Numerical simulation on borehole breakout and borehole size effect using discrete element method

Published on Sep 1, 2020in International journal of mining science and technology3.903
· DOI :10.1016/J.IJMST.2020.05.019
H. Lin3
Estimated H-index: 3
(UNSW: University of New South Wales),
Won-Hee Kang14
Estimated H-index: 14
(USYD: University of Sydney)
+ 2 AuthorsBruce Hebblewhite19
Estimated H-index: 19
(UNSW: University of New South Wales)
Abstract Estimation of horizontal stress magnitudes from borehole breakouts has been an attractive topic in the petroleum and mining industries, although there are critical research gaps that remain unfilled. In this paper, numerical simulation is conducted on Gosford sandstone to investigate the borehole breakout and its associated borehole size effect, including temperature influence. The discrete element method (DEM) model shows that the borehole breakout angular span is constant after the initial formation, whereas its depth propagates along the minimum horizontal stress direction. This indicates that the breakout angular span is a reliable parameter for horizontal stress estimation. The borehole size effect simulations illustrated the importance of borehole size on breakout geometries in which smaller borehole size leads to higher breakout initiation stress as well as the stress re-distribution from borehole wall outwards through micro-cracking. This implies that the stress may be averaged over a distance around the borehole and breakout initiation occurs at the borehole wall rather than some distance into the rock. In addition, the numerical simulation incorporated the thermal effect which is widely encountered in deep geothermal wells. Based on the results, the higher temperature led to lower breakout initiation stress with same borehole size, and more proportion of shear cracks was generated under higher temperature. This indicates that the temperature might contribute to the micro-fracturing mode and hence influences the horizontal stress estimation results from borehole breakout geometries. Numerical simulation showed that breakout shape and dimensions changed considerably under high stress and high temperature conditions, suggesting that the temperature may need to be considered for breakout stress analysis in deep locations.
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