New HeliScan MicroCT advanced imaging system

FEI introduced its new HeliScan™ microCT advanced imaging system during the grand opening of its Digital Rock Lab in Houston. HeliScan provides highly accurate, high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) images used by oil exploration & production (E&P) operators and research institutes to support the imaging, analysis, and modelling of reservoir rocks in hydrocarbon assets, and is now available for demonstration at FEI’s Houston lab.

“The opening of our new Digital Rock Lab in Houston and the introduction of HeliScan are two significant strategic milestones for our oil and gas division,” said Rudy Kellner, vice president of FEI’s Industry Group. “One year ago we announced the acquisition of the industry’s leading digital rock analysis expert, Lithicon, and formed a technology partnership with The Australian National University (ANU). To deliver key petrophysical insights to the oil and gas industry, we recognised a need to provide not only the highest quality instruments for precision pore scale imaging, but also digital rock expertise to convert these images to answers used to make business decisions. Today, we bring to market a more robust and commercially-viable HeliScan, a unique microCT system with a long and impressive track-record as a game-changing technology that has been used to solve some of the toughest reservoir challenges within the ANU Digital Rock Consortium. We are also opening our Houston Digital Rock Lab to further demonstrate our commitment and capacity to help our clients understand and resolve complex reservoir issues.”

The HeliScan microCT system is part of a multi-scale imaging solution providing E&P operators a digital approach to visualising the pore scale internal structure of their rocks. As the primary input to the generation of key static and dynamic petrophysical properties, high-resolution multi-scale imaging and analysis helps with understanding flow in oil and gas reservoirs. At each stage of the process, exploration geologists, petrophysicists and reservoir engineers can gain a more accurate understanding of reservoir behaviour by integrating the datasets generated by HeliScan microCT, QEMSCAN® automated mineralogy, and nano-scale resolution scanning electron microscope (SEM) and focused ion beam/SEM (FIB-SEM) images. This multi-scale imaging approach offers understanding of reservoir systems at the pore scale and is emerging as a key building block in improved reservoir evaluation and characterisation, development optimisation and performance prediction.

Kellner adds, “The need to understand structural properties of reservoir rock at smaller scales is particularly important as operators are trying to economically recover hydrocarbons from increasingly complicated reservoir conditions. Tight sands, unconventional exploration and enhanced recovery programs in mature carbonates each have very unique reservoir challenges. They can benefit from the answers provided by digital rock imaging and expert multi-disciplinary analysis to help reduce risk, enable more confident predictions and improve development and production decisions.”

Associate Professor Adrian Sheppard, head of the Department of Applied Mathematics, ANU, stated, “No other tomographic system could give data with sufficient geometric fidelity to permit quantitative image analysis,” when describing the reason ANU developed the technology within the HeliScan. “With higher imaging accuracy, we can create far more precise digital models and simulated properties,” according to Sheppard.

The HeliScan system provides distortion-free imaging by combining proprietary methods, such as dynamic auto focus and drift correction, which reduces image acquisition time compared to conventional microCT. Helical scanning empowers the efficient acquisition of taller, more representative volumes that are uniquely artefact free without stitching commonly faced in conventional microCT systems. The HeliScan microCT comes packaged with Avizo® 3D data visualisation and analysis software, which provides scientists and engineers with a powerful tool to more accurately explore and characterise the reconstructed 3D images.


Adapted from press release by Joe Green

Published on 02/03/2015


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