Rock Stresses Induced by Flow of Fluids into Boreholes
- P.R. Paslay (Shell Development Co.) | J.B. Cheatham Jr. (Shell Development Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- March 1963
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 85 - 94
- 1963. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 3 Production and Well Operations, 2 Well Completion, 3.2.5 Produced Sand / Solids Management and Control, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control
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Rock stresses and steady-state flow rates induced by the pressure gradient associated with the flow of formation fluid into a borehole have been analytically determined for a permeable, elastic material saturated with an incompressible fluid. In this analysis, the material properties and loading are considered to he symmetric about the axis of the borehole and independent of axial position. For Case I the material is assumed to have uniform permeability in the radial direction, whereas for Case II the permeability is assumed to have been reduced in a localized region adjacent to the hole by either normal well completion and production operations or deliberate plugging during air drilling. Results of a numerical example indicate that, in the absence of plugging, the rock shear strength must be approximately two-thirds the formation fluid pressure in order to prevent rock failure. The required rock strength is high for small radial zones of plugging and decreases as the region of reduced permeability becomes larger; however, a depth of plugging can be reached beyond which there is no real gain in strength, although the flow rate can be further reduced.
During normal production of oil from a well, it is often desirable to increase the production rate of the formation fluid by increasing the pressure gradient through the formation adjacent to the borehole. Depending upon the magnitude of this pressure gradient and strength of the rock material, this production-rate increase can cause sloughing of the hole wall. In many cases, the production-rate increase can result in excessive sand production, increased wear of production equipment, lost production time and expensive workover jobs. In addition, the phenomenon of increased rock bit penetration rate with the use of a gaseous instead of a liquid drilling fluid has been observed in oilfield drilling operations and experimentally demonstrated by various investigators for several years. The improvement obtained by employing this technique can be quite significant and offers a promising method for reducing drilling costs. However, air drilling is currently limited to geographical locations where high-capacity water-bearing formations are not encountered. This limitation has prevented widespread adoption of air-drilling techniques, because the water influx into the borehole interferes with efficient removal of the drilling cuttings and usually results in a condition such that the bit becomes "balled-up" or stuck in the hole. In an attempt to remove the water-intrusion limitation from air drilling, various chemical and mechanical water shut-off methods have been proposed. Goodwin and Teplitz suggested one such proposal whereby the permeability of the water - bearing rock structure was reduced in the vicinity of the borehole. Although the development of a shut-off method based upon this approach would certainly be welcomed by the oil industry, it is conceivable that, under certain conditions of the pressure gradient, strength of the rock material and depth of the modified permeability zone, a stress field can be created that will result in an unstable hole. As part of their study, an analytical solution is given for stresses in an idealized model of a hole and the surrounding rock material. The purpose of the present study is to extend the analysis of Goodwin and Teplitz to gain more insight into the details and consequences of excessive production rates and formation water shut-off. In particular, simplified models of these problems have been analytically examined, which makes possible the evaluation of the type of stress fields that can be anticipated as a result of these production and drilling practices. Both problems solved concern the determination of the steady-state volume flow rate of the formation fluid and the resulting steady-state stress and displacement distribution in a hollow, cylindrical configuration. The cylinder of Case I, corresponding to the production-rate problem, consists of a material with a constant permeability from the inside surface to the outside surface; the cylinder of Case II, corresponding to the water shut-off problem, consists of a material with a constant permeability from the inside surface to an intermediate concentric cylindrical surface and a second constant permeability from the intermediate surface to the outside surface.
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