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Pacific Rocks 2000, Girard, Liebman, Breeds & Doe (eds) 2000 Balkema, Rotterdam, ISBN 90 5809 1554

Effects of thermal osmosis on shale instability

Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, University ofNorth Dakota, Grand Forks, N.Dak., USA

School of Geology and Geophysics, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla., USA

ABSTRACT: Optimization of drilling fluid parameters such as mud weight, salt concentration, and
temperature is essential to alleviating instability problems when drilling through shale sections, particularly in hot environments. This paper describes the development of a solution for stress and pore
pressure distribution around a borehole when considering significant thermal- and chemo-mechanical
processes involved in shale-drilling fluid interactions. Phenomena related to thermal and ehemieal
osmosis are included within the framework of linear thermoporoela.',ticity. The solution is one of generalized plane strain, therefore, it is suitable for investigating the impact of shale membrane characteristics, mud chemistry, and mud temperature on the stability of inclined well bores in shale. Applicat,iol1
of the solution to a typical field operational situation has demonstrated that thermal osmosis can
significantly impact fluid flux into the formation, thereby reducing stability. Also presented is new
thermoporoelastic formulation for chemically-active rocks. Preliminary analysis suggests that mud
temperature should be optimized in order to maximize the efficacy of chemical osmosis in stabilizing
the borehole.


(1941), which includes thermal o':>mosis. Consequently, both thermoporoelastic and tlwrmoosmotic processes are included in the problem formulation and solution. Furthermore, a theoretical formulation has been developed for invc;;tiggt..
ing the combined effects of chemical and thermal
osmosis. Some results are presented and future
improvements are outlined. This work is part.icularly useful in mud design for drilling through
shale sections in high temperature environments.

Maintaining well bore stability is of paramount

importance when drilling for petroleum production. Shale deterioration and borehole instability
are significantly influenced by the amount and
distribution of water within the shale. The influx
of mud filtrate into a shale formation increases
water content and pore pressure near the borehole, alters the solid structure, and reduces shale
strength. Prior research has addressed the effects
of fluid transport due to hydraulic pressure gradient and chemical osmosis on shale stability (Mody
and Hale, 1993; Onaisi et al. 1993; Sherwood and
Bailey, 1994; van Oort et al. 1996; Sharma et al.
1998; Ghasserni et al. 1998). This paper considers the effects of the macroscopic process of
osmosis due to a thermal potential. In assessing
the contribution of thermal osmosis to fluid flux
and rock deformation, solutions are developed to
calculate pore pressure and stress distributions
around a wellbore drilled in shale. These solutions are generated by using a generalized plane
strain approach formulated within the framework
of the non-isothermal poroelastic theory of Biot


When in contact with a drilling fluid, shale absorbs water into its clay matrix between aggregates, particles, and basal planes of crystals. The
sorption of water is accompanied by a change in
the interlayer spacings between clay surfaces that
is manifested as a swelling of the roek. In addition to the chemical composition of the drilling
fluid, shale reactivity is influenced by the chemical composition, amOlmt, and distribution of water within the shale itself (Santos ot al. 1996).
Therefore, the influx of mud filtrate into the for-


mation is a major factor contributing to shale de- . of streaming current, diffusion current, ctc.; and
heat flows by conduction, pressure thermal cfterioration and instability. Because shales have a
and Dufour effect,
Groot, 1951;
very low permeability (order of nano-darcy),
draulic transport is not the dominant form of fluid
1969). Thus, fluid motion and hence, solid
movement into the formation. In
deformation depend on the changes in the hyfluid transport is often several times smaller than
draulic pressure, chemical potential, electric pothe contribution of chemical and temperature potential, and temperature. To reflect this, the
tentials. The significance of water flux due to
theory of thermoporoelasticity should be modia chemical potential is well established (Young
fied so that not only hydraulic fluid flow but also
and Low, 1965; Kemper and Rollins, 1966; Olsen,
flow due to chemical osmosis,
thermal osmosis are considered.
1969; Fritz, 1986), and its impact on hole stability has been investigated (Chenevert, 1970; Mody
Membranc flow processes can be described by a
and Hale, 1993; Ghassemi et al. 1998). Ion
. of irreversible
transfer and its impact on osmotic flow have also
processes developed by Onsager (1931) and rebeen investigated (Fritz, 1986). Diffusion C:f ions . fined by Casimir (1945); in which the thermodyinto the formation result from shale's imperfecnamic forces, Xk, are related to the fluxes, qi,
tion as an ion exclusion membrane and has been
produce by linear relationships:
chemical osmotic
shown to significantly
flow and impact borehole stability' (Hcidug and
LikX" .. ' (i = 1,2, ... , n)
1996; Ghassemi et aL 1!;l99). There is
evidence that thermal osmosis can play a simThe phenomcnological coefficients
express, for
ilarly significant role in filtration transport and
cohence shale behavior. Significant mass transport
heat conauction, and electric conducti
through clay membranes due to a temperature
The coefficients Lik (i =f k) are connected to
gradient has been observed in laboratory experithc
or interference phenomena (e.g., reflecments (Dirksen, 1969). Based on the pvnpr;TnPn_
thermal osmosis coefficient, and
tal results of Srivastava and Avasthi
been estimated that thermo-osmotic volume flow
a temperaturc gradient across
through kaolinite can be 800 times larger than
thermal osmosis oeems
Darcian flow (Carnahan, 1984). The phenomwhen the mud/shale system exerts a selectivity
enon of thermo-osmosis has long been recognized
with respect to hot (high specific' enthalpy) and
in the soil science community (Gray 1966; Dirkcold
(low specific enthalpy) molecules. The pressen, 1969; Groenevelt and Kay, 1974). It has also
ence of a tcmperature gradient causes prefcrred
received some attention in relation to hydrogetransport of molecules, which increases the heat
ology (Ne~lzil, 1986) and nuclear waste isolation
content of the system at the lower telliperat11fc
(Carnahan, 1984; Basha and Selvadurai, 1998;
side or
the heat content of the higher t~lll
Zhou et al. 1998). However, the role of therperature side. As shown by Groenevelt and Bolt
mal membrane processes in shale instability has
(1969), in the presence of hydraulic and thermal
not been adequately addressed. Ghassemi et al.
potentials, fluid volume flux ean be related t~1
recognized the potential signifidriving forces through experimentally measurable
cance of thermal osmosis, and have called for its
phenomenological coefficients, Li{
inclusion in borehole stability analysis in shale.


2.1 Thermal Osmosis


Various irreversible processes occur when shale

sections are being drilled so that a number of
driving forces contribute to transport of fluid and
other matter flows. In general, fluid flow is acthe flow of
current, and
heat. While diffusion, pressure diffusion, electrc~pIIOr:SlS. and thermal diffusion drive the flow
of ions or solnte; electric current flows in the form

represcnt the coefficients

.and thermo-osmotic
processes, respectively. Equation 1 along with the
rate of entropy .production associated with flow,
given by the bi-linear form:





of the rPf'lnr()f'lhr
Ljj; unless forces
some property more specific than their mere occurrence in
the expression for entropy production (Coleman
and Truesdell, 1960). Furthennore, some experimental results (Cussler, 1992) show violations
of Onsager symmetry, therefore, we assume that
cross coefficients are not equal (Lij f Lji).
The contribution of thermal osmosis to fluid flow
and rock deformation may be considered within
the franlework of a linear non-isothermal poroelastic theory (e.g., McTigue, 1986; Kurashige,
1989). This provides a basis for consideration of
thermo-poroelastic, thermo-osmotic, and chemoosmotic processes, For completeness, a brief de:-rint.ion of thermo-poroelasticity is presented next.
an example of a borehole problem drilled
in shale is considered and solved to illustrate the
infi uence. of thermal osmosis.

are not sufficient for the

= kT is the coefficient of them/Hl
conducl,lvlty and LTI/ O. Use of equat.ions 4 in
the eqllili brium equations and utilizing and ex"
pressions for strains given by:




2G(1 + v)
3(1 - 2v) O'.mTbij

0'.(1 - 2v)




+ ,;;,pl

~ ;o(af

+ 1 _ 2v Uj,ji -



+ v)
.... ,,\



where ( is the variation of fluid content per lmit

reference volume; G is the rock's shear moduB is Skempton's pore pressure coefficient;
. B'10 t' S roeffi'
t V'
'" d enot es
porosity; and am, af represent the volumetric
thermal expansion coefficient of the solid matrix
and the pore fluid, respectively.
When considering thermal osmosis, Darcy's law
can be written as:



The other field relations are the fluid and temperature diffusion equations,


- cf(jj

(vu - v)c f
B(1 + vu )(1 v)

- om) -


Linearized therrnoporoelastic constitutive laws ,are

used in this study,


as well as the strain-displacement relatIOns, produces Navier equations in terms of the displacements:


1 _ 2v
tJ - apbtJ

a Tn

+ 3"TOtJ + (8)

a(l - 2v)


1 + v(lkkOtJ )




where cf and
are the fluid and temperature diffusivity coefficients, respectively. Not.e that ~()n
vective heat transport is neglected in tlm heat
flow equation, This is justified for a low penneability system such as shale.
Attentively, the fluid diffusion eqnation cml be
written in terms of the pore pressllre by
equations 4, 5, and 6 in the fluid continuity equation. This yields:

K,p ,JJ','


at +

[O'.o:m+;o(O:f - am)-



where K, = Lvv is the mobility coefficient, and

(-LVT IT) is the thermo-osmotic coefficient.
It is assumed that heat flow obeys Fourier's law:

It can be observed that the ternperature equation is not coupled to the pore pressnre diffusion
and Navier 'equations. Furthermore, 'when considan irrcitational displacement field in an infinite mediuIIl, the pore pressure field is also dc>(;olJpled from the deformation field (Det.ournay and
Then, by utilizing t.he expression
for strains, equation 8, the fluid diffll!iion eqllation can be written as:

qJ =

= -K,P ,J,+






cf P,jj



where e"

ef [


} "T

3.1 Examples


2a m (vu - v)
B(l+v,,)(l v)+



For a borehole problem it is more convenient to

express the diffusion field eQuations in the
drical coordinates system:


~ op] _ op
or2 + r or - at





+ :;: or






The above field equations along with appropriate boundary conditions can be solved for stress
and pore pressure distributions around a borehole drilled in shale. The boundary conditions
for a borehole problem are as follows:

!::J.(!rr = Pm
!::J.(!rz = -17:;'
!::J.(!r() = -(!::ij
!::J.p =
Ts h





00 :

a rr



= a~


= 17;0


T=Ts h
where crij represent the stresses at infinity in the
plane perpendicular to the wellbore axis. The salution procedure involves superposition of three
loading modes (Carter and Booker, 1982; Detournay and
1988). For each mode, the
solution is obtained using the Laplace transform
(Wang and Papamichos, 1994; Li et al'
the temperature field is obtained by
solving equation 16. This result is then lL.'led in
equation 15 to find the pore pressure. Integration
of equations 9 will then yield the displacements
and eventually the stresses. The total pore pressure and stresses resulting from the three modes
are subsequently calculated using:

1700 =

(!z. o + v((!;~2,3

+ (!~,;j) + a(l + (!;'r + cr;';' ; p = pO + pi + p2 + p3

(!So +
+ (!~~


To study the impact of thermo-osmosis on t.he

pore pressure/stress field around a wellbore, COllsider a vertical well drilled in a shale with material properties as well as relevant drilling fluid
properties shown in Table 1. Figllres 1 and 2 illustrate the role of thermal osmosis when drilling
with a mud that is warmer and cooler than the
formation, respectively. It can be observed that
thermo-osmosis significantly modifies the pore pressure field near the wellbore at early times. A
larger temperature difference between the mud
and shale results in a magnification of the thermal
osmotic contribution to pore pressure changes ill
the formation. In general, the extent and natnre
of the pore pressure change depends not ouly on
the magnitude and
of the temperature gradient but also on the magnitude and sign of the
,When KT <
0, the osmotic flow direction is from warmer to
cooler, whereas when KT > 0, the flow is from
cooler to warmer. Consider the shale-mud svstem, if KT and 'VT are either both positive' or
both negative, then the direction of the osmotic
fluid flow is into the shale resulting in an increase
of the pore pressure neaT the wellbore; while if
either KT or 'VT is negative, then the fluid flows
out of the shale reducing the pore pressnre. Flow
in both directions has been observed in laboratory tests
compacted clays. Therefore, depending on the nature of fluid and the membrane
properties of the shale, thermal osmosis Gall citlwr
increase flow into shale, whieh reduces effective
stress and shale strength, or it can increase flow
into the wellbore, whidl may cause excessive shale
dehydration. The resulting effective stress distribution corresponding to drilling with a warmer
mud is shown in Figure 3.
The above analysis describes shale deformat.ion
based on a thermoporoela..,ticity theory that does
not consider the difference between the chemical
potential of the shale and the drilling mud. However, a major attribute of poroelastic ~)ffects in
saturated chemically active rocks is that they can
be modified by fluid diffusion caused by a chemical potential gradient (Sherwood, 1993). Therefore, the theory of thennoporoela..,ticity for shales
should include the chemical potential of the system, Obviously this is a complex problem incoupled thermal, poroelastic, and ionic
processes. However, if ion diffusion can be ne(as in a perfect membrane), then the prob-





MUr Warmer tha: Formation






-~-~~nlo ther'1"l'l(H)smosis
.----. thermCH:lsmosJs"


T =150 C




,: \ (T--e therm<1-os::,o$!i we: T:=150 DC: -K




' I.



Figure 1: Effect of thermal osmosis on pore pressure field around the well bore (shale cooler than
B 0).

Figure 4: Pore pressure profile corresponding to

coupling of various osmotic processf'..s (B=






Figure 5: Modified pore pressure distribution
near the welJbore as a function of mud temperature and chemistry one hour after drilling (B


Figure 2: Effect of thermal osmosis on pore pressure field around the wellbore (mild ecoler than
formation, B

Table 1. Values of parameters in examples.

Drained Young's modulus, E
2.06 X 104 MPa
Drained Poisson's ratio, II
Draincd solid coef. of expo, am 18 X io ~rC
2.61 X 10 -Om'2/ s
. Fluid dlffusivity, (/
Fluid thermal coer. of exp.) aJ . 300 X 10-676 0
2.50 X lcP MPa
_F'~uid bulk modulus, K f
3.0 X 10 -4 Pa.s
Fluid viscosity) fL
In-situ stresses (cry, O'h, O'H)
30; 25;34 MPa
7.66 X 10-- 8 darey
Permeability, k .
Skcmpton's coef.) B
6.0 X 10 -um</soC
Thermo-osmotic coef.) K'l
1.6 X 10 =6 m7js
Thermal dilTusivity, c
Undrained Poisson's ratio, II"
Shale/mud activity) a:/:/ a::,'





Tl1'Io;::150:C; TIII1=100



Figure 3: Effective stress distribution around the

borehole (mud warmer than formation, B = 0).
lem can be treated by an incremental extension
of the theory presented above. An outline of

salient features of such a development is presented




and their membrane characteristics ..

A preliminary assessment of the role of temperature can be made, albeit qualitatively, by considering its effect on ideality of shale as an ionexclusion membrane. Membrane ideality is eharacterized by the reflection coefficient. It scales
down the
osmotic pressure and is of
when using chemical osmosis to enhance shale stability. It has been shown
that the molal filtration efficiencies of bot.h Na+
increases with temperature (Haydon and Graf, 1986). Assuming that the reflection coefficient decreases with decreasing temperature, this means t.hat. cooling a mud with a lower
activity than the shale results in: (1) higher values of pore pressure at. t.he borehole wall and
in the formation, as can be observed in Figure
5; and (2) an increase in transfer of ions fTom
t.he drilling mud into the formation. The latter is highly significant given that ion transfer
through shale leads to osmotic pressure dissipation with time and re-establishment of a pore
pressure regime characteristic of hydraulic flow
(Ghassemi et al. 1999). As a result, mud cooling should be optimized in order to maximize the
efficacy of chemical osmosis in borehole stability. Moreover, future theoretical
should consider
thermal and ion transport processes and their interactions with poro..
elaBtic phenomena.

For a non-isothermal system in which any significant change in the chemical potential is solely
due to variations in the pore pressure and water
activity; a new chemical potential can be defined
in which the concentration or activity component
is averaged over the temperature of the system:



where lR is the reflection coefficient, T is the average shale temperature, Vw is the average value
of the molar volume of water, and i2w is the average
of shale; all are defined at an average
state of temperature.
In the above equation,
denotes the reference state chemical potential
per unit volume). Then, assuming
that only one salt is present, the thermoporoelastic couations become:


+ ({3m -





7) at:


where M is Biot's modulus and:

13m =


+ (o:[ O:m)4>]

Details of this approach can be found elsewhere

2000). Some results are pre(Ghassemi and
sented here to illustrate the combined effect of
thermal and chemical osmosis on the pore pressure field around a borehole drilled in a chemically active shale.
Figure 4 illustrates the pore pressure profiles after one hour when various processes are included.
Note that thermal osmosis (assumed to occur from
the warm to the cool side) results in a sharp
decline in the pore pressure inside the formation.
The effect of chemical osmosis is calculated based
on the assumption that cooling does not affect
shales' membrane
However, porosity,
and ionic diffusion coefficient are temperature dependent. Thus, effect
of temperature on membrane characteristics of
shales is manifold. Although it then becomes necessary to conduct experiments under in-situ condition.'l to provide data for a rigorous and comprehensive arlalysis; at the present time, it is possib~e
to make some specuJations on the role of temperature by resorting to available data related to clays

A t.hermoporoelastic solution for calculating the
prevailing stress and pore pressure distribution
around a borehole drilled in shale has been developed. The solution is based on a coupled theory that considers cert.ain t.hermal processes ill
drilling fluid/shale interactions. It improves previous studies that have neglected the contribution of thermoporoelastic effects and/or thermoosmosis. The nat.ure of the fluid and the membrane propert.ies of shale determine whether thermal osmosis increases or reduces the fluid flow
into shale. The former produces a rednction in effective stress and shale strength, while the latter
may cause excessive shale dehydration and tensile
failure. The solution haB been further extended
to couple chemical and thermal osmosis. Results
suggest that cooling ("ilT > 0) a mud with a lower
activity than the shale does not always guarantee a pore pressure rednction near the wellbore.
For exarriple, if KT is positive and significantly

large, then thermal osmosis can reduce or even

eliminate the effect of chemical osmosis. ,On the
other hand, if KT is negative and large enough,
then thermo-osmosis may intensify, the effect of
chemical osmosis. Prior: studies have shown that
cooling the borehole results in reduced potential
of shear failure but increases, potential of fracturing. However, in optimizing mud cooling, one
should also consider its effects on the reflection
coefficient in reducing and dissipating the chemical osmotic pressure.
To our knowledge this is the first analysis that
takes into account poroelastic, chemical, and thermal aspects of shale-drilling fluid interaction. The
solution presented contributes to the investigation of the effects of drilling fluid parameters suen
as mud weight and temperature on wellbore instability when drilling in high temperature environments.
The financial support of the North Dakota EPSCaR and the Office of Research and Program
Development of the University of North Dakota
is gratefully acknowledged. Also acknowledged is
the support of the Institute for Exploration and
Development Geosciences of the University of Oklahoma.
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