Professor Christoph Arns awarded SPWLA's Distinguished Technical Achievement Award

Professor Christoph Arns was recently recognized with the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts’s Distinguished Technical Achievement Award.

The Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts (SPWLA: is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the advancement of the science of petrophysics and formation evaluation, through well logging and other formation evaluation techniques and to the appl

ication of these techniques to the exploitation of gas, oil and other minerals. The SPWLA Distinguished Technical Achievement Award is presented in recognition of exceptional contributions in one or more specific areas of formation evaluation technology.

Prof. Arns was recognized for his work in digital core analysis. Unlike conventional core analysis which work on the assumption of homogeneous rock samples comprising a single distinguishable rock-type, digital core analysis allows for an assessment of the heterogeneity and classifying and accessing the physical properties of portions of a core, leading eventually to more robust calibrations of well logging data as well as the understanding of mechanisms correlating different physical measurements. Other advantages of the technology include fast sample turn-around (weeks instead of many months), the ability to carry out numerical experiments where standard laboratory experiments are impossible, and the digital storage (and “preservation”) of samples, which are thus available worldwide and can be shared and reanalysed with more advanced simulation tools as new techniques become available.

The new technique required a paradigm shift in industry as standard protocols to integrate digital core data into the work flow do not exist: Establishing digital core analysis in the rather conservative petroleum industry required a multi-stage approach starting with passing acceptance by the major industry research laboratories, before this technology of calculating physical properties directly from tomographic images could be applied to real reservoir applications.

Prof. Arns is a key inventor of the intellectual property (IP) that underpinned the ANU/UNSW spin-off company

Digital Core Pty Ltd (DCPL), formed in May 2009, having contributed continuously since 1999 (at UNSW, then ANU, and UNSW again). This company has merged to Lithicon and was sold in February 2014 through a trade sale for $A 76million to FEI ( His main contribution to the IP for DCPL is the Morphy toolkit for three-dimensional computational physics. Morphy has been under development for over 15 years and provides the image based MPI parallel large scale physical property calculation capabilities (permeability, linear elas

ticity, electrical conductivity, NMR responses, morphological measures) that underpin much of the research associated with the ANU/UNSW micro-CT facility. His current efforts concentrate on the integration of conventional and digital core analysis and broader applications of the technology to porous media. Prof. Arns is currently the chair of the council of Interpore and the Australasia director of the Society of Core Analysts.

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