Core Imaging- Twenty Five Years of Equipment, Techniques, and Applications of X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT) for Core Analysis
Dr. Eric Withjack, PTS Laboratories (Current LASPE Chairperson)
Over the past twenty-five years, x-ray CT technology has shaped and advanced core analysis with a momentum similar to that of the growth of the Society of Core Analysts (SCA) itself. From the initial work in early 1984 to the present day, we have seen a dedication of efforts from individuals, and the development of technology that has significantly advanced our understanding of porous media.
Here we will track equipment development and techniques that have been successfully applied and modified for the special case of imaging porous media. The early developments in the technology provide a basis and common understanding necessary for subsequent higher-level techniques and applications. The primary focus of this paper is to show how the technology has been applied to both static and dynamic reservoir models, using examples from both the US and the Middle East. We look at how the costs of equipment, data acquisition time, and data size have all influenced how and when the technology was applied economically. We discuss how the information from this visual and quantitative tool can best be handled to integrate its value throughout the workflow from geological description to production enhancement. On another scale, notably of emerging significance, we discuss the “younger” x-ray CT sibling, micro-CT. The rate that this technique is maturing is due in no small part to the lessons learned from the "older" CT technology. Forward looking, we venture forth with our ideas and projections of future applications and developments.
Bio – Eric Withjack:
Eric is Vice President of Technology for PTS Laboratories, Inc., where he provides corporate-wide technical leadership for the company. Eric’s experiences include Cities Service Oil and Gas, ARCO Oil and Gas, and UNOCAL Corporation, performing reservoir engineering, core analysis, and laboratory studies to optimize oil recovery. While at ARCO and Unocal, his primary research interest focused on the development of x-ray computed tomography and applications for core analysis. Additional experience includes working at Baker Atlas/Geoscience (Houston) developing new down-hole technologies and integrating cross-well seismic with reservoir characterization. Upon returning to So Cal and prior to joining PTS, he performed consulting for Plains Resources, and reservoir engineering for Breitburn Energy. Eric holds a B.S. from Norwich Univ., an M.S. from Syracuse Univ., and a Ph.D. from Rutgers (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering).
Leila Rashedi Vlasko