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ABSTRACT: Evolution of New Technology for Downhole Geology


The petroleum industry has found that new technology can extend the life of reservoirs and even entire oil producing regions and is now asking for more. Although this demand is helping to accelerate technology development, major technology advances are generally evolutionary changes over long periods of time. Yet another challenge today is for a new technology to be cost effective and not just in terms of the oil or gas discovered. Thus, cooperation and alliances are ever-increasing avenues chosen to optimally achieve commercial technology objectives.

The quest for new downhole geology technologies includes areas of physics that will allow more complete characterization of the rock cored, drilled and logged. Electromagnetic and magnetic measurements seem to be such an area. However, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is actually the culmination of nearly 40 years of research in electromagnetic technologies and their effects on fluids and rock properties that is now revealing basic properties, including microporosity and producibility data needed to optimally develop many discoveries. A relatively new entry in the evolutionary process of commercial technology development is the downhole well logging of magnetic reversals which may routinely provide chronostratigraphic data.

Using older measurements in new ways is an important part of technology evolution. For example, standard electrical, nuclear and acoustical well logging measurements have been incorporated in logging-while drilling (LWD) technologies. Even the acquisition of borehole electrical imagery and structural dip determination while drilling now possible are actually the result of dipmeter technology evolution that began more than 60 years ago.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90941©1997 GCAGS 47th Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana