Oil & Natural Gas Projects
Exploration and Production Technologies
Oil Reservoir Characterization and CO2 Injection Monitoring in the Permian
Basin with Cross-Well Electromagnetic Imaging
The project was selected under the Broad-Based Announcement DE-PS-22-40759,
issued in December 1999. The goal of this solicitation was to slow or even halt
the decline in production from U.S. oilfields by developing more-effective and
lower-cost oilfield production and environmental compliance technologies. A
major area of interest was advanced imaging technologies.
The goal of the project was to build on the previous development of resistivity
logging tools to develop cross-well imaging hardware and software, to calibrate
and field-test the transmitter and receiver systems, and to use the cross-well
imaging tool for monitoring carbon dioxide injection. Three development phases
and 13 specific tasks were written into the contract. The results included a
complete reservoir simulation and field management analysis, based on work with
the cross-well imaging sytem. The main objective was to develop a cross-well
electromagnetic system (EM) to provide a formation resistivity distribution
between steel-cased wells and apply it in the Permian Basin.
Electromagnetics Instruments, Inc. (EMI)
El Cerrito, CA
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)
The cross-well imaging system progressed from laboratory model/bench scale to
full-field deployment. The sensitivity of the transmitters and receivers was
improved, and the unit is now capable of imaging resistivity through steel-cased
wells. The cross-well tool proved successful in monitoring a CO2 flood and was
used to plan and manage water and CO2 injection strategies.
Cross-well EM imaging proved to be 10 times more effective than the previous
logging techniques used for CO2 monitoring in Vacuum oilfield in New Mexico.
Information obtained from EM surveys allows field operators to optimize injection
and production operations and thus produce more oil in a cost-effective manner.
Progress made in the technology of imaging through fiberglass and steel casing
will significantly increase the application of the technique in regions where
uncased wells cannot be used. New advances in single wellbore imaging holds
great potential for use offshore, where the expense of idling wells for logging
procedures will be mitigated by a reduction in the number of wells necessary
to complete the EM survey.
Cross-well EM imaging technology, based on earlier radar imaging technology,
will help interpret the reservoir rock and fluid flow through the reservoir
between wells. The necessary resolution to accurately map fluid properties has
been missing from conventional seismic analysis.
Cross-well EM imaging is designed to give accurate an measurement of oil saturations
in the areas between wells. Previous logging technologies could only generate
oil saturation data close to the wellbore. EM logging can provide the operator
with an actual image of fluid migration and show where specific areas of undeveloped
The cumulative efforts of four previous projects, conducted by LLNL from 1984
to 1999, resulted in the design, construction, and bench-testing of EM logging
tools that can measure resistivity from behind steel casing. The original work
was completed under project FEW 6038 during 1984-1993.
The second project-FEW 6039, 1989-1991-established the precision level of instrumentation
necessary in the field environment to image the reservoir.
FEW 6040 (1990-1992) established a laboratory facility to measure the resistivity
of porous media saturated with water and/or petroleum, or steam. The research
conducted at LLNL resulted in creation of the company EMI by the principal investigator.
The fourth project-DE-FG03-96ER82159, 1996-1999, conducted by EMI-was intended
to design and construct a prototype inductive logging device to measure formation
resistivity from within a steel-cased borehole. The steel casing induction logger
tool was intended for reservoir characterization and process monitoring in an
oilfield. The Cross-well Electromagnetic Imaging Tool was developed during 1991-
2000 and tested in a five-well pattern test in Richmond, CA, prior to commercial
The first field applications of the EM tool were:
- A crosswell survey conducted at Kern River oilfield in California in 1998.
The project mapped residual oil saturation and determine the factors that
controlled steam and oil flow in the heavy oil reservoir. Identification of
the steam path allowed redesign of the steamflood to produce unswept areas.
- Cross-well EM imaging applied at Lost Hills field in California in 1997-98.
This effort imaged waterflood performance in the Belridge diatomite. Chevron
Corp. used two fiberglass-cased wells to observe the results of water injection
in this fractured reservoir. Imaging resistivity changes over time demonstrated
that cross-well data could be used to map migration of the water and provided
a means for understanding reservoir dynamics and optimizing oil recovery.
A prototype tested EM between steel-cased wells at Chevron's Lost Hills field
in California early in the project.
Developed as part of the current protect, the Geo-BILT tool-a modified prototype
EM imaging tool designed and tested by EMI-successfully demonstrated that multicomponent
logging was applicable in several different geological environments. Geo-BILT
has the advantage that it is capable of single-well extended logging. The tool
produces a 3-D image of the wellbore area up to a radius of 50-250 meters. Single-well
logging can significantly reduce logging cost while providing critical reservoir
The EM tool used in Vacuum field to monitor, simulate, and manage CO2 floods
proved successful in locating bypassed oil reserves, high permeability zones,
and oil banking near faults and low-permeability regions. This information has
assisted the field operator to determine the best injection/production well
pairs and to optimize the locations for new wells.
Among the project highlights:
- The cross-well logging tool is designed to use a string of receivers in
one well and a transmitter lowered into a neighboring wellbore that is moved
up and down.
- Fiber optic technology was used to develop sensitive receivers and advanced
- The refined transmitter design and geophone receiver design can be deployed
in uncased, fiberglass-cased, and steel-cased wellbores.
- The resistivity logging depends on interpretation of 3 components: compressional,
vertical shear, and horizontal shear waves.
- Several transmitter-receiver combinations are used per survey; current EM
tools can log a 1,000-foot section of an uncased wellbore in 12 hours.
- The logging tool has been demonstrated between uncased and fiberglass-cased
- The more difficult goal of logging when one well of a pair is steel-cased
has been achieved, but the time required is significantly longer because steel
interferes with the signals.
- The Geo-BILT tool was designed to perform multicomponent logging from a
Current Status (November 2005)
The project is complete. Following the successful demonstration of the EM tool's
effectiveness, especially single borehole imaging, imaging through steel casing,
and CO2 monitoring, EMI was purchased by Schlumberger, a major oilfield service
company, in 2003. Schlumberger is backing the continued development and implementation
of the cross-well EM tool with a capital investment of $15 million, indicating
the company's confidence that cross-well EM logging tools have a future place
in the petroleum industry. new captions:
A 3-D image of resistivity change during a waterflood of Lost Hills oilfield
Project Start: September 11, 2000
Project End: August 2, 2004
Anticipated DOE Contribution: $767,821
Performer Contribution: $382,809 (33% of total)
Other Government Organizations Involved: Lawrence Livermore National
NETL - Paul West (email@example.com or 918-699-2035)
Electromagnetics, Inc. - Michael Wilt (firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-232-7997)