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Chapter 15

Dielectric Measurements

The dielectric constant of a material affects how an electromagnetic wave passes through it.
Because the dielectric constants of oil and water are different, the behavior of electromagnetic
waves in reservoir rocks is of interest. The measurement of ultrahigh-frequency (microwave) elec-
tromagnetic propagation has therefore formed the basis for both wireline logging measurements
and measurements on drillpipe (see Chapter 3).

15.1 Electromagnetic Propagation Tools (EPT)


Traditionally, measurement of the electrical conductivity or resistivity of a formation has been one
of the main surveys performed in a borehole, primarily to determine water saturation. Develop-
ment of the rst dielectric device, the EPT, made it possible to use another electrical characteristic
of the formation, the dielectric permittivity (or dielectric constant), to estimate formation water
saturation. This dielectric permittivity is not read directly. The basic measurement made by a
dielectric tool is the propagation time and attenuation of an electromagnetic wave as it passes
through a specic formation interval. Because this propagation time is substantially higher in
water than in hydrocarbons or minerals, the dielectric measurement is affected primarily by the
water-lled porosity. (The nuclear porosity tools, on the other hand, are inuenced by the total
porosity.) Over a wide range of salinities, the propagation time in water is practically constant,
and therefore saturation estimates can be made without resistivity data for water. When other
openhole log data are available, it is possible to distinguish between oil, gas, and water in reser-
voirs with unknown or changing Rw. This is particularly useful in places where conventional resis-
tivity logging has difculty in distinguishing between hydrocarbons and fresh formation water.

15.2 Physical Principle


The dielectric constant is one of the main factors affecting how an electromagnetic wave propa-
gates through a medium. In general, the electric eld E resulting from an electromagnetic wave
can be described by the equation:
2 E
E = , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.1)
t 2
where is the magnetic permeability of the medium. In the case of a plane wave passing through
a nonferromagnetic material, the general equation has the solution:

E = E0 e jt x , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.2)

where:
x is the distance traveled by the wave,
is the frequency of the wave,
E0 is the value of E at time 0,
260 Openhole Log Analysis and Formation Evaluation

j is the square root of 1,


t is time, and
is the complex propagation constant ( 2 = 2 0 ).
is usually a complex number and can be written as = j, where is the permittivity of
the medium and the loss factor. The term can be simplied to the form + j, where is the
attenuation factor and is the phase shift.
If the preceding relationships are known, the dielectric permittivity of the medium can be found
by measuring the phase shift and attenuation of a single-frequency electromagnetic wave. By
relating this permittivity to the dielectric permittivity of free space, 0, the dielectric constants r
and r can be calculated:

1
r = = ( 2 2 ) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.3)
0 0 0 2

1
r = = (2 ), . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.4)
0 0 0 2

where the subscript r stands for relative, r is the dielectric constant relative to free space, and
0 is the -value of free space.
Up to this point, the only waveform attenuation considered has been the attenuation resulting
from conductivity losses (the loss factor ). When the electromagnetic wave is measured at a
point close to the wave source, spherical waves must be considered, as opposed to the plane-wave
approach taken in the preceding paragraph.
The dielectric permittivity is proportional to the electric dipole moment per unit volume, and
therefore formations containing a large number of polar molecules will have a high dielectric
constant. Water is one of the few polar substances found in nature, with its molecules forming
permanent dipoles, and has a greater-than-normal dielectric constant. Table 15.1 lists the relative
dielectric permittivities (dielectric constants) of some common geological materials measured at
a frequency of 1.1 GHz.
Dielectric-constant logging devices attempt to measure the same physical formation property.
In general, there are now three instrument types in use. The shallow-reading (1.1-GHz) device
and a deeper-reading, 25-MHz device have been in use since the 1980s. The newer dielectric log-
ging tools have multiple transmitter/receiver antenna arrays and operate at multiple frequencies.

TABLE 15.1DIELECTRIC CONSTANT OF FLUIDS AND MINERALS


(COURTESY OF SCHLUMBERGER)
Mineral Relative Dielectric Constant r Propagation Time tpl (ns/m)*

Sandstone 4.65 7.2


Dolomite 6.8 8.7
Limestone 7.59.2 9.110.2
Anhydrite 6.35 8.4
Halite 5.66.35 7.98.4
Gypsum 4.16 6.8
Dry colloids 5.76 8
Shale 525 7.4516.6
Oil 2.02.4 4.75.2
Gas 1 3.3
Water 5680 25.3
Fresh water 78.3 29.5
*ns/m = nanoseconds per meter
Dielectric Measurements 261

This enables both shallow and deep readings into the formation radially away from the borehole
and the invaded zone. These newer tools have the antenna array pad mounted on an articulated
arm so that it is free to follow the wellbore contours and can provide more reliable readings in
rugose holes.
Interpretation of these surveys is based on the same principles, although some adjustments are
required to suit the idiosyncrasies of the various measurements. Detailed discussion of interpreta-
tion will be limited here to the 1.1-GHz measurement.

15.3 Measurement Principles for Dielectric Logging Tools


15.3.1 EPT. The EPT (shown in Fig. 15.1) is a pad-type tool with an antenna pad attached rigidly
to the body of the tool. A backup arm has the dual purpose of pressing the pad against the borehole
wall and providing a caliper measurement. A standard microlog pad is also attached to the main
arm, enabling a resistivity measurement to be made with a vertical resolution similar to that of the
electromagnetic measurement. A smaller arm, exerting less force, is mounted on the same side
of the tool as the pad and is used to detect the degree of rugosity of the borehole. The borehole
diameter is the sum of the measurements from these two independent arms.
Two microwave transmitters and two receivers are mounted in the antenna-pad assembly in a
borehole-compensation (BHC) array that minimizes the effects of borehole rugosity and tool tilt
(Fig. 15.2). The two transmitter/receiver spacings, 8 and 12 cm, are chosen to achieve an accept-
able depth of investigation while ensuring that the detected signals will have sufcient amplitude
without the possibility of phase wraparound (see Fig. 15.3). A 1.1-GHz electromagnetic wave is
sent sequentially from each of the two transmitters; the amplitude and phase shift of the wave are
measured at each of the two receivers (Fig. 15.4). The absolute values of the amplitude and phase
shift are found by comparison with an accurate known reference signal generated in the tool.
The phase shift , the wave propagation time tpl, and the attenuation A over the receiver/receiver
spacing are calculated from the individual measurements. In each case, an average is taken of the
measurements derived from the two transmitters. A complete BHC measurement is made 60 times
per second; these individual measurements are accumulated and averaged over a formation inter-
val of either 2 in. or 6 in. before being recorded on optical or magnetic media.
Because of the close proximity of the receivers to the transmitters, spherical waves are being
measured. Therefore, a correction factor is applied to the measured attenuation so that the

Natural
gamma ray
spectroscopy tool

EPT

Minicaliper
Microlog/caliper
Compensated neutron
tool

Litho-density tool
Caliper

Fig. 15.1EPT tool (Johnson and Evans 1983). Reprinted by permission from the SPWLA.
262 Openhole Log Analysis and Formation Evaluation

Borehole
Borehole
fluid Invaded zone
Sonde body wall
Noninvaded
zone
Mud
plow
T Energy path in
formation

Microwave antennas
R upper array

(BHC mode)
T1

Mudcake
R1 Energy path in
R2 R formation
lower array
T2
T Energy in
Backup mudcake
arm
Sonde
Antenna pad
body

Mudcake

Fig. 15.2EPT antenna conguration and signal paths (Johnson and Evans 1983). Reprinted by
permission from the SPWLA.

Amplitude shift
Attenuation
Amplitude

EATT
Time

Phase shift
Propagation
time TPL
Signal at Receiver 1
Signal at Receiver 2

Fig. 15.3Electromagnetic propagation signals (Johnson and Evans 1983). Reprinted by permission
from the SPWLA.

plane-wave theory can be applied. The increased attenuation resulting from the spherical spread-
ing of the wave is compensated for by applying a spherical loss correction factor, SL. Therefore,
the corrected attenuation, Ac, is given by Ac = A SL. In air, SL has a value of approximately
50 dB, but because the term is porosity-dependent, a more exact approach can be taken when
correcting downhole measurements:

SL = 45 + 1.3t pl + 0.18t pl2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.5)

The dielectric parameters for the formation can then be obtained from the log data because the
attenuation factor is directly proportional to the recorded attenuation A and the phase shift is
proportional to the wave propagation time tpl ( = tpl).
The basic data available from the EPT sensors are the electromagnetic, microlog, and caliper
measurements. A standard EPT log presentation is shown in Fig. 15.4 over an interval containing
two sandstones (168179 m and 202207 m) separated by shale. Track 1 contains the borehole
Dielectric Measurements 263

Microlog
curves

Propagation
time

Small
arm
caliper
200

Attenuation

MINV (OHMM)
50.00 0.0
MNOR (OHMM) EATT (DB/M) SA (IN )
50.00 0.0 0.0 1000. -5.000 5.000
HD (IN ) TPL (NS/M)
6.000 16.00 25.00 5.000

Fig. 15.4Presentation of data available from an EPT survey. Courtesy of Schlumberger.

diameter (HD) and the micronormal (MNOR) and microinverse (MINV) resistivity curves. The
electromagnetic wave attenuation (EATT) and propagation time (TPL) are recorded in Tracks 2
and 3. The measurement of the smaller caliper arm (SA) can be displayed to monitor the borehole
rugosity and thereby the quality of the EPT data.

15.3.2 Multispacing, Multifrequency Dielectric Tools. The more-recently introduced multi-


spacing, multifrequency dielectric tools offer many advantages over the older single-frequency
two-transmitter, two-receiver skid-mounted devices. Specically, they offer:

s Higher bed resolution


s Improved measurement accuracy in rugose boreholes
s Radial proling
s Functionality in both water-based and oil-based muds

Fig. 15.5 illustrates one implementation of such a tool, which incorporates two transmitters and
three receivers and mounts the antenna arrays on an articulated arm for improved formation con-
tact in rugose holes.
264 Openhole Log Analysis and Formation Evaluation

4.28

129.85
Tool length

22.5
Max opening

ML pad
37.09 6.11 Max
HFDT Sensor tool OD
27.71 with ML
Temperature 5.00
w/o ML

Fig. 15.5High-frequency dielectric tool (HFDT) with two transmitters and three receivers. Courtesy
of Halliburton.

Fig. 15.6 illustrates the transmitter and receiver arrangement of a two-transmitter, eight-
receiver multifrequency tool that generates nine multifrequency BHC measurements of phase
shift and attenuation. The frequencies used in these newer devices range from 20 MHz to
1 GHz and permit radial proling of the formation properties, thus helping the analyst
to determine the invasion prole and to understand better the properties of the undisturbed
formation.
Fig. 15.7 illustrates log interpretation based on a multifrequency dielectric tool run in fresh-
connate-water-bearing oil sands. The green-shaded area in the third track highlights the difference
between the total pore space, indicated by the conventional neutron and density logs, and the
water-lled pore, space delimited by the dielectric tool.

15.3.3 Interpretation Methods. The EPT measurement responds mainly to the water content of a
formation, rather than to the matrix or any other uid. The water present in a formation can be the
original connate water, mud ltrate, or bound water associated with shales. Because of the shallow
depth of investigation of the tool (1 to 6 in.), it can usually be assumed that only the ushed zone
is inuencing the measurement and that the free water is ltrate.
Under normal circumstances, if fresh muds are used, the propagation time of the electro-
magnetic waves is essentially unaffected by water salinity (Fig. 15.8). An increase in salinity
increases the loss factor and decreases the permittivity , but these effects tend to cancel out.
If salt-saturated uids are encountered, the loss factor increases to the extent that the electromag-
netic waves are highly attenuated, and therefore measurements are more difcult. EPT measure-
ments are unaffected by mudcake up to a thickness of approximately 0.4 in., but rugosity can
result in spurious readings because mud comes in between the antenna pad and the formation.
Dielectric Measurements 265

RA4

RA3

RA2

RA1

TA

TB

RB1

RB2

RB3

RB4

Fig. 15.6Two-transmitter, eight-receiver antenna arrangement operating at four different frequencies.


Courtesy of Schlumberger.

The situation can deteriorate further in boreholes lled with air or oil, when even a thin lm of
uid results in the tool responding only to the uid and not to the formation.
Measurements performed on various samples have produced an empirical relationship for the
response of the EPT readings:

= f (1 ) ma, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.6)

where is the complex propagation constant of the formation; f and ma are the propagation
constants for the uid and the matrix, respectively; and is the porosity of the formation. Using
the transforms of Eqs. 15.2 and 15.6, further equations can be derived that relate porosity to the
logged parameters:

t pl = t pf + (1 )t pma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.7)

Ac = Acf , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.8)
266 Openhole Log Analysis and Formation Evaluation

Fig. 15.7Hydrocarbon zones revealed by multifrequency dielectric tool. Courtesy of Schlumberger.

where tpl, tpf, and tpma are the propagation times for the total formation, the uid, and the
matrix, respectively, and Ac and Acf are the corrected attenuations for the formation and the
uid, respectively. Normally, the matrices are lossless, so there is no corresponding term Acma.

15.3.4 Wellsite Interpretation: tpo Method. The tpo interpretation method is used during the
recording of an EPT log to determine porosity from measured values of attenuation and propaga-
tion time. The principle behind the method is that all values used in the computations are treated
as if they were measured in a lossless formation. The measured data must therefore be related
back to lossless conditions by applying a correction factor that is a function of the attenuation
of electromagnetic waves in the lossy medium. If the measured propagation time is tpl , then the
propagation time in the lossless formation, tpo, is given by:
Ac2
2
t po = t pl2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.9)
3, 604
Dielectric Measurements 267

Attenuation
Propagation Time

200 2000

100 1000

Propagation Time, ns/m


70 700

Attenuation, dB/m
60
50 500
40 400
30 300
20 200

10 100

7 70

0.5 .1 .2 .5 1 2 5 10 20
Solution Resistivity, m

Fig. 15.8Propagation time and attenuation as functions of water salinity. Courtesy of Schlumberger.

A similar correction can be applied to transform the water propagation time to lossless condi-
tions, that is, tpw to tw0. The attenuation Ac is computed from the logged attenuation by applying
a constant correction of 50 dB. Hydrocarbons and matrices are lossless media, and therefore
tpma0 = tpma and tph0 = tph. The lossless propagation time of water can be obtained from the temperature-
related equation:

710 T 3
t pw0 = 20 , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.10)
444 + T 3

where T is the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.


Porosity is computed assuming a clean water-bearing formation:

t po t pma
EPT = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.11)
t wo t pma

If the presence of hydrocarbons is included in the response equation, again assuming lossless
conditions, the relationship takes the form:

1 t p 0 t pma EPT
Sxo = = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (15.12)
T t pw 0 t pma T

A comparison of the EPT measurement of porosity with the total porosity as measured by the
neutron, density, and sonic tools enables a quick determination of water saturation in the ushed
zone. Fig. 15.9 compares sonic porosity with EPT porosity.
The sonic porosity and EPT porosity are displayed in Tracks 2 and 3, and the computed
gamma ray and total gamma ray values from the NGT (natural gamma ray tool) survey are
recorded in Track 1. There is a change of lithology at 245 m, with limestone above this depth
and sandstone with calcareous cement below. The matrix parameters for the sonic and EPT
porosity calculations were selected accordingly using the data in Table 15.1. The limestone
and the lower section of the sandstone are water-bearing, and the hydrocarbon content of the
268 Openhole Log Analysis and Formation Evaluation

GR-API Porosity %
0 150 45 30 15 0 15

Total GR-Uranium

Total GR

250
EPT Porosity

Sonic Porosity

Fig. 15.9Quick identication of hydrocarbon-bearing intervals through comparison of sonic and EPT
porosity. Courtesy of Schlumberger.

upper section of the sand is clearly indicated by the separation of the two porosity curves.
The original oil/water contact occurs at 267 m, while the present contact is at 261 m. Gen-
erally, the EPT porosity will read the same as a nuclear-derived porosity in water-bearing
zones and shales. In hydrocarbon-bearing intervals, however, the EPT porosity will be less
than either the total porosity or the density porosity. In gas zones, the separation between the
neutron porosity and the EPT porosity will not be as apparent. Fig. 15.10 illustrates these
differences.
The value of the matrix propagation time to be used in the porosity computation is chosen
by one of several available methods. If a simple known lithology is being dealt with, the
values in Table 15.1 can be used directly. In a dual-mineral formation containing two of the
most common matrices, the chart shown in Fig. 15.11 can be used. If any other mineral is
known to predominate in the formation, its matrix parameters can similarly be entered into
the chart.

15.3.5 Derivation of the Cementation Exponent m. Because the dielectric tool responds to
the water-lled pore space (more or less independently of water salinity), a value for bulk vol-
ume of water (BVW) can be derived from the tool measurement by means of the interpretation
techniques already covered. If water-based mud is used to drill through the formation, then
provided that the zone immediately adjacent to the wellbore has been completely ushed, the
bulk volume of water detected will reect the product Sxo. If oil-based mud with an oil ltrate
is used to drill, then the bulk volume of water detected will reect the product Swi. An exten-
sion of this knowledge enables the analyst to derive the cementation exponent m by following
a logical series of steps.
Assuming a water-based mud with a watermud ltrate,

BVW = Sxo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (15.13)


Dielectric Measurements 269

Formation Resistivity Porosity


Fluid D N EPT
Ohm-m
0 50 30 p.u. 0

Gas

Oil

Fresh
water

Salt
water

Fig. 15.10Variation of log readings for water and hydrocarbons. Courtesy of Schlumberger.

Hence, if is known independently from conventional logs, Sxo can simply be derived as:

BVW
S xo = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.14)

Matrix Propagation Time (tpl), ns/m

10
Limestone

9 Dolomite

8
Anhydrite

7
Sandstone

6
2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 3.0
Apparent Matrix Density ( ma), g/cm3
Fig. 15.11Determination of matrix propagation time in a two-mineral formation.
270 Openhole Log Analysis and Formation Evaluation

However, Archies equation (see Chapter 7) also relates Sxo to porosity and to both the ushed-
zone resistivity, Rxo, and the mud-ltrate resistivity, Rmf:

a Rmf
S xon = . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.15)
m Rxo

By rearrangement and substitution,

1
n
Rmf
( m n ) = a . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (15.16)
Rxo BVW

Taking logarithms of both sides

( m n ) log( ) = log(a ) + log( Rmf ) log( Rxo ) + n log(1 / BVW ). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(15.17)

Because all the variables are known, it remains only to make reasonable assumptions about a
(typically, a = 1) and n (typically, n = 2) to solve for m.
An example of the use of this method is given in Question 15.1.

QUESTION 15.1.
Conventional logs show
= 25%.
Rxo = 12.
Rmf = 0.3.
The dielectric log interpretation gives:
BVW = 0.2.
Find m, assuming a = 0.81 and n = 1.9.

15.3.6 Alternative Methods of Finding m. If only logs are available, then the Pickett plot (see
Chapter 25) may be used to crossplot Rt and on log-log paper. Provided that a wide range of
porosity values in the water-bearing section has been logged and plotted, the slope of the line
through the 100% water-bearing points has a slope equal to m. This method is relatively quick,
inexpensive, and reliable.
A second method requires a core sample and a special core analysis (see Chapter 27). Cores are
not always available, and when they are, the analysis is expensive and time-consuming and may
give a value for m only at the specic depth cored.
The dielectric logging method for m, while having a certain charm, must be viewed with some
skepticism because it depends on questionable values for Rmf and Rxo and on assumptions about
the values of a and n.

15.4 Summary
Dielectric measurements had their start with wireline logging devices that took near-wellbore
readings in the ushed zone with good vertical resolution. As such, they provided help in delin-
eating and modeling thinly laminated sand/shale sequences and in providing direct indica-
tions of residual hydrocarbons where they existed. Probably the more important role for this
formation-evaluation method lies in the extended use that has been made of it by adapting it to
work on drillpipe as a true formation-resistivity indicator, albeit at a lower operating frequency
and with lesser vertical resolution than other methods, but with a far greater depth of investigation.
Dielectric Measurements 271

Recently introduced multifunction wireline tools have improved the usefulness of dielectric log-
ging in open holes by offering radial proling of uid saturations.

References
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in the North Sea. Paper presented at the SPWLA 8th European Formation Evaluation
Symposium, London, March 1415.
Schlumberger. 1982. Well Evaluation Developments, Continental Europe 1982, 6571.

General References
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272 Openhole Log Analysis and Formation Evaluation

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Answer to Question

QUESTION 15.1.
(m 1.9) log (0.25) = log (0.81) + log (0.3) log (12) + 1.9 log (5).
(m 1.9) (0.602) = 0.092 0.523 1.079 + 1.328 = 0.366.
(m 1.9) = 0.608.
m = 2.502.