Electrical Logging (E-logging) services are used to acquire geological and geophysical information to allow a more detailed evaluation of the reservoir. Various techniques and tools are used to measure the size, shape and flow dynamics of the reservoir to calculate volumes of hydrocarbons. Used in open-hole conditions, E-logging tools are lowered into the well from the surface via an electrical wire-line ( E-line). Tools used are very basic in principle - detecting, recording and measuring signals/waves that change its nature, depending on the variation in physical properties of the earth rock. The table below describes the tools used in more detail:
|Type of logging||Measuring Principle||Evaluation Parameters / Output|
Electrical sensitivity of rock formation
|The radioactive isotope emits gamma rays that enter the rock around, where they are absorbed and interact with electrons that result in loss of energy of the gamma-ray. The detector(s) installed on a tool, would catch the reflected gamma rays survived||
Porosity & Mineralogy
Sonic / Acoustic Logging
|Measure the time it takes an acoustic wave/sound to travel from the transmitter to the rock formation and back to a receiver. As the sound/acoustic wave travels through the formation rock, various types of waves are produced and reflected to the receiver. Analyzing the wave's amplitude vs. time and type of waves (P or S), allows engineers to calculate rock porosity.||
|Use the interaction of neutrons with rock formations. Americium-Beryllium as a radioactive element is used, by emitting neutrons that enter into the formation of rock and interact with atoms' nuclei (in particular with hydrogen ones). The detector(s) installed on a tool would catch the neutrons that have been slowed||
Mineralogy, Porosity & Indicator of Gas
|Also known as borehole / acoustic televiewer tool, it is a method that measures the time it takes an ultrasound pulse to travel from the transmitter to the wellbore wall and back to a receiver and its reflected amplitude||
Provides picture / images of the borehole
|Down-hole cameras are used. This method has a limitation that required transparent fluid to be pumped ahead of the camera, which is not always possible||
Provides pictures / images of the borehole
|Also known as micro resistivity imaging, it uses electrodes on a tool that emits electrical current to penetrate the formation. Receiving sensors on the tool detect and record the density of the current that changes depending on the formation resistivity|
Gamma Ray Logging
|Measures natural radioactivity of the formation. A gamma-ray logging tool has no source and do not emit any signals. It has a detector(s) to measure and record high-energy electromagnetic waves which are emitted by atomic nuclei of the formation||
Bed definition and computation of the amount of shale
Spontaneous Potential Logging (SP)
|Records a small electric potential (voltage) produced by the interaction of shale, formation water, and drilling fluid. Fluids must be conductive in order for this method to work. Hence, this type of logging is not used when oil-based drilling fluid is used.||
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
|The NMR measures petrophysical properties of the rock and formation fluids, using nuclear-magnetic resonance technology.||Helps to understand volumes and properties of the fluids in the formation|
Perforation is a process creating holes in the casing (or liner) to connect the reservoir with the well-bore and allow hydrocarbons to flow into the well. Perforating guns with charges are used to punch holes in well casing. In the open-hole environment, guns are lowered into the well using electric-line (E-line) or tubing. Guns are run to the desired depth, after which a perforation job starts. A number of different gun systems are available for selection, depending on subsurface and perforation requirements.
Gun systems fall into two distinctive categories: 1) Exposed (Capsule) guns and 2) Hollow carrier guns. All guns are triggered electrically at the surface and come in a range of sizes to suite the well-bore requirements.
There are 3 major conveyance methods to lower the guns to the well, as below.
- Through-Casing Perforating is used prior to the well completion in order to accommodate larger diameter guns. The size of guns is normally between 3” and 5” in diameter and is run using a wire-line. This perforating method is used to provide greater penetration due to the larger size of guns. As well, so-called "tractors" may also be deployed to allow guns to be run into deviated wells. One of the major restrictions of using this method is the well inclination and pressure requirements, e.g. when under-balance is required.
- Tubing Conveyed Perforating (TCP) uses guns that are attached to the tubing (drill pipe, coiled tubing or production tubing). The major advantages of this method are that it allows leaving production tubing in the well, after perforating is completed (running together with a completion string), long and widely spaced intervals, and application in highly deviated and horizontal wells. The major drawback of TCP guns is until the completion is retrieved (full work-over) guns cannot be retrieved. Hence, the reliability of TCP guns is of utmost importance, as any misfire will result in poor perforating job and significantly affect future production profiles.
- Trough-tubing Perforating Guns are guns, small in size, used in completed wells and run through the production tubing. The system is low cost and allows under-balanced perforation, however, provides limited penetration.
Risks & Opportunities
Risks & Opportunities
Value opportunities and risks are features or requirements that may add or detract from the overall value offered. To ensure value is maximized attention should be given to the following areas:
- Personnel - Quality of obtained geological and geophysical data is of utmost importance. Hence experience and qualification of personnel is a key
- Wire-line with tractors - Companies go away from TCP perforation towards deploying an E-line with tractors, as it provides faster deployment time and can be used in directional wells
- Perforation deferral - A common practice of deferring partial or complete perforating job to Well Intervention stage, due to lower costs of deployment tools, e.g. perforating from a drilling rig vs. perforating from a work-over rig / barge
Supply & Demand Dynamics
Supply & Demand Dynamics
Demand for E-logging and formation evaluation is heavily driven by exploration and appraisal activities around the world, as well as field development, reappraisal or redevelopment. Around 80% of E-logging services are required during exploration and appraisal activities, with 20% being done during development or reappraisal phases when E-logging is used where more data accuracy is required. E-logging is considered to be a much more accurate data collection method, than Logging While Drilling (LWD) and used when data precision is critical.
Demand patterns for Perforating services exhibit different dynamics and a number of variables affect the segment. Services are used during appraisal, development and well intervention (re-perforation) stages. Depending on the reservoir (when open-hole completion is used) or pre-perforated liners are used, the demand for services is very insignificant, during appraisal and development stages. On the other side, if the subsurface conditions require perforating each well, then the volume of perforating activities is significant. Hence, the key demand driver for perforating services is the type of reservoir and the number of wells that are part of well-testing requirements, field development, and well intervention. (Re-perforation is described as part of Well Intervention in Remedial and Repair Services).
Supply of E-logging, formation evaluation and perforating services is composed of personnel and equipment. Due to the complexity, financial and technical risks of the category, a great deal of planning is required, whereby engineers from various domains work together to design logging and /or perforating programmes.
Around 70% of equipment is proprietary to major service providers, with the rest being manufactured by 3rd party companies who do not provide the services directly. Manufacturing facilities of E-logging, formation evaluation and perforating equipment are concentrated in key hubs in North America, the North Sea, and South East Asia. Due to a high-risk operation, the integrity, reliability, and accuracy of equipment require a significant QA/QC process.
Key services companies historically dominating the segment are Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, and Expro, with many more providers in the lower-tier segment where the temperature and pressure regimes are less severe and down-hole tools are widely available in the market. The lower-tier segment is highly competitive since a significant amount of logging equipment is manufactured by 3rd parties, whereby free market access to the tools creates a highly competitive environment.
This is a Strategic category with a highly complex market structure. With very limited competition in the higher-tier segment and virtually no room for new players to break the market, and buyers' reliance on service companies' expertise, power balance lies with suppliers and represents a high risk to operators. Yet, the lower-tier segment is highly competitive and represents a great opportunity for developing domestic companies.
Portfolio positioning is essential in guiding strategy within the category. The category is positioned based upon three factors; 1) supply risk, 2) profit/value risk, and 3) power structure.
Based upon a detailed analysis the sub-category is positioned as a Strategic
- Medium to High Supply Risk is supported by:
- Extremely limited competition in the high-tier segment
- High entry barriers and R&D intensive
- Quality and reliability are the issues
- High profit/value risk is determined by:
- High levels of expenditure
- Acquired data quality impacts decisions for field development plans
- High-value generation for future production and reservoir management
- Power balance favours Suppliers in the high-tier segment, although the lower-tier segment exhibits a larger power shift toward Buyers.
Cost & Price Analysis
Cost & Price Analysis
This category is highly known for market share battles between service providers. What is also evident in this segment is irrational bidding - service providers may, especially bigger integrated companies, provide lower or breakeven pricing, in order to protect its market share or a particular client.
Price skimming is a very common approach by service companies, i.e. a service company would charge a premium for a high technology tool that produces significant benefits for an operator. Due to high R&D and G&A costs, integrated companies tend to price their services higher than smaller or niche service providers. Historically, this category has been dominated by bigger and integrated service providers.
Any significant increase in prices is not expected. Yet 2020 may exhibit some upward pressure on prices, as a result of increased activity internationally and higher utilization of logging tools globally.
The cost basis in this segment could be of two different natures, i.e. integrated companies with R&D capabilities and in-house assembly of the tools and service providers who source the tools from manufacturers. While the later is very dependent on the cost to purchase and maintain the tools, the cost structure of fully integrated companies is different and much more complex. There is a possibility that profit margins may exist in two instances, i.e. on a corporate level and on a business unit level, which result in double-dipping.
- Manufacturing & assembly costs. This category is known as a high precision and high-quality segment and requires a significant amount of highly qualified & trained personnel. Very lengthy manufacturing processes could be compared to those of space industry and require very detailed and comprehensive QA/QC processes, to ensure tools reliability.
- Research & development costs. Manufacturers spend a significant amount of capital on R&D to be competitive and meet the challenges. Time to market becomes very critical for manufacturers and pay-back period of R&D costs is usually heavily accelerated at the early product stages, i.e. when introduced and during the growth ( up to 5 years).
- Pricing strategy. Manufacturers of logging tools and perforating guns tend to provide better pricing to those service companies, who provide larger revenue for them. Hence, smaller and niche service providers would incur a higher purchasing cost of the tools.
- Steel prices & materials. Steel (and its variations) is a major component of the tools. Non-magnetic steel and corrosion resistance make the tools more costly and longer to manufacture. Electronic components used in the tools are in demand primarily by non Oil & Gas industries, hence it limits the purchasing power of service companies.
- Maintenance costs. Reliability of logging tools and perforating guns is of utmost importance; hence maintenance plays a key role. Due to exposure to high temperatures down-hole and other critical conditions, electronic components of the tools are prone to failure. Following manufacturer QA/QC processes and inspection requirements is vital. Any repair of the tools must be done by OEM.
- Personnel costs. Since the segment is comprised of numerous service providers of various sizes, call out the nature of the services, employment patterns are mixed between permanent staff and temporary personnel pool. Over the last several years, personnel costs have been going up. However, due to oil price slump and massive redundancies in the industry, manpower rates should stay flat, even showing a downward trend for non-critical roles.
Value Chain Analysis
Value Chain Analysis
Logging and perforation tools manufacturers, in addition to major service providers.
- Scientific Drilling International
- IFG Corporation
- Probe Technology Services
- CBG Corporation
- Guardian Global Technologies
- Hotwell Ges.m.b.H.
- Xi'an Landau Petroleum Technology Co., Ltd
- Baker Hughes
- TSL Technology's
- Delphian Ballistics
- Dyna Energetics
- G&H Manufacturing
Total Cost of Ownership
Total Cost of Ownership
Procuring E-Logging and perforating services is complex and having the right balance in the compensation mechanism is important. Knowing and understanding the price structure can help optimize the costs. The total cost of a job is the sum of separate charges:
- Set-up charge / Rig up charge / Service Charge - this is similar to a mob/demob fee
- Standby charge / Daily Rental, per day
- Depth charge: A fee to run a drum and lower a tool. It reflects the maximum depth that a tool reach
- Logging / Run charge - A per-foot charge for each tool run that covers the length of actual interval logged
- Lost-in-hole / Damaged Beyond Repair
- Set-up charge / Rig upcharge / Service Charge - this is similar to a mob/demob fee
- Depth Charge - charged for gun assembly, per ft / m
- Shot Charge - varying price for explosive / gun charge, priced per shoot and depend on the length of penetration
- Minimum Charge
- Personnel Rates
- Assess the requirement of primary and back-up equipment, as it costs more
- Cost to change from one contractor to another, specifically when units are stationed and require installation work that may result in excessive standby costs for wire-line units and installation (e.g. drilling rig).
- Consider a minimum charge per job to give more visibility to a service provider, thus reducing financial risk for them and the ability to offer better pricing
- Shot charges for perforating services would vary with the length of penetration
- Utilize footage charge compensation model for logging services, to encourage more efficient utilization of tools by the service company
- Secure access to the latest technologies for complex wells
- Ultimately, develop in-house expertise for future technologies
- Ensure high competition in the lower-tier market
- Maximize local value generation in the lower-tier segment
- Build domestic expertise in equipment maintenance
- Effective segregation between higher-tiers and lower-tier segments
- A long-term relationship with 1 or 2 service providers for the high-tier segment
- Open competition in an environment in the lower-tier segment
- Assess purchasing equipment directly from manufacturer’s for the lower-tier segment, with maintenance agreements to be in place, via local service providers
A few important things to know:
- While modern days technology is available to acquire data while drilling (logging-while-drilling (LWD)), in many instances logging must be done after drilling is completed and a well is not cased. One of the main reasons to do it is no obstruction between a logging tool and formation rock, which in turn provides more precise and accurate data.