Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Simulation of wellbore construction in offshore unconsolidated methane hydrate-bearing formation
- Author(s): Sasaki, T
- Soga, K
- Elshafie, MZEB
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jngse.2018.10.019
© 2018 Elsevier B.V. The unconsolidated nature of offshore methane hydrate-bearing formation poses challenges to sustainable methane gas production as the weak formation is susceptible to disturbance during wellbore construction. This could contribute to loss of well integrity which could manifest as sand production and error in the interpretation of downhole tests such as mini-frac tests. In this study, a simulation methodology of wellbore construction process is proposed. A finite element model adopting this methodology is developed in order to assess the effect of wellbore construction process on the integrity of the unconsolidated methane hydrate-bearing formation in the Nankai Trough, Japan. The main objectives are (i) to develop a modelling methodology of well construction process for numerical simulations, (ii) to assess the zone and magnitude of well construction-induced stress/strain disturbance in the formation and (iii) to evaluate relative impact of each well construction stage on the integrity of the formation. The results from this study show that the zone of horizontal stress disturbance from the geostatic state due to wellbore construction could extend to more than three times the radius of the wellbore. Following the wellbore construction, the deviator stress is concentrated in the hydrate reservoir sublayers with high hydrate saturation while plastic deviatoric strain has accumulated in the sublayers with low hydrate saturation. The results also show that modelling of cement shrinkage process is crucial in predicting the concentration of deviator stress in the high hydrate saturation layers.