Petrophysics, by Djebbar Tiab and Erle C. Donaldson (Hardcover, 2011)|
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Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
The price is a giveaway that this is a university text. Start reading, and
you realize it's not a first year text. It's probably most suitable for a
graduate course. Compared to my own undergraduate and graduate degree coursework
(but not in petro chem), that's my best estimation. And I say that because the
text relies heavily on what I deem graduate level mathematics.
Currently, I live in an oil state (the oil industry-bashing Kennedy clan has
significant oil well holdings here) that is adjacent to a major oil state (Dr.
Tiab and Dr. Donaldson are professors in that state). People come to this part
of the country to get degrees related to careers in the petroleum industry. So
this subject was of interest to me, though I have to say I wasn't willing to
work through the book as a text for the kind of understanding one would seek if
becoming, say, a petroleum geologist.
If you don't have a quantitative undergraduate degree, you probably won't be
able to grasp this text. However, if you have the mathematics background, you
will find its explanations clear and quite informative. I repeatedly found the
authors provided a way to grasp difficult concepts by stepping through the math.
Being able to visualize quantitative relationships is the only way, in my field,
for example, to truly understand how reactance affects power distribution
systems. In this field of oil exploration (petroleum geology), this approach
sheds light on the effects of, for example, porosity and permeability.
But as I say, the math is complicated. Following along is fine for me, but I
didn't try to solve the end of chapter problems (typically about 10 per
chapter). So I can't comment on whether those problems relate well to the
preceding text. I can say the problems aren't "back of envelope" problems. A
student of average mathematical ability will probably spend an hour working the
problems at the end of each chapter.
A student with a particular yen for truly digging into the subject can then
study the 19 experiments in the Appendix. These are what MBAs would refer to as
case studies, with the exception being some of these require working through an
extensive set of mathematical problems. Following this part of the appendix is
what I assume to be a new (as of this edition) section called Utilities. It
explains a few useful laboratory procedures that weren't developed into
This book is loaded with references, even in the appendix. So, very
thoroughly researched. Keep in mind that the sources are very technical in nature, most of them being professional journals.
Each chapter is full of illustrations, tables, and equations to go with the
text (the explanations). At the end of each chapter, there's a set of problems
(most of them difficult). Then there's a section called Nomenclature, followed
by a list of the Greek Symbols used in that chapter followed by a list of
Subscripts used in that chapter. And then you get to the references, which are
exhaustive to say the least. Chapter 6, for example, lists 120 sources.
This book is beautifully hard bound. An extensive Table of Contents and a
Units reference precede the main body. The main body consists of 828 pages
divided into 12 Chapters. The Appendix is 83 pages long, and the index is 37
In my own formal education, I came across a wide range of textbooks. They
varied from the extremely good to the atrocious. The extremely good ones make
useful tools for a professor to imbue students with a deep understanding of the
subject. While the particular subject of this text is out of my area of
expertise, I see this text shares many characteristics with the textbooks that I
have seen professors heartily recommend or that I personally found helpful in my
own pursuit of subject matter expertise. Some improvement could have been made
by adding a bit more explanatory text. But then I suppose that would have pushed
up both the page count and the price, else reduced the scope to make it fit.