Research Services

EGI provides Research Services in conjunction with its Geoscience and Engineering related projects. EGI in combination with the University of Utah Nanofab facility has the most densely concentrated high technology equipment in the United States capable of source rock and high-resolution reservoir characterization. The Utah Nanofab excels in such areas as fast nanometer scale elemental mapping and multiscale correlative microscopy (comprehensive suite of services from Core through Pore™ scales). The ability to rapidly map elemental constituents allows the analysis of fragile samples and those with volatile components, which are often encountered in unconventional reservoirs.

Optical Microscopy (Thin Section)

Transmitted Light Microscopy

Left:     Transmitted light thin section image (plane polarized) of calcitic vein in shale.

Right:   Transmitted light thin section image (cross polarized) of calcitic vein in shale.

Reflected Light Microscopy

Reflected light image of organic material macerals image of shale.

Composite Imaging

Composite light microscope image showing 60 montaged images of deformed shale thin section. A single thin section image used to make composite image is shown for reference.

Cost Range:   $200 - 300 (per sample)

Methodology

  • Petrographical assessment of samples providing quantitative analysis of minerals and organic material.
  • Characterization of rock fabrics, textures and fabrics.

Applications & Deliverables

  • Lithofacies classification.
  • Assessment of brittle/ductile
    behavior of samples.
  • Depositional environment
    characterization and evolution.

Mineralogical Mapping (QEMSCAN®)

Low-Resolution Core Imaging

Low-resolution (20 μm) QEMSCAN® (Quantitative Evaluation of Minerals by SCANning electron microscopy) automated mineralogical map of a core sample.

Low-Resolution Cutting Imaging

Low-resolution (20 μm) QEMSCAN® (Quantitative Evaluation of Minerals by SCANning electron microscopy) automated mineralogical map of a cuttings sample.

High-Resolution Core Imaging

High-resolution (5 μm) QEMSCAN® (Quantitative Evaluation of Minerals by SCANning electron microscopy) automated mineralogical map of a core sample.

Cost Range:   $250 - 350 (per sample)

Methodology

  • Automated petrologicalanalysis of samples providing quantitative analysis of minerals.
  • Advanced characterization of rock fabrics, textures and fractures.

Applications & Deliverables

  • Lithofacies classification.
  • Assessment of brittle/ductile
    behavior of samples.
  • Micro-depositional
    environment characterization and evolution.

X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

Topaz Bruker XRD Advance Data

XRD analysis from full-scale X-ray diffraction (XRD) machine using Topaz software.

Topaz Bruker XRD Portable Data

XRD analysis from portable X-ray diffraction (XRD) machine using Topaz software.

Integrated Analysis

Left:     Average mineralogy of sample from X-ray diffraction analysis.

Right:   XRD ternary plot showing gross mineralogical parameters as axes, with lithological rock types shown. The ductile/brittle transition zone and potentially analogous Northern American plays are shown for reference.

Integrated Analysis

X-ray diffraction well profile showing totals for mineralogical groups.

Cost Range:   $250 - 350 (per sample)

Methodology

  • Rapid analysis of crystalline phases/material.
  • Advanced characterization of minerals including clay species within rocks.

Applications & Deliverables

  • Quantitative analysis of minerals, including clay species.
  • Assessment of brittle/ductile behavior of samples.
  • Lithofacies characterization.

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Mapping

XRF Elemental Core Mapping

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) map of core sample showing elemental analysis.

Topaz Bruker XRD Portable Data

Left:     X-ray fluorescence (XRF) map of core sample composite map of elemental analyses: Al, Ca, Fe, and Si.

Right:   X-ray fluorescence (XRF) surface relief (from imaging contrast differences) map of core sample composite map of elemental analyses: Al, Ca, Fe, and Si.

Cost Range:   $400 - 550 (per sample)

Methodology

  • Advanced (non-destructive) elemental characterization of rock fabrics and textures.
  • ‘Large’ sample characterization on centimeter-scale samples (i.e. core).

Applications & Deliverables

  • Assessment of brittle/ductile zones within samples.
  • Qualitative analysis of elemental signatures within samples.
  • Lithofacies characterization.

Argon-Ion Milling

Cross-Sectional Argon-Ion Milling

Cross sectional ion milling polishing of shale sample for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses. Sample preparation may include variable rocking and tilt angles of samples to allow greater control of milling parameters.

Surface Argon-Ion Milling

Surface ion milling polishing of shale sample for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses. Sample preparation includes using continuous 360° ‘full rotation’ ion milling using ionized argon.

Cost Range:   $100 - 150 (per sample)

Methodology

  • ‘Atomic-scale’ polishing of samples using high-powered argon ions.
  • Sheer force-free polishing allowing for an artifact-free surface.

Applications & Deliverables

  • Artifact-free polished surface allowing accurate high- resolution (SEM) imaging and assessment of shales.
  • Preservation of shale features down to the nano-scale.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

Backscatter Electron Imaging (BSE)

Left:     Backscatter electron image (BSE) of dolomite-rich shale.

Right:   False-color backscatter electron (BSE) image of dolomite-rich shale.

Backscatter Secondary Electron Imaging (SE)

Left:     Secondary electron (SE) image of shale.

Right:   False-color secondary electron (SE) image of shale.

Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS)

Left:     Cathodoluminescence (CL) image of zircon from sediments.

Right:   False-color cathodoluminescence (CL) image of zircon from sediments.

Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS)

Energy dispersive (X-ray) spectroscopy (EDS) chemical mapping.

Cost Range:   $400 - 600 (per sample)

Methodology

  • Electron imaging including backscatter (BSE) and secondary electron (SE) analysis.
  • Energy dispersive x-ray (EDS/ EDX) analysis allowing point and mapping of samples.

Applications & Deliverables

  • Accurate fracture and porosity characterization.
  • Assessment of mineralogy and mineralogical associations.
  • Organic matter characterization.

High-Resolution Composite Mapping (MAPS™)

Mineralogical Mapping – MAPS ™

Left:     Composite image of ~300 high-resolution SEM images.

Right:   False-color composite image of ~300 high-resolution SEM images.

Cost Range:   $600–850
(per sample: 500–1000 tiles)

Methodology

  • Automated acquisition of high resolution SEM images from ‘large’ areas across samples.
  • Data is exported as interactive, composite image datasets.

Applications & Deliverables

  • Correlation of features (i.e. sedimentological cyclicity).
  • Allows a larger, more representative area of a sample to be evaluated and correlated with complimentary techniques.

Focused ion Beam SEM (FIB-SEM)

Scanning Electron Microscopy

Secondary electron image (BSE) of shale showing laser fiducial marks (‘U’) and Gallium-ion-cut cross section.

High-resolution Images

High-resolution SEM image from the FIB-SEM, showing pore throat architecture.

Sequential Slice & Imaging Milling

Schematic diagram of FIB-SEM sequential slicing (using Ga-ion beam) and imaging (using scanning electron microscopy).

3D Block Reconstructions

3D block reconstructions of shale (false-colored block on left) from sequential milling and imaging from the FIB-SEM.

Cost Range:   $1300–1700 (per sample)

Methodology

  • Dual-beam microscopy allowing focused ion beam (FIB) milling and SEM imaging.
  • Automated sequential milling and imaging of samples allows reconstruction of 3D volumes.

Applications & Deliverables

  • Three-dimensional cube modeling allowing shale space to be accurately assessed.
  • Precise assessment of nano-scale rock properties (i.e. pore/ permeability characterization).

Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM)

Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM) Imaging

Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) allowing magnifications of samples from 100 to 150,000,000x.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Imaging

Scanning electron microscopy (STEM) allowing magnifications of samples from 100 to 150,000,000x.

Nanoscale Elemental Energy-Dispersive X-ray Mapping

Nanoscale elemental mapping using Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectrometer (EDS).

Cost Range:   $3000–4000 (per sample)

Methodology

  • Ultra-high-resolution imaging and ultrasensitive elemental mapping (EDS) for chemical analysis.
  • FIB-SEM slicing used as preparation method.

Applications & Deliverables

  • Precise nano-scale assessment of rock properties (i.e. pore/ permeability characterization).
  • Nano-scale chemical mapping (EDS) of samples.

HAWK™ Hydrocarbon Analyzer with Kinetics

Pyrogram from Los Molles sample in Argentina showing peak oil mature sample with abundant free oil.

Plot of QA/QC data showing most Tmax values from the instrument have less than 0.5% variation since the instrument was installed and that all of the analyses have less than 1% variation in the same time period.

Pseudo van Krevelen Diagram for Samples from the Neuquén Basins show a strong Type II, oil prone signature.

Data from the UK shales study show relationships between mineralogy (from XRD) and TOC measured by the HAWK™.

The HAWK™ 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.

Triaxial Rock Mechanics Loading Frame – TerraTek

Triaxial Testing

Failure Envelope

Thick Walled Cylinder Testing

Static/Dynamic Properties

The TerraTek Rock Mechanics Triaxial Test System is a computer controlled test system designed to simulate in-situ stress and strain for the determination of physical properties of geotechnical core samples. The system simulates actual 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.

Value of Geomechanics

  • Exploration (high cost areas)
  • Long-term reservoir production
  • Borehole stability, sanding, compaction/ subsidence
  • Fracture containment

Geomechanical Properties

  • 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

Shale Interrogator High Precision Petrophysical Characterization

Niobrara Chalk

China Shale

Nugget Tilut Sandstone

Relative Permeability Water/Decane at Room Temperature

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.

Evaluating Tight Formations

  • Porosity
  • Saturations
  • Relative permeabilities
  • Pressure – 15,000 psi
  • Temperature 300° F
  • Capable of high pressure and temperature studies to provide accurate measurements useful for petrophysical model calibrations that other methods elsewhere cannot provide
  • High precision, low volume pumping capability allows this advanced instrument to provide steady state data – previously not readily available
  • Capable of conducting evaluations of liquids producing tight formations