Exploration drilling is venturing out into deeper regions of water. While exploring these deeper water depths, large hydrocarbon deposits have been found below salt formations. These reservoirs are located in formations called "pre-salts," which are located below the salt formations. Pre-salt reservoirs have been found in offshore Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, and the North Sea. Completions in salt formations can be difficult owing to the creep behavior that the salt formations exhibit. Creep behavior results from the instability of the salt formation, which causes a slow flow and permanent deformations. Creep deformation occurs over time and is initiated once the salt formation has been penetrated. Completion of the wellbore does not stop formation creep. The constant creep of the salt formation causes excess stress on the wellbore casing, which may eventually cause the casing to collapse. In this study, a 3D geomechanical model is developed, using data such as wellbore pressure and temperature, formation stress and temperature, rock, cement, and casing properties, to predict the effects of salt creep behavior on stress loading in the wellbore casing, which helps to assess the life expectancy of wells in pre-salt reservoirs. The simulation results of this model can provide quantitative results of casing stress and deformation as a function of time under various temperature, in-situ stress and operation conditions, that can be used as useful information for subsequent wellbore casing design and wellbore integrity analysis. In addition, possible methods that can mitigate the severity of salt mobility and reduce the risks of casing collapse are discussed.

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