The significance of exploring deep and ultra-deep wells is increasing rapidly to meet the increased global demands on oil and gas. Drilling at such depth introduces a wide range of difficult challenges and issues. One of the challenges is the negative impact on the drilling fluids rheological properties when exposed to high pressure high temperature (HPHT) conditions and/or becoming contaminated with salts, which are common in deep drilling or in offshore operations.
The drilling engineer must have a good estimate for the values of rheological characteristics of a drilling fluid, such as viscosity, yield point and gel strength, and that is extremely important for a successful drilling operation. In this research work, experiments were conducted on water-based muds with different salinity contents, from ambient conditions up to very elevated pressures and temperatures.
In these experiments, water based drilling fluids containing different types of salt (NaCl and KCl) and at different concentrations were tested by a state-of-the-art high pressure high temperature viscometer. In this paper, the effect of different electrolysis (NaCl and KCl) at elevated pressures (up to 35,000 psi) and elevated temperatures (up to 450 ºF) on the viscosity of water based mud has been presented.
Thaya, S. (Tokyo Institute of Technology) | Pipatpongsa, T. (Tokyo Institute of Technology) | Takahashi, A. (Tokyo Institute of Technology) | Doncommul, P. (Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand)
The large deposits of freshwater snail fossils aging around 12-13 million years has been discovered at Mae Moh lignite mine in the northern part of Thailand. The preserved area of snail fossils with layers of up to 12 meters deep in the mining area has been set aside; however, there is a concern about the influence of mining activities in the vicinity area as well as excavations at a deeper depth. Therefore, detailed studies of the strength characteristics of snail fossils become necessary. The present study reported part of an investigation program in which direct shear strength properties of snail fossils were focused through the direct shear test with constant vertical stress under wet and dry conditions. The intact and disturbed samples were collected from a subsurface of a location deposited outside the preservation area. The effects of vertical effective stress, water, overconsolidation, and multi-reversal shearing on the shear strength properties of snail fossils were examined. The results show that the stress ratio decreases with increasing the vertical effective stress and the number of shearing. The presence of water appeared to have an impact on strength properties to some degrees. In addition, there is a rise in the stress ratio as the overconsolidation ratio increases.
This paper presents the results of an integrated laboratory and numerical modelling study on the effect of wellbore deviation and wellbore azimuth on fracture propagation in poorly consolidated sandstone formations. The goal of this project was to develop an understanding of how fractures would transition from single planar fractures to non-planar transverse fractures for fields in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico.
The foundation of this work was over 40 fracturing laboratory tests to measure fracture propagation geometries for a range of well deviations, differential horizontal stresses and rock strength. The samples tested were from three outcrops with unconfined compressive strength (UCS) values ranging from 300 - 1000 psi. For boreholes having low deviation angles and small differential stresses a vertical single planar fracture was created, aligned with the wellbore, as expected. As the well trajectory and stress contrast increased the fractures became more complex, with transverse turning fractures no-longer aligned with the wellbore.
These laboratory results were used to develop and calibrate a new fully-3D finite element model that predicts non-planar fracture growth. The model matches the details of the laboratory tests, including the transition from planar vertical to non-planar transverse fractures as the well deviation, azimuth and stress differentials increase. After initial model development and calibration was complete a model of a complex case was run before showing any experimental results to the modellers. The model successfully predicted the transverse non-planar results found in the laboratory; this gave us increased confidence in the model as a predictive tool.
This work has now been applied with excellent success to four deepwater fields. We have recommended changes in maximum well deviations, performed post-job analyses on wells that had high deviations, and have increased our understanding of the impact of layered formations on fracture growth in these fields.
Choi, M.K. (School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University) | Pyrak-Nolte, L.J. (Department of Physics, Purdue University, School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University) | Bobet, A. (School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University)