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Pulsed-Neutron Monitoring of the First

CO2 Enhanced-Oil-Recovery Pilot


in the Middle East
Fatema Al-Aryani, SPE, and Adel Obeidi, SPE, Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Operations; and
Jacob Brahmakulam, SPE, and Raghu Ramamoorthy, SPE, Schlumberger

Summary 50% of the original oil in place is left behind after gas or water
Logging measurements in the borehole are vital for monitoring injection.
carbon dioxide (CO2) floods—for assessing the fluid changes in Experience gained from CO2 flooding worldwide indicates that
the reservoir rock as well as in the wellbore. The saturation profile a considerable part of the residual and trapped oil can be recovered
at each well location provides the efficiency of the flood process with miscible CO2 injection under appropriate conditions. How-
for fluid displacement within the pore and the vertical sweep ever, to determine the full economic potential of the process, field
across and within the reservoir zones. A snapshot from multiple pilots are needed to identify the risks and confirm the performance.
well locations in the reservoir enables the creation of a picture of To this end, the first CO2 EOR pilot project was implemented in
the flood flow pattern, and the time-lapse surveys track the pro- the Middle East in a Cretaceous carbonate formation (Al Hajeri
gress of the flood with time. et al. 2010). The location of the pilot in a previously unperturbed
Pulsed-neutron logs provide essential measurements for the part of the field makes this the first CO2 EOR pilot worldwide at
evaluation of saturation in the injectors, producers, and observers. original-oil-saturation condition. This paper describes the efforts
However, the CO2 environment, with the fluid in the borehole, to monitor the progress of the CO2 flood through pulsed-neutron
remains uncharacterized in the industry. Hence, reliable infer- logs acquired at various junctures in the injector, observer, and
ences require either that the measurement is immune to the bore- producer wells of the pilot. The detailed planning of the surveys
hole environment or that the perturbation is minimal and can be and interpretation of the results are presented.
easily corrected. Where corrections are required, suitable bench- Pulsed-neutron techniques are time-honored for their utility in
marks should be planned in advance to verify the accuracy of the reservoir monitoring. Acquisition techniques and processing work-
corrections. These corrections should be modeled after the flows have been well established for saturation monitoring in natu-
physics of the measurement to the maximum extent possible. ral depletion, whereas various conventional flooding schemes
On the first CO2 enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) pilot project in have been used for secondary recovery, such as mixed- and same-
the Middle East—unique in the world because the CO2 flood was salinity waterflood, steamflood, hydrocarbon-gas flood, and water-
implemented with the reservoir at original oil saturation—several alternating-gas injection. The two principal schemes of saturation
pulsed-neutron surveys were recorded in the injector, observer, measurement by use of pulsed-neutron techniques—namely, the
and producer wells. The surveys included capture and inelastic pulsed-neutron capture (sigma mode) (PNC) and pulsed-neutron
mode acquisition. Several novel techniques of data acquisition spectroscopy [inelastic capture (IC) or carbon/oxygen (CO)
and interpretation were successfully tried. This paper presents the mode] (PNS)—usually have a comprehensive characterization
steps in planning and executing the jobs and the results of the sur- scheme for oil, water, and air in the borehole and water and hydro-
veys. Limitations of existing characterization and those imposed carbons in the formation.
by the measurement environments in the subject wells are dis-
cussed, and we show, through comparison with benchmarks, that Brief Review of Pulsed-Neutron Techniques. Pulsed-neutron
correction for the unusual borehole environment is possible. The tools emit high-energy neutron bursts from an electronic source.
paper illustrates how the different modes of pulsed-neutron data The neutron undergoes various interactions with the atoms in the
acquisition complement each other in the individual wells in borehole and formation and eventually gets captured (Fig. 1).
assessing the borehole environment, providing adequate input Inelastic scattering and capture processes emit gamma rays. Most
data to enable a multiphase reservoir-fluid analysis, and yielding of the pulsed-neutron tools have gamma ray detectors to capture
independent fluid saturations for effective comparison. The results the time-varying flux of the gamma rays.
of the analysis are compared with openhole evaluation to help cre- The measurement is carried out in two principal schemes by
ate a coherent picture of the reservoir. use of appropriate pulsing sequence in each case. The first is
The fluid analysis from the pilot wells confirms the high dis- PNC, which records count rate vs. time. Fig. 2 presents the puls-
placement efficiency of CO2 as an EOR fluid. The saturation pro- ing scheme for the tool used in the present work (Plasek et al.
files from individual wells portray the vertical sweep of the flood, 1995). The decay rate provides the thermal neutron capture cross
and the snapshot from the multiple wells gives the areal sweep. section of the formation. Because chlorine has a much higher
Combined with the data from production-log sensors and perme- cross section than the other elements usually present in the bore-
ability from the magnetic resonance, the flood-breakthrough hole environment, the measurement is capable of distinguishing
layers are identified. saline water from other formation and borehole components. The
second method is PNS, which assesses the energy analysis of the
Introduction received gamma ray spectra in specified time bins (Fig. 3). The
The injection of CO2 into oil reservoirs for EOR has received con- inelastic spectrum is gathered during the burst, and the capture
siderable attention in the Middle East in recent years. As many spectra are gathered after the burst. The analysis and comparison
fields undergoing waterflood approach the limit of recovery, 25 to of the spectra to standard spectra of the elements sensitive to
inelastic scattering and capture provide an estimate of the concen-
trations of the elements in the region surrounding the tool. From
Copyright V
C 2013 Society of Petroleum Engineers
the perspective of formation-fluid saturation, the inelastic spectral
This paper (SPE 141490) was accepted for presentation at the SPE Middle East Oil and Gas analysis provides the carbon and oxygen yields, enabling us to
Show and Conference, Manama, Bahrain, 6–9 March 2011, and revised for publication.
Original manuscript received for review 3 November 2011. Revised manuscript received for distinguish hydrocarbons from water irrespective of the pore-
review 23 October 2012. Paper peer approved 8 November 2012. water salinity (Roscoe et al. 1991).

72 February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering


Inelastic Neutron Scattering

Neutron Absorption
Slow Excited
neutron nucleus

Capture
gamma ray
Inelastic
gamma rays

Fig. 1—Neutron interactions and generation of gamma ray. The 14-MeV neutron undergoes inelastic scattering, generating gamma
rays. After some time, the neutron comes down to thermal energy and eventually gets captured, and the nucleus of the capturing
element emits a gamma ray.

The tool used in this work has a vertical resolution of approxi- details of the challenges are presented in the Measurement Envi-
mately 15 in. The nominal depth of investigation for sigma mode ronment section. The paper attempts to document the steps taken
is approximately 10 in., and that of CO mode is approximately 6 to address these challenges. However, the pulsed-neutron mea-
in., but this is strongly dependent on the properties of the forma- surement has the required contrast and precision to differentiate
tion. For example, in the presence of gas, the sigma mode reads CO2 from oil and water, as will be described in a later section in
much deeper. the paper.

Challenges of Pulsed-Neutron Monitoring in the CO2 Monitoring Objectives. Just as the design and execution of the
Environment. The pulsed-neutron tools are not characterized for pilot are determined by the objectives set out for the exercise, the
the CO2 environment as a borehole fluid. Although many CO2 design and execution of the monitoring program are determined
pilots are implemented across the globe, there is still a lack of by the objectives to be achieved. The main objectives for the
clarity when it comes to the planning of the logging job. Work- pulsed-neutron surveys were to determine the progress of the
flows have not been standardized to interpret the data because the flood from injector to producer, to evaluate the reservoir vertical
circumstances for each job differ widely. In particular, the misci- sweep efficiency, and to evaluate the residual oil to CO2.
ble-flood CO2 interpretation workflows are more demanding com-
pared with sequestration projects, because they deal with more
fluid phases and the dynamics of oil/CO2 miscibility. Field Background. The subject reservoir is a carbonate consist-
Hydrogen is more effective in slowing down the neutron than ing of alternating porous and dense layers—the latter act as bar-
any other element. Both oil and water have an abundance of this riers or baffles (Fig. 4), especially where the vertical permeability
element. As a result, the neutrons slow down considerably faster kv of the denser or stylolite layer is less than 0.01 md. The average
in liquid-filled boreholes compared with gas-filled boreholes. thickness of the reservoir is 130 to 150 ft, which has been divided
With CO2, the problem is more acute, because it is devoid of into eight subzones (X1, X2, X3U, X3L, X4U, X4L, X5, and X6)
hydrogen and has a low thermal neutron-capture cross section; because of porosity development. The average porosity is
therefore, the distribution of the gamma rays will be significantly
different in the CO2 environment, reflecting on the count rate and
energy spectrum recorded. The higher count rate tends to push the Carbon Oxygen C
0.5 O
detector performance out of standard operating range. More Si
Ca
0.4 Fc
Tool Bkg
Counts/sec

0.3

0.2
Counts/sec

0.1

0
0 50 100 150 200 250
Channel
time energy
Short burst Long burst

Minitron On Off On Off Fig. 3—Inelastic spectral standards. The timing sequence for
the PNS mode consists of a single burst of 20 milliseconds.
Fig. 2—Timing scheme for PNC measurement. The tool The spectrum is separated into inelastic and capture in time
employs a dual-burst scheme. The short burst is used to infer bins, is stripped, and is compared with the elemental stand-
the borehole properties. The late gates in the long burst are ards. Carbon and oxygen yields thus derived are used in the
used to derive capture cross section and porosity. saturation interpretation.

February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering 73


33 m 37 m

X2
Kft/s X3U
Velocity
22 X3L
20
18 X4U
16
14 X4L
12
10 X5
8
X6

Φ increase Φ increase

Fig. 4—Velocity map from the crosswell seismic section; the map shows the stylolitic layer between X3U and X2 as strong, the one
between the injection layer X3L and the upper layer as baffle, and the one between the injection layer and the lower layer as a
rather weak barrier. Note also the low velocity layers in X3L and X3U, confirmed as high-permeability layers on the nuclear-mag-
netic-resonance (NMR) analysis of the openhole log data, proved to be the flood-breakthrough paths from the present work.

approximately 14 to 17%, and average permeability is between 1 blepoint and minimum miscibility pressure and is not perturbed
and 3 md. However, evidence from core and logs indicates that by any water or gas injection. To limit the CO2-injection-volume
the permeability within any given layer can vary by one order of requirements, the pilot consists of three wells drilled in a line with
magnitude. The reservoir is mainly oil bearing; no gas cap was approximately 30 m between wells (Fig. 6). The central observa-
observed from openhole logs and production data. However, a tion well already existed before the pilot. It was drilled in 1964
strong gradient with depth exists in most properties, including sat- but was put on production from Layer X2 in 1994. Layer X3L
uration pressures and gas/oil ratio (GOR), with the bubblepoint was perforated in 1998 and produced commingled with Layer X2.
ranging between 1,000 and 3,500 psia and the GOR between 300 Production ceased in 2004, and the well has been shut in since.
and 1,500 scf/STB. Layers X1, X2, and X3U are at irreducible The well was drilled with a 6-in. (15-cm) borehole and cased with
water saturation, and layers X3L, X4U, and X4L are in the transi- 4.5-in. (11.25-cm) casing. The perforations were squeezed off
tion zone. Layers X5 and X6 are in the aquifer. The formation- with cement in 2009, and the well was converted to an observer in
water salinity is 220,000 ppm. preparation for the pilot.
The injector and producer were drilled in 2009 with 8.5-in.
(21.25-cm) borehole and completed with 7-in. (17.5-cm) casing.
Pilot Location and Geometry. The pilot is within an undevel- The injector was drilled with oil-based mud (OBM), whereas the
oped area of the field (Fig. 5). The reservoir is undersaturated producer was drilled with water-based mud (WBM). A modern
with no gas cap. The reservoir is at initial pressure above the bub- suite of well-log data, including NMR, was acquired on both the

Producer Injector
Obs

33 m 37 m

Pilot Area

Undis
turbed Under P
Area roductio
n Area

Fig. 5—Schematic of map of the field showing the area currently under production and the location of the CO2 EOR pilot in an
undisturbed area of the field.

74 February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering


X2 P

P
X3U

Observer

Producer
Injector
X3L P

X4U

X4L
X5
X6
33 m 37 m

Fig. 6—Schematic of the pilot wells.

wells and interpreted for formation lithology, porosity, satura- the production tubing through a perforated pup joint approxi-
tions, and permeability (Fig. 7). The permeability was calibrated mately 50 ft (15.24 m) above the uppermost perforations.
to core available on the injector. Because the injector was drilled
and logged with OBM in the borehole, we were unable to perform Data Acquisition and Quality Assessment
full-porosity partitioning and pore typing on the log data because Both CO and sigma modes were planned and acquired for the
of the effect of oil-based filtrate on the NMR transverse relaxation wells wherever feasible to complement each other in assessing the
distributions. However, we observe that NMR-derived permeabil- borehole environment, providing adequate input data to enable a
ity matches core data well, and calibration was achieved through multiphase reservoir-fluid analysis and yielding independent fluid
a simple adjustment of the premultiplier to the permeability trans- saturations for effective comparison. Borehole pressure and tem-
form. On the producer, which was drilled with WBM, a full- perature and fluid-density data were acquired in every run to
porosity partitioning and pore-typing analysis was performed, as assess the borehole fluids and environment and to calculate in-situ
shown in Fig. 7. properties of CO2 and reservoir fluids. A novel application of
The injector was perforated in Layer X3L, whereas the pro- pulsed-neutron acquisition mapped the flow of CO2 behind the
ducer was perforated in Layers X2, X3U, and X3L. Furthermore, pipe during the second survey on the producer. Table 1 gives the
the production tubing string was extended to 100 ft (30.48 m) details of the data acquired in the wells. In general, the quality of
below the deepest perforation, terminated in a mule shoe, to con- the recorded data is good, and excellent repeat of passes was
vey a distributed-temperature-sensor array on the outside of the observed. Fig. 8 shows the repeatability of three sigma passes and
tubing. Hence, the flow enters the annulus surrounding the tubing six CO passes recorded in the injector. Except for a short interval
through the perforated casing and flows up the annulus to enter in Pass 1 of the sigma (recorded while the well was still

Fig. 7—Result of detailed petrophysical evaluation on injector (left) and producer (right). Core porosity and permeability are over-
laid on the injector for comparison. Note the presence of mobile (moved) water on the injector from Layer X3L downward, indicat-
ing these layers are in the transition zone and aquifer.

February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering 75


TABLE 1—SUMMARY OF THE PULSED-NEUTRON AND ANCILLARY LOG DATA ACQUIRED IN THE PILOT WELLS

Date of Time With Reference to


Well Acquisition Data Acquired Well Status Injection Commencement

Injector 2 December 2009 Three sigma up passes at 900 ft/hr; six CO Under Approximately 1 month
passes at 100 ft/hr. Production-logging injection after commencement of
sensors for temperature, pressure, and injection
fluid density.
Observer 31 January 2010 Three sigma up passes at 900 ft/hr; six CO Static Logged after CO2 flood
passes at 100 ft/hr. Production-logging reaching breakthrough in
sensors for temperature, pressure, and producer
fluid density.
Producer 16 January 2010 Three sigma up passes at 900 ft/hr. Flowing Logged after CO2 flood
Production-logging sensors for temperature, breakthrough
pressure, and fluid density.
11 June 2010 Three sigma up passes at 900 ft/hr.
Production-logging sensors for temperature,
pressure, and fluid density. In-line spinner.
Novel pulsed-neutron acquisition to map CO2
flow in tubing annulus.

stabilizing), all passes were found to repeat well in the logged history, completion, drilling fluid, invasion profiles at various
interval, including across the segment with CO2 in the borehole. times, stimulation of perforated intervals by acid, and fluid loss
Pass 1 was excluded from the interpretation for this well. Similar during the cement-squeeze operation. Temperature, pressure, and
repeatability is observed for the producer, and even better repeat- well-fluid density from the production-logging sensors and bore-
ability for the observer. The excellent repeatability of the passes hole-indicator curves from the pulsed-neutron survey itself were
indicates high precision for the recorded pulsed-neutron data. inspected in detail to properly understand the borehole setting for
the measurement. The impact of possible residual invasion in the
Measurement Environment. Assessment of the borehole envi- near-wellbore region at logging time in target zones straddling a
ronment is the first step toward processing and interpretation of transitional oil/water contact (OWC) was also studied. The reser-
the data. Borehole environment has a significant impact on the voir is subhorizontal, and from experience, we have observed
measurement and, as can be seen in later sections, greatly influen- slow dissipation of invaded fluids.
ces the interpretation workflow adopted. We reviewed many When the borehole fluid is supercritical CO2, there is no
aspects that have a potential impact on the measurement—well hydrogen to moderate the neutrons and detector count rates

Fig. 8—Repeatability of vital quality and output curves for three sigma-mode passes in the left panel. The carbon and oxygen
yields and their ratios for six CO-mode passes are in the right panel, for the near detector (Tracks 1 through 4) and the far detector
(Tracks 5 through 8). Ratios derived from the yields method (COR) and windows method (Roscoe et al. 1991) are presented for indi-
vidual detectors. The black curve plotted on the yields and ratios tracks gives the averaged values for the six passes. Observe the
anomalous decrease of far oxygen inelastic yield across the perforated interval, as indicated by the red flag in the depth track.

76 February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering


TABLE 2—SCINTILLATOR PROPERTIES FOR COMMON DETECTOR CRYSTALS USED
IN PULSED-NEUTRON TOOLS

Crystals

Sodium Bismuth Gadolinium


Properties Iodide Germanate Oxyorthosilicate

Relative light output 100 13 20


Energy resolution (at 662 keV for a 1-cm3 crystal) (%) 6.50 9.30 8.00
Density (g/cm3) 3.67 7.13 6.71
Effective atomic number 51 75 59
Primary decay constant (nanoseconds) 230 300 56
Fragile? Yes No Slightly
Hygroscopic? Yes No No

increase dramatically. On the injector, we estimate a 50% increase Interpretation Approach


in near-detector count rates and a 250% increase in far-detector Borehole CO2 Correction. CO2 has a low thermal neutron cap-
count rates in similar formations if no minitron regulation were to ture cross section (sigma) and zero hydrogen index. When it is
be applied. Fortunately, the reservoir saturation tool uses an auto- present in the borehole, tool measurements of sigma and porosity
matic regulation of the minitron output on the basis of the instan- are affected. Hence, a suitable correction for borehole CO2 needs
taneous inelastic count rate, which serves to reduce the count rate to be engineered.
in the capture windows. Despite the regulation, the counts still Several methods have been proposed to estimate formation
increase by nearly 100% on the far detector. Such high count rates sigma from the pulsed-neutron tool. We observed that the esti-
require fast detectors for proper measurement. As seen in Table 2 mate of sigma obtained by use of the earlier-generation thermal-
(Melcher et al. 1991), the gadolinium oxyorthosilicate crystal decay time-tool (TDT) algorithms for the processing of the cur-
used in the reservoir saturation tool has the shortest decay con- rent-generation tool (Morris et al. 2005) was most representative
stant, consequently the fastest response. of the true sigma when CO2 was present in the borehole, and we
used this in the saturation analysis. The sigma curve from the
Injector. The injector well is a vertical hole drilled with OBM in TDT-like processing (SIGM_TDTL), though not as accurate in
2009 and perforated in the interval X480–X496 ft in Layer X3L. characterized environments as the sigma from normal processing
The tool string was run in and logged while CO2 injection was in (SIGM), is known to give robust answers for atypical environ-
progress. The injection rate was 1.2 MMscf/D at a wellhead pressure ments. The validity of SIGM_TDTL was verified on the injector
of 2,000 psi. As expected, supercritical CO2 is present in the bore- in zones with pure CO2 in the borehole, where no CO2 was
hole down to the bottom of perforations, as evident on the tempera- expected in the formation, by comparing it with a baseline sigma
ture, fluid-density, and borehole-salinity curves. The fluid-density log acquired during openhole logging (Fig. 12). In the interval
sensor reads approximately 0.70 g/cm3 for the supercritical CO2 at a from X433 to X480 ft, no separation was seen on the openhole re-
temperature of approximately 250 F and 5,600-psi pressure at the sistivity logs because the formation oil was replaced by the invad-
bottom of the perforations. Four fluid interfaces are discernible in ing OBM filtrate (Fig. 6). Hence, the sigma in the flushed zone
the logged interval of the borehole from the various sensor data seen by the pulsed-neutron porosity tool is identical to the true
recorded (Fig. 9). The presence of CO2 in the borehole has a signifi- formation sigma. In the interval from X433 to X466 ft, there was
cant bearing on the data processing and attendant correction. no CO2 present in the formation at the time of logging. We
observed an excellent overlay between the openhole sigma
(SIGF) and the TDT-like sigma from the pulsed-neutron survey.
Observer. Existing perforations were squeezed with cement in Hence, we have used the SIGM_TDTL for all estimates of fluid
early 2009 in this old well. The borehole is filled with brine and saturations in the pilot wells.
possibly with drilling fluid below X505 ft (Fig. 10). Some forma- For the quantitative analysis, we also used the pulsed-neutron
tion-to-borehole communication is observed on the temperature porosity (TPHI) from the sigma mode, which is actually a mea-
and density profile. The multifinger-caliper data and the magnetic sure of the hydrogen index (HI) of the formation derived from the
thickness log confirm the perforated intervals. Slight reduction in capture count rate ratios of the near and far detectors (TRAT).
internal radius is observed from multifinger-caliper data across TPHI is derived from the count rate spectra of the near and far
the squeezed perforations. We expect that the kill fluid used for detectors in a two-step process (Plasek et al. 1995). In the first
cement-squeeze jobs has invaded the perforations and most likely step, the “apparent” quantity (TRAT) is derived from the total
is present in the near-wellbore region against the squeezed inter- capture counts recorded in the late gates of the recorded count
vals at the time of the log. rate spectra of the near and far detectors. In the second step, the
conventional environmental corrections are applied from the input
Producer. The producer well was drilled with WBM in 2009 and of borehole properties. To correct for the borehole CO2, we devel-
perforated in the interval X458–X468 ft (X2), X475–X490 ft oped a new correction for the measured TRAT in the zones in
(X3U), and X498–X511 ft (X3L) with a production tubing string which borehole fluid was CO2. The modified TRAT was passed to
across the perforations (Fig. 11). The perforations were stimulated the second stage of conventional processing to yield a TPHI cor-
with hydrochloric acid (HCL), and, although the well was flowed rection for CO2. According to our usual procedure, we normalized
for over 3 months prior to the first logging survey, we expected the resulting TPHI with the openhole-log-derived formation po-
the presence of residual acid in the formation at logging time. The rosity by a single gain factor for the entire logged interval. The
target zones were logged through two tubulars with dissimilar normalization is quite often required for the cased-hole pulsed-
fluid compositions in the tubing and the annular space; therefore, neutron porosity because of tool and borehole-environment
the magnitude of uncertainty on the interpretation is expected to variations.
be large. The well was producing liquids of approximately 300 The carbon/oxygen ratio (COR) from the CO-mode measure-
STB/D through 16/64-in choke at a wellhead pressure of 1,600 psi ment (Roscoe et al. 1991) is also affected by the CO2 in the bore-
and water cut of less than 4%. hole. Correction is achieved by the use of an equivalent borehole

February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering 77


OH-CPI
Array Induction

Pulsed Neutron PL Sensors Slim Cement Mapping Tool

Fig. 9—Borehole environment in the injector well. Track 1 shows borehole indicators from the pulsed-neutron data: BSAL and near
to far inelastic count ratio (IRAT) from sigma mode and near inelastic carbon yields (N1C) from CO mode. Production-logging-
sensor data of temperature (WTEP), pressure (WPRE), and fluid density (WFDE) are displayed in Track 2. Array induction data are
presented in Track 3, and the variable density log and cement map displays of the slim cement-mapping tool run through tubing
are presented in Tracks 5 and 6, respectively. Invasion is evident in the water leg and toward the bottom of the transition zones,
where base oil from OBM filtrate is displacing saline formation water. Results of openhole volumetric analysis are presented in
Track 4. Four fluid interfaces are seen in the borehole, with supercritical CO2 filling the hole down to a depth of X496 ft, completion
brine to X560 ft, OBM to X630 ft, and sludge at the bottom.

oil holdup for CO2 in the borehole segment that will give the and provide the corresponding response parameters for water,
same COR as the supercritical CO2. CO2, and oil, thereby solving for the concentrations of CO2, oil,
and water. This is similar to the method proposed by Schnorr
(1996). The large contrast between CO2 and oil-carbon-density
Saturation Analysis. Once the environmentally corrected esti- values permits the use of CO logs for discriminating the two flu-
mates of sigma, HI, and elemental yields have been obtained, we ids. When interpreting oil volume from the CO logs, it is impor-
can interpret these in terms of the pore volumes of oil, water, and tant to correct for the borehole presence of CO2. As shown earlier,
CO2. Fig. 13 crossplots the response parameters of formation oil, this is performed by introducing an equivalent oil fraction in the
water, and CO2 in the conditions present in the reservoir. How- borehole.
ever, the accuracy of the answers derived depends on the preci- One other advantage of the availability of CO data is that it
sion as well as the contrast of the responses. The measurement can be combined with the sigma log to solve for four fluid compo-
precision of sigma curve is approximately 0.22 c.u. for the tool nents in the pore space—oil, CO2, and two waters—such as we
deployed. CO precision depends on the porosity and carbon con- have in the observer well in the presence of kill brine in the pore
tent of the formation and the logging speed. The stacking of the space across the squeezed perforations. This ability is critical for
six passes of CO mode has improved the precision considerably. reliable estimates of fluid saturations.
It is apparent that there is good contrast between the three fluids, In the injector well across the perforated zone, there is pure
and any two of the measurements shown can be used to discrimi- supercritical CO2 in the borehole and a high concentration of CO2
nate the three fluids. We have done so by use of a simultaneous in the pore space in the formation. The reduced water and oil satu-
optimizing solver (Schwanitz 1988). ration in the formation coupled with the absence of both oil and
We can also perform a conventional CO interpretation in terms water from the borehole results in a low concentration of hydro-
of formation oil and water. In the presence of CO2 in the forma- gen surrounding the tool. Hydrogen is the principal neutron
tion, the interpretation indicates a proportionally diminished oil moderator, and in its absence, the neutron counts increase dramat-
response given that the carbon density of CO2 is 0.19 compared ically on both detectors but particularly so in the far detector. We
with that of oil, which is 0.54. We can enter the interpreted oil observed an anomalous decrease in the estimated oxygen yield
volume, sigma, and HI into the simultaneous optimizing solver (Fig. 8) that is possibly caused by spectral distortion from

78 February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering


Fig. 10—Borehole environment of the observer well. A fluid interface is seen at X505 ft from pulsed-neutron borehole-indicator
curves and the production-logging-sensor data plotted in Tracks 1 and 2, respectively, of the left panel. From the evidence on the
WFDE, BSAL, and N1C curves, we expect remnants of drilling fluid below this depth. From the perturbation on the density curve
and the anomalous temperature, we suspect that there is communication between the borehole and formation across the lower
perforation interval that was squeezed. The casing magnetic thickness and multiarm-caliper data shown in the right panel confirm
the squeezed perforation intervals. The multiarm caliper measures a slightly higher internal radius for the casing across the
perforations.

uncharacteristically high count rates. As a consequence, conven- derived CO2 and oil saturations on the basis of the difference in
tional CO interpretation techniques did not work across the perfo- density of the original and final oil and CO2. A careful examina-
rated interval in the injector well. However, we observed that the tion of CO2 swelling studies indicated that the maximum density
carbon yield is unaffected by the distortion. Hence, we used the of the mixture is within 9% of that computed from a volumetric
carbon relative yield directly in the simultaneous optimizing mixing law and that the change in density for the CO2 and oil is
solver, which has a provision for the correct handling of relative only approximately 0.1 g/cm3. For the work in this paper, we
elemental yields. As seen in Fig. 12, the response parameter for have not applied the correction. However, in another work pub-
the carbon yield is chosen in proportion to the carbon density lished by Al-Aryani et al. (2011), we have proposed a method by
value (CDV) of each mineral and fluid component. This is further use of the simultaneous optimizing solver to account for the
calibrated in the tight-limestone sections relative to the calcite change in fluid properties and the consequent nuclear response
response. parameters.
Our interpretation approach in this paper assumes that oil,
water, and CO2 can be tracked as separate components and that
their properties do not vary with time. It must be understood at Results of Saturation Analysis
this point that nuclear porosity logs may not have the resolution to Injector. We had sigma, porosity, and carbon yield curves to
distinguish between CO2 that is miscibly present in the oil from solve for the pore-fluid volumes of oil, water, and CO2, with the
CO2 that is free in the pore space. Furthermore, as the CO2 flood mineralogy input from the openhole-log volumetric analysis
passes through the reservoir, it strips the lighter fractions from the results. An advanced multimineral log analysis for cased hole was
oil. The oil that is left behind is concentrated in the heavier ends. set up for saturation evaluation with the parameter endpoints as in
Given that the thermal-capture cross section of the original oil is Table 3. The endpoints for sigma and porosity for the minerals
20.7 c.u. and that of the residual oil is 24.9 c.u., there is a small and formation water and oil were the customary values used for
contrast to distinguish between the two. When CO2 mixes with the field. The fluid parameters for the field were computed from
the oil, the density of the mixture is not in linear proportion to the the Schlumberger Nuclear Parameter (SNUPAR) package by use
fractions of CO2 and oil and their respective densities. This is par- of the pressure/volume/temperature analysis data of oil and chem-
ticularly true when there is a large contrast between the density of ical analysis results of water on samples collected down hole by
the live oil and the supercritical CO2. However, in our case, the formation tester. Sigma and porosity endpoints for CO2 were
CO2 and the oil are nearly the same density. Hence, the density of computed by SNUPAR for the downhole density of CO2. The
the mixture is not extremely different from that of either end endpoint parameter values for carbon yield needed to be devised
member. Lo et al. (2003) prescribed a correction for the log- and for CO2 and oil were set in proportion to their CDVs, and that

February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering 79


Array Latare Leg OH-CPI US Imager

CBL

Fig. 11—Measurement environment in the producer well. WBM-filtrate invasion is evident on the array of log curves and pro-
nounced in the oil leg and in the transition zone with moveable oil. Good zonal isolation is observed on the ultrasonic-pulse-echo
data (Tracks 5 and 6) and the cement-bond logs (Track 7). WFDE reads the brine density below the perforated joint and that of pro-
duced fluids above. BSAL changes seen with depth are coherent with the perforation intervals and fluid influx into the annulus.

for calcite was optimized against tight sections. The carbon-yield also attempted different combinations of input channels to derive
endpoints for all other formation components were set to zero. two additional volumetric solutions by use of the combination of
Only two of the three input curves were necessary to solve for carbon yield/sigma and sigma/carbon yield/porosity curves. The
three-component saturation. The cased-hole multimineral log saturation answers from the different combinations agree within a
analysis results by use of sigma and porosity curves are shown in reasonable range (Fig. 13), giving added confidence to the inter-
Fig. 13. High CO2 saturations are seen in injection Layer X3, with preted volumes.
the upper 8 ft of the perforated interval seen as more swept by The SIGM_TDTL curve was compared with that recorded by
CO2 compared with the lower part. The presence of CO2 is also the pulsed-neutron porosity tool in open hole (Fig. 12). Examining
observed in the lower part of X3U and upper part of X4U. We the trends of the sigma curve and the expected OBM-filtrate

100.0 0.54 100.0


Water Oil
Water
C-Yield
Sigma

Sigma

CO2
CO2 Oil
Oil
CO2
Water
0.0 1.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.54
HI HI C-Yield

Fig. 12—Results of the saturation analysis for the injector well. The left panel has the details of the conventional interpretation
attempted by use of the sigma and porosity curves of the pulsed-neutron data. Track 2 displays the TPHI curve corrected and the
final one used in interpretation after applying a normalizing gain factor. SIGM_TDTL is plotted together with sigma from the open-
hole neutron device in Track 2. The three fluid-saturation results by use of the different combinations of input channels are dis-
played in the right panel.

80 February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering


Fig. 13—Contrast of formation-fluid components in the measurement space.

dissipation pattern in the water leg, transition zone, and the oil leg difference of the two waters for 1 p.u. of water in the pore is 0.29
provides additional confirmation that the vertical extent of the CO2 c.u. which is higher than the sigma precision of the tool used for
presence in the formation layers could be deduced. The pulsed- the surveys. The volume of oil obtained from the customary satu-
neutron sigma is reading higher than the openhole sigma from the ration interpretation by use of CO data was used as an input chan-
middle of X4U down to the water leg. This is expected because the nel in the solver with the endpoint for oil and CO2 in proportion to
formation water is expected to reinvade and replace the residual their CDVs. The results are presented in Fig. 14. We find higher
OBM filtrate, which had displaced formation water during inva- CO2 saturations in X3U compared with that in the injection layer
sion. Across X2 and the top of X3, which are in the oil leg with no of X3L. CO2 is present in small quantities toward the upper part of
moveable water, the two sigmas agree and, as anticipated, there is X4U. Minor saturations are also seen in X2; however, the uncer-
no effect on formation sigma because of reinvasion. Across the tainty in saturation estimates is large in this zone because of the
zones invaded in X3L and X3U, we see a reversal of the trend, presence of the kill fluid.
with the pulsed-neutron sigma reading significantly lower as a In the observer well, we had the benefit of a base run of a ther-
result of the influx of CO2. In the top 10 ft of X4U, which is in the mal-decay-time log recorded in 1994 by an earlier version of the
transition zone, the effects of reinvasion and CO2 influx seem to pulsed-neutron tool, which afforded a time-lapse comparison
balance, resulting in the broad agreement of the two sigmas. of the raw curves and saturation results (Fig. 14). Note the
agreement of sigma from the thermal-decay-time log and the
SIGM_TDTL curves in the porous segments unaffected by CO2
Observer. The presence of kill fluid was observed against the and kill-fluid influx and the anomalously high reading of sigma
squeezed layers in the observer well from the sigma curve against the squeezed perforations. Looking at the porosity curves
(Fig. 14). Therefore, a four-component fluid-saturation interpreta- from the base and current runs across X2, we do not see a signifi-
tion was attempted in a simultaneous optimizing solver to deduce cant change between the runs. This similarity points to a low CO2
pore volumes of formation water, kill fluid, oil, and CO2 by use of saturation, if any, across X2 because the saturation change of oil
sigma, porosity, and CO data. The kill fluid being more saline, a and water does not have a significant impact on the porosity
sigma parameter of 125 c.u. and a hydrogen index of 0.9 were used curve. We have obtained minor CO2 saturations from the CO-
compared with 96 c.u. and 0.96 for the formation water. The sigma sigma interpretation and prefer to consider this to be the saturation
result at this point in time. The question of whether CO2 is present
in X2 can be answered with much less ambiguity from the time-
TABLE 3—PARAMETER ENDPOINTS OF THE FORMATION lapse comparison of saturation results from future runs in the ob-
COMPONENTS FOR SATURATION COMPUTATION server well.
Component
Producer. The residual acid effect, more prominent in X3U, and
Curves Calcite Illite Oil Water CO2 dissipation with time is observed on the sigma curve in the two
Sigma (c.u.) 7.4 50.0 20.0 96.0 0.04 runs recorded 5 months apart. Volumetric analysis of sigma data
was conducted by use of SIGM_TDTL and TPHI curves. The
Porosity (v/v) 0.0 0.2 0.960 0.96 0.000
acid effect was attempted to be accounted for by zonewise modifi-
Carbon yield 0.03 0.0 0.088 0.0 0.032
cation of the sigma water endpoints in the intervals found to be

February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering 81


Fig. 14—Saturation interpretation results for the observer well. The porosity recorded for the base and current runs is presented in
Track 1 along with the normalized porosity and the effective porosity from openhole saturations. The sigmas from the two runs are
presented in Track 2, with both the sigma and the TDT-like sigma presented from the current run. Tracks 4 and 5 give the saturation
computation results from combined CO and sigma interpretation. Fluid analysis from the sigma data of the base run of 1994 is pre-
sented in Track 3.

affected by acid. The results from the two runs are presented in acting as the main flow path for the CO2 and are potentially the
Fig. 15. breakthrough layers for the flood front.
From the Run-1 results, we find greater CO2 saturation in X3U
compared with the injection layer of X3L. A small influx of CO2 Flood-Front Behavior From Saturation Results. Fig. 16
is found into X4U and is accumulated at the top of the layer. We presents the combined view of the saturation results obtained for
observe minor CO2 saturations in X2 as well. The time-lapse individual wells. Injected CO2 is breaching the interzone stylolitic
trend from Run 2 shows an increase of CO2 saturations, indicating barriers of X3L to X4U and X3L to X3U. Small quantities of the
further accretion of the fluid into the area of the producer with the CO2 invading X4U have accumulated at the top of the zone. Over-
progress of injection and the general tendency of the CO2 to move all, the ability to breach the interzone barrier corresponds well to
upward in the reservoir. It must be reiterated that the completion the velocity map shown in Fig. 4. The CO2-flood front is seen
string and the residual acid effect handicap the saturation interpre- moving upward as it progresses laterally because the density of
tation in the producer. Furthermore, the dramatic change of bore- CO2 is still lower compared with reservoir oil.
hole fluid composition from the depth of the hole in the tubing
(Fig. 15) weakens the ability for effective time-lapse comparison.
Overall, the saturation trends are representative, whereas the val- Conclusions and Recommendations
ues themselves tend to be rather qualitative. The impact of the Establishing a Baseline. The absence of properly timed baseline
uncertainties is felt more in the zones with minor saturations, such log data was a handicap for the interpretation exercise. Experience
as X2, where we are unable to categorically conclude whether gained from the work suggests that the invaded fluids are slow to
there was influx of CO2 into the zone. dissipate and that it takes quite some time to achieve the baseline
We attempted to study the layerwise contributions from the condition, of the near-wellbore formation representing the true
pore structure and permeability analysis conducted by use of the reservoir saturations before injection. Suggested corrective meas-
openhole log data in conjunction with the pulsed-neutron and pro- ures are drilling and completing the holes, especially the observer,
duction sensor data. We observed a minor deflection toward the sufficiently ahead of time for the filtrate to dissipate; producing
lower value in the borehole-salinity curve against the high-perme- the injector and producer wells for long enough to flow back the
ability streaks, which have a higher value by up to an order of invading fluids; and acquiring adequate base runs to assess the
magnitude compared with the zone’s average permeability. dissipation status of the invaded filtrate and the residual fluids in
Change in borehole salinity indicates significant fluid changes in well operations.
the borehole, and there is good reason to believe that the bore- One of the objectives of the pilot was to deduce the residual oil
hole-salinity change is coherent with the type and quantity of the saturations after the flood. The quantity is best assessed in the
fluid produced. As can be seen, the high-permeability layers are observer well. Although there is evidence that the residual oil

82 February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering


OH Run1 Run2
Jun 09 Jan 10 Jun 10

Fig. 15—Pulsed-neutron and production-log-sensor data and saturation results of the two runs recorded in the producer well.
From the multifinger-caliper data of second-run data, presented in Track 2 of the middle panel, a hole in the tubing is seen at X477
ft against a pipe joint. Looking at the depth of the perforated joint from the multifinger data, the diagram constructed from the tub-
ing tally of the completion string appears to be 5 ft shallow. Track 1 of the right panel gives the borehole salinity and the fluid den-
sity recorded inside the tubing for the two runs. In the second run, produced fluids have displaced the brine in the tubing above
the hole in the tubing. Track 3 displays the results of the combined oil and CO2 contributions assessed from a novel application of
inelastic mode acquisition. Track 4 presents the flow profile arrived at from the in-line spinner and production-log-sensor data
analysis for a single phase representing the mixture of CO2 and oil. Displayed in the extreme right panel is the result of pore por-
tioning and permeability analysis of the magnetic resonance and triple-combo data for the well. The left panel gives the time-lapse
saturation result for the well, along with the sigma log curves for Run 1 (blue) and Run 2 (red).

saturation to CO2 is small, we were seriously handicapped by the Other Suggestions for Well Design and Monitoring Scheme.
presence of kill fluid of uncertain salinity in the observer well in In harmony with other objectives of the pilot, the borehole and
Layers X2 and X3L in accurately deriving this quantity. Similarly, casing size and completion design need to be optimized. Smaller
the residual acid complicated the saturation interpretation of the hole and casing sizes help to reduce the borehole effect and sen-
producer. To mitigate the effect of the invading fluids in the near- sor-to-formation standoff. At the same time, the larger-inside-
wellbore region, the following measures are suggested: match diameter completion is desired to allow the passage of a more
mud filtrate to the salinity of formation water to avoid complica- diverse set of logging tools, such as the larger-outside-diameter
tions in interpreting water volume; minimize filtration loss, use pulsed-neutron tool and through-casing formation tester.
minimum overbalance, and use rigorous mud-control measures A monitoring strategy to detect the arrival of the flood front
while drilling targets; and ensure a good primary cementation. needs to be planned. For the kind of well spacing in this pilot,
cased-hole measurements with a deeper depth of investigation,
such as cased-hole formation resistivity with an investigation ra-
dius of several feet, could be considered for detection of the flood
front ahead of reaching the borehole, after assessing their sensitiv-
ity to the expected fluid changes resulting from flood advance-
Injector Observer Producer ment. The deep resistivity measurement is expected to be
02 Dec 2009 31 Jan 2010 16 Jan 2010 sensitive to the replacement of water by CO2 in the transition
zone and down in the water leg.

Challenges of Monitoring CO2 Floods. Monitoring a miscible


CO2 flood by pulsed-neutron techniques presents many chal-
lenges, some imposed by the physical properties of CO2 and the
consequent impact on the functioning of the pulsed-neutron tools.
Absence of characterization of CO2 as a borehole or comple-
tion fluid adds to the challenges. Consequently, we have devised a
correction scheme for borehole presence of CO2 that led to the
successful derivation of saturation in the pilot wells.
Fig. 16—A snapshot of the saturation indicating the flood-front Several other challenges imposed by the specific well environ-
movement. ment have been successfully addressed.

February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering 83


Assessing the Measurement Environment. From the recorded Morris, F., Morris, C., and Quinlan, T. 2005. Applications of Pulsed Neu-
pulsed-neutron and production-log-sensor data, zones with differ- tron Capture Logs in Reservoir Management. Paper SPE 93889 pre-
ent borehole fluids were identified, critical to the correction that sented at the SPE Western Regional Meeting, Irvine, California, 30
needs to be applied on the formation measurements. March–1 April. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/93889-MS.
Pulsed-neutron measurements show excellent repeatability in Plasek, R.E., Adolph, R.A., Stoller, C., et al. 1995. Improved Pulsed Neu-
CO2 environments for both capture and inelastic passes, ensuring tron Capture Logging With Slim Carbon-Oxygen Tools: Methodology.
high precision in the environment and confidence in the inter- Paper SPE 30598 presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference
preted results. and Exhibition, Dallas, Texas, 22–25 October. http://dx.doi.org/
10.2118/30598-MS.
Roscoe, B.A., Stoller, C., Adolph, R.A., et al. 1991. A New Through-Tub-
Workflow Used. Reliable correction was achieved for CO2 in ing Oil-Saturation Measurement System. Paper SPE 21413 presented
the borehole and was confirmed from data in reference zones and at the Middle East Oil Show, Bahrain, 16–19 November. http://
logs. dx.doi.org/10.2118/21413-MS.
Innovative workflow was adapted and tailored to the specific Schnorr, D.R. 1996. Determining Oil, Water and Gas Saturations Simulta-
requirements of each well to derive representative saturations neously Through Casing by Combining CO & Sigma Measurements.
from the available data. Paper SPE 35682 presented at the SPE Western Regional Meeting,
Anchorage, Alaska, 22–24 May. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/35682-MS.
Results. Pulsed-neutron data afford multiple independent corrob- Schwanitz, B.J. 1988. A Combination of Logging Measurements For
oration of multiphase saturation in the formation—water, oil, and Quantitative Monitoring Of CO2 Floods. Paper SPE 17276 presented
CO2—and account for presence of fluids introduced by residual at the Permian Basin Oil and Gas Recovery Conference, Midland,
drilling fluid invasion, remaining acid, and completion fluids. Texas, 10–11 March. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/17276-MS.
Reasonable saturation answers are provided for each run in spite
of the many challenges. Fatema Al Aryani graduated in 2005 from United Arab Emi-
An innovative technique of the pulsed-neutron inelastic mode rates (UAE) University with a BSc degree in physics. She joined
acquisition could provide information on the flow of CO2 behind ADCO in July 2005 as a petrophysicist. She has built technical
and inside the tubing in the producer well. experience around planning and evaluation of petrophysical
well data and integrating the inputs for reservoir characteriza-
A combined analysis of permeability from openhole data and
tion and project assessment. Al Aryani has experience in
the pulsed-neutron data in the producer well indicates that the cased-hole reservoir monitoring by use of the pulsed-neutron
high-permeability layers are the chief contributors to production and production logging to understand the reservoir behavior,
and potential paths for flood breakthrough. fluid-front movements, changes in the hydrocarbon/water
By combining the saturation results at the pilot well locations, contacts, and the residual oil. This practice was strengthened
behavior of the flood front in the pilot area could be ascertained. with CO2-EOR logging surveillance experience in carbonate
reservoirs of ADCO fields.

Acknowledgments Adel Obeidi graduated in 1996 from Benghazi University with a


BSc degree in geology; he has more than 15 years of experi-
The authors wish to thank Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and ence in the petroleum industry and worked for several interna-
Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) for tional companies before joining ADCO in January 2008 in the
granting permission to publish the work. We express our appreci- role of senior petrophysicist. Obeidi has built his knowledge in
ation of the excellent work performed for the execution of the the use of petrophysics and reservoir characterization within
data-acquisition program and would like to thank the operational different areas of formation evaluation, operations manage-
teams concerned in ADCO and Schlumberger. We also wish to ment, and development derisking.
acknowledge Brad Roscoe, Jim Hemingway, and Murtaza Ziaud- Jacob Brahmakulam is a petrophysicist supporting wireline
din of Schlumberger for their review of the manuscript and help- operations in east and central west Africa. He earned a mas-
ful guidance. ter’s degree in physics before joining the oil industry in 1985 as
a wireline engineer. Brahmakulam has diverse experience as
a petrophysicist in evaluating reservoirs at varied geological
References
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Al-Aryani, A., Obeidi, A., Brahmakulam, J., et al. 2011. Pulsed Neutron ing is one of his areas of expertise, and he supported the
Technology for Monitoring Miscible CO2 Floods. Presented at the Schlumberger monitoring technologies in a past assignment
SPWLA-India 3rd Annual Logging Symposium, Mumbai, India, as an interpretation development petrophysicist.
25–26 November.
Raghu Ramamoorthy has worked with Schlumberger since
Al Hajeri, S., Neghaben, S., Al-Yafeyi, G., et al. 2010. Design and Imple- 1982 in various roles such as wireline field engineer, location
mentation of the First CO2-EOR Pilot in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Paper SPE manager, log analyst, research scientist, and petrophysicist.
129609 presented at the SPE EOR Conference at Oil and Gas West He is currently Petrophysics Adviser and Domain Head for Wire-
Asia, Muscat, Oman, 11–13 April. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/129609- line Middle East Operations, based in Abu Dhabi. Ramamoor-
MS. thy holds an MS degree in petroleum engineering from the
Lo, L.L., McGregor, D.S., Wang, P., et al. 2003. WAG Pilot Design and University of Texas at Austin. He holds several patents in petro-
Observation Well Data Analysis for Hassi Berkine South Field. Paper physical methods and has received the Henri Doll Award and
SPE 89367 presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Conrad Schlumberger Award for best interpretation papers
inside Schlumberger. Ramamoorthy recently received the SPE
Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, 5–8 October. http://dx.doi.org/10.2118/ Regional Award for Formation Evaluation. He is widely pub-
84076-MS. lished in SPE, the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Ana-
Melcher, C.L., Schweitzer, J.S., Manente, R.A., et al. 1991. Applicability lysts, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
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84 February 2013 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering