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Permeability evaluation on oil-window shale based on hydraulic flow unit: A new approach

Pengfei Zhang, Shuangfang Lu, Junqian Li, Jie Zhang, Haitao Xue, Chen Chen

(Published: 2018-01-08)

Corresponding Author and Email:Shuangfang Lu,; Junqian Li,

Citation:Zhang, P., Lu, S., Li, J., Zhang, J., Xue, H., Chen, C. Permeability evaluation on oil-window shale based on hydraulic flow unit: A new approach. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2018, 2(1): 1-13, doi: 10.26804/ager.2018.01.01.

Article Type:Original article


Permeability is one of the most important petrophysical properties of shale reservoirs, controlling the fluid flow from the shale matrix to artificial fracture networks, the production and ultimate recovery of shale oil/gas. Various methods have been used to measure this parameter in shales, but no method effectively estimates the permeability of all well intervals due to the complex and heterogeneous pore throat structure of shale. A hydraulic flow unit (HFU) is a correlatable and mappable zone within a reservoir, which is used to subdivide a reservoir into distinct layers based on hydraulic flow properties. From these units, correlations between permeability and porosity can be established. In this study, HFUs were identified and combined with a back propagation neural network to predict the permeability of shale reservoirs in the Dongying Depression, Bohai Bay Basin, China. Well data from three locations were used and subdivided into modeling and validation datasets. The modeling dataset was applied to identify HFUs in the study reservoirs and to train the back propagation neural network models to predict values of porosity and flow zone indicator (FZI). Next, a permeability prediction method was established, and its generalization capability was evaluated using the validation dataset. The results identified five HFUs in the shale reservoirs within the Dongying Depression. The correlation between porosity and permeability in each HFU is generally greater than the correlation between the two same variables in the overall core data. The permeability estimation method established in this study effectively and accurately predicts the permeability of shale reservoirs in both cored and un-cored wells. Predicted permeability curves effectively reveal favorable shale oil/gas seepage layers and thus are useful for the exploration and the development of hydrocarbon resources in the Dongying Depression.

Keywords:Permeability, porosity, shale, hydraulic flow units, back propagation neural network.


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