This paper highlights the development of a coupled poroelastic geomechanical and fluid flow model which incorporates field and lab data with the objective to constrain the full in-situ stress tensor and rock strength in order to predict the stability of open hole horizontal completions during reservoir depletion.

Results of a four-year comprehensive testing and monitoring program conducted to assess the extent of hole instability during shut-in and flowing periods1  indicated that there was no immediate hole collapse. However, the study revealed the need to assess the long-term impact of reservoir depletion and pressure drawdown on wellbore stability.

The results of this study indicate that the in situ stress state can be characterized by a normal faulting environment with low differential stresses in which the maximum principal stress is approximately equal to the overburden. Furthermore, a detailed analysis of wellbore stability during production supports openhole completion for horizontal wells under the condition that reservoir depletion is limited to a maximum pressure drop of 1,500 psi. This finding is independent of well azimuth. Pressure drops exceeding 1,500 psi in the reservoir are likely to cause considerable wellbore instabilities. These results were achieved under the assumption of moderate to more pronounced amounts of drawdown (500-1000 psi) in the near wellbore region. The study also highlighted that laboratory-derived rock strength values from triaxial tests, are low and are not consistent with the drilling and production experiences to date in the field. Rather, the formation appears to behave in a plastic manner that strengthens the wellbore.

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