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Development Geology

By Asif Akber Obiz Pakistan

Development Geology
Development Geology is the application of geology and related sciences in developing a commercial Oil/Gas/Condensate Field It mainly deals with the physical characteristics of the Reservoir Rocks and the Fluids and the fluids present within them

Development vs. Exploration

Explorationist is not certain about the presence of hydrocarbon in a reservoir deals with the chances whether hydrocarbon would have been
Generated Migrated Accumulated And Stayed In the area of interest or not

little interest in the details of reservoir rock properties Development Team is Certain about the Existence of Hydrocarbon in Commercial Quantity

What to Do after Discovery?

Bring out the Hydrocarbon in a way so that
The Profit is Maximized Remaining within the enforced Rules and Regulations of the Land Maintaining Safety, Health and Environment

Who Will Do It?

Development Team will PLAN it Team will Consist of
Development Geologists Development Geophysicists Petrophysicists Reservoir Engineers Petroleum Economists HSE Professionals

Drilling and Production Teams will Execute and Monitor

How the Profit is Maximized

By taking out maximum quantity of HC with minimum expenditure in minimum time Annual Profit = (Revenue expenses taxes)/Time Period Revenue increases with recovery factor More Expenses for more Recovery More Time required for more Recovery

Actual Total Profit

An amount of $1,000,000 receivable after 20 years is not considered equal to an amount of $1,000,000 receivable next year Depending upon rate of interest, inflation, taxation, risk factors etc. $1,000,000 receivable after 20 years may be considered equal to $100,000 of today This topic is part of Petroleum Economics

Current Value
The Total Revenue and Total Expenses & Taxes receivable and Payable in the whole life of the Hydrocarbon Field are converted into the current value for Comparison Purpose

Development Scenarios
The Development Team makes many development program scenarios (within rules and regulations) These scenarios are evaluated in the terms of Net Profit (current value) The best scenario is selected

Development Plan
A Development Plan specifies stepwise
No. of Production Wells Zones of Production Rate of Production Gathering System Processing System Injection Wells Environmental Protection

Planning needs INFORMATION
Relevant Correct Detailed Sufficient In-time

Guess is used when Information is not sufficient Information is generated by

Data Processing

Reservoir Engineer
Reservoir Engineers make Development Plan They need detailed, accurate and filtered information about the reservoir to make this plan This information includes reservoir rock characters
Thickness, Porosity, Permeability, Fractures Lithology, Water Saturation, etc.

Development Geologist
Development Geologist, along with Development Geophysicist studies the geology of the area, well reports, cores, well logs, seismic model etc. and provides this information For this the reservoir is studied in minute details A depositional model of the reservoir is necessary for this study

Geological Model
Source Model Migration and Trap Model Reservoir Structure Model Reservoir Depositional Model

Source Rock Model

A concern of both Exploration and Development
Which is the Source Rock (or Rocks)? What is its extent? How thick it is? When it was Deposited? How much is the Organic Content in it? When the Oil/Gas was generated? How much Oil/Gas would have been generated?

Problems in Source Rock Modeling

Mostly the Source Rock (or rocks) is much below the Reservoir Rocks Few wells are drilled into the Source Rock The Source Rock may exist partially or totally outside the Lease Area Land Exposures (if any) may be quite away from the Lease Area
Samples collected from Surface Sections may be weathered, contaminated or altered

Bottom Line: Nearly always, Insufficient Data

Migration and Trap Model

A concern of both Exploration and Development
When the Migration took Place? What was the Migration Path?
Oil/Gas move up the hill Needs information about Structural Setup at the time of Migration

Which Traps would have been filled First What was the Trap Geometry at that time? What is the quality of Seal?

Problems in Migration and Trap Modeling

Migration may not be uniform in all the parts of the field Needs tectonic and structural restorations of Past Needs establish continuity of Migration conduit

Reservoir Structure Model

Detailed Model required for Development
Faults dissecting layers
Sealing property

Structure maps for producing layers Minor variations in height of layers Juxtaposition of different producing layers Fractures and their orientation, intensity, opening

Problems in Reservoir Structure Modeling

Exploration Seismic data insufficient for layers modeling Each layer may not be good reflector Data quality is poor near faults 3D data may be required for high resolution

Reservoir Depositional Model

Very important for Development
Thinning and wedging of layers Variations in lithology of layers leading to
Porosity changes Permeability barriers Fractures

Variations due to chanelling

Problems in Reservoir Depositional Modeling

Seismic data may be insufficient for making depositional models Expertise in seismic/sequence stratigraphy is not common Initially very little well and core data available Well data is not available for synclines

What else a Development Geologist is supposed to do?

Location and Prognosis of Development Wells Casing Plan Coring Program Wireline Logging Program Well Testing Program Well Perforation Program Interaction with Geophysicist in making Geophysical Model

Development Approach
A Development Geologist needs
A different set of skills A Development Approach
Viewing rocks in layers, zones and beds Clear concept of Pressure, Pressure Gradients, Reservoir Energy etc.

A Teamwork Attitude
Ability to communicate Geological Information to non-Geologists

Reservoir System
A Reservoir System consists of
Reservoir Rocks Reservoir Fluids Reservoir Pressure/Energy System Reservoir Fluids Flow Phenomenon

Reservoir Rocks
For Reservoir Rocks the most important properties are
Rock Geometry Lithology Porosity Permeability Relationship of Porosity and Permeability Capillary Pressure Fluid Saturation Depth, Temperature

Rock Geometry
Rock Geometry is the Most Important aspect of a Reservoir and its Layers It includes
Shape and Continuity
Shown by Structure Maps

Shown by Thickness Maps

Lithology of the Reservoir is another prominent property
Main lithology, for each Layer
Limestone, Sandstone, Siltstone, Chert, etc.

Lateral variations
Shown by Facies Maps, Percentage Maps, etc.

Vertical variations
Shown by Correlation Charts, Stratigraphic Columns, etc.

Clastic and Non-Clastic Rocks

Sedimentary Reservoir Rocks are mainly divided into Clastic and Non-Clastic Rocks This division controls many properties such as;
Porosity Fractures Lithologic Variations

Clastic Rocks
Clastic rocks are the rocks made of particles of other rocks
Classified according to the size of their grains and the grain geometry The grain geometry controls porosity Grain size controls permeability and water saturation

Non-Clastic Rocks
Basically deposited as Precipitate or biologically
Main non-clastic rocks are Carbonates
Limestone and Dolomite are common good reservoirs

Other are Chert, Gypsum, Salt, etc.

These rocks are rarely good reservoir

Non-Clastic rocks usually have little primary porosity, except in biologically formed rocks Mostly produce from fractures

Other Rocks
Some other reservoir rocks include
Igneous rocks Metamorphic Rocks

Porosity is the ratio of the Pore volume to the total volume of the rock Commonly expressed in percentage The higher the porosity, the more productive the reservoir (other properties remaining constant) Porosity is independent of the pore size

A Pore is the space between grains/crystals of a rock It is occupied by a fluid (liquid, gas or a mixture of liquid and gas)

Absolute and Effective Porosity

Absolute porosity is the total porosity, irrespective of the connectivity of pores Effective porosity is the porosity formed by pores which allow a fluid to flow through them

Primary and Secondary Porosity

Primary Porosity is the porosity of the rock which existed after its compaction, prior to any diagenesis or solution activity Secondary porosity is the porosity created by chemical changes or solution action in the rock, e.g. in Dolomite

Porosity Calculation
Porosity = Vp / Vr
Vp = Pore (Non-solid) Volume Vr = Total Rock Volume

Also (Vr Vs) / Vr

Vs = Volume of Solid in a rock

Porosity Measurement
Porosity is calculated by
Measuring Pore Volume and Total Volume Measuring Solid Volume and Total Volume Measuring Specific Gravity of the Rock and Specific Gravity of the Solid Part of rock

Porosity can be approximately calculated

By measuring Specific Gravity from Logs By Sonic Logs By Electric Logs

Methods of Porosity Measurement

Reliability of Measured Porosity

Porosity of Clastic Rocks

Porosity of Non-Clastic Rocks


Permeability and its Measurement

Relative Permeability

Gas Correction

Directional Permeability

Role of Fractures

Relationship of Porosity and Permeability

Grain Size and Permeability

Capillary Pressure

Fluid Saturation

Reservoir Fluids


Phase Behavior

Fluid Properties

Reservoir Drive

Reservoir Water

Subsurface Pressure System

Hydrostatic Pressure

Rock Overburden Pressure

Over Pressure Zones

Flow Phenomenon

Break Through



Reservoir Evaluation

Data Needed

Reservoir Geometry

Fracture System

Pore Properties

Fluid Properties

Pressure and Temperature

Reservoir Energy System

Data Sources

Sources of Error

Seismic Data 2D/3D

Well Cuttings


Well Logs

Production Tests

Fluid Analysis

Data Processing


Petrophysical Analysis

Information Generated

Reservoir Layers and their Geometry

Distribution of Hydrocarbon

Gas-Oil, Oil-Water, Gas-Water Contacts

Porosity & Water Saturation Pattern of each Layer

Evaluated Reserves

Proven, Probable, Possible

Exploitation Plan

Field Development

Number of Wells

Well Spacing

Directional and Horizontal Drilling

Casing Plan

Well Completion

Perforation Plan

Drilling a Well

Drilling Plan

Drilling Fluid Requirements

Coring Plan


Well Testing Plan


Which Zones to Flow

Enhanced Recovery

Gas Injection/Water Injection

Other Techniques

Reservoir Engineering

Volumetric/ Material Balance Reserves Calculation

Reservoir Simulation