Microfrac In-situ Stress Measurements for Drilling and Completion Design in Middle-Lower Cretaceous Reservoirs in a Giant Field of Abu Dhabi, UAE Offshore

Franquet, Javier (Baker Hughes, a GE company) | Shaver, Michael (ADNOC Offshore) | Edwards, Ewart (ADNOC Offshore) | Neyadi, Abdulla Al (ADNOC Offshore) | Noufal, Abdelwahab (ADNOC Upstream) | Khairy, Hamad (Baker Hughes, a GE company)



A pilot was drilled offshore Abu Dhabi aiming to determine the in-situ stress magnitudes. A time-dependent reactive shale formation separates Middle and Lower Cretaceous Limestone formations, leading to difficult open-hole logging conditions. Determining the stress regime and stress contrast across these formations is critical for assessing wellbore stability in extended-reach wells, setting casing shoe depths, and designing hydraulic fracturing in the tight reservoirs. Therefore, a comprehensive logging including multiple in-situ stress measurements and full-core was acquired.

Seven microfrac stress measurements were obtained in one pipe-conveyed straddle-packer run conducted in a 15°-degree deviated 8½-in. open-hole wellbore. Each microfrac test was designed with multiple pressurization cycles to accurately obtain the closure stress away from the near-wellbore zone. Core and logging data from offset wells were used to calibrate the pre-job microfrac assessment. Real-time data monitoring was implemented for quality-control and tool operation decisions while logging. Three different pressure-decline analysis methods were used to identify the fracture closure: (i) SQRT square-root of time, (ii) G-function, and (iii) Log-Log plot on each microfrac station.

The pilot well required an inhibited oil-based mud system to stabilize the 360-ft. water-sensitive shale formation. All microfrac stress measurements successfully reached the formation breakdown pressure, providing clear propagation and fracture closure identification. The three pressure decline methods produced results around ± 15 psi from each other with G-function predominately higher and Log-Log predominately lower than the SQRT. These microfrac tests measured minimum horizontal stress gradients between 0.67 to 0.77 psi/ft confirming the normal faulting stress regime in the studied reservoirs and a near strike-slip stress regime in the intervening shale formations. The formation breakdown, fracture reopening and closure pressure provide an accurate present-day tectonic model with ~0.1 and ~0.9 mStrain in the minimum (N80°W) and maximum (N10°E) horizontal stress directions in the absence of breakouts and induced fractures on image logs. The Lower Cretaceous tight reservoirs, identified as generally thin (<10-30ft) and low-quality (<10mD, locally <1mD) microporous carbonates, were located between low stress contrast (0.69 psi/ft) clay-rich limestones intervals in the overburden and high stress contrast (0.74 psi/ft) denser dolomites and clean tight limestones in the underburden.

The risk of tool plugging and unsuccessful latching due to large particle solids in the mud was mitigated by multiple mud filters and repeated circulations while running-in hole with the straddle packer module. The microfrac tests in the Lower Cretaceous tight reservoirs provide the stress contrast measurements to properly evaluate hydraulic fracture containment on these tight reservoirs for future field development plans.