In this paper, we review a suite of techniques for determination of in situ stress orientation and magnitude in deep wells and boreholes. As these techniques can be utilized in both vertical and highly deviated wells, they have had extensive application in the petroleum industry where knowledge of stress orientation and magnitude at depth is important for addressing a wide range of problems. The techniques we have developed for estimation of the maximum horizontal principal stress, SHmax, make extensive use of observations of non-catastrophic failures of the wellbore wall-both compressive failures (breakouts) and tensile failures (drilling-induced tensile fractures) as well as the stress perturbations associated with slip on faults cutting through the wellbore. The widespread use of wellbore imaging in the petroleum industry has been a critical development that makes utilization of these techniques possible. In addition to reviewing the theoretical basis for these techniques, we present case studies derived from oil and gas fields in different parts of the world. These case studies document the facts that the techniques described here yield (i) consistent stress orientations and magnitudes over appreciable depth ranges within and between wells in a given field (thus indicating that the techniques are independent of formation properties), (ii) stress magnitudes that are consistent with absolute and relative stress magnitudes predicted by Anderson and Coulomb faulting theories, (iii) stress orientations and relative magnitudes that are consistent with regional stress indicators and tectonics observed with other techniques at much larger scales and (iv) sufficiently well-constrained estimates of the full stress tensor that are useful in application to engineering problems such as wellbore stability.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
|Published - 2003
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology