Wellbore geomechanics of extended drilling margin and engineered lost-circulation solutions

Amin Mehrabian, Younane Abousleiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Wellbore tensile failure is a known consequence of drilling with excessive mud weight, which can cause costly events of lost circulation. Despite the successful use of lost-circulation materials (LCMs) in treating lost-circulation events of the drilling operations, extensions of wellbore-stability models to the case of a fractured and LCM-treated wellbore have not been published. This paper presents an extension of the conventional wellbore-stability analysis to such circumstances. The proposed wellbore geomechanics solution revisits the criteria for breakdown of a fractured wellbore to identify an extended margin for the equivalent circulation density (ECD) of drilling. An analytical approach is taken to solve for the related multiscale and nonlinear problem of the three-way mechanical interaction between the wellbore, fracture wings, and LCM aggregate. The criteria for unstable propagation of existing near-wellbore fractures, together with those for initiating secondary fractures from the wellbore, are obtained. Results suggest that, in many circumstances, the occurrence of both incidents can be prevented, if the LCM blend is properly engineered to recover certain depositional and mechanical properties at downhole conditions. Under such optimal design conditions, the maximum ECD to which the breakdown limit of a permeable formation could be enhanced is predicted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1178-1188
Number of pages11
JournalSPE Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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