Identifying and mapping clay-rich intervals in the Fayetteville Shale : influence of clay on natural gas production intervals

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Roberts, Forrest Daniel

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The Fayetteville Shale is composed dominantly of clay, carbonate, and siliciclastic minerals. A variety of facies have been described by other workers and in this study, defined by mineral content, biota, fabric, and texture. Because the Fayetteville Shale is one of the top shale-gas producing plays in the U.S., an inquiry into key drivers of good-quality production is worthwhile. In particular, a hypothesis that intervals of high clay content should be avoided as production targets is investigated in this study. A high level of separation between wire-line log neutron porosity (NPHI) and density porosity (DPHI) in the Fayetteville Shale is observed in contrast to the wire-line log responses from the Barnett and Haynesville Shales. Clay minerals have a significant effect on NPHI, which in turn affects separation between NPHI and DPHI (PHISEP). X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) clay data was available for three wells, and efforts to correlate XRD results to PHISEP led to establishing NPHI as a reasonable proxy for clay. Using NPHI as a proxy it was possible to pick clay-rich intervals, map them across the study area, and to determine net clay in the Fayetteville Shale. Maps of net clay-rich intervals were compared to a map of production, but revealed no obvious correlation. Stratigraphic cross-sections showing the clay-rich intervals revealed a clay-poor interval in the upper part of the lower Fayetteville. This interval is the primary target for horizontal well completion. It is bounded above and below by more clay-rich intervals. Establishing the clay-rich intervals via porosity log separation (PHISEP) is one tool to help determine possible stratigraphic zones of gas production and can lead to a better understanding of intervals in which to expect production.



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