Imaging Unconventional Reservoir Pore Systems

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

For anyone interested in the methods of observing and quantifying the pore systems that control hydrocarbon and flow in unconventional reservoirs, AAPG’s new volume is what you’ve been waiting for.

AAPG recently released Memoir 112: “Imaging Unconventional Reservoir Pore Systems.”

The new volume covers recent advances in the acquisition and application of high-resolution image data to unconventional reservoirs, consistently demonstrating the value of integrating multiple techniques throughout its chapters.

This image of pores in an unconventional reservoir in South America shows mineral surfaces interpreted as clay (on right) and calcite (on lower left) surrounded by porous organic matter with variable pore sizes. The mineral surfaces are largely uncoated in asphaltenes and water-wet, while the organic pore network at this level of maturity (oil window) is hydrophobic and considered oil-wet. This is a secondary electron image of a freshly broken surface, courtesy of Andrew Fogden.
This image of pores in an unconventional reservoir in South America shows mineral surfaces interpreted as clay (on right) and calcite (on lower left) surrounded by porous organic matter with variable pore sizes. The mineral surfaces are largely uncoated in asphaltenes and water-wet, while the organic pore network at this level of maturity (oil window) is hydrophobic and considered oil-wet. This is a secondary electron image of a freshly broken surface, courtesy of Andrew Fogden.
The volume addresses imaging methods, recognition of artifacts and case studies that explore nanopore systems within particular depositional settings.

“Technology used to examine solid materials at the nanometer scale has existed for decades, but the interest in applying these methods to reservoir rocks has increased dramatically in recent years,” said the volume’s editor Terri Olson. “Shale gas and shale oil reservoirs require this level of imaging to resolve the pore space, and other tight rocks benefit as well, particularly when clay-hosted porosity is common or wettability is difficult to characterize. A significant aspect of organic-rich reservoirs that is unique to them is the common occurrence of organic-hosted pores, which are portrayed in several chapters of this memoir.”

Olson is a geologist and petrophysicist with 33 years of experience in the oil industry. She has spent most of her career at oil and gas companies, large and small, focusing on unconventional reservoirs, including tight sands, siltstones, mudstones/shales, and chalks. She’s worked for Amoco, having attended the Amoco Petrophysics School at Amoco Research in Tulsa. She was the petrophysicst for Valhall Field in the North Sea in Norway, and later joined EOG Resources as a petrophysical adviser. After nearly seven years at EOG, Olson left to join FEI, a technology company that performs digital rock services in addition to providing image analysis software and making electron microscopes and helical CT scanners. In the spring of 2016, she formed Digital Rock Petrophysics, where she consults for FEI and other companies to design imaging projects and bring petrophysical insight to image data.

After publishing her first major paper, on Hugoton Field reservoir characterization in the AAPG Bulletin, Olson became active on the RMAG and AAPG publications committees, eventually chairing both. She co-edited a special publication on the Piceance Basin, for which she authored a paper on White River Dome Field. She has been an associate editor of the AAPG Bulletin for more than 15 years, most recently serving for three years as senior associate editor for unconventionals. She received the Distinguished Service Award from AAPG in 2016 in recognition of these efforts.

AAPG’s Memoir 112 is her latest effort, which includes the Bakken, Barnett, Bossier, Eagle Ford, Geneseo, Marcellus, Niobrora, Wolfcamp and Woodford formations among the unconventional reservoirs studied.

Olson said contributors to Memoir 112 come from a range from backgrounds, including operating companies, technology and service companies, “universities in roughly equal proportions,” with some contributions co-authored by a mix of these sources.

“Thanks go to them for the hard work of transforming their studies into publishable form,” she said.

For more information about the volume, visit store.aapg.org and type Memoir 112 in the search bar.

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