Boswell Ray M.

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Ray M.

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  • Article
    Downhole well log and core montages from the Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well, Alaska North Slope
    (Elsevier B.V., 2010-03-27) Collett, Timothy S. ; Lewis, R. E. ; Winters, William J. ; Lee, Myung W. ; Rose, Kelly K. ; Boswell, Ray M.
    The BPXA-DOE-USGS Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well was an integral part of an ongoing project to determine the future energy resource potential of gas hydrates on the Alaska North Slope. As part of this effort, the Mount Elbert well included an advanced downhole geophysical logging program. Because gas hydrate is unstable at ground surface pressure and temperature conditions, a major emphasis was placed on the downhole-logging program to determine the occurrence of gas hydrates and the in-situ physical properties of the sediments. In support of this effort, well-log and core data montages have been compiled which include downhole log and core-data obtained from the gas-hydrate-bearing sedimentary section in the Mount Elbert well. Also shown are numerous reservoir parameters, including gas-hydrate saturation and sediment porosity log traces calculated from available downhole well log and core data.
  • Article
    Scientific results from Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrates Joint Industry Project Leg 1 drilling : introduction and overview
    (Elsevier B.V., 2008-05-21) Ruppel, Carolyn D. ; Boswell, Ray M. ; Jones, E.
    The Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrates Joint Industry Project (JIP) is a consortium of production and service companies and some government agencies formed to address the challenges that gas hydrates pose for deepwater exploration and production. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and with scientific assistance from the U.S. Geological Survey and academic partners, the JIP has focused on studies to assess hazards associated with drilling the fine-grained, hydrate-bearing sediments that dominate much of the shallow subseafloor in the deepwater (>500 m) Gulf of Mexico. In preparation for an initial drilling, logging, and coring program, the JIP sponsored a multi-year research effort that included: (a) the development of borehole stability models for hydrate-bearing sediments; (b) exhaustive laboratory measurements of the physical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments; (c) refinement of new techniques for processing industry-standard 3-D seismic data to constrain gas hydrate saturations; and (d) construction of instrumentation to measure the physical properties of sediment cores that had never been removed from in situ hydrostatic pressure conditions. Following review of potential drilling sites, the JIP launched a 35-day expedition in Spring 2005 to acquire well logs and sediment cores at sites in Atwater Valley lease blocks 13/14 and Keathley Canyon lease block 151 in the northern Gulf of Mexico minibasin province. The Keathley Canyon site has a bottom simulating reflection at not, vert, ~ 392 m below the seafloor, while the Atwater Valley location is characterized by seafloor mounds with an underlying upwarped seismic reflection consistent with upward fluid migration and possible shoaling of the base of the gas hydrate stability (BGHS). No gas hydrate was recovered at the drill sites, but logging data, and to some extent cores, suggest the occurrence of gas hydrate in inferred coarser-grained beds and fractures, particularly between 220 and 330 m below the seafloor at the Keathley Canyon site. This paper provides an overview of the results of the initial phases of the JIP work and introduces the 15 papers that make up this special volume on the scientific results related to the 2005 logging and drilling expedition.
  • Article
    Physical properties of sediment from the Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well, Alaska North Slope
    (Elsevier B.V., 2010-01-18) Winters, William J. ; Walker, Michael ; Hunter, Robert ; Collett, Timothy S. ; Boswell, Ray M. ; Rose, Kelly K. ; Waite, William F. ; Torres, Marta E. ; Patil, Shirish ; Dandekar, Abhijit
    This study characterizes cored and logged sedimentary strata from the February 2007 BP Exploration Alaska, Department of Energy, U.S. Geological Survey (BPXA-DOE-USGS) Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well on the Alaska North Slope (ANS). The physical-properties program analyzed core samples recovered from the well, and in conjunction with downhole geophysical logs, produced an extensive dataset including grain size, water content, porosity, grain density, bulk density, permeability, X-ray diffraction (XRD) mineralogy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and petrography. This study documents the physical property interrelationships in the well and demonstrates their correlation with the occurrence of gas hydrate. Gas hydrate (GH) occurs in three unconsolidated, coarse silt to fine sand intervals within the Paleocene and Eocene beds of the Sagavanirktok Formation: Unit D-GH (614.4 m–627.9 m); unit C-GH1 (649.8 m–660.8 m); and unit C-GH2 (663.2 m–666.3 m). These intervals are overlain by fine to coarse silt intervals with greater clay content. A deeper interval (unit B) is similar lithologically to the gas-hydrate-bearing strata; however, it is water-saturated and contains no hydrate. In this system it appears that high sediment permeability (k) is critical to the formation of concentrated hydrate deposits. Intervals D-GH and C-GH1 have average “plug” intrinsic permeability to nitrogen values of 1700 mD and 675 mD, respectively. These values are in strong contrast with those of the overlying, gas-hydrate-free sediments, which have k values of 5.7 mD and 49 mD, respectively, and thus would have provided effective seals to trap free gas. The relation between permeability and porosity critically influences the occurrence of GH. For example, an average increase of 4% in porosity increases permeability by an order of magnitude, but the presence of a second fluid (e.g., methane from dissociating gas hydrate) in the reservoir reduces permeability by more than an order of magnitude.
  • Preprint
    Examination of core samples from the Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well, Alaska North Slope : effects of retrieval and preservation
    ( 2009-10) Kneafsey, Timothy J. ; Lu, Hailong ; Winters, William J. ; Boswell, Ray M. ; Hunter, Robert ; Collett, Timothy S.
    Collecting and preserving undamaged core samples containing gas hydrates from depth is difficult because of the pressure and temperature changes encountered upon retrieval. Hydrate-bearing core samples were collected at the BPXA-DOE-USGS Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well in February 2007. Coring was performed while using a custom oil-based drilling mud, and the cores were retrieved by a wireline. The samples were characterized and subsampled at the surface under ambient winter arctic conditions. Samples thought to be hydrate bearing were preserved either by immersion in liquid nitrogen (LN), or by storage under methane pressure at ambient arctic conditions, and later depressurized and immersed in LN. Eleven core samples from hydrate-bearing zones were scanned using x-ray computed tomography to examine core structure and homogeneity. Features observed include radial fractures, spalling-type fractures, and reduced density near the periphery. These features were induced during sample collection, handling, and preservation. Isotopic analysis of the methane from hydrate in an initially LN-preserved core and a pressure-preserved core indicate that secondary hydrate formation occurred throughout the pressurized core, whereas none occurred in the LN-preserved core, however no hydrate was found near the periphery of the LN-preserved core. To replicate some aspects of the preservation methods, natural and laboratory-made saturated porous media samples were frozen in a variety of ways, with radial fractures observed in some LN-frozen sands, and needle-like ice crystals forming in slowly frozen clay-rich sediments. Suggestions for hydrate-bearing core preservation are presented.
  • Article
    Geologic controls on gas hydrate occurrence in the Mount Elbert prospect, Alaska North Slope
    (Elsevier B.V., 2009-12-21) Boswell, Ray M. ; Rose, Kelly K. ; Collett, Timothy S. ; Lee, Myung W. ; Winters, William J. ; Lewis, Kristen A. ; Agena, Warren
    Data acquired at the BPXA-DOE-USGS Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well, drilled in the Milne Point area of the Alaska North Slope in February, 2007, indicates two zones of high gas hydrate saturation within the Eocene Sagavanirktok Formation. Gas hydrate is observed in two separate sand reservoirs (the D and C units), in the stratigraphically highest portions of those sands, and is not detected in non-sand lithologies. In the younger D unit, gas hydrate appears to fill much of the available reservoir space at the top of the unit. The degree of vertical fill with the D unit is closely related to the unit reservoir quality. A thick, low-permeability clay-dominated unit serves as an upper seal, whereas a subtle transition to more clay-rich, and interbedded sand, silt, and clay units is associated with the base of gas hydrate occurrence. In the underlying C unit, the reservoir is similarly capped by a clay-dominated section, with gas hydrate filling the relatively lower-quality sands at the top of the unit leaving an underlying thick section of high-reservoir quality sands devoid of gas hydrate. Evaluation of well log, core, and seismic data indicate that the gas hydrate occurs within complex combination stratigraphic/structural traps. Structural trapping is provided by a four-way fold closure augmented by a large western bounding fault. Lithologic variation is also a likely strong control on lateral extent of the reservoirs, particularly in the D unit accumulation, where gas hydrate appears to extend beyond the limits of the structural closure. Porous and permeable zones within the C unit sand are only partially charged due most likely to limited structural trapping in the reservoir lithofacies during the period of primary charging. The occurrence of the gas hydrate within the sands in the upper portions of both the C and D units and along the crest of the fold is consistent with an interpretation that these deposits are converted free gas accumulations formed prior to the imposition of gas hydrate stability conditions.