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WTGS June Luncheon

  • June 14, 2022
  • 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Midland Country Club - One Wildcatter Way, Midland, TX 79705
  • 150

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  • $25.00 Pre-Registered (Preferred)
    $35.00 Late Registration

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***Please note venue change***

Application of XRF-Based Elemental Data to Optimize Core and Cuttings Characterization for CCUS Projects: Ready Adaptation of Workflows Developed for Oil and Gas Operations

Presenter:  Michael C. Dix

Submitted to: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, CCUS Conference

March 29-31, 2022 / Houston, Texas, USA


Michael C. Dix1, Tim Prather1, Austin Morrell1, Giovanni Zanoni1, Nicholas Nelson1, Harry Rowe1, Julie M. Bloxson2, and Hannah Chambers2

1 Premier Oilfield Group, Houston, Texas, USA

2 Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, USA

Because of their rapid acquisition and versatility, elemental data obtained from core and cuttings by portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instruments are now routinely used in many oil and gas drilling programs. While these XRF-based workflows are straightforwardly adapted to the characterization of CO2-injection zones and seals, they may be unfamiliar to some geologists and engineers working on CCUS projects. The XRF-based CCUS workflow described below is equally applicable to sandstone, carbonate, and mudstone lithologies. Examples from two analog injection-zone sandstones in the East Texas Basin will be presented (Jurassic Cotton Valley and Cretaceous Blossom).

A typical workflow for a new core begins with acquisition of high-resolution XRF data from the core face just after slabbing (typically at a spacing of 0.1 to 0.2 feet). The XRF data (usually 25-30 elements) is processed through a mineral model, and then classified into elemental lithotypes (chemofacies) using hierarchical cluster analysis. The detailed compositional profile constructed from the XRF data is combined with log responses to optimize sample selection for routine core analysis, special core analysis, petrology, and rock mechanics. Petrology analyses (thin section, SEM, and XRD) are specifically focused on quantifying the amount and distribution of potentially reactive pore-facing mineral phases. Lastly, the XRF data is used in conjunction with core-description sedimentary facies for chemostratigraphic correlation, improving the understanding of overall depositional architecture. Relevant analytical parameters from all of these results are parsed or integrated to supply input for reactive transport modeling.

Following integration and interpretation, the workflow is inverted. Mathematical relationships are established between measured rock parameters and XRF elemental data. The most robust of these relationships (typically including mineralogy and rock mechanics parameters) can be applied to new XRF data acquired from cuttings as additional injection wells are drilled. The new XRF results can recognize lateral changes in injection zone composition, and potentially provide input for updating reactive transport models.


Michael C. Dix

Principal Geoscientist

Premier Oilfield Group

Houston, U.S.A.

Mike Dix has over 37 years of geoscience experience, 29 in the oil and gas industry and eight in academic research.  He received his B.S. (Geology) from the University of Dayton (USA) in 1981 and attended the graduate geology program at the University of Houston.  He has expertise in sedimentary petrology, reservoir geology, elemental geochemistry / chemostratigraphy, regional geology, and fracture analysis.  Prior to joining Premier Oilfield Group, he worked for Core Laboratories, the University of Houston, Westport Technology Center, Halliburton, Chemostrat, and Weatherford.  In the early 1990s, Mike became interested in using inorganic elemental data to improve understanding of sandstone provenance, sediment dispersal, and sequence correlation, and to establish diagenetic and reservoir-quality signatures.  While much of his work has involved integrated laboratory studies, Mike has spent a much of the last 20 years helping to develop and implement wellsite analytical technologies such as LIBS, XRF, XRD, FTIR, and programmed pyrolysis.  Mike’s experience in applying elemental techniques spans all reservoir types and includes sequences from North America, the Middle East, South America, West Africa, China, and Australia.  Most recently, he has been working to apply integrated petrology and XRF elemental data to the characterization of injection zones and seal rocks for carbon capture and storage projects.  Mike is a member of American Association of Petroleum Geologists, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Geological Society of America, Clay Minerals Society, Mineralogical Society of America, Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts, and Houston Geological Society.


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