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An operator in Southeast Asia required image data to evaluate the effect on its formation after a Reservoir Characterization Instrument™ (RCI™) microfrac operation, from Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), that delivered insitu stress measurements. The RCI service generates the pressure disturbance needed to conduct a transient test. The operator’s secondary objective was to examine the distribution of thin sand-shale beddings to quantify reserves.

The BHGE UltrasonicXplorer™ service was used to generate high-resolution borehole acoustic images for the operator. This service generates images under difficult wellbore conditions, including oilbased muds and large boreholes, to help make drilling, completion, and production decisions at the wellsite. This service was used in combination with the BHGE GeoXplorer™ imaging service, which provides high-resolution formation resistivity imaging in low-resistivity formations drilled with nonconductive mud systems.

The images allow for near-wellbore geological and petrophysical reservoir evaluation. High-resolution pads with 10 sensors mounted on six articulated arms provide 60 micro-resistivity measurements with a vertical resolution of 0.8 in. (20 mm) and 79% borehole coverage in an 8.0-in. (20.3-cm) borehole. The image below showed little in the way of induced fracturing, but one significant fracture or possible fault was visible. The most dominant feature shown in the GeoXplorer service image was severe borehole breakout, which occurs in nearly all shale and dirty sand zones.

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Challenges & Results


  • Operator wanted images of the formation after an RCI microfrac operation
  • Synthetic oil-based mud
  • Thin sand-shale formation or dirty sands


  • Provided high-resolution acoustic images in both oil-based and water-based mud systems
  • Described fracture position, connectivity, and orientation
  • Provided distinct images of the borehole wall features
  • Showed clear formation strata and rock textural change
  • Identified unexpected natural fractures and borehole breakouts
  • Provided comprehensive data for a more accurate geological model and wellbore stability study
  • Generated excellent thin-bed images