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1. PRESSURE CONCEPTS 1.1. DEFINITIONS
A pressure is a force divided by the surface where this force applies.
Pressure _{P}_{a}_{s}_{c}_{a}_{l} = Force _{N}_{e}_{w}_{t}_{o}_{n} / Surface _{m}_{2}
The official pressure unit is the Pascal
It is a very small unit:
1 bar = 10 ^{5} Pascal
1 Pascal = 1 Newton/m ^{2}
1 atm = 1,013 *10 ^{5} Pascal
A practical unit on the rig is the kgf/cm ^{2}
1 kgf/cm ^{2} = 0.981 bar
In API , the unit is the pound per square inch (psi)
1 bar = 14.4988 psi
Exercise 1:
Enter a value in the yellow cell, click on result (blue cell) and press F9 
to get the answer. Calculation & explanation on the last page… .. 
15 
Bars = 
psi 

155 
Psi = 
Bars 
1.1.1. HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE : P h
Pressure exerted by the weight of a static column of fluid
It is a function of fluid specific gravity and of vertical height of the fluid
P _{h} = d * g * H
With Ph = hydrostatic pressure (Pascal)
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d = Fluid specific gravity (kg/m ^{3}^{)}
H = Vertical height of fluid (m)
g = gravity acceleration (9.81 m/s ^{2} )
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Using well site units, the formula becomes :
Ph = H* d
10
With
Ph= hydrostatic pressure (bar)
d = Fluid specific gravity (kg/l)
H = Vertical height of fluid (m)
NB : the term 10 is approached, for precision, you should use 10.2 with
pressure in bars and 9.6 for pressure in bar
In API, the formula is:
Ph = 0.052 * H * d
With
Ph= hydrostatic pressure (psi)
d = Fluid specific gravity (ppg)
H = Vertical height of fluid (ft)
Consequently, in the following sketches, the Ph is always the same:
Pascal was betting he could destroy a barrel with just a pint of water:
He fixed a long and thin tube on the barrel and poured the water, the volume
of water was small, but the height was enough to make the barrel explode!
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‘U tube’ effect:
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If the mud weight in the pipes and in the annulus are different, the ‘U tube’
effect is the difference of Ph in the 2 branches of the ‘U tube’ formed by
annulus and pipes
Exercise 2: 

Calculate Ph in the following examples 

Height of fluid 

1.5 
Ph 

(m): 
(kg/l): 
bar: 

Height of fluid 

10 
Ph 

(ft): 
(ppg): 
psi: 

Exercise 3: 
A heavy mud slug has been pumped, what extra volume do you get
in the mud pit ? (‘U tube’ effect)
Pipes internal 
9.1 
Slug 
2000 
Slug SG 
1.6 

volume (l/m) : 
volume (l): 
(kg/l): 

Mud Weight 
1.08 
Extra 

(kg/l): 
volume in 

pit (l): 

Exercise 4: A heavy mud slug has been pumped, what is the air gap height in the 

pipes ? (‘U tube’ effect) 

Pipes internal 
9.1 
Slug 
3000 
Slug SG 
1.7 

volume (l/m) : 
volume (l): 
(kg/l): 

Mud Weight 
1.10 
Height of 

(kg/l): 
air gap in 

pipes (m) 

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1.1.2. OVERBURDEN: S
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At a given depth, the overburden is the pressure (applying on fluids) or stress (applying on matrix) exerted by the weight of the overlying sediments.
S = H * _{b}
10
With
S = Overburden stress (bar)
_{b} = Formation average bulk density (no unit)
H = Vertical thickness of overlying sediments (m)
In API, the formula is:
S = H * _{b} * 0.433
With
S = Overburden stress (psi)
_{b} = Formation average bulk density (no unit)
H = Vertical thickness of overlying sediments (ft)
The bulk density of a sediment is a function of the matrix density, the
porosity and the density of the fluid in the pores.
_{b} = ( * _{f} ) + (1) * _{m}
With
_{b}
_{f}
= Bulk density (no unit)
= Formation fluid density (no unit)
= Porosity (from 0 to 1)
_{m} = Matrix density (no unit)
With depth, the sediment porosity will decrease under the effect of
compaction (proportional to overburden) and of course, the bulk density
will increase.
You will note that the porosity shale curve is exponential
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1.1.3. FORMATION PRESSURE: P f
Also called Pore pressure :Pp
Pressure of the fluid contained in the pores of the sediment.
1.1.3.1. NORMAL P f: Pf=Ph
The Pf equals the Ph due to the column of fluid in the sediment.
It depends on the density of the water(usually from 1.00 to 1.08)
1.1.3.2. NEGATIVE P f ANOMALY : Pf<Ph
In the following example, the outcrop is lower than the point where
the well enter the formation. The water does not reach this zone.
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1.1.3.3. POSITIVE P f ANOMALY: Pf>Ph
Hydrocarbon column
Due to the difference of densities between water and hydrocarbons, the
pressure at the top of the reservoir is almost the same that at hydrocarbon –
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The formula for the pressure anomaly (excess of pressure respect to normal)
is
P _{h}_{c} = H * (d _{w} – d _{h}_{c} )
10
With
P _{h}_{c} = Pressure anomaly at the top of the hydrocarbon column (bar)
H = Height of the hydrocarbon column (m)
d _{w} = Water SG (kg/l)
d _{h}_{c} = Hydrocarbon SG (kg/l)
Note that this anomaly is proportional to the height of the hydrocarbon
column and to the diffeence of SG between water and hydrocarbon.
This anomaly can be very high in case of reservoir in a vertical lense:
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Exercise 5:
How does it work ?
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Imagine the reservoir as a U tube: C is the top of the hydrocarbon:
Water SG (kg/l) 
1.05 
Hydrocarbon SG (kg/l) 
0.25 
Point A & C depth (m) 
2000 
Point B depth (Hydrocarbon/water contact)(m) 
2590 
Calculate Pf in A (bar) 

Calculate Pf in B (bar) 

Calculate Ph of the column of water AB (bar) 

Calculate Ph of the hydrocarbon column (bar) 

Calculate the Pf in C (bar) 
257.20 
Pressure anomaly at top of hydrocarbon (bar) 
47.20 
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1.2. PRESSURE REPRESENTATIONS
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1.2.1. EQUILIBRIUM & EQUIVALENT MUD WEIGHT

Equivalent MW is the MW corresponding to a mud column pressure, 
related to depth. 

Equilibrium MW represents the average MW needed to counterbalance Pf. 


From the Ph formula, we can recover: 
MW = P * 10
H
Exercise 6:
Two rigs are drilling a well in the same overpressured formation, calculate the
equilibrium MW for each rig:
Distance from A to formation (m) 
2000 
Distance from B to formation (m) 
1200 
Pf (bar) 
200 
Equilibrium MW for rig A 

Equilibrium MW for rig B 
In a well, the mud weight can be different than the equivalent MW.
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The following exercise will show you some examples:
Exercise 7:
Well total depth (m) 
2500 
Mud weight in hole (kg/l) 
1.22 
Calculate the equivalent MW in hole in the
following occurrences:
During a trip, the driller forgot to fill the hole and 

the mud level is lower than normal , its distance 
150 

from flow line is (m) 

During a Leak Off Test, the pressure reached 

(bar) : 
20 

You start circulating, the pressure losses in the 

annulus is (bar): 
10 
You can see that , according to the cases, Equivalent MW can be smaller or
bigger than actual MW in hole.
Here are some examples:
Equivalent MW < MW 
Equivalent MW > MW 
Mud losses 
Leak Off Test 
Swabbing 
Circulating (ECD) 
Fluid influx in hole (Kick) 
Surge 
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1.2.2. PRESSURE GRADIENT: G
A pressure gradient G is the unit increase in pore pressure for a vertical
increase in depth unit, but to get consistency with MW, we will take 10m.
It is used to give a degree of consistency to pressure data: Pressure
gradient and MW will be comparable
As the figures are similar, MW and Pressure gradient may be plotted on the
same graph, allowing a comparison between MW, Formation pressure
gradient, Fracturation gradient and Overburden gradient.
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1.2.3. HYDRODYNAMIC LEVEL
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We have seen that the formula P = H * d/10 allows to calculate the
pressure or the equivalent MW, you can also calculate H, which represents
the hydrodynamic level (ie: the height reached by the water in an artesian
well)
H = P * 10 + Z
d 

With: 
H = Hydrodynamic level (m) 
P= Formation pressure at depth Z (bar)
d = Formation fluid specific gravity (kg/l)
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1.2.4. PLOT OF PRESSURE VS DEPTH
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Another purpose of this type of plot is to determine the contacts between
fluids in a reservoir by tracing the trend lines of the RFT pressure data:
1.3. STRESS CONCEPT
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Unlike liquids, solids can withstand different loads in various directions:
Imagine a cube of porous rock somewhere in the deep….
We can divide the stresses in 3 resulting forces according to the 3 directions
of space: S1 can be considered as the Overburden , S2 and S3 the tectonic
forces (open hole ovalization can give an idea of the difference between S2
undercompaction) and the total stress S will have 2 components:
S = Pp + (Terzaghi equation)
With S
= Total stress (bar)
Pp = Pore pressure (or formation pressure)
Effective stress (on the grains of the rock)
Consequently:
S _{1} = 
Pp 
+ 
_{} 
S _{2} = 
Pp 
+ 
_{} 
S _{3} = Pp + _{} 
So, in theory, the formation pressure is limited by the overburden !
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2. ORIGINS OF NON HYDROSTATIC ABNORMAL PRESSURE 2.1. UNDERCOMPACTION (OVERBURDEN EFFECT)
Normally, the compaction increases with depth and the formation water is
expelled as the porosity decreases.
In some cases, the water cannot be eliminated in time and remains trapped
in the sediment: the main cause of overpressure is due to what is called
undercompacted shale.
Water elimination from shale depends on 3 factors:

Clay permeability: very low 

Sedimentation and burial rate: if the sedimentation rate is 
very high, the shale is brought very deep before the water 

has time to go and it remains trapped in the sediment (ie: 

deltaic areas) 


Drainage efficiency: sand layers act as a drain and helps 
water elimination, less than 15% of sand content in a shale
will cause a lack of drainage and an overpressured zone.
Terzaghi experiment
The springs represent the matrix, and the load on the upper plate
represents the overburden
A: the lower tap is closed (no drainage) and S is only supported by the
fluid:
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S = Pf
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B: The lower tap is open, water escapes and the spring/matrix bears part of
the load : At that stage, if you close the tap, you get something similar to
an undercompacted shale: the fluid is trapped in the sediment and supports
part of the overburden, causing an overpressure.
S = Pf +
C: The springs/matrix fully support the load: this is the case of a normally
compacted sediment.
Pf = Ph
S =
One of the main cause of overpressure.
2.2. AQUATHERMAL EXPANSION
The volume of water increases with temperature, if it is in a sealed
environment, its pressure increases.
Actual effect is controversial.
2.3. CLAY DIAGENESIS
With depth, the smectites (as Montmorillonite) will lose its adsorbed water
and transform into Illite + free water.
Not really a cause of overpressure, but acts as a contributory
factor in case of undercompacted shale.
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2.4. OSMOSIS
Osmosis is the spontaneous movement of water through a semipermeable
membrane separating two solutions of different concentrations, until the
concentration of each solution becomes equal.
A clay bed can act as a semipermeable membrane between two reservoir
containing water with different salinity.
Not proven in nature and anyway minor effect if exists.
2.5. EVAPORITES
2.5.1. SEALING ROLE
Evaporites are impermeable and can make a good seal that will block
water expelled from underlying sediment, creating overpressure by
overburden effect.
Major role in overpressure generation, specially if interlayed
with shale.
2.5.2. SULFATE DIAGENESIS
Gypsum is the precipitated form of CaSO _{4} , transformation to Anhydrite
may occur early in the burial process:
CaSO _{4}_{,} 2H _{2} O (Gypsum) CaSO _{4} (Anhydrite) + 2H _{2} O
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The water amounts to 38% of the original volume, if it cannot be expelled,
overpressure develops. Similar increase of volume is created by
rehydration of Anhydrite .
Minor effect as the diagenesis of gypsum to anhydrite often
occurs at shallow depth, this allows the water to escape. Rehydration of
Anhydrite is not proven on a scale that would be enough to generate
overpressure.
2.6. ORGANIC MATTER TRANSFORMATION
At shallow depth, bacteria will transform organic matter in biogenic methane.
From a depth of 250m, thermo chemical cracking will transform heavy
hydrocarbons to lighter ones, with increase of volume. If these processes
occur in a close environment, they create overpressure .
Important role in overpressure generation in confined series of
shaly sands or carbonate.
2.7. TECTONICS
2.7.1. RELIEF & STRUCTURING
As already seen in chapter 1.1.3, relief can be the cause of pressure anomalies
(ie: artesian well).
2.7.2. REORGANISATION OF STRESS FIELD
Sediments are subjected to overburden and to horizontal tectonic stresses.
2.7.3. FAULTS
Faults 
can create 
a 
seal and 
stop the 
water 
or 
on the contrary, bring an 
overpressured zone in front of a permeable zone, allowing the water to 

escape. 
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2.8. MISCELLANEOUS
2.8.1. CARBONATE COMPACTION
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Normally, carbonates do not have problems of under compaction. Chalk is the
exception. Chalk is due to the deposit of tiny discs called coccoliths
(calcareous plates protecting some phytoplankton) and Chalk structure looks
2.8.2. PERMAFROST
Typical of the artic zones, due to the fact that the sediments are. The problem
is due to unfrozen pockets (called taliks) inside the permafrost. If a talik
freeze, its volume tends to increase (remember that ice is bigger than original
volume of water), but the permafrost impedes expansion, thus creating
overpressure.
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3. PREDICTION & DETECTION OF OVERPRESSURE 3.1. NORMAL COMPACTION TREND
To be able to detect an overpressure linked to compaction anomaly; it is
useful to define what the normal compaction trend is.
3.2. CHARACTERISTICS OF UNDERCOMPACTED ZONES
If two zones of different potential are separated by a seal, there will be an
abrupt change in pressure.
But if the seal is not perfect we get a gradual transition zone which is easier
to detect.
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A plot of shale density versus depth on a semilog scale will show the top of
the undercompacted/overpressure zone:
3.3. PREDICTION
By prediction, we intend methods before drilling…
3.3.1. REGIONAL GEOLOGY
Study of the lithostratigraphy (do we have shale and evaporite, deltaic
formation…?), tectonics (do we have faults, diapirs…?), etc may give
indications of the possibility of overpressure.
3.3.2. GEOPHYSICAL METHODS
Seismic data may give some indications of overpressure.
3.3.3. GRAVIMETRY
A negative anomaly in gravimetry may be due to undercompacted shales.
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3.4. METHODS WHILE DRILLING
3.4.1. REAL TIME METHODS
3.4.1.1. RATE OF PENETRATION : ROP
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As compaction of the sediments increases with depth, the rate of
penetration normally declines with depth.
ROP does not depend only on lithology and on compaction, another
important factor is the Differential Pressure (P).
Differential Pressure is the difference between the Formation Pressure
(Pf) and the pressure exerted by the column of mud in the well .
Impact
Formation of a crater of crushed rock
The differential pressure will affect the cleaning of the crushed rock, if
P is too high (Ph of mud bigger than Pf), the pressure will tend to
“glue” the cuttings on bottom and ROP will reduce do to bad cleaning
of the hole.
But if P is low or even negative, the Pf will expel the cuttings from
the bottom and ROP will increase.
So, in theory, we should have a ROP curve similar to the compaction
trend:
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This could be the perfect tool, but ROP is mainly affected by the drilling
parameters and this method could work only if RPM, WOB and bit
diameter were constant.
The solution is in the next chapter…
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3.4.1.2. ‘D’ EXPONENT
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The drilling exponent is a way to normalise ROP by eliminating the
effect of drilling parameters variation: it gives an idea of the “drillability”
of the formation. It has been optimised for shale (with less than 5% of
sand content)
The first formula was:
1.26 – log _{1}_{0} 
ROP 

d = 
RPM 

1.58  log _{1}_{0} 

WOB 

Bit diam
with ROP in m/hour
WOB in tons
Bit diameter in inches
In order to include the effect of differential pressure, a correction has
been made:
Dc = d * Normal hydrostatic gradient
ECD
With: 
Dc : corrected d exponent 

d : d exponent 

Normal hydrostatic gradient (from 1 to 1.08) 

ECD: Equivalent Circulating Density 

Another 
correction 
for 
the 
bit 
wear 
has been 
proposed, 
but 
quite 

unsatisfactory. 

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“d” exponent interpretation
First problem: What is the best position for the normal trend (Dc _{n} )?
A: the trend is on the right part of the Dc curve.
B: the trend is in the middle of the curve
We know that Dc should work with pure shale, as the sand
is easier to
drill, the Dc in the sand will be to the left, so it is better to put the trend
on the right points of the Dc curve, as they correspond to the best shale
points.(A)
To understand the importance of the trend position, you must know that a
calculation of the Formation pressure can be made, using the distance
between Dc curve and its normal trend Dc _{n} .(See chapter 4).
Roughly, the Pf curve will be a “mirror image ” of the distance between
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Second problem: Are we sure that a deflection of the Dc corresponds to
an overpressure ?
If we have a shale gradually passing to a sand, the Dc will have a
deflection towards left, this can be mistaken for the starting of a
If we compare the lithographic column and the Dc, we note that the
trends in the shale and in the sand are parallel, there is only a shift.
This shows the importance of the cuttings analysis, which is fundamental
for the Dc interpretation.
Exercise 9: (Answer is at the end)
What other different parameters will bring a shift in the Dc trend?
3.4.1.3. SIGMA LOG
Sigma log was developed by Agip and Geoservices to replace the D
exponent in the carbonates.
“Sigma” stands for “rock strength parameter”.
The drilling parameters used in the formula are the same that for Dc and
the interpretation is similar, with a shift of the normal trend every time
the lithology changes…
Exercise 10: (Answer is at the end)
Decide if the following parameters increase or decrease when an
overpressure by undercompaction occurs. And why !
3.4.1.4. TORQUE
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3.4.1.5. OVERPULL & DRAG

or 

? 



or 

? 
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3.4.1.7. PIT LEVEL – DIFFERENTIAL FLOW – STAND PIPE PRESSURE
3.4.1.8. L.W.D
A useful parameter given by the “Logging While Drilling” tool is the
formation resistivity and the gamma ray. Those 2 logs allows to check
the behaviour of the shale resistivity.
Exercise 11: (Answer is at the end)
In case of undercompaction, shale resistivity or ?
Why?
3.4.2. LAGGED METHODS
3.4.2.1. GAS
A good indicator of an increase of Pf is the gas “sucked” from the
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The problem with this method is that it depends on the velocity of the
hook when the string is pulled up; two different drillers will give two
different pipe connection gases.
A much better system is to check the “Pump off Gas”: the driller stops
the pumps without moving the string, so there is no swabbing. But you
lose the pressure losses in the annulus; the equivalent mud weight in
hole drops from ECD to MW. In that case, a gas show means that the
differential pressure is close to be negative.
Check also the gas ratios! If you have more heavy gases (ie C2/C3 is
decreasing), you enter a transition zone.
Exercise 12: (Answer is at the end)
Decide if the following parameters increase or decrease when an
overpressure by undercompaction occurs. And why !
3.4.2.2. MUD WEIGHT
3.4.2.3. MUD TEMPERATURE
3.4.2.4. MUD RESISTIVITY
3.4.3. CUTTING ANALYSIS
Direct analysis of the cuttings can bring information on an eventual
overpressure:
Cuttings are bigger and tend to be concave, lot of caving.
Shale density: plotting shale density (ie using a microsol) versus depth
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3.5. METHODS AFTER DRILLING
Exercise 13: (Answer is at the end)
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Here is a list of electrical logs done at the end of the drill phases, which will give
indications on overpressure ? In what direction is the deflection of the curve in an
undercompacted zone?
1. Sonic
2. Resistivity
3. Gamma ray
4. Spontaneous potential
5. Conductivity
6. Caliper
7. Density log
8. Neutron log
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4. QUANTITATIVE PRESSURE EVALUATION 4.1. FORMATION PRESSURE EVALUATION
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Most methods to calculate Pf will compare the undercompacted shale with a
normal compaction state. A normal compaction trend is necessary.
4.1.1. EQUIVALENT DEPTH METHOD
To every undercompacted point A correspond a normally compacted point B:
those two points have the same compaction but at different depths!
Depth H _{B} is called “the equivalent depth”.
We can apply Terzaghi equation for Overburden pressure, (S = + Pf) .
We know that we have the same compaction in A and B, so the stress
must be the same in both points !
_{A} _{B}
We can write _{B} = S _{B} – Pf _{B}
and _{A} = S _{A} – Pf _{A}
As _{A} _{B} we have : S _{B} – Pf _{B}
= S _{A} – Pf _{A}
Or
Pf _{A} = Pf _{B}
+ (S _{A}  S _{B} )
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Exercise 14: (Answer is at the end)
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Replace the four factors by their Pf equivalent densities or Overburden
gradient in the last equation to obtain the final formula:
with: S = H * G _{S}
10
and Pf =
H * D _{e}_{q}
10
D eqA = G SA –
H B * (G SB – D eqB )
H A
With D _{e}_{q}_{A} : Equilibrium density in A (= Formation pressure gradient)
D _{e}_{q}_{B} : Equilibrium density in B (= normal hydrostatic gradient)
Z
_{B}
Z
_{A}
: Equivalent depth
: Depth of undercompacted shale
G _{S}_{A} : Overburden gradient at A
G _{S}_{B} : Overburden gradient at B ( very often, G _{S}_{A} and G _{S}_{B} can be
considered equals)
This method can be used to calculate Pf from the following parameters:
Dc, Shale density, Shale resistivity, Sonic, Density and porosity logs.
Give best results for Pf grad> 1.4
Exercise 15:
Calculate Pf gradient with the equivalent depth method:
Mud weight in hole (kg/l) 
1.30 

H A 
2900 

H B 
1900 

Normal gradient 
1.08 

Dc in A 
1.3 

Overburden gradient 
2.31 

Pf Gradient 

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In that case, we must found the value of the parameter (ie the Dc) at the same
depth on the normal trend:
D eqA = D eqB * X B
X A
With D _{e}_{q}_{A} : Equilibrium density in A (= Formation pressure gradient)
D _{e}_{q}_{B} : Equilibrium density in B (= normal hydrostatic gradient ie 1.03)
X
_{B}
X _{A}
: Theorical value on normal trend
: Actual value
This method can be used to calculate Pf from the following parameters:
Dc, Shale density, Shale resistivity, Sonic, Density and porosity logs.
Give best results for Pf grad< 1.4
Exercise 16:
Calculate Pf gradient with the ratio method:
Depth 
2900 
Normal gradient 
1.08 
Dc in A 
1.3 
Dcn in B 
1.7 
Pf Gradient 
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This method is used frequently and is adapted to the different parameters:
Shale resistivity:
D _{e}_{q}_{A} = G _{S} –
(G _{S} – D _{e}_{q}_{N} ) *
Rsh _{O} ^{1}^{.}^{2}
Rsh _{N}
With D _{e}_{q}_{N} : Equilibrium density in B (= normal hydrostatic gradient)
Rsh _{N} 
: Theorical shale resistivity on normal trend (B) 

Rsh _{O} 
: Observed value of shale resistivity 
(A) 
G _{S} : Overburden gradient observed at observed depth
D exponent:
D _{e}_{q}_{A} = G _{S} –
(G _{S} – D _{e}_{q}_{N} ) *
Dc _{O}
^{1}^{.}^{2}
Dc _{N}
With D _{e}_{q}_{N} : Equilibrium density in B (= normal hydrostatic gradient)
Dc _{N} 
: Theorical Dc on normal trend (B) 
Dc _{O} 
: Observed value of Dc (A) 
G _{S} : Overburden gradient observed at observed depth
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For conductivity and Sonic, the ratio is opposite (the trend of these
Sonic:
D _{e}_{q}_{A} = G _{S} – 
(G _{S} – D _{e}_{q}_{N} ) * 

t _{N} ^{3}^{.}^{0} 
t _{O} 
With D _{e}_{q}_{N} : Equilibrium density in B (= normal hydrostatic gradient)
t _{N}
: Theorical transit time on normal trend (B)
t _{O} : Observed value of transit time (A)
G _{S} : Overburden gradient observed at observed depth
Conductivity:
D _{e}_{q}_{A} = G _{S} –
(G _{S} – D _{e}_{q}_{N} ) *
C _{N}
^{1}^{.}^{2}
C _{O}
With D _{e}_{q}_{N} : Equilibrium density in B (= normal hydrostatic gradient)
C _{N}
: Theorical conductivity on normal trend (B)
C _{O} : Observed value of tranconductivity (A)
G _{S} : Overburden gradient observed at observed depth
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Exercise 17:
Calculate Pf gradient with Eaton’s method:
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Depth 
2900 
Overburden gradient 
2.25 
Normal gradient 
1.05 
Dc in A 
1.3 
Dcn in B 
1.7 
Pf Gradient from Dc 

Observed shale resistivity in A (Ohm.m) 
0.68 
Shale resistivity on normal trend in B (Ohm.m) 
3.50 
Pf Gradient from Shale resistivity 

Observed t sonic in A (sec/ft) 
100 
t sonic on normal trend in B (sec/ft) 
80 
Pf Gradient from t sonic 
4.1.4. DIRECT OBSERVATION OF DIFFERENTIAL PRESSURE
The following parameters can give a good indication of the differential
pressure: Gas (cf pump off gas), Mud losses (indicates that differential
pressure is too high), Kick (allows direct evaluation of Pf).
4.1.5. FORMATION TESTS
Give a direct evaluation of the Pf
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4.2. OVERBURDEN GRADIENT EVALUATION
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The formula for overburden pressure is (cf 1.1.2)
S
=
H * _{b}
10
If we have an electric log for the formation density, we can use it to
calculate the overburden:
Then fill the following form to calculate the overburden at the end of each
depth interval:
Exercise 18:
Interval 
Thickness 
Bulk 
Overburden 
Total 
Overburden 

bottom 
(m) 
density 
pressure in 
overburden 
gradient 

(m) 
(kg/l) 
the interval 
pressure 
(bar/10m) 

(bar) 
(bar) 

150 
1.06 

15.9 
G _{S} = 

/10 = 15.9 
15.9*10/150 

= 1.06 

400 
1.70 

15.9 + 
G _{S} = 

/10 = 42.5 
42.5 = 
58.4*10/400 

58.4 
= 1.46 

700 


1070 

182.3 

1210 

211.0 

1400 

249.4 

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Plotting the overburden gradient versus depth gives a curve:
The equation of the curve is:
S = a (Ln(Depth)) ^{2} + bLn(depth) + c
The coefficients a, b and c are regional characteristics
If no density log is available, a ”hard formation” or a “soft formation” set
of coefficients abc are used.
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4.3. FRACTURATION GRADIENT EVALUATION
4.3.1. APPLICATIONS
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Determination of maximum mud weight
Computation
of
MAASP
Pressure during a kick)
(Maximum
Allowable
Annulus
Surface
4.3.2. LEAK OFF TEST : L.O.T
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The Fracturation Pressure is:
P _{F}_{R}_{A}_{C} = P _{L}_{O}_{T} + Mud Hydrostatic Pressure in the well
Exercise 19:
Calculate the FRAC (Fracturation gradient ) using the following data:
Casing shoe vertical depth ( = LOT depth) (m) 
1500 
MW in hole (kg/l) 
1.5 
LOT pressure (bar) 
25 
Fracturation pressure (Bar) 

FRAC (bar/10m) 
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In the case of a fracturation, P _{F}_{R}_{A}_{C} = S _{3}
As it is impossible to know the value of 3, we assume that 3 = 1 multiplied
by a coefficient K (= Ratio of vertical to horizontal stress)
As we know S1 (Overburden), we just need to calculate K to know S _{3} (and
automatically P _{F}_{R}_{A}_{C} ).
S _{3} _{}_{} P _{F}_{R}_{A}_{C}
= P _{f} + K* _{}_{}_{}_{}_{}_{} P _{f} + K* S _{1}  P _{f} _{}_{}
And K =
P _{F}_{R}_{A}_{C}  P _{f}
S _{1}  P _{f}
As we can calculate P _{F}_{R}_{A}_{C} every time we have a LOT, we can calculate K for
that depth!
Plotting K versus depth gives a curve which equation is :
Ln(K) = aLn(depth) + b
As per overburden, if no LOT is available, a ”hard formation” or a “soft
formation” set of coefficients ab are used.
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EXERCISES CORRECTIONS
Exercise 1:
Multiply the bars by 14.4988 to get the psi. Divide the psi by 14.4988 to get the bars.
Exercise 2:
Use the formula Ph = H * d to get the Ph in bars
10
Use the formula Ph = d * H * 0.052 to get the Ph in psi
Exercise 3:
Weight of slug = slug volume * slug SG
Equivalent volume of mud = Weight of slug / MW
Extra volume = Equivalent volume of mud – Slug volume
Formula: Extra volume (metric) = Slug volume * (Slug SG 1)
MW
Pipe internal volume is useless , unless you want to calculate directly from the Ph !!:
Ph annulus
Ph annulus = Ph slug
Height annulus = Ph slug * 10 / MW
Extra volume height = Height annulus – Slug height
Extra volume = Extra volume height * Pipe internal volume
Exercise 4:
Air gap in pipes is calculated by the formula (metric)
Air gap height = Slug height *(slug SG – MW)
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Exercise 5:
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Note that the Ph difference between A & B is the same than the Ph of the water
column AB.
Consequently, pressure in C is pressure in B minus the Ph of the column of
hydrocarbon
Exercise 6:
Use the following formula for both rigs:
MW equilibrium =
Pf * 10
H
Exercise 7:
A. During a trip, the driller forgot to fill the hole and the mud level is lower than normal : calculate the Ph with the reduced column of mud:
Ph = (H  air gap) * MW
10
Then calculate the Equivalent MW = Ph * 10
H
B. During a Leak Off Test : calculate the Ph and add the LOT pressure:
Ph = H * MW 
+ LOT Pressure 

10 

Then calculate the Equivalent MW = Ph * 10 

H 



Ph = H * MW 
+ P 

10 
Then calculate the Equivalent MW = Ph * 10
Exercise 8:
H
For 1 m, the pressure increment is
For 10m, we get G = MW
P = H * MW =
10
1 * MW
= 0.1 * MW
10
Exercise 9:
Change of bit type: if you run an unsuitable bit (ie a “hard bit” to drill soft
shale), you may have to shift towards right.
Change of bit diameter: after a casing you will have to make a shift
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Drastic modification of the drilling parameters: the parameters should be 
optimised, Dexponent will not “correct” bad drilling parameters. 


Bad hydraulics: the mud weight should not be too high. 

Geological unconformity: two different states of compaction are in contact. 

Deviated well: the WOB recorded is not the actual WOB at bottom (slack off). 
Exercise 10: 


Torque : The swelling of clay cause a decrease in hole diameter, 
accumulation of large cuttings or caving on the bit and stabilizers, all these 

problems are linked to negative differential pressure(MW too low). 


Overpull and drag : for the same reason that causes the torque to go up. 

Hole filling : Caving may fill the hole during tripping. 

Pit level : in case of kick 

Differential flow : in case of kick 

Pump pressure : in case of kick, the annulus is filled with mud and light 
fluid (ie gas), so the pressure losses in the annulus will be less than with a
complete column of mud.
Exercise 11:
Shale resistivity : The undercompacted shale contains more salted water , as
salted water has a good electrical conductivity and so the resistivity decreases !
Exercise 12:
Mud Weight : An influx with salted water will make the mud density decrease.
Mud temperature
: The formation temperature gradient will increase in an
undercompacted zone.
Measuring mud temperature does not give a precise idea of the formation
temperature as all actions at surface (new mud, water
adding, mixing, trips) will modify the mud temperature. Remember also
that the mud has a cooling effect on the bit!
Mud resistivity : An influx with salted water has a good electrical conductivity
and so the resistivity decreases !
Exercise 13:
Sonic: 

Resistivity: 

Gamma ray: sometimes , but interpretation doubtful 

Spontaneous potential 

Conductivity 

Caliper 
may show a shrinkage of the well diameter 

Density log: 

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Neutron log:
Exercise 14:
H A * D eqA = H B * D eqB 
+ (G SA * H A – 
G SB * H B ) 

10 10 
10 
10 

H A * D eqA = H B * D eqB 
+ (G SA * H A – 
G SB * H B ) 

D eqA = H B * D eqB + G SA * H A – 
G SB * H B 

H A 

D eqA = G SA * H A + H B * D eqB 
 
G SB * H B 

H A 
H A 
H A 

D eqA = G SA + H B * D eqB 
 G SB * H B 

H A 
H A 

D eqA = G SA – H B * (G SB – D eqB ) 

H A 

Exercise 19: 

P _{F}_{R}_{A}_{C} = P _{L}_{O}_{T} + MW * H 

10 

FRAC = P _{F}_{R}_{A}_{C} * 10 

H 

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