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Principles and Interpretation of

Sonic Logs
PETE 3036
Well Logging

Fall 2015

Objectives
1. To understand the physical principles behind the
operation of Sonic logging tools,
2. To learn how to interpret sonic/acoustic logs in terms
of lithology and types of fluids, and some other
petrophysical properties
3. To understand the importance of environmental and
interpretation corrections applied to sonic logs.

Reference for Reading


Chapter 16, Openhole Log Analysis and
Formation Evaluation by Bateman, Second
Edition
Chapters 3 and 10 of the book Theory,
Measurement, and Interpretation of Well Logs
by Z. Bassiouni, Z.,1994, SPE Textbook Series
Vol. 4, Richardson, Texas.

Acoustic waves
Acoustic waves are pressure waves that propagate (move)
through the earth in a manner and velocity that is
dependent upon the characteristics and geometry of the
formations. These waves are recorded and analyzed to
estimate many properties of interest in the oil field.
Acoustic waves move through a medium as wavefronts.
The wavefronts are classified by how they move in relation
to the particle movement.

Acoustic Classifications
term

Definition

Seismic

Seismic means to shake or to move violently. Seismic applications in the oil field
originated from the study of seismic events in the earth (i.e., earthquakes). Seismic
applications can be distinguished from other acoustic applications as the energy wave
can be felt as it moves through the earth. Seismic measurements cover very large areas.

sonic

Sonic applications fall into a higher range of frequencies than seismic. These are the
frequencies that can be heard by most human beings. The area of investigation of sonic
waves is much smaller than that of seismic waves. Sonic measurements can be thought
of as microseismic measurements.

Ultrasonic Ultrasonic waves can neither be heard nor felt by people. The area of investigation of
ultrasonic waves is very small and is normally directly in front of the energy source.

Analyzing Sound
The analysis of the sonic waveform falls into
two categories:
Velocity measurements
Amplitude measurements

Velocity Measurements
The measurement of the speed at which each of the
wave fronts (compressional and shear) travel along the
borehole has several applications:
Time to depth conversion can be accomplished by
using the compressional velocity.
Porosity can be estimated by using the compressional
velocity.
Elastic properties can be determined by the
relationship between compressional and shear
velocities which can be used to estimate properties such
as:
Poisson's ratio
Young's Modulus of elasticity

Sonic Log: Emitters and Receivers


Sonic logging tools utilize devices called transducers to
generate and detect acoustic energy.
A transducer can convert electrical energy into
mechanical energy or mechanical energy into electrical
energy
Most commonly used in sonic tools fall into three
categories:
Magnetostrictive
Piezoelectric
Electromagnetic

Amplitude Measurements
The measurement of the amplitudes of
the received waveforms is primarily a
cased hole application. The primary
application of this measurement is to
determine the density of the material
that is behind the casing.
Sonic amplitudes are measured with
the same equipment used for the open
hole velocity measurements. Since
slowness is not being measured only
one receiver is needed. Because of
different applications, most amplitude
measuring tools consist of a minimum
of one transmitter and two receivers.

SONIC/ ACOUSTIC LOGS


Applications:
Porosity & Lithology
Mechanical Properties: Fracture Pressure,
Sanding Potential
Detection of Natural Fractures/ gas zones

Calibration of Seismic- synthetic seismograms

Sonic (or Acoustic) Logs


t = tf + tma (1- )
tf = 189 sec/ft
tma = 55.5 sec/ft sandstone

More generally:

t = A + B
Single-receiver system

Basics of Sonic/Seismic Waves


Sound velocity ranges from 5300 ft/sec (water) to
23000ft/sec
Corresponding DT (transit time) is 189 sec/ft (water)
to 43.5 sec/ft.(Dolomite)
DTc = 106/ Vc

VC

E (1 )
(1 )(1 2 )

VS

where, G is Rigidity of medium; b is bulk density


Usually when porosity increases rigidity (G) decreases
faster than density decrease
Therefore with porosity increasing velocity of sound
decreases

Porosity Determination
Wyllie time Average Method for Determining
Porosity

tlog = tf + tma (1- )

Units of sec/ft (inverse of velocity)

t log t ma

t
f
ma

Compressional Wave Transit Time (tc) (for use in Wyllie Time-average


equation)
In general
Sandstone:
51-55.5 sec/ft
Limestone:
43.5-47.5 ,sec/ft
Dolomite:
43.5 sec/ft
Anhydrite:
50.0 sec/ft
Fresh water:
189 sec/ft
Salt water:
185 sec/ft

Common Lithology Matrix


Travel Times Used

Lithology
Sandstone
Limestone
Dolomite
Anydridte
Salt

Typical Matrix Travel


Time, tma, sec/ft
55.5
47.5
43.5
50.0
66.7

Wyllie time Average Method for


Determining Porosity
Found to over predict porosity in under
compacted formations.
Under compacted formations can be identified by
tsh > 100 sec/ft.
In under compacted formations, a correction
factor can be calculated
Bcp = tsh / 100
Modified Wylie equation becomes:

t log t ma 1
.

B

t
cp
f
ma

Problems:
Transit time includes path
through mud.
Logging tool must be
centralized.
Cycle skipping

Single-receiver system

Compressional
waves

E1

E3

E2

T0
50
sec

Rayleigh
waves

Mud waves

ACOUSTIC (SONIC) LOG


Tool usually consists of
one sound transmitter
(above) and two receivers
(below)

Upper
transmitter
R1
R2
R3
R4
Lower
transmitter

Sound is generated, travels


through formation
Elapsed time between
sound wave at receiver 1
vs receiver 2 is dependent
upon density of medium
through which the sound
traveled

term

Definition

Compressional The compressional arrival is used to estimate the velocity of the formation and the
energy transferred at the boundaries between materials in a well. The
compressional wave has the highest velocity.

Shear

The shear arrival is used to estimate the shear velocity of the formation. The shear
wave is slower than the compressional wave. It ca be as much as one half the
velocity of the compressional wave.

Stoneley

The Stoneley wave is the lowest wave. It exists only on the boundary between the
borehole and the formation. The Stoneley wave has ramifications in fracture
identification.

SONIC LOGS
Types of Sound
Waves:
Compressional/
Pressure/
longitudinal
Shear/ transverse
Stonely / guided

Any point on the interface excited by the advancing wave


front produces pressure wavelets in the mud. These wavelets
expand at the velocity of mud forming a head-wave. The
head-wave velocity measured parallel to the borehole is equal
to the wave front that formed it. The process shown is for a
compressional wave. The same process applies for shear
waves.

The of the material behind the


casing is low. Therefore, the
acoustic impedance is low and
Z1/Z2 is high.

The of the material behind the


casing is high. Therefore, the
acoustic impedance is low and
Z1/Z2 is low.

FACTORS AFFECTING SONIC


LOG RESPONSE
Unconsolidated formations
Naturally fractured formations
Hydrocarbons (especially gas)
Rugose salt sections

Mud-path correction time as a function


of formation compressional velocity.

Comparison between single- and dualreceiver system response

Example of a sonic log

3- and 1-ft-spacing sonic logs recoded in


a west Texas well.

Two-receiver system wave path in case of (a) tilted


tool and (b) irregular borehole.

Log example of effect of borehole enlargement in


thick and thin beds.

BHC tool in a tilted position with


respect to hole axis.

Comparison of a BHC log run with a centered sonde to one run with
a deliberately tilted sonde.

Comparison of 1-ft-span conventional sonic log and 2-ft-span


BHC sonic log

ISF/sonic combination log showing the Wilcox


formation of Louisiana.

t log t ma 1
.

B

t
cp
f
ma

Electrical and sonic logs

Example
Shale velocity is 120 ft/section: undercompacted
Bcp = 120/100 = 1.2
Travel time in the wet sand is 113 sec/foot
Travel time for sandstone is 55.5 sec/foot
Travel time for water is 189 sec/foot
= [ (113-55.5)/(189-55.5)]/ 1.2 = 36%
Gas slower velocity than water other effects
True Porosity in Gas Zone = .7 calculated from
time average method assuming fluid is water
Crude Oil Travel time = 238 sec/foot

Two or more receivers


eliminates path through
mud in borehole.

Provided wellbore is
uniform diameter.

Schematic of the sonic tool incorporating the


dual-receiver system concept.

Spacing vs. transmitter-to-receiver time.

Minimum critical transmitter/receiver spacing, (LS)c,


required to ensure that first arrivals are compressional
waves.

DEPTH OF INVESTIGATION
Depth of investigation varies with wavelength
= velocity/frequency
velocity = 5000-25000 ft/sec
frequency of 20kHz = 20000 cycles per second
varies from 0.25 to 1.25 ft
Thickness of 3 is required to support a compressional
Wave
Therefore, depth of investigation will vary with the
velocity in the formation higher velocity, greater
depth
0.75 ft to 3.75 feet

Enlarged Boreholes
Minimum critical transmitter to receiver distance
may exceed tool design in enlarged boreholes and
slow formations (high cmf)
Washouts in unconsolidated sandstone formations
may result in anamalously slow travel time
readings
looks like cycle skipping
subjectively edited out replaced with data from
regional trend curves for seismic calibration
cannot be used for porosity or lithology
determination

Sonic log shown cycle skipping caused by slow gas


formations.

Sonic logs obtained in fractured and fissured Edwards


limestone, south Texas.

Cycle skipping
occurs when
compressional
wave is
attenuated due
to gas and
fractures.

Schematic of the waveform at the receiver showing time


measured by the single-receiver system.

Cycle Skipping
Indicated by anomalously slow travel times
Thin beds, gas sands, poorly consolidated
formations
Identification: comparison with expected
results from adjacent sands and trend curves
Subjectively edited with trend data or data
from other logs
OK for synthetic seismic, time to depth
conversions
Porosity or lithology determination not possible

Homework
What is the compressional and shear waves
travel time at 6600, 6650, 6918, and 9950 feet?
What is the sonic velocity at these depths?
What is the sonic porosity in the sandstones?
If the sandstones grains were calcite instead of
quartz, what would be the porosity?
If a neutron log showed 28% porosity in a
carbonate rock, and a sonic log showed 20%
porosity, what is the percentage of vuggy
porosity?
Problem 10.3 from the textbook

Sonic Logging

Applications of the sonic log


Application of the Wylie Time Average Equation
Correction for undercompacted sands
Units- velocity, travel time
Concepts of mud velocity, critical transmitter/receiver
spacing
Recognizing effect of enlarged boreholes, cycle skipping

Log Evaluation
QUESTION: what zones are potential economic
hydrocarbon reservoirs
REQUIRED: porosity, permeability and hydrocarbons
SANDSTONES

STEP 1 Identify sands


STEP 2 Identify resistive sands
STEP 3 Confirm porosity
STEP 4 More detailed analysis for SW, , H, k

CARBONATES
STEP 1 Identify porous zones
STEP 2 Identify resistive zones
STEP 3 More detailed analysis

Gas Effect

Density - is too high


Neutron - is too low

Sonic - is not significantly


affected by gas

Terminology
Pay zone that contains economic
hydrocarbons
Gross sand true vertical thickness of total
sand
Net sand gross sand thickness minus
thickness of interbedded shale or tight streaks
Net pay net sand that contains hydrocarbons

ACOUSTIC (SONIC) LOG


Working equation

t L S xo t mf 1 S xo t hc
Vsh t sh 1 Vsh t ma
tL

= Recorded parameter, travel time read from log

Sxo tmf

= Mud filtrate portion

(1 - Sxo) thc = Hydrocarbon portion


Vsh tsh = Shale portion
(1 - - Vsh) tma = Matrix portion

ACOUSTIC (SONIC) LOG


If Vsh = 0 and if hydrocarbon is liquid (i.e. tmf
tf), then
tL = tf + (1 - ) tma
or

tL t ma
s
t f t ma
s = Porosity calculated from sonic log reading,
fraction

tL = Travel time reading from log,


microseconds/ft
tma = Travel time in matrix, microseconds/ft
tf = Travel time in fluid, microseconds/ ft

ACOUSTIC (SONIC) LOG


0

GR
API

CALIX
IN

DT
200

16

140

USFT

40

30

SPHI
%

10

4100
Sonic travel time

Gamma
Ray
Sonic
porosity

4200

Caliper

SONIC LOG
001) BONANZA 1
GRC
0
150
SPC
-160 MV
40
ACAL
6
16

0.2
0.2

0.2

ILDC
SNC
MLLCF

200
200

RHOC
1.95
2.95
CNLLC
0.45
-0.15

DT
150 us/f 50

200

10700

150

10800

Sonic
Log
10900

DT
us/f

50

EXAMPLE
Calculating Rock Porosity
Using an Acoustic Log
Calculate the porosity for the following intervals. The measured travel times
from the log are summarized in the following table.

At depth of 10,820, acoustic log reads travel time of 65 s/ft.


Calculate porosity. Does this value agree with density and
neutron logs?
Assume a matrix travel time, tm = 51.6 sec/ft. In addition, assume the
formation is saturated with water having a tf = 189.0 sec/ft.

EXAMPLE SOLUTION SONIC LOG


001) BONANZA 1
GRC
0
150
SPC
-160 MV
40
ACAL
6
16

0.2
0.2

0.2

ILDC
SNC
MLLCF

200
200

RHOC
1.95
2.95
CNLLC
0.45
-0.15

DT
150 us/f 50
SPHI
45
ss
-15

200

10700

10800

SPHI

10900