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EVALUATION OF AUSTIN AND BUDA FORMATIONS FROM CORE AND FRACTURE ANALYSIS
Richard H. Snyder and Milton Craft1 ABSTRACT
The Austin and Buda formations have been the target of active exploration due to the increased oil prices. These reservoirs are almost totally dependent on natural fracturing for productivity. Matrix permeability is normally less than 0.5 md. The natural fracturing is present throughout the vertical interval with fractured density ranging from one per foot to more than 25 fractures per foot. These micro-fractures have widths ranging from 0.1 mm to 0.4 mm. Oil saturations measured from routine core analysis vary in the Austin and Buda formations from zero to 60 percent and are erratically distributed throughout the formation. Procedures for measuring fracture density, dip angle, and dip direction and criteria to distinguish between natural and induced fractures have been formulated for over 7,000 ft of recovered and analyzed core from these formations. Results of these core and fracture analyses indicate the following criteria must be present to successfully complete an oil well: (1) the fracture density must be in excess of one per foot; (2) residual oil saturation in the matrix must be in excess of 10 percent; (3) there must be some indication of matrix permeability, normally 0.01 md. It is apparent that to have sustained production from the Austin and Buda, oil saturation must be present in the matrix as the fracture volume is extremely small and is rapidly depleted. Relationship between fracture width, fracture block height, porosity, and permeability have been developed from theoretical calculations and appear to be confirmed by well performance. These calculations indicate that a fracture porosity of 0.1 to 0.25 percent is common throughout the Austin Chalk trend. These data also have been used to calibrate fracture-finding logs and to assist in the development of completion programs.

INTRODUCTION The increase in the price of oil combined with improved techniques for formation permeability stimulation have led to the current interest in the Austin and Buda trend. Production is from very low matrix permeability limestone combined with a natural fracture system that varies in extensiveness and intensity. Experience established in the early days of exploration indicated natural production usually declined at a very rapid rate, sometimes to a few barrels within a few hours. Current activity began with a successful completion in the Austin Chalk by Southland Royalty near Pearsall in 1974. This success was followed by increased drilling activity in Frio County. Exploration spread along the trend into Zavala, Dimmit, and Maverick Counties to the south and into Wilson County to the north. Recent favorable results in Gonzales and Lee Counties have focused attention to the northern portion of the trend, and considerable activity is expected in that area. An index map of the producing trend is shown on figure 1. STRATIGRAPHY The Austin Chalk in the South Texas area consists of light gray to buff, hard micritic limestone with an abundance of shale, both dispersed and in streaks and laminations. There are also occasional soft marls with limestone streaks. Local abundance of pyrite, glauconite, and fossil fragments are present. Insoluble residues often account for 30 percent of total rock volume. The updip portion frequently has porosity from 25 to 28 percent, and oil-saturated intervals throughout the vertical chalk section are often continuous. In the downdip chalk, the porosity range is from 3 to 9 percent. The oil-saturated matrix zones in the deeper chalks occur in streaks, ranging in thickness up to 15 ft.

'Core Laboratories, Inc., Dallas, Texas

The matrix permeability in both intervals averages less than 0.1 md, but occasionally, samples with 1.0 md are noted. The total thickness of the interval ranges from 300 to 1,100 ft; the formation contains intervals of natural fractures of variable frequency and fracture quality. The fracture planes in most cases are vertical, and their height apparently is controlled by streaks and laminations of shale, stylolites, and soft limestone. The fractures have a preferential strike direction in individual well-bores. Both open and partially mineralized fractures are present; however, many of the fractures are tightly closed or completely mineralized. Fracture widths are normally small, less than 0.1 mm. Occasionally, fracture widths up to 20 mm, partially to completely mineralized with calcite, have been observed in association with fault zones. Photographs of typical fractured Austin formation are shown on figures 2 through 5. The Buda limestone consists of a light grey, very fine textured, very hard, dense, micritic limestone with many stylolites. The porosity is less than in the Austin Chalk, and there is less insoluble material than in the Austin Chalk. The fracture system is normally more intense and shows less apparent order than does the Austin Chalk fracture system. Examples of this fractured reservoir are shown on figures 6 and 7. Coring in the Austin Chalk and Buda has provided several opportunities to observe the Eagle Ford section. The upper portion of the Eagle Ford "shale" often is 5 percent, or greater, limestone and siltstone and is often highly fractured. An example of a fractured Eagle Ford core is shown on figure 8. The potential reservoir carbonates and sandstones also often have a highly oil-saturated matrix. The reservoir potential of this section should be evaluated. The Eagle Ford shale is a very petroliferous shale and probably is a source bed for much of the Buda and Austin Chalk hydrocarbon; however, the Austin Chalk section contains sufficient petroliferous shale to be the source for most, if not all, the hydrocarbon found within it.

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SNYDER, CRAFT

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FIGURE 1. Index map, Austin Chalk and Buda producing fields Frequently, wildcat wells will core the Anacacho limestone and Taylor shale, mistaking it for the top of the Austin Chalk. Significant fracture and matrix oil zones have been observed in the cores from these sections. While they are usually too thin to be a primary target, with many wellbores penetrating this section, its productive potential should be evaluated. A stratigraphic section summarizing lithology, fracture intensity, and representative producing fields is presented on figure 9. FRACTURE CLASSIFICATION Two major types of fracturing have been identified in the trend. Tensional fracturing has occurred, resulting from localized uplift and faulting, such as the fracturing in the original Pearsall productive area. The second type of fracturing, designated cryptic fracturing, has been observed in cores downdip from the Pearsall anticline. This type of fracturing has often been described in case histories in the literature and was defined by Drummond (1964) in his definitive article on fracturing. McQuillan (1974), studying the Asmari limestone in Iran, also described cryptic type fracturing of the surface exposures of this formation.

FIGURE 2. Austin Chalk core with glauconite and fossil fragments, Wilson County, Texas The word "cryptic" means secret, occult, enigmatic and mysterious; i.e., serving to conceal. A most appropriate word for these fractures, as their cause and occurrence are indeed enigmatic. McQuillan (1973) thought these fractures were initiated by shock waves soon after deposition and during lithification of the sediments, with the fracture orientation being related to the morphology of the depositional surface and physical properties of the beds. Wilkinson (1953) believed the cryptic fracturing was caused by bed shrinkage during compaction and/or regional tension developed by basin subsidence. This latter cause seems most plausible in explaining the widespread fracture system present essentially throughout the Austin-Buda trend which is not directly associated with localized uplift and/or faulting.

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378

TRANSACTIONSGULFCOAST ASSOCIATIONOFGEOLOGICAL SOCIETIES

VolumeXXVII, 1977

Fractured reservoirs can be classified in many ways. Two broad systems of classification have become apparent in our studies of these types of reservoirs in many oil producing provinces of the world. The first classification system is based on the size of the fractures: megafractures and micro-fractures. Mega-fractured reservoirs have predominant fracture widths of 6 mm; often this width is enhanced by dissolution of the fracture planes. Reservoirs in this category include the giant Iranian folded anticlines, such as Agha Jari, Gachsaran, and Bibi Hakimeh. Producing rates of individual wells are limited only by tubing size, which often is 7-in. casing. Rates in excess of 100,000 BPD through 1 ft of perforated interval have been reported. Fracture solution in the Yates Field of West Texas has also resulted in spectacular producing rates. Many fields in Mexico, especially in the Reforma trend, have very high productivities due to numerous wide fractures. Micro-fractured reservoirs are defined as reservoirs containing a vast majority of fractures 1.0 mm to 0.1 mm,

the so-called hairline fractures often described in cores. The Spraberry Field in West Texas is a classic example of this type of fracturing (Hubbard and Willis 1955, pp 71). Other fractured reservoirs that can be included in this classification are the Danian/Maestrichten Chalks in the North Sea, M.I.S. Field in Iran, and the Monterrey "shale" fields of California. The Rhourde El Baguel Field in the Algerian Sahara, a quartzite reservoir has fracturing of this type that significantly contributes to the productivity of the reservoir. In the measurements of fractures in the Austin and Buda, the vast majority of the fractures have been found to be 0.1 mm wide with an occasional 0.4 mm wide fracture. A second classification of fractured reservoirs can be made based on the fluids contained within the matrix fracture block. Again, a two part classification can be made: those fractured reservoirs with no oil saturation within the fracture block, and those with gas or oil saturation. Examples of fields with no matrix saturation include the

FIGURE 3. Fractured Austin Chalk core showing partially mineralized fracture plane which acts as a propping agent.

FIGURE 4. Intensely fractured Austin Chalk core with numerous parallel hairline fractures

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SNYDER, CRAFT

379

what is lost can often be the highly fractured section; and any fracture analysis would not include the most significant fractures. With new coring techniques and tools, utilizing orientation lugs, plastic liners, and rubber sleeves, recovery of fractured reservoir rock has improved. If fracture orientation is required, then oriented cores are mandatory. Although costs are higher, in our experience, recovery is normally better. In several cases, if shale, anhydrite, or other thin beds can be identified, both on the dipmeter logs and cores, the orientation of the fractures can be related back to the orientation of these beds, and true azimuth of the fractures can be calculated. In the Austin Chalk and Buda formations, this technique, unfortunately, is not too reliable as the shales, especially in the Austin formation, exhibit sedimentary dip rather than structural dip. In describing a fracture system, the first problem encountered is to separate the in situ, or natural fractures, from those induced by the coring process and the handling of the core. The criteria shown in Table I have been developed in our studies of fracturing. All of these criteria are not applicable to the Austin and Buda fractures, and all criteria are not necessarily noted in a given fracture. The criteria are listed in decreasing certainty, although not necessarily equally weighted. Item 8 is a questionable criterion in that the mud and lost circulation material can

FIGURE 5. Intensely fractured Austin Chalk core showing fractures terminating at horizontal stylolite fractured quartzitic basement fields of Kansas and California, Jatibarang Field in Indonesia, and the Ain Zaleh Field in Iraq. These fields have produced or are producing at significant rates indicating an adjacent source of hydrocarbon sufficient to replenish the fracture volume. However, the majority of fractured reservoirs exhibit matrix oil saturations, including the Austin Chalk and Buda fields. If a reservoir has a combination of both mega-fracturing and oil-saturated matrix, the field is often in the giant class. FRACTURE ANALYSIS During the last two years, over 15,000 ft of fractured Austin and Buda cores from 36 wells throughout the trend have been examined. During this time over 7,000 ft of Austin and Buda formations have been analyzed for routine porosity, permeability, and fluid saturation in conjunction with analysis of the natural fracture system. A successful fracture study must begin at the well site. Precautions must be taken to insure that the core is properly fitted together and marked with scribe lines so that the core may be accurately laid out in the laboratory for fracture analysis. The coring process and core recovery are critical factors in obtaining meaningful data for a fracture study. Core recovery less than 100 percent always creates uncertainties. If less than 100 percent recovery is attained,

FIGURE 6. Buda limestone core with numerous stylolites

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380

TRANSACTIONSGULF COAST ASSOC IATIONOFGEOLOGICAL SOCIETIES

Volume XXVII, 1977

fill fractures caused by fracturing of the cores after they are cut as overburden pressure is removed. The induced fracture criteria, especially the "fresh" appearance, is, to a certain degree, intuitive, and this feeling is acquired after describing much fractured core in a given formation. The identification and tabulation of induced fractures is important. The fact that a fracture did occur in a particular plane is meaningful and can be of interest when designing stimulation programs. Employing a goniometer (Fig. 10) dip angle and dip direction on all measurable fractures are tabulated. Measurable fractures are defined as those fractures with sufficient length to pass through the core so that an accurate dip angle and direction can be measured. The length of each fracture is measured and a visual qualitative fracture analysis of each fracture is made. Special attention is placed on mineralization on the fracture plane as this may

provide a propping agent in the reservoir. Semi-qualitative estimates of permeability are made and related to fracture quality. Relationships of the fractures and fracture blocks to the lithology and rock hardness are noted along with the presence of hydrocarbon in the fractures in the form of oil stain or bleeding. Stylolite amplitude and frequency are measured. Routine conventional core analysis provides information on the matrix portion of the reservoir. Zones with matrix oil saturation, porosity, and permeability are pinpointed. Whole core analysis can be useful in providing information on the total porosity of the sample and permeability along fracture planes. Typical matrix porosities are in the range of 4 to 10 percent in the Austin Chalk with residual oil saturation ranging from 10 percent to 60 percent of pore space. Matrix permeabilities average less than 0.1 md, but in isolated cases may be as high as 1.0 md. Typical routine core analysis data are illustrated on figure 11. The Buda matrix porosities are normally less than 5 percent with oil saturation comparable to the Austin Chalk. Matrix permeabilities average less than 0.1 md, rarely exceeding 0.2 md. Whole core permeability along fracture planes in excess of 2,000 md have been measured in both formations. Figure 11 is an example of typical Austin Chalk core analysis data. These data indicate the presence of hydrocarbons and show potential zones of matrix storage capacity; however porosity data would lead to an interpretation of a non-productive zone. To successfully interpret these data, fracture information

FIGURE 7. Buda limestone core, heavily fractured, with two fracture orientations

FIGURE 8. Widely spaced, open fractured shale-limestone sequence in the Eagle Ford Formation

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TRATIGRAPHIC COLUMN AUSTIN I BUDA TRENDS SOUTH TEXAS

TABLE I CRITERIA FOR IDENTIFICATION OF NATURAL AND INDUCED FRACTURES


TYPICAL PRODUCING FIELDS

LITHOLOQY

FRACTURING

SAN MIGUEL

ANACACHO

SOME

Natural 1. Crystal growth and mineralization on fracture plane 2. Slickensides 3. Oil staining on fracture 4. Asphaltic material 5. Closed fracture grading to open 6. Stylolites grading into fractures 7. Fracture plane filled with matrix material 8. Drilling mud and lost circulation material

Induced 1. Sharpness/jagged "fresh" appearance 2. Preferred orientation 3. Often very long 4. Often vertical 5. Concoidal in very hard well cemented rock

AUSTIN

MODERATE TO INTENSE

RBARtALL MLLIV A M * WVOT ARIA L IMDM>

COUNTY FRIO FRIO FRIO MA RICK OOMZALtl Lff

EAGLE FORD BUDA DEL RIO GEORGETOWN EDWARDS MODERATE INTENSE

FIGURE 9. Stratigraphic column, Austin and Buda trend, south Texas, with typical producing fields must be combined with these data to make a realistic interpretation of the interval's potential productivity. An example of the Core Fracture Log (Fig. 12) shows the graphical presentation of data collected from the fracture study. The fracture density column tabulates all the natural fractures noted inagiveninterval;i.e., measurable plus non-measurable fractures. Measurable fractures are defined as those fractures with sufficient length to pass through the core so that the dip angle and direction can be measured. This log combines saturation and porosity data in conjunction with fracture occurrence and density. Intervals of maximum completion potential are readily apparent, and the logs can be used to correlate other downhole fracture logs. Measurable fracture orientation is presented in two formats: as frequency occurrence, and as fracture density rose diagrams (Figs. 13 and 14). The purpose of these two diagrams is to show the frequency at which a given dip direction of fracturing occurs for all fractures and the orientation of the intensity of fracturing. The following example can clarify the difference. If three measurable fractures have a dip direction of N80E, then the frequency of occurrence for this direction would be 1,

FIGURE 10. Goniometer measurements of strike and dip of fractures in Austin Chalk core

whereas the fracture density would be plotted as 3. In an extreme case, fifty, 6- to 8-inch echelon fractures may occur in a few feet of the core, with the remainder of core having two to three fractures per foot with other azimuths. The diagram ofpreferred direction would be dominated by these fractures which could be misleading, especially if a regional fracture trend was being sought. These diagrams then reflect two important characterizations of the fracturing: preferred direction of fracturing and preferred intensity of fracturing.

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382

TRANSACTIONSGULFCOAST ASSOCIATION OFGEOLOGICAL SOCIETIES

Volume XXVII, 1977

It should also be noted that these data are for nonoriented core and 0 degrees does not imply north, but indicates the direction relative to the arbitrarily located scribe line. Using regional or localized structural dip ob-

tained from structure maps of the formation or dipmeter data, the 0 degree index could be adjusted to true north. Obviously, with oriented cores true strike and dip directions are readily determined.

C O R E L A B O R Pi'fgfl IES , I N C . Petroleum Resertait Ungi/teering


D A | _ | _ A S
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WINNER OIL COMPANY


TtXAS

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DATE J 2/tt/7f FORMATION: Ausrjii CHALK OSLG. FLUID: V,AT_K ASL MUU LOCATION: CONVtNTIONAL COWS ANALYSIS

FILt NO:

2205-0000

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DESCRIPTION

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6026,0-60t>1.0 6526,0-27.0 6527,0-28.0 652B,0-2<.0 6529.0-30.0 6530.0-31.0 6531.0-32.0 6532.0-33.0 6533.0-34.0 6534.0-35.0 6536.0-36.0 6536.0-37.0 6537.0-38.0 6538.0-39.0 6539.0-40.0 6540.0-41.U 6541.0-42.0 6542.0-43.0 6543.0-44.0 6544.0-45.0 6545.U-46.0 6546.0-47.0 6547.0-48.0 6548.0-49.0 6549.0-bO.O 6590.0-51.0 6581.0-52.0 6552.0-S3.0

CORE NO .1 CUT 35FT R_C 35 FT <0.01 9.4 0.0 86.9 0.7 <0.01 4.6 0.0 84.7 0.7 0.01 6.2 0,0 86.9 16) 0.8 0.06 5.5 9.8 76.2 OIL 0.8 <0.01 5.0 0.0 87.2 0.6 0.04 11.8 79.1 4ti 6.1 0.5 <0.0I 5.5 0.0 85.6 0.8 0,01 6.7 0.0 94.2 0.4 0.04 4.6 0.0 91.6 (6) 0.4 0.02 8.5 0.0 89.4 (61 0.9 0.06 9.9 0.0 94.6 (6) 0.5 0.01 9.0 0.0 91.7 lJ 0.7 <0.01 rt.l 0.0 95.4 0.4 0.04 9.3 90.2 0.9 u.o t * > 0.54 6.7 46.2 bO.l OIL 0.2 0.28 7.2 57. 6 41.2 91*. 0.1 0.76 6.5 42.4 40.6 Oil. 1.1 0.84 B.l 51.4 47.4 MU 1.0 0.96 6.6 U.7 53.9 OIL 1.0 <0.01 J.8 5.6 0.0 86.2 0.04 7.4 6.2 HI.4 16) 0.9 0.01 6.7 38.4 60.2 Oil. U. 0.02 3,6 49.4 46.2 OIL 0.2 0,47 2.5 42.4 51.4 OIL 0.2 0.82 S.O 54.4 40.2 OIL 0.3 0,43 5.4 40.0 42.4 OIL 1.0 5.8 38.6 44.6 OIL 1.0 0.36

LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM

CRY QRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY G*Y GHY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY GRY ORY

VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT

SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS

VF VF VF VF VF VF VF VF NO NO NO NO NO NO VF EV LV VF EV VF VF VF VF VF VF VF VF

NO FLU NO FLU NO FLU SPT GLU FLU NO FLU SPT GLL) FLU NO FLU NO FLU FLU FLU FLU FLU FLU FLU CV GLO FLU OLD FLU bLD FLU E ' / GLD FLU OLD FLU NO FLU SPT GLO FLU t ' V GLU FLU tV GLO FLU tV GLO FLU EV GLD FLU t ' V GLO FLU tV GLU FLU

These analyses, opinion* or interpretations are based on observations and materials supplied by the client to whom, and for whoie exclusive and confidential use, tiiis report is made. The interpretations or opinions expressed represent the best judgment of Core Laboratories. In- (all errors and omiwioni excepted); but Con Laboratories, Inc. and iti officers and employees, assume no responsibility and make no warranty or representations, as to the productivity, proper operations, or profitableness ot .my oil, gator other mineral well or sand in connection with which such report is used or relied upon.

CORE L A B O R A T O R I E S , I N C . Petroleum Reservoir Engineering


P A L L A S , T C X A S

WINNER OIL COMPANY GOOD NO.I SMP NO 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 DEPTH FEET PERM MO HOR.lKL)

DATL : FORM ATION: POR OIL*

<V8/77 AUSTIN CHALK KTR* PROOAS*

FILt N O : ANALYSTS:

2205-000:)

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6553,0-54.0 6554.0-55.0 6555.0-56.0 6556.0-57.0 6557.0-58.0 6558.0-59.0 6559.0-60.0 6560.0-61.0

PORl PORL PKOO UULK * __-_ - - ____ ____ (6) OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL (6) (6) 'J. 9 0.2 0.5 0.4 0.5 0,6 1.2 0.7

DESCRIPTION LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM


GRY QRY GRY GRY GRY GhY GRY GRY VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT VFT SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS SFOSS VK NO FLU VF LV GLO FLU VF SPT GLD FLU VF SPT GLD FLU VF MOTT GLD FLU VF MOTT GLD FLU VF NO FLU VF NO FLU

0.0 6.1 05.0 0.02 0.01 3.4 50.0 42.9 4.0 10.1 78,4 0.02 0.01 4.5 12.4 78.6 5.5 22.4 68,4 0.02 0.01 4.9 19.2 69.1 0.01 6.1 0.0 80.2 4.9 0.0 86,1 0.01 (6) LOW PERMEABILITY VF- VERTICAL FRACTURE

FIGURE 11. Typical conventional core analysis data from the Austin Chalk Formation

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CORE FRACTURE LOG


CORE LABORATORIES, INC. rnMPAMY WINNER OIL C O M P A N Y WELL FIELD COUNTY
Don*

QOOO * 1 WILDCAT FRtO


ClOPM FUCTWKI CLMUnMCTUK* OtLfmWtM **>LIMML fUKJUK OEKSITY K i t FOOT

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FIGURE 12. Example of core fracture log from fractured Austin Chalk Formation

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384

TRANSACTIONSGULFCOASTASSOCIATIONOFGEOLOGICALSOCIETIES

VolumeXXVII, 1977

UTILIZATION OF FRACTURE DATA The major utilization of the fracture log, in addition to identifying dry holes, is to assist in the design of a completion program for potentially productive wells. Other applications of the fracture data include reserve calculations, calibration and interpretation of various downhole logs, assistance in locating development wells, and development of fracture block dimensions for reservoir simulation models. In the Austin Chalk and Buda trend non-productive wells are rare. Commercially productive wells are determined by evidence of sufficient recoverable oil. Analysis of fracture logs may establish the presence of sufficient fracture systems to provide satisfactory flow rate and to estimate reserves. Satisfactory production rates have occurred from an individual high quality fracture. Larger fractured intervals are required when the fractures diminish in quality. It can readily be seen that the quality and quantity of individual fractures are equally important to well productivity. Partially mineralized fractures, with visible permeability, porosity, and oil stain are illustrated on figures 3, 5, 7, and

8. Partially mineralized fractures are considered to be of the highest quality as mineralization serves as a propping agent. This is confirmed by whole core permeability measurements on cores with this type of fracturing. Wells with such fractures often flow oil after only light acid treatment. Completion intervals can be rated in decreasing order as follows: 1. The best intervals are those with high quality fractures 2. Fractured intervals with high matrix oil saturation 3. Fracture intervals without matrix oil saturation 4. Finally, non-fractured intervals with matrix oil saturation Normally, all of these conditions plus intervals without oil saturation or fracturing occur in all wells studied. Experience gained through the interpretation of core analysis, combined with fracture analysis, has resulted in the development of a set of petrophysical conditions that can be used semi-quantitatively to determine the anticipated productivity of the Austin Chalk and Buda reservoirs.

NON-OMKNTED

NON-ORE NTED

'io"

FREQUENCY OF OCCURRENCE MEASURABLE FRACTURES AUSTIN CHALK FORMATION SOUTH TEXAS can aiauTMiis, mc cmmmmt i cmsurmt ctn

FRACTURE DENSITY
MEASURABLE FRACTURES AUSTIN CHALK FORMATION SOUTH TEXAS am Luaumma, mc CMImourn i cmsixrm xn

FIGURE 13. Rose diagram of frequency of occurrence of fractures, Austin Chalk Formation, south Texas

FIGURE 14. Rose diagram of fracture density, Austin Chalk Formation, south Texas

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SNYDER, CRAFT

385

1 X 10"

/
/

&

?^^

*?

10.000

/>
FRACTURE BLOCK HEIGHT

> 3
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RELATIONSHIP

OF

FRACTURE WIDTH ANO DENSITY

Tl

1/
FRACTURE WIDTH (cm I

VS PORC)SITY ANO PERI <IEAB LITY

FIGURE 15. Relationship of fracture width and density vs porosity and permeability

Interpretation of the economic viability in individual wells involves many variables. Cumulative experience to date indicates a minimum requirement of 50 ft of fractured section with a minimum fracture density of one per foot, oil saturation matrix of 10 percent or greater as measured from routine core analysis and matrix permeability of 0.01 md. These requirements are applicable to the Austin Chalk formation; the Buda formation, normally more fractured, requires less interval to produce. Calculations of reserves is a two-fold problem: determining the volume of reserves in the matrix and the volume in the fracture system, plus estimating the amount of oil that can move from the matrix blocks to replenish the fracture volume. Normal procedures to calculate in-place hydrocarbons contained in the matrix fracture blocks have proved applicable in the Austin Chalk-Buda trend. As noted on figure 15, fracture width, although greatly enhancing permeability, contributes very minor amounts of storage space in the fractures. As normal fracture widths are 0.1 mm and fracture density ranges from one to three per foot (fracture block height of approximately 10 cm), fracture volume is approximately 0.10 porosity percent. Assuming water saturation in the fracture volume is essentially nil, recovery of less than 10 bbl per acre-foot appears reasonable for the fracture volume. To replace

this oil, oil must be available in the matrix and the matrix must be permeable. Permeability of the matrix need not be high since large cross-sectional areas are exposed and contribute to the flow at the fracture plains. Replacement of oil produced in the fracture, drainage areas, recovery factors, fracture block heights, and their distribution in the reservoir present complex reservoir engineering problems beyond the scope of this paper. The data gathered in the fracture study are needed to solve these problems utilizing reservoir simulation modeling. Several wells in which detailed fracture studies were made were also logged with downhole fracture-locating tools. Recalling that a fracture density of one to three fractures per foot is average throughout the trend and about one-half of these fractures are closed or partially mineralized, that fracture widths are seldom in excess of 0.1 mm, that 98 percentof the fractures are vertical or near vertical, and finally that at least 50 percent of the Austin Chalk formation is void of fracturing, it appears that the resolution of the fracture-finding logs must be extremely great to detect a fracture downhole. To accurately calibrate the wireline fracture logs, the assimilation of fracture description from cores is necessary. The fracture logs and rose diagrams can be used to delineate fracture trends and thus assist in locating development wells in order to take advantage of fracture permeability. If deviated holes are drilled to intersect the greatest number of fractures, then it is imperative to know the orientation of the fractured trend. It could be possible that, by deviating a hole parallel to the original fracture trend, less instead of more fractures would be intersected by the wellbore. At the end of any study such as this, more questions are posed than answers obtained. Some of these include the acceptance of cryptic fracturing as the origin of much of the Austin trend productivity followed by the primary question as to how to differentiate between it and normal tensional fractures in cores, and to define a pattern to the cryptic fractures, at least in a regional setting, to assist in locating exploration wells. The collection, interpretation, and dissemination of fracture data for cores and logs eventually should help solve these problems, hopefully before the reservoirs are depleted.

REFERENCES Drummond, J.M., 1964, An appraisal of fracture porosity: Bull, of Canadian Petroleum Geol., v. 12, No. 1, p. 226-245. Hubbard, M.K. and Willis, D.G., 1955, Important fractured reservoirs in the United States: Proc. 4th World Petroleum Congress, Sect. 1, p. 57-81. McQuillan, H., 1973, Small-scale fracture density in Asmari formation of Southwest Iran and its relation to bed thickness and structural setting: Am. Assoc. Petroleum Geologists Bull., v. 57, No. 12, p. 2367-2385. McQuillan, H., 1974, Fracture patterns on Kuh-e Asmari anticline, Southwest Iran: Am. Assoc. Petroleum Geologists Bull., v. 52, No. 2, p. 236-246. Wilkinson, W.M., 1953, Fracturing in Spraberry Reservoir, West Texas: Am. Assoc. Petroleum Geologists Bull., v. 37, No. 2, p. 250-265.