Acoustical Imaging and Mechanical Properties of Soft Rock and Marine Sediments Progress Report: April-June 2001
Description: Mechanically weak formations, such as chalks, high porosity sandstones, and marine sediments, pose significant problems for oil and gas operators. Problems such as compaction, subsidence, and loss of permeability can affect reservoir production operations. For example, the unexpected subsidence of the Ekofisk chalk in the North Sea required over one billion dollars to re-engineer production facilities to account for losses created during that compaction (Sulak 1991). Another problem in weak formations is that of shallow water flows (SWF). Deep water drilling operations sometimes encounter cases where the marine sediments, at shallow depths just below the seafloor, begin to uncontrollably flow up and around the drill pipe. SWF problems created a loss of $150 million for the Ursa development project in the U.S. Gulf Coast SWF (Furlow 1998a,b; 1999a,b). The goal of this project is to provide a database on both the rock mechanical properties and the geophysical properties of weak rocks and sediments. These could be used by oil and gas companies to detect, evaluate, and alleviate potential production and drilling problems. The results will be useful in, for example, pre-drill detection of events such as SWF's by allowing a correlation of seismic data (such as hazard surveys) to rock mechanical properties. The data sets could also be useful for 4-D monitoring of the compaction and subsidence of an existing reservoir and imaging the zones of damage. During the second quarter of the project the research team has: (1) completed acoustic sensor construction, (2) conducted reconnaissance tests to map the deformational behaviors of the various rocks, (3) developed a sample assembly for the measurement of dynamic elastic and poroelastic parameters during triaxial testing, and (4) conducted a detailed review of the scientific literature and compiled a bibliography of that review. During the first quarter of the project the research team ...
Date: July 1, 2001
Creator: Scott, Thurman E., Jr.; Abousleiman, Younane & Zaman, Musharraf
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