8.

Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 1
PETE 661

Drilling Engineering
Lesson 8
Fracture Gradients
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 2
Prediction of Fracture Gradients
Well Planning
Theoretical Fracture Gradient Determination
Hubbert & Willis
Matthews & Kelly
Ben Eaton
Comparison of Results
Experimental Frac. Grad. Determination
Leak-off Tests
Lost Circulation
Gas Cut Mud

8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 3
Read:

Applied Drilling Engineering, Ch. 6
HW # 5
Casing Design
due 10-8-04
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 4
Well Planning
Safe drilling practices require that the
following be considered when
planning a well:
 Pore pressure determination
 Fracture gradient determination
 Casing setting depth selection
 Casing design
 H
2
S considerations
 Contingency planning
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 5
Fig. 7.21
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 6
fracture
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 7
Formation Pressure and Matrix Stress
Given: Well depth is 14,000 ft.
Formation pore pressure expressed
in equivalent mud weight is 9.2 lb/gal.
Overburden stress is 1.00 psi/ft.
Calculate:
1. Pore pressure, psi/ft , at 14,000 ft
2. Pore pressure, psi, at 14,000 ft
3. Matrix stress, psi/ft
4. Matrix stress, psi
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 8
Formation Pressure and Matrix Stress
o + = P S
overburden pore matrix
stress = pressure + stress
(psi) (psi) (psi)
S = P +
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 9
Formation Pressure and Matrix Stress
Calculations:

1. Pore pressure gradient
= 0.433 psi/ft * 9.2/8.33 = 0.052 * 9.2
= 0.478 psi/ft
2. Pore pressure at 14,000 ft
= 0.478 psi/ft * 14,000 ft
= 6,692 psig

Depth = 14,000 ft.
Pore Pressure = 9.2 lb/gal equivalent
Overburden stress = 1.00 psi/ft.
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 10
Formation Pressure and Matrix Stress
Calculations:
3. Matrix stress gradient,
psi

psi/ft
o / D = 0.522 psi/ft
o + = P S
D D
P
D
S
or
o
+ =
( ) ft / psi 478 . 0 000 . 1
D
P
D
S
D
., e . i ÷ = ÷ =
o
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 11
Formation Pressure and Matrix Stress
Calculations:

4. Matrix stress at 14,000 ft

= 0.522 psi/ft * 14,000 ft

o = 7,308 psi
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 12
Fracture Gradient Determination
In order to avoid lost circulation while
drilling it is important to know the variation
of fracture gradient with depth.

Leak-off tests represent an experimental
approach to fracture gradient determination.
Below are listed and discussed three
approaches to calculating the fracture
gradient.
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 13
Fracture Gradient Determination
1. Hubbert & Willis:



where F = fracture gradient, psi/ft

= pore pressure gradient, psi/ft
D
P
|
.
|

\
|
+ =
D
P 2
1
3
1
F
min
|
.
|

\
|
+ =
D
P
1
2
1
F
max
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 14
Fracture Gradient Determination
2. Matthews & Kelly:




where K
i
= matrix stress coefficient
o = vertical matrix stress, psi
D
P
D
K
F
i
+
o
=
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 15
Fracture Gradient Determination
3. Ben Eaton:




where S = overburden stress, psi
¸ = Poisson’s ratio
D
P
1
*
D
P S
F +
|
|
.
|

\
|
¸ ÷
¸
|
.
|

\
|
÷
=
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 16
Example
A Texas Gulf Coast well has a pore pressure
gradient of 0.735 psi/ft. Well depth = 11,000 ft.

Calculate the fracture gradient in units of lb/gal
using each of the above three methods.

Summarize the results in tabular form, showing
answers, in units of lb/gal and also in psi/ft.
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 17
1. Hubbert & Willis:


The pore pressure gradient,
( )
F
1
3
1 2*0.735 0.823
psi
ft
min
= + =
|
.
|

\
|
+ =
D
2P
1
3
1
F
min
P
D
0.735
psi
ft
=
Example - Hubbert and Willis
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 18
Also,
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
lb/gal
psi/ft
0.052
psi/ft 0.823
F
min
lb/gal 15.83 F
min
=
Example - Hubbert and Willis
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 19
Example - Hubbert and Willis
|
.
|

\
|
+ =
D
P
1
2
1
F
max
( ) 735 . 0 1
2
1
+ =
= 0.8675 psi/ft

F
max
= 16.68 lb/gal
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 20
2. Matthews & Kelly

In this case P and D are known, may be
calculated, and is determined graphically.

(i) First, determine the pore pressure gradient.
D
K
D
P
F
i
o
+ =
o
i
K
Example
) given ( ft / psi 735 . 0
D
P
=
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 21
Example - Matthews and Kelly
(ii) Next, calculate the matrix stress.
¦
¦
)
¦
¦
`
¹
¦
¦
¹
¦
¦
´
¦
=
=
=
=
ft , depth D
psi , pressure pore P
psi , stress matrix
psi , overburden S
o
S = P + o
o = S - P
= 1.00 * D - 0.735 * D
= 0.265 * D
= 0.265 * 11,000
o = 2,915 psi
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 22
Example - Matthews and Kelly
(iii) Now determine the depth, , where,
under normally pressured conditions, the
rock matrix stress, o would be 2,915 psi.
i
D
S
n
= P
n
+ o
n
n = “normal”
1.00 * D
i
= 0.465 * D
i
+ 2,915
D
i
* (1 - 0.465) = 2,915
ft 449 , 5
535 . 0
915 , 2
D
i
= =
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 23
Example -
Matthews and
Kelly
(iv) Find K
i
from
the plot on the
right, for


For a south Texas
Gulf Coast well,
D
i
= 5,449 ft
K
i
= 0.685
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 24
Example - Matthews and Kelly
(v) Now calculate F:
D
P
D
K
F
i
+
o
=
735 . 0
000 , 11
915 , 2 * 685 . 0
F + =
ft / psi 9165 . 0 =
gal / lb 63 . 17
052 . 0
9165 . 0
F = =
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 25
0.685
5,449

K
i
D
e
p
t
h
,

D
i

8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 26
Example
Ben Eaton:
D
P
1
*
D
P S
F +
|
|
.
|

\
|
¸ ÷
¸
|
.
|

\
|
÷
=
? ?
D
S
= ¸ =
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 27
Variable Overburden Stress by
Eaton
At 11,000 ft
S/D = 0.96 psi/ft
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 28
Fig. 5-5
At 11,000 ft
¸ = 0.46
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 29
Example - Ben Eaton
From above graphs,
at 11,000 ft.:
D
P
1 D
P
D
S
F +
|
|
.
|

\
|
÷
|
.
|

\
|
÷ =
¸
¸
46 . 0 ; ft / psi 96 . 0
D
S
= ¸ =
( ) 735 . 0
46 . 0 1
46 . 0
735 . 0 96 . 0 F +
|
.
|

\
|
÷
÷ =
F = 0.9267 psi/ft
= 17.82 lb/gal
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 30
Summary of Results
Fracture Gradient
psi.ft lb/gal
Hubbert & Willis minimum: 0.823 15.83
Hubbert & Willis maximum: 0.868 16.68
Mathews & Kelly: 0.917 17.63
Ben Eaton: 0.927 17.82
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 31
Summary of Results
 Note that all the methods take into
consideration the pore pressure gradient.
As the pore pressure increases, so does
the fracture gradient.

 In the above equations, Hubbert & Willis
apparently consider only the variation in
pore pressure gradient. Matthews &
Kelly also consider the changes in rock
matrix stress coefficient, and in the
matrix stress ( K
i
and o
i
).
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 32
Summary of Results
 Ben Eaton considers
variation in pore pressure gradient,
overburden stress and
Poisson’s ratio,

and is probably the most accurate of
the three methods. The last two
methods are actually quite similar, and
usually yield similar results.
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 33
Similarities
Ben Eaton:
D
P
1
*
D
P S
F +
|
|
.
|

\
|
¸ ÷
¸
|
.
|

\
|
÷
=
Matthews and Kelly:
D
P
D
K
F
i
+
o
=
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 34
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 35
Experimental Determination of
Fracture Gradient
The leak-off test

 Run and cement casing
 Drill out ~ 10 ft
below the casing seat
 Close the BOPs
 Pump slowly and
monitor the pressure
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 36
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 37
45
80
105
120
120
120
120
120
120
40
20
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 38
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 39
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 40
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 41
Experimental Determination of
Fracture Gradient
Example:
In a leak-off test below the
casing seat at 4,000 ft, leak-off
was found to occur when the
standpipe pressure was 1,000
psi. MW = 9 lb/gal.

What is the fracture gradient?
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 42
Example
Leak-off pressure = P
S
+ AP
HYD
= 1,000 + 0.052 * 9 * 4,000
= 2,872 psi



Fracture gradient = 0.718 psi/ft

EMW = ?
ft
psi
000 , 4
872 , 2
D
P
OFF LEAK
=
÷
13.8 lb/gal
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 43
What is Gas Cut Mud?
After drilling through a
formation containing
gas, this “drilled gas”
will show up in the mud
returns at the surface.

Gas cut mud is mud
containing some gas -
from any source.
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 44
Gas Cut Mud
 Effect of Drilling Rate
 Effect of Circulation Rate
 Mud/Gas Ratio at the bottom of the Hole
 Mud/Gas Ratio at the Surface
 Density of Gas Cut Mud
 Reduction of Bottom Hole Pressure
due to Gas Cut Mud
 Safe Drilling Practices
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 45
How Critical is Gas Cut Mud?
Example Problem
Well depth = 15,000 ft
Hole size = 7 7/8”
Drill pipe size = 4 1/2”
Mud weight = 15 ppg
Drilling Rate = 20 ft/hr
Circ. rate = 7.0 bbl/min
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 46
How Critical is Gas Cut Mud?
Formation Properties
F 100 T
F 250 T
1.35 Z
1 Z
25% Porosity Sand
70% saturation gas Sand
S
B
B
S


8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 47
Bottom-Hole
Ratio of Mud Volume to Gas Volume:
This indicates there are
1990 volumes of mud to
1 volume of gas at the
bottom of the hole.
1990
hr
bbl
0.2110
hr
bbl
420

gs 0.7 * porosity 25 . 0 *
cu.ft 61 . 5
bbl
*
hr
ft 20
in/ft 12
in
8
7
7
4
hr
min 60
*
min
bbl 7
Gas
Mud
2
= =
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|
|
|
|
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
t
Mud
Gas
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 48
Ratio of surface volume of gas to
bottom-hole volume of gas:
This shows there are 465 volumes of gas at the
surface per volume of gas at the bottom of the hole
465
) R (710 psi)(1.35) 7 . 14 (
) R 0 psi)(1)(56 (11,700
law) (gas
T
T
Z
Z
P
P
V
V
B
S
B
S
S
B
B
S
= =
=


(PV = ZnRT)
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 49
Mud/gas Volume Ratio at the Surface:
279 . 4
465
1990
Volume Gas
Volume Mud
: surface At = =
990 , 1
Volume Gas
Volume Mud
: Bottom At =
465
Bottom at Gas
Surface at Gas
: Expansion =
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 50
Mud Density at the Surface:
So the mud weight has been cut 2.84 ppg
(from 15 to 12.16) ppg
ppg 16 . 12
1 279 . 4
ppg 0) * 1 ( ppg 15 * (4.279)

Volume
Density) ud surface)(M @ vol vol/gas (
=
+
+
=
=
Total
Mud
surf
µ
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 51
It should be noted that in actual situations the
mud cut would probably be less because we
have assumed all gas stays in the mud-gas
mixture. A certain amount of gas will break out.

The effects of gas cut mud on the hydrostatic
head:
( )
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
÷
=
S
S B
S S
A A S
red.gas
P
P P
ln
T C)Z (100
T Z CP
ΔP
Mud Density at the Surface:
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 52
R re, temperatu Surface - T
factor ility compressib Surface - Z
R re, temperatu Average - T
factor ility compressib Average - Z
psi pressure, Surface - P
surface at the fluid total of % Gas - C
well of bottom at pressure c Hydrostati - P
S
S
A
A
S
B


( )
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
÷
=
S
S B
S S
A A S
red.gas
P
P P
ln
T C)Z (100
T Z CP
ΔP
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 53
( )
18.94%
4.279 1
100% * 1



mud of vol. gas of Vol.
100% * gas of Vol.
C

psi 11,700 ft 15000 * ppg 15 * 0.052 P
B
=
+
=
+
=
= =
Hydrostatic Pressure and C
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 54
Average T and Z
175 . 1
2
35 . 1 1
Z

635
2
560 710
T
A
A
=
+
=
=
+
= R

8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 55
Reduction in BHP
psi 30.57 ΔP


14.7
14.7 11,700
ln
560) 18.94)(1)( (100
(635) .7)(1.175) (18.94)(14
ΔP
red.gas
red.gas
=
|
.
|

\
|
+
÷
=
( )
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
÷
=
S
S B
S S
A A S
red.gas
P
P P
ln
T C)Z (100
T Z CP
ΔP
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 56
The resulting bottom hole pressure
will be
p = 11,700 - 30.57

BHP = 11,669 psi

This means the gas reduced the hydrostatic
head by only 30.57 psi!
Reduction in BHP
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 57
Conclusion
It can be seen that the surface gas cut of
approx. 3 PPG resulted in a bottom hole
pressure reduction of only 30.57 psi.

There is one other factor that reduces the
effect of gas cut mud even further and that
is the effect of drilled solids in the mud.
Drilled solids will tend to raise the overall
density of the mud.

8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 58
Summary of Gas-Cut Mud Problem
At bottom:



Gas expansion:


990 , 1
rate generation gas
rate n circulatio mud
=
465
bottom at volume
surface at volume
=
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 59
Summary of Gas-Cut Mud Problem
At surface:




i.e. At the surface, the mud mix contains one part
of gas (by volume) for each 4.279 parts of good
mud.
279 . 4
465
990 , 1
rate n circulatio gas
n circulatio mud
= =
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 60
Summary of Gas-Cut Mud Problem
Density of mix
1 279 . 4
) 0 * 1 ( ) 15 * 279 . 4 (
volume total
weight total
+
+
=
=
Density of Mud at surface = 12.16 #/gal

(-2.84 lb/gal)
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 61
Summary of Gas-Cut Mud Problem
psi 31
P
P P
ln
T Z ) C 100 (
T Z CP
p
S
S B
S S
A A S
~
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
÷
= A
A reduction in the mud
density at the surface by 2.84
lb/gal resulted in a reduction
in BHP of:
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 62
Note:
It is very important in any drilling operation:

 To recognize the symptoms of
increasing pore pressure
 To be able to estimate the magnitude
of the pore pressure

8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 63
Note cont’d:
 To know the fracture gradients of the
exposed formations
 To maintain the drilling practices within
controllable limits
 To keep in mind that any one symptom of
increasing pore pressure may not be
sufficient to provide the basis for
precise conclusions

Look at all the indicators...
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 64
ROP F.L.Temp ACl

-
µ
MUD
At
d Gas Units µ
SH
YP
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 65
What should be done when gas
cut mud is encountered?
(1) Establish if there is any fire hazard. If
there is a fire hazard, divert flow through
mud-gas separation facilities.

(a) Notify any welder in area
(b) Notify all rig personnel of the
pending danger
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 66
What should be done when gas
cut mud is encountered?
(2) Determine where the gas came from.
If the casing seat fracture gradient is being
approached, and there is some concern about
raising the mud weight:

Stop drilling and circulate, and observe the
gas response. If source is drilled gas, the gas
rate will decrease.
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 67
What should be done when gas
cut mud is encountered?
(a) If the gas units completely return to
the original background gas, it would
probably be safe to resume drilling.

8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 68
What should be done when gas
cut mud is encountered?
(b) If there has been ample circulation
time and the gas units do not drop back
to the original background level, but stay
at a higher value, this indicates that the
mud weight is approaching the pore
pressure and consideration should be
given to increasing the mud weight.
8. Fracture Gradients PETE 661 Drilling Engineering Slide 69
What should be done when gas
cut mud is encountered?
Establish Where did the gas
come from?

(a) Drilled gas - no increase in mud
weight is required
(b) Increasing pore pressure
- (abnormal pore pressure)
- May have to increase mud weight

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