General Meeting - Society of Petroleum Engineers - Denver Section - May 20, 2009

SPE General Meeting

Topic:     Stress and Rock Property Profiling for Unconventional Reservoirs

Speaker:      Robert D. Barree, Barree & Associates

 Date: Wednesday - May 20, 2009

11:30 am

Place: Denver Athletic Club

4th Floor
1325 Glenarm Place
Denver, CO80204
[ Yahoo! Maps ]
Map of 1325 Glenarm Pl
Denver, CO 80204-2114

Cost: $25.00 ($30.00 at the door, if space is available)
Reservation Deadline:
Noon, Monday 
May 18, 2009
Deadline for reservations has been changed to Noon on the Monday before the General Meetings.
or Call 303-620-9080 for reservations

Sonic log data and core measurements are often used to develop models of in-situ stress profiles and rock elastic properties for use in hydraulic fracture design treatments in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. Methods commonly applied to estimate rock mechanical properties and in-situ stress profiles are based on highly simplified approximations and quasi-empirical models that are not well grounded in rock physics. These methods rely on density and acoustic logs, along with derived lithologic descriptions, and assume that measured properties from well logs can be used to calculate rock elastic properties. Further, the assumption is made that rock elastic properties can be used in a simplified model for in-situ stress based on imposed boundary conditions. None of the logs used actually measures stress, and none can account for regional deformation or tectonic strains. Still, these simple methods have become standard in our industry and are applied, in many cases without a second thought, to conventional reservoirs. In many cases the results can be used with some degree of success, after “calibration” to measured pore pressure and fracture closure stress measurements.
Commonly, the same procedures are now being applied to unconventional reservoirs where the overt assumptions and simplifications may be untenable. “Unconventional” reservoirs, for the purposes of this talk, include shale-gas, coalbed methane, and tight-gas projects. In unconventional reservoirs, many of the assumptions underlying rock property estimation and stress profiling in conventional reservoirs may not apply. In fact, the result of using conventional approaches may be an incorrect and often misleading stress profile. Fracture geometry predicted using conventionally derived rock properties and stresses may also be inaccurate.
Methods of deriving rock properties from log and core measurements, and the effect of various parameters on resulting moduli and stress estimates, are examined. Special properties of unconventional reservoirs that affect the log measurements and interpretation of these data will be discussed. The talk also addresses the effects of rock anisotropy and inhomogeneity on static and dynamic properties. The impact of organic materials and trapped gas on sonic logs and conventional mechanical properties interpretation and the use of synthetic sonic logs are also presented. For static and dynamic measurements on core samples, the effects of the condition of recovered core and applied laboratory procedures on measurement results are also considered.
Potential errors resulting from the use of inappropriate mechanical properties for stress profiling and fracture geometry prediction can be significant. The talk identifies common pitfalls in core and log interpretation. A recommended procedure to determine useful and accurate rock mechanical properties for stress profile prediction and fracture design is presented. The material presented is controversial to many people involved in conventional borehole petrophysics (log analysis) but is based on years of experience attempting to model and understand hydraulic fracture behavior in unconventional reservoirs. The talk does not present a complete solution to the problem, but is intended to shed some light on the potential for errors and misinterpretations of log and core data in these systems.



Robert D. Barree is president and principal investigator of Barree & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in stimulation and well performance optimization. He has been involved in the development of hydraulic fracture technology since 1980 and is the primary author of the fully three-dimensional hydraulic fracture simulator GOHFER. Dr. Barree is also the author of more than fifty technical publications and has served as SPE Distinguished Lecturer on the topic of new philosophies in hydraulic fracturing. He is a registered Professional Engineer and holds a B.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and Ph.D. from Colorado School of Mines.


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