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SPE 48952
Society of Petroleum Engineers
Net Pay Determination for Primary and Waterflood Depletion Mechanisms
W. M. Cobb, SPE, and F.J. Marek, SPE, William M. Cobb & Associates, Inc.
Copyright 1998. Society of Petroleum Engineers, Inc.
This paper was prepared for presentation at the 1998 SPE Annual Technical Conference and
Exhibition held in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2730 September 1998
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Abstract
Net pay, as represented by thickness (h), is one of the most
important parameters used in volumetric estimates of in-place
hydrocarbons, well test interpretations, fluid injection analysis
(water, gas, or enhanced recovery methods), reservoir engi-
neering studies, or unitization procedures. Unfortunately, the
petroleum engineering and geological literature provides very
limited insight into how net pay should be computed. For a
porous interval to be counted as net pay, the interval must
contain hydrocarbons, be reasonably permeable, and for wa-
terfloods, be laterally continuous from injector to producer.
The issue is what portion of this interval can be produced to
yield meaningful quantities of hydrocarbons under the par-
ticular drive mechanism.
Frequently, a permeability cutoff is selected and net pay is
defined as being that part of the reservoir interval possessing
permeability greater than the cutoff value. Due to the lack of
core permeability measurements throughout all wells, the per-
meability cutoff cannot be directly used everywhere to differ-
entiate between pay and nonpay rock. Consequently, net pay
determination procedures usually relate the permeability cut-
off to a log porosity cutoff. The resulting porosity cutoff, of-
ten coupled with a gamma-ray or other log cutoffs, is applied
to available well log data to determine net pay on a well by
well basis. It should be recognized that unless certain guide-
lines are followed, the porosity cutoff can result in very mis-
leading net pay values because there is often not a strong
direct relationship between permeability and porosity.
This paper provides insight into the selection of the appro-
priate permeability cutoff to compute accurate porosity and
other log cutoff values. Results indicate that the permeability
cutoff for a particular reservoir is dependent on a number of
variables including (I) fluid viscosity, (2) permeability distri-
bution, (3) reservoir pressure differentials, and (4) reservoir
drive mechanism (primary or waterflood).
This paper provides guidelines for computing permeability
cutoffs in primary and secondary recovery projects and defin-
ing those intervals which can be anticipated to be productive
under various development scenarios. Also, improved tech-
niques for converting permeability cutoffs to porosity cutoffs
are discussed. Example calculations of permeability cutoffs
for net pay determination in two waterflood projects are
presented.
Introduction
The goal of the Society of Petroleum Engineers I definition of
reserves is to identify those quantities of oil and gas which, by
analysis of geological and engineering data, are anticipated to
be economically recovered from known reservoirs from a
given date forward. Based on this definition, it would seem
logical that at a minimum, net pay should represent that por-
tion of the reservoir containing oil and gas reserves which are
anticipated to be economically recoverable. It is not the intent
of this paper to discuss all the factors affecting the profitabil-
ity of oil and gas production, but the analyst should recognize
that economic profitability should be considered when esti-
mating net pay. This paper focuses on technical factors which
should be considered when computing producible net thick-
ness as it relates to oil and gas reserves.
A review of the petroleum engineering textbooks and tech-
nical literature shows that typically the distinction between
pay and nonpay portions of a petroleum reservoir, whether
containing gas or liquid hydrocarbons, is not discussed and is
assumed to be known. For example, of seven basic petroleum
engineering textbooks, only Pirson
2
and Calhoun] have sec-
tions discussing pay determination methods. Pirson's text pre-
sents a 10-page discussion in a section entitled "The Effective
Pay." Both core and log methods are discussed. Two com-
ments of particular interest are "The two most important pa-
rameters that determine pay are fluid saturation and
permeability, and of these two permeability is by far the con-
trolling one. Yet it is difficult to select with assurance a per-
meability cutoff value; and its range in magnitude varies
between 0.1 and 100 md, depending on the most common or
average permeability value in the section, for the presence of
high-permeability channels adjacent to otherwise tight zones
may render the latter effective in yielding their oil." Pirson
2 W.M.Cobb, FJ. Marek SPE 48952
goes on to quote a 1952 paper on carbonates by Archie that
indicates Archie considered a 0.1 md permeability cutoff ap-
propriate but the corresponding porosity cutoff ranged from 5
to 15 percent depending on the type of limestone and its pore
structure.
Calhoun's text presented a single methodology drawn from
a 1949 University of Oklahoma M.S. thesis. The methodol-
ogy is based on creating plots of cumulative flow and storage
capacity as functions of permeability and porosity, respec-
tively. A "cutoff" was then chosen that arbitrarily eliminated
2.5 percent of both capacities, and for the example reservoir
discussed, resulted in a permeability cutoff of 50 md and a po-
rosity cutoff of six percent. While the latter cutoff appears
reasonable, the former suggests some reasonably high perme-
ability rock intervals are arbitrarily being excluded from fur-
ther reservoir engineering calculations.
The technical literature has discussed porosity and perme-
ability cutoffs for specific reservoirs. Two technical papers
4
.
5
have qualitatively discussed net pay, but there is no systematic
method which describes how porosity or permeability cutoffs
should be computed for different reservoirs under different
drive mechanisms. In their important 1978 paper, George and
Stiles
6
describe their experience using a 0.1 md net pay cutoff
for several west Texas carbonate waterflood projects. While
this paper presents several innovative concepts for estimating
net pay, there does not appear to be any technical justification
for the 0.1 md cutoff. Also, it would appear the 0.1 md value
is an air permeability rather than an oil permeability and is
likely to result in an optimistic calculation of net pay for wa-
terflood processes.
In this paper, a variety of considerations for the selection
of the producible net pay cutoff parameters are presented and
discussed; however, this paper does not address the particulars
of the net pay selection required for unitizations. While the
principles discussed here can provide some general guide-
lines, historically each unitization has had its own unique
choice of net pay cutoffs that resulted from negotiations.
Fundamental Considerations for Making Net Pay
Determinations
In its simplest form, producible net pay can be defined as
those portions of a reservoir that are porous, reasonably per-
meable, and contain producible hydrocarbon reserves. To de-
velop producible net pay cutoff criteria for a particular
reservoir, Darcy's law must be considered. That is, fluid mo-
bility (permeability/viscosity), pressure gradient, and wellbore
skin factor must be evaluated. These basic principles are dis-
cussed as follows.
The mobility (permeability/viscosity) of fluids within the
rock is a major criteria for developing the net pay cutoffs.
This means that gas reservoirs should have a lower net pay
criteria, perhaps by a factor of 100 or more, than oil reser-
voirs because of the much lower viscosity of natural gas.
A reasonable, but yet somewhat arbitrary, range for the
mobility net pay cutoff is 0.5 to 1.0 md/cp at reservoir
conditions. This range is also dependent on the reservoir
pressure gradient (drawdown) and skin factor.
While air permeabilities are the data generally available in
large quantities, permeabilities at in-situ conditions (rocks
saturated with brine and hydrocarbons and compacted at
reservoir conditions) should be used when selecting the
permeability cutoff. Significantly, air permeabilities can
overstate in-situ hydrocarbon permeability (such as
(ko)S . ) and usually lead to unrealistically low porosity
wlr
cutoffs which then yield optimistic values of net pay.
Rocks within the reservoir interval which have permeabili-
ties like those of the overlying and underlying rock inter-
vals should be classified as nonpay. If the overlying rock
is of such a quality that it is considered to be the reservoir
seal (or nonproductive), then that quality and type of rock
within the reservoir interval should be treated as nonpay.
Pressure gradient is also important in estimating produci-
ble net pay. For example, a reservoir with a 2000 psi
drawdown into the wellbore may produce reservoir fluids
in significant quantities; whereas a reservoir with similar
rock and fluid properties and similar drainage radius but
only a 200 psi drawdown might produce negligible quanti-
ties of fluid.
Once the interrelationship between fluid mobility, reser-
voir pressure gradient, and skin factor are understood, per-
meability should be used as the basis on which producible
net pay and nonpay footage within the reservoir interval is
determined. The use of other criteria such as porosity, wa-
ter saturation (as a proxy for pore size distribution), or
V I cutoffs comes only from the application of the per-
cay
meability cutoff value to log data.
The portion of the reservoir interval considered to be pro-
ducible net pay may be different for various recovery
processes such as primary depletion versus waterflooding.
This will be discussed in detail later in this paper.
The sensitivity of the reservoir engineering calculations to
the selected net pay criteria should be determined. For
some reservoirs, the difference in original oil in place
(OOIP) resulting from changing the permeability cutoff by
a factor of two or more could be less than five percent;
however, for other reservoirs this twofold change in cutoff
might have the effect of altering the OOIP by 20 to 50 per-
cent or more.
Mobility - The Appropriate Starting Point for Net Pay
Determination
While it is obvious no one would consider as pay a micro-
darcy reservoir containing an oil with a reservoir viscosity of
100 cp or more, there are a number of gas reservoirs currently
being produced where permeabilities are in the microdarcy
range. The reason for this is twofold: first, the viscosity of
gas, being on the order of 0.02 cp, allows for significant gas
mobility in very tight rocks with overall fluid mobility on the
order of 0.5 md/cp. For the 100 cp oil, the rock permeability
would have to be 50 md or more to result in the same fluid
SPE48952 Net Pay Detennination for Primary and Waterflood Depletion Mechanisms 3
mobility. The second reason very tight gas reservoirs may be
productive is that the production mechanism is fluid expan-
sion and natural gas is by far the most compressible of the flu-
ids found in hydrocarbon reservoirs.
Air Permeability Overstates In-Situ Permeability
Air penneability measurements of high penneability rocks
(greater than 100 md to air) usually overstate the effective
penneability to oil measured at irreducible connate water satu-
ration at overburdened conditions by 10 to 30 percent. Part of
this reduction is called the Klinkenberg effed and the re-
maining reduction is due to the presence of multiple fluids
(water with oil or gas). At low air penneabilities in the range
of one to five md, the reduction factor is significantly greater
and may exceed a factor of five or more. Figure I is a plot of
liquid to air penneability ratio versus air penneability for a
number of sandstone core samples from two reservoirs. Fig-
ure 2 is a graph similar to Figure 1 except the penneability ra-
tio is plotted on a logarithmic scale. It is noted that those core
samples with an air penneability of about one md or less pos-
sess significantly lower liquid penneabilities.
Rock Properties of Overlying Intervals Should Establish
the Minimum Net Pay Criteria
In most reservoirs, some core is taken from above and/or be-
low the reservoir interval. The core analysis of these rocks
provides a starting point, or minimum penneability and poros-
ity, for developing the net pay criteria. A higher net pay crite-
ria may be developed by reviewing the core analysis of the
rocks within the reservoir interval.
Pressure Gradient is an Important Consideration for
Producible Net Pay Determination
To calculate anticipated recoverable reserves, the pressure
drop from the reservoir to the wellbore for a particular drain-
age radius should be considered. Pressure drop divided by
distance, such as log(re/rw), along with fluid mobility and
skin factor detennine whether hydrocarbons can be produced
from a particular interval of rock in a reasonable time.
Net Pay Criteria Can Vary Depending on the Recovery
Mechanism
Primary Depletion Net Pay. For primary production, the net
pay cutoff criteria will be lower than or equal to the cutoff cri-
teria for waterflooding operations. Because primary produc-
tion is usually based on pressure depletion concepts (except
for strong water drive systems), any rock interval undergoing
a pressure reduction will contribute fluids resulting in produc-
tion at the wellbore. This is why high mobility gas with its
high compressibility can result in a considerable contribution
to production from rock intervals that possess very low per-
meability at in-situ conditions. Further, low penneability oil
reservoirs with low oil viscosity (high mobility fluids) will
yield some primary production. Yet due to such reservoir fac-
tors as penneability variation, relative penneability effects, or
high gas saturations, these low penneability intervals will fre-
quently not produce secondary oil.
Secondary (Floodable) Net Pay. For secondary operations,
whether or not the tighter intervals contribute is no longer de-
pendent on pressure reduction but is now dependent. on the
ability of fluids to move into and pass through the rocks and
reach the producing well. Under these conditions, lower per-
meability rocks which had contributed to production during
primary depletion may not receive significant water injection
volumes and hence are effectively nonpay. The penneability
cutoff criteria for computing floodable net pay is dependent
on a number of variables including:
Water cut economic limit
Penneability distribution (Dykstra-Parsons coefficient, V)
Gas saturation at the start of water injection
Injection and producing well pressure (pressure gradients)
A verage reservoir pressure at the start of injection
Injection and producing well skin factors (restrictions to
injectivity)
Mobility ratio
Distance from injector to producer (well spacing)
Lateral continuity between the injector and producer
A review of the waterflood literature reveals a number of
technical articles which use words such as "pay," "net pay,"
"penneability cutoff," and "porosity cutoff." These articles
often provide numerical values for porosity cutoff such as 1 0
percent or penneability cutoff such as 1.0 md. Moreover, sev-
eral articles
4
,5,6,7 suggest that net pay is dependent on the reser-
voir drive mechanism (primary or secondary depletion).
Unfortunately, there appears to be no systematic method or
listing of important considerations in the detennination of net
pay cutoffs for either primary or waterflood depletion
recoveries.
In predicting injectivity and productivity for waterflood
operations, it has been suggested the gross reservoir thickness
be used in a multi-layered numerical simulation analysis. The
idea is that the simulator will differentiate between the net pay
and the nonpay. While this approach has merit in some cases,
there are many waterfloods where numerical simulation has
not been nor will be perfonned. More significantly, simpler
reservoir engineering calculations for waterflood screening,
feasibility, and surveillance procedures require accurate
knowledge of floodable reservoir pore volume (producible
waterflood net pay). Cobb and Marek
7
showed that in com-
puting volumetric sweep efficiency in mature waterfloods, re-
liable estimates of floodable pore volume are essential. It is
imperative that accurate producible net pay cutoffs be devel-
oped to monitor waterflooding activities.
This paper describes two methods for estimating penne-
ability cutoff to differentiate between producible net pay and
other rock intervals in a waterflood for laterally continuous
zones without inter-layer crossflow. The first method, re-
ferred to as the "gas fillup time" approach, is simple and can
4 W.M. Cobb, F.1. Marek SPE 48952
referred to as the "water cut" approach, is technically more
correct but requires additional data and is more complicated.
Both calculations require engineering and economic
judgments.
Permeability Cutoff Based on Gas Fillup Time. To un-
derstand this method, consider Figure 3 which depicts a cross-
section of a single layer between an injection and production
well early in the life of a waterflood. This figure illustrates
the saturation distribution between an injection and produc-
tion well prior to the time of gas fillup. This saturation distri-
bution has been described in detail in References 8 and 9. Oil
production resulting from water injection in this layer does
not commence until the leading edge of the oil zone reaches
the producing well. When the oil front initially reaches the
producing well, gas fillup is achieved. Figures 4 and 5 depict
an areal view of waterflood performance before and at the
time of gas fillup for a waterflood project implemented with a
free gas saturation, S g, present at the start of injection.
The time to reach fillup, tf, is dependent on the barrels of
water injected to fillup, W if, and the water injection rate, iw.
That is:
tf= Wif/365 * iw ........................................................ (1)
where:
Wif=(VP ) layer *Sg ................................................ (2)
To compute a permeability cutoff, the engineer/geoscientist
must select the maximum time he would be willing to wait for
fillup to occur. For example, if the engineer/geoscientist is
willing to wait for a period of 15 years from the start of water
injection to initial secondary production response, a minimum
permeability value which will yield production during the
time period can be computed from Equation 1. This mini-
mum permeability becomes the permeability cutoff. All inter-
vals possessing permeability greater than the calculated
permeability cutoff would respond in less than 15 years.
Example Calculation. The fillup time method of perme-
ability cutoff is illustrated using a five-spot pattern and the
other parameters presented in Table 1 along with the oil/water
relative permeability curves shown in Figure 6. A maximum
geological layer fillup time of 15 years is selected.
Permeability cutoff is calculated using Equation 1 and the
water injection rate described in Equations E.5 and E.8 of Ap-
pendix E by Craig
8
Table 2 summarizes the permeability cut-
offs for several values of gas saturation, pattern size, and
injection wellbore skin factor. These cutoffs are the perme-
ability to oil measured at the irreducible connate water satura-
tion, (ko) S . . A review of this table clearly shows that the
Wlr
permeability cutoff depends on a number of reservoir vari-
ables. The producibility cutoff is independent of the layer
thickness since thickness appears in both the numerator and
denominator of Equation 1 and therefore cancels out.
This technique is simple and straightforward. However, it
does not take into account the injection and production per-
formance of the more permeable layers. In fact, it is possible
that injection into the more permeable layers will have caused
the producing well to reach a water/oil ratio or water cut that
exceeds the economic limit before the limiting fillup time
(such as 15 years) is reached. Therefore, the permeability cut-
off based upon fillup time should be considered as a prelimi-
nary estimate. Also note that if the waterflood is initiated
prior to the development of a free gas saturation (S g = 0), this
method is not applicable and the water cut method described
in the next section should be used.
Permeability Cutoff Based on Water Cut. A more com-
plete method for computing permeability cutoff considers wa-
terflood performance for all layers. Consider Figure 7 which
depicts a three-dimensional view of one quarter of a non-
communicating multi-layered five-spot pattern. For conven-
ience, permeability decreases from the top layer to the bottom
layer. It can be seen that water breakthrough has occurred in
the top two layers. For layers three through eight, gas fillup
has occurred and possibly water breakthrough has taken place,
whereas neither gas fillup nor water breakthrough has been
achieved in layers nine and ten. At this instant in time, the
water cut from the producing well has reached an assumed
economic limit of 95 percent. The permeability cutoff can be
defined as the permeability of the lowest permeable layer
which has not produced a meaningful amount of waterflood
oil at the water cut economic limit. For example, assume that
at the water cut economic limit, a layer must produce at least
five percent of its mobile waterflood oil or it will not be
counted as waterflood net pay.
An estimate of the permeability cutoff using the water cut
method can be calculated by setting up a simple multi-layered
waterflood model. The model can be an analytical model
such as the steady-state model developed by Craig-Oeffen-
Morse
1o
(COM) described in Appendix E of SPE Monograph
3 or it can be a more sophisticated black oil simulator. Water
is injected into the multi-layered model until the economic
limit water cut is reached. Each layer can be analyzed to de-
termine if it produced significant amounts of waterflood oil.
A permeability below which no significant waterflood oil is
produced becomes the permeability cutoff. This method takes
into account most of the factors which affect waterflood be-
havior including stratification, areal sweep, fractional flow,
variable injectivity, mobility ratio, and skin factor. By using a
numerical simulation model, it would be possible to consider
other variables such as inter-layer crossflow, counter-current
imbibition, and layer position within the geological interval.
Example Calculation. The permeability cutoff using the
water cut method is illustrated with the five-spot pattern de-
scribed in the previous example (Table 1). In the water cut
method, 20 equal thickness layers were incorporated into a
steady-state COM model. The average reservoir permeability
is 20 md and the gas saturation is 10 percent. Waterflood
analysis is performed using Dykstra-Parsons permeability
variations of 0.60, 0.70, and 0.80. The permeability cutoff is
the value below which less than five percent of the waterflood
moveable oil would be recovered from the layer at a total pat-
tern water cut of 95 percent. The cutoffs presented in Table 3
SPE48952 Net Pay Detennination for Primary and Waterflood Depletion Mechanisms 5
show how they depend on Dykstra-Parsons penneability
variation and gas saturation.
Lateral Continuity. It is well recognized9.11.12,13,14 that for a
penneable interval to be included as part of waterfloodable
net pay, the interval must be laterally continuous between the
injection and production wells. Reservoir continuity is gener-
ally less than 100 percent with carbonate reservoirs frequently
showing more discontinuity than sandstone. Reference 6 indi-
cates that for several West Texas carbonates, lateral continuity
is in the range of 70 to 80 percent for well spacing as low as
20 acres per well. One of the more difficult tasks of comput-
ing net pay in waterflood operations is estimating lateral con-
tinuity. There is no simple remedy for this problem, but
estimates of reservoir continuity may require detailed geologi-
cal cross-section analysis, reservoir outcrop studies, pressure
transient testing, material balance calculations, and regular in-
jection and production testing during the waterflood. Barbe
and Schnoebelen
l3
review a field study in which they utilize
geological correlations, pressure transient testing, and regres-
sion analysis of infill drilling perfonnance to estimate conti-
nuity in a carbonate waterflood.
Relationship Between Permeability and Porosity Cutoffs
Penneability cutoff is usually related to a porosity cutoff for
net pay detennination in reservoir applications. Porosity cut-
off is usually obtained from a semi-log graph which relates
penneability to porosity such as the graph shown in Figure 8.
Unfortunately, even if the appropriate penneability cutoff is
computed, this graph usually presents two important analysis
difficulties. First, the penneability values usually represent
air penneability, ka, and consequently overstate reservoir per-
meability. It is recommended that the penneability data used
in preparation of this type graph should be (k
o
) S . because
Wlr
this usually represents the reference or base penneability used
in relative penneability curves. Moreover, this penneability
value, when coupled with relative penneability data and wa-
terflood principles, can be used to compute water injection
rates. Figure 9 presents a graph of (ko)S . versus porosity.
Wlr
Figure 10 presents a comparison of ka and (ko)S . versus
Wlr
porosity. Using a 10 md penneability cutoff, the porosity cut-
off varies from 15.6 percent when using ka to 18.3 percent
when using (ko)S ..
Wlr
A second complication related to the use of graphs such as
those shown in Figures 8 or 9 is data scatter. George and
Stiles
6
provide two significantly different techniques for
eliminating data scatter. Because of their importance and for
completeness, the methods are reviewed in this paper. Both
techniques assume core data representative of the reservoir are
available and a reliable penneability cutoff can be obtained.
The first technique results in a single porosity cutoff value.
The method can be described according to the following
procedure.
Step 1 - Define actual pay as being all cored footage pos-
sessing a penneability greater than the penneability cutoff.
Step 2 - Compute the pore volume (Ij>h) for the actual pay
in the core data base.
Step 3 - Through trial and error methods, compute the po-
r ~ s t y cutoff value, when applied to the total core data
base, which gives a pore volume equal to the pore volume
of the actual pay from Step 2.
Step 4 - The trial and error method can be more easily util-
ized by arbitrarily selecting porosity cutoffs such as two,
four, six eight, etc. percent. For each value of porosity
cutoff, compute the pore volume and compare the calcu-
lated pore volume with the actual pore volume from Step
2.
George and Stiles second technique for eliminating scatter
requires greater effort but does not utilize a single porosity
cutoff. Instead, the method utilizes a weighting factor which
ranges from zero to one, depending upon the scatter in the
penneability versus porosity relationship. The method is
summarized as follows.
Step I - Subdivide the core into porosity ranges such as
zero to two percent, two to four percent, four to six per-
cent, etc.
Step 2 - Within each porosity range, compute the fraction
of core samples within that range which have a penneabil-
ity greater than or equal to the penneability cutoff which is
defined as a weighting factor.
Step 3 - Plot the fraction of core samples within the poros-
ity range (weighting factor) versus the average porosity
within the porosity range. Some scatter will likely exist
within this plot, but a straight-line relationship can usually
be fit through points.
Step 4 - Each foot of rock within each well can be
weighted depending on the porosity of that foot by using
the straight-line weighting factor relationship. The total
weighted feet for each zone or each well can then be
obtained.
To illustrate this second technique for eliminating data
scatter, consider the core data presented in Figure 9. A 10 md
penneability cutoff has been calculated for this oil reservoir to
compute waterfloodable pay (the 10 md cutoff appears to be
high until it is recognized that the overall average reservoir
permeability is about 125 md.) An inspection of the data indi-
cates none of the data points with a porosity less than 16 per-
cent have a penneability greater than the 10 md cutoff. On
the other hand, all of the core data with porosity greater than
24 percent have penneability values greater than 10 md. The
porosity between 16 and 24 percent is subdivided into inter-
vals shown in Table 4. Within each porosity interval, the
fraction of core samples having a penneability greater than 10
md is computed. This fraction is referred to as a weighting
factor. Weighting factor is plotted versus porosity as shown
in Figure 11. For each foot of rock with a porosity less than
16 percent, the weighting factor is zero. For each foot of rock
with porosity greater than 24 percent, the weighting factor is
unity. For intennediate values of porosity, each foot of rock
is weighted based on the weighting factor from Figure 11.
For example, if a foot of rock possesses a porosity of 20
6 W.M. Cobb, F.1. Marek SPE 48952
percent, the foot is weighted by a factor of 0.57 and is there-
fore assigned 0.57 net feet.
Consider the data in Figure 9. After applying a 10 md cut-
off, the computed pore volume is 75.6 percent of the com-
puted pore volume without a cutoff. Moreover, the 10 md
cutoff pore volume is 77.6 percent of the pore volume ob-
tained when using a 1 md cutoff. Simple calculations show
the reservoir rock with less than 10 md will yield primary pro-
duction, but those same rocks will not contribute any appre-
ciable production during waterflooding. This difference in
producible net pay gives rise to a drainable net pay versus a
floodable net pay.IJ.14
Reservoir Engineering Calculations Should Be Made to
Determine the Sensitivity to the Selected Net Pay Criteria
Whatever permeability cutoff is used to compute net pay, the
sensitivity of the OOIP (and subsequent recovery) calculations
to the chosen permeability cutoff should be computed. For
some reservoirs a considerable range of net pay cutoffs will
result in essentially identical recovery estimates. However,
for some reservoirs with a much narrower distribution of per-
meabilities and also generally composed of poorer quality
rocks, the recovery estimates will be significantly affected by
the net pay permeability cutoff criteria.
Conclusions
A search of the technical literature indicates little informa-
tion is available regarding guidelines for selecting net pay
criteria.
The mobility (permeability/viscosity) of fluids within the
rock is a major criteria for developing the net pay cutoffs.
This means gas reservoirs should have a much lower net
pay criteria, perhaps by a factor of 100 or more, than oil
reservoirs because of the much lower viscosity of natural
gas.
Permeability should be the basis which distinguishes be-
tween net pay and nonpay and defines those portions of
the reservoir which will be producible under a particular
development scenario.
Net pay cutoffs will depend on the reservoir drive mecha-
nism (primary versus waterflooding) and will generally
result in lower values for primary depletion.
Primary net pay cutoff criteria should give consideration
to factors such as fluid mobility, reservoir pressure gradi-
ent, and well completions.
Secondary net pay cutoff should give consideration to mo-
bility ratio, permeability variation, relative permeability,
gas saturation, injection and production well pressures,
skin factor, well spacing, lateral continuity, and water cut
economic limit.
Two new procedures are presented which provide guid-
ance and valuable insight in the determination of produci-
ble net pay permeability cutoff for use in waterflood
screening, feasibility, and surveillance calculations.
Nomenclature
A pattern area, acres
h net pay, feet
iw water injection rate, barrels per day
ka permeability to air, md
(ko)S . = permeability to oil at irreducible connate water,
Wlr
k50
kro
krw
p
Pwi
Pwf
Si
Sp
Sg
So
Swc
Vp
V clay
Wif
<I>
J..I.w
J..I.o
md
median reservoir permeability, md
relative permeability to oil, dimensionless
relative permeability to water, dimensionless
average reservoir pressure at start of injection, psi
bottomhole injection pressure, psi
bottomhole producing pressure, psi
injection well skin factor, dimensionless
production well skin factor, dimensionless
gas saturation at start of waterflooding, fraction
oil saturation, fraction
connate water saturation at start of waterflood,
fraction
average water saturation in water zone up to
breakthrough, fraction
gas fillup time, years
Dykstra-Parsons permeability variation,
dimensionless
pore volume of geological layer, reservoir barrels
shale volume, fraction
volume of injected water necessary to reach gas
fillup, barrels
porosity, fraction
water viscosity, cp
oil viscosity, cp
Acknowledgment
We thank Dr. H.R. Warner, Jr. of ARCO for valuable discus-
sions and helpful comments in the preparation of this
manuscript.
References
1. "Petroleum Reserve Definitions," Society of Petroleum Engi-
neers and World Petroleum Congress, approved March, 1997,
SPE, Richardson, TX.
2. Oil Reservoir Engineering-2nd Edition, S.J. Pirson, McGraw-
Hill Book Co. Inc., New York (1958) 441-451.
3. Calhoun, J.C. Jf.: Fundamentals of Reservoir Engineering, Uni-
versity of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma (1960) 168- I 7 I.
4. Snyder, Richard H.: "A Review of the Concepts and Methodol-
ogy of Determining 'Net Pay'," paper SPE 3609 presented at the
1971 SPE 46th Annual Fall Meeting of AI ME, New Orleans,
Oct. 3-6.
5. Vavra, c.L., Kaldi, J.G., and Sneider, R.M.: "Geological Appli-
cations of Capillary Pressure: A Review," AAPG Bulletin Vol-
ume 76, (June 1992) 840-850.
6. George, C.J. and Stiles, L.H.: "Improved Techniques for Evalu-
ating Carbonate Waterfloods in West Texas," JPT (November
1978) 1547-1554.
SPE48952 Net Pay Determination for Primary and Waterflood Depletion Mechanisms
7. Cobb, W.M. and Marek, F.J.: "Determination of Volumetric
Sweep Efficiency in Mature Waterfloods Using Production
Data." paper SPE 38902 presented at the 1997 SPE Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Oct. 5-8.
8. Craig, F.F., Jr.: The Reservoir Engineering Aspects of Water-
flooding, Monograph Series, SPE, Dallas (1971) 3.
9. Willhite, G.P.: Waterflooding, Textbook Series, SPE, Dallas
(1986) 3.
10. Craig, F.F., Jr., Geffen, T.M. and Morse, R.A.: "Oil Recovery
Performance of Pattern Gas or Water Injection Operations from
Model Tests," Trans, AI ME (1955) 204.
11. Ghauri, W.K, Osborne, A.F., and Magnuson, W.L.: "Changing
Concepts in Carbonate Waterflooding - West Texas Denver Unit
Project - An Illustrative Example," JPT (June 1974) 595-606.
12. Stiles, L.H.: "Optimizing Waterflood Recovery in a Mature Wa-
terflood, The Fullerton Clearfork Unit," paper SPE 6198 pre-
sented at the 1976 SPE Annual Fall Technical Conference and
Exhibition of AIME, New Orleans, Oct. 3-6.
13. Barbe, 1.A. and Schnoebelen, D.J.: "Quantitative Analysis of
Infill Performance: Robertson Clearfork Unit," JPT (December
1987) 1593-1601.
14. Christman, P.G.: "Modeling the Effects of Infill Drilling and
Pattern Modification in Discontinuous Reservoirs," SPE Reser-
voir Engineering (February 1995) 4-9.
7
8 W.M. Cobb, F.J. Marek
TABLE 1
HYPOTHETICAL FIVE-SPOT PATTERN
USED TO ESTIMATE PERMEABILITY CUTOFFS
Pattern Area 80 Acres (40 Acre Well Spacing)
p 1000 psi at start of water injection
Pwi
3600 psi
Pwf
400 psi
S
I
0.0
Sp
0.0
~
15 percent
~ w
0.6 cp
~
3.0 cp
TABLE 2
PERMEABILITY CUTOFF USING THE GAS FILLUP METHOD
AND OTHER FACTORS FROM TABLE 1
FOR A 15-YEAR RESPONSE TIME
(ko)S .' md
wlr
Gas 80 Acre Pattern 40 Acre Pattern
Saturation (40 Acre Sl2acing) (20 Acre Sl2acing)
percent S=O
I
S =-4
I
S=O
I
S =-4
I
5.0 1.25 0.64 0.59 0.29
10.0 2.50 1.27 1.20 0.58
15.0 3.77 1.92 1.80 0.87
SPE 48952
TABLE 3
PERMEABILITY CUTOFF USING THE WATERCUT METHOD
AND OTHER FACTORS FROM TABLE 1
AT A 95 PERCENT WATER CUT ECONOMIC LIMIT
Dykstra-Parsons, V Sg = 10% Sg = 0%
0.60 1.10 0.24
0.70 3.30 0.71

0.80 5.60 1.20
g g
80 Acre Pattern
k50 = 20 md, Si = 0
50 i
TABLE 4
FRACTION OF CORE SAMPLES WITH PERMEABILITY
GREATER THAN THE PERMEABILITY CUTOFF
FOR DIFFERENT POROSITY RANGES
Fraction of Core Samples
Porosity Range with Permeability Greater Than 10 md
percent (Weighting Factor)
Less than 16 0.00
16 to 18 2/6 = 0.333
18 to 20 5/10 = 0.500
20 to 22 11/16 = 0.688
22 to 24 12/16 = 0.750
Greater than 24 1.00
SPE 48952 Net Pay Determination for Primary and Waterflood Depletion Mechanisms 9
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
10
o

"'
1.0
0.8
0:: 06
... .

-
"'C
S 0.4
tr
:::i
0.2
W.M. Cobb, F.J. Marek
FIGURE 1: RATIO OF LIQUID/AIR PERMEABILITY VERSUS
AIR PERMEABILITY FOR TWO SANDSTONE RESERVOIRS
r
I Reservoir A Reservoir B

I
,
I
I
I

t-+---
.
!


---1--
I
t!l&
1

-

........

SPE 48952


.m

0.0
0.1 1 10 100 1000
-
:E
::s
tr
:::i
Air Permeability, md
FIGURE 2: RATIO OF LIQUID/AIR PERMEABILITY VERSUS
AIR PERMEABILITY FOR CLASTIC AND MIXED LITHOLOGY CORES

I ' I,
I
+ .. Cla;tic
I. I. ; I
0.001 r----- 1 I. I I !" I
i .1 i. I
t i i
0.00001 ....................... ..i..-_ ................... .....J.-_____ ...................... """""----,-_ ........... """"---, _____ """""" ___ --.....""",,!
0.1
0.01 --
0.0001
0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100 1000
Air Permeability, md
Injector
FIGURE 3: CROSSSECTION VIEW OF A SINGLE LAYER DEPICTING FLUID
SATURATION DISTRIBUTIONS PRIOR TO GAS FILLUP
Producer
Water
Zone
Oil _ ......... _Unaffected..-ol ...
Zone Zone
So = 1.0 - Swc 50 = 1.0 - 5wc
-5
g
Producer
Injector
So = 1.0 - S
wc
So = 1.0 - S
o wbt
FIGURE 5: AREAL VIEW OF FLUID SATURATIONS FOR A SINGLE LAYER WITHIN
A 5-SPOT PATTERN AT GAS FILLUP
o
FIGURE 4: AREAL VIEW OF FLUID SATURATIONS FOR A SINGLE LAYER WITHIN
A 5-SPOT PATTERN PRIOR TO GAS FILLUP
Producer
Injector
S
o
S
wc
S
g
So = 1.0 - S
wc
So = 1.0 - S
o wbt
o
SPE 48952 Net Pay Determination for Primary and Waterflood Depletion Mechanisms 11
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
12 W.M. Cobb, FJ. Marek
FIGURE 6: -EXAMPLE OILIWATER RELATIVE PERMEABILITY CURVES
1.0 r-....------------.....,
0.8

i 0.6
Q)
E
Q)
Il.

0.4
&
0.2
0.0 L-_ ..... !!!!:::.....L ___
20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Water Saturation, percent
FIGURE 7: THREE-DIMENSIONAL VIEW OF A NON-COMMUNICATING
MULTI-LAYER 5-SPOT PATTERN WITH A PRODUCING WATER CUT OF 95 PERCENT
INJECTOR
WATER ZONE
OIL BANK
UNAFFECTED
(GAS) ZONE
SPE48952
SPE48952 Net Pay Detennination for Primary and Waterflood Depletion Mechanisms
FIGURE 8: AIR PERMEABILITY VERSUS POROSITY FOR RESERVOIR C
1 0,000 ____ -,--____ ____
: : : : : -'
... _--- ---- --------
-- ------- ---
. -------- ---
1

10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28
Porosity, percent
FIGURE 9: OIL PERMEABILITY AT IRREDUCIBLE WATER SATURATION
VERSUS POROSITY FOR RESERVOIR C
1
1
j
! ,
1,000 --
j t
.c
co
(1)
E
...
(1)
0..
j i
1 00 +-1--
VI
o 10
I&J:

I

30
I
1
10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30
Porosity, percent
13
14
"C
E
W.M. Cobb, FJ. Marek
FIGURE 10: COMPARISON OF AIR AND OIL PERMEABILITY
VERSUS POROSITY FOR RESERVOIR C
1,000


CU
CD
E
...
CD
a.

:::1-:
1
SPE 48952
10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30
1.0
o
-t:
'"
t= 0.8
...


(!) 0.6
In
Q)
Q.
E
0.4

o
o
'0 0.2
t:
o

f
u. 0.0
Porosity, percent
FIGURE 11: FRACTION OF CORE SAMPLES WITHIN A POROSITY RANGE
(WEIGHTING FACTOR) WITH PERMEABILITY
GREATER THAN CUTOFF VALUE OF 10 MD FOR RESERVOIR C
I I I I
I
,
/
t-+
i
I

I
/
'y

I :
I
!
I
I

I
I I
I
!
I
I/!
I
,
I
i
I
I
I I
,.
I

I
I
I
/
J V I
I
10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28
Porosity, percent
30