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Thermal maturity of the Barnett Shale determined from well-log analysis

Hank Zhao, Natalie B. Givens, and Brad Curtis

AUTHORS Hank Zhao $ 3906 Dunwich Drive, Richardson, Texas 75082; hankzhao@sbcglobal.net Hanqing Hank Zhao is currently an independent geologist. In his more than 20-year career in oil and gas, he had been with Republic Energy, mainly working on Barnett Shale; Southwestern Energy, working on Fayetteville Shale; and Dagang Geophysical Exploration and Southwest Petroleum University in China. He received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Wyoming, and his M.S. and B.S. degrees in petroleum geology from Southwest Petroleum University in China. His areas of interest are mainly on the geological and geophysical aspects of unconventional gas. Natalie B. Givens $ EnCana Oil & Gas (USA), Dallas, Texas 75240; natalie.givens@encana.com Natalie is a geologist concentrating on unconventional oil and gas plays. She received her M.S. degree in geology from the University of Kansas in 2006 and her B.S. degree in geology from the Southern Methodist University in 2000. Natalie spent 3 years with Republic Energy, Inc., prior to continuing her education and obtaining her M.S. degree. Brad Curtis $ Republic Energy Inc., Dallas, Texas 75206; bcurtis@republicenergy.com Brad Curtis is vice president of Geoscience and has been with Republic Energy since 1990. He received his B.S. degree in petroleum geology from Midwestern State University in 1983 and then worked for Expando Oil Co. in Wichita Falls, generating prospects in the Fort Worth and East Texas basins.

ABSTRACT Intensive development with large-scale fracturing treatments has made the Barnett Shale play (Newark East field) in the Fort Worth Basin the largest shale-gas field in the world. The Mississippian Barnett Shale is an organic-rich, self-sourced reservoir rock. Thermal maturity, thickness, and total organic carbon are the most important geological factors for commercial gas production from this shale formation. The log-derived thermal-maturity index (MI) has been developed in an effort to better understand and predict hydrocarbon phases across the basin. Maturity index was calculated using three types of open-hole logs: neutron porosity, deep resistivity, and density porosity (or bulk density). The derivation of MI is based on the hypotheses that shale gas is generated and stored locally without apparent migration from outside sources, and that the water saturation and the density of generated hydrocarbons decrease with an increase in thermal maturity. Maturity index correlates well with initial gas:oil ratios (GOR) from well production data. Based on this correlation, an empirical relationship has been demonstrated for the Fort Worth Basin. This method is useful in understanding the thermal-maturity levels of Barnett Shale source rock in the gasgeneration window. Mapping MI, GOR, and gas heating value from hundreds of wells identifies the various maturity stages and areas of Barnett Shale that generate oil, condensate, wet gas, or dry gas in the Fort Worth Basin.

INTRODUCTION By June 2006, Newark East field (Barnett Shale) had become the largest shale-gas field of its kind in the world in areal extent (6000 mi2; 15,500 km2), daily rate (1.97 bcf of gas and 6000 bbl of oil or condensate), and cumulative production (2.2 tcf of gas and 7.5 million bbl of condensate or oil). In the field, the Barnett Shale produces gas

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We thank Republic Energy for the support of this publication and EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) for providing gas heating value data. We thank Richard M. Pollastro (U.S. Geological Survey, Denver), Daniel M. Jarvie (Humble Geochemical Services), and Kent A. Bowker for their detailed and helpful comments and suggestions, which improved the final draft. We thank Dan Steward (Republic Energy) and Robert Ehrlich for the initial review and Ronald Hill (U.S. Geological Survey, Denver) for editing the special issue.

Copyright #2007. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved. Manuscript received June 1, 2006; provisional acceptance August 31, 2006; revised manuscript received October 18, 2006; final acceptance October 27, 2006. DOI:10.1306/10270606060

AAPG Bulletin, v. 91, no. 4 (April 2007), pp. 535 549

535

with some oil or condensate only after a hydraulic fracturing treatment, because of its low permeability (less than 0.003 md). Historically, the average gas reserve per well has doubled or tripled because of technological improvement in drilling (horizontal) and completion (increasing sizes of fracturing treatment; Bowker, 2003; Givens and Zhao, 2004). A complete geological, geochemical, and production review on the Barnett Shale has been accomplished by Montgomery (2004) and Montgomery et al. (2005). Productivity of individual Barnett Shale wells is geologically related to the thermal maturity, total organic carbon (TOC, defined as the remaining insoluble solid organic matter and generated soluble bitumen), and the thickness of the shale. The hydrocarbon (defined as the generated and movable oil and gas in the shale) molecules size is linked to the degree of thermal maturity; that is, the greater the degree of thermal maturation, the smaller the hydrocarbon molecules size (methane is the smallest). Because of the low permeability and small pore throats in shale, gas mobility through tight shale matrix is increased for gas with a higher percentage of methane. The Barnett Shale is both the source and reservoir rock for the gas in place. Unlike conventional gas reservoirs, there is no apparent process of gas accumulation or secondary migration from outside sources for shale gas. Typically, the thermal maturity of source rocks is determined by measuring vitrinite reflectance. Other methods employed include anhydrous pyrolysis, smectite-to-illite transition of smectite and illite mixed-layer clay through x-ray powder diffraction, aromaticity ratio of organic matter from nuclear magnetic resonance, and color alteration of spores or conodonts. For the Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth Basin, a systematic study of the thermal maturity has been completed using vitrinite reflectance (Ro) (Jarvie et al., 2001, 2007; Pollastro, 2003; Pollastro et al., 2003, 2004). Studying shale source rocks using open-hole wireline logs has a long history. The potential of shale as source or reservoir rock was evaluated (King and Fertl, 1979; Meyer and Nederlof, 1984; Fertl et al., 1988) through gamma-spectra log, resistivity, and bulk density logs. The TOC of source rocks was estimated using sonic and resistivity logs (Passey et al., 1990). The gas window of regional shale formations as source rocks and their associated anomalous pressure regimes have been delineated by the analysis of sonic logs in Rocky Mountain Laramide basins (Surdam et al., 1994; Surdam et al., 1997; Zhao, 1996). Using various well logs, Guidry and Walsh (1993) calculated mineral compo536 Barnett Shale Thermal Maturity from Log Analysis

nent volumes, porosity, and hydrocarbon saturation for the Devonian shale (gas shale) in the Appalachian Basin. This article focuses on the following aspects: (1) establishing a maturity index (MI) from analysis of neutron, induction, and bulk density (or porosity) logs and explaining its petrophysical meaning; (2) correlating MI with the initial gas:oil ratio (GOR) to scale the levels of thermal maturity in the gas window of the Barnett Shale; and (3) determining the areal boundaries of defined thermal-maturity levels and hydrocarbon phases (oil, condensate, wet gas, or dry gas) in the associated areas through mapping MIs and GORs in the basin. Determination and delineation of the areas with different hydrocarbon phases closely associated with thermalmaturity levels in the gas window have a practical importance in the exploration and development of this gas shale. With this importance in mind, this work was undertaken. It has helped us to quickly estimate the thermal-maturity levels of the shale and predict hydrocarbon phases such as oil, condensate, wet gas, or dry gas during the field expansion. When the MI is well calibrated with actual and reliable production data (GORs), this method is faster and more readily available than lab analysis of rock samples (core or cuttings). The Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth Basin has a complete hydrocarbon maturity spectrum from oil to dry gas, which provides a unique advantage for studying thermal maturity from log responses and their relationship to the phases of produced hydrocarbons for a specific well or basin. This complete maturity spectrum commonly does not exist for shale sources in most of the other basins.

GEOLOGICAL SETTING The Fort Worth Basin is a Paleozoic foreland basin defined by the Ouachita thrust and fold belt to the east, Muenster (thrust) arch to the northeast, Red River arch to the north, Bend arch to the west, and the Llano uplift to the south (Wermund and Jenkins, 1968). A generalized structure on the base of the Barnett Shale (equivalently on top of Viola in the eastern part of the basin or on top of Ellenburger in the west) was completed using 481 well data points throughout the basin (Figure 1). Within the basin, the Mississippian Barnett Shale sits directly on the Ordovician Viola Limestone or Ellenburger Limestone, with a major unconformity in between. The Pennsylvanian Marble Falls Limestone rests on the Barnett Shale (Figure 2). The Barnett Shale was deposited on a marine shelf on the southwestern flank of southern Oklahoma aulacogen, which was subsiding as

Figure 1. Regional geology and general structure on the base of the Barnett Shale, which is equivalent to the top of the Ellenburger or Viola limestone, in the Fort Worth Basin. The contour interval is 1000 ft (305 m). The current (2006) outline of the Newark East field (Barnett Shale) is a red line.

a result of the middle or late Mississippian collision of the North American plate with the South American plate (Flippin, 1982; Henry, 1982). The Ouachita thrust and fold belt is the final remnant of this collision. In the northeastern part of the basin, the Forestburg limestone separates the shale into minor upper and major lower Barnett Shale intervals. The upper Barnett Shale is almost uniformly 6070 ft (1821 m) thick throughout the northeastern part of the basin. In the remaining

area of the basin, no differentiation exists between the upper and lower Barnett Shale because of the disappearance of the Forestburg limestone. The gross thickness of lower Barnett ranges from more than 600 ft (182 m) in the northeast near the Muenster arch to less than 50 ft (15 m) on the Bend arch in the western part of the basin (Figure 3). The increased thickness near the Muenster arch is caused by the interstratification of shale, limy shale, and lime beds of various thicknesses. Zhao et al. 537

Figure 2. Generalized Paleozoic stratigraphic column of the Fort Worth Basin. The expanded section shows a more detailed interpretation of Mississippian and Ordovician stratigraphy. Modified from Pollastro et al. (2003) and Montgomery et al. (2005).

The geological characteristics of the Barnett Shale were summarized (Bowker, 2003; Montgomery, 2004; Montgomery et al., 2005) and compared with other similar gas-producing shales (Hill and Nelson, 2000; Curtis, 2002). The Barnett Shale is a subtly heterogeneous rock in both mineral composition and physical properties, including matrix porosity, permeability, and microfractures. X-ray powder diffraction analyses of 35 cuttings samples from three wells in Wise and Denton counties give the following shale composition by weight: 538 Barnett Shale Thermal Maturity from Log Analysis

4555% silts (consist of mostly quartz and some plagioclase); 15 25% carbonates (mostly calcite, some dolomite, and siderite); 20 35% clay minerals; and 2 6% pyrite. Total organic carbon ranges from 3.5 to 4.5% by weight (Hill and Nelson, 2000; Jarvie et al., 2001), which is equal to 7 9% by volume because the density of the organic matter is about half that of minerals. The organic matter in the shale is type II kerogen (Jarvie et al., 2001, 2007, remaining insoluble solid organic matter), which can generate both oil and gas

Figure 3. General isopach of the Barnett Shale (only lower Barnett Shale where upper and lower are differentiated) in the Fort Worth Basin. The contour interval is 50 ft (15 m).

directly (then oil can be thermally cracked and become gas). Porosity of the shale ranges from 3.8 to 6.0%, and its reservoir permeability is, on average, 0.152.5 md (Lancaster et al., 1992; Kuuskraa et al., 1998). Because of differential compaction, the shale is generally tighter (low in permeability and porosity) on residually (nose) and structurally (bump) high areas of the Viola or Ellenburger Limestone; the opposite occurs in low areas (Zhao, 2004). Shale with higher porosity commonly has much higher gas productivity because the produced gas is mainly free gas, stored in micropores

at current reservoir pressure (1000 3000 psi; 6.89 20.68 MPa). Desorbed gas from the surface of organic matter is believed to be a very small percentage of the gas produced at the current stage of development.

THERMAL-MATURITY INDEX FROM LOG ANALYSIS To measure the thermal maturity of the Barnett Shale, an MI was established by analyzing several log curves, including bulk density, neutron, and deep resistivity. Zhao et al. 539

Figure 4. Cross section of the Barnett Shale interval showing typical open-hole well logs (depth in feet). The 7 T. H. Zorns unit has slightly lower neutron porosity and higher deep resistivity than the 1 Williams unit. The maturity index of the shale in 7 T. H. Zorns unit is 6.5, and its initial GOR is 1610 mscf/bbl. The maturity index of the shale in the 1 Williams unit is 5.3, and the GOR from a nearby well is 126 mscf/bbl (1 Williams unit is the older well, which was drilled and logged through the Barnett Shale, but does not produce from the Barnett Shale).

A typical well-log suite in the field includes gammaray, bulk density or density-porosity (matrix density of 2.71 g/cm3), neutron-porosity, photoelectric absorption index (P e), and induction resistivity, as shown in Figure 4. The Republic Energy 7 T. H. Zorns unit has slightly lower neutron porosity and higher deep resistivity than the Henry Energy 1 Williams unit. These subtle differences are mainly attributed to the levels of gas saturation and the size of hydrocarbon (oil and gas) molecules in the shale, both of which are directly related to the levels of shale thermal maturity. The MI 540 Barnett Shale Thermal Maturity from Log Analysis

from the log curves has been statistically calculated on the basis of several reasonable assumptions. (1) The Barnett Shale is both source and reservoir rock for the gas currently within the shale; therefore, no measurable secondary gas migration or accumulation into the shale has occurred, although much gas and oil that generated from the shale had been moved out of the shale through its primary migration. (2) Gas saturation levels in the shale generally increase with the degree of the thermal maturity, which is affected by heat levels and amount of time at various heat levels. (3) During

Table 1. Porosity Cutoffs from the Difference between Log Density Porosity and Measured Porosity Sample Depth (ft) 7656 7676 7680 7690 7701 7716 7724 7738 7740 Average (%)
*From Lancaster et al., 1992.

Porosity* (Whole Core, fw) 3.5 5.0 3.7 4.8 6.4 3.6 3.3 2.7 1.5 3.8

Porosity* (Crushed, fc) 5.4 5.3 5.8 6.3 5.9 4.8 5.7 4.0 5.3 5.4

Log porosity (fL) 11.4 13.1 14.6 12.0 10.5 15.0 12.0 12.8 13.5 12.7

Cutoff for Effective Porosity (fL fw) 7.9 8.1 10.9 7.2 4.1 11.4 8.7 10.1 12.0 8.93

Cutoff for Matrix Porosity (fL fc) 6.0 7.8 8.8 5.7 4.6 10.2 6.3 6.1 8.2 7.1

the progressive process of hydrocarbon generation, the water saturation of shale generally decreases through expelling free water and water from mineral transformation (smectite to illite) caused by periodically high pressure and increasing temperature. Besides, hydrocarbon chains in organic matter and hydrocarbons (generated oil and gas) become shorter in further generation and thermal crack. As a result, the content of elemental hydrogen in the shale decreases as thermal maturity increases because both hydrocarbons and water are expelled from the shale during the maturation process. To calculate the gas saturation and the MI, shale matrix porosity must first be estimated for each well used. Lab measurements of the effective porosity and total porosity from core samples of Mitchell Energy 2 T. P. Sims located in southeast Wise County (Lancaster et al., 1992) are listed in Table 1. The average effective porosity (whole core) is 3.8%, and the average matrix total porosity (crushed core) is 5.4%. The average porosity from the bulk density-porosity curve (2.71 g/cm3 matrix) corresponding to the depths of these measured core samples is 12.7%. The average difference between the log porosity and total core (crushed) porosity is 7.1%. The average difference between the effective (whole) core porosity and the log porosity is 8.93%. Therefore, the total porosity values of the shale were approximated by deducting 7.1% from the log curve porosity, and the effective matrix porosity of the shale were approximated by deducting 9% from the log curve. A cutoff of 9% log porosity was used to filter out any samples less than 9% in bulk density porosity (or higher than 2.556 g/cm3 on bulk density curve) to get the effective matrix porosity of the shale. Shale with less than 9% on the porosity curve is non-gas shale because of being either

too limy (limestone layers or concretions) or too low in TOC. The total matrix porosity acquired by log porosity minus 7.1% was used in the calculation of water saturation. Hydrocarbon saturation is estimated using a simple Archie equation (Archie, 1950). In the Barnett Shale, TOC is approximately 79% by volume (3.54.5% by weight, Hill and Nelson, 2000; Jarvie et al., 2001). This represents a small percentage relative to the total volume of shale sediment grains. The remaining hydrocarbon (generated) in the shale is mostly gas, with smaller sizes of molecules and less surface tension than those of liquid hydrocarbon. A simple test was performed on a Barnett Shale core sample from the Mitchell Energy 1 Blakely well in southeastern Wise County. When a drop of water was put on a new surface (without surface contamination) of the sample, the water quickly spread and had a very low contact angle on the sample surface. This indicates that the Barnett Shale, at least in the area of the gas window, is mostly water wet. A water-wet rock has anion and cation transport under an electric field. Thus, the Archie equation is applicable to estimate water saturation (S wi) for the Barnett Shale. The following is an application of the Archie equation. Rw m R fd9i t !1=2 1

Swi

where R w is the formation water resistivity in ohm meters; fd9i is an estimated matrix porosity from the density log porosity (fd) by (fd9i = fd 9%); R t is the deep formation resistivity; and m is the exponent factor of rock cementation. Zhao et al. 541

The cementation exponent factor (m) in Archies equation for mudrock or chalk was identified as about 2.0 from the relationship between the measured porosity and formation factors (Focke and Munn, 1987). The matrix of Barnett Shale is similar to mudrock or chalk. Some fractures (vertical) and streaks or cleavages (horizontal) exist in the shale. The existence of fractures and streaks will lower the value of the cementation exponent factor (Aguilera, 1974), but the fracture porosity is a very small percentage of the total shale porosity. Therefore, the cementation factor for the Barnett Shale was chosen to be 1.9 as an approximation in this study. The chemical analysis of 42 water samples was used to calculate the average equivalent NaCl concentration using conversion factors from Dunlap and Hawthorne (1951). The salinity of produced water from Barnett Shale wells mostly represents that of the water from the Viola Limestone or Ellenburger (porous) Limestone immediately below the Barnett Shale (Bowker, 2003). The average equivalent NaCl concentration of water from the 42 Barnett Shale wells is about 85,000 ppm. The salinity of the true Barnett Shale water is most likely higher than 85,000 ppm because of the less possible effect by recharging ground surface water. At average reservoir temperatures of about 200jF (93jC) in the field, a water resistivity of 0.03 ohm m was chosen to be used on the basis of the chart of NaCl concentration versus solution resistivity (Schlumberger, 1989). In addition, considering the anions and cations in clay minerals of the shale, for the same equivalent NaCl concentration from measurement of produced water, water resistivity in the shale reservoir conditions should be even lower than that in the Viola or Ellenburger limestones. The water saturation was calculated from log curves on the basis of the previously mentioned parameters and log porosity cutoffs. The final samples of log data were also filtered by a water saturation of 75%. Only the log interval with water saturation lower than 75% (or hydrocarbon saturation >25%) is counted as a possible pay interval; intervals with water saturation higher than or equal to 75% are filtered out. Depending on the variation of total matrix porosity (37%), any interval with resistivity between 11 and 60 ohm m may be filtered out. Any interval with less than 10 ohm m of deep resistivity will be filtered out by the water saturation cutoff (<75%). Based on these assumptions, the estimation of the shale matrix porosity from bulk density log, and hydrocarbon saturation (1 S w75i) from bulk density and 542 Barnett Shale Thermal Maturity from Log Analysis

deep resistivity logs, a statistical equation was formulated and tested to acquire an index number reflecting the petrophysical changes in the shale with increasing thermal maturity. An equation for MI was established as follows:
N X i1

MI

N fn9i 1 Sw75i 1=2

in which N is the total number of data samples selected only if the log density porosity is 9% or higher and water saturation is 75% or lower at each sample depth; fn9i is the neutron porosity for the samples selected only when log density porosity is 9% or higher at each sample depth; and S w75i is the water saturation for the samples selected only when the log porosity is 9% or higher and the water saturation is 75% or lower at each sample depth. Digital log data samples used for the calculation were selected only if the raw log data at a depth have a density porosity (2.71 g/cm3 matrix) of 9% or higher and water saturation of 75% or lower. The reasoning behind this originates from the hypothesis that only the shale with greater than minimum porosity (9% cutoff) and minimum hydrocarbon saturation (25%) qualifies as source and reservoir rock with minimum effect from lithological variation. The MI is an average number for the selected digital log data samples covering the Barnett Shale interval (or lower Barnett if the Forestburg limestone exists) in each well, so it is not affected by the variation of gross thickness. The neutron porosity has a greater effect on the MI than the hydrocarbon saturation in the equation because of the square root applied to the hydrocarbon saturation (1 S w75i), which is inversely related to MI. The lower neutron value (fn9i) represents higher gas saturation, shorter chains of hydrocarbon, and less water in the shale, which reflects higher maturity. High hydrocarbon saturation (1 S w75i) with low neutron values represents higher gas saturation and higher thermal maturity, whereas high hydrocarbon saturation (1 S w75i) with high neutron values represents lower gas saturation and lower maturity. The neutron log is designed to detect the density of elemental hydrogen in rocks. During the process of thermal hydrocarbon generation, oil and gas are expelled out of the Barnett Shale, and a part of the original interstitial water is also expelled and replaced by generated hydrocarbons (oil and gas). A part of the structural water in the clay minerals is expelled after becoming free water during the transformation of the clay minerals. Liquid

Table 2. Comparison between Maturity Index and GOR for Selected Wells Operator Republic Energy Earth Science Republic Energy Republic Energy Mitchell Energy Republic Energy Republic Energy Chevron Well No. 1C 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 Lease Benson Annie Heard Est. Crystelle Waggoner Cocanougher 287 Thomas P. Sims Barkley Blair Mildred Atlas County Montague Montague Wise Wise Wise Wise Tarrant Johnson Maturity Index 4.2 4.4 5.4 5.8 6.0 7.0 7.1 9.6 GOR (mscf/bbl) 1.0* 1.1** 24 40 171 1044 4460 DG (dry gas)

*GOR from nearby well Dallas Production 1 Swint. **GOR from nearby well Stone J. G. 1 Silver.

hydrocarbons (oil) have a much higher hydrogen density (number of elemental hydrogen per unit volume) than gas hydrocarbons. Wet gas with a high percentage of C2 + (relative density to air >1.04 at 14.7 psi [101 kPa] and 60jF [15jC]) has a higher hydrogen density than dry gas with a very low percentage of C2 + (mostly methane C1, relative density to air = 0.554 at 14.7 psi [101 kPa] and 60jF [15jC]). The neutron-porosity readings of the shale will vary depending on the stage of thermal maturation present in the well. In the oil-generation window, the decrease in neutron porosity is subtle and small; in the gas-generation window, the decrease in neutron porosity is easily detected because of the much lower density of gas than that of oil and because of the continuous decrease in density and elemental hydrogen from wet to dry gas. A specific computer program was developed for the calculation of the MI and other petrophysical parameters. The software takes raw log data in log-ASCIIstandard (LAS) format and with sample rates of every 0.5 ft (0.15 m). The top and base of the Barnett Shale (using a lower Barnett Shale interval if the upper and lower are separated) are used as input. A total of 184 wells widely dispersed across the basin were used in the calculation. All these wells have three types of log curves run through the Barnett Shale interval (or lower Barnett interval where separate). Results from the eight selected wells arranged by their locations from the northwest to the southeast of the basin are listed in Table 2. Several factors affecting the MI are density porosity, reliability of old logs (mainly logged in the 1960s and 1970s), and log calibration. When average density porosity filtered by 9% is greater than 11%, the variation in average porosity has a very slight effect on the MI. However, when the average density porosity filtered by 9% is less than 11%, the MI will be slightly larger because of the increase in water saturation in the tighter

shale. A few wells with average density porosity between 9 and 10% on log curves were not used because either the shale is too tight or the logging tool (older logs) was poorly calibrated. In addition, some neutron logs from the 1970s with abnormally high or low readings relative to many nearby wells were not used in the analysis.

INITIAL GAS:OIL RATIOS VERSUS MATURITY INDEX The initial GOR is acquired by dividing the cumulative gas production by the cumulative oil or condensate production of a well in the first full month. The initial GOR represents the more original property of hydrocarbons in the shale reservoir. With production continuing, a decrease in reservoir pressure causes a separation of liquid and gas within reservoirs. Gas:oil ratios of a well gradually increase because of a faster decline of condensate (or oil) relative to gas. This is commonly seen in production decline curves of Barnett Shale wells. To keep GOR values shorter in this article, gas volume is expressed in thousand cubic feet per barrel (mscf/bbl at standard surface condition of 14.7 psia [101 kPa] and 60jF [15jC]). The values of the initial GOR throughout the Fort Worth Basin range from 1 to 10,000 mscf/bbl. For conventional reservoirs, the variation in GOR may only reflect the gravity separation during secondary migration and accumulation. For the Barnett Shale, the initial GOR generally reflects the thermal maturity of the shale at well locations because it is assumed that no apparent lateral migration and accumulation of hydrocarbons occurred into the shale. Some of the initial GORs are listed in Table 2 and are correlated with MI values of the wells or nearby wells. Initial GORs increase as MI increases. For some Zhao et al. 543

Figure 5. Correlation between the MI in linear scale and the initial GOR in logarithmic scale. Four thermal-maturity levels and their corresponding types of produced hydrocarbons are indicated.

wells, either MI or GOR was available. In these cases, the MI or GOR from the closest nearby well was used. When a well produced less than one barrel of oil or condensate in the first month, one barrel was used in the calculation of GOR. The wells with no oil or condensate production from the Barnett Shale are marked with DG (dry gas). A total of 44 wells, where both the MI and initial GOR could be calculated, were used in plotting a correlation chart with a 10-based logarithmic scale for initial GOR and with a linear scale for MI (Figure 5). A linear relationship exists between the MIs and the corresponding GORs on these scales of coordinates. The curve fit equation from the correlation is MI = 0.373 log(GOR) + 4.452. The correlation coefficient (R 2) is 0.85, which means that MI and log(GOR) are related fairly well. The statistical linear relationship between the MI and log(GOR) is caused by the remaining hydrocarbon (oil, condensate, and gas) locally generated in the shale and without large lateral migration. At the high end of the correlation, data points are more scattered because of the inaccuracy of reporting a small amount of condensate from the wells. The good correlation between MI and log(GOR) provides a tool for delineating the thermal maturity of the Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth Basin. As the thermal maturity progresses, MI increases from 4.0 to 9.0 in the Barnett Shale. Several maturity levels can be established with increasing GOR and MI. Generally, 544 Barnett Shale Thermal Maturity from Log Analysis

when MI is 5.0 or less (GOR < 10 mscf/bbl), the shale is within the oil-generation window, and mostly oil with some dissolved gas is produced. When the MI is between 5.0 and 6.0 and the GOR is between 10 and 100 mscf/bbl, the shale is at an early stage of gas generation when wet gas and most condensate are produced. At an MI between 6.0 and 7.0 and a GOR between 100 and 1000 mscf/bbl, the shale is at a middle stage of gas generation when mostly wet gas with some condensate is produced. When MI is above 7.0 and GOR is above 1000 mscf/bbl, the shale is at a late stage of gas generation when mostly dry gas is produced. As the thermal maturity progresses to the late stage of gas generation, the gas heating value falls as low as approximately 1000 Btu/scf because produced gas consists of more than 96% methane and a minor amount of nonhydrocarbon gases (mostly CO2 and N2).

THERMAL MATURITY OF THE BARNETT SHALE Maturity indices calculated from the 184 well logs are plotted on the map of Figure 6. A thermally mature area with an MI greater than 7.0 is identified over most of the Tarrant and Johnson counties. The onset of the thermal gas-generation window is defined by an MI of greater than 5.0 (Figure 6). The total area of the shale within the gas-generation window encompasses about 6000 mi2 (15,500 km2) in more than 10 counties. Areas

Figure 6. Pattern of the thermal maturity from log analysis. The MI for each well is marked beside the well symbol. Eight wells and their MIs from 4.2 to 9.6 on the line AA0 are listed in Table 2. The contour interval is 0.5 in MI. The area less than 5.0 is mainly for oil; the area between 5.0 and 6.0 is mainly for both wet gas and condensate (or oil); the area between 6.0 and 7.0 is for wet gas with a little condensate; the area over 7.0 is for dry gas.

with an MI less than 5.0 initially produce oil with some dissolved gas. Areas having an MI between 5.0 and 6.0 likely produce both wet gas and oil (or condensate). Areas having an MI between 6.0 and 7.0 likely produce wet gas with a small amount of condensate. Dry gas without any condensate is expected in areas with an

MI greater than 7.0. An anomalously low MI occurs in southern Parker County, as shown in Figure 6. Currently, there is no explanation for this anomaly. Gas:oil ratios from 210 Barnett Shale gas-producing wells were mapped throughout the basin (Figure 7). The pattern established from the contouring GOR is Zhao et al. 545

Figure 7. Contour pattern of the initial GOR based on production from Barnett Shale wells. The GOR for each well is marked beside the well symbol in units of thousand cubic feet per barrel. The contour interval is one unit of log(GOR). Most of the wells in Tarrant, Johnson, and Hill counties produce only dry gas, so there are no GOR values (marked as DG) on the map for these counties. The eight wells and their GORs from 1.0 to 9700 mscf/bbl on the line AA0 are listed in Table 2.

found to be very similar to that from the contouring MI. As with MI, the areas with the highest GORs (above 1000 mscf/bbl) are located mostly within Tarrant and Johnson counties. Areas with GOR less than 10 mscf/bbl produce oil, whereas areas with GOR between 10 and 100 mscf/bbl contain both wet gas and oil 546 Barnett Shale Thermal Maturity from Log Analysis

(or condensate). Similarly, areas with GOR between 100 and 1000 mscf/bbl contain wet gas and minor condensate. Dry gas without condensate is likely found in the areas with a GOR greater than 1000 mscf/bbl. Gas heating value measured with British thermal units per standard cubic foot can be used as an indicator

Figure 8. Contour pattern of gas heating values (British thermal units per cubic foot) from Barnett Shale gas. The contour lines in Hill and Bosque counties are estimated because of a lack of wells. The contour interval is 1000 Btu/scf.

of the shale thermal maturity if nonhydrocarbon gas content (N2 and CO2) is small and generally stable. Most of the Barnett Shale wells have about 2% N2 and less than 1% CO2 in produced gas. Gas heating values decrease with the decrease in gas hydrocarbon molecule size. Among the various gas hydrocarbons, methane has the lowest heating value, which is 1010 Btu/scf.

With the thermal maturity of the shale increasing, the percentage of methane in the gas increases. Therefore, the areas with low gas heating values generally indicate high thermal maturity in the shale. Gas heating values from 68 Barnett Shale wells are mapped for the basin (Figure 8). Areas with low gas heating values (about 1000 Btu/scf dry gas) are mainly in Tarrant, Johnson, Zhao et al. 547

western Dallas, and northwestern Hill counties. The areas with high Btu values (about 1200 Btu/scf, wet gas and oil) are in Parker, Hood, Jack, Palo Pinto, northern Wise, and northwestern Denton counties. Generally, the most favorable areas for Barnett Shale gas production (sweet spots) are those with high thermal maturity, greater effective thickness, higher matrix porosity, and away from major faults and away from areas with porous and wet Viola Limestone or Ellenburger Limestone at the base. If all other factors are the same, wells in areas with higher thermal maturity will have better gas productivity and higher gas reserve than those in an area with lower maturity in the gasgeneration window. Most wells in Tarrant and Johnson counties are examples of wells with high gas productivity and reserve.

being equal, the areas with high thermal maturity in the Barnett Shale will have higher gas productivity and reserves per well.

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CONCLUSIONS Thermal maturity is the primary geological factor in exploration and development for the Barnett Shale gas of the Fort Worth Basin; thickness and TOC are important secondary geological factors. A log-derived MI of the shale is a useful indicator of thermal maturity and hydrocarbon phase because the Barnett Shale is a self-sourced reservoir and has a complete maturity spectrum from oil to dry gas. The Barnett Shale contains mainly type II kerogen, and its thermal maturity ranges from oil to dry gas. This provides an ideal opportunity for maturity studies from open-hole wire-line logs and for their correlation with GOR. Good empirical correlations exist between MI and GOR, further supporting the utility of MI as a tool for predicting hydrocarbon phase (oil, condensate, wet gas, or dry gas) in exploration and exploitation. Areas within the gasgeneration window are defined using MIs. Within the gas-generation window, multiple levels of maturity are delineated for the basin. Generally, the contour patterns based on production of oil, wet gas with condensate, or dry gas defined from MI are in good agreement with those from mapping initial GORs and gas heating values. Patterns of thermal maturation for the Barnett Shale from MI, GOR, and gas thermal values identify highly thermal mature areas located in Tarrant, Johnson, northwestern Hill, and western Dallas counties as the core dry gas area. Furthermore, less mature areas away from the core area, as indicated by MI, mainly produce high-Btu wet gas with oil or condensate. All other key geological and engineering factors 548 Barnett Shale Thermal Maturity from Log Analysis

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