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IADC/SPE 81638

Multilayer Reservoir Model Enables More Complete Reservoir Characterization During
Underbalanced Drilling
James L. Hunt, SPE, Landmark Graphics and Stephen Rester, SPE, Consultant
Copyright 2003, IADC/SPE Underbalanced Technology Conference and Exhibition
This paper was prepared for presentation at the IADC/SPE Underbalanced Technology
Conference and Exhibition held in Houston, Texas, U.S.A., 25–26 March 2003.
This paper was selected for presentation by an IADC/SPE Program Committee following
review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the
paper, as presented, have not been reviewed by the International Association of Drilling
Contractors or the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the
author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of the IADC,
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Abstract
In order to effectively analyze reservoir inflow data from a
well drilled underbalanced, a true multilayer reservoir model
is required. In a previous paper,1 a single layer analytical
model was developed to handle reservoir inflow resulting
from the changing wellbore geometry during the
underbalanced drilling process. A method to analyze data
acquired during underbalanced drilling for reservoir
permeability was developed and presented. The resulting
reservoir model was shown to be unique in the industry.
However, it was recognized that a multilayer model was
needed to fully analyze the data and generate a more complete
reservoir evaluation during underbalanced drilling.
This paper presents a true multilayer model that describes
inflow from multiple reservoir layers encountered during
underbalanced drilling. The model is fully transient and is
based on the single layer model presented in previous work.
The model accounts for the lengthening of the wellbore
through any number of reservoir layers having similar or
different properties and the resulting flow into the wellbore.
Results from validation of the model are presented. The model
enables formation evaluation during the underbalanced
drilling process.
Introduction
The underbalanced drilling environment provides a unique
opportunity to gather data that has the potential to provide
important information about the reservoirs encountered during
drilling. In underbalanced drilling, the wellbore pressure is
lower than the reservoir pressure. This wellbore condition
allows formation fluids to flow into the wellbore during the
drilling process. Proper instrumentation, data acquisition and
drilling procedures allow for the acquisition of data that can be
interpreted and analyzed to extract information about the

reservoir. This information includes permeability versus depth
(or length of hole drilled), resulting in a more timely and
complete reservoir description.
Subsequent well operations have the potential to cause
damage to the reservoirs that have been opened to the
wellbore during drilling. To evaluate these reservoirs in an
undamaged state (or as close to undamaged as possible)
requires evaluation of the data acquired during the
underbalanced drilling process, when these reservoirs have
first been encountered and formation fluids are flowing into
the wellbore. Results from this evaluation, in the form of
reservoir permeability, allow the operator to determine the
productive potential of each reservoir encountered during
drilling. These results, when integrated with logging-whiledrilling data and other geological, geophysical, and
petrophysical data, provide a more complete reservoir
characterization than would have been possible using
conventional drilling and formation evaluation techniques.
In the previous paper,1 a single-layer reservoir model suitable
for underbalanced drilling was presented. However, it was
quickly recognized that a multilayer model was required since
drilling typically involves traversing more than one productive
reservoir. Historically, multilayer models available in the
literature have been developed for well testing applications.2, 3
However, there is a significant difference between models for
well testing and models for underbalanced drilling. The well
testing models are essentially static with respect to wellbore
geometry, while the underbalanced drilling model requires
dynamic or changing wellbore geometry. Therein lies the
problem: how to incorporate changing wellbore geometry into
a multilayer reservoir model and make it useful for analysis.
One approach is to implement a numerical solution, however
there are some limitations to this method. These limitations
include time needed to set up the grid structure, run the
simulator, run sensitivities, and the difficulty in changing
reservoir or layer geometry quickly. These limitations
generally make a conventional numerical model unsuitable for
near real-time applications.
Therefore, an analytical approach is much more suitable for
evaluating reservoir inflow from multiple reservoir layers
during underbalanced drilling operations, and analysis can be
accomplished relatively quickly. Results from the analysis can
be used in prediction mode to assess the potential of a

At time t = 0. Additional scenarios have since been compared between the two models. while the underbalanced model uses the bottomhole pressures as input to generate the flow rates. There is also another major difference between the two models. determining the rates from these layers is a straightforward calculation. as well as other reservoir properties. several comparisons have been made with a commercially available numerical simulator set up to take into account the dynamically changing wellbore condition with time. q. Each individual productive layer is represented by the single layer model presented in the previous work1 and coupled using the method mentioned above. Therefore. Additionally. This models the underbalanced drilling process. so the models were compared assuming a fully penetrating wellbore at time zero. with a difference over most of the data of less than one percent. Hunt and Stephen Rester IADC/SPE 81638 completion in each of the reservoir layers that was identified as productive during drilling. Model Application The multilayer reservoir model solution depends upon the reservoir parameters for each layer: horizontal permeability. there can be a different flux in each layer. Fig. each layer can have its own properties. There is excellent agreement between the two models. Since the permeabilities of these (already-drilled) layers have been calculated. The reservoir is a right circular cylinder with outer boundary at r = re. For all layers. 2 shows the results of the model comparison. Based on the results from the model testing. whereas the multilayer underbalanced reservoir model was developed Table 1 presents the layer and fluid properties used to generate the comparison example. The history matching process is usually conducted after drilling has been completed. The key to solving the problem mathematically is to choose the flux in each layer to approximate a constant pressure inner boundary. however. the total well rate. There is excellent agreement between the numerical model results and the results from the multilayer underbalanced reservoir model. lw. This difference is that the well test analysis model is developed under the assumption of constant flow rate. are zero. This has since been extended to horizontal and slant well models. total formation compressibility. The rate response on Fig. 2 shows two sets of data: the solid line is the rate schedule used in the well test analysis program. and the length of the well. and porosity. 1. the well test analysis program does not have the capability to consider a dynamically changing wellbore condition with time. the agreement between the two models is excellent. At some later time. This procedure is called “history matching”. the layer permeability is the matching parameter of interest. Model Comparison Comparison of the multilayer underbalanced reservoir model to a dataset generated using a commercially available well test analysis program shows very good agreement between the two models. The example was generated using constant rate with several rate steps. fluid viscosity. Reservoir Model The physical layout of the multilayer reservoir is shown in Fig. the flow time is expected to be too short to see any effect of outer boundaries. This becomes the permeability for this layer and the calculations proceed to the next layer. . The rates from these layers are then subtracted from the total measured rate to leave the rate of the newly opened layer. A trial-and-error procedure is used to determine which values of these parameters lead to a solution of the problem that best fits the observed pressure and flow rate data. since one of the operational goals is to maintain a desired underbalanced pressure within the wellbore. Even so. however. As the wellbore traverses each layer. Only the vertical model is presented here. The model option was a vertical well with storage and skin and infinite external boundaries for all layers. vertical permeability. The permeability of this new layer is then varied in a trial and error fashion to match the calculated rate. Each layer has its own thickness h and permeability k. The pressure in the wellbore ties the layers together through the pressure drop from layer to layer.2 James L. the bottomhole pressure data are the same for both models. during drilling. Of course. Generally. A well of radius rw is drilled in the center of this reservoir. we believe that the multilayer underbalanced reservoir model accurately models single-phase reservoir flow during the underbalanced drilling process. The multilayer model described in this paper has been defined for a vertical geometry. and the discrete data points are the rates generated from the underbalanced reservoir model. The multi-layer model is constructed from the single-layer model described in Reference 1 through the use of superposition and the assumption of crossflow only in the wellbore. The example that was used for comparison is a five-layer oil reservoir that was generated using the multilayer design option of a commercially available well test analysis program. The flux into the wellbore is uniform over each layer. The pressure is measured at the drill bit (or very close to the bit) and the pressure is back-calculated across each of the layers already drilled. and in all cases the agreement is excellent. The well test analysis program generated the bottomhole pressures given the rate schedule. the skin factor was assumed to be zero and the wellbore storage coefficient was assumed to be negligible. The interpretation and analysis are usually constrained by the length of wellbore that has been drilled and any well log information that is available. It should be noted that the multilayer underbalanced reservoir model can consider external boundaries in all layers. but the potential exists to analyze and interpret the data during the drilling process. the well rate is q(t) and the length of the well is lw(t). Each layer also contributes to the total well rate according to those properties and the pressure in the wellbore at any given point in time. the flow across the sand face instantaneously redistributes. assuming essentially constant wellbore pressure. Therefore. t.

A method using the multilayer reservoir model to analyze flow rate data acquired during the underbalanced drilling process has been presented. and to demonstrate the utility of the multilayer model in analyzing data from a well drilled underbalanced through multiple reservoir layers. Kucuk. F. and Ayestaran. This particular data set consists of eight separate reservoir layers. Sept.: Well Testing and Analysis Techniques for Layered Reservoirs. Ehlig-Economides. pp. The characterization is further enhanced when integrated with existing 3 geological. 261-283. Alberta. the permeability of the first layer was varied to match the rate corresponding to the first layer only. Once an acceptable match of the first layer was accomplished. 1986. Canada.A. feet q = total well rate. without having to pull the drill pipe to test each zone individually.” SPEFE. 2.20 0. cp 0.: “A New Test for Determination of Individual Layer Properties in a Multilayered Reservoir. pp. each having a different value of permeability and layer thickness.43E-05 Reservoir Temperature.5 15 85 25 20 20 30 5 25 Oil Formation Volume Factor. Conclusions 1. Excellent agreement resulted from the comparisons. J. 2. Using the multilayer reservoir model to analyze data acquired during the underbalanced drilling process provides a more complete reservoir characterization than would have been possible using conventional drilling and formation evaluation techniques.Layer and Fluid Properties for Model Comparison Layer Pi. Calgary. md h.10 0. The hybrid dataset that is presented here consists of rate data that were measured during an actual underbalanced drilling operation and corresponding bottomhole pressure data that were generated using a commercially available numerical reservoir simulator for eight imposed reservoir layers. J. feet t = time. Nomenclature h = reservoir layer thickness. and Joseph. 3. S. C. md l = length of wellbore. Table 1 . L. 4 shows the resulting final rate match of the model-calculated rates (discrete data points) history matched against the input rate data (solid line). then each succeeding layer’s rate was matched in the same manner. bbl/day r = radial distance from the center of the reservoir. Karakas.29 Oil Viscosity. The multilayer model more accurately describes reservoir influx during the underbalanced drilling process. 3. Final analysis results are presented as a plot of permeability versus depth as shown in Fig. rb/STB 1. while the discrete data points are the pressure values used in the multilayer model as input.IADC/SPE 81638 Multilayer Reservoir Model Enables More Complete Reservoir Characterization During Underbalanced Drilling A hybrid reference dataset was created to compare the multilayer model to a numerical model. The rate data are actual measured values and are from the field case presented in Reference 1. The application example demonstrates the potential for analyzing data acquired during underbalanced drilling to gain a better understanding of the behavior of the productive reservoirs encountered during drilling.12 0.15 150 0. 4. 335-341. These comparisons tested the multilayer model under static and dynamically changing wellbore conditions.20 0. 3-5 April 2000. 1987. Fig. 5.” SPEFE. The solid line in Fig. ft 1 2 3 4 5 2500 3000 2800 3000 2900 0. and Rester. feet k = reservoir layer permeability.L. psia phi k. The multilayer model compares favorably with results from scenarios modeled using a commercially available well test analysis program and a commercially available numerical reservoir simulator.A. an acceptable match was obtained over the entire rate history for the eight-layer example. An analytical multilayer reservoir model that considers the dynamically changing wellbore condition has been developed based on a single-layer model presented previously.: “Reservoir Characterization During Underbalanced Drilling: A New Model. 3 presents the bottomhole pressure data used in the example. To obtain the match. 1/psi 1. As shown in Fig.” SPE 59743 presented at the 2000 SPE/CERI Gas Technology Symposium. geophysical. F 212 Solution Gas-Oil Ratio. 3 is from the numerical simulator.. 4. References 1. days Subscripts e = external w = well Acknowledgments The authors wish to thank the management of Halliburton Energy Services and Landmark Graphics Corporation for permission to prepare and present this paper.65 Oil API Gravity 40 . Aug.47 Total Compressibility. This process was demonstrated on an example dataset based on actual data from a field case. scf/STB 500 Gas Gravity 0. Hunt. Fig. petrophysical and engineering data. M.

4 James L. psia Rate. 2000 0 0.8 1 1.4 Elapsed Time. 2 – Comparison of the multilayer underbalanced reservoir model with the well test analysis example. Hunt and Stephen Rester IADC/SPE 81638 re rw h1 k1 k2 h2 lw(t) h3 k3 h4 h5 k4 k5 k6 h6 1400 2700 1200 2600 1000 2500 800 2400 600 2300 400 2200 200 2100 0 Bottom hole Pressure. 1 – Schematic of the multilayer reservoir model.2 1. STB/day Fig.6 0.4 0.2 0. days Qmeas STB/day Qcalc STB/day BHP psia Fig. .

05 0.7 0.45 0.45 0.1 0.6 Time (days) Rate History 'Matched' Results from Multilayer Model Fig.3 0. 5 .55 0.6 0.15 0.1 0.15 0.2 0. 3 – Bottomhole pressure data from the application example.4 0.Multilayer Reservoir Model Enables More Complete Reservoir Characterization During Underbalanced Drilling 3000 Bottomhole Pressure (psia) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 0.2 0.35 0.75 0.3 0.5 0.55 0.4 0.35 0. 4 – Final match of the model calculated rates against the input rate data for the application example.7 0.25 0.65 0. 2500 2000 1500 Flow Rate (STB/d) IADC/SPE 81638 1000 500 0 -500 0 0.05 0.5 0.25 0.75 Time (days) 'Actual' from Numerical Simulator Multilayer Model Input Fig.65 0.

6 James L. 100 . Hunt and Stephen Rester IADC/SPE 81638 Calculated Permeability (md) 1 10 5480 5500 5520 Depth (ft) 5540 5560 5580 5600 5620 5640 5660 Fig. 5 – Final permeability analysis results of the application example.