DEFORMATION AND FRACTURE OF POORLY CONSOLIDATED MEDIA - Borehole Failure Mechanisms in High-Porosity Sandstone

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We investigated failure mechanisms around boreholes and the formation of borehole breakouts in high-porosity sandstone, with particular interest to grain-scale micromechanics of failure leading to the hitherto unrecognized fracture-like borehole breakouts and apparent compaction band formation in poorly consolidated granular materials. We also looked at a variety of drilling-related factors that contribute to the type, size and shape of borehole breakouts. The objective was to assess their effect on the ability to establish correlations between breakout geometry and in situ stress magnitudes, as well as on borehole stability prediction, and hydrocarbon/water extraction in general. We identified two classes of medium ... continued below

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Haimson, Bezalel c. June 10, 2005.

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We investigated failure mechanisms around boreholes and the formation of borehole breakouts in high-porosity sandstone, with particular interest to grain-scale micromechanics of failure leading to the hitherto unrecognized fracture-like borehole breakouts and apparent compaction band formation in poorly consolidated granular materials. We also looked at a variety of drilling-related factors that contribute to the type, size and shape of borehole breakouts. The objective was to assess their effect on the ability to establish correlations between breakout geometry and in situ stress magnitudes, as well as on borehole stability prediction, and hydrocarbon/water extraction in general. We identified two classes of medium to high porosity (12-30%) sandstones, arkosic, consisting of 50-70% quartz and 15 to 50% feldspar, and quartz-rich sandstones, in which quartz grain contents varied from 90 to 100%. In arkose sandstones critical far-field stress magnitudes induced compressive failure around boreholes in the form of V-shaped (dog-eared) breakouts, the result of dilatant intra-and trans-granular microcracking subparallel to both the maximum horizontal far-field stress and to the borehole wall. On the other hand, boreholes in quartz-rich sandstones failed by developing fracture-like breakouts. These are long and very narrow (several grain diameters) tabular failure zones perpendicular to the maximum stress. Evidence provided mainly by SEM observations suggests a failure process initiated by localized grain-bond loosening along the least horizontal far-field stress springline, the packing of these grains into a lower porosity compaction band resembling those discovered in Navajo and Aztec sandstones, and the emptying of the loosened grains by the circulating drilling fluid starting from the borehole wall. Although the immediate several grain layers at the breakout tip often contain some cracked or even crushed grains, the failure mechanism enabled by the formation of the compaction band is largely non-dilatant, a major departure from the dilatant mechanism observed in Tablerock sandstone. The experimental results suggest that unlike our previous assertion, the strength of grain bonding and the mineral composition, rather than the porosity, are major factors in the formation of compaction bands and the ensuing fracture-like breakouts. Some breakout dimensions in all rocks were correlatable to the far-field principal stresses, and could potentially be used (in conjunction with other information) as indicators of their magnitudes. However, we found that several factors can significantly influence breakout geometry. Larger boreholes and increased drilling-fluid flow rates produce longer fracture-like breakouts, suggesting that breakouts in field-scale wellbores could reach considerable lengths. On the other hand, increased drilling-fluid weight and increased drill-bit penetration rate resulted in a decrease in breakout length. These results indicate that breakout growth can be controlled to some degree by manipulating drilling variables. Realizing how drilling variables impact borehole breakout formation is important in understanding the process by which breakouts form and their potential use as indicators of the far-field in situ stress magnitudes and as sources of sand production. As our research indicates, the final breakout size and mechanism of formation can be a function of several variables and conditions, meaning there is still much to be understood about this phenomenon.

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  • Report No.: Final Report
  • Grant Number: FG02-98ER14850
  • DOI: 10.2172/840754 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 840754
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc785509

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  • June 10, 2005

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Aug. 3, 2016, 3:04 p.m.

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Haimson, Bezalel c. DEFORMATION AND FRACTURE OF POORLY CONSOLIDATED MEDIA - Borehole Failure Mechanisms in High-Porosity Sandstone, report, June 10, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc785509/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.