A fracture sliding potential index for wellbore stability analysis
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Sliding failure along the fractures intersecting a wellbore is one of the major wellbore instability mechanisms. This kind of failure is similar to the slope instabilities, a well-known phenomenon in mining and civil engineering. During drilling operations the drilling fluid can penetrate through fractures and lead to fracture reactivation and wellbore instability. The rock engineering systems (RES), initially introduced in the mining- and civil-related geomechanics problems, is an approach to analyze the interrelationship between the parameters affecting rock engineering activities. In this study, after discussing the sliding mechanism along a fracture in a wellbore during drilling, and identifying all the effective parameters, an interaction matrix is introduced to study the sliding failure mechanism. Thereafter, the interaction intensity and dominance of each parameter in the system is determined to classify these parameters. A systematic approach was used to determine the relative interactive intensity and value of each contributing parameter in the fracture sliding mechanism. As a result, an index is presented to estimate the fracture sliding potential. The results indicate the ability of this method to analyse wellbore instability due to fracture reactivation mechanism. This will assist in finding a better engineering action to mitigate or eliminate potential fracture sliding during drilling. The results show a good agreement with those obtained using Mohr–Coulomb failure analysis and field observations.
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