A field-specific geomechanical model serves as a platform for greatly reducing costs and increasing production over the life of a field. The information contained in a geomechanical model makes it possible to reduce drilling costs and production losses through fieldwide well planning that can optimize production and minimize risk. A significant value of the geomechanical model is its application to the efficient exploitation of fractured reservoirs. The essential contribution of wellbore image technologies to this exploration and production challenge is illustrated through a case study of a compartmentalized fractured gas reservoir located in Hokkaido, Japan.

A growing body of evidence reveals that, in many fractured reservoirs, the most productive fractures are those that are optimally aligned in the current stress field to fail in shear. Thus, it is necessary to obtain knowledge of both the stress magnitudes and orientations and the distribution of natural fractures to determine the optimal orientations for wells to maximize their productivity. The best well intersects the maximum number of stress sensitive fractures.

Applying geomechanics and the reservoir fracture distributions to model shear-enhanced permeability as the mechanism for reservoir production appears to be a promising improvement to existing reservoir flow models. Using quantitative risk assessment and realistic uncertainties in the critical parameters, it is possible to estimate the uncertainty in predictions of optimal well trajectories and of stimulation pressures to enhance natural fractures. The results indicate that the critical parameters are not always those with the most uncertainty, and that the most effective way to reduce prediction uncertainties is to calibrate against the productivity of a preexisting well.

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