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IPTC 10206

Multidisciplinary Evaluation of Wellbore Instability in Shaly Sand Member Khafji
Reservoir in Zuluf Field Saudi Arabia
Y.M. Al-Shebaili, A.M. Shebatalhamd, A.A. Ansari, and H.H. Abbas, Saudi Aramco

This abstract was prepared for presentation at the 2005 International Petroleum Technology
Conference held in Doha, Qatar, 21–23 November 2005.

Abstract
This poster presents the results from a case
integrates detailed rock mechanics and swelling
information from petrophysical logs and core
acquired to evaluate, define and predict the
mechanism in this portion of the Khafji reservoir.

study that
tests with
properties
instability

To achieve the objectives, 300 feet of preserved core were cut
through the problematic shaly sand member using oil based
mud. In addition, 200 conventional plugs and 28 whole core
samples from eleven wells were utilized for the purpose of
developing geomechanical and pore fluid models. Both oil
based mud (OBM) and water based mud (WBM) filtrate were
used for the swelling and triaxial compression tests.
The development of a strength and stress profile for the well is
the first step in understanding wellbore instability problems.
These profiles are generated using rock properties, drilling
experience, in-situ stress regimes and strength measurements
on core samples. The results demonstrate that the in-situ
stress in the Khafji reservoir can be characterized, and the
critical azimuths of marked instability increase are discernible.
Wellbore instability problems can be predicted and averted.
The optimum mud weight windows to drill horizontal wells
have been identified using the geomechanical model. Wells
oriented parallel and perpendicular to maximum horizontal
stress (SHmax) require minimum mud weight of 80-84 pcf
and wells drilled WNW-ESE require mud weight from 80-95
pcf.. The swelling test results point toward increased swelling
in the presence of the WBM filtrate compared to the OBM
filtrate and a decrease in formation compressive strength when
in contact with the OBM. It may therefore be prudent to redesign the already “inhibitive” WBM to suit the formation and
the clays.