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Production logging tools

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While most types of logs are used to characterize the wellbore, formation, and fluids prior to well completion, a number of logging tools are available to provide information during production operations and beyond.

Temperature logging

The temperature-logging tool includes a cage, which is open to the wellbore fluid, at the tool’s bottom end. Inside the cage is a thermistor that senses the surrounding fluid temperature. The preferred sensor is a platinum element because the electrical resistance of the sensor varies linearly with temperature over a wide range and is stable over time. The circuitry of the tool is designed so that the voltage across the sensor is proportional to the sensor’s electrical resistance.

Analog recording

In analog recording, the transmitted spikes per minute are converted to a voltage by a counting circuit. This voltage is recorded on a pen-and-ink strip chart recorded as the temperature (or gradient) trace. This is Trace 1 of Fig. 1. The scale of this trace is in °F. A recording sensitivity of 1°F/in. across the chart is strongly recommended for production wells.

In analog recording, the voltage output of the counting circuit is also input to a differentiating amplifier. The output of the amplifier is recorded as Trace 2 (the differential trace or the derivative of the temperature), and is proportional to the depth-rate-of-change of the temperature curve. Although no absolute scale is associated with the differential trace, it is useful for highlighting important changes of the slope of the temperature curve.

On the log, the temperature trace warms abruptly below Depth B. Because the tool is logging down and the temperature is increasing, the depth-rate-of-change of temperature is positive. Consequently the differential trace shows a strong positive excursion at B, highlighting the change of the slope of the temperature trace at this depth. The differential trace, when properly amplified as on Fig. 1, is easily worth the additional logging charge.

Digital recording

In digital recording, the spikes-per-minute from the logging cable are counted digitally at the surface, and the resulting count rate is converted to a temperature trace by the computer’s program. Again, the temperature trace should be recorded at a sensitivity of 1°F across the chart. Digital recording degrades the sensitivity of the differential trace from that available with analog recording. Thus, the digitally determined differential trace is not as useful for highlighting important changes of the temperature curve’s slope.

Depending on how carefully (or recently) a particular temperature tool was calibrated, there may be several °F difference between the recorded temperature and the true downhole temperature. However, the difference does not degrade the sensitivity of the differential trace. Provided that the temperature curve is recorded at the recommended sensitivity of 1°F/in. across the chart, and that the temperature log is carefully depth-correlated, the resulting temperature curve has more vertical resolution than does a curve from any other production-logging tools.

The temperature tool is most effective when located at the bottom of a tool string. In a production well, the tool should always be logged downward so as to enter undisturbed fluid. The log should be recorded at a constant logging speed not to exceed 30 ft/min. With digital recording, the maximum logging speed should be reduced to 20 ft/min.

See Temperature logging for more.


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