Petrophysics - Rock Physics

Digital Rock Technology



  Prof. Mark Knackstedt (FEI Lithicon, Canberra, Australia)


  1 day


  Petrophysics – Rock Physics






  5 CPD points




Course description

Digital rock technology offers promise to overcome limitations of conventional core flooding – in particular, sensitivity to coring, core preservation, handling and preparation procedures. In contrast to conventional analysis, digital core analysis involves numerical simulation of the desired experiments using a digital model of the core – this enables simulation of a range of desired conditions, flow regimes, fluid compositions and chemistry. In addition, the simulations can be repeated on the same core models to evaluate different scenarios of oil production and investigate sensitivities to various parameters like flow rate, initial saturation and wettability. Additional advantages of the technology include the ability to make predictions considerably more quickly than conventional measurements and the ability to use damaged samples and drill cuttings too small for standard measurements.

This technology, originally devoted to basic studies of displacement processes, is emerging as a potential predictive tool for the oil industry with several companies now providing digital core analysis services. Digital rock projects have historically focused on applications to core analysis – characterizing details at the pore scale and ensuring that the physics incorporated is as required to make meaningful predictions. While this is a crucial area, it has been a fundamental limitation to creating widespread commercial value and real growth to date. This course will provide an in-depth description of digital rock analysis techniques with an emphasis on the fundamentals, tools and practical methods utilized in this workflow. Advanced methods and current limitations will also be discussed.

The course will then highlight how this technology can aid the geoscientist and reservoir engineer today by complementing traditional measurements and using the results intelligently to predict and interpret field-scale recovery processes. We describe examples where reconciliation and integration of the different types of data from a fundamental understanding of the pore scale has added value. In particular, the work is used to offer fast turnaround times, aided in our understanding of unconventional reservoir core material and to explain uncertainties and trends from laboratory measurements (e.g., issues with heterogeneity, representative elemental volume, wettability, distribution of remaining oil saturation, EOR processes). We conclude with a discussion on how to extend this technology for reliable prediction of petrophysical & SCAL data along continuous lengths of core material and to integrate the data with other forms of data at increasingly larger scales (log characterization, geomodels and ultimately reservoir simulators).


Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the physics of flow processes in porous rocks.
  2. Be aware of the most recent development in 3D imaging and modeling technology from nanometer to meter scales.
  3. Understand the importance of wettability in multiphase flow properties.
  4. Understand how to utilize pore scale information for the interpretation of laboratory data and roadmaps to use in predicting properties at larger scales.
  5. Have an ability to use digital techniques as a complementary source of data for reservoir characterization.


Participants' profile

Core analysts, petrophysicists, geoscientists, formation evaluation specialists and reservoir engineers.



Basic core analysis knowledge would be useful.


About the instructor

Mark KnackstedtMark Knackstedt is Director of Technology for FEI/Lithicon and Professor at the Department of Applied Mathematics at the Australian National University. He is a current and past (2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2012-2013) SPWLA distinguished speaker, a 2015-2016 SPE Distinguished Lecturer and was awarded the George C. Matson Memorial Award from the AAPG in 2009 and the ENI award for New Frontiers in Hydrocarbon Research in 2010.

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