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Electron Microscopy Solutions

Discover Digital Rock

Pioneers in Digital Rock

While FEI has been a leader in industries such as electronics, life sciences, and materials science, we are also pioneers in digital rock for the oil and gas industry. In 2013, we acquired VSG (Visualization Sciences Group), the leading provider of 3D software applications and components for the oil and gas industry. In 2014, FEI acquired Lithicon, a digital rock services company.

Whether you need help designing your own digital rock laboratory or you want our team to help you image, model and understand a specific reservoir challenge, FEI has the technology and expertise to help. 

The acquisition of Lithicon provided FEI with the most highly published and distinguished panel of digital rock experts in the industry. Some of these experts trace their roots back to 1990, when they were geoscientists participating in Statoil's 3D pore-scale modeling research. Others trace their roots back to 2005, when they worked in the Australian National University Digital Core Consortium. These groups formed two of the world's leading digital core imaging and analysis companies, which later merged to form Lithicon. This merger combined unique core imaging and processing expertise with next-generation multiphase flow modeling capabilities.

The strength and reputation of our service team enables a deeper understanding of how microscopy is utilized by E&P operators to improve reservoir characterization and provide "ground truth" to reservoir behavior.

Featured Document

Using Wettability to Understand Log Response

Digital Rock Provides Predictive Insight to Oil Recovery

To understand the log data patterns in a discontinuous sandstone reservoir, Newfield Exploration engaged FEI's digital rock experts to conduct a pore-scale wettability study with a goal to optimize primary oil production as well as to increase secondary recovery from waterflooding. Understanding the nature and connectivity of the porosity system is a key first step to predicting waterflood performance. Read the full article to learn more about how digital rock improves log interpretation and provides insight to potential recovery scenarios by visually linking pore:fluid and pore:mineral associations to initial and residual hydrocarbon saturations.

Download document

Digital Routine Core Analysis (RCA)

The RCA workflow from FEI is used for measuring and calculating petrophysical properties and creating pore-scale digital rock models on samples from conventional and most unconventional plays.

Measurements include:

  • Porosity 
  • Absolute Permeability 
  • FRF 
  • Archie's m Exponent 
  • Elastic Moduli 
  • Acoustic Velocities 
  • NMR T1 and T2 Relaxation

Digital Special Core Analysis (SCAL)

The Digital SCAL from FEI is a comprehensive special core analysis (SCAL) workflow for carbonates, sandstones, and some tight samples. It uses digital rock technology to derive dynamic properties, including:

  • Capillary Pressure 
  • Relative Permeability 
  • Resistivity Index 
  • Saturation Exponent 
  • Wettability

Often, it is uneconomic to core a well, or perhaps there is insufficient usable material to run a SCAL program. Utilizing both Digital SCAL from FEI and process-based modeling techniques combined with unique sample preparation methods, we can accurately calculate dynamic petrophysical properties on:

  • Core Plugs 
  • Sidewall Cores 
  • Rotary Cores 
  • Subplugs 
  • Cuttings
  • Broken or Damaged Samples 
  • Unconsolidated Sands

Multi-scale Imaging and Analysis for Shale Reservoirs

The multi-scale shale imaging workflow from FEI includes analysis of whole-core CT scans at millimeters to tens of microns, which can be used to image fractures, choose subsamples, and provide context for higher-resolution images. High-resolution 2D SEM MAPS mosaics and QEMScan mineral mapping can be integrated with the 3D microCT data to provide a dataset that can assist in understanding core analysis results and interpreting logs, as well as be used comparatively to high-grade areas for development.

Using multi-scale shale imaging, reservoir engineers can improve reservoir characterization by understanding and, where possible, quantifying:

  • Porosity, Total Organic Content (TOC), and Microfracture Networks 
  • Pore Type-Fluid Relationships 
  • Mineral Distribution 
  • Producibility and Sweet Spot Identification 
  • Integration of the multi-scale data (pore to core)

Fluid sensitivity analysis

FEI possesses unique imaging capabilities that can give insight and context to traditional lab experiments, such as formation damage tests and surfactant reactivity. Operators can then reduce the cost of workovers, understand rapid declines in production, and better mitigate the risk of adding drilling muds and completions fluids that might damage flow capacity.

High-resolution SEM imaging and proprietary VoxelPerfect image registration allow our formation damage analysis workflow to carefully image wettability, map mineralogy using QEMScan technology, and then categorize rock:fluid interactions. After a variety of experiments, this process provides a full understanding of how the reservoir is likely to behave upon introduction of stimulants, drilling muds, and surfactants.

Multi-phase fluid and saturation studies for field flooding and enhanced recovery

To conduct an EOR study, FEI offers an advanced imaging solution that helps engineers understand pore-scale multi-phase fluid flow. Our saturation and imbibition studies (ambient and in-situ) are conducted using a 3D volume of high-resolution data from our HeliScan microCT to visualize the impact. Using imaging and staining techniques, we can quantify and visualize the displacement of the fluids and characterize the changes through digital rock modeling.

High-resolution plug screening

Core program success is dependent upon the quality of the plug samples being tested. Prior to geomechanical testing and traditional SCAL programs, a high-resolution HeliScan microCT image of the plugs is used to validate which samples are free from contaminations such as drilling muds and microfractures. Heterogeneity helps reduce the risk of investing time and resources conducted on damaged or unsuitable core samples. Plug screening can help to reduce uncertainty and is an essential step in any digital or traditional core program workflow. As part of the standard digital rock multi-scale analysis and modeling workflows from FEI, thorough quality control analysis of all samples begins with microCT screening.

Other Services

In addition to the above workflows, FEI can also conduct qualitative and quantitative studies for:

  •  Oil in Place: quantification and 3D mapping. 
  • Geochemical Reactivity: quantification and 3D mapping of dissolution or precipitation caused by interaction between minerals and fluids. 
  • Wettability Mapping: 2D imaging of asphaltene footprints on mineral surfaces.
Wettability in Shale

Products for Discover Digital Rock

Apreo SEM for Materials Science
The Apreo SEM's revolutionary compound lens design combines electrostatic and magnetic immersion technology to yield unprecedented resolution and signal selection. This makes the Apreo SEM the platform of choice for research on nanoparticles, catalysts, powders and nanodevices, without compromising on magnetic sample performance.
Helios PFIB DualBeam for Semiconductors
The FEI Helios PFIB DualBeam™ is the world's most advanced DualBeam Plasma FIB platform for large area deprocessing to enable electrical fault isolation of advanced process ICs and advanced failure analysis of 3D packages.
Helios G4 CX DualBeam for Materials Science
The latest technological innovations of the FEI Helios G4 CX DualBeam™ microscope, in combination with the easiest to use, most comprehensive software and FEI's application expertise, allow Helios G4 CX with optional AS&V4 software for the highest-quality, fully automated acquisition of multi-modal 3D datasets.
Helios G4 UX DualBeam for Materials Science
The latest technological innovations of the FEI Helios G4 DualBeam™ microscope, in combination with the easiest to use, most comprehensive software and FEI's application expertise, allow for the fastest and easiest preparation of site-specific, ultra-thin HR-S/TEM samples for a wide range of materials.
Scios 2 DualBeam for Materials Science

The Thermo Scientific™ Scios™ 2 DualBeam™ is an ultra-high-resolution analytical FIB-SEM system that provides outstanding sample preparation and 3D characterization performance for the widest range of samples, including magnetic and non-conductive materials. 

HeliScan microCT for Oil and Gas
FEI's HeliScan is an advanced microCT system designed with both helical and circular scanning trajectories to provide universities, research institutes, core laboratories and E&P operators a flexible instrument to meet their specific lab requirements. 

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