One of the most important, but often ignored, factors affecting the transport and the seismic properties of hydrocarbon reservoir is pore shape. Transport properties depend on the dimensions, geometry, and distribution of pores and cracks. Knowledge of pore shape distribution is needed to explain the often-encountered complex interrelationship between seismic parameters (e.g. seismic velocity) and the independent physical properties (e.g. porosity) of hydrocarbon reservoirs. However, our knowledge of reservoir pore shape distribution is very limited. This dissertation employs a pore structure parameter via a rock physics model to characterize mean reservoir pore shape.
The parameter was used to develop a new physical concept of critical clay content in the context of pore compressibility as a function of pore aspect ratio for a better understanding of seismic velocity as a function of porosity. This study makes use of well log dataset from offshore Norway and from North Viking Graben in the North Sea. In the studied North Sea reservoir, porosity and measured horizontal permeability was found to increase with increasing pore aspect ratio (PAR). PAR is relatively constant at 0.23 for volumes of clay (V_cl) less than 32% with a significant decrease to 0.04 for V_cl above 32%. The point of inflexion at 32% in the PAR -V_cl plane is defined as the critical clay volume. Much of the scatters in the compressional velocity-porosity cross-plots are observed where V_cl is above this critical value. For clay content higher than the critical value, Hertz-Mindlin (HM) contact theory over-predicts compressional velocity (V_p) by about 69%. This was reduced to 4% when PAR distribution was accounted for in the original HM formulation.
The pore structure parameter was also used to study a fractured carbonate reservoir in the Sichuan basin, China. Using the parameter, the reservoir interval can be distinguished from those with no fracture. The former has a pore structure parameter value that is >= 3.8 whereas it was < 3.8 for the latter. This finding was consistent with the result of fracture analysis, which was based on FMI image. The results from this dissertation will find application in reservoir characterization as the industry target more complex, deeper, and unconventional reservoirs.
- Sun, Yuefeng Mollie B. & Richard A. Williford Professor