Modeling lost-circulation in natural fractures using semi-analytical solutions and type-curves

Rami Albattat, Marwa AlSinan, Hyung Kwak, Hussein Hoteit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


Drilling is a requisite operation for many industries to reach a targeted subsurface zone. During operations, various issues and challenges are encountered, particularly drilling fluid loss. Loss of circulation is a common problem that often causes interruptions to the drilling process and a reduction in efficiency. Such incidents usually occur when the drilled wellbore encounters a high permeable formation such as faults or fractures, leading to total or partial leakage of the drilling fluids. In this work, a semi-analytical solution and mud type-curves (MTC) are proposed to offer a quick and accurate diagnostic model to assess the lost-circulation of Herschel-Bulkley fluids in fractured media. Based on the observed transient pressure and mud-loss trends, the model can estimate the effective fracture conductivity, the time-dependent cumulative mud-loss volume, and the leakage period. The behavior of lost-circulation into fractured formation can be quickly evaluated, at the drilling site, to perform useful diagnostics, such as the rate of fluid leakage, and the associated effective fracture hydraulic properties. Further, derivative-based mud-type-curves (DMTC) are developed to quantify the leakage of drilling fluid flow into fractures. The developed model is applied for non-Newtonian fluids exhibiting yield-power-law (YPL), including shear thickening and thinning, and Bingham plastic fluids. Proposing rigorous dimensionless groups generates the dual type-curves, MTC and DMTC, which offer superior predictivity compared to traditional methods. Both type-curve sets are used in a dual trend matching, which significantly reduces the non-uniqueness issue that is typically encountered in type-curves. Usage of numerical simulations is implemented based on finite elements to verify the accuracy of the proposed solution. Data for lost circulation from several field cases are presented to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed method. The semi-analytical solver, combined with Monte Carlo simulations, is then applied to assess the sensitivity and uncertainty of various fluid and subsurface parameters, including the hydraulic property of the fracture and the probabilistic prediction of the rate of mud leakage into the formation. The proposed approach is based on a robust semi-analytical solution and type-curves to model the flow behavior of Herschel-Bulkley fluids into fractured reservoirs, which can serve as a quick diagnostic tool to evaluate lost-circulation in drilling operations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110770
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
StatePublished - Jun 16 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Fuel Technology


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