This paper is focused on the integration of two laboratory centimeter-resolution logs of mechanical properties (strength and compressional elastic-wave velocity Vp) into an enhanced core analysis workflow for the geomechanical characterization of unconventional reservoirs in a giant field in Abu Dhabi, where fracking is the cornerstone for producing the unconventional oil. The design and placement of hydraulic fratures rely strongly on the a-priori knowledge of the stress profile and brittleness index, which were estimated via a mechanical earth model constructed from wireline logs and correlations based on US shales analogues. With most of the stratigraphic column in the Abu Dhabi field composed of carbonates, the calibration of the mechanical earth models was found critical as the US shales based correlations would otherwise not have been suitable to the geomechanical characterization of these tight carbonate reservoirs.

With this case study we illustrate:

  • How the combination of the continuous profiles of rock strength UCS (Uniaxial compressive strength) and P-wave velocity measured directly on dry cores with the scratch tests contributes to the identification of different Geomechanical Facies,

  • How the mapping of several Geomechanical Facies enables the building of a simple yet robust relationship between the UCS measured directly on cores and properties such as the total porosity and acoustic velocities of sonic waves, obtained from wireline logs, and

  • How the centimeter-resolution profiles of strength and elastic wave velocities measured on dry cores enable the proper upscaling of geomechanical properties measured on plug samples to the entire cored section and the computation of a horizontal stress and brittleness profiles derived from unbiased geomechanical properties.

From this case study follows a general discussion on the relevance of wireline sonic logs relative to centimetric resolution data (scratch profiles or plug measurement) acquired on dry cores for the geomechanical characterization of reservoirs. We conclude that measurements on dry cores enable the more robust calibration of mechanical earth model and in turn better description of the reservoir mechanical response. The upscaled profiles of horizontal stress and brittleness index derived from dry core measurements would ultimately lead to an alternative strategy for the design and placement of hydraulic fractures along producing wells.

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