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A better world

Sherlock

A reservoir detective

At Repsol, we’ve created a detective using cutting-edge technology. It serves us as an ally to make the most of our exploration efforts with minimal impact on the environment
During exploration and production, several unknowns must be resolved to determine the potential of reservoirs and optimize the production plan for each exploratory project. In order to address these unknowns, a more detailed view of the subsoil is needed and there must be in-depth knowledge of the properties and interactions occurring in the structure of the rock.

Sherlock II Project

The Sherlock II Project is a pioneering project in Europe and among the first worldwide to take on the challenge of visual underground reservoirs with digitalization. This on-screen representation is known as ‘characterization’ and, to create it, we combine state-of-the-art digital petrophysical technology and conventional methods.

We are capable of seeing the characteristics of rocks from millimetric to nanometric scales based on extremely small samples—rock fragments from the subsoil or other samples—and reproduce them digitally. The technology we use includes X-ray tomography, mineralogy observation using X-ray diffraction, and reconstructions of nanometric structures using ion beams. Thus, we can obtain in-depth information on the characteristics of the subsoil and construct 3D lithology models.

Phase one

Sherlock lab
This project is the result of three key disciplines working together: geology, geochemistry, and high-resolution analytical chemistry. It is focused on Upstream and the initial stages of exploring and assessing possible reservoirs. This is when questions arise concerning the type and volume of hydrocarbons in the reservoir, how and when they were formed, their composition and quality, and whether there is a viable and sustainable way to extract them.
To implement the project, we have worked in collaboration with the Geological Disciplines of Exploration Group of the Executive Management Division of Upstream. The goal is develop and implement petrographic microscopic techniques and high-resolution geochemical analysis to describe and visualize (characterize) the various elements of a petroleum system—reservoir, seal, source rock, and migration pathways—in order to reduce the geological risk and increase the rate of success in exploration. By using different types of microscopes, it is possible to obtain a higher-resolution image of a sample and observe details that are invisible to the naked eye.

Consolidated application:

Several pilot studies have been conducted in a number of BUs—Morocco, Mauritania, Libya, Algeria, and Brazil—in order to show the potential of the new methodology for both exploration projects and field development. These studies were established in 2010, particularly in Brazil, later expanding to projects in other areas of interest for our Company: Norway, Venezuela, etc.