Abstract

Analyses of sonic logs in a horizontal well provide new information about mechanical properties of rocks, made possible by recent developments in our understanding of acoustic wave propagation in prestressed formations. Most sections of this horizontal well exhibit azimuthal shear isotropy, indicating isotropic stresses in the plane perpendicular to the well trajectory, leading to stable wellbore conditions. However, two sections show dipole dispersion crossovers that confirm the presence of stress-induced shear anisotropy caused by a difference between the maximum and minimum stresses in the plane perpendicular to the well trajectory. The two dipole dispersions are obtained by processing the recorded waveforms by a modified matrix pencil algorithm. The fast-shear direction is estimated from Alford rotation of the cross-dipole waveforms. One section of the well exhibits the fast-shear direction parallel to the overburden stress as the maximum stress direction, whereas the other section has the fast-shear direction parallel to the horizontal stress that is larger than the overburden stress. The cause of this change in the fast-shear direction is believed to be the well's penetration into a 3-ft-thick bed with lower porosity and permeability and significantly higher elastic stiffnesses than those in the other part of the homogeneous, high-permeability reservoir. A stiff bed is likely to have greater stresses in its plane than perpendicular to it, which would make the horizontal stresses greater than the vertical.

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