Dual Energy CT Scanning to Increase Insight Into Rock Properties

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 17:59

As players in Mexico advance in the exploration of their blocks, the latest technologies must be employed to generate precise and exact visualizations of the subsoils below their rigs.

Core analysis has long been a vital tool to provide operators with accurate insights into the physical characteristics of the rock they are drilling. Among the many physical attributes of a rock core analysis are porosity, permeability, flow behavior and mechanical properties. Having sound information and intimate knowledge of the rock types they are working on puts operators in position to develop a financiallyefficient plan for hydrocarbon extraction. With the current industrywide focus on cost-effectiveness and ROI, core analysis is an integral part of exploration and production operations. Computed Tomography (CT) scanners are among the most comprehensive techniques for rapid core analysis. CT scanning allows for superior visualization and detailed quantitative core assessment before the core is extruded from the core barrel.

Core Laboratories, a Houston-based leader in reservoir description and production enhancement services, has gone one step further. The company’s innovative Dual Energy CT (DECT) technique offers even more rapid, nondestructive core scanning to provide information on established physical phenomena of Compton scattering and photoelectric absorption at a millimeter scale. Not only does DECT provide the density and atomic number, but also total porosity, strength profile and dynamic mechanical core properties down to a millimeter scale. This data, in combination with laboratory work, generates quantitative and qualitative millimeter-scale log descriptions of well cores, yielding critical information related to the core’s mineralogy. Core Laboratories has also developed a multidimensional cluster analysis program called Automated Sample Selection by Intelligent Statistical Technique (ASSIST) to employ DECT data to cored intervals in “petrophysical-properties” and “geo-mechanical” facies. With a parallel web-based visualization and data display dashboard, this process can be carried out on a single platform.

Digital preservation allows operators to visualize and assess cores for months and years after they have been acquired. The early-time capture of data and quick interpretation of properties via the methods of Core Laboratories makes DECT core scanning a vital part of core analysis programs for successful production operations in Mexico.