Shale plays are anisotropic in terms of their reservoir quality which gets reflected in their productivity. Reservoir qualities like organic richness, thermal maturity, hydrocarbon saturation, the volume of clay, brittleness and pressure affect the productivity of the shale plays. In general, the volume of clay has a negative relationship whereas other parameters listed above have a positive relationship with production. In our study area, we found the deepest wells despite having better rock quality; do not perform like nearby shallower wells. The objective of this study is to understand the not so obvious reason behind underperformance of these deepest wells.
Since the wells are located at a deeper depth and the reservoir temperature is high (90 to 135°C), so we studied the area from clay diagenesis and fluid expansion perspective. We have reviewed the imprints of clay diagenesis with the help of XRD data and core integrated multi min processed wireline logs. We observed an increasing trend of illite, chlorite towards the deeper part of the reservoir along with a decreasing trend of smectite in the same direction which indicates a higher degree of clay diagenesis. Fluid expansion study is carried out with the help of total organic carbon and hydrocarbon saturation. This study indicated a higher degree of fluid expansion (TOC to hydrocarbon generation) in the deepest part.
Subsequently, 1D pore pressure, stress and rock mechanical modeling is carried out to evaluate the effect of a higher degree of diagenesis and fluid expansion on geomechanical parameters (pore pressure, stress and brittleness). 1D modeling reveals that the deeper wells have abnormal pressure, stress and low brittleness, which is primarily due to extra pressure contribution from fluid expansion and clay diagenesis apart from the compaction disequilibrium process. This abnormal stress and reduction in brittlness likely to have created challenges for the applied hydrofrac job in the deepest part resulting to narrow frac geometry. Comparison of hydraulic fracture modeling between a shallow and the deepest wells reveal that the hydraulic fracture geometry in the deepest well is narrower than the shallower well. So we came to the conclusion that the deepest wells are underperforming than the shallower wells despite of their better rock quality due to ineffective fracturing and comparatively narrower fracture geometry.
The impact of clay diagenesis and fluid expansion in shale productivity has not been studied widely. Though many authors have extensively studied the impact of clay diagenesis on permeability and pore pressure, the integration of shale well production is rarely attempted. This work will help the operators to better analyze and understand their shale reservoir from clay diagenesis and fluid expansion point of view before planning the hydrofrac jobs.