Reservoir Geomechanics and Casing Stability, X1-3Area, Daqing Oilfield
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It is widely understood that injection and production activities can induce additional stress fields that will couple with the in situ stress field. An increased shear stress may cause serious casing stability issue, and casing integrity is one of the major issues in the development of an oilfield. In this thesis, I will present a methodology for semi-quantitatively addressing the physical processes, the occurrence, and the key influential factors associated with large-area casing shear issues in Daqing Oilfield. In the research, I will investigate reservoir heterogeneity and the far-field stress field in the Daqing Oilfield, China; I will review fundamental theories of rock strength, rock failure, casing shear, and techniques for coupling fluid flow and mechanical response of the reservoirs; and I will present mathematical simulations of large-area casing shear in one typical area (X1-3B) in Daqing Oilfield, under different regimes of water-affected shale area ratio and block pressure difference. Heterogeneity in Daqing Oilfield varies according to the scale. Mega-heterogeneity is not too serious: the geometry of the oilfield is simple, the structure is flat, and faults are numerous and complex, but distributed evenly. Macro-heterogeneity is, however, intense. Horizontal macro-heterogeneity is associated with lateral variations because of different depositional facies. Vertical macro-heterogeneity of Daqing Oilfield because of layering is typified by up to 100 individual sand layers with thickness ranging from 0.2 to 20 m and permeability ranging from 20 to 1600 mD (average 230 mD). Furthermore, there are a number of stacked sand-silt-shale (clastic lithofacies) sequences. Mercury porosimetry and photo-micro-graphic analyses were used to investigate the micro-heterogeneity of Daqing Oilfield. This method yields a complete pore size distribution, from several nanometers to several thousands of micro-meters as well as cumulative pore volume distributions, pore-throat aspect ratios, and fractal dimensions. The fractal dimension can be used to describe the heterogeneity at the pore scale; for sandstones, the larger the fractal dimension of a specific pore structure, the more heterogeneous it is. Reservoir sandstones of Daqing Oilfield have similar porosity and mineralogy, so their micro-heterogeneity lies in a micro-structure of considerable variability. Differences in micro-structure affect permeability, which also varies considerably and evidences a considerable amount of micro-scale anisotropy. Finally, the number and nature of faults in the oilfield make the macro-scale heterogeneity more complex. Rock strength is affected by both intrinsic factors and external factors. Increased water saturation affects rock strength by decreasing both rock cohesion and rock friction angle. In Daqing Oilfield, is seems that a 5% increase of water content in shale can decrease the maximum shearing resistance of shale by approximately 40%. Hysteretic behavior leads to porosity and permeability decreases during the compaction stage of oilfield development (increasing σ'). Also, injection pressures are inevitably kept as high as possible in the pursuit of greater production rates. These lead to non-homogeneous distributions of pressures as well as in changes of material behavior over time. Loss of shear strength with water content increase, inherent reservoir heterogeneity, and long periods of high-pressure water injection from a number of wells are three key factors leading to casing shear occurring over large areas in Daqing Oilfield. Reservoir heterogeneity and structural complexity foster uneven formation pressure distribution, leading to inter-block pressure differences. Sustained long-term elevated pressures affect overburden shale mechanical strength as well as reducing normal stresses, and the affected area increases with time under high-pressure injection so that the affected areas overlap at the field scale and alter the in situ stress field. Once the maximum compressive stress parallels or nearly parallels the differential pressure, and the water-affected shale area is big enough, the shear stability of the interface between the shale and the sandstone is severely compromised, and when the thrust stress imposed exceeds the shearing resistance, the strata will slip in a direction corresponding to the vector from high-pressure to low-pressure areas. The change in this slip and creep displacement field is the major reason for the serious casing deformation damage in Daqing Oilfield. To quantify the scale effect of the water-affected shale area on casing stability, coupled non-linear poroelastic fluid flow was simulated for a typical area. The Daqing Oilfield simulation result is in coincidence with the in situ observation of disturbed stress fields and casing displacement. The water-affected area has a scale effect on the casing stability. The ratio of the water-affected shale formation area to the total area influences the stability coefficient much more than the block pressure difference. In the studied area, under conditions of injection pressure of 12.7 MPa and no more than 2.5 MPa block pressure difference, the water-affected ratio should be smaller than 0.50 or so in order to maintain areal casing stability. By history matching, in the studied area under current development condition and considering the water-affected ratio, so long as the injection pressure and pressure differential between blocks are controlled to be less than 12.7 MPa and 0.86 MPa respectively, formation shear slip along a horizontal surface will no longer occur.