Core Analysis: Is it Really Worth It?

Aikman, M.J.L., Pooladi-Darvish, M., Mirotchnik, K. and Kantzas, A.

Paper SCA 9830, presented at the 1998 International Symposium of the Society of Core Analysts, held in The Hague, The Netherlands, September 14-16, 1998.


Discoveries of large petroleum fields in Western Canada and the United States are becoming increasingly rare in recent times. One might therefore question the value added by implementation of expensive laboratory testing, particularly since there are various correlations available to approximate some of the essential parameters that influence reservoir response and subsequent economic return. To address this question, a comparison has been made on the oil recovery and economic viability that can be projected from a hypothetical reservoir with and without the guidance of relative permeability data as derived from laboratory analysis and correlations. A synthetic model was constructed with input of several laboratory-derived relative permeability functions. This model was used as the “Base Field Data”. Various simplifications of the reservoir model were then made by assigning in some cases only one set of rock tables, and in others, data that is based upon estimates for the data to be used in Corey type relative permeability correlation. The model output was run through an economic analysis, and comparisons of cashflow and profitability were made. It was found that significant gaps exist in the annual cashflow projections. As some corporations live and die on cashflow projections, the gathering of laboratory data that will enhance production forecasts should be viewed as a necessary step in field development and management.

A full version of this paper is available on SCA Web Online.