On the Characterization of Carbonate Reservoirs Using Low Field NMR Tools

Mai, A. and Kantzas, A.

DOI: 10.2118/75687-MS
SPE 75687, 2002 SPE Gas Technology Symposium, to be held in Calgary, Alberta, April 30 – May 2, 2002.


Alberta contains significant deposits of oil and gas in carbonate formations. Carbonates tend to have fairly tight matrix structures, resulting in low primary porosity and permeability. As a result, laboratory characterization of carbonate properties is a slow and tedious process. Low field NMR is an emerging technology shows great promise in rock characterization. In a single NMR experiment, rock properties like porosity, permeability and Swi can in theory be measured.

Experiments were performed on approximately 80 core plugs from six carbonate formations. Porosity measurements were performed through gas expansion and brine saturation (Archimedes’ principle). Air permeabilities were also measured. Cores were also saturated with brine and spun to irreducible water saturation. NMR measurements were taken at both saturation stages (Sw = 1.0 and Sw = Swi). NMR data were interpreted using the conventional core analysis results as guides. Observations were made regarding NMR trends and corresponding rock properties.

Preliminary analysis of the data shows that NMR can successfully predict the content and distribution of the fluids in the porous media. Also, the NMR spectra of carbonate samples seem to suggest that NMR can be used as a tool for classifying cores into different pore systems.

Using T2cutoff values as a tool, the cores can be divided into groups. Group 1 has T2cutoff < 80 ms, while group 2 has T2cutoff in the range of 80 to 200 ms and group 3 has T2cutoff values > 200 ms. Group 1 cores generally have higher porosity values than groups 2 and 3. Group 1 also has low values of T2gm, compared to the other two groups. Air permeability was compared to the geometric means and T2gm cutoff values of the three groups and some general trends were observed, but more analysis is required before these trends can be quantified.

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