Looking Forward: Improve Production & Reduce Costs


EGI Research Services to Help Members Measure Success & Prepare for the Future

In mid 2015, the Energy & Geoscience Institute (EGI) rolled out a variety of Research Services that emphasize focused analytical work and interpretation. These Research Services are often included in group-sponsored member projects and can also be member specific sole sponsored projects . Part of the rationale for extending EGI’s capacity for laboratory evaluations comes from EGI Corporate Associates (CA) themselves as they have sought new insight and understanding of Tight Reservoirs and Shale Science. Indeed, this has been the area of greatest industry-driven EGI research growth in the last eight years.

EGI has assisted 45+ CA members in shale, mudstone, and tight reservoir characterization, and has evaluated more than 120 shales from 60+ basins in 20+ countries. EGI has a strong emphasis on understanding North American petroleum systems, especially the key topics of Improved Liquid Recovery in Shales, Large-scale Geological Controls on Hydraulic Stimulation, Flow in Nanoporous Rocks, Shale Liquids Production Analysis, and More Efficient Hydraulic Fracturing Systems for Gas Shale Development. Predicitive tools have been created in several EGI research projects and are available to sponsoring members.

In addition to the thematic research several basin scale projects include robust petroleum geochemistry and basin modeling analyses and have added valuable insights about tight reservoirs worldwide. South American Shales, Phase 2 is in the final months of research and will provide an unparalleled understanding of shale resources key South American basins. China Shale, Phase 2, completed in 2015, defines the most promising marine and lacustrine shale systems from four primary regions. UK Shales will be finalized in Q1 2016 and examines the tight systems in northern and southern England. Sponsors will gain new geochemical and mineralogical data and interpretations for revisions in resource estimation. Central Eurasia and India round out the global evaluations of tight systems and increase our the overall understanding and analyses of shale, mudstone, and tight reservoirs.

Research Services are expanding our knowledge base and EGI expertise, offering CA Members uniquely affordable access to unparalleled source rock and high-resolution reservoir characterization technology. Download a flyer of the comprehensive suite of services available to EGI members and ask us about complementary sample analysis.

Geomechanics Laboratory

EGI added rock mechanics research services in Q3 2015. The TerraTek Schlumberger Rock Mechanics Triaxial Test System is a computer-controlled apparatus designed to simulate in-situ stress and strain for the determination of physical properties of core samples. The system simulates in-situ conditions and characterizes a test sample’s behavior under those conditions. Axial load, horizontal stress (confining pressure) and pore pressure can all be precisely controlled. In-vessel instrumentation, directly in contact with the rock sample, accurately measures the sample’s response to testing variables. Laboratory evaluations of the mechanical properties of rock include Young’s modulus, Poisson’s ratio, compressive strength, tensile strength, and compressibility. The equipment capabilities include

  • 20,000 psi confining pressure
  • 360 kip axial load actuator
  • Large frame for 6” ID pressure vessel
  • Temperature capability up to 300° F
  • Confining and pore pressure control
  • Ultrasonic velocity measurements

High Resolution Reservoir Characterization Laboratory

(comprehensive suite of services from Core through PoreTM scales)

  • Optical Microscopy (thin section): Petrographical assessment of samples providing quantitative analysis of minerals and organic material and characterization of rock fabrics and textures.
  • QEMSCAN E430-4 microscope: a scanning electron microscope specifically designed for rapid collection of x-ray spectra for identifying minerals.
  • X-ray Diffraction (XRD): Bruker; Rapid analysis of crystalline phases/material and advanced characterization of minerals including clay species within rocks.
  • X-ray Fluorescence (XRF): Advanced (non-destructive) elemental characterization of rock fabrics and textures and ‘large’ sample characterization on centimeter-scale samples (i.e., core).

High Resolution Reservoir Characterization Laboratory

  • Argon-Ion Milling: ‘Atomic-scale’ polishing of samples using high-powered argon ions and sheer force-free polishing allowing for an artifact–free surface.
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM): Electron imaging including backscatter (BSE) and secondary electron (SE) analysis and energy dispersive x-ray (EDS/EDX) analysis allowing point and mapping of samples.
  • High-Resolution Composite Mapping (MAPSTM): Automated acquisition of high-resolution SEM images from ‘large’ areas across samples and data is exported as interactive composite image datasets.
  • Focused ion Beam SEM (FIB-SEM): Dual-beam microscopy allowing focused ion beam (FIB) milling and SEM imaging and automated sequential milling and imaging of samples allows reconstruction of 3D volumes.
  • Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM): Ultra-high-resolution imaging and ultrasensitive elemental mapping (EDS) for chemical analysis and FIB-SEM slicing used as preparation method.

High Precision Petrophysical Laboratory

EGI is using high-resolution high-pressure equipment to evaluate the porosity, saturations, and relative permeabilities of tight formations. Called the “EGI Shale Interrogator,” the apparatus is capable of high pressure and high temperature studies that provide accurate measurements useful for petrophysical model calibrations. High precision, low volume pumping capability allows this advanced instrument to provide steady-state data previously not readily available. Finally, the capability to conduct evaluations of liquids-producing formations makes this service unique in the world.

Shale Interrogator – High Precision Petrophysical Characterization

Keogen – Oil Systems; Flow in Nanoporous Rocks (I 01209)

Geochemistry Laboratory

EGI’s Research Services for source rock characterization uses the newest state of the art equipment. The HAWKTM Analyzer provides S1, S2, S3, and TOC data as well as Tmax information. The specially designed instrument has better free petroleum (S1) sensitivity for improved identification of pay in resource plays and adds a new level of sophistication for specialized analysis and integrated interpretation. Hydrous Pyrolysis evaluations in conjunction with GC and GC-MS allows better oil-source correlation and engineering parameter quantification. Combining longer hydrous pyrolysis with shorter anhydrous (HAWKTM) pyrolysis generated data enables greater behavior prediction across source rock facies and maturities. Read more about the EGI Geochemistry Lab capabilities in the related article in this issue: EGI Petroleum Geochemistry Laboratory Advances Research.

We encourage EGI Corporate Associates to request proposals for Research Services and to send samples to EGI for laboratory evaluations related to petrology, petrophysics, geomechanics and geochemistry. Ask us about complementary sample analysis.

For more information, please send inquiries to contact@egi.utah.edu.