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Ask An Expert: Jean-Marc Donadille

By: , Posted on: April 13, 2021

We caught up with Jean-Marc Donadille, Answer Products Manager at Schlumberger, Paris, and co-author of the recently published book Principles of Dielectric Logging Theory. Read on to learn more about Dr. Donadille and his motivations behind writing the new book.


What motivated you in writing this book?

In short, the observation that the field of dielectric logging does not have the reference book that it deserves today. For geoscientists, petrophysicists, and geologists, dielectric logging is becoming a more and more important method in their portfolio for evaluating the hydrocarbon content of a reservoir. However, no book covers its underlying physical theory in sufficient details. As a consequence, users of the method take it largely as a black box, sometimes resulting in mistakes that could be avoided.

The original idea for the book came from Alex Kaufman. He contacted me asking whether I would like to join him on his journey of book writing. I accepted the offer without hesitation as I can still remember enjoying the reading of some his past books. I also felt that his approach to book writing would help bring the clarity that is missing today in the field of dielectric logging. Indeed, his style is characterized by starting with the fundamentals and gradually building up the theory with careful explanations of every step in the process. With no stone left unturned, the reader is ensured that, by the end of the book, he or she will fully grasp the topic. Since I was convinced that the task was worth it, I was happy to help him present dielectric logging theory to the public with this kind of modus operandi. Retrospectively, we both feel that we have achieved our goal, so overall we are quite satisfied.

What level of readership is the book geared to?

To follow the development of the theory, no more than undergraduate knowledge of math and physics is required. In fact, there is no need to know anything about dielectrics to start off, as the concept is introduced in chapter three! The book starts with basic notions of electrostatics, in a way that can be followed by the newcomer in the field, and builds steadily to the more advanced topics of electrodynamics; the physics of dielectric materials in a time-varying field; dielectric mixing laws; and finally how all of this applies to dielectric logging. A historical perspective and the most recent trends in dielectric logging are also presented.

Hopefully, this book can be useful to at least two categories of people. Since it covers the general theory of dielectrics, it can serve as a reference for anybody who wants to delve into this subject, either purely academically or with an industrial application in mind. In addition, people from the oil and gas industry or academia can also use the last part of the book to gain a deep understanding of dielectric logging and its interpretation methods.

Figure 1. From the concept to the application: distribution of charges in a quasi-linear circuit (left); pad schematic of a recent dielectric logging tool (right).

Can you share with us your experience as writing this book?

Writing a book with four hands is a unique experience, which I personally found much more enjoyable than writing by myself. When you get into it, you clearly realize that the work is divided into two parts: writing the part assigned to you and reviewing the part that is assigned to your co-author. For the part that I wrote, I strived to present it in the clearest possible manner, and in a way that any newcomer in the field can find it useful. This was not always easy. However, it was the goal we set for ourselves at the beginning, and I am glad that we stuck to it! I enjoyed receiving Alex’s feedback, as his comments were all very constructive, and I feel they helped to improve this section. Reviewing the part that Alex wrote was also very interesting, as I learned a lot along the way.

Of course, writing a book takes a lot of time. In my case I did it outside of working hours, so that represented many evenings that I spent writing and reviewing, and I am indebted to my family for being so supportive during this period. Retrospectively, this was a very pleasant experience, mainly due to the sense of usefulness that went into it: basically I had the feeling that the book would be useful to some (and hopefully, to many!), and this was enough to keep me motivated.

We wrote most of the book during the very special time of the Covid-19 pandemic. I live in Paris, and unfortunately the situation there necessitated the city to be under curfew for many months. This paradoxically helped me to focus when I was writing in the evenings, as I could not enjoy the diversions that this otherwise vibrant city brings. In a way this was the perfect time to engage in such a long, lonely effort. This strange period is still not over today as my task is finished, but hopefully life will go back to normal soon, and I will be able to celebrate the publication of the book on a café terrace!

For a limited time, you can read Chapter Three – “Dielectric in a Static Electric Field”  on ScienceDirect.

Ready to buy the book?

Principles of Dielectric Logging Theory is available now on ScienceDirect and for purchase on the Elsevier.com bookstore. Save 30% + get free shipping on your purchase when you use promo code STC30.

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