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of Petrophysical Flow Units in Carbonate Reservoirs1
Alden J. (Jeff) Martin, Stephen
T. Solomon, and Dan J. Hartmann3
A procedure for identifying
and characterizing petrophysical flow units helps resolve some of the key
challenges faced in exploration for and production of carbonate reservoirs.
The application of this model reveals that one key to understanding and
predicting the performance of carbonate reservoirs is to represent them
as combinations of different flow units, each with uniform pore-throat
size distribution and similar performance. If a relationship exists between
depositional facies and flow units, one can develop a common geological
and engineering zonation. Parasequences can then be characterized in terms
of petrophysical flow unit types. Combining the water saturation, hydrocarbon
column height, and relationships of these flow units with the interpreted
sequence stratigraphy of the area provides a useful tool for mapping reservoir
performance cells to predict the location of stratigraphic traps. This
approach can also be useful in managing producing reservoirs to develop
bypassed pay and to establish presimulation performance predictions.
To illustrate this method, we use five examples:
a Middle East limestone, where the model is used to identify reservoir
zones with significantly different performance that are less evident from
log porosity alone; the Madison carbonate of the Williston basin,
1997. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.
received March 23, 1995; revised manuscript received July 7, 1996; final
acceptance November 11, 1996.
Inc., P.O. Box 2197, Houston, Texas 77252.
Energy Consulting, P.O. Box 271, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624.
to Conoco Inc. for allowing publication of these examples and to all who
have contributed to them. A special thanks goes to the following helpful
people: Stanley Bohon, Donna Harwell, and Ginnie Murphy for providing graphics
support; Dena Wagner for numerous database logistics; Sheri Gretschel and
Chi Chi Coleman for typing help; Rob Pascoe for Middle East sequence stratigraphy;
Tom Anderson for his historical perspective on Little Knife's discovery
and appraisal; Charles Ways for guidance on the San Andres; Bill Hardie
for the opportunity to work on Dagger Draw and for his technical input
on the reservoir geology; André Bouchard for all of his advice on
capillary pressure; Ray Mitchell for allowing us to include the B.F. 12
core description; Randy Mitchell for his talent of combining personnel;
and Tim Borbas for championing the assimilation of our model to Tertiary
clastics applications in the Gulf of Mexico.
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