Someone told me a story years ago about the “good old days” of prospecting for oil and gas leases. One of the bigger outfits would send surveyors all over West Texas to evaluate properties, shoot seismic and eventually make a recommendation about whether the company should buy or pass on a specific plot of land.

All the while, there was an old, beaten-up pickup truck following the prospecting team from lease to lease. It didn’t draw much attention; there were old pickup trucks all over these back roads. 

So the prospecting team just kept driving from lease to lease, stopping in town to call the office whenever they had something to report.

This would go on until a lease looked good enough that it warranted a more thorough investigation. The survey team would return to a property. If, after a second survey, the property looked as good or better than it did on the initial inspection, the team would tell the office to make an offer on the mineral rights.

To the surprise of the operator, every time they put an offer in on a piece of property’s mineral rights, they would find that another oil and gas company had beaten them to it. 

It didn’t take long to realize that that old pickup truck had something to do with their high-value prospects getting bought up. It turned out the old truck belonged to another operator – one with a little less cash to spend on expensive surveys of each potential property. That truck would follow the competitors’ survey team. As soon as the survey team returned to a property a second time, the truck’s driver would call his office and tell them to buy up the property.

In the absence of their own petrophysical information, they decided that if one of the big boys was going back to a property more than once, there must be something worth looking into; they would snatch it up.

This somewhat unorthodox approach to prospecting wells was successful, at least until the bigger oil and gas operators realized they had enough capital to just go in an buy the leases that looked good on their initial inspection and sell off the dogs later on.

Petrophysical Interpretation Software

Nowadays, there more sophisticated means of evaluating a property, lease, individual well or an entire field. The use of petrophysical interpretation software has made building advanced geological models a lot faster and easier. If not used correctly, however, these tools can get an inexperienced geologist in a lot of trouble.

Performing log interpretations, core interpretations, PVT analysis and other advanced petrophysical interpretations with a single piece of software has changed the business of drilling and completing oil and gas wells.

Using petrophysical interpretation software packages lets you evaluate an oil or gas property with your specific level of granularity. It also gives you the right amount of data to make decisions at every stage of the drilling or completion project.

Not all petrophysical interpretation software packages are created equal, though. Software’s degree of resolution can have a dramatic impact on the decisions you make for your well. This is especially important to consider when determining how and where to perform your chosen enhanced oil recovery (EOR) method. A lower-resolution software will not be able to show you how your EOR method will affect the reservoir with enough detail, which could lead to expensive mistakes during this process.

Subsurface Stress

Understanding how a well will handle the stress of all of the exploration and production activities is important – not only for the production of the asset, but for the integrity of the well geology.

Provided you have reliable, structured data to build a reservoir model, the use of petrophysical interpretation software will help you select where to place your well in the reservoir. It can also allow you to optimize your field development plan.

Petrophysical interpretation software allows you to identify where your well is in its decline curve. This gives you all of the information you need to continue or change your EOR method to maximize the recoverable hydrocarbons from each well in the field.

Understanding what is going on in the subsurface geology is the goal of every geologist. It’s also important to plan for and respond to changes in the reservoir to extract the hydrocarbons as quickly and as economically as possible.

The use of a reliable petrophysical interpretation software package is just one of the tools oil and gas operators have in their arsenals. The tool includes advanced features that can provide your team with accurate data to make the best decisions for your E&P operations.

SPRI is in the process of developing content around the use of some of our preferred petrophysical interpretation software packages. For now, if you would like to know more about how SPRI has helped our clients we have several case studies for you to review on our Case Studies page.