Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Petrophysics

Petrophysics for Shale Gas Reservoirs

Course Code: N267
Instructors:  Mike Lovell
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
3 days


Business impact: Shale gas reservoirs present a significant petrophysical challenge compared to conventional oil and gas reservoirs. The basis of petrophysical evaluation in conventional reservoirs involves the simple separation of solids and fluids, but is problematic when considering fine grained successions of mudstones, or shale gas plays.This is due to complex mineralogy, high organic content, proportion of adsorbed versus free gas and very low permeabilities. Participants will explore how the physical and chemical nature of shale gas constrain our petrophysical approach and how core measurements integrated with log analysis can help develop an appropriate petrophysical model.

This seminar-style course will present an overview of mudstones, and how in shale gas plays the physical and chemical properties are central to any petrophysical evaluation. The course starts from the conventional petrophysics viewpoint, considers the nature of mudstone systems, and then uses a variety of approaches appropriate for evaluating shale gas using core and log data within a geological framework. The course focuses on shale gas, although liquids are briefly considered.


Very good introduction to petrophysics of unconventionals!!

Duration and Training Method

A seminar-style classroom course comprising a mixture of lectures, discussions, break-out groups, and exercises using calculators and Excel.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Characterise the geologic nature of shale reservoirs, and how the geological environment and history affect the physical and chemical properties.
  2. Assess the effect of the variability of the physical and chemical properties on the petrophysical properties of shale gas.
  3. Assess how the petrophysical analysis of conventional reservoirs applies to unconventional shale gas, and judge those components of the analysis that may be applied and those that require modification.
  4. Assess the range of core analyses that can be applied to shale gas and the importance of the outputs from these measurements, including an estimation of any uncertainties in the data.
  5. Assess the range of open hole and LWD log measurements that can be applied to shale gas and the importance of the outputs from these measurements, including an estimation of any uncertainties in the data.
  6. Evaluate both core and log data in an integrated approach to optimise the petrophysical interpretation in a shale gas reservoir.
  7. Estimate the gas in place in a shale gas reservoir, separating out free and adsorbed gas components.
  8. Consider at an elementary level the geomechanical properties of a shale gas play and how they may be quantified from core and log data.

1. Introduction to shale gas reservoirs and petrophysical models for shale gas; case study 1.

  1. Introduction: Shale gas resources and shale gas petrophysics.
  2. Shale gas reservoirs. Mudstones: what do we mean by the term shale? Grain size, shape, mineralogy, pore sizes and shapes. Depositional environments, compaction, dewatering, diagenesis, temperature and pressure. TOC, kerogen, organic maturity, chemical and physical properties.
  3. Petrophysical models for shale gas. Introduction to shale gas petrophysics. Adsorption and desorption. Mineralogy, chemistry and physical properties. Calculating gas in place.
  4. Shale gas: case study 1.

2. Review of petrophysics and introduction to shale gas core analysis.

  1. Review of petrophysics as applied to conventional reservoirs. Petrophysical properties; porosity, saturation, density, permeability, capillary pressure; gross, net and pay. Review of core analysis procedures. Review of geophysics and petrophysical relationships. Review of downhole logs.
  2. Shale gas core analysis. Coring, core handling and core preservation. Porosity, permeability and saturation. Core sub-sampling. Desorption tests. Langmuir isotherms. Total organic carbon, kerogen, thermal maturity, gas analysis. Geomechanical properties.

3. Shale gas log analysis, petrophysical models revisited, geomechanical properties, and an integrated workflow.

  1. Routine log analysis and new approaches (e.g. induced gamma ray spectroscopy, NMR, imaging, stress and dielectric measurements). TOC from logs. Density and porosity. Saturation from Archie, from shaly sand resistivity models and from mineral models. Integrated analysis of core and log data.
  2. Worked example: case study 2.
  3. Petrophysical models revisited; shale gas in place calculations.
  4. Geomechanical properties.
  5. Integrated workflow. Review of possible steps, problems, pitfalls, and future directions. Summary of how shale gas varies from conventional reservoirs, and how the variable nature determines the petrophysical approach.

Anyone involved in shale gas petrophysics, including geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists and engineers. The course aims to review shale gas petrophysics and provide an awareness of the complexities faced in developing appropriate shale gas petrophysical models.

Mike Lovell

Mike is Emeritus Professor of Petrophysics at the University of Leicester. Mike’s career has focused on the physical properties of rocks and their interdependence, using both downhole measurements and laboratory measurements on core to assess subsurface reservoirs and repositories. His experience includes petrophysics projects funded by industry, government, and charities, covering both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs (hydrates, coalbed methane, and shale gas). Mike’s research spans both industry and academia, and he has also been actively involved with ocean drilling since 1986. Mike is a former Vice President of SPWLA and has served as a Director of the SPWLA Foundation; he has been a Distinguished Speaker for SPWLA, and is a SPWLA Distinguished Service Award holder.  Mike has edited 7 books and published over 150 papers.

In addition to virtual courses, Mike has taught a variety of classroom-based and field-based petrophysics courses specifically designed for industry participants.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Physical Properties of Marine Sediments
MSc Wales - Marine Geotechnics
BSc Readings- Geological Geophysics with Mathematics

Courses Taught
N083: Petrophysics and Formation Evaluation: Principles and Practice
N030: Rocks and Fluids: Practical Petrophysics
N267: Petrophysics for Shale Gas Reservoirs
N525: Petrophysics Uncovered: a Helpful Guide to Understanding Petrophysics

CEU: 2.4 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 24 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
RPS is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. We comply with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognised internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices.
We issue a Certificate of Attendance which verifies the number of training hours attended. Our courses are generally accepted by most professional licensing boards/associations towards continuing education credits. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the courses and certificate of attendance meet their specific criteria.