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Pulsed-Neutron Comparison of Open- and Casedhole Wells: An Alaskan Case Study

This paper compares the results of gas identification and lithology identification using pulsed-neutron spectroscopy in openhole and casedhole environments. Most pulsed-neutron tools are run after casing; this study provides a unique opportunity to examine the effect of casing on spectroscopy by comparing casedhole measurements to measurements taken in the open hole before the casing was run.

Introduction

Pulsed-neutron logging has evolved over the last 50 years, but the intrinsic physical measurements have remained unchanged, which means that operators cannot obtain a complete picture of the rock and fluids behind casing with conventional tools. However, advances in tool design and a new fast-neutron cross-section (FNXS) measurement provide for an alternative gas-identification technique. Gas in open holes is typically identified from neutron porosity and gamma-gamma density crossover. In casedhole environments, gamma-gamma density measurements are challenging because of the large casing and cement corrections needed. Previous gas identification in casedhole environments has relied on the formation hydrogen index (HI) or neutron porosity (TPHI) log and sigma.

In openhole environments, density and neutron porosity crossover is a typical gas identifier, but, in many instances, shale can mask the identification of gas. This is a common problem in some gas reservoirs in Alaska, and it leads to ambiguous interpretations about the gas saturation and potential producibility of different zones. Gas identification in casedhole environments is even more complicated because the density measurement is not commonly available.  

The FNXS measurement responds primarily to formation atom density, for which most rocks, clays, and liquids have similar values. Comparatively, gas has a low atom density, and its presence will make the FNXS measurement read low. Thus, a gas pay zone can be differentiated from tight zones by the shift toward lower FNXS values. Also, the difference in FNXS between clean lithologies and clay is less than for sigma and TPHI, so FNXS, which is less affected by variable clay content, can be a more-robust gas indicator when variable clay is present.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 190062, “A Pulsed-Neutron Comparison Between an Open- and Casedhole Well: An Alaskan Case Study,” by J. Burt, T. Zhou, D.A. Rose, R. Grover, S. Ahmad, and J. Nemec, Schlumberger, and J. Dunston, Hilcorp, prepared for the 2018 SPE Western Regional Meeting, Garden Grove, California, USA, 22–27 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Pulsed-Neutron Comparison of Open- and Casedhole Wells: An Alaskan Case Study

01 August 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 8

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