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Formation Evaluation Fundamentals

Petroleum Geology
The contents of this presentation are for training purposes and internal use ONLY and are NOT to be used for external use or customer presentations, as they may contain sensitive information.

After completing this module, the student can: Describe theories of origin of hydrocarbons. Describe how oil migrates from source rocks through carrier rocks to reservoir rocks. Identify structural and stratigraphic traps. Describe lithological properties of various types of reservoir rocks. Differentiate between porosity and permeability. Describe fluid saturation Compare an undisturbed formation with an invaded formation in terms of fluid contents.

Hydrocarbon Sources

Inorganic Organic

Inorganic Hydrocarbon Sources

Assumes that some combination of chemical reaction occurs naturally to form petroleum and coal. Receives little support today.

Organic Hydrocarbon Sources

Claims that fossil fuels were formed from remains of plants and animals. Plant and animal remains were transformed into petroleum by:

Bacterial action Heat and pressure Catalytic reactions Radioactive bombardments.

Organic Hydrocarbon Sources

Bacterial Action

Heat Burial

Radioactive Bombardment

Petroleum Pressure Time

Chemical Reactions

Migration and Accumulation

Migration is the natural movement of oil from source rock to reservoir rock. Migration influences include:

Buoyancy Hydrodynamics Capillary action


Basic mechanism involved in migration of hydrocarbons. Occurs because petroleum is lighter than water. Oil will naturally rise to set on top of water. Gas will naturally rise above oil.



Hydrodynamics are the forces by which one fluid flows past another carrying the second fluid with it.

Confining Bed
(Shale) Oil Accumulation

Underground Water Flow

Sandstone Bed Confining Bed

(Shale) Hydrodynamic Forces of Underground Water Flow Drag Oil Droplets along with Water

Capillary Action

Capillary action is the tendency of a fluid to rise in a small tube or the way a sponge soaks up water.

Capillary Action
Oil is absorbed into by capillary action.

Dry Sandstone Sand Grain Original Oil Level

Oil-filled Sandstone


Buoyancy, hydrodynamics, and capillary action cause the fluids to migrate from source rock to reservoir rock. Reservoir rock must have a cap rock or a confining bed next to it to seal the reservoir.


Confining Bed (Cap Rock)

Confining Bed Source Rock Fault Boundary

Reservoir Traps

Structural Traps

Result from rock layer deformation.

Stratigraphic Traps

Result when a reservoir bed is sealed by other beds Result when porosity or permeability change within a reservoir bed.

Structural Traps

A few examples of structural traps are:

Anticline Syncline Fold Fault Salt Dome

Structural Traps

An anticline is an elongated fold in which the sides slope downward from the crest.

Structural Traps

A syncline is a depressed fold between two crests.

Structural Traps

A fold is a bend or flex in a layer or layers of rock.

Structural Traps

A fault is a break in the earths strata. Often strata on one side of the fault line have been displaced relative to their original positions.

Upward Downward Laterally

Gas Salt Water Oil

Structural Traps

An example of a fault.

Structural Traps

A salt dome (diapir) is an anticlinal uplift of sedimentary rocks caused by the pushing up of a body of salt. The uplift is typically spherical.





Stratigraphic Traps

Stratigraphic Traps: Result when a reservoir bed is sealed by other beds or when porosity or permeability change within a reservoir bed. A few examples of stratigraphic traps are:

Lens Unconformity Pinchout Porosity Trap

Stratigraphic Traps

A lens is an isolated body of sedimentary rock, such as a reef or a sand bar.

Stratigraphic Traps

An unconformity is a surface that separates one set of rocks from another younger set. An unconformity represents a period of non-deposition, weathering, or erosion, either sub-aerial or subaqueous, prior to the deposition of the younger set.

Stratigraphic Traps

A pinchout is the natural ending of a sedimentary rock

regressive sands transgressive sands

Stratigraphic Traps

A porosity trap is created because of variations in porosity within rock. It can also be created with secondary porosity.


Reservoir Rock

Almost all reservoir rocks are sedimentary. Sedimentary rocks include:

Sandstone Conglomerate Limestone Dolomite

Reservoir Rock


Loose, uncompacted (unconsolidated) quartz or feldspar. Compacted (consolidated) quartz or feldspar.


Reservoir Rock

Cementation can decrease or increase porosity.

Example: cementation by fluid movement


Cemented Sandstone Rock Particles

Water with Solids

Void Spaces

Void Spaces filled (Cemented)

Reservoir Rock


A cemented clastic rock containing rounded rock fragments of gravel, pebble size.

Reservoir Rock


Formed chiefly by accumulation of shells and coral Consists mainly of calcium carbonate

Reservoir Rock

Water as a dissolving agent.

L i me st o ne

Acidic Water

Small Void Spaces

Large Void Spaces

Rock Properties

Lithology is a description of the mineralogy and rock type present. Lithological types (and oilfield abbreviations) include:

SS: sandstone LS: limestone DOL: dolomite SH: shale SALT: crystalline salt


Porosity is the ratio of the void space in a rock to the bulk volume or size of the rock.

Unconnected Pore Total Porosity includes Connected and Unconnected Pores

Sand Grain

Effective Porosity (Interconnected Pores)


Porosity varies relative to grain shape and arrangement. Normally porosity varies between 10% and 30%.


Cubic porosity provides the maximum possible porosity = 47%

When grains are stacked in a rhombohedral fashion, porosity = 26%


If formation consists of varying sized grains in a closely packed arrangement, porosity = 10%

If grains are bricklike and loosely stacked, porosity = 1%


Types of porosity include:

Total Porosity: Ratio of total void space in a rock to the bulk volume of the rock. Effective Porosity: Portion of total pore space in saturated permeable rock in which movement of fluids takes place. Ratio of interconnected pore space in a rock to bulk volume of the rock.


Permeability is the ability of a rock to transmit a fluid. It is measured in millidarcies (md). Permeability is a function of area, length, pressure, viscosity, and flow rate of the fluid. Formations cannot be produced if permeability is less than 50 md.


Fluid flow in permeable sand

Sand Grains

Pore Space

1 Atm 1 cm 1 cm 2 Q = 1 cc/sec Vis = 1 cp

Formation Core Having Permeability of 1 Darcy

Fluid Properties

Gas, oil, and water are the most commonly found fluids in a reservoir rock. Fluid saturation

Ratio between the volume that a specific fluid occupies in the reservoirs void space Fluid saturation of the formations void space of a porous rock is always 100%. If the void space is said to be half filled with oil and half filled with water, then the rock would have a 50% oil saturation (So) and a 50% water saturation (Sw)

Fluid Saturation

Water saturation (Sw): percentage of formation fluid that is water. Oil saturation (So): percentage of formation fluid that is oil. Gas saturation (Sg): percentage of formation fluid that is gas.

Fluid Density

Fluid density describes the mass of formation fluids. Fluid density determines the location of different fluids in a reservoir.

Gas has the lowest (lightest) density. Water has the highest (heaviest) density. Oil lies between gas and water in density.

Effect of Fluid Densities

Gas Cap

Gas Oil Water


Effect of Formation Water

Pore Space Limestone

Quartz Quartz

Chert Feldspar Quartz Clay

Quartz Clay Sand Grain

Formation water wetting the sand grains

Comparison Between Undisturbed and Invaded Formations

Undisturbed Formation
Washed Out Hole

Invaded Formation

Oil Sw = Irreducible

Mudcake Formation Water Filtrate Sw = 100%