There has been an increasing consciousness regarding stress changes associated with reservoir depletion as the industry moves towards more challenging jobs in deep-water or depleted reservoirs. These stress changes play a significant role in the design of wells in this condition. Therefore, accurate prediction of reservoir stress path, i.e., change in horizontal stresses with pore pressure, is of vital importance.

In this study, the current stress path formulation is investigated using a Tri-axial Rock Mechanics Testing Facility. The reservoir depletion scenario is simulated through experiments and provides a better perspective on the currently used formulation and how it’s applicable during production and injection periods. The effect of fluid re-injection into reservoirs on the horizontal stress is also analyzed using core samples. According to the results, formation fracture pressure would not be equal to its initial value if pressure builds up using re-injection. The irrecoverable formation fracture pressure has a power law relation with pore pressure drawdown range. In order to avoid higher permanent fracture pressure reduction, it’s recommended to start the injection process as soon as possible during the production life of reservoirs. According to the experimental results, rocks behave differently during production and injection periods. Poisson’s ratio is greater during pressure build-up as compared to the depletion period. According to the current industry standards, Poisson’s ratio is usually obtained using fracturing data; i.e., leak-off test or mini-fracture test, or well logging methods. However, we are not able to use the same Poisson’s ratio for both pressure drawdown and build-up scenarios according to the experimental data. Corresponding to Poisson’s ratio values, the change in horizontal stress with pore pressure during drawdown (production) is higher than during build-up (injection) period. The outcomes of this study can significantly contribute to well planning and design of challenging wells over the life of reservoirs.

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