Merits of 3D Numerical Over 1D Analytical Geomechanics Solutions for a Complex Subsurface

Talreja, Rahul (Schlumberger) | Bahuguna, Somessh (Schlumberger) | Havelia, Khushboo (Schlumberger)



Simplified analytical methods are used in 1D geomechanics workflows to predict the rock's behavior during drilling, completion and production operations. These methods are simplistic in their approach and enable us in getting a time-efficient solution, however it does lose out on accuracy. In addition, by simplifying equations, we limit our ability to predict behavior of the borehole wall only i.e. near wellbore solutions. Using 1D analytical methods, we are unable to predict full field behavior in response to drilling and production activities. For example, when developing a field wide drilling plan or preparing a field development plan for a complex subsurface setting, a simplified approach may not be accurate enough and on the contrary, can be quite misleading. A 3D numerical solution on the other hand, honours subsurface features of a field and simulates for their effect on stresses. It generates solutions which are more akin to reality.

In this paper, difference between a simplified semi-quantitative well-centric approach (1D) and a full field numerical solution (3D) has been presented and discussed. The subsurface setting considered in this paper is quite complex - high dipping beds with pinch outs and low angled faults in a thrust regime. Wellbore stability and fault stability models have been constructed using well-centric approach and using a full field-wide 3D numerical solution and compared to understand the differences.

In this study, it was clearly observed that field-based approach provided us with more accurate estimation of overburden stresses, variation of pore pressure across the field, changes in stress magnitudes and captured its rotation due to pinch-outs and formation dips. For example, due to variation in topography, the well-centric overburden estimates at the toe of deviated well at reservoir level is lower by 0.21gm/cc as compared to the 3D model. It is also observed that within the field itself stress regime changes from normal to strike slip laterally across the reservoir. In comparison to 1D model, considerable differences in stable mud weight window of upto 1.5ppg is observed in wells located close to faults. This is due to effect of fault on stress magnitude and azimuth. Stress state of 4 faults were assessed and all are estimated to be critically stressed with elevated risk of damaging three wells cutting through. However, a simple 1D assessment of stress state of faults at wells cutting through them, show them to be stable.

Moreover, the 3D geomechanical properties that are input into the numerical simulation also play an important role on the results. The algorithms and data used to populate the properties away from the well, need to be validated and calibrated with the well data, to predict reliable results. As the subsurface was quite complex, and well data was not sampled optimally, both horizontally and vertically, the selection and optimum usage of 3D trends also became crucial.

By comparing the differences between 1D and 3D solutions, importance of 3D numerical modelling over 1D models is highlighted.