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S. Salehi, SPE, and G. Hareland, SPE, U. of Calgary, and K. Khademi Dehkordi, NISOC Co.

Copyright 2007, Society of Petroleum Engineers concentration is produced around the well. If there is no hydrostatic

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 15th SPE Middle East Oil & Gas Show and support pressure introduced into the borehole, failure in the

Conference held in Bahrain International Exhibition Centre, Kingdom of Bahrain, 11–14 March formation may take place. Therefore, maintaining equilibrium in the

2007.

field to prevent rock failure requires the use of a support pressure

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of which is usually provided by the drilling fluid. In order to evaluate

information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as

presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to the potential for wellbore stability a realistic constitutive model must

correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any be used to compute the stresses and strains around a borehole (1, 2).Out

position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at

SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society of of the numerous published models, the linear elastic model (LEM) is

Petroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper the most common approach. This is due to its simplicity and less

for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is

prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than required input parameters compared to other models. However, using

300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous these simple models in some cases underpredicts the wellbore stable

acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O.

Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435. ECD. The LEM based models do not adequately explain the fact that,

in many cases the borehole remains stable even if the stress

Abstract concentration around the borehole exceeds the strength of the

formation.

Drilling underbalanced is often used to prevent formation damage, Alternatively, elastoplastic models offer the ability to asses the

avoid lost circulation, and increase rate of penetration. However, it is mechanical integrity of a borehole more realistically. Westergaard

also risky and may lead to wellbore collapse due to lack of positive (1940) (3) published one of the early works contributing to the

support provided by the hydrostratic wellbore fluid column. Hence, knowledge of stress distribution around a borehole, in which an

the application of underbalanced drilling (UBD) should be evaluated elastoplastic model was developed. Later works using elasto-plastic

thoroughly through the use of in-situ stresses and rock mechanical models have been published (e.g., Gnirk, 1972; Risnes and Bratli,

properties to estimate under what hydraulic drilling conditions the 1981; Mitchell et al., 1987; Anthony and Crook, 2002) (2). Table 1

wellbore is stable. shows a summery of the current wellbore stability models (4).

An elastoplastic model for assessing wellbore stability analysis in

This paper presents a mechanical wellbore stability analysis for two

two depleted carbonate fields are presented in this paper. Based on

depleted Iranian fields, named herein as field A and B. Depleted

stability analysis results compared with behavior of the drilling of

Iranian fractured carbonate fields are suffering from severe wellbore

two UBD horizontal wells in these depleted fields proved the

stability problems and lost circulation during overbalanced drilling

feasibility and accuracy of using an elastoplastic model to predict the

conditions. The application of UBD in these fields with a pressure

operational ECD windows. Although considering behavior of only

less than formation pore pressure brought on new wellbore stability

two wells is not sufficient to conclude that implementing this model

problems like risk of shear failure and collapse of borehole wall.

for all the carbonate fields will yield similar results, it is suggested

Using good geomechanical model description matching field

that the result of this study can be expanded for use on other fields

characteristics in conjunction with rock failure criteria in some cases

with similar characteristics.

may lead to a good prediction for avoiding wellbore stability

problems and choosing the optimum mud weight window. By

analyzing cores, log and triaxial rock mechanical data, an Fields Background

elastoplastic model combined with a finite-explicit code was used in

the wellbore stability analysis to estimatimate an optimum Equivalent 90 % of the discovered fields in Iran are in carbonate reservoirs

Circulating Density (ECD) for these fields. Compared to some actual putting Iran as one of the largest carbonate producers in the world (5).

field data it was observed that using an elastoplastic constitutive Field A and B are located in southern part of Iran. Geological studies

model would be sufficient to analyze mechanical wellbore stability in combined with the core samples taken from these fields, represented

these fields. a highly fractured limestone reservoirs with low formation pore

pressure gradients. Because of the confidential nature of the studies

Introduction undertaken in these fields the names are not reveiled.

Lost circulation is one of the most severe drilling problems in these

fields. So the determination of proper ECD is challenging.

Underground formations are subjected to a vertical compressive

stress caused by the weight of the overlying strata and horizontal

stresses due to the confining lateral restraints. Under the action of ECD as a controllable factor

these in situ stresses, prior to drilling a borehole, the rock mass is in a

state of equilibrium that will be destroyed by the excavation. When a Some factors which affect wellbore failure can be controlled while

borehole is drilled, the load carried by the removed rock is then taken others are impossible to control because of the intrinsic properties of

by the adjacent rock to re-establish equilibrium. As a result, a stress earth. The primary factors affecting wellbore stability are listed in

support pressure introduced into the borehole, failure in the Table 2(3). Equivalent Circulating Density (ECD) is the dominant

2 SPE 105155

controllable factor in applied wellbore stability analysis. The support Technical Approach

pressure offered by the static or dynamic fluid pressure during

drilling, simulating, working over or producing of a well, will Different wellbore stability analysis methods are presented in

determine the stress concentration present in the wellbore vicinity(6). literature. Mclean et al (1) used finite element methods to predict

This paper estimates the optimum ECD for preventing wellbore wellbore stability parameters. The use of numerical/analytical models

stability problems in two depleted carbonate fields. to predict the mechanical behavior of a wellbore requires a number of

input parameters to be defined or assessed. Here we have used a

Data Gathering finite explicit code named FLAC (7) for conducting wellbore stability

simulations. An elastoplastic Mohr-Coulomb failure criteria model is

The operator was considering two underbalanced horizontal wells in used for assessing state of instability with respect to different ECDs.

two depleted carbonate fields. The 6 ½–in. wellbores were horizontal Since wellbore orientation and ECD values are the only controllable

at an approximate depth of 8687 ft in field A and 6218 ft in field B. factors a few assumptions were made;

Pore pressure gradient was found from DST test analysis for both .

fields at the mentioned depths and reported as 0.19 psi/ft and 0.27 • Orientation. The vertical direction is assumed to be a

psi/ft in field A and B respectively. principle direction of stress. Because there are some

Usually the most important data for wellbore stability analysis is the uncertainties to direction of the principle horizontal stresses

rock mechanical data. Knowledge of this type of data in Iranian fields the worst case scenario was assumed where the horizontal

is limited, however for the mentioned fields in this paper some wells are parallel to the maximum horizontal stress

laboratory test were available. direction (8).

For field A, two laboratory methods were used for determining • ECD. This was the only controllable variable and the

elastic properties. optimum ECD; considering UBD condition was determined

• Static (Triaxial) in the field A and B to be less than 5.57Lb/Gal and 5.67

• Dynamic (Acoustic) Lb/Gal respectively.

The preferred method is to perform static triaxial tests on cores since

this method provides the most accurate and reliable data. A criterion based on size of yielded zone was used in analyzing the

As a general rule, the dynamic techniques are inaccurate because of risk of borehole instability. Since the yielded zone will be susceptible

poro-elastic influence on sonic wave propagation. Consequently all to spalling due to pressure surges during trips and mechanical erosion

dynamic test methods must be calibrated to provide reasonable by the drillstring, the larger this zone is the greater the likelihood that

estimates of static values needed for wellbore stability analysis. instability-related problems will occur (9). (Figure 2) A parameter

Typically with frequency used in laboratory for acoustic often used as a borehole instability risk indicator is the Normalized

measurement, only small scale features dominate the results. So the Yielded Zone Area (NYZA), which is the cross-sectional area of the

static young modulus is taken as the more representative value for yielded rock around the borehole divided by the area of the original

stability analysis. In general it is found that the static poisson‘s ratio borehole. Experience has indicated that the onset of borehole

usually underestimates the stress in the reservoir, for this reason the instability problems is often associated with NYZAs greater than 1.0,

dynamic poisson‘s ratio was used for analysis. although the critical value for this parameter undoubtly varies

For the second field (B) compressive and shear sonic transit time depending on the setting and other factors such as well inclination

were used for calculating elastic properties (Equation 1). Morales and hole cleaning capacity. More details on this can be found in

correlation was used to convert dynamic values to static. (Appendix references (10, 11, 12).

A). As shown in Figure 3, FLAC was used for determination of yielded

zone area. The magnitude of maximum displacement vector should

always be considered in the acceptable range. Figure 4 illustrates the

ν d = (V P 2 2 2 2

-2V S ) [2 (V P -V S )] (1) typical FLAC output of the displacement vectors.

More than hundred simulations with different ECD values were

conducted; Figure 5, 6 shows the trend of NYZA changes with

Other data were found from a nearby undepleted reservoir, and then different ECDs in field A & B.

adjusted to depleted conditions. Because of the uncertainties in As shown in the figures with increasing ECD, the NYZA will

magnitude of cohesions, three different sets of data were used in the decrease and we will have more stable wellbore. Typically, drilling

wellbore stability analysis. (Table 4) with a bottomhole pressure above than formation pore pressure will

The total overburden stress gradient was approximated by integration decrease the risk of borehole instability due to less yielding area of

of formation bulk density over depth. (Equation 2) the rock adjacent to the borehole.

The plots for both fields indicates that there is relatively small

D max

∫

amount of yielding (NYZA less than 1.0 ) predicted for pressures less

σV = ρ b g dD (2) than reservoir pore pressures. For instance, in field A ECD ranges

0

from 5.30-5.57Lb/Gal considering the UBD condition would be

Due to poro-elastic effects in these fields, the reservoir depletion acceptable. In the second field with respect to different cohesions, the

will directly affect the horizontal stresses. Figure 1 shows the stress ECD range is presented in Table 5. In the case of choosing 870 Psi

changes due to poro-elastic effects. Horizontal stresses were for cohesion, there would be no ECD value considering NYZA be

measured by the analysis of fracture pressure in these fields prior to less than 1.0. Based on the wellbore stability simulations, adjusting

depletion and then corrected to poro-elastic effects. NYZA criteria to 1.2 as a critical value provided adequate hole

Knowledge of the minimum in-situ stress direction in these fields was cleaning be maintained. An ECD range of 5.06-5.30 Lb/Gal was

limited to poor quality data from oriented caliper logs which defined recommended for drilling the horizontal sections of the mentioned

the directions as approximately N40W in field A and S20N in field well in field A. This was 0.27-0.47Lb/Gal less than reservoir pore

B.The rock mechanical properties for both fields are summarized in pressure. This difference was enough to guarantee underbalanced

Table 3&4. drilling conditions.

For field B 1450 Psi was used for cohesion which resulted in a

recommended ECD range of 5.40-5.48 Lb/Gal.

SPE 105155 3

The reservoir section of 6-1/2in. wellbore in field A was actually νd = dynamic poisson’s ratio

drilled with an ECD of 5.20 Lb/Gal so the underbalanced condition

was kept most of the time. No sever borehole stability problems was σV = overburden stress gradient, Psi/ft

reported during drilling of this section .The daily drilling reports also

indicates a decrease of 550% in mud loss compared with the

σ H max = maximum horizontal stress gradient, Psi/ft

overbalanced condition. σ H min = minimum horizontal stress gradient, Psi/ft

It is not possible to state whether the hole suffered any failure, since

no caliper were run in the 6-1/2 in. hole. No caliper or core data has φp = friction angle at peak strength, degree

currently been made available to assess the wellbore stability

condition of the well drilled in field B, but the well was drilled ρb = bulk density, kg/m

3

Acknowledgments

Conclusions and Recommendations

The authors would like to thank Mr. P. McLellan for his help on

1. Severe lost circulation during overbalanced drilling condition is some technical issues used in this paper and NISOC (National Iranian

reported during drilling depleted carbonate fields in Iran, for this South Oil Company) for their permission to publish the results

reason using the underbalanced drilling technique with proper presented in this paper.

wellbore stability analysis is recommended for drilling in these fields.

References

2. An elastoplastic model combined with a finite explicite code was

used for mechanical wellbore stability analysis of underbalanced 1. McLean, M.R. and Addis, M.A. (1990).Wellbore stability

drilling technique in two depleted Iranian fields. Based on the results analysis: A review of current methods of analysis and their

and compared with field data using elastoplastic models gives good field application. IADC/SPE Drilling Conf., Houston, TX,

predictions for wellbore stability in these fields. Feb., pp.261-274. IADC/SPE 1994.

3. A criterion based on size of yielded zone or NYZA (Normalized 2. Al-Ajmi, Adel. (2006).Wellbore stability analysis based on

Yielded Zone Area), was used to assess stability condition. Based on a new true-triaxial failure criterion. Ph.D. thesis.

the simulation results and for keeping UBD condition in most of the

time the critical value of NYZA was adjusted to 1.20 instead of unity 3. Westergaard, H.M., 1940 .Plastic state of stress around a

in Iranian carbonate fields. Choosing this critical value an ECD of deep well. J Boston Soc Civil Eng, 27, 1-5.

5.06-5.30 Lb/Gal was proposed for drilling the well in field A.

Compared with actual field data no wellbore stability problem was 4. Chen, Guizhong. (2001). A study of wellbore stability in

encountered during drilling of this well. However, more research and shales including poroelastic, chemical and thermal effects.

comparisons with field data is necessary to define proper NYZA PhD thesis, University of Texas at Austin.

critical value for stability assessment.

5. Abdollahi, J., Carlsen, I.M., Mjaaland, S., Skalle, P., Rafiei,

4. The Morales correlation was used for the field B to convert the A., Zarei S., (2004). Underbalanced drilling as a tool for

dynamic values to static. This correlation is for sandstone reservoirs optimized drilling and completion contingency in fracture

therefore the converted static properties are not necessarily correct to carbonate reservoirs. SPE/IADC 91579.

use in carbonate reservoirs as in the case of field B. Due to

uncertainties in rock mechanical properties presented in this paper, 6. Mclellan, P.J., Assessing the risk of wellbore instability in

core data is will be required to verify the properties used for field B. inclined and horizontal wells; Journal of Canadian

Petroleum Technology, Vol.35, No.5, pp.21-32, May 1996.

5. For complete wellbore stability analysis in these fields, a

combination of both mechanical and chemical effects should be 7. FLAC, Student License, Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.

considered. However, only the mechanical effects are considered in USA, 2006.

this paper.

8. Parra, J.G., Celis, E., and De Gennaro S., (2003). Wellbore

stability simulations for underbalanced drilling operations

Nomenclature in highly depleted reservoirs. SPE 83637.

C p = cohesion at peak strength, Psi 9. Hawkes, C. D., McLellan P.J. (1996). Modeling of yielded

zone enlargement around a wellbore. Proceedings of 2nd

Cr = cohesion at residual strength, Psi North American Rock Mechanics Symposium, Montreal,

D = depth, m Quebec, Canada.

DST = drill stem test

E = young’s modulus, Psi 10. McLellan, P.J. and Wang, Y., Predicting the effects of pore

ECD = equivalent circulating density, Lb/Gal pressure penetration on the extent of wellbore instability:

2 application of a versatile poro-elastoplastic model; paper

g = gravitational acceleration, 9.8 m/s SPE 28053, presented at SPE/ISRM Eurock’94, Delf, The

NYZA = Normalized Yielded Zone Area Netherlands August 29-31, 1994.

VP = compressional velocity, m/s 11. Hawkes, C.D. and McLellan, P.J., A new model for

predicting time-dependant failure of shales: Theory and

4 SPE 105155

Application; Petroleum Society paper 97-131 , presented at Table 1: Current wellbore stability models

the 48th annual technical meeting of the petroleum society , Reference Model Type Special Features

Calgary, AB, June 8-11 ,1997.

Bradley (1979a, Linear Elasticity Zero tensile strength

12. McLellan, P.J., Hawkes, C.D. and R.S. Read. (2000). Sand 1979b)

production prediction for horizontal wells in gas storage Fuh et al. (1988) No chemical effect

reservoirs. SPE/PS-CIM 65510. Aadnoy and No fluid diffusion Zero tensile strength

Chenevert (1987)

McLean and Addis No thermal effect

(1990a, b)

Appendix A Zhou et al. (1996)

Truncated Desai’s

Morales Correlation yield function

linear elasticity

Esta=Static Young’s Modulus

Edyn=Dynamic Young’s Modulus Detournay and Cheng Linear poroelasticity Vertical well

PIGN=Log Porosity (1988) Undrained condition

Wang (1992) Chemical effect and Variable Young’s

moisture adsorption modulus

Yew and Liu (1992) Linear poroelasticity,

no chemical effect

Mody and Hale Chemical effect

(1993a, b) Stress on the wellbore

wall

Sherwood (1993) Chemical effect Chemical potential of

different components

Wang et al. (1994) Chemical effect Shale properties vary

with water content

Cui et al. (1997) No chemical effect Solution in Laplace

Cui et al. (1999) Time dependency domain, superposition

Time dependency technique

(1996)

McLellan and Wang Elasto-Plasticity

(1994) Plasticity

Ewy (1991, 1993)

Wang et al. (1996) hydro-poroelasticity conditions

Li et al. (1998) Thermoporoelasticity Conductive heat flow

Choi and Tan (1998) Thermoporoelasticity

Numerical validation

(1995)

SPE 105155 5

Table 2: Controllable Factors and Uncontrollable Factors Table 5: ECD range for UBD condition regarding different cohesion

values

Cohesion at peak strength(Cp,Psi) ECD Range (Lb/Gal)

Controllable Factors Uncontrollable Factors Considering UBD condition

2175 5.4-5.7

Equivalent Circulating In-situ stresses 1450 5.67-5.7

Density(ECD) Rock lithology 870 N/A

Drilling fluid type Pore fluid chemistry

Drilling fluid chemistry Rock porosity, original

Well orientation, direction permeability, compressibility

relative to stress field Initial rock temperature

Mud temperature Rock strength

Borehole size Rock mechanical properties

Drill pipe size Initial pore pressure

Circulating rate Natural fractures

Open hole time Rock thermal properties

Drilling operations (tripping, Geothermal gradient

drilling,casing, cementing)

6 3.31

Young’s Modulus(E,10 Psi)

Friction Angle at Peak Strength ( φ p ) 41.50

Figure 1: Poro-elastic effects.

Minimum Horizontal Stress Gradient ( σ H min , Psi/ft) 0.72

6 0.66

Young’s Modulus(10 Psi)

2175

Cohesion at Residual Strength (C r ,Psi) 217,480,

620

Overburden Stress Gradient( σ v ,Psi/ft) 1

6 SPE 105155

SPE 105155 7

8 SPE 105155

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