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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:

## = 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

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

## 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

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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Experimental Determination of
Fracture Gradient

##  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

D 4,000 ft

EMW = ?
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