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PETE 411

Well Drilling

Lesson 22
Prediction of
Fracture Gradients

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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
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Read:
Applied Drilling Engineering, Ch. 6

HW #12
Casing Design
due Nov. 1, 2002

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NOTE:
On all HW and Quizzes please put:

* PETE 411/501 (or 411/502)


* Name, written legibly
* Number of HW or Quiz
(on the outside)
Thank you!

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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
 Mud Design, H2S considerations
 Contingency planning
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Fig. 7.21

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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
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Formation Pressure and Matrix Stress

S =S  PP + 
overburden pore matrix
stress = pressure + stress
(psi) (psi) (psi) 9
Formation Pressure and Matrix Stress
Depth = 14,000 ft.
Calculations: Pore Pressure = 9.2 lb/gal equivalent
Overburden stress = 1.00 psi/ft.

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
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Formation Pressure and Matrix Stress

Calculations:
3. Matrix stress gradient,
S P psi
S P 
or   psi/ft
D D D
 S P
i.e.,    1.000  0.478 psi / ft
D D D

 / D = 0.522 psi/ft
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Formation Pressure and Matrix Stress

Calculations:

4. Matrix stress (in psi) at 14,000 ft

= 0.522 psi/ft * 14,000 ft

 = 7,308 psi

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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 four
approaches to calculating the fracture
gradient.
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Fracture Gradient Determination

1  2P 
1. Hubbert & Willis: Fmin  1  
3 D 
1  P
Fmax  1  
2  D
where F = fracture gradient, psi/ft
P
= pore pressure gradient, psi/ft
D

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Fracture Gradient Determination

2. Matthews & Kelly:

K i P
F  
D D

where Ki = matrix stress coefficient


 = vertical matrix stress, psi
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Fracture Gradient Determination

3. Ben Eaton:

S P  g  P
F    *   
 D   1 g  D

where S = overburden stress, psi


g = Poisson’s ratio

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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 four methods.

Summarize the results in tabular form, showing


answers, in units of lb/gal and also in psi/ft.

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Example - Hubbert and Willis

1. Hubbert & Willis: 1  2P 


Fmin  1  
3 D 
P psi
The pore pressure gradient,  0.735
D ft

1 psi
Fmin  1  2 *0.735  0.823
3 ft
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Example - Hubbert and Willis

Also,
0.823 psi / ft
Fmin 
 psi / ft 
0.052  
 lb / gal 

Fmin  15.83 lb / gal

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Example - Hubbert and Willis

1  P
 1  0.735 
1
Fmax  1  
2  D 2

= 0.8675 psi/ft

Fmax = 16.68 lb/gal

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Example

P K i
2. Matthews & Kelly F  
D D
In this case P and D are known,  may be
calculated, and K i is determined graphically.

(i) First, determine the pore pressure gradient.


P
 0.735 psi / ft (given )
D
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Example - Matthews and Kelly

(ii) Next, calculate the matrix stress.

S=P+ S  overburden , psi 


  matrix stress , psi 
 
=S-P  
= 1.00 * D - 0.735 * D P  pore pressure , psi 

D  depth , ft 

= 0.265 * D
= 0.265 * 11,000
 = 2,915 psi
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Example - Matthews and Kelly

(iii) Now determine the depth, D i , where,


under normally pressured conditions, the
rock matrix stress,  would be 2,915 psi.
Sn = Pn + n n = “normal”
1.00 * Di = 0.465 * Di + 2,915
Di * (1 - 0.465) = 2,915

2,915
Di   5,449 ft
0.535
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Example -
Matthews and
Kelly

(iv) Find Ki from


the plot on the
right, for
Di = 5,449 ft

For a south Texas


Gulf Coast well,
Ki = 0.685
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Example - Matthews and Kelly
K i P
(v) Now calculate F: F  
D D

0.685 * 2,915
F   0.735
11,000
 0.9165 psi / ft
0.9165
F   17.63 lb / gal
0.052
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Example

Ben Eaton:

S P  g  P
F    *   
 D   1 g  D

S
? g?
D
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Variable Overburden Stress by
Eaton

At 11,000 ft
S/D = 0.96 psi/ft

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Fig. 5-5

At 11,000 ft
g = 0.46

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Example - Ben Eaton
 S P  g  P
From above graphs, F      
 D D  1  g  D
at 11,000 ft.:
S
 0.96 psi / ft; g  0.46
D

 0.46 
F  0.96  0.735     0.735
 1  0.46 
F = 0.9267 psi/ft
= 17.82 lb/gal
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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

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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 ( Ki and i ).

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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 four methods. The last two
methods are actually quite similar, and
usually yield similar results.

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Similarities

Ben Eaton:

S P  g  P
F    *   
 D   1 g  D

 Ki P
F  
D D

Matthews and Kelly:


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9 10
11 12 Pore Pressures
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16
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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
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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?


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Example
Leak-off pressure = PS + DPHYD
= 1,000 + 0.052 * 9 * 4,000
= 2,872 psi

PLEAK OFF 2,872 psi



D 4,000 ft

Fracture gradient = 0.718 psi/ft

EMW = ?
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