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Hyperspectral Imaging Technology Development and Application; Implications for Thin-Bedded Reservoir Characterization


Hyperspectral imaging is a non-destructive analytical technique that uses infrared light to produce a visual ‘map’ of the minerals in a core. We scanned two cores from the Wolfcamp in the Delaware Basin, initially using existing low-resolution (1.5 mm) short-wave infrared light (SWIR) technology, and then utilizing a new technology that uses three cameras to simultaneously acquire high-resolution information over wider wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. The new long-wave infrared (LWIR) spectrometer, the first in the United States containing a specialized lens to obtain data at a high resolution of 300-500 µm pixels, measures responses from tectosilicates and carbonates and some clays, as well as hydroxides, sulfates, and phosphates. The new SWIR, which also uses a specialized lens for a high resolution of 300-500 µm pixels, identifies carbonates, hydroxides, sulfates, hydrocarbons, other silicate minerals, and clays. The LWIR and SWIR data were co-registered with high resolution (160 µm) RGB core photographs taken under high-wattage white LED lights. We obtained mineral maps on our two cores that displayed the textural relationships of the minerals in each core and distinguished subtle variations in mineral composition with depth, including silicate, carbonate and clay species. Curves of this mineralogical and textural data were then imported into (Ipoint?) to facilitate comparison of the older, low-resolution SWIR data with the data generated by the new high-resolution SWIR and LWIR technology. Furthermore, we overlaid the SWIR and LWIR curves with a variety of petrophysical data curves, which allowed us to visually see the link between mineralogy and the rock typing model comparison and identify what a 14-rock-type cluster represents for each classification. Overlaying permeability and total water saturation allowed us to further justify higher permeability-higher total water saturation rock types.