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E&P NOTES

AUTHORS

Integrated core-log petrofacies


analysis in the construction of
a reservoir geomodel: A case
study of a mature Mississippian
carbonate reservoir using
limited data
Saibal Bhattacharya, John H. Doveton, Timothy R. Carr,
Willard R. Guy, and Paul M. Gerlach

ABSTRACT
Small independent operators produce most of the Mississippian
carbonate fields in the United States mid-continent, where a lack
of integrated characterization studies precludes maximization of
hydrocarbon recovery. This study uses integrative techniques to
leverage extant data in an Osagian and Meramecian (Mississippian)
cherty carbonate reservoir in Kansas. Available data include petrophysical logs of varying vintages, limited number of cores, and production histories from each well. A consistent set of assumptions
were used to extract well-level porosity and initial saturations,
from logs of different types and vintages, to build a geomodel. Lacking regularly recorded well shut-in pressures, an iterative technique,
based on material balance formulations, was used to estimate average reservoir-pressure decline that matched available drillstem test
data and validated log-analysis assumptions.
Core plugs representing the principal reservoir petrofacies provide critical inputs for characterization and simulation studies. However, assigning plugs among multiple reservoir petrofacies is difficult in complex (carbonate) reservoirs. In a bottom-up approach,
raw capillary pressure (P c) data were plotted on the Super-Pickett
plot, and log- and core-derived saturation-height distributions were
reconciled to group plugs by facies, to identify core plugs representative of the principal reservoir facies, and to discriminate facies

Copyright #2005. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.
Manuscript received December 22, 2004; provisional acceptance March 22, 2005; revised manuscript
received May 27, 2005; final acceptance June 3, 2005.
DOI:10.1306/06030504144

AAPG Bulletin, v. 89, no. 10 (October 2005), pp. 1257 1274

1257

Saibal Bhattacharya  Petroleum


Research Section, Kansas Geological Survey,
1930 Constant Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas
66047; saibal@ku.edu
Saibal Bhattacharya holds a B.Tech. degree
in petroleum engineering from the Indian
School of Mines (India), M.S. degrees in petroleum and environmental engineering, and an
M.B.A. degree from the University of Kansas.
As a reservoir engineer at the Kansas Geological
Survey, his research focuses on integrated
reservoir characterization, simulation, and field
demonstration studies. He is a member of the
Society of Petroleum Engineers and AAPG.
John H. Doveton  Petroleum Research
Section, Kansas Geological Survey, 1930
Constant Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66047
John Doveton is a senior scientist at the Kansas
Geological Survey. He received a B.A. degree
from Oxford University and a Ph.D. from Edinburgh University, both in geology. Prior to
going to the Kansas Geological Survey, he
was an exploration geologist with Mobil Canada.
His research interests are in petrophysics and
mathematical geology.
Timothy R. Carr  Petroleum Research
Section, Kansas Geological Survey, 1930
Constant Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66047
Timothy Carr is chief of the Energy Research
Section of the Kansas Geological Survey and
codirector of the Kansas University Energy
Research Center. Tim has a B.S. degree
(economics) and a Ph.D. (geology) from the
University of Wisconsin, along with an M.S.
degree from Texas Tech University (geology).
He worked for 13 years for ARCO Oil and Gas
as a research and exploration geologist.
Willard R. Guy  Petroleum Research
Section, Kansas Geological Survey, 1930
Constant Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66047
Willard J. (Bill) Guy graduated from the University of Colorado in 1955. He was an exploration geologist with the Union Oil Company
for 25 years, Kirkwood Oil and Gas for 6 years,
and a consultant for 5 years. For the past
14 years, he has been a research geologist
with the Kansas Geological Survey, where his

primary research interests have been in log


analysis and petrophysics and petroleum
exploration.
Paul M. Gerlach  Charter Development
Corporation, 225 North Market, Suite 340,
Wichita, Kansas
Paul Gerlach specializes in reservoir modeling
by integrating geological and geophysical data.
He has more than 30 years of experience working in the Anadarko basin, Hugoton embayment, Las Animas arch, central Kansas uplift,
and Sedgwick basin. Prior to working at Charter
Consulting, he was a research scientist at the
Kansas Geological Survey and vice president
of exploration at Charter Production Co.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors acknowledge the financial assistance received from U.S. Department of Energy
(Grants DE-PC22-93BC14987 and DE-FC2601BC15276) to carry out this study.

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in the logged interval. P c data from representative core plugs were


used for effective pay evaluation to estimate water cut from completions, in infill and producing wells, and guide-selective perforations for economic exploitation of mature fields.
The results from this study were used to drill 22 infill wells.
Techniques demonstrated here can be applied in other fields and
reservoirs.

OVERVIEW
Independent producers form a significant component of the petroleum industry, drilling 90% of the wells (IPAA, 2005) in the United
States. They produce 65% and 85% (Gratton, 2005) of the nations
oil and natural gas, respectively, in the lower 48 states and operated
77% of the wells drilled in the federal Gulf of Mexico waters in 2000
(PTCC, 2002). Mississippian carbonate reservoirs account for nearly
17% of the 6 billion bbl (0.954 billion m3) of oil produced in Kansas
(as of 2003). With declining production in other age reservoirs, the
contribution of Mississippian reservoirs to the states oil production
has increased to 33% over the past decade. Mississippian production
is distributed over a large number of small- and medium-size reservoirs that are predominantly operated by independent producers
(90% having fewer than 20 employees) with limited resources.
The objective of this study was to define techniques that can
be used to identify areas with recoverable reserves in the Osagian
and Meramecian (Mississippian) carbonate reservoirs in western
Kansas. The goal was to tailor existing advanced technology to the
scale appropriate for operations in the mid-continent and demonstrate incremental recovery through a field application. As part of
the effort, inexpensive techniques were used to analyze and leverage available geologic, petrophysical, production, and pressure
data. This article demonstrates an integrated application of costeffective tools to characterize the Schaben field (Ness County,
Kansas), a Mississippian carbonate and chert reservoir located in
central Kansas, using limited available data.
In the Schaben field, available petrophysical logs are of varied
types and vintages as in many other mature mid-continent fields.
A consistent set of assumptions had to be developed by integrating available core data and petrophysical logs to estimate porosity
and S w (initial water saturation) at each well to construct a threedimensional (3-D) volumetric model of the reservoir. Assumptions made during log analyses were validated using an independent method based on material balance formulations and tailored
to limited reservoir-pressure data. Critical inputs to any reservoirsimulation study include relative permeability, capillary-pressure
data, and permeability-porosity correlations. These data are commonly obtained from special core analyses on core plugs from
the reservoir interval or from a rock catalog. However, in a complex and heterogeneous reservoir such as the Mississippian in the
Schaben field, it is important to identify core plugs representative

of the principal reservoir petrofacies among the


family of core plugs taken from the reservoir interval. Using an augmented Pickett plot (the SuperPickett plot) as a template, laboratory-measured coreplug data were reconciled with log data to classify
core plugs by their petrofacies and to identify a subset
of core plugs representative of the principal reservoir petrofacies. Special core analyses on these representative core plugs provided relevant inputs to fullfield simulation studies.
An infill drilling program was initiated based on
the results of the full-field simulation studies. However, it became evident during infill drilling that it
is imperative for operators to identify effective pay
for selective perforation to minimize water production. Wells in many Mississippian fields, including the
Schaben, commonly produce significant oil volumes
despite high log-derived S w values. Modern nuclear
magnetic resonance (NMR) logs have been effective in
identifying effective pay in reservoirs with high logderived S w values. However, in a mature field like the
Schaben, no NMR logs were available, and economics
prevent routine applications of NMR logs in the infill
wells. Therefore, a procedure to evaluate effective pay
was developed using capillary-pressure measurements
on plugs representing the principal reservoir facies.
Our study of this relatively complex field indicates that inexpensive techniques can be used to generate value-added information necessary to enhance
production from mature fields with limited data.

GEOLOGIC SETTING
Most of the Mississippian production in Kansas occurs
at or near the top of the Mississippian strata located
below the regional sub-Pennsylvanian unconformity.
On the basis of current geologic interpretation (Montgomery et al., 2000), the upper surface of the Mississippian is an erosional karst terrain. The combination
of the karsted erosional surface, original depositional
facies, and subsequent diagenesis has had a significant
control on the development and preservation of reservoir quality. Consequently, Mississippian (Osagian and
Meramecian) reservoirs, principally shallow-marine,
cherty, dolomitic limestone such as those present in
the study area are extremely heterogeneous. Carr et al.
(1998, 1999) reported that the dipping Mississippian
strata, deposited on a shallow-marine ramp environment, were structurally uplifted, and differential erosion at the post-Mississippian unconformity resulted

in paleotopographic highs. These topographic highs


are viewed as the most favorable locations for petroleum exploration. Depositional facies control the development of favorable reservoir strata, as is borne out
by studies correlating high minipermeameter readings
and increasing oil shows in spicule-rich facies where
abundant evaporites had been originally present. Minipermeameter readings record lower values, and oil stains
are lacking in echinoderm-rich wackestone-packstone
facies. Core studies (Carr et al., 1999; Montgomery
et al., 2000) indicate that early diagenetic events, such
as dolomitization, dissolution, silica cementation and
replacement, associated fracturing and brecciation,
poikilotopic calcite replacement, and cementation are
important factors in the development of reservoir architecture in Mississippian fields of the mid-continent.
Additional studies are necessary to evaluate and better understand the controls on Mississippian reservoir
architecture to maximize incremental recovery from
these mature fields.

SCHABEN FIELD
The Schaben field, Ness County, Kansas, is located in
the upper shelf of the Hugoton embayment of the
Anadarko basin (Figure 1). The field produces oil from
dolostones and limestones of the lower Meramecian
Warsaw Limestone and Osagian Keokuk Limestone
(Mississippian). The Schaben field was selected as representative of many mature Mississippian oil fields in
Kansas. The productive Meramecian and Osagian dolomites lie beneath the sub-Pennsylvanian unconformity. Sedimentologic and diagenetic studies (Carr et al.,
1998, 1999; Montgomery et al., 2000) conducted on
three cores from and around the Schaben field study
area indicate that the Mississippian interval is made
up of two flow units. The basal unit is interpreted
to have been deposited in a normal to somewhat restricted marine environment and contains an abundance of echinoderm-rich intervals with a diverse faunal assemblage. The upper flow unit consists of sponge
spicule-rich facies containing silicified replacements of
original evaporite minerals. A subaerial exposure horizon (internal unconformity) separates the upper reservoir flow unit from the lower, with the post-Mississippian
unconformity capping the entire sequence. The productive Mississippian reservoir interval lies within the
upper sponge spicule-rich wackestone-packstone facies. Most of the porosity resides as molds of spicules,
vugs, and intercrystalline pores in a dolospar matrix.
Bhattacharya et al.

1259

Figure 1. Structure map on the Mississippian system in Kansas showing the


distribution of major Mississippian fields
(green dots). The regional cross-section
shows the Mississippian subcropping the
pre-Pennsylvanian unconformity near the
central Kansas uplift. The general location of the Schaben field is highlighted
both on the cross section and in the structure map. Modified from Goebel and
Merriam (1957).

Fractures and brecciation further enhanced or reduced


reservoir quality.
Available petrophysical logs were used to identify
the top of the Mississippian pay (porosity). All available
petrophysical logs and well data (perforations, drillstem
tests, and casing depths) were integrated with results
from pseudoseismic analyses (Hopkins et al., 1996) to
map gross flow units and oil-water contact across the
field (Carr et al., 1998). Structure and isopach maps for
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all important stratigraphic intervals in the Schaben


field are accessible over the Internet (Kansas Geological Survey, 1996).
The Schaben producing area consisted of 70 completed wells spaced primarily on 40-ac (16-ha) spacing
with the discovery well drilled in 1963. Cumulative
production from this area as of February 2004 was
9.6 MMSTB (1.526 million m3) of oil, and the daily
production rate, before the initiation of this study, from

48 wells averaged 326 BOPD (52 m3/day). The Schaben


demonstration site (also called the Schaben field),
selected for detailed characterization and simulation
study in this project, is spread over select sections located in T19S, R21W and T19S, R22W, Ness County,
Kansas, and well locations and leases are highlighted
in Figure 2. At the beginning of the study, the demonstration area produced 141 BOPD (22 m3/day) from
29 wells.

ANALYSES OF PETROPHYSICAL LOGS:


DIFFERENT TYPES AND VINTAGES
The Pickett plot (1973) is a widely used graphical tool
for log analysis, where resistivity and porosity logs are
crossplotted and related to contours of water saturation determined by the Archie (1942) equation
Sw a  Rw =Porositym  Rt 1=n

In the above equation, S w is water saturation (fraction),


a is the Archie coefficient, R w is the formation water
resistivity (in ohm meters), m is Archies cementation
exponent, R t is the formation resistivity (in ohm meters),
n is the saturation exponent, and porosity is expressed
as a fraction. A principal use of the plot is to refine the
values of the Archie equation parameters and the formation water resistivity, but its broader function as a
pattern recognition device to evaluate reservoir structure was described in the pioneer article of Pickett
(1973). The imposition of water saturation contours on
the plot results in a mapping transformation from a grid
of logarithmic resistivity and porosity axes to a water
saturation-porosity coordinate system. Consequently,
trends and associations of crossplotted log data can
be related directly to reservoir properties. The dualcoordinate system of the Pickett plot is the key to the
integrative analysis of log and core data that is the focus of this article. Any reservoir property expressed in
porosity and water saturation (or transforms of these
variables) can be represented on the plot, so that core
and log data can be evaluated simultaneously. The application of this technique has been enhanced through
the development of the Super-Pickett crossplot (Doveton et al., 1996), which enables integration of lithology, pore-size distribution, and capillary-pressure data
with log analysis. A spreadsheet-based program was
used to construct Super-Pickett crossplots using porosity and resistivity logs as inputs. Several features

enhance the interpretation of the Super-Pickett plot,


and these included using color to track data points by
depth or other attribute(s) to facilitate pattern recognition, overlaying contours such as capillary pressure
and permeability based on the Wylie-Rose equation
(Wyllie and Rose, 1950). Super-Pickett plots have been
used in various field applications (Bhattacharya et al.,
1999; Doveton, 1999; Watney et al., 1999).
Similar to many fields in the mid-continent, the
initial development at the Schaben field was conducted between 1964 and 1973. A full suite of petrophysical logs were available for 36 wells in the study
area. However, the type of logs available to calculate
porosity (and therefore S w) varied among the wells.
The most common sources available for porosity calculations were the microlaterolog followed by neutrondensity and sonic logs, and the following sections describe their analyses.
Analysis of Neutron-Density Porosity Logs
The initial log analysis was conducted on wells where
neutron-density porosity logs were available because
these modern logs provide the best estimate of the
formation porosity. A Super-Pickett plot (Figure 3)
was constructed using petrophysical log data from the
Ritchie Exploration 2P Lyle Schaben well. The plotted
data range in depth from 4390 to 4423 ft (1338 to
1348 m), with the perforated interval (red points)
extending from 4400 to 4404 ft (1341 to 1342 m). The
oil-water transition zone is apparent on the plot because the points (shown in green and then blue), with
increasing depth, trace across increasing saturation contours to water saturation (S w) close to 80%. The SuperPickett plot of the available data indicates that the
logging tool stopped short of the oil-water contact represented by S w = 100% contour. Similar Super-Pickett
plots of the Mississippian interval were constructed for
other wells with neutron-density logs to calculate the
porosity and S w for reservoir zones.
Analysis of Microlaterologs
Microlaterologs are commonly the only source of porosity data in mature fields developed prior to 1970.
Mud-filtrate resistivity (R mf, in ohm meters) and oil
saturation in the flushed zone (R os, fraction) are critical
values for porosity calculation from the microlaterolog (MLL).
Porosity Rmf =MLL0:5  1=1  Ros
Bhattacharya et al.

2
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Figure 2. Mississippian isopach map (above oil-water contact) in Schaben field, Kansas, highlighting well locations and leases comprising the study area. The original Schaben
wells are shown by black circles, whereas red circles indicate the locations of infill wells drilled as a result of this study.

Figure 3. The Super-Pickett plot of Ritchie Exploration 2P Lyle Schaben well, located in Section 31, T19S, R21W, Ness County,
Kansas, displaying neutron-density porosity and deep resistivity (ILD) from the interval 4390 4423 ft (1338 1348 m). Plotted points
are 0.5 ft (0.15 m) apart and colored according to depth. The black diamonds mark the transition from one depth interval (color) to
the next, whereas the line joining the plotted points enable pattern recognition by tracing their depth sequence. Tight clustering of
plotted points may conceal the black diamonds and the connecting line. Capillary-pressure data from core plugs L10, L15, L22, and
L42 are plotted as height (feet) above oil-water contact contours and are shown by red lines. The perforated interval extends from
4400 to 4404 ft (1341 to 1342 m). Water saturation (S w) contours are shown in blue. The arrows indicate the expected shift in
location of the green and blue points if they belonged to the same petrofacies as the red points and is discussed under the section
Identification of Core Plugs Representative of Reservoir Petrofacies.

However, no records of R mf and R os that can be considered representative were available for wells in the
Schaben field. Porosity and S w derived from whole
core analysis from Ritchie Exploration 1D Moore well
were found to approximate porosity and S w values
calculated from the MLL data using R mf = 0.065 ohm
m and R os = 37%. The use of these R mf and R os values
resulted in similar matches in wells with MLL and core
analysis data, and they were used consistently to analyze the remaining microlaterologs. A Super-Pickett
plot (Figure 4) was constructed for Ritchie Exploration 1D Moore well using the above values of R mf and
R os with the producing zone 4388 4394 ft (1337
1339 m) represented in red. For the producing zone,
the plot indicates an average log-derived porosity of
16.7% and an average S w of 59.5%.
At each well, the initial production test data and
fluid production history during the initial few years

were compared to the Super-Pickett pattern of the


perforated and open-hole interval to establish minimum cutoff parameters for oil production. We observed that in productive wells, with neutron-density
logs and/or microlaterologs, the cutoff porosity and
gamma-ray values were approximately 13% and 40j API,
respectively.
Analysis of Sonic Logs
In reservoirs with complex lithology, mineralogy commonly influences permeability and productivity. The
mineral composition of the matrix is important to accurately estimate porosity, and pore character is commonly related to the mineralogy. The problem of lithologic identification becomes more complex when the
matrix is a mixture of different minerals and also varies in composition with depth. Modern logs such as
Bhattacharya et al.

1263

Figure 4. The Super-Pickett plot of Ritchie Exploration 1D Moore well, located in Section 30, T19S, R21W, Ness County, Kansas,
displaying porosity from microlaterologs and deep resistivity data from the interval 4388 4407 ft (1337.51343.3 m). Plotted points
are 0.5 ft (0.15 m) apart and colored according to depth. The black diamonds mark the transition from one depth interval (color) to
the next, whereas the line joining the plotted points enables pattern recognition by tracing their depth sequence. Tight clustering of
plotted points may conceal the black diamonds and the connecting line. Capillary-pressure data from core plugs L10, L15, L22, L42,
and F16 are plotted as height (feet) above oil-water contact contours and are shown by red lines. The perforated interval extends
from 4388 to 4394 ft (1337 to 1339 m). Water saturation contours are shown in blue.

the photoelectric factor (PE) were available in a few


Schaben field wells and were used to construct apparent density (RHOmaa) versus volumetric photoelectric
absorption of the matrix (U maa) plots (Figure 5). These
plots show that the reservoir rock is a mixture of
dolomite and quartz, which is consistent with that
observed in cores taken from the field. The acoustic
traveltime of the rock matrix, which is dependent on
the lithology, is a critical factor in porosity calculation
from a sonic log. Typical matrix velocities for dolomite
and quartz are 43.5 msec/ft and 55.5 msec/ft. With the
reservoir rock representing a combination of dolomite
and quartz, the available sonic logs were analyzed using
different average matrix velocities. The best match
between sonic porosity and microlaterolog porosity, at
the two wells where both logs were available, was
attained using a matrix velocity of 44 msec/ft. No well
had both neutron-density and sonic logs. Previously,
established porosity and gamma-ray cutoffs were also
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applicable to the perforated and open-hole intervals


in productive wells with sonic logs when an average
matrix traveltime of 44 msec/ft was used to solve for
sonic porosity.

VOLUMETRIC ESTIMATION
OF ORIGINAL RESERVES
After completion of log analysis at individual wells, a
volumetric 3-D model was developed for the Schaben
field. Drillstem test and initial production test data were
integrated to establish the fieldwide oil-water contact,
estimated between  2145 and  2148 ft (  653.8 and
 654.7 m) subsea. Average porosity, S w, and Mississippian pay thickness above the oil-water contact were
mapped using grid cell sizes of 220  220 ft (67.1 
67.1 m). The map grids were imported into spreadsheets to carry out grid-cell by grid-cell volumetric

Figure 5. RHOmaa-U maa plot constructed


using petrophysical log data from the
Mississippian interval, ranging between
4390 and 4423 ft (1338.1 and 1348.1 m),
from the Ritchie Exploration 2P Lyle
Schaben well to analyze lithologic composition of reservoir rock.

calculations. Based on the reservoir geomodel, the


volumetric original oil in place was calculated to be
37.8 MMSTB (6 million m3). Various assumptions had
been made while analyzing the microlaterolog and
sonic logs, necessitating the validation of the volumetric geomodel. Such an exercise would help cross-check
whether the volume of initial reserves, as calculated
from the volumetric model in conjunction with an active aquifer, could support the observed history of fluid
(oil and water) production and, in the process, undergo
a pressure decline similar to that evident from available drillstem test shut-in data over a period of 34 yr.

VALIDATION OF VOLUMETRICS:
MATERIAL BALANCE CALCULATIONS
Material balance serves as a powerful tool to validate a
reservoir geomodel before using it as a basis for simulation study. Dake (1994) cautions that simulation
studies will not remedy a geomodel that cannot be
validated by material balance. Irrespective of geometrical considerations (geologic model), material balance
applies physical laws to confirm if the volumetric original oil in place acting under a specified drive mechanism is capable of producing the recorded (surface)
fluid volumes while undergoing an average pressure
decline similar to that recorded historically in the field.
Standard inputs to material balance calculations in-

clude production and pressure histories, PVT (pressure,


volume, and temperature) properties of reservoir fluids,
and the reservoir drive mechanism. However, similar
to other mature fields in the mid-continent, regular
shut-in pressure tests were not conducted in the
Schaben field wells, thwarting estimation of the average reservoir-pressure history. Therefore, traditional
material balance calculations were modified, and a
spreadsheet-based iterative technique was developed
to estimate the average annual reservoir pressure given
the inputs of volumetric original oil in place, annual
fluid production volumes, and PVT data.
The Schaben field underwent initial development
drilling between 1963 and 1965. Subsequent developmental wells were drilled intermittently through the
life of the field. Drillstem test shut-in pressure data
were recorded in these exploration and developmental
wells, and they provide an estimate of the reservoirpressure history. The initial reservoir pressure was estimated at 1450 psi (9997 kPa) based on drillstem test
pressure analysis of the early wells. Standard correlations were used to generate PVT properties. From the
available data and records, bubble point pressure was
calculated to be 225 psi (1551 kPa). The drillstem test
shut-in pressures in recently drilled wells indicate that
the reservoir is currently producing above the bubble
point pressure. In addition, gas production at the surface has been negligible enough to escape recording.
Limited volumes of solution gas indicate that the oil
does not have significant amounts of dissolved gas. The
Bhattacharya et al.

1265

Figure 6. Comparison of average reservoir pressure calculated from material balance


with final shut-in pressures from
drillstem tests (DST) recorded
at wells in the Schaben field
study area.

main source of energy driving the production from the


reservoir comes from an active water drive, prevalent
in many Mississippian fields of the mid-continent.
For a reservoir with no gas cap and driven by an
aquifer, the generalized material balance equation is
simplified as
F=E N W e =E

In the above equation, F (reservoir barrels) denotes the


volume of fluids withdrawn from the reservoir,
whereas N (stock tank barrels) represents the original
oil in place in the reservoir. E (reservoir barrels/stock
tank barrels) is the expansion factor representing the
total expansion of reservoir fluids (oil, gas cap, water)
and pore compaction caused by the decline in reservoir pressure. The volume of water that flows from
the aquifer to the reservoir is represented by W e (reservoir barrels). This simplified material balance equation appears as a straight line, with unit slope, when
F/E is plotted against W e /E, and the Y-axis intercept
(i.e., N ) of this line estimates the original oil in place.
Average aquifer parameters such as porosity, permeability, thickness, and rock and fluid compressibilities
are necessary to calculate water influx from the aquifer
to the reservoir. In the Schaben field, average aquifer
porosity and thickness were estimated from the few
available wire-line logs that penetrated the aquifer.
The yearly oil (N p) and water (W p) production
data were used, along with the average reservoir pressure of the preceding year to calculate F/E by iterating
on the current average reservoir pressure. The timedependent Carter-Tracy formulation (Carter and Tracy,
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1960; Dake, 1994) was used for water influx calculations, where the aquifer petrophysical properties and
the average reservoir pressure were used to calculate
W e /E. Starting with 1450 psi (9997 kPa) in 1963, the
average annual reservoir pressure for 1964 was iterated until the calculated N (= F/E  W e /E ) was within
10% of the volumetric original oil in place. Similarly,
the average annual pressure for 1965 was iterated
until the calculated N, using the calculated average
reservoir pressure for 1964 and the fluid production
volumes of 1965, varied within 10% of volumetric
original oil in place. This exercise (obviously) resulted
in a unit slope plot of F/E versus W e /E, with a Y-axis
intercept indicating an original oil-in-place value of
34 MMSTB (5.41 million m3), the average of N values
for all the time steps (years). Figure 6 compares the
average reservoir-pressure profile, generated from the
material balance calculations, with available drillstem
test shut-in pressures from the Schaben field. The available drillstem test data match the pressure history developed by the material balance iterations, confirming
that the volumetrically calculated original oil in place,
in conjunction with an active water drive, was able
to support the reported field fluid (oil and water) production volumes by undergoing a decline in reservoir pressure consistent with recorded shut-in pressure data.
Material balance calculations also provided additional insights about reservoir performance. Thirtyfive out of 46 wells in the Schaben field were drilled
between 1963 and 1966, resulting in high withdrawal
volumes from the reservoir. The inability of the aquifer influx to compensate for the volumes withdrawn

resulted in a decline in reservoir pressure from 1450


to 1100 psi (9997.4 to 7584.2 kPa) over this period
in time (Figure 6). Thereafter, the reservoir pressure declined slowly from 1100 to 945 psi (7584.2
to 6515.5 kPa) over the next 25 yr because a limited
number of new wells came online and some of the older
wells were taken offline because of high water production or other problems.

PICKETT PLOT RESERVOIR ANALYSIS:


TOP-DOWN AND BOTTOM-UP METHODOLOGIES
Generalized equations to predict capillary pressure
(or equivalent hydrocarbon column height) based on
porosity and water saturation have been published by
several authors, such as Kwon and Pickett (1975) and
Lucia (1995). The equations were established from
regression analysis of large data sets of core measurements and expressed as power functions of predictor
variables. Aguilera (2002, 2004) and Aguilera and Aguilera (2002) described how these generalized capillarypressure (P c) equations could be graphed on the Pickett
plot. The power form of the equations results in
linear contours for different heights above the freewater level in the logarithmic space of the plot and
represents a planar surface. The linearity of the contours makes clear that they are trend surfaces whose
capillary-pressure predictions are statistical expectations of the average, instead of specific, values keyed
to the individual reservoir. Their strength lies in their
generality, which makes them applicable to a wide
variety of reservoirs, particularly those that have no
capillary-pressure measurements. In this sense, they
perform as top-down models where statistical generalizations are used to interpret capillary-pressure relationships in an individual reservoir. When they are used
as predictors, the robustness of estimates will be dictated by how far the reservoir departs from the average
reservoir in the equation calibration data set.
In this article, a bottom-up approach is used that
maps capillary pressures directly from core measurements on the Pickett plot, where the core is from
the same reservoir as the log data. The concept of
this integrative procedure is shown in Figure 7, where
porosity-S w values at a single hydrocarbon column
height (X ft above oil-water contact) are graphed on
the Pickett plot using capillary-pressure data from
three plugs (porosities F1, F2, and F3) that belong to a
common petrofacies. The resultant P c contour equivalent to X ft above the oil-water contact is shown by

the dotted line (Figure 7A). For a plug of same petrofacies but with an intermediate porosity F12 (between
F1 and F2), the general expectation is that its P c curve
will follow a trend (broken line, Figure 7A) that lies
between the respective curves for plugs with porosities
F1 and F2. Thus, the point with coordinates (F12,S w12)
is expected to lie along the P c contour trend (dotted
line in Figure 7B) established by the other three plugs
from the same petrofacies. Any other positioning of
the coordinates (F12,S w12) resulting in a break or disruption of the capillary-pressure (height above the oilwater contact) contour trend would indicate that the
corresponding plug (with F12 porosity) belongs to a
different petrofacies.
Doveton et al. (1996) demonstrated the concept
of plotting capillary-pressure (height above oil-water
contact) contours on the Super-Pickett plot, and Doveton (1999) applied published P c relationships to integrate pore network measures in standard log analyses. The use of raw reservoir core data introduces new
complexities, in that distinctions must be made between (1) plugs from different petrofacies and (2) the
principal petrofacies related to the reservoir profile
mapped out by the resistivity-porosity trajectory of
the logged section. Capillary-pressure contours plotted from plugs from a common petrofacies should
form coherent trends free of disruptions that would be
introduced by mingling plugs from other petrofacies.
The medium of the Pickett plot is therefore, in itself,
a pattern recognition device to discriminate separate
petrofacies. Finally, the conversion of capillary pressure to equivalent hydrocarbon column height means
that the reference depths of log data points can be
used as an independent check of column height surface. Incremental changes in depths in the logged section should be matched by corresponding column height
differences. Discrepancies must be resolved but can be
examined in a reconciliation process that reevaluates
core and log petrophysics. Because core plug data are
generally limited in number, the reconciliation of log
and core data on the Pickett plot in terms of water
saturation changes with height is a powerful integrative tool.

IDENTIFICATION OF CORE PLUGS REPRESENTATIVE


OF RESERVOIR PETROFACIES
The reservoir interval was cored at Ritchie Exploration 2P Lyle Schaben well located in the study area.
The entire core was visually inspected to select plugs
Bhattacharya et al.

1267

Figure 7. Illustration of the


concept of plotting capillarypressure (P c ) data from three
plugs (porosities F1, F2, and
F3), belonging to a common
petrofacies, at a given height
(X ft) above oil-water contact on
the Super-Pickett plot. The dotted
line represents the saturationporosity distribution at X ft
above the oil-water contact for
this petrofacies. P c data from a
plug with intermediary porosity
(F12) and from the same petrofacies is expected to plot along
this trend (dotted line). FWL =
free water level.

considered representative of the reservoir. Six plugs


(L10, L15, L17, L22, L27, and L42) were chosen
from the Ritchie Exploration 2P Schaben core for
capillary-pressure analyses. Despite careful and selective plugging of the whole core, it is difficult to determine from the distribution of capillary-pressure
data (Figure 8) if all or some of the plugs represent the
principal petrofacies in the reservoir rock particularly
in a complex carbonate field such as the Schaben. The
Super-Pickett plot was used as a template to reconcile
1268

E&P Notes

capillary-pressure measurements with the petrophysical log data to identify the plugs that represent the principal reservoir petrofacies.
Capillary-pressure data from the six available core
plugs were mapped on the Super-Pickett plot (Figure 9)
as contours (red lines) of equivalent hydrocarbon column height above the oil-water contact. The plotted
capillary-pressure data resulted in erratic (nonuniform)
contour lines with abrupt breaks that disrupt any consistent trend. However, restricting the plotted capillary

Figure 8. Plots of available


capillary-pressure data measured on core plugs taken from
the Mississippian reservoir interval at the Ritchie Exploration 2P
Lyle Schaben well, Schaben field,
Kansas.

data to a subset of the plugs (i.e., L10, L15, L22, and


L42) resulted in a uniform trend (Figure 3), indicating that these plugs belonged to the same petrofacies.
To validate if this petrofacies is representative of the
principal reservoir facies, the log-derived saturationdepth profile was compared with the P c-derived

saturation-height (above oil-water contact) profile. On


the Super-Pickett plot (Figure 3), the cluster of red
points represents the log-derived data from the perforated interval, extending from 4400 to 4404 ft (1341.1
to 1342.3 m) for the Ritchie Exploration 2P Lyle
Schaben well. The average depth of the perforated

Figure 9. The Super-Pickett plot of Ritchie Exploration 2P Lyle Schaben well displaying neutron-density porosity and deep resistivity
data from the interval 4390 4423 ft (1338 1348 m). Plotted points are 0.5 ft (0.15 m) apart and colored according to depth. The
black diamonds mark the transition from one depth interval (color) to the next, whereas the line joining the plotted points enables
pattern recognition by tracing their depth sequence. Tight clustering of plotted points may conceal the black diamonds and the
connecting line. Capillary-pressure data from core plugs L10, L15, L17, L22, L27, and L42 are plotted as height (feet) above oil-water
contact contours and are shown by red lines. The perforated interval extends from 4400 to 4404 ft (1341 to 1342 m). Water
saturation lines are shown in blue.
Bhattacharya et al.

1269

interval is about 25 ft (7.62 m) above the oil-water contact. The P c data from the subset of four plugs, when
plotted on the Super-Pickett plot, show that the perforated zone is straddled by capillary-pressure contours (red
lines) equivalent to heights ranging between 24 and 32 ft
(7.32 and 9.75 m) above the oil-water contact. Agreement between log petrophysical data and available core
data indicates that plugs L10, L15, L22, and L42 represent the primary petrofacies of the reservoir rock in
the Ritchie Exploration 2P Lyle Schaben well.
The green and blue points in Figure 3 represent
average depths that are 17.5 and 7.5 ft (5.3 and 2.3 m),
respectively, above the oil-water contact. However, the
P c contour line representative of 23 ft (7 m) above the
oil-water contact passes through the cluster of both
the green and blue points, indicating that their respective principal petrofacies are different from that of the
perforated interval (red points). For their respective
porosities, the green and blue points would be shifted
horizontally to the left of their current positions (as
indicated by the arrows in Figure 3) to intersect the P c
contour lines representative of the 17.5 and 7.5 ft (5.3
and 2.3 m) above the oil-water contact if rocks between 4404 and 4424 ft (1342.3 and 1348.4 m) belonged to same facies as the reservoir interval (red
points). This technique of mapping P c data on wirelinelog data is effective to distinguish facies in the
logged interval, especially when such discrimination
is difficult or impossible given the resolution of the
available petrophysical log data.
Wire-line log data and special core analysis data
were available for the Ritchie Exploration Foos AP
Twin well, located just outside the study area, producing from the same Mississippian reservoir. This
core was visually inspected, and four plugs (F5, F26,
F11, and F16) were selected from the reservoir interval for measurement of the capillary-pressure data.
Capillary-pressure data measured on these Foos plugs
were plotted along with that from the Lyle plugs (L10,
L15, L22, and L42) representative of the reservoir
facies to identify if any of the Foos plugs also represented the Schaben reservoir facies. Upon plotting,
only P c data from F16 was found consistent with trends
of capillary-pressure and height contours of representative Lyle plugs. As a result of this exercise, a set of five
plugs (namely, L10, L15, L22, L42, and F16), out of
a total of 10 plugs taken from the reservoir interval,
were identified as representative of the principal reservoir facies in the Schaben field.
Figure 4 shows that capillary-pressure data from
these five core plugs plot as uniform trend lines when
1270

E&P Notes

plotted on the Super-Pickett plot of the Ritchie Exploration 1D Moore well, and that the perforated zone
is located between the relevant heights above the oilwater contact contour lines. The application of P c
contours on Super-Pickett plots to differentiate facies
in the logged interval is illustrated in Figure 4. At the
Ritchie Exploration 1D Moore well, the average depth
of the blue points is about 17.5 ft (5.3 m) above the
oil-water contact. Petrophysically, the rock in the interval between 4398 and 4407 ft (1340.5 and 1343.2 m)
(represented by the blue points) belongs to the same
facies as the perforated interval (red points) as the P c
curve representative of 16 ft (4.8 m) above the oilwater contact passes through the cluster of blue points.
This plot shows that the rock in the intervening interval between 4394 and 4398 ft (1339.3 and 1340.5 m)
(green points) belongs to a facies different from that of
the reservoir interval (red points).
The productive potential of a zone is better estimated when field-measured petrophysical log data are
reconciled with laboratory-measured capillary-pressure
data. In addition, this approach is a valuable tool to differentiate multiple petrofacies and flow units especially
in heterogeneous reservoirs. It is not uncommon in
the industry to characterize a field without available
cores. In such cases, it is customary to borrow petrophysical data, measured on plugs taken from analog
reservoir intervals, from rock catalogs (or other sources)
to conduct characterization and simulation studies.
The above-mentioned technique will be very useful
in such a situation (especially complex carbonate reservoirs), because it helps to confirm if the selected
analog plugs actually represent the principal reservoir
petrofacies. Finally, this technique is within the resource reach of small independent operators of the
mid-continent because capillary-pressure measurement
(on core plugs) is inexpensive.
Many investigators, such as Ward and Morrow
(1987), Omoregie (1988), Ruth and Chen (1995), and
Newsham et al. (2004) have compared capillary-pressure
data recorded by different techniques, namely, mercury injection, restored-state method, centrifuge, and
desorption isotherms, respectively. They report varying levels of congruence between P c data measured by
different techniques. In the mid-continent, two common techniques for obtaining capillary-pressure data
are centrifuge and mercury injection. Hence, it is
recommended that the data measured by centrifuge
and mercury-injection techniques should not be plotted
on the same Super-Pickett plot to identify core plugs
representative of the reservoir facies.

RESERVOIR SIMULATION

EVALUATION OF EFFECTIVE PAY

The material balance study confirmed that the volumetric description of the reservoir-aquifer system is
able to support the reported fluid production history
of the field while undergoing a pressure decline that
(closely) matched available drillstem test data. The volumetric 3-D model developed by integrating log analyses, production tests, and available core data served
as the basis for a fieldwide simulation study whose objective was to map residual reserves in the field to guide
independent operators in spotting successful infill
wells. Critical inputs to any reservoir-simulation study
include relative permeability and capillary-pressure
curves, including end-point saturations such as S wir
(irreducible water saturation) and S orw (irreducible oil
saturation) measured in the laboratory from core plugs
representative of the primary reservoir rock. Using the
Super-Pickett crossplot as a template, core plugs representing the principal facies in the Schaben field reservoir were identified by reconciling capillary-pressure
data with petrophysical log data. These representative
plugs provided a consistent set of petrophysical data
for porosity values ranging from 15.6 to 23.5%. The
identification of representative core plugs is important for simulation studies because they provide the
appropriate permeability-porosity trend to make the
initial estimate of effective permeability in the drainage area of each well. In addition, it enables the input
of S wir and S orw values in the relative permeability table,
which are consistent with the effective permeability
in the wells drainage area especially during the process
of history matching, when the effective permeability
is adjusted to match recorded fluid production.
A full-field simulation study of the Schaben field
was conducted using Department of Energys Boast98
simulator (Heemstra, 1998), a freeware. The reservoir was modeled as two layers with an analytical
Carter-Tracy aquifer using grid cells of 220  220 ft
(67.1  67.1 m). Details about different inputs, history matches on individual well performance, and output maps have been reported elsewhere (Bhattacharya
and Gerlach, 2000). For most wells, a reasonable match
was obtained between the simulation output and the
recorded production and pressure history. The simulation output was used to generate a map of the remaining reserves in the Schaben field. Based on this
remaining potential map, the various operators of the
Schaben field drilled 22 infill wells, resulting in an
incremental production of 100 bbl (16 m3) of oil per
day over the next 4 yr.

A major problem faced by operators participating


in the Schaben field infill drilling program was the
identification of effective pay. To make infill operations economic, marginal operators need to maximize
the period of minimal water production from new
wells. In the Schaben field, it is not uncommon for
wells to produce significant volumes of oil despite
encountering reservoir intervals where petrophysical
logs show high S w (ranging from 0.48 to 0.69). The
concept of effective pay is relative and dependent
on the individual operators tolerance to produced water volumes. However, qualitative guides to estimate
water cut upon completion will enable independent
operators to recognize effective pay in infill wells that
match economic constraints. As a result, selective perforations will reduce water production and minimize
chances of bypassing productive zones with high logderived S w values during completion.
Capillary-pressure data from core plugs representative of the principal reservoir facies (i.e., L10, L15,
L22, L42, and F16) were plotted along with logderived data in Figure 10. In the Schaben field, the
average height of perforated and open-hole intervals
ranged between 20 and 40 ft (6.1 and 12.2 m) above
the oil-water contact at 16 productive wells. The triangles signify the average log-derived porosity and S w
for the perforated and open-hole intervals in these
wells, whereas the circles identify the porosity-S w
values from representative capillary-pressure curves
at a height of 31 ft (9.5 m) above the oil-water contact.
The best fit line through the capillary-pressure data
(circles) represents the estimated initial water saturation, at respective porosities, in the Schaben field reservoir rock at 31 ft (9.5 m) above the oil-water contact, and most of the log-derived porosity-S w values
cluster around it. The limited scatter of the P c data
(Figure 10) indicates that the plugs selected for plotting belong to a common petrofacies. In addition, a
close match between P c- and log-derived saturationporosity data from 16 wells confirms that the subset
of plugs plotted in Figure 10 represent the principal
reservoir facies across the Schaben field. The match
between log and core data must be viewed in the
context of logging tool errors, vertical resolution problems, and the inadequacy of limited plugs to characterize complex carbonate reservoirs.
Given the shape of the P c curves (Figure 8) measured on representative plugs, it is evident that at
about 100 ft (30.5 m) above the oil-water contact,
Bhattacharya et al.

1271

Figure 10. Log-derived initial water saturation (S w) and average porosity over the perforated and production interval in productive
Schaben wells, where the average height of the reservoir ranges between 20 and 40 ft (6.1 and 12.2 m) above the oil-water-contact,
are plotted as triangles. The circles represent S w-porosity data at 31 ft (9.5 m) above the oil-water contact from capillary-pressure
(P c ) measurements on plugs representative of principal reservoir facies, whereas the squares represent irreducible water saturation
(S wir) and porosity obtained from the P c measurements at 105 ft (32 m) above the oil-water contact. The R 2 for the best fit lines
through P c data at 31 and 105 ft (9.5 and 32 m) above the oil-water contact are also shown.

significant changes in P c result in minor changes in S w,


thereby indicating the end of transition zone effects.
Thus, at 100 ft (30.5 m) above the oil-water contact,
S w is close to irreducible saturations (i.e., S wir), and
it is reasonable to expect near water-free production.
The porosity and S wir data from P c curves of representative plugs (i.e., L10, L15, L22, L42, and F16) at
105 ft (32 m) above the oil-water contact were plotted
(as squares) in Figure 10. The plot shows a trend
(broken line) similar to that obtained at 31 ft (9.5 m)
above the oil-water contact, with the S wir being less
than the corresponding S w at 31 ft (9.5 m) for a given
porosity. In the Schaben field, this S wir-porosity trend
can be used to qualitatively determine if a particular
logged interval (in an infill well) would produce limited or significant volumes of water upon completion,
given how close the log-derived porosity-S w value is to
the S wir line. The closer the plotted data lies to the
S wir line, the greater chance that it will initially produce water free or with limited water.
Available core plugs need to be screened to identify a subset representative of the reservoir facies, so
that capillary-pressure data, commonly available in mature mid-continent fields, can be used to develop S wirversus-porosity relationships to guide the targeted
perforations to minimize water production in future
infill wells in mature fields such as the Schaben. In
1272

E&P Notes

addition, this correlation can be used to identify waterproducing zones for squeeze cementation to reduce
water production from existing wells and to help identify potential pay zones previously bypassed because
of high log-derived S w values. Finally, many midcontinental Mississippian fields that lack core data are
considered analogs to the Schaben field. Infill programs initiated in such fields could benefit by the use
of S wir-porosity correlations developed on available
core data, such as from the Schaben field or any other
analog field, after confirming that the selected core
plugs represent the principal reservoir facies.

CONCLUSIONS
1. Petrophysical logs of various types and vintages
were analyzed using a consistent set of assumptions
to build a volumetric model of the reservoir.
2. Lacking regularly recorded shut-in pressures at each
well, an iterative technique was developed based on
standard material balance formulations, where the
volumetrically estimated original oil in place, annual
fluid production, and PVT data were used to estimate the average reservoir pressure. A match between the average reservoir-pressure history, estimated from material balance, and shut-in pressures

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

from available drillstem tests validated the volumetric model and the underlying assumptions made
in analyzing logs of different types and vintages.
Using a bottom-up strategy, raw capillary-pressure
(P c) data measured on several core plugs from the
reservoir interval were plotted on the Super-Pickett
plot to group the plugs by petrofacies characterized
by its distinctive uniform trend in the plotted
capillary-pressure (height above the oil-water contact) contours.
Log-derived water saturation (S w)-height profiles
were matched with those from capillary-pressure
curves over the Super-Pickett plot to identify a subset of core plugs representative of the principal reservoir petrofacies. For fields without core data, this
technique can be used to confirm if petrophysical
data obtained from a rock catalog or another analog
reservoir actually represent the principal petrofacies of the reservoir rock under study.
Reconciliation of P c- and log-derived S w-height data
on the Super-Pickett template also enabled discrimination between petrofacies in the logged interval.
This technique can be used to identify different
petrofacies in a well particularly when such distinctions are difficult using (visual) pattern recognition
of petrophysical log signatures.
Special core analyses on core plugs representative
of the principal reservoir facies provided critical
petrophysical inputs to a full-field simulation study.
Based on the results of the simulation study, 22
infill wells were drilled in this mature field, resulting in incremental production.
A close match was observed between log-derived
Sw-porosity data from 16 productive Schaben wells,
where the perforated and production zone ranged
between 20 and 40 ft (6.1 and 12.2 m) above the
oil-water contact, and that obtained from P c data,
at 31 ft (9.5 m) above oil-water contact, measured
on representative plugs, thus validating that the
selected core plugs represented the principal reservoir facies across the field.
P c data from core plugs representing the principal
reservoir facies were used to determine a relationship between irreducible water saturation (S wir) and
porosity for the Schaben field to provide a qualitative guide for estimating water cut from zones
completed in infill and existing wells. Such customized relationships will aid operators to conduct selective perforations to minimize water production.
In mature mid-continent fields, capillary-pressure
data are generally forthcoming. However, for effec-

tive application, P c data from available core plugs


must be screened to identify a subset representing
the principal facies of the reservoir rock.
This study demonstrated the integrated application of several cost-effective techniques to characterize and exploit the remaining potential in a complex,
mature Mississippian carbonate reservoir under a dataconstrained environment. Facies recognition techniques
discussed here can be universally applied in both sandstone and carbonate reservoirs.

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