Surface and Downhole Tiltmeter Mapping: An Effective Tool for Monitoring Downhole Drill Cuttings Disposal
- L.G. Griffin (Pinnacle Technologies) | C.A. Wright (Pinnacle Technologies) | E.J. Davis (Pinnacle Technologies) | S.L. Wolhart (Gas Research Institute) | Z.A. Moschovidis (PCM Technical Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 1-4 October, Dallas, Texas
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2000. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 5.8.2 Shale Gas, 2.2.2 Perforating, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 3.3.2 Borehole Imaging and Wellbore Seismic, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 3 Production and Well Operations, 6.5.4 Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 6.5.3 Waste Management, 5.6.5 Tracers
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This paper documents the application and final results of using surface and downhole tilt mapping to monitor and evaluate downhole drill cuttings disposal at the Joint Industry Mounds Drill Cuttings Injection Field Experiment Project. Knowledge of the created hydraulic fractures was critical for determining the placement of "core-through" wells to evaluate the fracturing disposal mechanisms for both sandstone and shale intervals. Through "real-time" monitoring of the fracture it was possible to detect fracture height growth while the test was being performed and measure that the injected fluids stayed in the intended zone. Surface and downhole tiltmeter diagnostics have been widely used for mapping conventional propped and unpropped hydraulic fractures; however, this is the first application of the combination of surface and downhole tiltmeters to evaluate fracture geometry during drill cuttings disposal.
The application of tilt mapping will significantly aid in the advancement of both non-hazardous (drill cuttings and other oil field waste) and hazardous waste disposal by downhole injection. These applications will include: 1) "real-time" monitoring of the actual created fracture geometry allowing injection to be terminated before the fracture grows out of the intended disposal zone, 2) calibration of existing fracturing models by using the diagnostic results, and 3) aiding in the development of new models, if required, for disposal situations.
The combination of surface and downhole tilt fracture mapping determined the location (azimuth and depth) and geometry (height, length and width) of the hydraulic fractures created by injecting drill cuttings. On-site real-time monitoring (with tiltmeters installed in an observation well close to the injection well) indicated that the fractures did not grow out of the target intervals. These results were confirmed by subsequent "core-through" evaluation wells.
The disposal of waste by downhole injection has proven to be an economically and environmentally attractive solution. The key to moving this method forward is to develop and implement technology that will convince the regulatory community that this is safe, reliable, and permanent. Tiltmeter fracture mapping has played a key role to date, and will continue to, in achieving this goal.
Worldwide, the downhole injection disposal of oil field solid waste, primarily drill cuttings and mud, has proven to be an economically sound and environmentally attractive solution. Disposal of drill cuttings from offshore, arctic, and other remote or environmentally sensitive locations have great economic and environmental impact on field development. In any location, the transportation of such wastes has the potential for accidental spillage of materials in environmentally sensitive locations such as waterways or wetlands. While disposal injections have proven successful in exploration and production (E&P) operations, additional potential for this technology includes Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) waste and solid waste that is commonly generated at refining, chemical, and Superfund sites. Convincing the regulatory community that this method for solids disposal is safe, reliable, and permanent is necessary for this to become a commonly accepted solution.
Assurances of drill cuttings containment can be made through continuous diagnostic monitoring of the injections. Injection pressure behavior monitoring is believed to be adequate in most cases, however this must be verified by other methods. Fracture modeling is uncertain because repeated injections may create a complex system of fractures. The exact rock mechanics involved with downhole solid waste injection has been the subject of debate within the oil field community since the procedure was first proposed.
|File Size||1 MB||Number of Pages||14|