Digital rock physics: Defining the reservoir properties on drill cuttings
Well drilling with core extraction is one of the most expensive procedures in the oil industry. The potential alternative, which may open opportunities for cost-efficient acquisition of petrophysical data, can be an approach based on digital analysis of drill cuttings. The main purpose of this research was to evaluate the possibility of using digital cuttings analysis and rock physics for reservoir properties evaluation. The carbonate samples of core and cuttings were simultaneously collected from the same intervals during the drilling of deviated wells in the Carboniferous reservoir of the oil deposit in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. Based on the core analysis using the optical study of thin sections and XRD, we investigated sedimentological and mineralogical features and classified all lithotypes of well intervals. The standard samples were produced from all defined facies and their reservoir properties were studied in routine tests. The largest cuttings from each well interval were separated and their structures were compared using mCT with core subsamples of the same intervals. We assessed the changes of cuttings structure occurring in the drilling process, which include the colmatation of the pore space with drilling fluid and disintegrated rock particles and the formation of secondary fractures. Detailed analysis of cuttings from one well interval consisting of the border between the facies of high porous grainstones with packstones and dense micrite limestones demonstrated that high porous varieties were eroded in the drilling process. The analysis of chemical composition using XRF-mapping, XRD and SEM with EDS showed that most of the cuttings were constituted by disintegrated rock particles or form elements (e.g. separate fusulinids) cemented by drilling mud. However, more durable cuttings from dense micrite limestones facies were generally retained their dominant calcite composition and original rock structure, with only secondary fractures. Finally, we analyzed pore space properties and performed digital simulations of wave propagation velocities to compare the characteristics of these cuttings and core subsamples from this lithotype, scanned in the same mCT settings. The results demonstrate close characteristics of porosity 0.08-0.6%, dominant pore sizes 1-60 mm and velocities Vp = 6130-6240 m/s, Vs = 3180-3230 m/s. However, the comparison of obtained values with measured on standard samples shows a significant difference, which is caused by deviation from REV. The potential use of cuttings for assessing reservoir and petrophysical properties can be possible in case of provision with the factors of cuttings structure alteration, representativity of samples, as well as optimization for these purposes of the drilling process with cuttings selection.
Saenger, Erik Hans