This project will explore the use of nano- and micro-scale techniques to characterise subsurface formations in order to improve drilling operations, logged data interpretation and large-scale geomechanical models. Such techniques will be applied to cuttings, readily available during most drilling campaigns. The ultimate goal is to be able in the future to derive petrophysical and mechanical properties of the overburden and reservoir while drilling, so as to improve pre-drill models and optimise the driller's choices in near real-time. In parallel, probing the formations at multiple scales will contribute to modelling efforts, where upscaling is dependent on high-quality input data for all constituent material phases. Such model predictions can in turn be verified by proper test procedures at the different scales (nano, micro and standard plug size). The biggest challenge to be overcome will be developing and performing advanced mechanical tests schemes combined with microscopy that allow correlating the macroscopic properties to the nanoscale structures. It will be difficult to determine whether this information is sufficient in order to upscale the properties and correctly predict behaviour at macro-scale. However, if successful, a method will be provided for drilling safely by adjusting drilling parameters on the way to target, with much more data than what is available today, based on few cores and lengthy tests. A market will be created for comprehensive testing on cuttings, continually produced as drilling progresses. It can be envisaged that with new upscaling models that we aim to develop, X-ray CT of well cuttings combined with indentation and acoustic velocity determination on rig to calibrate logs will be sufficient to continuously monitor and optimise the drilling process.
Project leader: Ragnhild Skorpa
Category: Teknisk-industrielle institutter
Institution: SINTEF INDUSTRI AVD TRONDHEIM S P AND VEI