 y COS 6
‘P =
Pc
,,..

The units of adhesion tension are in dynes/cm; the units of the other terms were defined in Eq. 5.

-5-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 1984

..

Pore-Size Distribution

The pore-throat radius versus water saturation plot can be used to construct a pore-size
distribution plot. The technique is most easily understood by reference to Fig. 2. It has been noted
that the reservoir appears to be composed of rocks exhibiting at least three different pore geometries.
These three geometries are characterized by the dashed curves (labeled H, M, and L) superimposed
upon Fig. 2. A pore-size distribution plot has been made for each by sorting the pore-throat frequency
into 1-~m groups. For example, for dashed curve H, Fig. 2 indicates that 32 percent of the pore
throats are less than 5 1/2 urn in radius and 28 percent of the pore throats are less than 4 1/2 Vm in
radius. Therefore, in this rock, 4 percent of the pores have a radius of 5 pm f 1/2 pm. That number
was plotted on Fig. 3. The remainder of the distribution curve was obtained in a similar manner, as
were the distribution curves for the other two dashed curves (M and L).

The log-derived water saturation versus depth computation identifies which pore-size distribution
curve most characterizes the rock at a given level. For example, over the interval from 7991 to 8002 ft,
the pore-size distribution H most characterizes pore geometry. Over the upper interval of the reservoir
(above 7976 ft) and over the intervals from 7987 to 7990 ft and 8005 to 8007 ft, pore-size distribution is
best characterized by distribution L. Other intervals are best characterized by the intermediate
distribution M.

It is obvious that distribution H has a coarser pore geometry (larger pores) than distributions L or
M. In fact, the mean effective pore radius of the sand represented by distribution His about 9 vm. For
the sand represented by distribution M, mean ef fective pore radius is 6.5 Mm; and for distribution L, it
is only about 5 ~m. Generally speaking, the greater the mean effective pore radius, the greater the
permeability and the coarser the sand. Thus, permeability over the interval from 7991 to 8002 ft can be ,,...
expected to be greater than permeability elsewhere in the hydrocarbon-bearing portion of the
reservoir.

Calculation of Permeability, k, from Pore Radius

Several relationships are proposed in the literature to estimate permeability when the mean
effective pore radius, Fp, is known. Most are derived from the Kozeny equation:

k=c~ (6)
SA

where

k is permeability
$ is porosity
c is a shape factor
SA is a unit pore surface area

Porosity and surface area for a unit volume of rock can be approximated by:

(7)

-6-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 19S4

where

7P is mean effective pore radius


n is number of capillaries per unit rock volume
(c is effective pore length
f is the cubic dimension of the unit rock volume

Combining these equations, simplifying, rearranging, and converting to microns for pore radius
and to millidarcies for permeability gives:

k = 250 C &p2 (8)

Geometrical considerations would suggest that c s 0.5; other experimentalists have recommended a
value of 0.2 for c. Fortunately, some permeability versus mean effective pore radius data exist to
better define c. Fig. 4 tabulates and plots that data. The numerical value recorded beside each data
point is its porosity. This plot suggests a value of approximately 0.15 for c. The permeability equation
(Eq. 8) therefore becomes

k = 37@~p2 (9)

where

k is permeability in md
(p is porosity (fractional)
7p is mean effective pore radius in pm

Applied to the example of Figs. 1 and 2, this relationship yields a permeability of 920 md (o =
0.305, T = 9 Vm) for the rock represented by pore-size distribution H (in other words, the interval
from 798 1 to 8002 ft). It should be noted that this relationship can be applied only when a transition
zone is present and mean effective pore radius is, therefore, determinable. Also, the permeability so
determined is the permeability of the rock at the transition zone depth; it may or may not be
representative of the entire reservoir. In the reservoir of Fig. 1, it certainly is not. It is representative
of only that portion of the reservoir over which the computed water saturation approaches the high-
permeability dashed curve H.

Calculation of Permeability from Displacement Pressure, Pd


ccc
Still another technique to predict permeability utilizes the displacement pressure, Pd.
Displacement pressure is that pressure which must be applied to a pore system before the nonwetting
phase starts to displace the wetting phase. The technique is derived from work by Wyllie and Rose and
Rose and Bruce. Wyllie and Rose proposed

(10)

-7-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 1984

,,,

and Rose and Bruce developed

(11)

where

T istortuosity
@ isporosity
k ispermeability
ts isa shape factor
Y isinterracial surface tension
Pd k displacement pressure

Combining the above relationships and, once again, converting to oilfield units gives:

21y24)3
k= (12)
tsp2
d

where

k is permeability in md
Pd is displacement pressure in pSi
Y is surface tension in dynes/cm
ts is a pore shape constant (usually about 2.25)
$ is porosity (fractional)

The displacement pressure is the capillary pressure corresponding to about 95 percent water
saturation.

In low-permeability rocks, the displacement pressure, Pd, can be determined from wireline data
with sufficient accuracy to calculate permeabilityy from the above relationship. In very high-
permeability rocks, the displacement pressure probably cannot be obtained from well log
measurements with sufficient accuracy to yield a reliable permeabilityy calculation. Nevertheless, as an
exercise, the displacement pressure of Figs. 1 and 2 appears to be about 0.6 psi. This inserted into Eq.
12 would give a permeabilityy of 907 md. That is close to the 920 md obtained using mean effective
pore radius; but the critical selection of the actual displacement pressure was probably influenced by
the desired answer.

SUMMARY

The process reported herein provides a method of combining pressure measurements made with a
wireline formation tester tool with the continuous water saturation calculations from a well log
analysis to determine, in situ, densities of saturating fluids, free water level, pore-throat radius, pore-
size distribution, and permeabilityy. The calculation process, based on established petroleum
engineering equations, can be summarized as follows:

-8-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 19S4

..,.

1. Determine Pw and ph from a plot of wireline pressure data versus depth over the hydrocarbon-
and water-bearing reservoir intervals:

APw/AD
Pw =
0.4335

AP#AD
ph =
0.4335

2. Free water level occurs where the APw/AD and Aph/AD gradients intersect.

3. Convert reservoir elevation (depth) above the free water level to capillary pressure:

Pc =
Mpw-Ph)
2.3

Pc = O at free water level

4. Convert capillary pressure to pore radius:

a = 8.7 for oil

a = 10 for gas

5. Mean effective pore radius, Fp, is that pore radius at which greatest change in water saturation
occurs.

6. Displacement pressure, Pd, is the capillary pressure at Sw = % percent.

7. Permeability can be predicted by


ccc
k = 37 +Fpz

or

Y203
k=9.4—
p2
d

y= 30 for oil

y = 35 for gas

-9-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 1984

REFERENCES

1. Pelissier-Combescure, J.; Pollock, D.; and Wittman, M.: “Application of Repeat Formation
Tester Measurements in the Middle East, ” F+oc., SPE Middle East Technical Conference,
Bahrain (March 1979).

2. Calhoun, J. C.: Fundamentals of Reservoir Engineering, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman,


Oklahoma (1953).

3. Wyllie, R. J. and Rose, W. D.: “Some Theoretical Considerations Related to the Quantitative
Evaluation of the Physical Characteristics of Reservoir Rock from Electrical Data,” Trans.,
AIME (1950) 189, 105-118.

4. Rose, W. D. and Bruce, W. A.: “Evaluation of Capillary Character in Petroleum Reservoir


Rock, ” Trans., AIME (1949) 186, 127.

5. Slider, H. C.: Practical Petroleum Reservoir Engineering Methods, Petroleum Publishing Co.,
Tulsa, Oklahoma (1976).

6. Pittman, E. D.: “Influence of Porosity Type and Pore Geometry on Productive Capability of
Sandstone Reservoirs,” AAPG Clastic Diagnosis School Manual, AAPG (1977).

7. Pittman, E. D.: “Clay-Bearing Sandstone Reservoirs, ” AAPG Clastic Diagnosis School


Manual, AAPG (1977).
.
8. Hocott, C. R.: “Interracial Tension Between Water and Oil Under Reservoir Conditions,”
Trans., AIME (1939) 132, 184.

9. Hough, E. W.; Rzasa, M. J.; and Wood, B. B.: “Interracial Tensions at Reservoir Pressures and
Temperatures, ” Trans., AIME (1951) 192, 57.

10. Kozeny, J.: ‘‘Uber Kapillare Leitung des Wassers im Boden, “ Wien Akad. Wiss. Sitz. Berichte
(1927) 136-2A, 271.

11. Raymer, L. L,: “Elevation and Hydrocarbon Density Correction for Log-Derived Permeability
Relationships, ” The Log Analyst (May-June 1981) 22, 3, 3-7.

12. Katz, D. L.; Cornell, D.; Kobayshi, R.; Poettmann, F. H.; Vary, J. A.; Ellenbaas, J. R.; and
Weinaug, C. F.: Handbook of Natural Gas Engineering, McGraw-Hill Book Company,” New
York (1959).

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lewis L. Raymer is manager of Marketing & Technique Services for Schlumberger Well Services
in Houston, Texas. Since joining Schlumberger in 1955, he has served in various field, research,
marketing, administrative, and managerial positions in the United States and South America. He is a
graduate of Rice University. Lew has served the SPWLA as vice president-publications and editor of
The Log Analyst.

Philip M. Freeman graduated in 1962 from the University of London with a B.S. in physics. He
joined Schlumberger the same year and has worked in Europe, Africa, U. S.A., South America, and
the Far East in various field and management positions. He is presently marketing manager for
Schlumberger Offshore Services in New Orleans. Phil is a member of SPWLA and the SPE of AIME.

-1o-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 1984

Figure I

Pc ACTUAL
‘P
pm psi DEPTH- FT
60 7960
L
0.5 20 -
I
I
M
50 7970
I

15
40 I 7960

30 I 7990
1 10 –

ccc
20 8000

I
2 5 –

10 \ 8010
\
5 ‘L
10 -. —._
o– ~ 6020
0 40 80 1 )
u
(n
~N WATER Saturation - %
1 ,, PORE THROAT DISTRIBUTION - %
~

Figure 2

-11-
..-—-..—
-
SPWLA TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL LOGGING SYMPOSIUM, JUNE 10-13, 19S4

20
r L

PORE THROAT RADIUS - #m

Figure 3

\ 029.5

0
15.3
19.0

1s.7 o

10
440

10 1.0 c
MEAN EFFECTIVE PORE RADIUS - pm

Figure 4 ..

-12-