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Pool, Wilfred (NAM) | Geluk, Mark (Shell Int. E&P) | Abels, Janneke (Shell International E&P) | Tiley, Graham John (Shell International E&P) | Idiz, Erdem (Shell Global Solutions International) | Leenaarts, Elise
Copyright 2012, Society of Petroleum Engineers This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE/EAGE European Unconventional Resources Conference and Exhibition held in Vienna, Austria, 20-22 March 2012. This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright. Abstract In 2008 Shell obtained two licenses for unconventional gas exploration in the Skåne region of southern Sweden, with a total size of 2500 km 2 (600,000 ac). The objective was the Cambro-Ordovician Alum Shale, one of the thickest and richest marine source rocks in onshore northern Europe.
Pressure build-up due to fluid thermal expansion in sealed annuli of HP/HT wells can have serious consequences such as casing failure or tubing collapse. To determine whether mitigation was required for a HP/HT development, annular pressures in an appraisal well were studied with a dedicated field test, which consisted of running a pressure/temperature memory gauge in a casing/casing annulus of a well and testing the well several times during a 3-month period, after which the gauge was retrieved and the data were read out.
First of all, comparison of the magnitude of the observed annular pressures with the burst and collapse ratings of the casings, shows that annular pressure build-up is a serious consideration in casing design. Such design is to be based on theoretical models for annular pressure build-up. The data acquired with the test serve to validate these models.
The data demonstrated that in the lower temperature range (20 to 40°C), on average, pressure development in the annulus agreed reasonably well with theoretical model predictions, based on thermal expansion of the annular fluids and casings, and ballooning and compression of the casing strings. The influence of these factors could be established by analyzing the transient pressure response of the annulus. At higher temperatures the theoretical models overestimate pressure build-up. This is probably to be attributed to the properties of the completion fluids differing from the properties of the base fluid, water. Estimates on the basis of pure water properties can be considered a worst-case estimate for pressure build-up. Leak-off of the annular fluids, which was seen to dominate pressure development during a previous test in a well with a cement shortfall between casings, did not play a significant role in this fully cemented and sealed annulus.