Breakthrough computational technique heralds new era in nuclear geoscience

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Conventional nuclear measurement techniques, such as Monte Carlo simulations, are known for their extensive computational demands and prolonged processing times, especially when applied to unconventional reservoirs characterized by complex lithologies.

These traditional methods often fall short in efficiently interpreting geological formations, presenting challenges in environments where precision and speed are crucial.

A recent study demonstrates a computational approach, the Fast Forward Computational Method (FFCM), which was published in the journal of Nuclear Science and Techniques, has been developed to enhance the accuracy of nuclear measurements in complex environments. This method addresses the challenges posed by conventional techniques in interpreting geological formations.

The Chinese researchers say FFCM revolutionizes the precision of nuclear measurements in geologically challenging environments. Central to this innovation is the method’s ability to rapidly process and analyse data, a stark contrast to the traditional, time-consuming Monte Carlo simulations.

By constructing an extensive data library of simulated scenarios, FFCM leverages perturbation theory and the Rytov approximation to model detector responses with unparalleled speed and accuracy.

This modelling accounts for various environmental perturbations, effectively minimizing errors in scenarios fraught with complexity. The technique’s prowess was validated through its application to neutron porosity tools, where it showcased not only its practical utility in real-world field wells but also its compatibility with existing interpretive models. This method, currently being incorporated into a leading oil company’s software platform, has proven useful in developing new nuclear well logging tools, while enhancing the use of current nuclear tools in high angle and horizontal wells that are typically difficult to address.

Qiong Zhang, the lead researcher, said: “The FFCM stands as a transformative solution, rapidly calculating detector responses in complex environments and overcoming the limitations of traditional methods. Its application in field wells shows remarkable agreement with interpreter models, proving its validity and accuracy.”

The method has shown promise in neutron porosity tools, demonstrating its practicality in field applications. Its ability to provide rapid, accurate measurements in various complex environments makes it a valuable tool in advanced petroleum exploration and other geological assessments.

Jim Cornall is editor of Deeptech Digest and publisher at Ayr Coastal Media. He is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer, broadcaster, designer and author. Contact Jim here.