The Arctic areas of Norway has brought many new challenges. In addition to harsh weather, drilling conditions are different.
The Barents Sea is different geologically compared to the North Sea area. A considerable amount of erosion bring older rocks higher up. It is observed that leak-off tests measured in Barents Sea wells shows abnormally high values. This is interpreted as a high stress state.
The paper analyze the stresses around a number of wells and conclude that it is very likely that a reverse fault stress state exists in these areas of the Barents Sea. This can bring positive effects because such a stress state may constrain induced fractures to propagate in a horizontal plane rather than towards surface, reducing the risk for reservoir leaks to surface. Also, a high compressive state may lead to more sealed faults, indicating a higher possibility for oil in place.
The paper will present the stress model and compare Barent Sea area to the North Sea. It will also show implications for wellbore stability, leaks from reservoirs and effects on sealing of major faults. Of particular interest is that leak potential from the reservoir is reduced in the Barent Sea as compared to other Norwegian oil fields. This may encourage more development in the Arctic areas.