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A Case Study on Mud-Weight Design with Finite-Element Method for Subsalt Wells

X.P. Shen, A. Diaz1, T. Sheehy2

Halliburton, Houston, TX, U.S.A.
Verdande Technology Inc., TX, U.S.A.

Computers, Materials & Continua 2010, 20(3), 205-224.


This paper presents a case study for the design of a mud-weight window (MWW) with three-dimensional (3-D), finite-element (FE) tools for subsalt wells. The trajectory of the target well penetrates a 7 km thick salt body. A numerical scheme has been proposed for calculating the shear failure gradient (SFG) and fracture gradient (FG) with 3-D FE software. User subroutines have been developed to address non-uniform pore-pressure distribution. A series of FE calculations were performed to obtain the MWW of the target wellbore, which consists of the SFG and FG for the subsalt sections. Although no reverse faulting structure exists in the region at the salt base, the stress distribution at some region of the salt base has characteristics of a reverse fault. Additional analyses of the results show that this type of reverse-faulting stress pattern exists only in a small range of depth and width under the salt body. The stress pattern appears to be normal outside of that region. Consequently, a 3-D solution of the MWW along the trajectory has abnormal values at a certain salt base section, which can be 10% greater than the value predicted by 1-D software.


Cite This Article

X. . Shen, A. . Diaz and T. . Sheehy, "A case study on mud-weight design with finite-element method for subsalt wells," Computers, Materials & Continua, vol. 20, no.3, pp. 205–224, 2010.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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