Reliable estimates of petrophysical and compositional properties of organic shale are critical for detecting perforation zones or candidates for hydro-fracturing jobs. Current methods for in situ formation evaluation of organic shale largely rely on qualitative responses and empirical formulas. Even core measurements can be inconsistent and inaccurate when evaluating clay minerals and other grain constituents.

We implement a recently introduced inversion-based method for organic-shale evaluation from conventional well logs. The objective is to estimate total porosity, total organic carbon (TOC), and volumetric/weight concentrations of mineral/fluid constituents. After detecting bed boundaries, the first step of the method is to perform separate inversion of individual well logs to estimate bed physical properties such as density, neutron migration length, electrical conductivity, photoelectric factor (PEF), and thorium, uranium , and potassium volumetric/weight concentrations. Next, a multilayer petrophysical model specific to organic shale is constructed with an initial guess obtained from conventional well-log interpretation or X-ray diffraction data; bed physical properties are calculated with the initial layer-by-layer values. Final estimates of organic shale petrophysical and compositional properties are obtained by progressively minimizing the difference between calculated and measured bed properties. A unique advantage of this method is the correction of shoulder-bed effects on well logs, which are prevalent in shale-gas plays. Another advantage is the explicit calculation of accurate well-log responses for specific petrophysical, mineral, fluid, and kerogen properties based on chemical formulas and volumetric concentrations of minerals/kerogen and fluid constituents.

Examples are described of the successful application of the new organic-shale evaluation method in the Haynesville shale-gas formation. This formation includes complex solid compositions and thin beds where rapid depth variations of mineral/fluid constituents are commonplace. Comparison of estimates for total porosity, total water saturation, and TOC obtained with (a) commercial software for multimineral analysis, (b) our organic-shale evaluation method, and (c) core/X-ray diffraction measurements indicates a significant improvement in estimates of total porosity and water saturation yielded by our interpretation method. The estimated TOC is also in agreement with core laboratory measurements.

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