Stress-Corrosion Cracking as an Alternative Time-Dependent Shale-Stability Model
- Namsu Park (GeoMechanics International) | Jon E. Olson (The University of Texas at Austin) | Jon Holder (The University of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- June 2010
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 168 - 176
- 2010. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.1.10 Reservoir Geomechanics, 1.11.2 Drilling Fluid Selection and Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 5.8.6 Naturally Fractured Reservoir, 5.8.2 Shale Gas, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 6.5.3 Waste Management, 4.3.4 Scale, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.1.6 Hole Openers & Under-reamers, 1.2.2 Geomechanics, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 5.1.4 Petrology, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials
- Time-dependent failure, discrete element method, subcritical crack growth, stress corrosion, wellbore stability
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Wellbore stability in shale has been a crucial issue for drilling in all kinds of environments. The analysis of time-dependent wellbore stability in shales has largely concentrated on the influence of fluid chemistry and filtrate invasion into the formation to predict compressive failure using poroelasticity and continuum models. This paper presents another possible mechanism for time-dependent behavior--stress-corrosion cracking (subcritical crack growth). Using the discrete-element method (DEM) to simulate grain-scale processes, we apply the concept of time-dependent cracking to hole enlargement for vertical wellbores. We use a published example from the North Sea to verify the stress-corrosion model and demonstrate the application to wellbore stability in shale. Laboratory results on rocks indicate a wide range of susceptibility to stress-corrosion cracking related to rock petrology and contact-fluid chemistry. Using laboratory calibrated rock properties, we run 2D, plane-strain simulations of vertical-wellbore stability in shale, where hole enlargement is tracked through time. As a result of stress-corrosion cracking, the numerical models show a time-dependent failure history, with an initial stable period of varying duration (influenced by mud weight, rock properties, and in-situ stress), followed by a brief period of combined shear and tensile failure, and ending with stabilization at an enlarged, elliptically shaped geometry. Time to failure increases with increasing mud weight. Enlarged-hole shape changes from elliptical to roughly circular with decreasing stress anisotropy. These behaviors simulated by the stress-corrosion model coincide with previously reported field experience. This new modeling approach for time-dependent wellbore failure can be readily constrained with straight forward fracture-mechanics tests on rock samples and has the potential to also be applied to time-dependent, intermittent sand or fines generation during production.
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