Microstructural and Rock Mechanical Study on Selected Core Plugs Samples from Unconventional Formation
- Hameed Al-Badairy (R&DC) | Mohammad Alqam (EXPEC ARC) | Ayman Al-Nakhli (EXPEC ARC)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition, 24-27 April, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2017. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- hydrofracturing treatment, mechanical properties, mechanical properties, microstructure, hydrofracturing treatment, Unconventional formation, micro-cracks, Unconventional formation, micro-cracks, microstructure
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Tight gas is the general term applied to low permeability, low deliverability, and low porosity gas-producing formations. Future potential for gas production lies among others in tight gas reservoirs. Gas wells in these reservoirs are economically marginal and they cannot be developed using conventional technologies. These reservoirs must be hydraulically fractured to produce because of the natural ineffective reservoir drainage, which is due to extremely low permeability.
In this paper, an integrated approach was applied to investigate the role of rock mechanical properties. Also, samples were selected for microstructural and mineralogical characterizations using advanced microscopy and spectroscopy analytical techniques. Additionally, ultrasonic compressional and shear velocities were measured on each sample and dynamic Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio were obtained. The acquired topographical images showed the presence of nanoscale pores and micro-cracks in most of the examined core samples. The energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) general area analyses revealed that the examined formations were composed of oxygen, silicon, aluminum and magnesium as the major elements with appreciable amounts of potassium, calcium, iron and carbon. EDS spot mode analyses revealed the presence of white particles that were found to be iron-rich compounds.
The outcome of this study is to develop practical empirical correlations to assist in predicting rock mechanical properties. The ultimate objective is to establish formation dependent correlations that relate mechanical properties, such as rock strength, to a log measured physical property such as sonic velocity. The mechanical properties are critical input for many field problems, such as wellbore stability, sand production control, fracturing, casing design and perforation. The final outcome of this project will result in tremendous reduction of testing time and cost.
In brief, the unconventional formation is a broad term for very low permeability* and porosity* formations. These formations contain high levels of trapped hydrocarbons, in particular gas, which are more difficult and costly to extract than in the case of the conventional reservoirs. This is may be because the technology to reach it has not been fully developed, or is too expensive . It has been reported in the literature that there are huge hydrocarbon reserves trapped in unconventional formations worldwide .
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