An Evaluation of the Application of Low Field NMR in the Characterization of Carbonate Reservoirs

Mai, A. and Kantzas, A.

DOI: 10.2118/77401-MS
SPE 77401, presented at the 2002 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio Texas, 29 September – 2 October 2002.


Conventional reservoir analysis has always been an extensive process. In order to properly characterize a reservoir, cores and/or logs have to be obtained. Both core and log analysis is expensive and time consuming. NMR is an attractive alternative to these tools due to the fact that in theory, only one measurement is required. However, the conventional methods of interpreting NMR data only seem to work for simple sandstones. A new method of interpreting NMR data is required for complex porous structure such as carbonates.

It was found that NMR can predict porosity that is similar to the values obtained by gas expansion. By using the NMR data at fully saturated and irreducible water saturation (Swi), a T2cutoff value was obtained for each sample that separates the bound and movable fluid signals. It was found that T2cutoff for carbonates is not 100 ms as is widely believed by many people who have analyze NMR in carbonates. A correlation for T2cutoff was found as a function of the size of the last peak and its geometric mean. A correlation was also found for Swi, which was a function of the size of the first and last peak.

The Free Fluid and the mean T2 permeability models were evaluated. It was seen that the predictions from these models were not adequate. Another permeability model was developed, which is expressed in terms of the size of the first and last peak of the NMR spectrum obtained from the fully saturated sample. It was found that the correlation did a better job of predicting the permeability values. The new model has its own limitations, a method is currently being investigated to overcome these limitations. Despite these limitations, however, the new NMR permeability model provides better estimates of carbonate permeability than any other established methods.

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