Case Study: Rapid Mechanical Earth Model Delivers Critical Reservoir Information Within 48 Hours

Fast, dynamic response greatly improves petrophysical, fracture, and drilling decisions in horizontal well

Challenge: Reduce risk and well cost while increasing production in horizontal wells by predicting multiple drilling events, including the safe mud-weight window, lateral well landing location, azimuthal direction, and potential drilling hazards within a strict time frame.

Solution: Develop a rapid mechanical earth model (RMEM) within 48 hours of logging a vertical pilot well to integrate data and guide decision making.

Result: Determined the safe mud-weight window and optimal well path azimuth; defined the best lateral landing target for petrophysical, completion, and drilling quality while simultaneously mitigating potential risk.

Fast, accurate petrophysical, fracturing, and drilling information required

An operator planned to drill a pilot well in an unconventional reservoir in Wyoming. Wellbore instability posed a challenge for the operator, and the well’s economic viability was largely dependent on finding the best-possible formation in terms of petrophysical, hydraulic fracturing,and drilling perspectives. The operator also required the safe mud-weight window and horizontal stress profile to be identified for accurate characterization. This information had to be delivered to the operator quickly—within 48 hours of logging the pilot well.

Solution proposed to target and drill unconventional horizontal well efficiently

After reviewing the operator’s challenge, Schlumberger petrotechnical experts proposed the use of an RMEM, a numerical representation of the state of stress and rock properties in a field. The model provides solutions invaluable to engineers and geologists, including the best horizontal well path, best drilling azimuth, and safe mud-weight window needed to drill the curve and lateral hole sections. Equally important is the rapidity with which this solution is delivered; Schlumberger RMEMs provide answers within 48 hours of first well logging. The RMEM combines all of the information acquired from logging acquisition into an integrated solution that is provided in the time frame needed to make drilling decisions.

Optimized drilling decisions made within customer’s time frame

Based on the pilot hole logs and the RMEM analysis from Schlumberger, the customer was able to drill a horizontal well in the interval with the best petrophysical quality, lowest minimum horizontal stress to ensure easier hydraulic fracture breakdown, and largest safe mud-weight window. FMI fullbore formation microimager and Sonic Scanner acoustic scanning platform results showed the direction of maximum horizontal stress to be N20°E. Therefore, to create transverse fractures, it was recommended to drill in the direction of minimum horizontal stress, which also had the largest safe mud-weight window. From this collaborative analysis, the experts also recommended setting an intermediate casing string after drilling the curve.

Constructing an RMEM helped this customer effectively target and drill its horizontal well in the unconventional reservoir and guided its decision making quickly and efficiently. The model integrated data to help the customer make better-informed decisions while mitigating potential risks and saving the customer critical time and associated costs.

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