Thin layering and micro-fracturing of the thin laminated layers are some possible reasons for the wellbore stability problems of the Nahr Umr shale. If the drilling fluid density is too low, collapsing of the borehole is possible, and if the drilling fluid density is too high, invasion of the shale can occur, weakening the shale, making boreholes prone to instability. These effects can be semi-quantified and assessed through the development of a geomechanical model.

The application of a geomechanical model of a reservoir and overlaying formations can be very useful for addressing ways to select a sweet spot and optimize the completion and development of a reservoir. The geomechanical model also provides a sound basis for addressing unforeseen drilling and borehole stability problems that are encountered during the life cycle of a reservoir. Key components of any geomechanical model are the principal stresses at depth: overburden, minimum horizontal principle stress, and maximum horizontal principle stress. These determine the existing tectonic fault regime: normal, strike-slip, and reverse. Additional components of a geomechanical model are pore pressure, unconfined compressive strength (UCS) rock strength, tilted anisotropy, and fracture and faults from image logs and seismic.

Unfortunately, models used to make continuous well logging depth-based stress predictions involve some parameters that are derived from laboratory tests, fracture injection tests, and the actual fracturing of a well—all contributing to the uncertainty of the model predictions. This paper addresses ways to obtain these key parameter components of the geomechanical model from well logging data calibrated to ancillary data. It is shown how stress, UCS, and pore pressure prediction and interpretation can be improved by developing and applying models using wellbore acoustic, triple combo, and borehole image data calibrated to laboratory and field measurements.

The nahr umr shale and other organic mudstone formations exhibit vertical transverse isotropic (VTI) anisotropy in the sense that rock properties are different in the vertical and horizontal directions (assuming non-tilted flatbed layering), the horizontal acoustic velocity is different from that of vertical velocity. This necessitates the building of anisotropic moduli and stress models. The anisotropic stress models require lateral strain, which as shown in the paper, can be obtained from micro-frac tests and/or borehole breakout data.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.