Accurate pore pressure prediction is required to determine reliable static mud weights and circulating pressures, necessary to mitigate the risk of influx, blowouts and borehole instability. To accurately estimate the pore pressure, the over-pressure mechanism has to be identified with respect to the geological environment. One of the most widely used methods for pore pressure prediction is based on Normal Compaction Trend Analysis, where the difference between a ‘normal trend' and log value of a porosity indicator log such as sonic or resistivity is used to estimate the pore pressure. This method is biased towards shales, which typically exhibit a strong relationship between porosity and depth. Overpressure in non-shale formations has to be estimated using a different method to avoid errors while predicting the pore pressure.

In this study, a different method for pore pressure prediction has been performed by using the lateral transfer approach. Many offset wells were used to predict the pore pressure. Lateral transfer in the sand body was identified as the mechanism for overpressure. This form of overpressure cannot be identified by well logs, which makes the pore pressure prediction more complex. Building a 2D geomechanical model, using seismic data as an input and following an analysis methodology that considered three type of formation fluids - gas, oil and water in the sand body, all pore pressure gradients related to lateral transfer for the respective fluids were evaluated. This methodology was applied to a conventional reservoir in a field in Colombia and was helpful to select the appropriate mud weight and circulating pressure to mitigate drilling risks associated to this mechanism of overpressure. Seismic data was critical to identifying this type of overpressure mechanism and was one of the main inputs for building the geomechanical earth model.

This methodology enables drilling engineers and geoscientists to confidently predict, assess and mitigate the risks posed by overpressure in non-shale formations where lateral transfer is the driving mechanism of overpressure. This will ensure a robust well plan and minimize drilling/well control hazards associated with this mode of overpressure.

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