ABNORMAL FORMATION PRESSURE ANALYSIS

Version 2.1 February 2001 Dave Hawker

Corporate Mission
To be a worldwide leader in providing drilling and geological monitoring solutions to the oil and gas industry, by utilizing innovative technologies and delivering exceptional customer service.

DATALOG: ABNORMAL FORMATION PRESSURE ANALYSIS, Version 2.1, issued February 2001

CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................................................ 4 2. PRESSURES & GRADIENTS............................................................................................................................ 5 2.1 HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE.................................................................................................................................. 5 2.2 FORMATION PRESSURE ..................................................................................................................................... 8 2.2.1 Direct Pressure Measurements ................................................................................................................. 9 2.2.1.1 Repeat Formation Test ....................................................................................................................... 9 2.2.1.2 Drill Stem Test ................................................................................................................................... 9 2.2.2 Indirect Pressure Measurements............................................................................................................. 10 2.2.2.1 Kick Shut-In Pressures ..................................................................................................................... 10 2.2.2.2 Connection Gases............................................................................................................................. 11 2.3 FRACTURE PRESSURE ..................................................................................................................................... 12 2.3.1 Leak Off Tests.......................................................................................................................................... 13 2.4 OVERBURDEN STRESS..................................................................................................................................... 16 2.4.1 Determination of Bulk Density................................................................................................................ 17 2.4.1.1 Bulk Density from Cuttings.............................................................................................................. 18 2.4.1.2 Bulk Density from Sonic Logs ......................................................................................................... 19 2.4.2 Calculation of Overburden Gradient ...................................................................................................... 20 2.5 BALANCING WELLBORE PRESSURES ............................................................................................................... 24 2.5.1 Mud Hydrostatic ..................................................................................................................................... 24 2.5.2 Equivalent Circulating Density............................................................................................................... 25 2.5.3 Surge Pressures....................................................................................................................................... 26 2.5.4 Swab Pressures ....................................................................................................................................... 26 2.5.5 Kick Tolerance ........................................................................................................................................ 28 2.5.5.1 Kick Tolerance, worked example..................................................................................................... 30 2.6 SUMMARY OF FORMULAE ................................................................................................................................33 3 OCCURRENCES OF ABNORMAL FORMATION PRESSURE................................................................. 35 3.1 UNDERPRESSURED FORMATIONS..................................................................................................................... 35 3.1.1 Reductions in Confining Pressure or Fluid Volume ............................................................................... 35 3.1.2 Apparent Underpressure......................................................................................................................... 35 3.2 OVERPRESSURE REQUIREMENTS..................................................................................................................... 37 3.2.1 Overpressure Model................................................................................................................................ 37 3.2.1.1 Permeability ..................................................................................................................................... 37 3.2.1.3 Fluid Type ........................................................................................................................................ 38 3.3 CAUSES OF OVERPRESSURE............................................................................................................................ 39 3.3.1 Overburden Effect ................................................................................................................................... 39 3.3.2 Tectonic Loading .................................................................................................................................... 41 3.3.2.1 Faulting ............................................................................................................................................ 41 3.3.2.2 Deltaic Environments ....................................................................................................................... 42 3.3.2.3 Diapirism/Domes ............................................................................................................................. 43 3.3.3 Increases in Fluid Volume ...................................................................................................................... 44 3.3.3.1 Clay Diagenesis................................................................................................................................ 44 3.3.3.2 Gypsum Dehydration ....................................................................................................................... 45 3.3.3.3 Hydrocarbon or Methane Generation............................................................................................... 45 3.3.3.4 Talik and Pingo Development.......................................................................................................... 45 3.3.3.5 Aquathermal Expansion ................................................................................................................... 46 3.3.4 Osmosis ................................................................................................................................................... 46 DATALOG: ABNORMAL FORMATION PRESSURE ANALYSIS, Version 2.1, issued February 2001 1

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3.3.5 Hydrostatic causes .................................................................................................................................. 47 3.3.5.1 Hydraulic Head ................................................................................................................................ 47 3.3.5.2 Hydrocarbon Reservoirs....................................................................................................................47 4 OVERPRESSURE DETECTION...................................................................................................................... 48 4.1 BEFORE DRILLING ........................................................................................................................................... 48 4.2 REAL-TIME INDICATORS ................................................................................................................................. 49 4.2.1 Rate of Penetration ................................................................................................................................. 49 4.2.2 Drilling Exponent.................................................................................................................................... 50 4.2.3 Corrected Drilling Exponent................................................................................................................... 51 4.2.4 Trend/Shift Changes and Limitations...................................................................................................... 53 4.2.4.1 Lithology.......................................................................................................................................... 53 4.2.4.2 Bit Type and Wear ........................................................................................................................... 55 4.2.4.3 Fluid Hydraulics............................................................................................................................... 56 4.2.4.4 Significant Parameter Changes......................................................................................................... 56 4.2.4.5 Directional Drilling .......................................................................................................................... 56 4.2.5 Torque, Drag and Overpull ..................................................................................................................... 57 4.2.6 Tripping Indicators ................................................................................................................................. 57 4.3 LAGGED INDICATORS ...................................................................................................................................... 58 4.3.1 Background Gas Trends.......................................................................................................................... 58 4.3.1.1 Sealed Overpressure......................................................................................................................... 59 4.3.1.2 Transitional Overpressure ................................................................................................................ 59 4.3.2 Connection Gas....................................................................................................................................... 61 4.3.3 Temperature............................................................................................................................................ 66 4.3.3.1 Geothermal Gradient ........................................................................................................................ 66 4.3.3.2 Flowline Temperature ...................................................................................................................... 67 4.3.3.3 Delta T ............................................................................................................................................. 68 4.3.3.4 Trends .............................................................................................................................................. 69 4.3.4 Analysis of Drilled Cuttings .................................................................................................................... 70 4.3.4.1 Shale Density ................................................................................................................................... 70 4.3.4.2 Pressure Cavings .............................................................................................................................. 71 4.3.4.3 Shale Factor...................................................................................................................................... 72 4.4 INFLUX INDICATORS ....................................................................................................................................... 73 4.5 WIRELINE / LWD INDICATORS ....................................................................................................................... 74 4.5.1 Sonic Transit Time .................................................................................................................................. 74 4.5.2 Resistivity ................................................................................................................................................ 75 4.5.3 Density .................................................................................................................................................... 76 4.5.4 Neutron Porosity ..................................................................................................................................... 76 4.5.5 Gamma Ray............................................................................................................................................. 77 4.5.6 Wireline Examples .................................................................................................................................. 78 5. QUANTITATIVE PRESSURE ANALYSIS.................................................................................................... 81 5.1 CALCULATION TECHNIQUES............................................................................................................................ 81 5.1.1 Eatons Method ........................................................................................................................................ 82 5.1.2 Equivalent Depth Method ...................................................................................................................... 85 5.1.3 Ratio Method........................................................................................................................................... 87

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6. CALCULATION OF FRACTURE GRADIENT ............................................................................................ 88 6.1 GENERAL THEORY .......................................................................................................................................... 89 6.2 CALCULATION METHODS ................................................................................................................................ 90 6.2.1 Eatons Method ........................................................................................................................................ 90 6.2.2 Poissons From Shaliness Index............................................................................................................... 90 6.2.3 Daines Method ........................................................................................................................................ 92 7. USE OF THE QLOG SOFTWARE ................................................................................................................. 94 7.1 GENERAL PROCEDURE .................................................................................................................................... 94 7.2 OVERBURDEN PROGRAM ................................................................................................................................ 95 7.3 OVERPRESSURE PROGRAM ............................................................................................................................. 97 7.3.1 Multiple NCT’s....................................................................................................................................... 100 8. EXERCISES ..................................................................................................................................................... 101 9. BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................................................ 112

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1. INTRODUCTION
In order to properly plan a well program and to drill a well, both safely and economically, knowledge and understanding of formation pressures and fracture gradients is essential. This allows mud densities, and positioning of casing shoes, to be optimised to provide sufficient balance against formation pressures while not being to high so that formations are at risk of being damaged or fracture. Formation pressure analysis is, therefore, an integral part of any drilling operation. It is one of the most important services provided by a mud logging service, but is almost one of the, technically, most demanding. Pressure Engineers assume a great deal of responsibility since their analyses and predictions are of genuine importance to the success of a drilling operation. Many sources of data have to be evaluated alongside each other before a reliable analysis can be made. Often, different sources of information may give conflicting results, in terms of predicting pressure changes, so that the engineer has to evaluate which sources of data are the most reliable. Often, different environments or different drilling regimes will result in different data sources being the most reliable, so from a pressure analysis perspective, two wells are seldom the same. Seismic data, or offset electrical data can be the initial data source. Any predictions can then be verified or improved upon, by data collected while drilling, by wireline at the end of each hole section, or through testing or the occurrence of specific drilling events. A good pressure report requires complete analysis and evaluation of all data sources; it must be extremely accurate, and all conclusions have to be substantiated. The new pressure engineer will discover that theory can indeed be read from a book and learnt in the classroom, but accurate pressure engineering only comes with experience and exposure to different pressure regimes, increasing the level of understanding of this complex science. This manual therefore serves as a starter kit to your challenging new position!

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DATALOG: ABNORMAL FORMATION PRESSURE ANALYSIS, Version 2.1, issued February 2001

2. PRESSURES & GRADIENTS
OVERBURDEN STRESS

Fracture Pressure

Formation Pore Fluid Pressure

Mud Hydrostatic Pressure

2.1 Hydrostatic Pressure
Hydrostatic Pressure, at any given vertical depth, is defined as the pressure exerted by the weight of a static column of fluid. It is, therefore, pressure resulting from a combination of the fluid density and the vertical height of the fluid column. At any true vertical depth: Phyd = ρ g h where Phyd ρ h g KPa m PSI ppg ft = hydrostatic pressure = fluid density = vertical depth = conversion factor = kilo Pascals = metres = pounds per square inch = pounds per gallon = feet

i.e.

KPa = kg/m3 x 0.00981 x TVD(m) PSI = ppg x 0.052 x TVD(ft)

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Considering that water density will vary depending on the concentration of salt, this formula gives the following example range of normal hydrostatic gradients: Hydrostatic Gradient is the rate of increase of pressure with depth, i.e. Hydrostatic Gradient = pressure/unit height = density x conversion factor Freshwater: Density = 8.33 ppg or 1.0 SG (1 gm/cc or 1000 kg/m3) Hydrostatic Gradient = 8.33 x 0.052 = 0.433 psi/ft or = 1000 x 0.00981 = 9.81 KPa/m Brine: Density (e.g) = 9.23 ppg or 1.11 SG (1.11 gm/cc or 1108 kg/m3) Hydrostatic Gradient = 9.23 x 0.052 = 0.480 psi/ft or = 1108 x 0.00981 = 10.87 KPa/m The diagram below illustrates these two hydrostatic gradients and the resulting pressures:

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PRESSURE (KPa)

10.87 KPa/m 9.81 KPa/m 3000m DEPTH At 3000m, Freshwater, density 1000 kg/m3, exerts a pressure of 1000 x 3000 x 0.00981 = 29, 430 KPa Saline water, density 1108 kg/m3, exerts a pressure of 1108 x 3000 x 0.00981 = 32, 608 KPa

29,430

32,608

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2.2 Formation Pressure
Formation Pressure is defined as the pressure exerted by the fluid contained within the pore spaces of a sediment or rock. It is often termed Pore Pressure. In reality therefore, formation pressure refers to the hydrostatic pressure exerted by the pore fluid and is therefore dependent on the vertical depth and the density of the formation fluid. Normal formation pressure will be equal to the normal hydrostatic pressure of the region and will vary depending on the type of formation fluid. For example, in the northern North Sea, Normal pore fluid density is equal to 1.04 SG (here, the formation connate water is actually very close to the present day seawater density) This density (8.66 ppg or 1040 kg/m3) gives a normal formation pressure gradient of 0.450 psi/ft or 10.20 KPa/m: 8.66 ppg x 0.052 = 0.450 psi/ft 1040 kg/m3 x 0.00981 = 10.20 KPa/m In the Gulf of Mexico, Normal pore fluid density is 1.07 SG, giving a normal pressure gradient of 0.465 psi/ft or 10.53 KPa/m: 8.94 ppg x 0.052 = 0.465 psi/ft 1074 kg/m3 x 0.00981 = 10.53 KPa/m In other words, even though the pressure gradients are different, both are normal formation pressure gradients for the given regions. For a given region then, If Formation Pressure = Hydrostatic Pressure, the formation pressure is normal If Formation Pressure < Hydrostatic, the formation is underpressured If Formation Pressure > Hydrostatic, the formation is overpressured

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DATALOG: ABNORMAL FORMATION PRESSURE ANALYSIS, Version 2.1, issued February 2001

Pressure analysis, in any given region, therefore requires knowledge of the normal fluid density and the resulting fluid pressure. This can either be determined by laboratory analysis of fluid samples, or by direct pressure measurements: Direct measurement of the formation pressure can only be achieved where the formation has sufficient permeability for the formation fluid to reach equilibrium with a pressure gauge over a short period of time. For low permeability formations, formation pressure can only be estimated, and this forms a significant component of formation pressure analysis.

2.2.1 Direct Pressure Measurements 2.2.1.1 Repeat Formation Test This is an open hole wireline tool that, per run, allows the collection of two formation fluid samples and an unlimited number of formation pressure measurements. A spring or piston type mechanism holds a probe firmly against the borehole wall and a hydraulic seal (from the drilling mud) is formed by packer. The piston creates a vacuum in a test chamber, allowing formation fluids to flow into sample chambers. The pressure during the flow, and the subsequent build up, is measured. The initial shut-in pressure is recorded. The test valve is opened to allow the formation fluids to flow into the chamber – the flow rate is recorded as the chamber fills. Once full, the final shut-in pressure is recorded. The build up or shut-in pressures may need to be corrected to yield true formation pressure, since, particularly with lower permeability formations, pressure build up may not have stabilized. Tight formations, certainly, may result in the test being aborted, because the fear of becoming stuck will discourage most operators from allowing the test to continue for too long a period. Seal failure may result if the probe cannot be properly isolated from the mud (due to low permeability rocks, poor filter cake development, or material stuck to the probe), so that pressure does not increase much beyond the mud hydrostatic pressure. Higher, or supercharged, formation pressure measurements may result where low permeability zones have been invaded by higher pressured muds. 2.2.1.2 Drill Stem Test This is a production test of a reservoir zone where hydrocarbons have been encountered. The test can be performed in open or cased (i.e. production liners) holes. Typically, the borehole is cased; the interval to be tested is then sealed off with packers; the isolated zone can then be perforated to allow formation fluids to flow to surface.
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The differences between starting and end pressures, during a period of flow, yields information related to both the reservoir productivity and the volume of hydrocarbons. When the DST tool is in place, a packer (single or straddled packer arrangements may be used to isolate a particular zone of interest) is set to form a seal and the test can begin. Most DST’s incorporate 2, perhaps 3, flow and shut-in periods. Formation Pressure is most accurately estimated from the Initial Shut-In Pressure (ISIP) at the end of the Initial Flow. This flow may last up to an hour and allows fluid to flow to surface with the purpose of removing any pressure pockets from the wellbore; cleaning out any mud filtrate fluids that may have invaded the formation and removing mud from the drillstem.. Subsequent flow periods will result in Final Shut-In Pressures (FSIP) that will be slightly lower than the ISIP since some of the reservoir fluids have already been produced, therefore formation pressure is determined from the ISIP. Sometimes, a stable ISIP may not be reached over the relatively short time before the test is ended, so that the pressure has to be extrapolated. The lower the permeability of the zone, the more likely this is.

2.2.2 Indirect Pressure Measurements 2.2.2.1 Kick Shut-In Pressures If formation pressure exceeds the hydrostatic (or balancing) pressure of the mud column, then, as long as fluids can flow, a kick will result. Following a successful well control operation, the mud hydrostatic pressure required to balance, or kill, the well, is clearly equal to the actual formation pressure. An important criterion for this estimation is knowledge of the exact depth of influx, but, as long as this is known, the formation pressure can be accurately, although indirectly, measured from the well shut-in pressures. The shut-in (drill pipe) pressure is the additional pressure, in addition to the mud hydrostatic pressure, required to balance the higher formation pressure. At depth of influx: Mud Hydrostatic Pressure + SIDP = Formation Pressure For example, At 2500m (TVD), a kick is taken while drilling with a mud weight of 1055 kg/m3. The well is shut in and a shut-in drillpipe pressure of 1300 KPa is recorded. Formation Pressure = (1055 x 2500 x 0.00981) + 1300 = 27, 174 KPa KMW = 27174 / (2500 x 0.00981) = 1108 kg/m3
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2.2.2.2 Connection Gases Connection gas is the term giving to a gas response, of short duration, that occurs as a result of a momentary influx of formation fluids into the wellbore, when the annular pressure is momentarily reduced below the formation pressure. This reduction may be as a result of simply turning the pumps off so that the annular pressure drops from a circulating pressure to static mud hydrostatic pressure, or, it may be as a result of a pressure reduction caused by the act of lifting the drillstring (swabbing). Knowledge of the balancing pressures (i.e. circulating pressure, hydrostatic pressure, swab pressure) when a connection gas is recorded, allows an indirect determination of formation. Although an exact value cannot be determined, a relatively small pressure range can be determined, and other than the techniques detailed above, connection gases are the most accurate determination of formation pressure while a well is being drilled. Analysis of connection gases will be discussed in more detail in Section 4.3.2.

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2.3 Fracture Pressure
All materials, including rocks, have a finite strength. Certainly, rock samples (recovered through coring operations, for example) can be tested in laboratories for strength by using conventional analysis. However, the in situ strength of a rock exposed by a wellbore may vary from a laboratory determination, because there are many other factors and stresses involved. This makes the determination and analysis of fracture pressure and gradient, very difficult at the wellsite. Simply, Fracture Pressure can be defined as the maximum pressure that a formation can sustain before it’s tensile strength is exceeded and it fails. Factors affecting the fracture pressure include: Rock type In-situ stresses Weaknesses such as fractures, faults Condition of the borehole Relationship between wellbore geometry and formation orientation Mud characteristics If a rock fractures, a potentially dangerous situation exists in the wellbore. Firstly, mud loss will result in the fractured zone. Depending on the mud type and the volume lost, this can be extremely costly. Mud loss may be reduced or prevented by reducing annular pressure through reduced pump rates, or, more expensive remedial action may be required, using a variety of materials to try and “plug” the fractured zone and prevent further loss. Obviously, all of this type of treatment is extremely damaging to the formation and is to be avoided if at all possible. However, if mud loss is so severe, then the mud level in the wellbore may actually drop, reducing the hydrostatic pressure exerted in the wellbore. This may result in a zone, elsewhere in the wellbore, becoming underbalanced and flowing – we now have an underground blowout! Knowledge of the fracture gradient is therefore essential while planning and drilling a well, yet there are only two ways of direct determination. The first is an undesirable method – if mud losses to the formation occur while drilling, then one of two things has occurred. Either an extremely cavernous formation has been penetrated, or a formation has been fractured. Knowing the depth of the fractured zone and the circulating pressure balancing the wellbore at the time of fracture, will enable the fracture pressure to be calculated.

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2.3.1 Leak Off Tests This is a test performed at the beginning of each hole section to determine the fracture pressure at that point. At the end of a hole section, after logging has been completed, casing will be run, and cemented in place, to isolate all formations drilled. Before drilling ahead the next hole section, it is critical to determine that the cement bond is strong enough to prevent high pressure fluids, that may be encountered in the next hole section, from flowing to shallower formations or to surface. If as intended, cement holds the pressure exerted during the test, then formation fracture will occur, under controlled conditions. The formation at this depth, because it is the shallowest point, will typically be the weakest formation encountered in the next hole section, so that the fracture pressure determined from the test will be the maximum pressure that can be exerted in the wellbore without causing fracture. Two types of test may actually be conducted: A Formation (or Pressure) Integrity Test (FIT or PIT) is often performed when the operator has a good knowledge of the formation and fracture pressures in a given region. With this test, rather than inducing fracture, the test is taken to a pre-determined maximum pressure, one considered high enough to safely drill the next hole section. A true Leak Off Test (LOT) does involve the actual fracturing of the formation: After drilling through the casing shoe and cement, a small section (typically 10m) of new hole is drilled beneath the cement. The well is shut in, and mud pumped at a constant rate into the wellbore to increase the pressure in the annulus. The pressure should increase linearly and is closely monitored for signs of “leak off”, when the pressure will drop. The pressure plot against time, or mud volume pumped, shows that there are 3 principle stages to a complete Leak Off Test. It must be the operator who makes the decision as to which particular value is taken as the ‘leak off” pressure, but obviously, it should be the lowest value. This way well be the initial Leak Off Pressure, if the test hasn’t been taken further to cause complete rupture. If it has, then the Propagation Pressure is likely to be the lowest, indicating that the formation has actually been weakened as a result of the test.

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Surface Shut In Pressure

Rupture Pressure Complete and irreversible failure has occurred when pressure drops - stop pumping Propagation Pressure If pumping is stopped at the point of failure, the formation may recover, but weakened Leak Off Pressure Slower pressure increase - reduce pump rate as mud begins to inject into the formation

Mud Volume Pumped
During the Leak Off Test, a combination of two pressures actually induces the fracture: 1. The Mud Hydrostatic Pressure 2. The Shut-in Pressure applied by pumping mud into the closed well

LOP

Pfrac = HYDshoe + LOP
Where LOP is the shut-in pressure applied at surface, whether from a LOT or FIT For example: A Leak Off Test is performed at a shoe depth of 1500m; the mudweight is 1045 kg/m3 and the recorded leak off pressure is 15000 KPa Pfrac = (1045 x 1500 x 0.00981) + 8000 = 23, 337 KPa = 23337 / (1500 x 0.00981) = 1589 kg/m3

HYD

Pfrac (emw)

Fracture

The pressure engineer should be aware, that although the Leak Off Test is the only way of determine the fracture pressure, there are certain circumstances that can lead to inaccuracy or unreliability: -

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A Formation Integrity Test gives no determination of actual fracture pressure, only an accepted maximum value for the drilling operation. Although not providing accurate data, this test does provide a safety margin. Well consolidated formations are typically selected to set the shoe – this formation may not be the weakest if subsequent unconsolidated formations are encountered within a short interval from the shoe. Apparent leak off may be seen in high permeability, or highly vugular formations, without fracture actually occurring. Poor cement bonds may result in leak off through the cement, rather than the formation. Localized porosity or micro-fractures can result in lower recorded fracture pressures. Well geometry, in relation to horizontal or vertical stresses, can also lead to deceptive fracture pressures, with different results being produced, in the same formations, between vertical and deviated wells.

• • • •

Quantitative analysis of fracture gradients will be discussed in Section 6.

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2.4 Overburden Stress
At a given depth, the overburden pressure is the pressure exerted by the cumulative weight of the overlying sediments. The cumulative weight of the overlying rocks is a function of the bulk density, the combined weight of matrix and formation fluids contained within the pore space.

ρb

Overburden increases with depth, as bulk density increases and porosity decreases. With increasing depth, cumulative weight and compaction, fluids are squeezed out from the pore spaces, so that matrix increases in relation to pore fluids. This leads to a proportional decrease in porosity as compaction and bulk density increase with depth. An average value of 2.31 gm/cc can be assumed to be a reasonable average value of bulk density at depth (approximating to an overburden gradient of 1.0 psi/ft), but more accurate determinations should be made when more accurate measurements or data becomes available. Typical overburden profiles, with depth, are shown below: On land wells, the overburden at surface is obviously zero, but will increase very rapidly, with depth, as cumulative sediments and compaction increase. Offshore, the gradient must be referenced to RKB or RT, as is practice, there will be zero overburden between RKB and mean sea level, then the weight of the water has to be considered in the overburden gradient, which will start increasing from the seabed once sediments are encountered.

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OBG (EMW)

Rotary Kelly Bushing OBG

Land Surface

Mean Sea Level

Sea Bed Depth Depth

2.4.1 Determination of Bulk Density Bulk density is a function of the matrix density, porosity and pore fluid density, and can be determined from the following formula:

ρb = ∅ ρf + (1 − ∅)ρm ρ

∅ = porosity, value between 0 and 1 e.g. 12% = 0.12 ρf = pore fluid density ρm = matrix density

Accurate determination of the overburden gradient is critical for accurate formation and fracture gradient calculations. Naturally, then, the source of bulk density measurement, and the quality of that data, is very important. It follows then, from the bulk density equation, that porosity determination techniques such as neutron porosity or sonic transit times can be used to provide the porosity value. In practice, sonic logs are readily available and can be used to determine the bulk density. Direct measurements of bulk density are preferable, so density values from wireline logs are extremely useful. However, this source of data is rarely available for an entire well interval. Finally, direct measurements from cuttings can be made while the well is being drilled. If no offset data is available, or if there is doubt as to it’s accuracy, then direct bulk density measurements should be taken from the cuttings.
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If, at the end of a hole section, better bulk density data can be obtained from wireline, whether sonic or density, then overburden calculations should be revised with the new data source. 2.4.1.1 Bulk Density from Cuttings Whilst drilling a well, the Overburden Gradient can be directly calculated from surface bulk density measurements. This would be done every 5 or 10m or whatever the sample interval is. Obviously, the more frequent the measurements, the more accurate the gradient will be. A simple displacement technique can be used to determine bulk density, and, as long as the engineer is precise and consistent, the data quality is typically satisfactory for overburden calculations. The technique is described below: • • • • Cuttings need to be washed (to remove drilling mud) and “towel” dried to remove excess water. Obvious cavings should be removed so that the sample selected is representative of the drilled interval. Accurately weigh a sample of 1 or 2 grams, for example. Obviously, the larger the sample size, the smaller any error. With distilled water, fill a 10cc graduated cylinder to exactly 5cc (so that there is sufficient volume to submerge all the cuttings but not too much so that the cylinder overflows). There will be a substantial meniscus on the water surface, so be consistent and take the measurement either from the top, or bottom, of the meniscus. • Carefully drop the cuttings into the cylinder, being mindful of splashes and trapped bubbles. Lightly tap the side of the cylinder to release any trapped bubbles and to help splashes, on the side of the cylinder, run back into the water. Read the new level of the water, again being consistent with where, on the meniscus, you take the reading.


1.1cc 6 5

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From these measurements: bulk density (SG or gm/cc) = weight of sample (gm) volume of displaced water (cc)

For example, if 2.00 gm of sample displaced 1.10 cc of distilled water: Bulk density = 2.00 / 1.10 = 1.82 gm/cc Sources of error in this method include the following: • • • • • • • Poor quality drilled cuttings Shale hydration or reactivity with mud Sample not representative of drilled interval Inaccuracy in weighing Inaccuracy/Inconsistency in determination of water displacement Eye level not being parallel to water meniscus Trapped bubbles, within bulk sample, increasing water volume

2.4.1.2 Bulk Density from Sonic Logs The Sonic log, since it is a porosity log reflecting the proportions of matrix to fluid, can be used to derive bulk density using the following formulae (Agip adapted from Wyllie, 1958): For consolidated rocks, ρb = 3.28 − ∆T

89

For unconsolidated rocks,

ρb = 2.75 − 2.11 (∆T − 47) ∆ (∆T + 200) ∆

where

ρb = gm/cc ∆T = formation transit time (actual sonic µsec/ft) 47 = default matrix travel time 200 = default fluid travel time

Rather than the default 47, the following formation values for the matrix transit time can be used: Dolomite Limestone Sandstone Anhydrite Salt Claystone 43.5 47.6 51 (consolidated) to 55 (unconsolidated) 50 67 47
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2.4.2 Calculation of Overburden Gradient Knowledge of the overburden gradient is essential for accurate formation pressure and fracture gradient calculations. As stated previously, the overburden stress, exerted at any given depth, is a function of the bulk density of the overlying sediments. Hence, whatever the source of the bulk density data, calculation of the overburden gradient is based on the average bulk density for a given depth interval:

Overburden

S = ρb x TVD 10 S = ρb x TVD x 9.81

TVD = metres S = kg/cm2 ρb = average bulk density g/cm3 TVD = m S = Kpa ρb = g/cm3 TVD = ft S = psi ρb = g/cm3

S = ρb x TVD x 0.433

• • •

From the average bulk density, calculate the overburden pressure for a given interval Calculate the cumulative overburden pressure for that overall depth Calculate the overburden gradient

Three examples are illustrated, using the different units of measurement.

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Example 1 Interval Thickness (m) 0 - 50 50 - 200 200 - 300 300 - 400 50 150 100 100 Av ρb (gm/cc) 1.25 1.48 1.65 1.78 Interval OB Press (KPa) 613 2178 1619 1746 Cumul OB Pres (KPa) 613 2791 4410 6156 OBG (KPa/m) 12.26 13.95 14.70 15.39 Grad EMW (kg/m 3) 1250 1422 1498 1569

For the interval 0 to 50m Overburden Pressure = 1.25 x 50 x 9.81 = 613 KPa Cumulative Pressure = 0 + 613 Overburden Gradient = 613 / 50 = 613 KPa = 12.26 KPa/m

O/B Gradient EMW = 12.26 / 0.00981 = 1250 kg/m3 emw

For the interval 50 to 200m Overburden Pressure = 1.48 x 150 x 9.81 = 2178 KPa Cumulative Pressure = 0 + 613 + 2178 Overburden Gradient = 2791 / 200 O/B Gradient EMW = 13.95 / 0.00981 = 2791 KPa = 13.95 KPa/m = 1422 kg/m3 emw

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Example 2 Interval Thickness (m) 0 - 100 100 - 300 300 - 450 450 - 700 100 200 150 250 Av ρb (gm/cc) 1.35 1.65 1.78 1.85 Interval OB Press (kg/cm2) 13.5 33.0 26.7 46.3 Cumul OB Pres OBG Grad EMW (kg/m3)

(kg/cm2) (kg/cm2/10m) (~ gm/cc) 13.5 46.5 73.2 119.5 1.35 1.71

1350 1.55 1.63 1710

1550 1630

For the interval 0 to 100m Overburden pressure = (1.35 x 100) / 10 Cumulative pressure = 0 + 13.5 = 13.5 kg/cm2 = 13.5 kg/cm2

Overburden gradient = (cumulative x 10) /(0 + 100) = (13.5 x 10) / 100 O/B Gradient EMW = 1.35 x 1000 NOTE = 1.35 kg/cm2/10m = 1350 kg/m3

1 kg/cm2/10m = 1 gm/cc = 1000 kg/m3 emw

For the interval 100 to 300m Overburden pressure = (1.65 x 200) / 10 Cumulative pressure = 0 + 13.5 + 33.0 = 33.0 kg/cm2 = 46.5 kg/cm2

Overburden gradient = (46.5 x 10) / (0 + 100 + 200) = 1.55 kg/cm2/10m O/B Gradient EMW = 1.55 x 1000 = 1550 kg/m3

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Example 3 Interval Thickness (ft) 0 - 50 50 - 150 150 - 350 350 - 500 50 100 200 150 Av ρb (gm/cc) 1.10 1.46 1.72 1.80 Interval OB Press (psi) 23.8 63.2 148.9 116.9 Cumul OB Pres (psi) 23.8 87.0 235.9 352.8 OBG (psi/ft) 0.476 0.580 0.674 0.706 Grad EMW (ppg) 9.15 11.15 12.96 13.58

For the interval 0 to 50ft Overburden Pressure = 1.10 x 50 x 0.433 Cumulative Pressure = 0 + 23.8 Overburden Gradient = 23.8 / 50 O/B Gradient EMW = 0.476 / 0.052 = 23.8 psi = 23.8 psi = 0.476 psi/ft = 9.15 ppg emw

For the interval 50 to 150 ft Overburden Pressure = 1.46 x 100 x 0.433 Cumulative Pressure = 0 + 23.8 + 63.2 Overburden Gradient = 87.0 / 150 O/B Gradient EMW = 0.58 / 0.052 = 63.2 psi = 87.0 psi = 0.58 psi/ft = 11.15 ppg emw

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2.5 Balancing Wellbore Pressures
This section has, so far, detailed the “lithological” pressures and gradients that are encountered when drilling a well. It is now important to detail the wellbore pressures that act against the lithological pressures.

emw

FP - Formation Pressure Pfrac - Fracture Pressure OB - Overburden Gradient

FP depth

Pfrac

OB

2.5.1 Mud Hydrostatic At the beginning of the section, Hydrostatic Pressure was defined as the pressure exerted at a given depth by the weight of a static column of fluid. It therefore follows, that when a given drilling fluid, or mud, fills the annulus, the pressure at any depth is equal to the Mud Hydrostatic Pressure. At any depth: -

HYDmud = mudweight x TVD x g
PSI = PPG x ft x 0.052 KPa = kg/m3 x m x 0.00981 This will tell us the balancing pressure, in the wellbore, when no drilling activity is taking place and the mud column is static.

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As soon as any movement of the mud is initiated, then frictional pressure losses will result in either an increase, or decrease, in the balancing pressure, depending on the particular activity, which is taking place. At all times, it is important to know what the annular balancing pressure is, and the relationship with the “lithological” pressures acting against them: • • If formation pressure is allowed to exceed the wellbore pressure, then formation fluids can influx into the wellbore and a kick may result. If the wellbore pressure is allowed to exceed the fracture pressure, then fracture can result, leading to lost circulation and possible blowout.

2.5.2 Equivalent Circulating Density During circulation, the pressure exerted by the “dynamic” fluid column at the bottom of the hole increases (and also the equivalent pressure at any point in the annulus). This increase results from the frictional forces and annular pressure losses caused by the fluid movement. Knowing this pressure is extremely important during drilling, since the balancing pressure in the wellbore is now higher than the pressure due to the static mud column. Higher circulating pressure will result in: • • • • • Greater overbalance in comparison to the formation pressure Increased risk of formation flushing More severe formation invasion Increased risk of differential sticking Greater load exerted on the surface equipment

The increased pressure is termed the Dynamic Pressure or Bottom Hole Circulating Pressure (BHCP).

BHCP = HYDmud + ∆ Pa

where ∆ Pa is the sum of the annular pressure losses

When this pressure is converted to an equivalent mudweight, the term Equivalent Circulating Density is used. ECD = MW +

(g x TVD)
The weight of drilled cuttings also needs to be considered when drilling. The weight of the cuttings loading the annulus, at any time, will act, in addition to the weight of the mud, to increase the pressure at the bottom of the hole.

∆ Pa

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Similar to the increase in bottom hole pressure when circulating (ECD), pressure changes are seen as a result of induced mud movement, and resulting frictional pressures, when pipe is run in, or pulled out, of the hole.

2.5.3 Surge Pressures Surge Pressures result when pipe is run into the hole. This causes an upward movement of the mud in the annulus as it is being displaced by the drillstring (as seen by the mud displaced at surface into the pit system), resulting in frictional pressure. This frictional pressure causes an increase, or surge, in pressure when the pipe is being run into the hole. The size of the pressure increase is dependent on a number of factors, including the length of pipe, the pipe running speed, the annular clearance and whether the pipe is open or closed. In addition to the frictional pressure, which can be calculated, it is also reasonable to assume that fast downward movement of the pipe will cause a shock wave that will travel through the mud and be damaging to the wellbore. Surge pressures will certainly cause damage to formations, causing mud invasion of permeable formations, unstable hole conditions etc.

The real danger of surge pressure, however, is that if it is too excessive, it could exceed the fracture pressure of weaker or unconsolidated formations and cause breakdown. It is a common misconception, that if the string is inside casing, then the open wellbore is safe from surge pressures. This is most definitely not the case! Whatever the depth of the bit during running in, the surge pressure caused by the mud movement to that depth, will also be acting at the bottom of the hole. Therefore, even if the string is inside casing, the resulting surge pressure, if large enough, could be causing breakdown of a formation in the open wellbore. This is extremely pertinent when the hole depth is not too far beyond the last casing point! Running casing is a particularly vulnerable time, for surge pressures, due to the small annular clearance and the fact that the casing is closed ended. For this reason, casing is always run at a slow speed, and mud displacements are very closely monitored.

2.5.4 Swab Pressures Swab Pressures, again, result from the friction caused by the mud movement, this time resulting from lifting the pipe out of the hole. The frictional pressure losses, with upward pipe movement, now result in an overall reduction in the mud hydrostatic pressure.

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The mud movement results principally from two processes: 1. With slower pipe movement, an initial upward movement of the mud surrounding the pipe may result. Due to the mud’s viscosity, it can tend to “cling” to the pipe and be dragged upward with the pipe lift. 2. More importantly, as the pipe lift continues, and especially with rapid pipe movement, a void space is left immediately beneath the bit and, naturally, mud from the annulus will fall to fill this void. This frictional pressure loss causes a reduction in the mud hydrostatic pressure. If the pressure is reduced below the formation pore fluid pressure, then two things can result: 1. With impermeable shale type formations, the underbalanced situation causes the formation to fracture and cave at the borehole wall. This generates the familiar pressure cavings that can load the annulus and lead to pack off of the drill string. 2. With permeable formations, the situation is far more critical and, simply, the underbalanced situation leads to the invasion of formation fluids, which may result in a kick. In addition to these frictional pressure losses, a piston type process can lead to further fluid influx from permeable formations. When full gauge tools such as stabilizers are pulled passed permeable formations, the lack of annular clearance can cause a syringe type effect, drawing fluids into the borehole. • • • More than 25% of blowouts result from reduced hydrostatic pressure caused by swabbing. Beside the well safety aspect, invasion of fluids due to swabbing can lead to mud contamination and necessitate the costly task of replacing the mud. Pressure changes due to changing pipe direction, eg during connections, can be particularly damaging to the well by causing sloughing shale, by forming bridges or ledges, and by causing hole fill requiring reaming.

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2.5.5 Kick Tolerance From the previous sections, it is clear to see that the mud weight must be sufficient to exert a pressure that will balance the formation pressure and prevent a kick, but it cannot be so high that the resulting pressure would cause a formation to fracture. This would lead to lost circulation (mud being lost to the formation) in the fractured zone. This, in turn, would lead to a drop in the mud level in the annulus, reducing the hydrostatic pressure throughout the wellbore. Ultimately then, with reduced pressure in the annulus, a permeable formation at another point in the wellbore may begin to flow. With lost circulation at one point and influx at another, we now have the beginnings of an underground blowout! A critical condition exists should the wellbore has to be shut in. While drilling, high formation pressures can be safely balanced by the mudweight. However, if a kick is taken (either through a further increase in formation pressure, or through a pressure reduction cause by swabbing, for example), then the well would have to be shut in. If the pressure caused by the mudweight is too high, then weaker formations at the shoe may fracture when the well is shut in. This situation would be worsened if higher shut-in pressures are required to balance low density influxes, especially expanding gas! KICK TOLERANCE is the maximum balance gradient (i.e. mudweight) that can be handled by a well, at the current TVD, without fracturing the shoe should the well have to be shut in.

KICK TOLERANCE = TVDshoe x (Pfrac – MW) TVDhole
Where Pfrac MW = fracture gradient (emw) at the shoe = current mudweight

If the mudweight, that is required to balance the formation pressures while drilling, would result in shoe fracture during well shut in, then a deeper casing shoe (with greater fracture pressure) must be set. In order to account for a gas influx, the formula is modified as follows: -

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KT = [TVDshoe x (Pfrac – MW)] - [influx height x (MW – gas density)] TVDhole TVDhole
The method illustrated is based on three criteria: • • • A maximum influx height and volume (zero kick tolerance) – Point X A typical or known gas density (from previous well tests for example) The maximum kick tolerance (liquid influx with no gas) – Point Y

This defines limits on a graphical plot, which provides easy reference to this important parameter. The values are determined as follows: Maximum Height = TVDshoe x (Pfrac – MW) MW – gas density If gas density is unknown, assume 250 kg/m3 (0.25 SG or 2.08ppg) Maximum Influx Volume is determined from the maximum height and the annular capacities – this defines Point Y on the graph. Maximum KT, as shown before, = TVDshoe x (Pfrac – MW)

TVDhole
This defines Point X on the graph, a liquid influx without any gas. The graph is completed by dividing it into the different annular sections covered by the influx, i.e. in the event that there are different drill collar sections, or if the influx passes above the drill collar section, or even if the influx passes from open hole to casing. This is necessary since the same volume of influx will have different column heights in each annular section.

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2.5.5.1 Kick Tolerance, worked example Using the following well configuration: Casing Shoe = 2000m Hole Depth = 3000m Pfrac at shoe = 1500 kg/m3 emw Current MW = 1150 kg/m3 Drill Collar length = 200m Annular Cap = 0.01526m3/m (216mm open hole, 165mm drill collars) Annular Cap = 0.02396m3/m (216mm open hole, 127mm drillpipe) Gas Density = 250 kg/m3 Maximum Height = TVDshoe x (Pfrac – MW) MW – gas density = 2000 (1500 – 1150) = 777.8m 1150 – 250

Maximum Volume, determined from 200m around the drill collars, and 577.8m around drillpipe: DC DP = 200 x 0.01526 = 577.8 x 0.02396 = 3.05m3 = 13.84m3 = 16.89m3

Max Vol = 3.05 + 13.84

Maximum KT = TVDshoe x (Pfrac – MW)

= 2000 (1500 – 1150) = 233.3 kg/m3
3000

TVDhole
Therefore, Point X = 16.7m3, Point Y = 233 kg/m3

Now, determine the ‘break point” of the graph, for the drill collar / drill pipe annular sections: To do this, calculate the KT related to a 3.05m3 gas influx, which would reach the top of the 200m length of drill collars:

KT = [TVDshoe x (Pfrac – MW)] - [influx height x (MW – gas density)] TVDhole TVDhole
= 2000 (1500 – 1150) 3000 = 173.3 kg/m3 Therefore, 3.05m3 and 173.3 kg/m3 define the “break point” on the graph. The graph can now be plotted, as follows:
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- 200 (1150 – 250) 3000

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KT kg/m3 240 200 173 160 120 80 40 0 Influx Volume m3 0 2 3.05 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

Y

Drill Collars

Drill Pipe

X

18

20

From this graph, the following information can be determined: For a liquid influx, with no gas: • • • The kick tolerance is 233 kg/m3 above the present mudweight. This would mean that the maximum formation pressure that can be controlled, by well shut-in, without resulting in fracture, is 1383 kg/m3 (1150 + 233). If formation pressures greater than this are anticipated, then a new casing shoe would have to be set.

Lighter and expanding gas changes this scenario dramatically: • • • If more than 16.7 m3 of gas was allowed into the annulus, there is no kick tolerance on well shutin, the shoe would fracture! Operators will often work on an acceptable maximum kick influx to determine kick tolerance: For example, a 10 m3 gas influx would give a kick tolerance of 86 kg/m3 above the present mudweight.

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This can be verified with the formula: Of the 10m3, 6.95m3 would be around the drillpipe annular section, since 3.05m3 fill the drill collar section: Height around DP = 6.95 / 0.02396 = 290m Height around DC = 200m Total Height = 490m KT = 2000 (1500 – 1150) - 490 (1150 – 250) 3000 = 86.3 kg/m3

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2.6 Summary of Formulae
Hydrostatic Formula: Pressure = Density x TVD x constant PSI KPa PSI Conversions: = PPG x ft x 0.052 = kg/m3 x m x 0.00981 = g/cc x ft x 0.433

kg/m3 = g/cc x 1000 kg/m3 = PPG x 1000 x (0.052/0.433) g/cc g/cc = 141.5 / (˚API + 131.5) = (psi/ft) / 0.433

Oil Density

Formation Pressure

= mud hydrostatic + shut-in drillpipe pressure From a kick, if depth of influx is known

Fracture Pressure

= mud hydrostatic (shoe) + Leak Off Pressure From a Leak Off Test after drilling out casing

Overburden Stress S

kg/cm3 = ρb (g/cc) x TVD(m) 10 KPa PSI = ρb (g/cc) x TVD(m) x 9.81 = ρb (g/cc) x TVD(ft) x 0.433

Equivalent Circulating Density ECD = MW + ∆ Pa (annular pressure losses)

(g x TVD)

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Kick Tolerance (assuming influx without gas) = TVDshoe x (Pfrac – MW) TVDhole Kick Tolerance (assuming given volume of known gas density) = [TVDshoe x (Pfrac – MW)] - [influx height x (MW – gas density)] TVDhole TVDhole

Annular Capacity

m3 / m = 0.785 x (Dh2 - ODpipe2) bbls / ft = (Dh2 - ODpipe2) / 1029.46

diameters in metres diameters in inches

Typical Influx Densities

Gas Oil Freshwater Saltwater

2.08 ppg 7.08 ppg 8.33 ppg 8.66 ppg

250 kg/m3 850 kg/m3 1000 kg/m3 1040 kg/m3

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3 OCCURRENCES OF ABNORMAL FORMATION PRESSURE
3.1 Underpressured formations
Underpressure is rarely given the same attention as overpressure, but encountering such zones with an overbalanced mud system can certainly lead to problems, and possible loss of hydrostatic control with catastrophic consequences: • • • • • • • Mud invasion Formation damage Differential sticking Lost circulation Formation fracture Loss of hydrostatic pressure Underground blowout

3.1.1 Reductions in Confining Pressure or Fluid Volume Imagine an enclosed system containing a given fluid volume; if either the pressure imposed on that system, or the actual fluid volume, is reduced, then there is the potential for that system to become subnormally pressured. Such situations include: • • Depletion of water (aquifers) or hydrocarbon reservoirs through production. Removal of overburden pressure, through erosion, may lead to an expansion of pore space in more elastic clays. If there is communication with interbedded or lenticular sands, for example, fluids will be drawn away from the sands, leading to a depletion in pressure.

3.1.2 Apparent Underpressure Postions of the water table, or point of outcrop, can lead to lower than expected fluid columns, which, to all intents and purposes, appear underpressured in relation to the drilling process and mud column. • Water reservoir outcropping at a lower altitude than the elevation penetrated during drilling. Therefore, the part of the formation penetrated will be above the water table and at atmospheric pressure.

Atmospheric pressure

WT

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The position of the water table in relation to the land surface. If the location of the well is topographically above the water table, the height of the fluid column will be less than the actual total depth. Therefore the hydrostatic pressure caused by the fluid column would be less than expected for a complete water column. WT Fluid column Both of these situations could be common in uplifted regions.

Large gas columns can also result in underpressured formations, since the low density gas reduces the effective hydrostatic pressure, in comparison to a liquid column.

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3.2 Overpressure Requirements
3.2.1 Overpressure Model Over the years, many models concerning the occurrence of abnormal formation pressures have been proposed. A very simple definition, as detailed in Section 2.2, is that overpressure is any formation pressure that exceeds the hydrostatic pressure, which is exerted by the formation water normal for that region. This concept proposes that any subsurface pressure can be compared to the pressure exerted by a formation water column that exists from surface to the same depth. What virtually all mechanisms of overpressure have in common, is that the zone in question has retained, or contains, an abnormal volume of formation water, leading to an inequilibrium. What this suggests is that, whatever the mechanism leading to excessive pore fluid volume, overpressure results from the inability of the retained fluids to escape at a rate which will maintain a pressure equilibrium with a water column that extends to surface. The following requirements are after the model proposed by Swarbrick and Osborne, 1998. This brings in two very important factors in the generation of overpressured systems, namely permeability and time. A third factor in the occurrence of overpressure is the fluid type and properties such as viscosity, which also have a determining effect on fluid flow. 3.2.1.1 Permeability Given communication, fluids will always flow from a zone of higher pressure to a zone of lower pressure. Permeability relates the rate at which a given fluid will flow, per unit time, along the line of such a pressure drop. Permeability is measured in Darcy’s (or rather, milli-Darcies) and is a function of the rock properties such as grain size, grain shape, and tortuosity (irregularity of flow paths) and also the fluid properties (i.e. density and viscosity). The degree of permeability will be a determining factor in how easy initial pore fluids can escape during a rocks history. • • Overpressure resulting from fluid retention will obviously be more common in low permeability, non-reservoir type lithologies, such as clay. Overpressure resulting from fluid retention in permeable, reservoir type rocks, will be determined by the lack of permeability (i.e the quality of seal) in the overlying and surrounding rocks.
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3.2.1.2 Time As stated in section 3.2.1, overpressure, by definition, is a zone which is in a state of inequilibrium. All conditions of inequilibrium, with suitable conditions, will, over time, stabilize to a condition of equilibrium. Geological time is more than sufficient for such changes in equilibrium to change, and given even the smallest degree of permeability, fluids will redistribute if there is a pressure gradient. Over the course of a formations history, therefore, the degree of overpressure will decrease as fluids, and pressure, redistribute to surrounding zones. The only exception is if there is an absolute perfect seal, zero permeability, preventing fluids from redistribution, but, again, a perfect seal is very difficult to maintain over geological time given the overburden, tectonic, and other stresses that continually act on any given zone. 3.2.1.3 Fluid Type The density of formation waters, in other words the amount of dissolved salts, determines the pressure gradient in any given region. Even though individual zones may have varying degrees of salinity within their pore, or connate, water, and thus varying pressure gradients, the pressure would still be regarded as normal. Where, however, chemical processes (osmosis) lead to an exchange of dissolved salts between fluids, the resulting change in density and pressure would be regarded as a deviation from the normal formation pressure gradient. More importantly, in terms of the overpressure model, the fluid type determines the flow properties of that fluid and therefore relates to permeability and time in the occurrence of overpressured zones. For example, the presence of oil and gas, producing a multi-component fluid, reduces the relative permeability of the original pore fluid. This will actually enhance the effective seal of surrounding rocks and increase the likelihood of overpressure resulting. Specific flow characteristics not only vary with viscosity or multi-phase fluids, but on a number of properties, such as temperature, hydrocarbon composition, degree of saturation, phase, etc. As can be seen, the three criteria for the occurrence of overpressure, permeability, time and fluid type, are all interactive and/or interdependent. The actual occurrence of overpressure, the degree of overpressure, and how quickly it can build or dissipate, depends on the particular environment or cause of the abnormal volume of pore fluid. In other words, for overpressure to occur, there has to be a specific mechanism that generates the excess fluid in the first instance. These will be discussed in section 3.3.

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3.3 Causes Of Overpressure
As we did when looking at the causes of underpressured zones, in section 3.1.1, imagine an enclosed unit of rock containing a given volume of pore fluid. Any reduction in the volume of that unit of rock, or any increase in the volume of enclosed pore fluid, will lead to fluid being necessarily expelled. Now that we have seen the principles of permeability, fluid type, and time, and the role they play, if the required fluid expulsion is not achieved at a rate that will maintain a pressure equilibrium, then overpressure will result. The specific mechanisms that may result in this can be divided into the following 5 categories: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Overburden effect Tectonic stresses Increases in fluid volume Osmosis Hydrostatic

3.3.1 Overburden Effect In terms of our two causes, reduction in rock/pore volume or increase in fluid, this obviously fits into the reduction in pore volume category and is common in deltaic environments and subsiding sedimentary basins, evaporite deposits, etc. As sedimentation and burial increases the vertical thickness of overlying sediments, vertical loading (i.e. overburden) results. Vertical loading during burial results in a normal compaction of the sediments, and necessarily requires the expulsion of pore fluids as pore volume is reduced. Typically, a slow burial rate will result in a normal compaction rate with fluids being expelled allowing pore volume to decrease as overburden increases. A normal compaction rate will result in a normal fluid pressure gradient.

SLOW BURIAL NORMAL COMPACTION EFFICIENT DE-WATERING NORMAL PRESSURE
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However, if normal compaction and normal de-watering does not take place, then overpressure can occur as a result of fluids being retained by the sediments. Clays are more prone to overpressure from this mechanism due to the following mechanical properties: • • • Higher initial pore fluid volume, up to 70 or 80% of the total volume. This compares to sands which may have around 40% initial pore volume. Higher rate of compaction. Continued compaction (to around 5% pore volume) to greater depths (~ 5km), requiring a huge volume of water to be expelled over a long period of time. This compares to sands, which may have a pore volume reduction to 15 – 20%, but do not continue compaction to the same depths as clays.

Therefore, with higher normal fluid volumes to begin with, and longer compaction periods requiring continued fluid expulsion, there is greater potential for undercompaction to occur. • In addition, during normal burial and diagenesis, additional fluid volume is generated by changes in the clay chemistry, increasing the amount of de-watering that is required to maintain normal pressure.

If there is not equilibrium between loading and compaction, and the fluid is not expelled at the required rate during burial, then undercompaction results and the zone will be overpressured. There are two principle causes of this inequilibrium: 1. Rapid burial – so that there is insufficient time for the large fluid volume, resulting from the high sedimentation rate, to be expelled. Rapid burial rates are certain to cause overpressure when combined with low permeability sediments. 2. Drainage restrictions preventing normal fluid expulsion. • • • Low permeability Lack of sandy or silty layers facilitating de-watering Impermeable layers, such as evaporates or carbonates, creating a barrier to fluid expulsion Where there is incomplete de-watering of shales, within a shale-sand sequence, porosity and pressure is often seen to be higher towards the centre of the clay sections, and lower towards the contact with the normally pressured sands (Magara, 1974).

Pressure in shale Normal pressure
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3.3.2 Tectonic Loading In the previous section, the compaction of rocks, and reduction in pore space resulting from vertical loading, was discussed. In the same way, tectonic stresses may lead to horizontal compression and associated reduction in pore volume. This is not well documented or proven and, to be a cause of overpressure, would tolerate none of the normal fracturing or faulting (facilitating fluid expulsion) that would normally be associated with such tectonic stresses. Tectonic activity, on the other hand, caused by uplift, faulting or folding of rocks, can lead to the occurrence of overpressure, through hydrodynamic activity and the modification and redistribution of fluids and pressures. Tectonic stresses may actually restrict fluid expulsion, yet conversely, they can result in fracturing that will facilitate fluid drainage. If a formation is uplifted, yet remains sealed and incurs no fracturing, it will retain its original (deeper) fluid pressure at the shallower depth. This retained “palaeopressure” will be overpressured in comparison to the surrounding formations. 3.3.2.1 Faulting Faulting can lead to the occurrence of overpressured formations through forming an effective seal or, conversely, acting as a drain: • Faults and fractures may provide a conduit allowing deeper fluid pressures to be released to shallower formations. Thus, pressure in the deeper formation is depleted and the pressure in the shallower formation is charged, until equilibrium is reached.

Fluid drainage

Permeable and impermeable layers may be juxtaposed by a fault restricting normal fluid migration, so that palaeopressure is retained.

Uplifted & sealed

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3.3.2.2 Deltaic Environments Naturally, sedimentation and subsistence are important components to a deltaic environment in the formation of sedimentary basins. Where sedimentation rates are fast and where drainage is poor, sediments will not dewater effectively and water-logged, overpressured zones will result. Growth faults and shale diapirism are two structural situations, common to deltaic environments, that can result in overpressure. • Shale diapirism, intrusive flow from underlying layers, results in domes, which are always undercompacted and overpressured. Many characteristics of shale (and salt) domes can result in further zones of overpressure and these will be detailed in section 3.3.2.3. Growth faults have a curved fault plane, steep in the upper part, and shallower at the base. Basement tectonics, slumping, diapirism, overburden effect, may all be responsible, in part or whole, in the generation of growth faults.

Sediments on the “downdip” of the fault will thicken and form an anticlinal rollover against the fault plane. This is often the site for hydrocarbon accumulations and the reason for drilling in these areas. At the base of the growth fault, on the “updip” side, a ridge of undercompacted and overpressured shale often forms where dewatering is ineffective as the sediments rapidly accumulate and fill the basin.

Sediment influx

Overpressured Shale

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3.3.2.3 Diapirism/Domes As said in the previous section, diaprisim is where there is intrusive flow of salt or shale, into overlying sediments, forming domes, which can be on a massive scale. Shale diapirisim will always result in a mass of undercompacted and overpressured shale, but both shale and salt domes have many mechanisms that can result in overpressured zones. Salt is completely impermeably, thus providing perfect seals for fluid pressures as well as hydrocarbons. These are illustrated below: -

Isolated, uplifted rafts, perfectly sealed in the salt, retain palaoepressure. In addition, multidirectional stresses act on the raft.

Uplifted zones, retaining palaeopressure from depth

Uplifted and pierced layers are sealed against the dome (especially salt). Associated faulting can produce additional seals as well as hydrocarbon traps

Pressure transfer from undercompacted shale dome, to adjacent, pierced, permeable formations

Osmotic effects where formations adjacent to salt domes have raised

As detailed in section 3.3.1, remember that salt or evaporite layers within a sedimentary sequence, provide a completely impervious boundary to vertical fluid expulsion resulting in underlying, overpressured clays.

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3.3.3 Increases in Fluid Volume As already detailed, within a confined unit of rock, with a given pore volume, any increase in fluid volume within that confined space will generate an increase in pressure. There are many mechanisms that may lead to this volume increase; some are well understood, others are not; some are proven and accepted, others still disputed! 3.3.3.1 Clay Diagenesis As young sediments are undergoing diagenesis during early burial stages, clay mineralogy changes (largely due to increasing temperature) and, as a result, water is generated. Smectite clay is chemically altered, during diagenesis, to illite. Many clay basins show this gradual transformation, with depth, of smectite to illite. Water is absorbed into the lattice structure of smectite, but illite does not have the same capacity to absorb water. Thus, lattice-bound water released during the chemical transformation of smectite, remains free water. In terms of generating overpressure, there are two important things to note: 1. The release of lattice-bound water is effectively a volume increase of water, a cause of overpressure in itself. Although there is some question as to the precise volume increase, many overpressured zones coincide with the smectite-illite transition (Bruce, 1984). 2. During the early stages of diagenesis, when this water is being released, the clays are undergoing normal burial, de-watering and compaction. As mineralogy changes and water is released, the clay structure becomes more compressible so that the released water is adding to the volume of water that has to be expelled to maintain equilibrium with the vertical loading and subsidence rate. As described in section 3.3.1, any inhibition to de-watering, now with a larger volume of water, will result in overpressure. There are additional points to note regarding clay diagenesis and mineral transformation: • • As smectite is transformation to illite, silica is being produced, and this could effectively reduce any permeability and inhibit the de-watering process and release of water. As well as being a possible cause of overpressure, the situation could be reversed, in that, overpressured zones could actually enhance or facilitate the clay alteration. Temperature is the main cause of the mineralogy change, and the higher temperature gradients could well lead to, or increase, the transformation of smectite to illite. The overpressure zone could easily, therefore, be subject to a further rise in formation fluid pressure if the additional water is retained.

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3.3.3.2 Gypsum Dehydration Similar to the clay diagenesis just described, this is, again, a mineralogy change resulting from relatively shallow burial temperatures. As gypsum transforms to anhydrite, bound water is again released and capable of generating considerable formation pressures if it is not expelled. Where salt is associated with the evaporites, the temperature required for transformation is lowered further (25˚C, Kern & Weisbrod, 1964) so that water is released at very shallow depths, virtually at surface. In this situation, it is perhaps more likely that the excess water will be expelled, unless associated salt provides an impervious barrier. 3.3.3.3 Hydrocarbon or Methane Generation Biogenic Methane Although seals are rarely perfect, so that gas will typically migrate harmlessly to surface, shallow gas pockets can be encountered while drilling. This poses a great danger since very little warning time is given before gas from a penetrated pocket reaches surface. This methane gas is generated from the bacterial decay of organic material trapped within sediments, at shallow depths. If the sediments are isolated, then the volume expansion associated with the production of methane can generate overpressure. Hydrocarbon Generation from Kerogen With deeper burial and higher temperatures (2 to 4km, 70 to 120 ˚C, Tissot & Welte, 1984), as kerogen passes through the oil window, kerogen matures to generate oil and gas. The associated volume increase is not understood or accurately known, but it may result in a pressure increase, since there has to be some sort of pressure increase to initiate the primary migration of hydrocarbons. Thermal Cracking Beyond the oil window, at greater depths and temperatures (3 to 5.5km, 90 to 150˚C, Barker, 1990), thermal cracking takes place, where oil is broken down to lighter hydrocarbons and ultimately, methane (often referred to as dry gas). Again, this would be reflected in a significant volume increase, even considering the compressibility of gas at such depths (Ungerer et al, 1983), and will result in overpressure if the environment is sealed. Although not always present, undercompacted clays typically do have a high gas content, illustrating the part played by the thermal cracking of organic material in generating overpressure. 3.3.3.4 Talik and Pingo Development Pingos are very obvious landforms seen in the Arctic North. They are the surface manifestation of subsurface pressure development in unfrozen pockets known as taliks. Where deep-water lakes are not frozen, the ground beneath (the talik) is unfrozen. If the lake should freeze to it’s full depth, then permafrost will spread into the talik, eventually forming a frozen layer above the talik (Gretener, 1969). Permafrost, since ice is impermeable, now completely isolates the talik, and if permafrost continues to spread into the unfrozen zone, then expansion is associated with the
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freezing, generating enough pressure to uplift the permafrost above. This forms the easily recognised pingos, which can be a couple of hundred feet high. 3.3.3.5 Aquathermal Expansion The principle here is that water expands when heated. If heated in a closed container, there will be a considerable pressure increase. In a geological setting, this would require an absolutely perfect seal, with no change in pore volume, and with no fracturing as pressure increases. Other than isolation by completely impervious evaporates, for example, the conditions are obviously difficult to meet in a geological setting. Other criticisms to this hypothesis include: • • As water is heated, it’s viscosity is reduced to facilitate more efficient expulsion, even with low permeability. Transitional pressure increases, rather than sharp changes, suggests some degree of permeability in the seal.

3.3.4 Osmosis Osmosis occurs where there is a differential in partial pressures across a semi-permeable membrane. Partial pressure refers to the concentration of gases, or ions, for example, within a given solution. With reference to the possible development of overpressure, osmosis refers to the movement of water through a semi-permeable layer (clay or shale) that separates two (reservoir type) formations possessing formation waters with a difference in saline concentration. Water will move from the zone of lower concentration to higher concentration, i.e. from a formation containing freshwater or low salinity to high salinity formation. This transfer will continue until the salinities in the two formations equalize or pressure prevents further movement. As osmosis is taking place, the pressure will drop in the low salinity formation, but increase in the more saline formation as water flows into it. Osmosis is a very localized effect, but may be evident around salt domes where adjacent formations may have their salinities raised due to their proximity to the salt.

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3.3.5 Hydrostatic causes 3.3.5.1 Hydraulic Head

H

Where a reservoir type formation has an elevated water intake, in comparison to the topographical elevation where the formation is penetrated, an is overlain by a seal, the formation will be overpressured as a result of the extended fluid column. Wells drilled into such a formation will produce water to surface as a result of the hydrostatic pressure. These wells are known as artesian wells. 3.3.5.2 Hydrocarbon Reservoirs Gas and oil are of lower density than formation waters, thus a hydrocarbon column generate a lower pressure gradient than in comparison to a normal formation water pressure gradient. Since abnormal pressure is defined as any pressure that deviates from a normal formation pressure gradient, a condition of overpressure will exist in any hydrocarbon as a result of buoyancy separation and lower pressure gradients. The actual degree of overpressure will depend on the differential from the normal pressure, and this will depend on the specific fluid densities, and the thickness of the hydrocarbon column. The differential will always be greatest at the top of the reservoir.

Overpressure

gas gradient

GOC
oil gradient

OWC
water gradient

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4 OVERPRESSURE DETECTION

4.1 Before Drilling
Prior to any drilling in a given region, evaluation of seismic data can lead to the identification, or prediction, of possible zones of overpressure. Seismic reflectors, and subsequent modelling are used to identify geological structures, lithology, stratigraphy and facies changes, for the possible occurrence of hydrocarbon traps. In the same way, structures that could possibly generate, or be associated with, zones of overpressure may be identified. • • • Areas of uplift can be identified, faults, growth faults and associated shale masses, salt and shale diapirs can all be readily identified. Undercompaction in thick shale sequences may be indicated by the absence or low frequency of reflections. The presence of hydrocarbons, including shallow pockets, can be determined by the presence of anomalies in the reflection amplitudes. This application stems from the fact that the strength of a reflection is influenced by density contrasts.

Further, seismic interval velocities can be plotted to aid in the prediction of overpressured zones. The interval velocity of shale is directly related to the degree of compaction and porosity – the lower the porosity, the faster the interval velocity. Through a normally compacted shale sequence, therefore, the interval velocities should show a steady increase with depth, reflecting a normally compacted sequence. A plot of interval velocities against depth may identify pressure anomalies. An overpressured zone would be indicated by a reduction in interval velocities, corresponding to increased porosity through the undercompacted zone. Naturally, this type of prediction relies on the knowledge that the changes in interval velocity do not represent a change in lithology or other phenomena, and this may not be so easy with no prior regional knowledge. A similar technique can be used with transit times determined from sonic logs once a well (section) has been drilled, and this will be detailed in section 4.5.1. This manual focuses on the tools at the pressure engineers disposal, at wellsite, during the drilling of the well. This includes “mud logging” indicators during drilling, and electrical indicators from wireline logs run at hole section intervals and at total depth.

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4.2 Real-Time Indicators

4.2.1 Rate of Penetration The penetration rate (ROP) is normally the “starting point” for overpressure prediction, since it is a parameter that is being constantly monitored by mud loggers, geologists and engineers alike. With increased depth, the increasing overburden leads to increased compaction and decreased porosity. It is therefore a normal expectation that ROP will gradually decrease with depth as porosity decreases and the rock becomes increasingly harder to drill. An overpressured zone is undercompacted and therefore characterised by higher porosity. This will result in a relative increase in ROP. Just on its own merit, however, ROP cannot be regarded as a totally reliable indicator because it can be influenced by many parameters. The most obvious is the lithology itself. ROP is the number one tool for mud loggers to identify changes in lithology and changes in porosity. Therefore, a change in ROP does not necessarily mean a change in pressure. In fact, in most cases, it does not! Having said that, an increase in ROP would be expected in an overpressured zone, all else being equal. All else being equal is an important statement. Listed below are all the various parameters that can influence penetration rate. It is clear from this list, that further indications would be required to reliably predict a zone of overpressure. Lithology A major influence on ROP with variables such as mineralogy, porosity, hardness, abrasiveness, grain size, cementation, crystallization, plasticity, etc. A direct influence, an increase in WOB produces an increase in ROP. Again, an increase in RPM produces an increase in ROP, although the exact relationship depends on lithology. Softer lithologies typically yield a greater change in ROP for a given change in RPM. Rather than a direct influence, torque has an indirect influence on ROP through it’s effect at the bit and in the drillstring. Torsional vibration, where torque builds up the drillstring, opposing rotation and reducing bit weight, then releases to accelerate rotation, will affect the ROP through the influences on RPM and WOB. This slip-stick behaviour (Fear & Abbassian, 1994) is common in hard drilling areas and a common cause of drillstring failure. A clear influence since different bit types, tooth, insert, PDC, with their different cutting actions, and bits of different hardness, will be better suited to particular lithologies. The more worn a bit is, the less efficiently it will drill.
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Weight on bit Rotary speed

Torque

Bit type

Bit wear

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Fluid hydraulics

Hydraulic programs are typically chosen to optimise the drill rate (alternatively, optimised for hole cleaning). It therefore follows that if hydraulics, including flow rate, are changed to any degree, the ROP will be affected. Effective cleaning at the bit (largely down to jet velocity and mud viscosity) also influences ROP. ROP decreases the greater the differential pressure (mud hydrostatic above formation pressure). In addition, the greater the differential pressure, the poorer the clearing of cuttings away from the bit face and the greater the chance of bit balling or clogging. This certainly effects drilling efficiency.

Differential pressure

Therefore, although the penetration rate will certainly change where changes in compaction and pressure are encountered, there are too many variables to make it an undisputed indicator on it’s own. To compensate for as many as these variables as possible, a drilling exponent is used.

4.2.2 Drilling Exponent The drilling exponent is, in effect, a method of normalising the penetration rate in order to remove the effect of external drilling parameters. The drilling exponent combines a number of the variable factors (influencing ROP) detailed above. The dimensionless number that results, reflects the drillability of a particular formation, relating the ROP to the ease at which a formation can be drilled. For any given lithology, as it becomes more difficult to drill with depth, the d-exponent will increase. In 1964, the following relationship was formulated by Bingham: R / N = a ( W/D )d where R = ROP N = RPM W= WOB D = bit diameter a = lithology constant d = compaction exponent

Jordan and Shirley developed this theory in 1966, to derive the following formulas for the determination of the drilling exponent: d-exp = log ( R / 60N) log ( 12W / 106D) R = ft/hr N = revs/min W = lbs D = inches
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Dexp = 1.26 − log ( R/N ) 1.58 − log (W/D)

R = m/hr N = revs/min W = tonnes D = inches

This formula was designed for use in shale, and where the formation is constant, the d-exponent is a good indicator of porosity (ie compaction) and differential pressure. The d-exponent evaluates the drillability of a particular formation, and as porosity decreases with depth, drilling will become proportionally more difficult, resulting in an increase in the exponent. A normal, increasing, trend (normal compaction trend or NCT) can therefore be established with depth, and changes in compaction and differential pressure will be indicated by a decrease in the drilling exponent. Typically, this can only be regarded as a reliable indicator in argillaceous sequences, but, in reality, compaction trends can often be recognised in other lithologies if they are reasonably consistent with depth. As discussed in relation to overburden and water expulsion (section 3.3.1), sands, for example, will undergo less compaction than clays, but a compaction trend may still be discernible.

4.2.3 Corrected Drilling Exponent As detailed above, any deviation from the normal compaction trend determined from the d-exponent will reflect a change in “differential pressure”. What we require is an indication of a formation pressure change, which the d-exponent will give us, but, unfortunately, differential pressure is obviously also dependent on the mud weight. Therefore, a change in the mud weight will result in a change in differential pressure and, consequently, will influence the d-exponent. The d-exponent therefore needs to be corrected, itself, so that any changes truly reflect a change in formation pressure and is not influenced by the mud hydrostatic. Rehm and McClendon, in 1971, developed the Corrected Drilling Exponent. DCexp = d-exp x d1 d2 where d1 = normal formation pressure gradient d2 = mud weight In actual fact, d2 in the calculation is determined from the ECD, the equivalent circulating density, since this represents the actual balancing pressure (including the additional annular pressure losses) while drilling is proceeding.
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The corrected drilling exponent now provides a normal compaction indicator, deviations from which, in argillaceous formations, indicate changes in formation pressure. Gradual changes in the exponent trend will highlight transitional pressure changes seen prior to entering the zone of highest overpressure. The plots below compare exponent trends, in relation to pressure changes: -

Normal

Transition Overpressure Regression Normal

NCT DCexp

Normal Pressure Gradient Formation Pressure FP (emw)

Note the following about these trends: • The Normal Compaction Trend should be established, in shale sections, as early in the well as possible, and represent the normal compaction seen through zones of normal formation fluid pressure for the region. Where formation pressure gradually increases through a transition zone, leading into the main overpressured zone, the corrected drilling exponent shows a corresponding, gradual reduction.

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Compaction and porosity through transition zones typically change at a constant rate so that porosity indicators, including drilling exponents, show a corresponding constant rate of change. • Where pressure is constant (just higher) through the main zone of overpressure, trends are, likewise, constant. The trend is obviously offset from the NCT, the offset representing the degree of overpressure, but gradients are typically similar to the compaction trends. This stems from the fact, that even though undercompacted, the changing compaction, with depth, is at a constant rate through a zone of constant pressure. Pressure regressions may be seen at the base of overpressured zones, where compaction rates, and porosity, gradually return to a regional normal. Otherwise, where there is a change in lithology at the base of an overpressured zone, the pressure may change, abruptly, reflecting a return to the normal formation pressure gradient.

• •

The corrected drilling exponent is a very widely used technique used to identify overpressure, especially the transitional pressure changes. However, there are some limitations and pitfalls, which the pressure engineer has to fully consider in the process of exponent evaluation: -

4.2.4 Trend/Shift Changes and Limitations 4.2.4.1 Lithology Lithology is not taken into account in the empirical formula. The drilling exponent was designed for and is only ideally suited for shale and claystone type lithologies. Even here, however, changes in mineralogy can produce different compaction behaviours (as discussed with the smectite to illite transformation) between different clays. The presence of sandy or silty layers, even accessory minerals, can influence the compaction trend. Neither does the corrected drilling exponent consider the different compaction characteristics of other lithologies. Given homogeneous, or uniform, sequences of different lithologies, with depth, compaction trends may be discernable, but they will probably vary from the shale compaction trend, and certainly be offset according to the differences in hardness and drillability. This can lead to difficulty, in practice, because the trend will jump about as lithology changes, and this can lead to poor trend potential in the more thinly interbedded sequences. When establishing NCT’s, shale compaction is what is required; this will be the control for determining any changes due to pressure anomalies. The pressure engineer therefore has to be very careful to determine the compaction trend on the basis of “good” shale points. Different lithologies will show up as a shift, or repositioning of the drilling exponent trend, according to the drillability.
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For example: -

Limestones tend to shift the trend to the right. Friable sandstones tend to shift the trend to the left. Cemented siltstones tend to shift the trend to the right.

A typical lithology versus drilling exponent log is shown below, but it is very important to remember that this may not always be the case - the value of the drilling exponent will depend on the exact composition, the hardness, how competent a lithology is; the degree of granularity and cementation, the bit type, etc. All of the above limitations have to be taken into consideration when evaluating a drilling exponent trend, but in general, the harder, the tighter, the more cemented the lithology, the higher the corrected drilling exponent. The softer, the more unconsolidated, the higher the porosity, the lower the exponent.

Shale Cemented Siltstone Shale Cemented Limestone Calcareous Shale Unconsolidated Sandstone Cemented Siltstone Hard, tight Sandstone Sandy Shale

Shale NCT
It should also be noted that unconformities, where formations from different periods have undergone different burial and compaction histories, may result in trend shifts, but also in different compaction trends (i.e. the slope of the NCT).

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4.2.4.2 Bit Type and Wear Since different bits (encorporating tooth, insert, diamond, different cutter sizes, different hardnesses, etc) are suited to different lithologies, bit type is a very important consideration when evaluating a drilling exponent trend but, again, these parameters are not considered in the standard corrected drilling exponent calculation (some exponent models do include correction factors, but their accuracy is heavily dependent on regional knowledge of a given bit in a given lithology). Therefore, for the same lithology, different bit types may well produce different values of drilling exponent for the same parameters. This type of trend shift is common. Diamond or PDC bits are the extreme, often producing constant drilling rates and drilling exponent trends regardless of lithology type, depth or compaction. A near vertical trend for large depth intervals is not unusual.

Tooth Bit

Insert Bit

PDC Bit

As a bit becomes worn, effectively, it becomes harder to drill the same lithology. The drilling exponent will interpret this as decreased drillability of the formation, causing the drilling exponent values to erroneously increase. As illustrated below, this, in itself, would not be too difficult to recognize. However, a serious mis-interpretation problem may arise if the bit wear coincides with a pressure increase. As shown in the second diagram below, the dulling effect of the bit may mask the cutback of the exponent, so that pressure changes may not be seen, or may not appear as significant as they really are.

bit dulling

Cutback trend from good bit

Top of Undercompaction Reduced cutback caused by bit wear

NCT

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4.2.4.3 Fluid Hydraulics Again, the hydraulic regime is not considered in the calculation of the exponent, therefore any significant change could influence the drilling efficiency, or hole cleaning, to such a degree that the drilling exponent is affected. Just a change in flowrate may affect the hydraulics to such a degree that the penetration rate changes and the drilling exponent trend shifts to the left or right. Optimum Hydraulics Another consideration is that for unconsolidated lithologies, or shallow soft clays, the jetting action of the bit is actually more important in “making hole” than the drilling action, so the drillability, reflected in the drilling exponent, can be totally erratic and erroneous.

Poor Hydraulics

4.2.4.4 Significant Parameter Changes Although accounted for in the calculation of drilling exponents, any large changes in parameters such as WOB and RPM may not be fully compensated for by the formula and the resultant trend may require a shift change. This is especially significant when a new hole section is drilled. Here, not only does the hole 17 ½” (444mm) diameter change, but so do drilling parameters, bit types, hydraulics, etc. It is therefore a typical requirement that drilling exponent trends, in different hole sections, are offset from each other. 12 ¼“ (311mm) Naturally, in addition, controlled drilling significantly reduces the effectiveness of the drilling exponent. 4.2.4.5 Directional Drilling In directional and horizontal drilling, there are two main limitations to the use of the drilling exponent. Firstly, the actual calculation is in error concerning the WOB. Obviously, the value used in the calculation is the weight measured and recorded at surface. With directional drilling, however, much of the weight of the drillstring is supported by the wellbore wall, so it is actually unknown how much weight is actually transferred through to the bit to effect fracture and penetration. SLIDING The second limitation is an inconvenience rather than an error. Where downhole mud motors are employed, the ROTATING drilling operation often switched back and forth between using the just the motor to supply rotation to the bit (sliding) and to adding rotation from the surface aswell. This amounts to a significant parameter change as discussed above, with high and low RPM causing high and low ROP, and RPM ROP DCexp subsequently, two “offset trends” in the drilling exponent.
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4.2.5 Torque, Drag and Overpull Principally, these parameters can indicate tight hole caused by increases in formation pressure. Drilling torque is a normal phenomena, resulting from the surface rotation of the string and the frictional interaction throughout the string and at the bit. Torque changes with lithology hardness and abrasiveness and is a useful formation top indicator. Many other parameters can lead to changes in torque, including changes in wellbore geometry such as dog-legs and keyseats, interbedded lithologies and ledges, deviated holes, fractures, changes in BHA, bit balling, etc. It is therefore a difficult parameter to interpret, especially in deviated holes and hard drilling areas, where high torque is the normal, but, changes in torque can also result from increases in formation pressure: • • Plastic clays may swell, closing in on the hole and inhibiting free rotation of the pipe. Where pressure leads to the generation of cavings, they will fall in on the hole, accumulating around stabilizers and bits, again inhibitating rotation.

Similarly, when the drillstring is being lifted up and down in the hole, excess overpull or drag can be caused by an increase in formation pressure causing the hole to close in and form tight spots in the borehole. Again howver, the same phenomena can be caused by a number of situations such as well deviation, dog-legs, differential sticking, normally swelling clays

4.2.6 Tripping Indicators Overpull and drag are obvious indicators to monitor during a trip when the string is being pulled out and run back in to the hole, but there are a number of other indicators, which can indicate that a change in formation pressure occurred just prior to pulling out of hole. • • • • Pinched bits pulled from the hole, together with subsequent reaming required on the trip back into the hole, clearly indicate tight hole – possibly from formation pressure. Large amounts of hole fill may indicate cavings falling into the hole and accumulating at the bottom. Cavings will be discussed in more detail in section ###########. If the hole is not taking the normal volume of mud to replace the steel volume as pipe is lifted, then part of the volume is being replaced by fluids influxing into the wellbore. Swabbing indications can show that the well is close to balance – swabbing is indicated if trip tank levels increase, initially, or do not drop right away, as pipe is lifted, then subsequently drop to show that mud is filling the hole. Pipe speed should be reduced if this is happening, and the well flow checked. If the pipe is pulled wet, i.e. mud has not drained from the pipe as it is being lifted, then an fluid influx beneath the string can be indicated. Plugged jets may also cause this.
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4.3 Lagged Indicators

4.3.1 Background Gas Trends Monitoring the volume of formation gas entrained within the drilling fluid is subject to a number of possible errors and mis-interpretation, but that would be taking us away from the context of formation pressure evaluation. The following situations should be considered: 1. Recycled or contaminated gas sources may complicate the identification of liberated or produced gases. 2. Natural lithology and/or porosity changes will lead to normal changes in gas measurements. 3. Changes in flowrate or penetration rate lead to apparent changes in gas volume. 4. Gas traps are notoriously unreliable extractors of gas, so that the measurement is entirely qualitative and subject to many errors (Hawker, 1999). 5. Mud systems, rheology, temperature, and gas solubility also influence the amount of gas that will be removed by gas traps. Note that the limitations detailed in 4 and 5, above, do not exist with the GasWizardTM system developed by Datalog. This extraction technique does not disturb (like agitation) the mud system and all gas, whether dissolved or free, passes through a gas permeable membrane as a result of differential partial pressures (Brumbioe et al, 2000, Hawker 1999, 2000). The system generates fully quantitative gas measurement, percentage by volume in the mud. The sensor can be placed in the flowline and in the suction line so that accurate determination of liberated gas is possible. In terms of predicting changes in formation pressure, we need to look at the changes that can be expected in gas trends when such zones are encountered. Background gas, reflecting the changes in the gas mechanically liberated from porosity during the drilling process, will typically increase when encountering an overpressured zone, even if the mud weight is sufficient to provide an overbalance and prevent fluid flow, through: • • Increased porosity and gas volume (inferred) Increased ROP resulting from the higher porosity and reduced differential pressure

Naturally, if the formation pressure exceeds the mud weight (ECD), and there is sufficient permeability, then formation fluids will influx into the wellbore, and produced gas will now add to the background gas level. Consider the changes in background gas trends in two typical situations; when penetrating a zone of sealed overpressure and when drilling through a transitional pressure increase.

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4.3.1.1 Sealed Overpressure ROP GAS With a complete seal, there will no indication of changing pressure until the zone is penetrated. Where there is a pressure increase, but still a condition of overbalance, then a normal gas response will be seen (Track A), representing an increase in liberated gas as a result of porosity and ROP increases. After passing through the base of the zone, the gas will return sharply to the background level. In reality, this response would be treated like a normal gas show. A pressure increase could only be inferred if connection gases (see section 4.3.2) also occurred once the zone was penetrated. This would also indicate permeability in the zone, allowing the fluids to flow when the annular pressure is reduced below the formation pressure during a connection. ECD>FP FP>ECD Track B shows how the gas trend would change if the pressure increase led to a condition of underbalance (assuming a kick doesn’t occur right away!). Again, on entering the zone, the gas increase would be evaluated as a normal gas response. Only what happens subsequently reveals that the zone is overpressured. If the zone was extensive, background gas would continue to show a gradual increase as fluids feed in from the formation and more and more formation was exposed. Eventually, the feed-in would become a kick as the gas reduces the hydrostatic further in the mud column. If the zone was thin, it is the drop off character of the gas response that reveals that gas is feeding in from the formation. If the gas does not drop immediately back to the background level, but drops off slowly, perhaps to a higher level than the previously established background, then a fluid influx is occurring. It can now be inferred that the initial gas response was as a result of both an increase in liberated gas and the occurrence of produced gas. Naturally, if fluids are flowing while drilling, connection gases would also be present to confirm the pressure increase. 4.3.1.2 Transitional Overpressure Here, we are now dealing with a shale or clay type sequence, so the changes in gas trends are going to be influenced by slightly different parameters. The main difference is the very low permeability associated with shale. This will prevent free flow of fluids associated with sealed overpressure in reservoir type rocks. Fluids are typically “produced” through porosity exposure as the pressure differential results in the caving off the shale from the wellbore wall (section 4.3.2). Minor flow may also occur through the low permeability, and it may be more significant if fissures, fractures, sandy layers, etc, are present to provide freer fluid flow.

A

B

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ROP

FP

ECD

Gas

Top of Undercompaction

ECD>FP

A
Underbalanced

B
FP>ECD

The first thing to note, is that throughout a transitional pressure increase, the degree of undercompaction, porosity and pressure all change uniformly with depth. As can be seen, all else being equal, this would result in a uniform increase in the penetration rate as the zone is penetrated. Therefore, when first drilling into the zone, with the formation pressure still balanced by the ECD, gas levels can be expected to show a steady increase as both porosity and penetration rate increase (zone A, above). As the formation pressure continues to increase, and the pressure differential decrease, connection gases can be expected to appear through this zone at such a time that the well becomes underbalanced during the connection procedure. This will confirm that the increasing background gas is resulting from a pressure increase, and the mud weight should be increased to provide additional overbalance. If the mud weight is not adjusted at this point, then a “secondary increase” in background gas will be seen when the formation pressure exceeds the ECD (zoneB). The liberated gas component will continue to increase as indicated but now, in addition, some minor fluid flow and gas generated through caving, will add to the background gas level. Connection gases will also show an increasing trend as the formation pressure continues to increase through this zone.

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4.3.2 Connection Gas As introduced in sections 4.3.1.1 and 4.3.1.2, the presence of connection gas is a very important confirmation that an underbalanced situation exists, and it is important to note that connection gas ONLY occurs when there is an underbalance. Therefore, unlike most pressure indicators, where there are other possible causes, connection gas is, largely, an unquestioned indicator. Two drops in balancing pressure, from the circulating ECD, occur over the duration of a connection, and either one or both may result in a reduction below the formation pressure, leading to a temporary condition of underbalance, which may result in a connection gas response. 1. Swab reduction in annular pressure (ECD) as the drillstring is lifted in the borehole. • • • Swabbing (described fully in section 2.5.4) is caused by frictional pressure losses that result from the mud movement caused by lifting the pipe. The pressure loss increases with pipe speed, length of the string, viscosity, annular clearance, closed or plugged nozzles. Although not calculable, swabbing is also induced by the piston type suction (imagine pulling a syringe) caused by full gauge tools such as the bit and stabilizers.

2. Reduction to static mud hydrostatic once the string is set in the slips and pumps are switched off. Important things to note about connection gas are as follows: • If a formation is underbalnced, and permeable, then a fluid influx will occur while the underbalance exists – if gas is present, then a connection gas response will be seen. Shale and clay formations can also generate connection gases when underbalanced. There may be minor fluid flow, as above, but gas is mainly generated as a result of formation caving. The high pressure fluid is prevented from flowing freely because of the low permeability. This causes microfractures within the shale, and caving at the borehole wall. As the shale fractures and falls in to annulus, gas is released from the pore volume, generating the gas response.
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Impermeable

Permeable

FP > Phyd

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Since the pipe is moving throughout the entire annulus, then frictional pressure loss is occurring throughout and, if a condition of underbalance exists, a formation from anywhere in the open hole can “flow” and generate a connection gas response. All of the causes of connection gases are, however, greatest at the bottom of hole, so unless there has been a significant change in the system (reduced mud weight for example), then this is where we are most likely to encounter “new” connection gases: • • • The greatest pressure drop is at the bottom of the hole. The BHA and drill collars result in the smallest annular clearance and greatest piston effect. There may not be filter cake built up sufficiently to prevent small fluid flows.

If the connection gas is generated from the bottom of the hole, then it will appear at surface one lag-time (bottoms up) after the pumps are switched on again following the connection. If a connection gas arrives at surface before bottoms up, then a zone higher up in the annulus is underbalanced. The exact depth can be calculated from the stroke differential, the volume pumped and the annular height to give the same annular volume. If a connection gas occurs after bottoms up, then there is a washout in the annulus. The following log and schematic shows an example of two underbalanced zones generating two connection gas responses: -

FP HYD ECD
ECD Pressure reduced due to swabbing

Lagged Gas

Mud movement and frictional pressure loss as pipe is lifted

BG

CG

CG

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The schematic is explained as follows: After reaching kelly down, the pipe is lifted while still circulating. This results in the pressure losses (indicated by small arrows) throughout the annulus that reduce the ECD (dotted blue line). The upper sand has a high formation pressure that exceeds the swab reduced ECD, leading to an influx while the pipe is being lifted. The pipe is set in slips and pumps stopped, so that the well is now balanced by the mud hydrostatic (black line). Naturally, the upper sand is even more underbalanced, and continues to flow. The sand at the bottom of the hole was still balanced by the swab reduced ECD, but is now underbalanced while the pipe is set in slips, so will influx while the connection is being made. After circulating bottoms up, 2 connection gases are seen. Note that the first connection gas, corresponding to the upper sand, is greater (and longer in duration) than the connection gas from the lower sand. This is as a result of the higher pressure and longer period of underbalance. Note that permeability will also be a factor in the amount of influx. The second connection gas corresponds to the sand at the bottom of the hole and arrives at surface one lag time after the pumps are started. To determine the depth of the upper producing zone, use the following procedure and example figures: Peak arrives 2000 strokes before bottoms up (note, in this example, the peaks are 20 minutes apart, so 2000 strokes would equate to 100 SPM). If pump volume = 0.0185 m3/stroke, then 2000 strokes = 37m3. Hole Diameter Drill Collar Diameter Drill Pipe Diameter = 12 ¼” or 311mm = 8 ½” or 216mm = 5” or 127mm

With 300m of drill collars, annular capacity = 0.0393 m3/m Annular volume = 11.8m3. Therefore, 25.2m3 is from the DP / OH section with an annular capacity of 0.0633 m3/m Height around DP = 25.2 / 0.0633 = 398m Total Height = 300 + 398 = 698m (above T.D) Note, also, from the two connection gases, that the larger connection gas, generated from a higher pressure over a longer of time, is also slightly asymmetrical in shape.

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This, then, becomes another diagnostic character of connections gases – as they become larger and more asymmetrical, the more the formation pressure is increasing and approaching actual ECD. Naturally, the lowest balancing pressure over a connection is when the pumps are off and the well is balanced by the mud hydrostatic pressure. It is therefore important that the time that the pumps are off is recorded, since this will also effect the amount of influx that may result.
Lagged Depth

dispersion INFLUX

Given these two criteria, the pressure engineer can accurately determine the formation pressure (within a small range) by looking at the size and symmetry of the peak, and comparing it with the pipe movement to determine where, over a connection, the influx corresponds to. Naturally, when doing this, natural dispersion of gas occurs during transit to surface, so just the central part of the peak, corresponding to the point of influx (normally corresponds to 4 or 5 minutes for “pumps-off” time) should be compared.

Pipe Movement

Connection Gases

Drill to KD

ECD

Pull to slips Set slips, pumps off Drill ahead

ECD - Swab

HYD

ECD HYD<FP<ECD-Swab ECD-Swab<FP<ECD
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The preceding diagram illustrates how, for a simplified connection procedure, a pressure profile can be plotted to detail the movement of the blocks, action of the pumps, and the resulting balancing pressure in the annulus. This can be compared to the peak of the connection gas response, once it arrives at surface, to determine the time of influx and the balancing pressure. As detailed before, the size and symmetry of the connection gas can also be used to verify pressure predictions from this technique. If the formation pressure just exceeds the mud hydrostatic, then influx will only occur when the string is set in the slips, and the connection gas will be low, sharp and symmetrical. With a greater formation pressure, if it also exceeds the swab reduced ECD, then the response will commence earlier, will be larger, and will be more asymmetrical, taking longer to return to a normal background. Other than shut in pressures resulting from well control, or formation tests such as RFT’s or DST’s, this type of analysis, from connection gases, is the only other “measurement” of pressure that the pressure engineer has at his/her disposal. All other indicators are qualitative indicators, using trend analysis. The technique is typically very reliable and will provide a relatively small range for the formation pressure value. However, accuracy may be reduced in the following circumstances: • • If the pipe is “worked” over the connection, creating swab and surge pressures and repeated influxes. If the gas influx is dispersed too much to accurately determine the point of influx. This may occur as a result of one or a combination of the following: - Long bottoms up time - Low viscosity mud - Mud type and temperature, gas phase – free gas in water base mud will disperse more than dissolved gas in oil base mud; higher temperatures reduce gas solubility.

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4.3.3 Temperature 4.3.3.1 Geothermal Gradient Since heat eminates from the earth’s core, a geothermal gradient, with temperature increasing with depth, will exist as heat dissipates out towards the earth’s surface. Typical gradients may be in the range of between 2 and 5 °C per 100m but will not be constant throughout a well. The geothermal gradient will vary according to the thermal conductivity of the minerals and fluids of a particular rock type or sedimentary sequence. For example: Pure Quartz and Evaporites have high conductivity Clay minerals and pore waters have low conductivity The lower the conductivity of a particular sequence, the more resistance there is to the flow of heat away from the earth’s centre, therefore a greater geothermal gradient will exist. The thermal conductivity of water is less than that of rock matrix, therefore formation fluids act as a natural barrier to the normal flow of heat. Overpressured formations, being undercompacted, have greater porosity and therefore a relatively greater fluid content. This means that they are less conductive to the flow of heat, producing a higher geothermal gradient. Porous reservoirs and thick coals may also act as such thermal barriers. Above an overpressured body, or similar barrier, a reduction in the geothermal gradient occurs immediately overlying them, due to the disturbance and distribution of isotherms. Thus, as an overpressured or transitional (increasing pressure) zone is approached, a reduction in temperature may be seen. This temperature will then rapidly increase once the overpressured zone is penetrated.

Formation Temperature

Overpressure zone

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4.3.3.2 Flowline Temperature Through mud logging techniques, we cannot, obviously, measure the bottom hole temperature directly. However, the heat generated from the formations, once they are penetrated, will be transferred to the drilling fluid. This is, in fact, one of the purposes of the drilling fluid, to dissipate heat generated downhole (by friction as well as geothermal). We can therefore measure the temperature of the mud leaving the hole (MTO), and a thermal ‘profile’ can be established as the depth increases. This profile will not be identical to the actual geothermal gradient because as well as heat generated from the formation, additional processes such as drilling action, pumping and string rotation, all generate frictional heat.

MTO

Transition Zone Overpressured Zone

depth

normal gradient

Certainly, the trends expected would be a significant increase in flowline temperature once an overpressured zone is penetrated. This includes the transition zone of course, but whether a difference in trend between a transitional zone and the overpressured zone can be determined is another story. You would expect a further increase passing from the transition zone, but it is not always detectable. In addition, it is very rare to be able to detect the drop in temperature before the zone of higher pressure is penetrated. In reality, therefore, from a steady increase in mud temperature, as drilling proceeds, the engineer is looking for a rapid increase to be a good indicator of an overpressured zone. However, there are many other factors that can influence the temperature of the mud, and which have to be taken into consideration when evaluating the trends. One of the biggest problems is the trend in mud temperature at the beginning of each bit run. A rapid increase will be seen over the early stages of a bit run, since, during the trip, mud in the hole and at surface will have cooled down. Once drilling commences, this mud will be heated rapidly, largely by friction from drilling and pumping. A period of time will be required before the heating of the mud reaches an equilibrium and further temperature increase is as a result of the geothermal gradient. Until this equilibrium is reached, there is no trend to work with. The time required depends on the degree of cooling and the size of the mud volume to reheat. Normally, a few circulations is required, but it can be much longer in deeper holes with larger mud volumes and longer tripping times. This would be worsened in colder climates where the surface mud volume cools even more. If this is combined with short bit run times, there may be no temperature trend to use at all!

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These and other limitations are listed below: Cooling of mud over a trip Duration of bit run Trips The longer the trip time, the greater the degree of cooling. The deeper the hole, the greater the volume of mud cooled. With short bit runs, equilibrium following initial mud heating may not be reached so that “geothermal” trends are not seen. The duration of trips will determine the degree of cooling. The start of bit runs will see a rapid increase in temperature as the mud warms through friction. Greater volume of mud to heat at start of bit runs Different degrees of conductivity Periods of non-circulation (eg trips, surveys) that allow the mud to cool, especially at surface and in the upper part of the hole The longer the mud is in the riser, the greater the cooling effect on mud leaving the hole. Obvious cooling effect. Different degrees of cooling at surface

Hole/Pit volume Mud type Drilling halts Water depth Surface additions Climate

All of these factors can have very strong influences on the temperature of the mud leaving, or entering the hole. Obviously, if the temperature of the mud entering the hole changes, then whatever the degree of heating as it is circulated round the hole back to surface, the temperature of the mud leaving the hole will also change. This can lead to fluctuations seen in the trend of the flowline temperature. Variations in the flowline temperature trend, caused by changes in the temperature of the mud entering the hole, can be alleviated to a degree, by looking at the temperature differential. 4.3.3.3 Delta T By eliminating, as much as possible, variations due to surface changes, the differential temperature Delta T (temperature out minus temperature in) can be used to provide a trend indicator. In other words, the degree of heating that occurs throughout a circulation is the same, regardless of the actual temperature of the mud going in (MTI). Fluctuations in MTI will also be reflected in fluctuations in MTO, but the temperature differential should not be affected. Although this is true to some extent, the differential does not completely remove the fluctuations caused by surface changes, so that both the MTO and Delta T trends can be used with the same degree of success.
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4.3.3.4 Trends Frictional Heating At the start of the bit run, the flowline temperature will show a rapid increase as the cooler mud becomes heated principally by the drilling and pumping action but also by newly drilled formations. Conversely, Delta T at the start of a bit run will be high and show a rapid decrease. Geothermal Heating Over a period of time, increases in flowline temperature due to drilling and pumping will become more uniform so that further increases in the temperature are representative of changes due to the geothermal gradient. This provides the temperature trend that can be monitored for pressure changes. MTO will show a slow, gradual increase while, at the same time, the Delta T trend will show a gentle decrease. A particularly long bit run may see Delta T become constant. Overpressure Heating Heating of the mud from an overpressured zone will be indicated by a rapid increase in the flowline temperature and an increase in Delta T. These trends, for an example bit run encountering overpressure, are illustrated below. When viewing the trend from successive bit runs, the initial part of the trend, where frictional heating is dominant, always has to be ignored. The trend should only be considered once an equilibrium has been reached.

Frictional Heating

Constant Frictional + Geothermal Heating

Overpressure

Duration of Bit Run

∆T

Normal Trend

MTO

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4.3.4 Analysis of Drilled Cuttings 4.3.4.1 Shale Density Cuttings density can be monitored to detect the onset of transitional pressure increases through shale or clay intervals. Shale Density With depth, shale density shows a normally increasing trend due to increased compaction and reduced porosity and fluid volume in comparison to the matrix content. Through a transitional zone, as pressure gradually increases and compaction rate decreases, shale density will show a corresponding gradual decrease to the normal trend. Through the overpressured zone, with constant pressure and compaction rate, the shale density will typically show a trend equivalent (in gradient) to the normal compaction trend, just offset to reflect the pressure differential.

Top of Undercompaction Transition Zone Overpressured Zone

NCT

With careful selection of the shale cuttings, shale density can be measured by the same technique used to determine bulk density, through weight and water displacement, described in section 2.4.1.1. Probably a more accurate method is through a graduated density column. Here, typically, a fluid of known concentration is mixed with distilled water in such a fashion that the resulting compound has a gradual change in concentration with depth. Glass beads of exact density mark this gradational change. A number of shale cuttings, carefully selected, are dropped into the column, and the depth at which they settle, representing their density, is recorded. A graph of density vs depth is used, for each shale cutting, as shown below, to determine an average shale density value.

1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.5 2.7 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.8 gm/cc

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Both methods, requiring careful selection of individual shale cuttings, are extremely user intensive and subject to error. The sources of error in the displacement technique are already described in section 2.4.1.1. The graduated column method requires the following considerations: • • • • • • Above all – user consistency! Flat cuttings should be avoided, because they will float on the surface. Cuttings with obvious fractures/fissures should be avoided because they will contain air. Cuttings of equal size and shape should be selected if possible. Cuttings should be dried quickly with absorbent paper to remove excess water from washing, but avoiding prolonged delay where they would dry out. Sometimes, the cuttings take a long time to settle completely. During this time, they may actually absorb the fluid, changing their original density. In this case, after a certain time (30 seconds for example) has elapsed, the depth should be read at that point. The 2 fluids in the column will slowly mix further over time, so the graph should be re-plotted on a regular (daily) basis to ensure it’s accuracy.

4.3.4.2 Pressure Cavings Cavings (recognised by their larger size compared to the drilled cuttings) are a known indication of borehole instability, where excess stress causes a breakdown of the borehole wall. Interpretation, however, is difficult, since high formation pressure and an underbalanced wellbore is only one of several possible causes (tectonic, geometry and structural) of caving in the borehole. The shape of the cavings can give some clue as to the likely cause, but again, exact interpretation is difficult.

TYPE

APPEARANCE

DESCRIPTION

CAUSE

Splintery

Elongated, fissile, Typical pressure cavings, platy, often concave associated with “spitting” off the borehole wall. Other stress also possible. generation

Blocky

Blocky, often showing More typically associated fractures. with tectonic or structural instability. Pressure generation also possible.

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4.3.4.3 Shale Factor As described in section 3.3.3.1, with normal diagenesis and burial, smectite clay transforms to illite, through a cationic exchange as clay dehydration takes place and water is released. Sh. Factor A reduction in CEC (cation exchange capacity) will be seen with depth, corresponding to the reduction in smectite and increase in illite content. Similar to the technique used to determine the bentonite content in the drilling fluid, an approximation to CEC is achieved by using methylene blue to determine the shale factor. Undercompaction The shale factor will normally decrease with depth as the amount of illite increases. Undercompacted clays in overpressured zones are typified by the fact that they have been unable to dehydrate properly, thus the smectite content is unusually high. This would lead to an increase in the shale factor, going against the normally increasing trend. Conversely, the higher temperature in an overpressured zone may actually speed up the process of cation exchange and clay transformation so that the shale factor would show a more rapid decrease. These two trend indicators make the shale factor a difficult parameter to use and to rely on as a pressure indicator. In addition, the methodology to determine the shale factor is extremely user intensive and open to large user error. The technique required is as follows: • • • • • • • • Select dry and representative shale cuttings Grind to a fine powder Weigh a ½ gram sample, add distilled water and a few drops of sulphuric acid Heat and stir Add methylene blue, drop by drop, from a pipette. Take a drop of the mixture and place on filter paper. The normal indication is if the water spreads and the blue remains centralized (upper example). When the blue spreads and a light blue aureole forms around it (lower example), record the volume of methylene blue added. Whether this actual volume is taken as the recording, or some calculation from it, the volume of methylene blue required represents the changing CEC.
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4.4 Influx Indicators
Other parameters “carried” by the mud can also indicate changes in formation pressure, but they are generally ‘later’ indicators, occurring when formation fluids have already influxed into the wellbore: • Pump Pressure An influx into the well bore of formation fluid or gas will decrease the mud density causing a reduction in the hydrostatic pressure. This will be indicated by a gradual reduction in the standpipe pressure as the influx occurs. • Conductivity Compared to rock matrix, formation fluid (especially the more saline) is the principle conductor of electricity. Since, with depth and compaction, pore fluid volume decreases, the normal trend of conductivity is a decreasing one. An undercompacted/overpressured zone is characterized by increased porosity and pore fluid volume. Since salt is extremely conductive, this increase in formation fluid volume would be indicated by an increase in electrical conductivity as pore fluids are released from the cuttings into the drilling mud. The change would be more noticeable if the formation fluids are actually flowing. Detection of these changes depends on the relative salinity of the drilling fluid – a change in formation fluid volume and chloride content would probably not be noticeable if the mud has a high chloride content. Salt saturated muds would be outside the range of normal electrical conductivity sensors. No conductivity measurements are possible in oil base muds. These parameters have to be treated with a great deal of caution, because many factors can influence the apparent resistivity/conductivity such as temperature, presence of hydrocarbons, mud type and filtration, nature of pore fluid, changes in lithology or organic matter. • Mud Density An increased amount of formation fluid or gas within the mud would clearly be identified by a reduction in mud density. • Mud flow and Pit Volumes Representing the displacement of drilling fluid from the annulus as formation fluids influx down hole.

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4.5 Wireline / LWD Indicators
Porosity indicators such as Resistivity, Sonic or Density may be measured by either wireline or LWD (logging while drilling). Clearly, if this data is available from LWD as drilling proceeds, then these indicators will provide accurate realtime data that should be used in conjunction with our own realtime measurements. Wireline measurements are taken once drilling of the well or hole section has been completed, so the data would be used as an additional resource that may confirm or improve predictions already made. This data becomes invaluable for future well planning when establishing pressure profiles.

4.5.1 Sonic Transit Time The sonic tool measures the transit time of a compressional sound wave, per unit length, in a vertical direction adjacent to the borehole. The transit time (microseconds per foot) is the reciprocal of the sound waves velocity and is a function of both lithology (matrix) and porosity. If the transit time is known for a given lithology matrix, then the sonic transit time becomes a measurement of the rocks porosity. Porosity can be calculated from transit times by using Wyllie’s (1958) formula: Sonic Porosity Øsonic = ∆T - ∆Tm ∆Tf - ∆Tm where ∆T = formation transit time ∆Tm = matrix transit time ∆Tf = fluid transit time

The following matrix and fluid transit times can be used, or defaults of 47 and 200 as detailed in section 2.4.1.2: Dolomite Limestone Sandstone Anhydrite Salt Claystone Saltwater Freshwater 43.5 47.6 51 - 55 50 67 47 170 220

Under normal compaction, with porosity decreasing with depth, sonic transit times will show a normal decrease with depth. With constant lithology, an increasing sonic trend indicates increased porosity, undercompaction and a probable transition zone.

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Sonic μsec/ft

The sonic log, for pressure determination, is typically plotted on a log scale, increasing from left to right. A normal trend (decreasing transit time with depth) therefore moves from the right to left, with a transition zone indicated by a kick to the right.

Top of Undercompaction Transition Zone

NCT
Overpressured Zone

It is often the case that the sonic trend is a good mirror image of the drilling exponent. Therefore, when drilling exponent data is not reliable due to many possible reasons as already described, the sonic log can provide invaluable information for trend analysis.

4.5.2 Resistivity Resistivity measures the ability of a formation to conduct electricity. Since rock matrix is nonconductive, the ability to transmit an electrical current is almost entirely a function of the formation fluid – the volume (i.e porosity) and chemistry of the pore fluid. Deep resistivity readings should be used in preference to shallow ones because the data is generally a true indication of formation fluid and not affected by mud filtrate invasion. With depth and increased compaction, there is a reduction in the formation pore fluid. Since fluid is a better conductor than rock matrix, this will reduce the conductive ability of the formation. Thus, with depth, resistivity will normally increase. A decreasing trend will thus be an indication of undercompaction. The reliability of resistivity as a pressure indicator is, however, affected by a number of factors: • • • • • • Resistivity Ωm

Top of Undercompaction Transition Zone Overpressured Zone

Resistivity also decreases with reduced salinity of the formation pore fluid. NCT Resistivity also decreases with increasing temperature. Reduced clay content reduces resistivity Changes in mineralogy or organic content will also influence the resistivity of a formation. Hydrocarbons are non-conductive, so resistivity increases with hydrocarbon saturation. Resistivity is normally used to determine hydrocarbon versus water-bearing zones, and the degree of water saturation. Subject to inaccuracy due to mud invasion or hole enlargement.
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4.5.3 Density The formation density log determines the electron density of a formation by bombarding it with gamma rays (either from Cesium 137 or Cobalt 60). These collide Density g/cc with electrons in the formation, resulting in a loss of energy in the gamma particles. The number of returning gamma particles is measured, being a direct function of the electron and bulk density of the formation. Bulk density clearly increases with depth as compaction and porosity increases. An undercompacted zone will result in an increasing density trend. Disadvantages of the density logs include: • • • The presence of hydrocarbons, especially gas. The tool is sensitive to borehole condition and filter cake. The log is seldom run for the complete well section.

Top of Undercompaction Transition Zone Overpressured Zone

NCT

4.5.4 Neutron Porosity The neutron log measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in a formation. The formation is bombarded with neutrons which lose energy when they collide with nuclei in the formation. The greatest energy loss occurs when the neutron collides with a hydrogen atom since they are of a similar size. Since hydrogen is concentrated within the pore fluid, whether water or hydrocarbons, the energy loss is a function of the formations porosity. Where gas fills the pore spaces, the hydrogen concentration decreases resulting in the “gas effect”, a significant drop in the neutron porosity. Unfortunately, the neutron porosity is not an effective, or reliable, compaction indicator in shales or clays, since the tool cannot distinguish between pore fluid or adsorbed water (bound within the clay matrix). A high neutron porosity measurement in an overpressured zone can indicate a high smectite content associated with an undercompaction origin of pressure.

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4.5.5 Gamma Ray The gamma ray is primarily used for the accurate determination of lithology types and for correlation. The gamma log measures the natural radioactivity of rocks by detecting elements such as Uranium, Thorium and Potassium. Shale free sandstones and carbonates have a low radioactive content, giving low gamma values. As shale content increases, the gamma will increase due to the radioactive content of shale. However, even a clean sand may result in high gamma values if it contains certain mineralogy such as K-feldspars, micas, glauconite, etc. Despite this, the gamma log can be used as a determination of a “shaliness” index, which can be subsequently used to determine Poisson’s Ratio in a particular technique to determine formation fracture gradients. Shale Index = GRlog - GRmin GRmax - GRmin where GRlog = average gamma over selected depth interval GRmin = minimum gamma from given formation or geological period GRmax = maximum gamma from given formation or geological period A thick shale sequence that has undergone constant depositional conditions such as burial rate, compaction and source material, will be subject to increased dewatering with compaction. During the dewatering process, Potassium ions adsorbed onto clay particles are not totally released, so that an increase in Potassium and therefore gamma can possibly be seen with depth. However, as a reliable pressure indicator, the constant history required is generally unrealistic.

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4.5.6 Wireline Examples

Bulk Density kg/m3
0

Sonic μsec/m

500

1000

1500 TOP OF UNDERCOMPACTION

2000

2500

3000 DEPTH(m) 3500

This example shows the correlation between two porosity indicator logs, bulk density and sonic. Firstly, the bulk density on the left shows a steady increase, with depth and compaction, as porosity decreases. Secondly, the sonic transit times show a steady decrease, with depth, as porosity and fluid content decrease with compaction. Both logs show clear normal compaction trends, with a change occurring from around 1750m. Both parameters now start to cut back away from the normal compaction trend (density decreasing, sonic increasing). This marks the top of an undercompacted zone, with porosity and pressure increasing with depth. Both parameters show fairly constant values for the remainder of the well, but with a steadily increasing differential from the NCT, i.e. continuing undercompaction and transitional pressure increase.
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Sonic μsec/m
This linear sonic example (left) illustrates the common occurrence of poor, erratic, trends in shallow clays. Similar trends would also be produced by the drilling exponent in this situation. This particular log is from a young deltaic environment, where clays in the sedimentary basin are still undergoing compaction and de-watering. They are extremely soft, unconsolidated and waterlogged, leading to the poor trends. In the older, more mature clays, occurring from around 900m, where the clays have become more consolidated and de-watered, a more consistent trend is observed, showing the normal compaction.

100 The sonic log to the right shows typical trends associated with pressure changes. Although not as bad as the previous example, note the poorer trend in the upper 500m of shallower clays, with an NCT being established below that interval. At around 1880m, the sonic increases, cutting away from the NCT. Here, we are at the top of a transition zone, which continues (with sonic, porosity, and pressure increasing) until a depth of 2570m. At around 2570m, the trend becomes constant, similar (in gradient) to the NCT, with depth. This is the zone of constant overpressure, with the pressure differential represented by the separation from the established NCT.

Sonic μsec/m

1000

Top Undercompaction

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SONIC μsec/m
0 200 400 600 800 0

RESISTIVITY Ωm
0.1 1.0 10 100

500

1000

1500

2000

2500 Top of Undercompaction Top of Undercompaction 3000

Transition Base

3500 Transition Base 4000

This example shows how, with pressure analysis, we can get close, but not precise correlation. This is a common phenomena when using several data sources and different parameters, illustrating the importance of analysing all available data. Both sonic and resistivity show reasonably good compaction trends, a transitional zone and a zone of constant overpressure, but the depths do not quite correlate. Top of undercompaction/transition – sonic gives 3100m and resistivity 2900m, quite a significant difference requiring further data for confirmation. Base of transition/top of overpressure – closer correlation with sonic showing 3680m and resistivity 3750m.
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5. QUANTITATIVE PRESSURE ANALYSIS
As described in the previous sections, the following steps and procedures are required to get to the point when quantitative formation pressure calculations can be made: 1. Calculation of Bulk Density From drilled cuttings From sonic transit times From density logs

2. 3.

Calculation of Overburden Gradient Determine Normal Compaction Trends Trends can be established for many parameters, although the principle tool, while drilling, will be the Corrected Drilling Exponent. Trends need to be established in good shale intervals, free of contamination. The sonic log can often be used to qualify the DCexponent, especially in the event of deviated holes, PDC bits, etc.

4.

Allow for shift changes in the NCT

Especially lithology. Also bit changes, hole size, bit wear, etc.

5.1 Calculation Techniques
There are several different methods of calculation, including Eaton’s, Ratio and Equivalent Depth, based on the comparison of undercompacted shale with normally compacted shale. This requires the accurate determination of Normal Compaction Trends as already described, and assumes the direct relationship between the porosity and the pressure anomaly. Eatons Method is generally accepted as being the most applicable in most regions of the world, and is therefore widely used in the industry. It is also generally accepted to be the most accurate method when interpreting Corrected Drilling Exponent data. Datalog uses this method. Studies have shown that Eatons Method is the most accurate for formation pressures less than 1.4sg (11.66ppg emw) whereas the Equivalent Depth method has been shown to be more accurate for formation pressures greater than 1.4sg. The advantage of Eaton’s Method is that it can be modified, based on regional experience, to provide an accurate model throughout.

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5.1.1 Eatons Method This method (Eaton, 1972, 1975) can be used to calculate the formation pressure from the following parameters: Seismic interval velocities Corrected drilling exponent Resistivity / Conductivity Sonic transit times The method assumes that the relationship between the observed (i.e. measured) parameter, normal parameter (i.e. if it plotted on the NCT) and the formation pressure, is dependant upon changes in the overburden gradient. Let FP = Formation Pressure Gradient (psi/ft) FPn = Normal Formation Pressure Gradient (psi/ft) S = Overburden Gradient (psi/ft) Xo = Parameter, observed Xn = Parameter, normal FP = S − (S − FPn)(Ro)1.2 (Rn) FP = S − (S − FPn)(DCo)1.2 (DCn) FP = S − (S − FPn)(∆Tn)3.0 ∆ ∆ (∆To) FP = S − (S − FPn)(Cn)1.2 (Co)

Resistivity

Corrected drilling exponent

Sonic transit time

Conductivity

Example: Taking the Corrected Drilling Exponent equation as an example: For a given depth, DCn is the value of the exponent that would lie on the Normal Compaction Trend (representing the value that would be produced with normal formation pressure), whereas DCo is the actual calculated exponent value calculated for a given pressure differential.

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At 10000ft: Top of Undercompaction

Normal Formation Pressure = 0.452 psi/ft (8.7ppg emw) Overburden Gradient = 1.04 psi/ft let DCo = 1.75 let DCn = 1.85

Transition

DCo

DCn
10000ft DCexp

NCT

FP = S − (S − FPn)(DCo)1.2 (DCn) Actual Formation Pressure Gradient = 1.04 − (1.04 − 0.452)(1.75)1.2 (1.85) = 0.490 psi/ft = 9.42 ppg emw The exponents (in this case 1.2) are reliable for universal use, but if sufficient data was available, they could be refined on a regional basis. For example, if calculated formation pressure was higher than reliable DST results, then the exponent value can be adjusted so that the calculated formation pressure agrees with the test results. Calculating Isodensity Lines Although not a requirement when calculating formation pressures through computer software, isodensity lines are a useful way of graphically representing the drilling exponent (or specific parameter) alongside curves of increasing equivalent mudweights (representing increasing formation pressure). Again, the process relies on the accurate determination of the overburden gradient and normal compaction trend (which represents the normal formation pressure isodensity line). The same formulae are used, but Xo, the observed value of the parameter, is made the subject. This represents the value that positions the isodensity line for a given equivalent mudweight at any given depth. Again, taking the drilling exponent as an example: DCo = [ 1.2√ (S − FP) ] [ (S − FPn) ] x DCn

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FP represents the value of the isodensity line being calculated DCo represents the exponent value where the isodensity line will be plotted From the numbers used in the previous example: At 10000ft, overburden gradient = 1.04 psi/ft normal formation pressure = 0.452 psi/ft DCn = 1.85 Let us calculate the position, at 10000ft, for the 10.0ppg isodensity line 10.0ppg emw = 0.52 psi/ft DCo = (1.2√ (1.04 − 0.52)) (1.04 − 0.452) x 1.85 = 1.67

Therefore, the 10.0ppg isodensity line at 10000ft would be plotted at a ‘drilling exponent’ value of 1.67. This calculation should be repeated for an entire depth interval to produce a complete isodensity line.
10.0 9.5 9.0

DCexp

10.5 3000 11.0 3200

11.5 3400

3600

NCT 3800 Formation Pressure (ppg emw)

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This type of graphical representation is ideal in that it shows the actual drilling exponent trend along with the Normal Compaction Trend. With the isodensity lines, any deviation from the normal trend can immediately be seen along with the estimation of formation pressure (equivalent mudweight). In the above example: Normal formation pressure is 8.8ppg, shown by the drilling exponent plotting along the normal compaction trend. The top of an undercompacted zone is clearly evident at around 3200ft, where the drilling exponent starts to cut back to the left. As the cutback continues, formation pressure is seen to gradually increase with depth, reaching 10.4 to 10.5ppg emw around 3650ft.

5.1.2 Equivalent Depth Method As with Eatons Method, the Equivalent Depth Method can be applied to all the main parameters. The method assumes that every point in an undercompacted shale (I) is associated with a normally compacted point (E) at a shallower depth, i.e. that the compaction at both points is identical. For a given depth (DI) of the parameter, the method works by extrapolating that value of the parameter back to a depth (DE) where that same value falls on the NCT. Taking a drilling exponent trend as an example: DCexp

FPI DE E FPE SI DI SE

= formation pressure gradient at the depth of interest DI = formation pressure gradient at the equivalent depth DE (i.e. normal pressure) = overburden gradient at depth of interest = overburden gradient at equivalent depth DE FPI = SI − DE (SE − FPE) DI

DI

I
NCT

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Calculating Isodensity Lines X
DCexp

Extend the normal compaction trend XY to the depth origin X Choose point E lying on the NCT For the selected isodensity value deqlI, calculate the depth DI using the formula: DI = 0.545 DE 1.0 − deqlI

DE

E

NCT

Derivation of constants is assuming the following: overburden gradient = 1.0 psi/ft (19.2ppg emw) normal formation pressure = 0.455 psi/ft (8.75ppg emw)

DI

I Y

hence, 0.545 = S − FPn Naturally, if more accurate data, or the actual values are known, they should be used in the formula.

Z

The isodensity lines produced by the Equivalent Depth method will look as follows:

NCT Depth
12 11 10 9 Isodensity lines (ppg) 86

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5.1.3 Ratio Method This method is sometimes referred to as the Zamora Method and can again be used for all porosity related indicators such as drilling exponent, sonic, resistivity and density. The method works on the principle that where a pressure differential is observed, the increase in pressure is directly proportional to the parameter differential (the difference, at a given depth, between the measured parameter and the value of the parameter if it lay on the NCT at that depth).

DCexp

NCT

DCo

DCn

The formation pressure (FP) at the given depth, is calculated as follows: FP = FPn x DCn DCo FPn = normal formation pressure DCo = observed parameter DCn = parameter value if lying on the NCT

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6. CALCULATION OF FRACTURE GRADIENT
As discussed in section 2.3, knowledge of the formation fracture gradient, especially weak zones, is essential while planning or drilling a well. We have already seen how the formation at the previous casing shoe depth is assumed to be the weakest zone of a particular hole section (because it is the shallowest depth of that section) and how we determine the fracture gradient at that depth through Leak Off or Pressure Integrity tests. However, we cannot automatically assume that that will be the weakest zone; highly porous, fractured or overpressured formations may well have a lower fracture gradient even though they occur at a deeper depth. Thus, it is important to have accurate fracture gradient calculations in the same way that it is important to have accurate formation pressure calculations.

Accurate knowledge of the fracture gradient enables: • • • • Planning of a drilling program, casing depths and maximum mud weights Calculation of the maximum annular pressure (MAASP) when controlling a kick Calculation of kick tolerances while drilling Estimation of pressures required for stimulating by hydraulic fracturing

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6.1 General Theory
To calculate the fracture gradient requires the knowledge of the minimum component of in-situ stresses (S3) acting at a given point, since the direction of minimum stress will obviously be the first to fail. Fracture and failure is controlled by the effective stress (σ) which is the difference between the total stress (i.e. overburden S) and the formation pore pressure (FP) The stress supported by the matrix can be expressed as: σ = S − FP For the minimum stress: σ3 = S3 − FP The minimum effective stress, S3, is generally assumed to be the horizontal component, so that: S3 = K3σ + FP where σ = effective vertical stress due to the overlying sediments K3 = ratio of horizontal to vertical effective stresses There are several different techniques and theories in the field of fracture gradient calculation with the main difference arising from the determination of the K3 ratio. • • K3 may be evaluated from regional studies of fracture measurements K3 may be assumed to depend on Poissons Ratio (µ) for the particular formation material. This assumes that the formation has not undergone lateral deformation and that it has always deformed elastically. This is obviously an unreasonable assumption, so that these methods have to treated with caution. The relationship between K3 and µ: K3 = µ 1−µ −

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6.2 Calculation Methods

6.2.1 Eatons Method Eatons method (1969) builds on the theory established by Hubbert and Willis (1957) and assumes that rock deformation is plastic. On the basis that Poissons Ratio and overburden vary with depth, Poissons ratio has to be derived from regional data for the fracture gradient, formation pressure and overburden gradient. Pfrac = ( µ ) σ + FP (1−µ) − where Pfrac FP σ µ = fracture gradient = formation pressure = overburden − formation pressure = Poissons Ratio

By reworking this formula and making it the subject, Poissons ratio can be calculated from offset data, preferably prior to drilling the well, from the following equation: µ = Pfrac − FP S + Pfrac − 2FP

Overburden can be determined by any source of bulk density, as already described in section 2.4; fracture gradients can be taken from offset pressure tests, lost circulation occurrences, squeeze or actual fracture data, etc Naturally, the drawback with this method is if offset data is poor, or unavailable, so that Poissons Ratio cannot be determined. Then, an alternative determination of Poisson Ratio has to be used.

6.2.2 Poissons From Shaliness Index Eatons method is furthered by Anderson et al (1973), who calculate Poissons ratio on the basis of a Shaliness Index (Ish) derived from well logs: Ish = Øs - Ød Øs

where Øs and Ød are porosities determined from sonic and density logs respectively.

The relationship between Poissons Ratio and the shaliness index is given by: µ = AIsh + B

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The constants A and B relate to a plot of Poissons Ratio against shaliness index (Biot 1957), defining the gradient and y-axis intersection.
0.4 0.3

µ
0.2 0.1

0

10

Ish %

20

30

40

A = gradient of line = 0.05/0.4 = 0.125 B = y-axis intersection = 0.27 µ = 0.125 Ish + 0.27 where Ish = shaliness index

Hence, for a clean, shale free sand for example, the minimum for Poissons Ratio is 0.27 because Ish will be equal to zero. As shown in section 4.5.5, shaliness index can be determined from gamma logs: The maximum and minimum gamma value should be determined for each formation or geological time period. Shaliness Index can then be derived for given depth intervals, e.g. 10 or 20m, from: Ish = GRlog - GRmin GRmax - GRmin where GRlog = average gamma over selected depth interval GRmin = minimum gamma from given formation or geological period GRmax = maximum gamma from given formation or geological period Of course, with this method, we still have the limitation of requiring actual data – if we do not have a gamma log from an offset well, then we cannot determine the shaliness index in order to derive a value for Poissons Ratio.

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6.2.3 Daines Method Daines method (1980) recognises the fact that, without empirically derived data, the previous techniques of fracture calculations are limited. This technique uses laboratory derived physical properties of rocks to determine Poissons Ratio and takes the Hubbert and Willis formula a step further by introducing a correction by way of a superimposed tectonic stress derived from an initial leak off test. Thus, Daines provides a technique to calculate fracture gradients without the requirement of offset data. Values of Poissons Ratio, determined experimentally with laboratory tests, are listed below: Clay Clay (wet) Conglomerate Dolomite Greywacke - coarse - fine - medium - fine, micritic - medium, calcarenite - porous - fossiliferous - argillaceous - stylolitic - coarse - coarse, cemented - medium - fine - very fine - poorly sorted, clayey - fossiliferous - calcareous - dolomitic - siliceous - silty - sandy - kerogenaceous 0.17 0.50 0.20 0.21 0.07 0.23 0.24 0.28 0.31 0.20 0.09 0.17 0.27 0.05 0.10 0.06 0.03 0.04 0.24 0.01 0.14 0.28 0.12 0.17 0.12 0.25 0.08 0.13 0.34

Limestone

Sandstone

Shale

Siltstone Slate Tuff

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The lithology based Poissons Ratio can be substituted into the formula, so that: Pfrac = σt + ( µ ) σ + FP (1−µ) − where σt = superimposed tectonic stress The superimposed tectonic stress, σt, is calculated from the first Leak Off Test, and is assumed to be constant for the whole well. The fracture gradient at this point will be the fracture gradient derived from the LOT (section 2.3.1). There is potential error here, depending on whether the value of Poissons Ratio selected is representative of the lithology at the depth of the test. For the purpose of deriving the superimposed tectonic stress, if the lithology at the depth of Leak Off is not accurately known, a default value of 0.25 should be selected for Poissons Ratio.

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7. Use of the QLOG software
7.1 General Procedure
• • • • • Determine or obtain Bulk Density measurements Calculate the Overburden Gradient at regular intervals Select trend indicator and determine the Normal Compaction Trend for the given interval * Calculate the Formation Pressure * Calculate or select the appropriate Poissons Ratio and calculate the Fracture Gradient

* NOTE The Normal Compaction Trend selected, and hence the accuracy of the calculated formation pressure, will only be as good as the interpretations made by the engineer. Before selecting the NCT, the engineer will have already made an accurate estimation of the formation pressure by considering changes in all parameters such as gas trends, produced gases, temperature trends, shale density etc. The software cannot do this by itself. In otherwords, the software can be used to do the hard work of the actual calculations, but these calculations should only be confirming the conclusions already arrived at by the engineer.

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7.2 Overburden Program
In order for the Formation Pressure and Fracture Gradient to be calculated, we have already seen that the Overburden Gradient must be known or have been calculated. The overburden program calculates the gradient for each log interval and will update it into the database. The program can normally be run directly from a command line with no user input required. However, the first time that the program is run, the command overburd +m (for manual) should be used. This allows you to specify the start and end depths and is, in fact, the version of the program that is run from the QLOG menu. The overburden gradient is calculated from the Bulk Density. There must therefore be bulk density values, for each record in the database, entered into the JW reference column. This data may be imported from offset wireline data or measured by the mudlogger at wellsite. If bulk density values are not available for each individual record in the database, you must fill, or copy to, the blank records. Every record must have a bulk density value in order for the overburden calculation to work. Running the program for the first time: • Ensure that the bulk density value in the equipment table is set to zero and that the Bulk Density column in the database has values for every record over the required interval.

NOTE that an accuracy problem will exist if the database does not start from surface, i.e. if we are requested at wellsite at an intermediate stage of the well. For example, if the database is started at 2000m and the first bulk density measurement is 1.95 gm/cc, then that density will be assumed for the whole of the first 2000m given an initial overburden gradient of 1950 kg/m3 emw. This is obviously inaccurate, erring on the high side, since it does not allow for the density increasing from a low value at surface to 1.95 at 2000m. If any data is available from wireline, then we should attempt to calculate the initial overburden gradient as accurately as possible. This value should then be entered, as an equivalent density, into the bulk density column for the first record. For example, if the overburden for 2000m was calculated at 1700 kg/m3, then a value of 1.70 gm/cc should be entered into the first bulk density record. • • Enter the command overburd +m, or enter the program from the QLOG menu. Enter your start depth as the start of the database. Your end depth should be the depth of the last bulk density value entered into the database.

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Choose to update the equipment file and database after the calculation. When the calculation is done, the equipment table will be automatically updated with the Bulk Density (equivalent for the present calculated overburden), which will then be used for subsequent realtime calculations. Calculating to the end of the database will calculate past the end depth entered. Press F5 to read in the bulk density values from the database. Press F7 to calculate the overburden gradient. If you do not select to update the database, the program will just display the calculated end result for the present end depth.

• • •

After the first proper calculation (detailed above) run has been completed, the program should be run at regular intervals while drilling. This should be done from a command line with overburd. The calculation will be automatic - no manual input of depths is required, the program automatically continues from the depth of the last calculation. Even better, the logger can set the system so that the program runs automatically at a pre-determined time interval, by using the cron timing facility (see Advanced QLOG). If you wanted to recalculate for the whole database, then run the program as in the first 2 steps above, using the overburd +m option.

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7.3 Overpressure Program
This program enables you to calculate the Formation Pressure and Fracture Gradient. Before using this program, the user should be fully familiar with the theory and techniques of abnormal pressure analysis. The program requires certain information to be in place before running. To calculate Formation Pressure: • • The Overburden Gradient needs to have been calculated for the given depth interval The Normal Formation Pressure for the region needs to be entered into the equipment table.

The user can then determine a Normal Compaction Trend based upon the Corrected Drilling Exponent. The Fracture Gradient calculation is based upon the calculated Overburden Gradient and the calculated Formation Pressure, together with the appropriate Poisson’s Ratio. These calculations are performed offline for a depth interval already drilled. When the calculations are completed, the Poisson’s Ratio together with Pressure Slope and Offset (relating to the Normal Compaction Trend) are written automatically to the equipment table allowing for realtime calculation of the formation pressure and fracture gradient. The parameter most commonly used to determine a Normal Compaction Trend is the Corrected Drilling Exponent using Jordan and Shirley’s formula. The limitations of this parameter, however, have to be recognized. A trend can, normally, only be accurately determined for homogenous shale or claystone. Varying hydraulics, formation, bit type, size and wear, will all cause changes to the DCexp trend. Always consider the DCexp along with changes in cuttings character, mud temperature and resistivity, connection gas, background gas, torque and drag of drillstring etc. As previously stated, the engineer should have already evaluated all of these parameters and determined where the formation pressure is normal, where it becomes abnormal and what the probable new formation pressure is, before using the software. Based on this evaluation, the selection of the NCT is totally dependent on the engineer. This will determine the pressure calculations made by the software, so that the software should be used in such a way as to give the calculations that the engineer considers correct.

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To use the program: Firstly, select the correct NCT using the overlay plot: • • Select the parameter you wish to use for the trend line from the first menu - normally DCexp. For the Start and End depths of the interval that you intend to update calculations for, enter the value of the Normal Compaction Trend (this value is determined from the scale of the source, ie DCexp). Use ‘ball park’ figures initially - you will probably have to run this several times before you have the NCT in exactly the position that you want. The end depth will be the depth to which the data is calculated and updated, so extrapolate your trend if you are in a transition zone and it will give you the calculated pressures within that zone. Enter Start and End depths of the plot (in most cases, these will be the same as the NCT start and end depths), and horizontal plot scales (this is the Equivalent Mudweight, and would normally be left as the default 800 to 2500 kg/m3 EMW). Select the calculation method, Eaton or Zamora (otherwise known as the Ratio method). Eatons is the preferred method. BEFORE calculating and updating the database, select F8 to produce an Overlay Plot - this will be a plot of the DCexp together with your selected Normal Compaction Trend and is called overlay.plot, accessed from Reports-XYZ plots. You may have to re-select your Trend start and end values before you are completely happy with its positioning.

• •

Once you are happy with the positioning of the Normal Compaction Trend, you are ready to perform the pressure and fracture gradient calculations: • Enter the Poisson’s Ratio. This is only used in the calculation of the Fracture Gradient. Properly, this should be a depth based value determined from offset data using overburden, formation pressure and fracture gradient (see section 6.2.1, Eatons Method). If this data is not available to you, you should use the lithologically determined ratios shown in the help file and this manual (section 6.2.3, Daines Method).

NOTE that the QLOG software calculates fracture gradient with Eatons formula and does not, therefore, take the superimposed tectonic stress, required by Daines, into consideration. If, since you do not have offset data, you are selecting lithology based Poissons, then you will need to manually correct the calculated fracture gradient. Firstly, calculate the superimposed tectonic stress from the first leak off, as described. Second, export the calculated fracture gradient into a spreadsheet and add the superimposed tectonic stress to each record. Finally, import the modified fracture gradient back into the QLOG database. • Select Average Size. For example, if your database was every metre, and you selected an average of 10, the calculated data for each record in the database would be averaged over the previous 10 records.
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Select Interval Size. This does not affect the calculated data in the database, but determines the frequency of data points output to the plot. If 10 was selected for example, only every 10th record would be output to the plot. This means that the XYZ plot created (these have a limited memory capability) is capable of taking a greater depth interval. Select whether to Update Database and Equipment Table. Obviously, this would write all of the calculated formation pressures and fracture gradients to the database and would also write the following parameters to the equipment table to allow for realtime calculations: Poisson’s Ratio Pressure Slope and Offset (based on the normal compaction trend)

• •

Calculate to end of database - this would calculate beyond the End Depth already selected. Press F7 to calculate. This will update your database and equipment table and also produce a pressure profile plot; formation pressure and fracture gradient against depth, called press.plot

NOTE that the parameters written to the equipment table allow for realtime calculations of formation pressure and fracture gradient based on your Normal Compaction Trend. Should there be a lateral shift in this trend, caused by such things as change in lithology, bit change, change in hydraulics, then it is quite legitimate for you to change the pressure offset in order to get accurate realtime calculations. This facility should only be used for these types of shift changes and not for changes in your drilling exponent caused by a formation pressure change (ie do not change the pressure slope). You should only change the pressure offset, which effectively shifts your Normal Compaction Trend, if you are fully confident of what your formation pressure is (this only comes with experience and by taking into consideration all pressure indicators), - you can therefore alter the pressure offset so that you get the realtime calculations that you want. Should you have an interbedded lithology sequence, for example sand and shale, then your Normal Compaction Trend is effectively shifting for each lithology change. It would therefore be virtually impossible to keep your realtime calculations accurate. In this situation, so that you have accurate information on display for engineers and geologists, it may be advisable to use the override facilities in the equipment table.

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7.3.1 Multiple NCT’s For calculation purposes, intervals have to be calculated using a single NCT. However, if you were producing overlay plots for a final well report, then multiple trends can be selected. This may be due to a number of causes: Shift changes due to bit changes change in hole size change in hydraulics or drilling parameters unconformities (this may also produce a different NCT gradient)

Multiple trends can be selected by editing the plot data file /datalog/plots/data/trend.dat which would normally contain the start and end depths plus NCT values that you selected in the overpress program. For additional trend sections, simply add depths and NCT values required:50 350 350 700 700 1100 1.26 1.42 1.56 1.68 1.44 1.60 #NCT 1, 50 to 350m #NCT 2, 350 to 700m #NCT 3, 700 to 1100m

Again, this facility can be very useful for providing detailed plots for final well reports but cannot be used for calculation purposes.

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8. EXERCISES
Exercise 1 Gradient Calculations

1. Convert the following mud densities into pressure gradients: a. b. c. d. e. 9.5 ppg 12.6 ppg 1.8 sg 1055 kg/m3 1250 kg/m3 (psi/ft) (psi/m) (psi/m) (KPa/m) (KPa/m)

2. What hydrostatic pressure is exerted by the following mud densities at the given depths? a. b. c. d. 13.2 ppg at 7500 ft 10.5 ppg at 2300 m 1.45 sg at 5000 ft 1150 kg/m3 at 4000m (psi) (psi) (psi) (KPa)

3. What mud density would balance the following formation pressures? a. b. c. d. e. f. 4000 psi at 5000 ft 4000 psi at 7000 ft 6500 psi at 4000 m 6500 psi at 3000 m 40000 KPa at 3000 m 40000 KPa at 4000 m (ppg) (ppg) (ppg) (ppg) (kg/m3) (kg/m3)

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Exercise 2 Overburden Gradient Calculations From the table shown, complete the calculation of the overburden gradient.

Interval

Thickness (m)

Av ρb (gm/cc) 1.25 1.48 1.65 1.78 1.83 1.89 1.95 1.99 1.96 2.02

Interval OB Press (KPa) 613 2178 1619 1746

Cumul OB Pres (KPa) 613 2791 4410 6156

OBG (KPa/m) 12.26 13.95 14.70 15.39

Grad EMW (kg/m 3) 1250 1422 1498 1569

0 - 50 50 - 200 200 - 300 300 - 400 400 - 500 500 - 600 600 - 750 750 - 850 850 - 900 900 - 1000

50 150 100 100

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Exercise 3 Overburden Gradient Calculation Complete the table for the following overburden calculation:

Interval (ft)

Bulk Density (gm/cc) 1.05 1.20 1.29 1.36 1.40 1.46 1.53 1.55 1.59 1.64 1.69 1.67 1.75 1.78 1.77 1.80

Interval OB Pressure (psi)

Cumulative Pressure (psi)

OB Gradient (psi/ft)

OB Gradient EMW (ppg)

0 - 50 50 - 100 100 - 200 200 - 300 300 - 400 400 - 500 500 - 600 600 - 700 700 - 800 800 - 900 900 - 1000 1000 - 1100 1100 - 1200 1200 - 1300 1300 - 1400 1400 - 1500

Plot the calculated values, against depth, to produce an overburden gradient profile.

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Exercise 4 Kick Tolerance Use the following well profiles and information: Hole depth Hole size Present MW Shoe depth Pfrac 4000m TVD 216mm 1500 kg/m3 3000m TVD 1850 kg/m3 emw Annular Capacity DC/OH = 0.01525 m3/m Annular Capacity DP/OH = 0.02396 m3/m

300m of 165mm drill collars 127mm drill pipe Gas influx, density 250 kg/m3

1. What is the maximum gas influx height that can be safely controlled without fracturing the shoe? 2. What is the annular volume around the drill collars? 3. For the maximum influx height, what is the maximum influx volume? 4. What is the kick tolerance, assuming a liquid influx? 5. What is the kick tolerance for a gas influx reaching the top of the drill collars? 6. Plot a graph of kick tolerance against influx volume. 7. Assuming a liquid kick, what is the maximum formation pressure (emw) that can be safely controlled without fracturing the shoe? 8. From the graph, given a 5m3 influx of gas, what is the maximum formation pressure that can be safely controlled? 9. Determine the height of a 5m3 influx and then verify the answer to question 8 by using the formula.

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Exercise 5 Using the overburden gradient calculated in exercise 3 and the following Corrected Drilling Exponent plot, complete the following tasks. Assume that the normal formation pressure is 8.7 ppg emw, giving a pressure gradient of 0.452 psi/ft. 1. Assuming that the complete depth interval comprises an homogeneous shale, position a Normal Compaction Trend line. 2. Using the following values of the drilling exponent that would lie on the NCT line, calculate and position isodensity lines for the equivalent formation pressures of 9.0, 9.5 and 10.0 ppg. Depth 100 200 300 600 900 1200 1500 Example ‘Normal’ Drilling Exponent 1.04 1.09 1.15 1.32 1.51 1.74 2.00

9.0ppg (0.468 psi/ft) isodensity line at 100ft: DCo = (1.2√ (0.487 − 0.468)) (0.487 − 0.452) x 1.04 = 0.625

3. Verify the position of these isodensity lines by calculating the formation pressure at 1200 ft.

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0

DCexponent

500

DEPTH (ft)

1000

1500 0.1

1

10

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Appendix Answers to Exercises Exercise 1 1. a. b. c. d. e. a. b. c. d. 0.494 psi/ft 2.150 psi/m 2.557 psi/m 10.35 KPa/m 12.26 KPa/m 5148 psi 4120 psi 3139 psi 45126 KPa 3. a. b. c. d. e. f. 15.38 ppg 10.99 ppg 9.53 ppg 12.7 ppg 1359 kg/m3 1019 kg/m3

2.

Exercise 2 Depth Interval 400 – 500 500 – 600 600 – 750 750 – 850 850 – 900 900 – 1000 Exercise 3 Depth Interval Interval Pressure Cumulative (psi) Pressure (psi) 22.73 25.98 55.86 58.89 60.62 63.22 66.25 67.11 68.85 71.01 73.18 72.31 75.77 77.07 76.64 77.94 22.73 48.71 104.57 163.46 224.08 287.30 353.55 420.66 489.51 560.52 633.70 706.01 781.78 858.85 935.49 1013.43 O/B Grad (psi/ft) 0.455 0.487 0.523 0.545 0.560 0.575 0.589 0.601 0.612 0.623 0.634 0.642 0.651 0.661 0.668 0.676 Equivalent MW (ppg) 8.74 9.36 10.05 10.48 10.77 11.05 11.33 11.56 11.77 11.98 12.19 12.34 12.53 12.70 12.85 12.99
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Interval Pressure Cumulative KPa Pressure KPa 1795 7951 1854 9805 2869 12674 1952 14626 961 15587 1982 17569

O/B Grad KPa/m 15.90 16.34 16.90 17.21 17.32 17.57

Equivalent MW kg/m3 1621 1666 1723 1754 1766 1791

0 – 50 50 – 100 100 – 200 200 – 300 300 – 400 400 – 500 500 – 600 600 – 700 700 – 800 800 – 900 900 – 1000 1000 - 1100 1100 - 1200 1200 - 1300 1300 - 1400 1400 - 1500

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OVERBURDEN GRADIENT
0

500

DEPTH (ft)

1000

1500 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

EQUIVALENT MUDWEIGHT (ppg)

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Exercise 4 Kick Tolerance 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 840m 4.575m3 17.513m3 262.5 kg/m3 168.8 kg/m3

262.5

168.8

4.575

17.5

7. 1762.5 kg/m3 8. approx 1665 kg/m3 9. height = 317.7m; FP = 1663 kg/m3

Exercise 5 Isodensity Lines Depth 100 200 300 600 900 1200 1500 9.0ppg emw 0.625 0.983 1.190 1.391 1.623 1.880 0.517 0.697 0.973 1.194 1.428 1.682 0.08 0.385 0.745 0.990 1.228 1.479 9.5ppg emw 10.0ppg emw

Formation Pressure at 1200 ft = 10.0 ppg emw

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0 DCexponent NCT 9.0ppg EMW 9.5ppg EMW 10.0ppg EMW

500

DEPTH (ft)

1000

1500

0.1

1

10

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9. BIBLIOGRAPHY
Anderson, R.A., Ingram, D.S., Zanier, A.M., 1973, Determining fracture pressure gradients from well logs, SPE 4135, Journal of Petroleum Technology, V25, p1259-1268. Asquith G.B. & Gibson, C.R., Basic well log analysis for geologists, AAPG methods in exploration, 1983 Barker, C., 1990, Calculated volume and pressure changes during the thermal cracking of oil to gas in reservoirs; AAPG Bulletin, V74, p1254-1261 Bellotti, P. & Giacca, D., 1978, AGIP, Pressure evaluation improves drilling programs. Oil and Gas Journal, V76, No. 37, p76-85 Bingham, M.G., 1964, A new approach to determining rock drillability, Oil and Gas Journal, V62, 46, p173-179. Biot, M.A., 1955, Theory of elasticity and consolidation for porous anisotropic solids, Journal of Applied Physics, V26, No2. Bruce, C.H., 1984, Smectite dehydration – it’s relation to structural development and hydrocarbon accumulation in northern Gulf of Mexico basin; AAPG Bulletin, V68, p673-683. Brumboie, A.O., Hawker, D.P., Norquay, D.A., Wolcott, D.K., 2000, Application of semi-permeable membrane technology in the measurement of hydrocarbon gases in drilling fluids; SPE 62525, SPE/AAPG Western Regional Meeting, Long Beach, California, June 2000. Daines, S.R., 1980, The prediction of fracture pressures for wildcat wells, SPE 9254, 55th Annual Fall Conference, SPE of AIME, September 1980. Eaton, B.A., 1975, The equation for geopressure prediction from well logs, SPE 5544, 50th Annual Fall Meeting, SPE of AIME, September 1975. Eaton, B.A., 1972, The effect of overburden stress on geopressure prediction from well logs, SPE 3719, Journal of Petroleum Technology, August 1972. Eaton, B.A., 1969, Fracture gradient prediction and it’s application in oilfield operations, SPE 2163, Journal of Petroleum Technology, V21, p1353-1360 Fear, M.J., and Abbassian, F., 1994, Experience in the detection and suppression of torsional vibration from mud logging data, SPE 28908, European Petroleum Conference, London, October 1994. Gretener, P.E., 1969, Fluid pressure in porous media, it’s importance in geology, A review; CSPG, 17,3, p255-295. Hawker, D.P., 1999, Hydrocarbon evaluation and interpretation; Datalog internal publication.

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Hawker, D.P., 1999, Direct gas in mud measurement at the well site, Hart’s Petroleum Engineer International, V72, 9, p31-33. Hawker, D.P., 2000, System cuts formation gas guesses, American Oil & Gas Reporter, V43, 12, p118122. Hubbert, King & Willis, 1957, Mechanics of hydraulic fracturing, AIME 210, p153-166 Jordan, J. R. & Shirley, O.J., 1966, Application of drilling performance data to overpressure detection, SPE 1407, Journal of Petroleum Technology, V28, 11, 1387-1394. Magara, K., 1974, Compaction, ion filtration, and osmosis in shale and their significance in primary migration; AAPG Bulletin, V58, p283-290 Mouchet, J.P., Mitchell, A., 1989, Abnormal pressures while drilling. Manuels Techniques 2, Elf Aquitaine, Boussens Rehm, B. & McClendon, R, 1971, Measurement of formation pressure from drilling data, SPE 3601, 46th Annual Fall Meeting, SPE of AIME, October 1971 Swarbrick, R.E. & Osborne, M.J., 1998, Mechanisms that generate abnormal pressures: an overview; in Abnormal pressures in hydrocarbon environments, eds Law B.E., Ulmishek G.F., Slavin V.I., AAPG Memoir 70, p13-34 Tissot, B.P, & Welte, D.H., 1984, Petroleum formation and occurrence. 2nd edition, Springer Verlag, NY. Ungerer, P., Behar, E., Discamps, D., 1983, Tentative calculation of the overall volume expansion of organic matter during hydrocarbon genesis from geochemistry data. Implications for primary migration; in Advances in Organic Geochemistry, ed Wiley, J., p129-135. Wyllie, M.R.J., Gregory, A.R. & Gardner, G.H.F, 1958, An experimental investigation of the factors affecting elastic wave velocities in porous media, Geophysics, V23, p 459-493.

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