Methodology and algorithm to correct the thermal neutron porosity for the effect of rare elements and rock minerals with high neutron absorption probability

Author's Department

Petroleum & Energy Engineering Department

All Authors

Moustafa Oraby

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Date



The thermal neutron porosity is routinely acquired in almost every well. When combined with the density, gamma ray and resistivity logs, the basic petrophysical parameters of a reservoir are evaluated. The design of the thermal neutron tool is simple, but its interpretation is complex and affected by the formation constituents. The most challenging situation occurs when the formation contains elements with high absorption probability of the thermal neutrons. The existence of such elements changes the neutron transport parameters and results in a false increase in the measured porosity. The problem is reported by many users throughout the years. In 1993, higher thermal neutron porosity is reported due to the existence of an iron-rich mineral, Siderite, in the Nazzazat and Baharia formations in Egypt. Siderite and all iron-rich minerals have high thermal neutrons absorption probability. Recently, in 2018, high thermal neutron porosity in Unayzah field in Saudi Arabia is also reported due to the existence of few parts per million of gadolinium. Gadolinium is a rare element that has high probability of thermal neutron absorption. Currently, none of the existing commercial petrophysics software(s) have modules to correct the thermal neutron porosity for such effects. This represents a challenge to the petrophysicists to properly calculate the actual reservoir porosity. In this paper, the effects of the rare elements and other minerals with high thermal neutron absorption probability on the thermal neutron porosity are discussed, and a correction methodology is developed and tested. The methodology is based on integrating the tool design and the physics of the neutron transport to perform the correction. The details of the correction steps and the correction algorithm are included, tested and applied in two fields.

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