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Chapter Six: Stress Concentration

Around a Vertical Well

• Stress Concentration
• Introduction to Hydraulic Fracturing
• Drilling Induced Tensile Fractures
• Wellbore Breakouts
Kirsch (1898)

Local stress field

perturbed due to
the borehole

Figure 6.1 – pg. 169

Kirsch Eqns. –Vertical Well, Stress Field (SHmax, Shmin)
Internal Pressure P, Θ measured from SHmax

1 R2 1 4 R 2 3R 4 P0 R 2
σ rr = ( SH max − Sh min − 2 P0 )(1 − 2 ) + ( SH max − Sh min)(1 − 2 + 4 ) cos 2θ + 2
2 r 2 r r r

1 R2 1 3R 4 P0 R 2
σθθ = ( SH max + Sh min − 2 P0 )(1 + 2 ) − ( SH max − Sh min)(1 + 4 ) cos 2θ − 2 − σ ΔT
2 r 2 r r

σ zz = Sv − 2ν ( SH max − Sh min) 2 cos 2θ R – Wellbore radius
R r – radial distance from center

1 2 R 2 3R 4
τrθ = ( SH max − Sh min)(1 + 2 − 4 ) sin 2θ
2 r r

Equations 6.1 - 6.3 – pg. 170

Parameters for Figures 6.2, 6.3, & 6.5

S H max = 90 MPa
S H max orientation is N90 E (east - west)
Sv = 88.2 MPa (depth 3213m)
Sh min = 51.5 MPa
Pp = Pmud = 31.5 MPa

Example Parameters – pg. 170

Figure 6.2 a,b,c – pg. 171
Stress Concentration Around a Vertical Well

Compressive and tensile wellbore failure is a direct result of the stress concentration around
the wellbore that results from drilling a well into an already-stressed rock mass. In a
homogeneous and isotropic elastic material in which one principal stress acts parallel to the
wellbore axis, the effective hoop stress and radial stress at the wall of a cylindrical, vertical
wellbore (overburden stress, Sv is a principal stress acting parallel to the wellbore axis) is
given by the following equation:
σθθ = Shmin + SHmax - 2(SHmax - Shmin) cos2θ - 2P0 - ΔP – σΔT
σrr = ΔP
where θ is an angle measured from the azimuth of the maximum horizontal stress, SHmax,
Shmin is the minimum horizontal stress, P0 is the pore pressure, ΔP is the difference between
the wellbore pressure (mud weight) and the pore pressure, and σΔT is the thermal stress
induced by the cooling of the wellbore by ΔT.

The effective stress acting parallel to the wellbore axis is:

σzz = SV - 2ν(SHmax - Shmin) cos2θ – P0 - σΔT
where ν is Poisson's ratio.

Equations 6.4 - 6.6 – pg. 174

Stress Concentration Around a Vertical Well


Figure 6.4 a,b,c – pg. 176

Figure 6.3 a,b,c – pg. 173


Figure 6.4 a,b,c – pg. 176

Why are Wellbore Failures So Effective in
Determing Stress Orientaion and Magnitude?
The Wellbore Amplifies Differential Stress

At the point of minimum compression around the wellbore (i.e, at θ = 0,

parallel to SHmax), Equation (1) reduces to

σθθmin = 3Shmin - SHmax - 2P0 - ΔP - σΔT

Whereas, at the point of maximum stress concentration around the

wellbore (i.e, at θ = 90°, parallel to Shmin),

σθθmax = 3SHmax - Shmin - 2P0 - ΔP - σΔT

σθθmax - σθθmin = 4 (SHmax- Shmin)

Equations 6.7 - 6.9 – pg. 174

A Simple View of Wellbore Stability



Raising Mud Weight to Increase Wellbore Stability
Figure 6.5 a,b – pg. 177
Wellbore Stress Concentration –
Same Depth, Different Stress States
4-Arm Dipmeter Tool Schematic
Figure 6.8 a,b – pg. 182
Figure 6.9 a,b,c – pg. 183
Figure 6.10 – pg. 184
Stress Orientations Show a
Consistent Trend in a Region

Finkbeiner, 1998
• Detect wellbore breakouts using four-arm and six-arm caliper data
• Interactive filter settings used to guide automatic analysis
• Provides statistical tools to quantify analysis results
Elongation Directions in the Visund Field
Keyseat in Bore Hole Televiewer (BHTV)
Visund Field Orientations

Figure 6.7 a,b – pg. 180

6-arm Calipers

Figure 6.11a,b,c – pg. 185

Figure 6.12a,b,c – pg. 186
Quality Ranking System

Earthquake Focal Average P-axis or formal Well-constrained single-event Single-event solution Single composite solution
Mechanisms inversion of four or more solution (M ≥ 4.5) or average of (constrained by first motions
single-event solutions in two well-constrained only, often based on author's Poorly constrained single-
close geographic proximity single-event solutions (M ≥ 3.5) quality assignment) (M ≥2.5) event solution
(at least one event M ≥ 4.0, determined from first motions
other events M ≥ 3.0) and other methods (e.g., Average of several well- Single-event solution for M <
moment tensor wave-form constrained composites (M ≥ 2.5 event
modeling, or inversion) 2.0)

Wellbore Ten or more distinct At least six distinct breakout At least four distinct breakouts Less than four consistently
Breakouts breakout zones in a single zones in a single well with with S.D. < 25o and/or oriented breakout or > 30 m
well with S.D. ≤ 12o and/or S.D. ≤ 20o and/or combined combined length > 30 m combined length in a single
combined length > 300 m length > 100 m well
Average of breakouts in
two or more wells in close Breakouts in a single well
geographic proximity with with S.D. ≥ 25o
combined length > 300 m
and S.D. ≤ 12o

Drilling-Induced Ten or more distinct tensile At least six distinct tensile At least four distinct tensile Less than four consistently
Tensile Fractures fractures in a single well fractures in a single well with fractures with S.D. < 25o and oriented tensile fractures with
with S.D. ≤ 12o and S.D. ≤ 20o and encompassing a encompassing a combined < 30 m combined length in a
encompassing a vertical combined length > 100 m length > 30 m single
depth of 300m, or more well
Tensile fracture orientations in
a single well with S.D. ≥ 25o

Hydraulic Four or more hydrostatic Three or more hydrofrac Hydrofac orientations in a Single hydrofrac
Fractures orientations in a single well orientations in a single well single well with measurements
with S.D. ≤ 12o depth > 300 m with S.D. <20o. 20o < S.D. <25o at < 100 m depth

Average of hydrofrac Hydrofrac orientations in a Distinct hydrofrac orientation

orientations for two or more single well with 20o.< S.D. <25o change with depth, deepest
wells in close geographic measurements assumed valid
S.D. ≤ 12o One or two hydrofrac
orientations in a single well

Table 6.1 – pg. 189

Drilling Induced Tensile Fractures

A drilling-induced tensile wall fracture will be induced when

σθθmin = 3Shmin – SHmax – 2Pp – ΔP – σΔT
Ignoring σΔT (for the moment) and assuming To ~ 0, a tensile fracture will
from at the wellbore wall when:
Pmud = 3Shmin – SHmax – Pp ∼ 0
This is the same equation for inducing a hydraulic fracture. What
distinguishes a drilling-induced tensile fracture from a hydraulic fracture
•Drilling-induced tensile fractures form when the mud weight is comparable,
or slightly greater than the pore pressure. This requires certain stress states
and well orientations.
•Drilling-induced tensile fractures are limited to the wellbore wall. Because
the fracture does not propagate into the formation, drilling-induced tensile
fractures are not associated with lost circulation or drilling problems.
Drilling-Induced Tensile Fractures

Figure 6.6 a,b,c – pg. 179

Figure 6.5 a,b – pg. 177
Visund Field Orientations

Figure 6.7 a,b – pg. 180

Drilling Induced Tensile Fractures — Visund Field
Tensile Fractures in Vertical Wells Imply a
Strike-Slip Faulting Environment

Earth (Strike-Slip Faulting)

S H max − Pp
S h min − Pp
= (μ 2
+ 1 + μ = 3.1 for μ = 0.6

SHmax = 3.1 Shmin – 2.1 Pp

SHmax = 3Shmin – 2Pp + 0.1 (Shmin – Pp)

Vertical Wellbore (Tensile Fractures)

σθθ = 3Shmin – SHmax – 2Pp = -T for T = 0

SHmax = 3Shmin – 2Pp

Equations 6.16 - 6.19 – pg. 191

Tensile Fractures in Vertical Wells

Figure 6.13 a,b,c – pg. 193

Thermoelastic Effects on Wellbore Stresses

The effect at the wellbore wall of a temperature difference ΔT

between the wellbore fluid and the rock surrounding well is given
by the equation:
σθθΔT = (α E ΔT)/(1-ν)
where α is the linear coefficient of thermal expansion and E is
Young's modulus.

For drilling-induced tensile fractures in the Visund field in the North

Sea, a cooling of ~30° C at a depth of ~2750 m resulted in σθθΔT =
1.7 MPa based on the following: α = 2.4x10-6 °C-1 (corresponding to
a rock composed of 50% quartz), E = 1.9x104 MPa (from the
measured P-wave velocity) and ν = 0.2 (based on the P to S-wave
velocity ratio).

Equation 6.22 – pg. 193

Thermal Stresses and Breakout Formation

a) c)

Cooling does reduce

breakout size (but not
very practical) -The effect on
tensile fractures is more
important (but still not as
important as mud weight).


Figure 6.14 a,b,c – pg. 194

Tensile Fractures in Vertical Wells

Figure 6.13 a,b,c – pg. 193

More on Compressional Wellbore Failure
Stress-induced wellbore breakouts form due to compressive wellbore failure that
occurs within the region of maximum compressive stress around a wellbore. In a
vertical well, the zone of compressive failure is centered at the azimuth of
minimum horizontal far-field compression, as this is where the compressive hoop
stress is greatest.
•Wellbore breakouts were first identified using 4-arm magnetically-oriented caliper
logs associated with Schlumberger dip meters. Careful analysis yields reliable stress
•Unambiguous identification of breakouts requires the use of acoustic televiewer
data (UBI, CBIL, CAST).
•6-arm dip meter data (Baker Hughes and Halliburton) require especially careful
analysis to distinguish breakouts from tool eccentricity, key seating, etc.
•The caliper data from 4- and 6- arm electrical image data (FMI, STAR, or EMI)
cannot be used to detect small wellbore breakouts because of the large pad widths of
these tools.
•Breakouts can sometimes be seen as out-of-focus zones on the image data
Fixed Breakout Width After Initiation
Breakout Shapes Under Successive
Episodes of Failure – wBO is constant

Figure 6.15 a,b – pg. 197



b) c)
Weak Bedding Planes Can Be a Source of
Wellbore Instability
Breakouts in Sands (Isotropic Strength)
Deviated Well
Anisotropic Strength Causing Breakouts in Shale
Weak Bedding Planes Can Be a Source of
Wellbore Instability
Impact of Chemical Effects on Wellbore Stability

Mody & Hale (1993) model for chemical osmosis:

(Non time-dependent)

P = Pp + β × RT/V × ln(Am/Ap)
P: Near-wellbore pore pressure [MPa]
Pp: Far-field pore pressure [MPa]
β: Membrane efficiency [ ], 0 ≤ β ≤ 1 (OBM has a membrane efficiency of 1)
R: Gas constant, = 8.3 [J/(mol x degree Kelvin)]
T: Absolute temperature [degree Kelvin]
V: Partial molar volume of water [m3/mol]
Am: Water activity in drilling fluid [ ]
A p: Water activity in pore fluid (an activity of 1 corresponds to fresh water) [ ]

Pore pressure in the near wellbore zone is affected by fluid transport due
to differences in water molar free energies of the drilling and pore fluids
(chemical osmosis).
Poroelasticity equations are explicitly correct only for zero time, just after
Illustration of Mody & Hale Model
Mud Activity < Formation Fluid Activity Mud Activity > Formation Fluid Activity
(High Salinity Mud) (Low Salinity Mud)
Wellbore Formation Wellbore Formation

High PMud High PMud

β × RT/V × ln(Am/Ap)

Pp Pp

β × RT/V × ln(Am/Ap)

• According to the Mody & Hale model, high salinity muds stabilize the
formation, because chemical osmosis causes a drop in formation
pressure (increase in σrr) near the wellbore wall.
• Conversely, a low salinity mud destabilizes the formation because
chemical osmosis “charges” the formation and σrr increases near the
wellbore wall.
Mud Chemistry and Breakout Formation



Figure 6.18 a,b,c – pg. 203