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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 92, No. 6 (June 2008), P. 709-732.

Copyright copy2008. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.


Flow unit modeling and fine-scale predicted permeability validation in Atokan sandstones: Norcan East field, Kansas

Saibal Bhattacharya,1 Alan P. Byrnes,2 W. Lynn Watney,3 John H. Doveton4

1Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas, 1930 Constant Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66447; [email protected]
2Chesapeake Energy Corporation, 6100 N. Western Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73118; [email protected]
3Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas, 1930 Constant Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66447; [email protected]
4Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas, 1930 Constant Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66447; [email protected]


Characterizing the reservoir interval into flow units is an effective way to subdivide the net-pay zone into layers for reservoir simulation. Commonly used flow unit identification techniques require a reliable estimate of permeability in the net pay on a foot-by-foot basis. Most of the wells do not have cores, and the literature is replete with different kinds of correlations, transforms, and prediction methods for profiling permeability in pay. However, for robust flow unit determination, predicted permeability at noncored wells requires validation and, if necessary, refinement.

This study outlines the use of a spreadsheet-based permeability validation technique to characterize flow units in wells from the Norcan East field, Clark County, Kansas, that produce from Atokan aged fine- to very fine-grained quartzarenite sandstones interpreted to have been deposited in brackish-water, tidally dominated restricted tidal-flat, tidal-channel, tidal-bar, and estuary bay environments within a small incised-valley-fill system. The methodology outlined enables the identification of fieldwide free-water level and validates and refines predicted permeability at 0.5-ft (0.15-m) intervals by iteratively reconciling differences in water saturation calculated from wire-line log and a capillary-pressure formulation that models fine- to very fine-grained sandstone with diagenetic clay and silt or shale laminae.

The effectiveness of this methodology was confirmed by successfully matching primary and secondary production histories using a flow unit-based reservoir model of the Norcan East field without permeability modifications. The methodologies discussed should prove useful for robust flow unit characterization of different kinds of reservoirs.

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