Hugh Daigle Establishes New Petrophysics Lab

Hugh Daigle
Dr. Hugh Daigle joined the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering this spring, and renovations were subsequently completed on his new laboratory in the basement of the CPE building. He taught Formation Evaluation this past spring and will again teach this course in the fall. We found Dr. Daigle busy in his lab and asked him to give us a description of the lab's capabilities and his plans for future research at CPGE.
Dr. Daigle:
"This spring, renovations were completed on my new laboratory in the basement of the CPE building. The 908-square-foot space currently includes an atomic force microscope, a gas adsorption surface area analyzer, and a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) core analyzer.

I additionally plan to acquire apparatus for measuring permeability, acoustic wave velocity, resistivity, and consolidation properties of rock samples. This laboratory will enable me to conduct research on petrophysical properties of rocks and greatly increase the laboratory facilities available for research in the department. The University of Texas is an exciting place to be conducting research, and I look forward to embarking on some new projects here at CPGE.

My research focuses on petrophysics at the scale of grains and pores. In the oil and gas industry, the two main questions that petrophysicists seek to answer are: how much hydrocarbon is present? And how easily can those hydrocarbons be produced? Since oil and gas are contained within the pore space of a rock, the distribution and ease with which hydrocarbon may move through the rock are controlled by the size and shape of the pores, the degree to which pores are connected, and the chemical composition of the rock and pore surfaces. As exploration efforts focus on lower permeability reservoirs like shales, the importance of understanding the pore system and distribution of hydrocarbon is becoming more and more important. While optical techniques such as focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) can reveal a great deal about the complexity of pore structures, petrophysicists usually have to rely on indirect data, such as NMR, acoustic, or resistivity measurements made downhole with wireline tools, to make inferences about the distribution and producibility of hydrocarbons. My research will push our understanding of the link between rock properties and measured quantities and help optimize our measurements to better understand hydrocarbon reservoirs. "
June 1, 2013 Interview with Dr. Hugh Daigle by CPGE-news