Evaluating the Risk of Casing Failure Caused by High-Density Perforation: A 3D Finite-Element-Method Study of Compaction-Induced Casing Deformation in a Deepwater Reservoir, Gulf of Mexico

Y.. Guo; M.. Blanford; J. D. Candella
Presented at SPE Drilling & Completion, Volume 30, pp 141-151; doi:10.2118/170618- pa.


For a deviated well planned in a highly compressible deepwater reservoir in the Gulf of Mexico, a typical perforation strategy of 140° phasing with 16 shots/ft is unlikely to meet flux requirements at the anticipated production rate. Perforating the production casing twice to double the flow area is one option to avoid exceeding the maximum flux limit. But will the high-density perforations affect the casing strength enough to cause casing failure as the reservoir compacts, given the reservoir-operating limits? This cannot be assessed by using existing analytical models, by published numerical models, or from available empirical or experimental data. To evaluate the feasibility of using a double-perforation approach, a 3D finite-element method (FEM) was developed to determine the effect of the additional holes on casing failure. The model considers variations in both casing thickness and perforation pattern during expected wellbore and reservoir conditions. Both perforated and nonperforated casings were analyzed to compare casing-deformation characteristics and to determine the effect of the perforation on critical depletion pressures. The FEM model shows that casing deformation is not uniform, resulting from nonuniform strain loading across reservoir boundaries and nonuniform distribution of casing strength as a result of the perforation. For the nonperforated casing, the maximum strain is associated with bending near the reservoir boundaries. In contrast, the maximum distortion of the perforated casing is concentrated around the perforation holes at the ends of the perforated intervals. Allowing for a critical strain of 6% in the casing, the depletion limit would have to be reduced from 3,500 psi to 2,600 psi if the second set of perforations could be applied uniformly relative to the first set. A nonuniform distribution of the second set could further reduce the casing strength and lower the critical depletion pressure to 2,200 psi. Finally, the study also shows that increasing the casing thickness by 0.0625 in. would have almost no effect on casing deformation or the attendant reservoir-operating limit. The study quantifies how much casing strain to expect in the scenario described—and that is critical for evaluating the risk of casing failure in expensive deepwater wells. The results suggest that models similar to the one described here, in fact, offer a feasible way to assess casing deformation in highly compressible reservoirs in which high-density perforation may lead to casing failure.