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Rock mechanical aspects of shaped charge penetration

J. Heiland, B. Grove & I.C. Walton


Schlumberger Reservoir Completions, Perforating Research, Rosharon, Texas, USA

ABSTRACT: Shaped charge penetrators are used in the petroleum industry to perforate cased and cemented
wellbores to gain access to the reservoir formation. One of the main factors influencing the performance of
cased and perforated completions is the penetration depth of the perforations. Traditionally the penetration
depth of shaped charges is tested on cement targets under ambient conditions. In this paper we describe the
results of an exhaustive experimental program to evaluate shaped charge penetration in rock under downhole
conditions. It was found that penetration depth decreases with increasing rock strength, which confirms re-
sults from previously published studies. Some of the examined rocks also show a pronounced dependency of
penetration depth on effective stress, although for some rocks this effect appears to be less pronounced than
for others. An effective stress law, linking the penetration depth to effective confining stress was developed,
which also fits better historical penetration data. It appears that the effective stress parameter is unique for
each rock or rock type.

1 INTRODUCTION The prediction of downhole penetration is histor-


ically based on correlations relating the measured
Shaped charge penetration is one of the factors de- penetration in cement under ambient conditions to
termining the productivity of perforated wellbore penetration into real rock under downhole condi-
completions. Other perforating factors include shot tions (Ott et al. 1994). For this prediction two corre-
density, phasing, and the cleanliness of the perfora- lations are used, the first one linking penetration
tion tunnel. Additionally, productivity is heavily in- depth to rocks of various strength and the second
fluenced by the severity of drilling induced damage. one relating penetration depth to effective stress
One of the main ways that penetration depth can im- (Halleck et al. 1988, Behrmann & Halleck 1988,
prove the productivity of a perforated completion is Halleck & Behrmann 1990). The assumption is that
by shooting past the drilling induced damage. Thus, stress influences penetration equally for all rock
it has been an ongoing effort in the petroleum indus- types.
try to optimize shaped charges for maximum pene- In recent years, however, it has become more and
tration. more accepted in the petroleum industry that the his-
Historically, penetration depth has been deter- torical treatment of penetration prediction consider-
mined using concrete targets shot under ambient ably overpredicts penetration depths and that new
conditions, which can largely overpredict downhole correlations or methods for penetration prediction
performance. This paper focuses on the determina- need to be developed (Walton 2004).
tion of the target properties that influence the per- This current paper describes the first step toward
formance of a shaped charge under downhole condi- new methods for penetration prediction, a set of ex-
tions. These properties can be summarized by using periments involving the newest generation of shaped
the term target strength, which is a combination of charges and a variety of rock types. The main para-
the rock strength and the in situ stresses. For the cre- meter that was examined was the influence of in-
ation of a perforating tunnel, the penetrating shaped creasing effective stress on the penetration depth.
charge jet has to overcome the combined effect of Additionally, full petrophysical and rock mechanical
rock strength and in situ stresses. Walton (2004) characterization of the sample material was per-
gives a detailed analysis of the physics of shaped formed.
charge penetration in rock under downhole stress
conditions.
2 EXPERIMENTAL SETUP periments was performed, comprising all levels of
confining pressures on pore pressure conditions giv-
A purpose-built single-shot pressure vessel was de- en in Table 1. In the other rocks only a complete se-
signed for these experiments. It can subject a cylin- ries of test conditions without pore pressure was per-
drical rock sample to confining pressure and pore formed and in a few rocks some tests were
pressure of up to 10,000 psi, but does not provide performed with varying levels of pore pressure. Two
the capability for wellbore pressure and postperfora- shots were performed for each pressure condition; if
tion flow. This way it is possible to perform two the penetration depths of these two tests differed by
single-shot perforation tests in one day and collect a more than 20%, a third test was performed.
large amount of penetration data in a short period of After each experiment the samples were un-
time. loaded, removed from the pressure vessel, and split
along the length of the core. The penetration depth
was determined with a tape measure on one half of
the split core.

Table 1. Test matrix.


Pore pressure (Pp) Confin- Number of tests per rock
ing pres- at these conditions
sure (Pc),
psi
Pp = 0 psi 0, 500, Berea sandstone: 13
1000, Castlegate sandstone: 12
2000, Kentucky sandstone: 11
4000, Crab Orchard sandstone: 9
8000 Indiana limestone: 14
Pp = Pc 2000 psi 4000, Berea sandstone: 6
6000, Castlegate sandstone: 6
8000
Pp = Pc 4000 psi 6000, Berea sandstone: 5
7000, Castlegate sandstone: 4
8000
P p = Pc 2000, Berea sandstone: 5
8000 Castlegate sandstone: 4
Figure 1. Sketch of core holder setup. Indiana limestone: 4

The pressure vessel is mounted on a cart and the


actual perforation shot takes place inside an explo- 3 DESCRIPTION OF SAMPLE MATERIAL
sives-proof bunker. The core holder is positioned
vertically on the cart and the simulated gun and Four sandstones and one limestone were examined
charge holder are positioned at the top of the core in this study. The sandstones were chosen to
holder, resulting in a downward perforating direc- represent a range of permeability and strength
tion. A shoot-through plate containing a cement- ranges, which are commonly found in hydrocarbon
filled space is placed on top of the rock sample, si- reservoirs. All rocks in this study are from quarries
mulating the wellbore casing and cement-sheath be- in the United States and some are commonly used as
tween the casing and formation. The space between reservoir-equivalents in petrophysical or rock me-
the simulated gun and the shoot-through plate is chanical studies. Table 2 gives an overview of the
filled with water to mimic the wellbore fluid. Figure main petrophysical and rock mechanical parameters
1 shows a sketch of the core holder setup. of the studied rocks.
The experimental program tested the depth of pe- Castlegate sandstone is a fine- to medium-grained
netration into various sandstones and one carbonate sandstone with subangular to rounded grains. It is
under confining pressures of up to 8000 psi with va- widely used as an equivalent material for very weak
rying pore pressure levels, resulting in effective to weak, high porosity/high permeability reservoirs.
stresses between 0 psi (pore pressure equal to con- Berea sandstone has a similar microstructure, but is
fining pressure) and 8000 psi (zero pore pressure). considerably stronger, because of some compaction
The actual number of experiments varied for each and stronger cementation. It is the standard rock for
rock type; the largest number of tests was shot in perforation testing and is widely used as a reservoir
Berea sandstone (40 shots). Table 1 gives the con- equivalent in the petroleum industry. Kentucky
fining and pore pressure conditions for the experi- sandstone is a very fine-grained silt to sandstone, re-
ments. In Berea sandstones a complete series of ex- sulting in lower porosity and very low permeability.
Crab Orchard sandstone is a medium- to fine-
grained sandstone with very low porosity and per- A strong pressure dependence of penetration
meability. It is highly compacted and strongly ce- depth exists in Berea sandstone for confining pres-
mented, partly by quartz overgrowth. The four sand- sures up to 3000 psi. The data in Figure 2 is divided
stones in this study were chosen in such a way that into data from experiments without pore pressure
the permeability decreases by roughly one order of and with varying levels of pore pressure; the effec-
magnitude for each sandstone. tive stress is calculated assuming an effective stress
Indiana limestone is also a rock widely used in law as defined by equation 1.
laboratory studies in the petroleum industry. It is a
grainstone in the Dunham classification, consisting
entirely of fossil debris with some of the cementa- eff = Pc Pp (1)
tion provided by calcite growth in the pore space.
where eff = effective pressure; Pc = confining pres-
Table 2. Petrophysical and rock mechanical properties of sam- sure; and Pp = pore pressure.
ples. At effective confining pressures of 2000 psi and
Number Density, UCS, Porosi- Permeability,4000 psi the data from experiments with pore pres-
of tests g/cc psi ty, % mD sure follow a similar trend as the data from zero pore
Castlegate 26 1.93 1400 24.5 1013 pressure experiments. The data points of the experi-
sandstone
Berea 29 2.17 8000 19.8 189
ments where pore pressure was equal to confining
sandstone pressure (resulting in zero effective stress) lie consi-
Kentucky 11 2.27 7100 13.3 1 derably below the results from experiments with ze-
sandstone ro pore pressure. This suggests that an effective
Crab 9 2.49 10,60 5.7 0.06 stress law of this form is too simplistic. It has to be
Orchard 0 noted, that traditionally this form of effective stress
sandstone
Indiana 18 2.28 7600 14.8 9.4
law is used in the prediction of penetration depth.
limestone Re-plotting the data with an effective stress law of
the form:

eff = Pc aPp (2)


4 RESULTS OF PERFORATING
EXPERIMENTS
assuming an effective stress coefficient of a = 0.67,
The largest number of experiments was performed results in a much improved data fit (Fig. 3).
on Berea sandstone and it seems logical to use these At this point it has to be noted that the term ef-
data to introduce the general results of this study, fective stress coefficient is in this paper used for a
before comparing the Berea data to the data col- curve-fit parameter to better account for the effec-
lected for the other rocks. In general, penetration tive stress effect in the presented shaped charge pe-
depth decreases with increasing confining pressure, netration data. The relationship between the effec-
which is shown in Figure 2. tive stress coefficient introduced in this paper and
the Biot constant is subject of ongoing research.
1.1

eff = Pc - Pp
1
1.1
Normalized penetration depth (-)

eff = Pc - a Pp
0.9
1 a = 0.67
Normlaized penetration depth (-)

0.8
0.9

0.7
0.8

0.6
0.7

0.5
0.6
Zero pore pressure
Pore pressure
0.4
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 0.5
Effective pressure (psi) Zero pore pressure
Pore pressure
Figure 2. Normalized penetration depth into Berea sandstone 0.4

plotted against effective pressure assuming an effective stress 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000
Effective pressure (psi)
coefficient of a = 1.
Figure 3. The same plot as in Figure 1 assuming an effective is more even over the range of tested confining pres-
stress coefficient of a = 0.67. sures and penetration keeps decreasing up to higher
Halleck et al. (1988) provide historical data for pressures than in Berea sandstone. The penetration
penetration depth into Berea sandstone under ele- data in Castlegate sandstone shows a larger spread,
vated confining and pore pressure. In this publica- which is probably because of a larger sample inho-
tion an effective stress law with a pore pressure mogeneity.
coefficient of a = 1 was used to present the data as Indiana limestone on the other hand shows very
shown in Figure 4. As shown in Figure 5, the data fit little pressure dependence in the penetration data,
can be considerably improved by using an effective which makes it difficult to determine a pore pressure
pressure law with an effective stress coefficient of a coefficient, but a coefficient of a = 0.2 seems to be a
= 0.67. possible value.
Figure 8 shows a compilation of the penetration
data for all rocks for all tests without elevated pore
20
pressure. Two rocks show very little pressure de-
19
eff = Pc - Pp
pendence of shaped charge penetration, namely In-
18 diana limestone and Crab Orchard sandstone. The
17
other three rocks, Berea, Castlegate, and Kentucky
sandstone, all show some degree of pressure sensi-
Penetration depth (in)

16
tivity.
15

14

1.1
13
Test 1
Test 3 eff = Pc - a Pp
12
Test 5 1 a = 0.6
Test 7
11
Test 9
Normalized penetration depth (-)

0.9
10
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000
Effective pressure (psi) 0.8

Figure 4. Historical data from Halleck et al. (1988). Penetra-


0.7
tion depth of Charge B in Berea sandstone plotted versus ef-
fective stress assuming an effective stress coefficient of a = 1.
0.6

0.5
20 Zero pore pressure
Pore pressure
eff = Pc - a Pp
19 0.4
a = 0.67
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000
18 Effective pressure (psi)

17 Figure 6. Normalized penetration depth in Castlegate sand-


stone plotted versus effective pressure assuming a coefficient
Penetration depth (in)

16
of a = 0.6.
15

14

1.2
13
Test 1
Test 3 eff = Pc - a Pp
12 1.1
Test 5 a = 0.2
Test 7
11
Test 9
Normalized penetration depth (-)

1
10
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000
0.9
Effective pressure (psi)

Figure 5. The same data as in Figure 4, re-plotted with an ef- 0.8


fective stress coefficient of a = 0.67.
0.7

0.6
Figures 6 and 7 show the penetration data for
Castlegate sandstone and Indiana limestone. In Cas- 0.5
Zero pore pressure
tlegate sandstone the pressure dependence of pene- Pore pressure

tration depth is similar to Berea sandstone and pene- 0.4


0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000
tration considerably decreases with increasing Effective pressure (psi)

effective stress. However, it was found that a pore Figure 7. Normalized penetration depth in Indiana limestone
pressure coefficient of a = 0.6 best fits the data for plotted versus effective pressure with an effective stress coeffi-
Castlegate sandstone. Also, the pressure dependence cient of a = 0.2.
with pressure for all rocks, whereas both permeabili-
1.3 Berea sandstone (dashed line) ty and penetration depth show some pressure depen-
Castlegate sandstone (dotted line)

1.2
Kentucky sandstone (dash-dotted line)
Crab Orchard sandstone (double dotted-dashed line)
dency for some of the sandstones. However, the
Indiana Limestone (solid line) sandstones with the highest pressure sensitivity for
1.1
permeability have the lowest for penetration depth
Normalized penetration depth (-)

1
and vice versa. This suggests that different mechan-
0.9 isms are causing these respective pressure sensitivi-
0.8
ties. Only Indiana limestone shows equally little
pressure sensitivity for all three parameters.
0.7

0.6

0.5

Only tests with zero pore pressure


0.4
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000
Effective pressure (psi)

Figure 8. Comparison of all zero-pore pressure experiments in


five different rocks.

5 DISCUSSION

New data from single-shot perforating tests shows


that the pressure dependency of penetration depth
varies for different rocks. In general the data seems
to suggest that the rocks can be divided into two
groups: rocks that generate pressure-dependent pe-
netration and rocks that do not generate pressure-
dependent penetration depth. Within the pressure- Figure 9. Normalized porosity plotted against confining pres-
dependent group a further distinction can be made sure for all tested rocks. (Berea sandstone is shown with square
between rocks such as Berea sandstone, which symbols in the upper left graph.)
shows a large pressure dependence at low confining
pressures, but little pressure dependence at higher
levels, and rock like Castlegate sandstone, where the
pressure dependence reaches across all tested pres-
sure levels. The division between pressure-sensitive
and pressure-insensitive rocks is clearly not based
on rock type, as both Indiana limestone and Crab
Orchard sandstone can be described as pressure in-
sensitive.
Pressure dependency of certain parameters is a
well-known fact in other geoscientific disciplines,
such as petrophysics, and a look at some of these pa-
rameters might help to determine the cause for the
pressure sensitivity (or insensitivity) of shaped
charge penetration in certain rocks. The first para-
meters to look at are porosity and permeability,
which both generally decrease with effective stress.
As part of a full petrophysical and rock mechanical
characterization of our sample rocks, the porosity Figure 10. Normalized permeability plotted against confining
and permeability change with increasing effective pressure for all rocks. (Berea sandstone is shown with square
stress was determined for confining pressures up to symbols in the upper left graph.)
5000 psi. Figure 9 shows the relative porosity
change and Figure 10 the relative permeability
change for the examined rocks. Other petrophysical parameters that are known to
Figure 11 shows a comparison between the rela- exhibit pressure sensitivity are the sonic velocities of
tive change in porosity and permeability at 4000 psi rocks (Halleck et al. 1988). This stress dependency
confining pressure with the equivalent number for is assumed to be related to the compressibility of the
penetration depth. Porosity shows very little change pore space, which in turn can be traced back to
geometrical properties of the pore space (Zimmer- charge penetration is also influenced by the density
man 1991). Pores or parts of the pore space with a of the target and higher density materials reduce pe-
high aspect ratio like penny-shaped cracks of very netration depth. The apparent strength of rock in-
irregular pores are very sensitive to small increases creases with increasing stress, as can be easily de-
of stress, which result in closure of thin, long pores termined in triaxial tests. However, rocks with high
or parts of the pore-space. This results in a strong compressibility also show an increase in density,
increase in compressibility of the rock sample, whereas in stiffer rocks the density change should be
which in turn results in an increase of sonic veloci- less. Thus, the (assumed) higher compressibility of
ties. The stress dependency levels off once all pores the three weaker sandstones in our study could be
with high-aspect ratios are closed. Zimmerman the reason for their larger stress sensitivity of pene-
(1991) presents data for the compressibility of Berea tration depth.
sandstone, showing a rapid decline in compressibili-
ty up to an effective pressure of about 2500 psi and a
nearly constant compressibility at higher pressures. 6 CONCLUSIONS
This is very similar to the penetration data for Berea
sandstone, which also shows a leveling out of pene- A series of perforating tests on a variety of rocks
tration depth at similar effective pressure. The mea- was performed to assess the dependence of penetra-
surement of pore compressibility is unfortunately tion depth on rock type and effective stress. The
very complicated and no compressibility data exists study confirmed that penetration depth decreases
for the other rocks in this study. with increasing rock strength and increasing effec-
tive stress. Earlier studies assumed that the stress
1.2 dependency of penetration depth is equal for all
rocks, but new data shows that the stress sensitivity
Relative change at 4000 psi confining pressure

1 of penetration depth varies for different rocks. This


stress sensitivity was compared to other stress sensi-
0.8
tive parameters such as porosity, permeability and
Penetration change compressibility and it was found that the stress sen-
0.6 Porosity change
Permeability change
sitivity of porosity and permeability is very different
from the one of penetration depth.
0.4
Compressibility was identified as a possible pa-
0.2
rameter showing similar pressure sensitivity as pe-
netration depth, but based on a limited amount of
0
available compressibility data, further research is
CG BR KS
Rock type
CO IL
necessary. This leads to the question whether theo-
ries such as poroelasticity, which were established
Figure 11. Comparison of the pressure dependency of porosity, on the basis of quasi-static measurements, can be
permeability, and penetration depth at 4000 psi for all ex-
amined rocks. applied to a highly dynamic process such as shaped
charge penetration. The formation of the perforation
tunnel takes place over only several microseconds.
Thin section analysis of the rocks in this study Historically, the prediction of penetration depth
showed that the two rocks exhibiting little pressure was performed using the simplest form of an effec-
sensitivity in the penetration data contain a consi- tive stress law, with a pore pressure coefficient equal
derable amount of secondary cementation. Crab to unity. New data from perforating experiments in-
Orchard sandstone contains a considerable amount volving pore pressure suggest that an effective stress
of quartz overgrowth and Indiana limestone shows law of the form:
widespread sparitic growth in the pore space. It
could be assumed that this secondary cementation eff = Pc aPp (3)
increases the stiffness of the microstructure and thus
reduces the compressibility of the pore space.
A difference in pore compressibility could ex- with a 1 is better at describing new, and also his-
plain the difference in stress sensitivity of shaped torical, data. It was further established that a needs
charge penetration assuming the following concep- to be different for different rocks.
tual model: The perforating jet has to overcome a
so-called target strength to penetrate the formation.
The target strength can be assumed to be a combina- REFERENCES
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the rock strength. Besides target strength, shaped Berea strengths on perforator performance and resulting
impact on the new API RP-43. Paper SPE 18242, 63rd An-
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Halleck, P.M, Soucier, R.J, Behrmann, L.A. & Ahrens, T.
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stress. Paper SPE 18245, 63rd Annual Technical Confe-
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Halleck, P.M & Behrmann, L.A. 1990. Penetration of shaped
charges in stressed rock. In Rock Mechanics and Chal-
lenges, pp. 629-636.
Ott, R.E., Bell, W.T., Harrigan, J.W. & Gallan, T.G. 1994.
Simple method predicts downhole shaped-charge gun per-
formance. In SPE Productions and Facilities.
Walton, I. 2004. Rock response to dynamic loading during per-
forating. In Proc. North American Rock Mech. Conference,
Houston.
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