Sie sind auf Seite 1von 12

Estimation of Formation Strength From the

Mechanical-Properties Log
M. P. Tixier, SPE-AIME, Schlumberger Well Services
G. W. Loveless, SPE-AIME, Atlantic Richfield CO.
R. A. Anderson, SPE-AIME, Schlumberger Well Services

To meet current demands for more oil and gas, com- tion to produce at a high flow rate. Moreover, the
panies would like to increase production. However, consistently lower permeabilities of the strong sands
increases in well-production rates are frequently ac- limit the magnitudes of the flow rates to which they
companied by sanding problems. For this reason, are exposed. Conversely, weak sands have relatively
there is often reluctance to go to higher producing high permeabilities and are capable of producing at
rates. high flow rates, even with small drawdowns. For
Yet many sands are, in fact, strong enough to per- these, sanding is a potential danger.
mit greater production. It would be highly beneficial Although we believe that a criterion based on the
to be able to recognize these. It is also important to intrinsic strength is basic and fundamental, there are
know beforehand which sands are too weak to be other factors that cannot be ignored. For instance,
produced at the higher rates because once the well the type of fluid being produced is important. Our
has made sand, consolidation is difficult and often experience to date has been predominantly with gas
ineffective. and oil production, but it is believed that production
Many factors must be considered to understand with a high water cut may require higher intrinsic
the sanding problem. The pressure gradient near the strength.
perforation, the flow rate per foot, and the scrubbing Resistance to sanding in a weakly cemented sand
action of the fluid being produced all interact to can result from the formation of a stable, load-
impose destructive forces on the sand. The ability of carrying sand arch spanning the producing cavity. In
the sand to withstand these destructive forces is de- this respect, published work l on laboratory experi-
termined by two main factors: the intrinsic strength ments indicates that the presence of two different
of the formation, and the capability of the sand to fluids (e.g., oil and water) in the formation, with the
form stable arches around the perforations. wetting-phase saturation near irreducible, may con-
The intrinsic formation strength is governed by tribute cohesive forces between the sand grains. These
the state of the confining stress (as determined by forces help sustain a stable arch after some sanding
the difference between the overburden stress and the has occurred. The forces result from the interfacial
pore pressure), the grain shape and sorting, and the tension between the two fluids where their surface
cementation between the grains. Shaliness may con- contacts the sand grains, and the effect is to pull the
tribute to the cementation. sand grains together. These forces are not effective at
There is a good correlation between the forma- lower oil saturations where the hydrocarbons exist
tion's intrinsic strength and the ability of the forma- as separated globules and there is no contact of the

The mechanical-properties log provides a quantitative means for identifying sands that
are strong enough to produce oil and gas without any form of sand control. The method
is based on a correlation of in-situ strength with the dynamic elastic moduli computed
from sonic and density logs.

MARCH, 1975 283

oil-water surface with the sand grains. This is con- These computed elastic moduli are displayed on
sistent with the observation that many wells do not a mechanical-properties log for the purpose of pro-
make sand until they show a high water cut. viding an indication of formation strength.
In this paper we shall limit ourselves to the devel- Most of our experience has been in Tertiary
opment of a criterion for the threshold of intrinsic sediments in the Gulf of Mexico at depths between
formation strength above which sanding is not ex- 7,000 and 13,000 ft. A good correlation exists be-
pected to occur in oil or gas zones. The formation tween the computed dynamic elastic moduli and the
strength will be inferred from the values of shear sand's ability to withstand production without any
modulus and bulk compressibility derived from well- form of sand control. Experience is now being gained
log measurements. in other Tertiary basins in the world, with encourag-
There is considerable evidence (gathered from ing results. The threshold criterion developed for the
laboratory measurements) showing a good correla- Gulf of Mexico appears to require little modification
tion between intrinsic formation strength and the for other areas.
dynamic elastic constants determined from sonic-
velocity and density measurements.2-4 Stein and Hil- Elastic Constants
chie 4 singled out the shear modulus as the most Using the stress-strain relationships, elastic constants
important elastic constant for predicting sanding may be determined from a specimen of the rock under
problems. load in a testing machine; these are usually referred
In principle, it is possible to determine the shear to as the static elastic constants. Elastic constants may
modulus and the bulk compressibility from the sonic- also be determined, using wave-propagation relation-
compressional and shear velocities and the bulk den- ships, from measured elastic-wave velocities; these
sity. However, in friable Tertiary sediments, where are usually referred to as the dynamic elastic constants.
the sanding problem is most acute, the measurement For an ideally elastic material, the static and dy-
of the shear velocity is very elusive. The shear wave namic constants are the same; i.e., the material ex-
is highly attenuated, and its velocity approaches the hibits a perfectly linear stress-strain relationship over
fluid velocity. Shear arrivals are often buried in the the load range. For rocks, and particularly friable
fluid arrivals in sonic wave trains. sands, this is not the case. The dynamic elastic con-
An alternative technique is introduced in this paper stants are consistently higher than the static con-
for relating the elastic constants to the sonic com- stants. S This difference is most pronounced at low
pressional-wave velocity, the bulk density, and the confining stresses.
shaliness of the sand. These measurements are made At low confining stresses, rocks exhibit a nonlinear
down-hole, and therefore should reflect the in-situ stress-strain relationship.6-8 At high confining stresses
strength of the formations. From experience, the the behavior becomes more linear, and there is better
compressional-wave velocity turns out to be the agreement between the dynamic and static elastic
most important of these measurements, with shaliness constants.
as a relatively minor factor. From the practical standpoint of evaluating friable
In using the sonic and density logs for computing sands, several important considerations favor the use
formation elastic constants, it is necessary to adjust of the dynamic measurements obtained from the well
the log values when they are affected by factors not logs. First, the measurements are made in situ and,
related to formation strength. For example, in an therefore, should be fairly representative of the con-
unconsolidated sand the presence of a light hydro- fining stress the formation will experience at com-
carbon, particularly gas, influences both the sonic pletion. Conversely, the static measurement requires
compressional-wave velocity and the bulk density. the recovery of an unaltered core, presumably repre-
Both effects are in a direction to reduce the apparent sentative of the formation, and the restoration of the
formation strength inferred from values of the elastic core to an in-situ stress state. Second, the dynamic
constants derived from uncorrected log values. The measurements obtained from well logs provide con-
technique used is to normalize the sonic- and density- tinuous curves that reveal changes and trends. There-
log readings to values that would be obtained if the fore, even though the absolute value of a dynamic
formation fluid were all water. For this correction elastic constant may appear high, its relative values
a neutron log and an induction-electrical log are from one sand to the next should have interpretative
also required. value.
For some time now, we have correlated sanding
problems with the values of shear modulus and bulk TABLE 'I-EFFECT OF q ON iJ. AND THE VARIOUS
compressibility computed from logs in the manner QUANTITIES IN EQS. 5 AND 6
indicated above. Studies have been made where
several wells were logged and then tested to deter- q=O q = 40 Range
mine the critical drawdown and associated flow rate iJ. (from Eq. 7) 0.27 0.32 0.295 ± 8.5 percent
that would initiate sand production. Results of these A 0.315 0.265 0.290 ± 9 percent
studies substantiate the evidence that a correlation B 0.58 0.65 0.615 ± 6 percent
exists between sanding problems and the elastic AB 0.183 0.172 0.177 ± 3 percent
moduli computed from the well logs for producing For <PI" = 30 percent:
formations. Threshold values for the computed elastic Ap. 0.68 0.62 0.65 ± 4.5 percent
moduli have been established for distinguishing be- Bp. 1.25 1.52 1.39 ± 10 percent
tween weak and strong sands. ABp.' 0.85 0.95 0.90 ± 5.5 percent


If the sonic-compressional and shear transit times Eqs. 5 and 6 have employed the concepts of rock
are available, together with the bulk density, the mechanics in their derivation. With Eqs. 7 and 8 they
elastic constants can be obtained from the following provide a set of relationships for evaluating the elastic
basic relationships 9,IO for homogeneous, isotropic, constants, G and Cb, and the ratio, G/Cb. This last
water-bearing formations. ratio, because of its high sensitivity to variations in
the elastic constants, is the quantity being used at
(1) this time as the intrinsic-strength criterion.
Discussion of the Method
A + 2G = ~2 . (2) Table 1 shows how variations in q affect fL and the
6. t c
various quantities in Eqs. 5 and 6.
K = ~b = 3A ~ 2G = Pb(6.!c2 - 3 ~ts2 ). The values of fL from Eq. 7 do not show a very
strong variation with shaliness. As q varies from 0
(3) to 40 percent, fL varies only from 0.27 to 0.32 per-
The values of pb and needed in Eqs. 1 through cent. However, the empirical relation of Eq. 7 may
3 are available from density and sonic logs. However, or may not apply in conditions other than those for
in soft Tertiary formations the value of 6.ts is difficult which it was derived (uncompacted Gulf Coast sands).
to evaluate, and an alternative approach is necessary. More studies are needed to confirm the applicability
Anderson et al. l l have previously presented an em- of the relation between shaliness and Poisson's ratio
girical relationship, discussed in Appendix A, relat- in other areas. It is also contemplated to try other
ing Poisson's ratio to shaliness for unconsolidated shaliness indices for this application.
Gulf Coast sands. This relationship suggested that a The small variations shown in Table 1 for A and
workable approach might be to write the equations B indicate that G and Cb are relatively insensitive to
for the elastic constants in terms of Poisson's ratio the values of q and fL over the expected range. The
in a form independent of Ms. ratio G/Cb is even less sensitive, as shown by the rela-
Poisson's ratio, fL, is related to the Lame constant, tively small variation in the product, AB.
A, and shear modulus, G, by The last three quantities in Table 1 include the
effect of pb. The value of pb is affected by porosity and
shaliness. In Gulf Coast sands, however, intergranular
fL = 2(A + G) . porosity, CPig, tends to be approximately constant in
a given sand series, and pb increases as q increases.
Using Eqs. 1 through 4, the required relationships As illustrated in the lower part of Table 1, for
can be written as CPig = 30 percent, the expression A Pb, which appears
in Eq. 5 for the shear modulus, does not vary much
(5) in Gulf Coast sands; this is because A varies in op-
position to pb. Thus the shear modulus is not very
(6) sensitive to shaliness. The bulk compressibility, given
by Eq. 6, is more sensitive to shaliness because both
where Band Pb increase with shaliness. As seen by the small
variation in ABpb 2 with q, shown in Table 1, the ratio
_ 1 - 2fL _ 1 + fL G / Cb is rather insensitive to shaliness.
A - 2 (1 - fL) and B- 3 (1 - fL) . Both G and Cb are affected by formation porosity
because both pb and 6.t/ vary with porosity. *
Anderson et al.'s empirical relation between Pois- It turns out that the effects of variations in far
son's ratio and shaliness is given by the equation of outweigh the effects of variations in the other param-
the average line of Fig. 13 (Appendix A): eters. Values of will vary between 80 and 160
fL = 0.125 q + 0.27, (7) microsec/ft in Tertiary sediments, so the range of
values of 6. tc 2 will be in the ratio of 1:4. It is there-
where q is a dispersed-shale index. 12 As used here, fore particularly desirable to understand clearly the
q has been defined as13 factors affecting the sonic transit time.

q = CPig - CPe, Sonic Transit Time

CPig The sonic log measures the time it takes for the first
where CPig is the total space between the matrix grains compressional-wave arrival to travel 1 ft; in other
supporting the overburden and cpe is the porosity words, it measures the compressional-wave transit
available to water and hydrocarbons. The difference, time,
CPig - cpe, is interpreted as the intergranular space Fig. 1 illustrates how the values of in a given
occupied by dispersed shale and fines. formation are affected under different effective
This definition of q is preferred over Eq. A-I when stresses. Effective stress is defined as POB - Pp, where
hydrocarbons are present because both the sonic and POB is the overburden pressure and pp is the pore
density porosities, cpsv and CPD, are affected by hydro- pressure.
carbons in a manner not related to intrinsic forma- ·Several theoretical models have been proposed in the literature
tion strength. to study the effect of porosity on the elastic constants. 14- 1•

MARCH,1975 28S
Case 1 in Fig. 1 is for Pall much greater than PP' computed. This is done by determining the value of
as is the case at great depths and normal pore pres- Cp that will make the porosity from the middle equa-
sures. Sands under these high effective stresses are tion on Fig. 1 agree with porosity determined from
compacted, and the "total intergranular porosity", the resistivity ratio*, Ro/ Rw (ratio of resistivity of
9ig, is obtainable from the Wyllie time-average for- water-bearing formation to resistivity of formation
mula17 (upper relation for <Pig in Fig. 1). water). At best, we are able to compute Cp every few-
As long as the effective stress, Pas - Pp, exceeds hundred feet, and we do not know for sure the exact
a certain minimum value, the formation values values of Cp in the many intervening formations. It is
are unaffected by variations in effective stress or the quite possible that a sand under greater stress because
types of fluids in the pores. Normally, for these of a nearby fault, or a sand having a different grain
compacted formations, no sanding problem will sorting, may have a Cp value different from that of
develop. In the Gulf Coast, this type of formation other sands in the interval. It may not be possible to
will be found below 12,000 ft when the pore pressure compute the correct value of Cp in this horizon, and
is normal. therefore we cannot be certain of its state of com-
Cases 2 and 3 of Fig. 1 pertain to values of effective paction. On the other hand, the elastic moduli are not
stress too low to provide the compaction required for strongly dependent on Cpo An error in Cp results in
Case 1. The sand is said to be uncompacted. These some errors on the dispersed-shale index, q, and on
cases will occur at shallow depths, or at greater depths the correction for hydrocarbons, but these in tum
when pore pressures are abnormally high. In these introduce only second-order errors on the elastic
cases, the application of the Wyllie formula would moduli.
give an erroneously high, apparent total intergranular
Need for Hydrocarbon Corrections
A better formulation for the intergranular porosity As ilIustrated by the difference between Cases 2 and
of an uncompacted sand would be given by the mid- 3 in Fig. 1, the presence of hydrocarbons, particu-
dle equation of Fig. 1 if the sand is water-bearing, larly gas, increases the compressional transit time
or by the lower equation of Fig. 1 if the sand is gas- (t:.t c ) of an uncompacted formation. Hydrocarbons
bearing. 13 In these relations, Cp is the sonic compac- also reduce formation density (Pb). The combined
tion correction; Cp is greater than unity in uncom- effect is to decrease the value of the shear modulus
pacted sands. For these uncompacted cases the value and increase the value of the bulk compressibility that
of increases as the effective stress, Pall - PP' de- would be computed from the uncorrected logs.
creases, as shown by Curves 2 and 3 in Fig. 1. Thus, These hydrocarbon effects have no relation to for-
as PaR - pp decreases, the compaction correction, C p , mation strength. It is therefore important that pb and
increases, and it reaches a value of around 2 at very values in uncompacted formations be corrected for
shallow depths (around 2,000 ft in the Gulf Coast). the presence of gas or light hydrocarbons. This is done
It is in the range of insufficient compaction that to enter into Eqs. 5 and 6 values that would have been
weak formations will be found and where sanding will observed had the sand been water-bearing.
take place. As a rule, sanding problems are not found Details of the hydrocarbon corrections are dis-
when C p is less than 1.2. This would indicate that a cussed in Appendix B.
knowledge of C p might give an indication of whether
a formation will have sanding problems.
However, it is not easy to monitor C p continuously *Ro/Rw is the resistivity formation factor. FR. that in Gulf Coast
sediments is empirically related to porosity. 1>. by the Humble
in every sand. Only in clean-water sands can C p be formula. FR = 0.62/","·15.

From Uncorrected
A... __ ~tc-~tma 6tc and Pb
SAND Ig ~tr~tma GAS SAND (clean)
G = 0.55 x 10 6
Icf> =33%
@ UNCOMPACTED cf>. _ ~tc-~tma. ~ cb =0.98 x 10- 6 vma= 18,000 fUsec
WATER SAND Ig - ~tr~tma Cp G/cb = 0.56 x 10 12 Cp =1.3
erroneously weak fL =0.27
@ UNCOMPACTED cf>ig = ~tc-~tma. 1... - (Cp-I) cf>e Sgxo 39-43
GAS SAND ~tf-~tma Cp q= - - ,negative


G = 0.71 x 10 6 ""
~tC=113 cf> =33%
cb= 0.77 x 10- 6 =2.14 jcp= 1.3
G/cb = 0.92 x 10 12 Vma= 18,000 ftlsec


~/ q =33-33=0
fL = 0.27

Fig. 1-Sonic transit time vs effective stress: Case I,

compacted sand; Case 2, uncompacted water sand; Fig. 2-Computed example of error arising when
and Case 3, uncompacted gas sand. hydrocarbon correction is not made.


lliustration of Gas Effect the log-derived elastic constants. Results of some
transient tests are given in Table 2 for normally pres-
Fig. 2 illustrates, with a calculated example, the im- sured sands at depths between 7,000 and 10,000 ft.
portance of correcting for hydrocarbons. Indicated From such test programs, it appears that sanding
at the right of the figure are two identical clean sands is not a problem when the shear modulus, G, is greater
of the same strength, one filled with gas, the other with than 0.6 X 106 psi, provided the production is oil or
salt water. In each case, sand porosity is epe = epig = gas. To this threshold value corresponds a bulk com-
33 percent, and Cp = 1.3. For the water-bearing sand pressibility, Cb, around 0.75 X 10- 6 sq in./lb.
in the lower part of the figure, t:..te = 113 microsec/ft It was noted that, for these values, the ratio of
and Pb = 2.14 gm/cc. When gas-bearing with SgXO = shear modulus to bulk compressibility had a value of
0.6 (upper part of figure), becomes 123 microsec/ 0.80 X 1012 psi2. It was observed that the G/Cb ratio
ft and pb becomes 1.98 gm/cc. The dispersed-shale permits a greater range of sensitivity than either the
index for the water sand is computed from Eq. 8 as shear modulus or bulk compressibility taken alone.
q = (33 - 33)/33 = O. This indicates a clean sand. The value of 0.8 X 1012 psF for the G/Cb ratio is being
The corresponding value for Poisson's ratio, fL, is 0.27 used here as the threshold criterion for sanding in oil
from Eq. 7. The computed values of the shear modu- or gas sands.
lus and the bulk compressibility are G = 0.71 X 106 An appreciable number of wells have been eval-
psi and Cb = 0.77 X 10- 6 sq in./lb from Eqs. 5 and uated since initiation of this study, including wells
6, and G/Cb is 0.92 X 1012 psi2. in California, Alaska, Canada, Trinidad, and Indo-
For the gas sand, the uncorrected values, Me = 123 nesia, and the threshold values stated above seem to
microsec/ft and pb = 1.98 gm/cc, correspond to the apply surprisingly well. The data indicate that a very
apparent porosities, epig = 39 percent and epD = 43 weak formation may exhibit a shear modulus as low
percent. This leads to the difficulty that the dispersed- as 0.4 X 106 psi, whereas a well-compacted formation
shale index from Eq. 8 is negative [q = (39 - 43)/39]. may have a value in excess of 1.6 X 106 • The bulk
In general, a complete analysis, as given by Ref. 13, compressibility may range from 1.3 X 10- 6 sq in./lb
would be required to resolve this problem. For this for a weak formation to 0.25 X 10- 6 sq in./lb for an
example we shall use fL = 0.27. (The value of fL is not extremely strong one.
very critical, as seen in Table 1.) If we enter this value We believe, therefore, that the elastic moduli calcu-
and the uncorrected log values for the gas sand into lated from log data can be used very effectively for
Eqs. 5 and 6, we find 0.55 X 106 psi for the shear predicting sanding problems. At present, in oil and
modulus and 0.98 X 10- 6 sq in./lb for the bulk com- gas production, we limit ourselves to a prediction of
pressibility, and G/Cb will be 0.56 X 10 12 psi2. safety when the strength indicators are clearly above
These values are considerably different from the the threshold values, and to a recommendation of
values calculated for the identical sand saturated with curtailed production or sand control when the thres-
water. In fact, if we compare this last value of G/Cb hold is clearly violated. When a sand shows both
with the threshold value of G/Cb = 0.8 X 1012 psi2 strong and weak sections, completions without sand
established for the Gulf Coast (as discussed later), control can be attempted if perforations are restricted
the sand is indicated to be too weak to produce with- to strong intervals. Additional experience and study
out some form of sand control. However, when we are required for sands with computed moduli near the
correct for hydrocarbon effect, we find a value of threshold limits. Estimation of the maximum sand-
0.92 X 10 12 psi, which indicates that the sand is free production rate should be based on transient-test
strong enough to produce without sanding problems. and log data from a specific area. The maximum sand-
Complete Interpretation free production also determines the maximum draw-
down permissible for a given well.
As discussed in Appendix B, correction of the sonic When friable sands are strong enough to produce
and density logs requires knowledge of formation without consolidation, their permeabilities may be of
porosity (epe) and hydrocarbon saturation (SOI£O or Sgxo) a good order but they are never enormous. If perme-
in the zone near the borehole. Also, for use in Eq. 8, abilities are measured in darcies, they usually corre-
values of epig and epe are needed. To arrive at all these spond to sands that are so unconsolidated that sanding
values, a complete log analysis, such as the one de-
scribed in Ref. 13, is necessary. This requires, for
example, a neutron log and an induction-electrical log ATIEMPT·DESTRUCT DATA
in addition to the sonic and density logs.
Well A
Results of Testing Program Production
The values of the elastic constants calculated for oil Rate Drawdown Results:
G Cb G/Cb per Foot Pressure Well
and gas wells have been correlated with both test and Interval (105) (10-') (10 12) (BOPD/f!) (psi) Failed?
actual production data. Several offshore Louisiana 1 0.684 0.760 0.900 168 734 no
wells have been involved in a program of attempted- 2 0.542 0.950 0.570 275 210 yes
destruct tests where a given sand was produced at 3 0.711 0.756 0.940 101 1,088 no
increasing flow rates until abnormal sand production Well B
was observed or until the production rate could not 1 0.725 0.620 1.170 111 927 no
be further increased. The object was to determine the 2 0.683 0.670 1.020 144 1,633 no
well's critical flow rate per foot and to correlate it with 3 0.911 0.580 1.570 64 1,749 no

MARCH, 1975 287

will take place unless properly consolidated or gravel
packed. There appears to be a good correlation be- Quick-Look Interpretation
tween bulk compressibility and permeability. The chart of Fig. 3 is constructed on the basis of the
Oil and gas production from sands with abnormally threshold criterion, G/Cb = 0.8 X 10 12 psi 2 • The
high pore pressures are being studied. For these cases, chart may be entered with Ilteor in the abscissa and
it seems that if drawdowns are limited to the ones peor in the ordinate. These qualities are the values of
used with normal pore pressures no special under- Ilt and Plog corrected for hydrocarbons, as explained
standing is needed to interpret the mechanical- in Appendix B. Scales are provided on the lower part
properties log. of the figure to give an idea of values of <pe, <Pig, and
More knowledge is also necessary in wells at vari- Cp corresponding to given values of peor and Iltcor.
ous stages of pressure depletion. A similar plot for a threshold of G/Cb = 0.7 X
As yet, few wells producing with a water cut have 1012 psiZ would be identical, but the threshold curves
been studied. It appears that greater strength is would be displaced by some 4 microsec to the right,
required of a formation for it to produce water with- toward larger Meor values.
out sanding. Some attribute this requirement to the Fig. 3 gives only a rough estimate, but it may
grain-scrubbing action of the water flow. Others sug- provide a "quick-look" indication if the hydrocarbon
gest the explanation that interfacial-tension forces corrections to the raw values of the sonic and density
associated with hydrocarbon-saturated formations readings can be estimated. However, near the thres-
impart a cohesion between grains that is lacking at hold a difference of a few microseconds may make
lower hydrocarbon saturations. 1 the difference between completion with or without
Evaluation of sands in wells that have poorly sand control. Thus, particularly for points falling just
cemented casing can be misleading. Without a good to the right of the threshold, the correction for hydro-
primary cement job a sand is required to produce carbons is mandatory. However, if a point plotted
under the same conditions as found in a "barefoot using uncorrected values of Me and pb falls in the safe
completion," since no stressing exists between the zone, the "safe" indication can be accepted, since a
casing and the formation. Under proper conditions, hydrocarbon correction would simply move the point
dilation and shifting of soft sands may produce a further into the safe zone.
firming-up and restressing, but this may not have
taken place at the time of testing. The Mechanical-Properties Log
Drillstem tests made without water cushions that Figs. 4 through 12 illustrate the presentation of the
expose the formation to high initial drawdowns may results as a mechanical-properties log.
give information not easy to interpret with regard to Curves shown in the left-hand track are SP (or
sanding. gamma ray log) and dispersed-shale index ("q" log
The most rewarding finding is that the mechanical- as defined in Eq. 8).
properties log has been able to show cases where the Curves in the middle track are the computed shear
formations were sufficiently strong when weakness modulus, G, increasing to the right, with a scale from
was feared. o to 2 X 106 psi; the computed bulk compressibility,
Cb, increasing to the left, with a scale from 0 to 2 X
10- 6 sq in./lb; and the ratio G/Cb, increasing to the
right, with a scale from 0 to 2 X 1012 psi 2 •
In the right-hand track are <Pig (total intergranular
porosity), as derived from the interpretation, and Cp
cp= 1.6-/i, Cp=2 (sonic compaction-correction factor, as defined in
I I Cases 2 and 3 of Fig. 1).
I-- Cp= 1.2 The scales chosen in the middle track for the elastic
I constants, G and Cb, permit a clean distinction be-
.25 tween weak and strong formations, according to the
2.2 threshold criteria given in the preceding section. The
value of G / Cb moves more rapidly and goes off scale
2. I I in many strong formations.
Computation of the elastic constants and <Pig is
made only in sands. These curves and the dispersed-
0 shale-index curve are a product of machine compu-
r- 100 120 I 130 140 150 160 tation. The necessary inputs for the computations are
~tcor 30 I:1~5
I given by the complete log analysis explained in Ref.
f--'o'::---f'.::--.:....&..t:~I-'<::!+- Cp =1.2
I 13'. The values of G and Cb are computed from Eqs.
5 and 6, rewritten as

G = 1.34 X 1010 APb psi


~= 1.34 X 1010 BPb psi
Cb Iltc2
Fig. 3-Crossplot chart of At eor vs pe.n computed
for G/Cb = 0.8 X 10 12 psi'. The coefficient, 1.34 X 1010, corrects for units when
pb is measured in gm/ cc and is measured in micro-
o G006) psi 2
sec/ft. Values of f1-, for use in evaluating the quantities Gamma Ray
A and B, are derived from Eq. 7. p API 100 2___ ~.!?~~::,~p~IIQ 50% <Pig 0
Unusually high values of CPig, such as CPig greater ~--------~--------' 9._9.:_<:.~~!~~:~P..~.=.? ~~ ______
:I?1.5 ____ .?.5
than 40 percent, can point out cycle skipping* on the
sonic log. In such zones the mechanical-properties log
I G/C~b'-----1
:f 1
.~y ~
is of doubtful value. GR ,; 2F Cb A. .
The sonic compaction-correction factor, Cp , is c'
-., 50ft G
..' l '1"'lg
... 'S....._;,:. ..•. : ...
generally selected by the log analyst as an input to ---~-:---
the program. However, when certain limits are vio-
lated/ 3 the program adjusts the value of Cpo In some
cases, monitoring of Cp can reveal limy sands by Fig. 4--Example of weak sand (from outside U.S.A.).
a decrease of the value of Cp below that used in the The upper part of the computed section is
interval under study. However, coal, salt, or enlarged sand, the lower few feet is lime.
hole could give the same indication. Because of limi-
ness, the decrease in Cp is accompanied by a substan- 0 GOO6)psi 2
Gamma Ray
tial increase in G and a decrease in Cb, reflecting higher o API 100 2__ £b(!(t:.61R.~~_ 0 50% <Pig a
strength. 9______ ~ _____1 o G/CbOd2)psi22 .5 Cp 2.5
An SP curve or a gamma ray log provides corre- ··.. ······ .. t· .... ··· .. ········· --- ----I-:: - - - - - -
0.8 1.5
lation with the other logs.
It is possible that presentation of the mechanical-
properties log may change in the future to reflect
/~ I tt~ . .1 ~ 2

trends and greater experience. Likewise, the necessary

inputs for the computations may become obtainable GR ; <Pig\ I

from other interpretation schemes. I I


Examples Fig. 5-Example of very weak sand

Fig. 4 is a case of a weak sand producing with a (from outside U.S.A.).
gravel pack. Before gravel packing, the well produced
4 percent sand during testing. The well now pro- 0 G(106)psi 2
Gamma Ray
duces 26 BOPD per foot of perforation with a GOR API 2__ :Q~~=-~~~~_ 0 50% <Pig 0
of 250 scf/bbl, and a drawdown of 600 psi. The q o G/CbOo'2)psi22 .5 Cp 2.5
producing sand in the upper part of the section has ................ _................ -------t-:------
0.8 1.5
a value of G/Cb averaging near 0.7 X 1012 psi 2 , some-
what lower than the accepted sanding threshold of
0.8 X 10 12 psi2. Below the bottom of the sand is a I

lime section a few feet thick where the elastic moduli ) ....lyr--

show considerably greater formation strength, with G- (..-Cb :-Cp

i I I
G / Cb going off scale. This lime section is also shown I <Pig I
by a decrease of Cp from the input value of 1.4. " 'L-- I

Fig~ '5 shows another weak sand that had to be


produced with a gravel pack. Before gravel packing,

Fig. 6-Example of strong sand (from outside U.S.A.).
the well sanded in 3 hours. G / Cb averaged below
0.5 X 1012 psF. This very shallow well (around 2,500
ft) had low elastic constants typical of shallow depths. SP 0 GOO6)psi 2
(Note that Cp = 1.7.) The well is now producing at IOmV 2____C_bJ !S' 50% <Pig 0
20 BOPD per foot of perforation with a GOR of 1,200 o q I o G/CbOol2)psi 22 .?_____Cp____ .?"-5
scf/bbl and a drawdown of 60 psi. -------------- _·····_·······i-·_··_··_········
0.8 1.5
For the sand in Fig. 6, G/Cb ~ 0.8 X 1012 psi 2

and G > 0.6 X lOG psi. This indicates sufficient I
strength although near the minimum strength required I
for sand-free production. The depth of this sand is I
only 3,500 ft. The well produced 72 BOPD per foot
of perforation with a GOR of 600 scf/bbl. No sand
r---1 '
)1 --Cb <Pi 91 i-cp

was found in a lO-hour test. Note that the intergran- P--,.G I

ular porosity, CPiu, is about the same as in Figs. 3 and I
4, but the bulk compressibility is quite different. Note, I
also, that Cp is only 1.3. I

The example of Fig. 7, with G / Cb < 0.4 X 1012

'Sonic transit time is measured by detection of the first arrival
of a sonic wave train. In formations where the sonic wave is 0 i
greatly attenuated, one or both of the detectors may miss the =
first arrival, and measure instead on a later arrival, giving an
incorrect transit·time measurement. This is termed "cycle Fig. 7-Example of very weak sand
skipping." (from Louisiana coast).

MARCH, 1975 289

psi2, shows two typical, very weak sands (at a enough to be off scale (greater than 2 X 1012 psi2).
depth of around 5,500 ft). Both sands were treated The upper sand, tested alone, gave 16.8 MMcf/D
with plastic. The lower one produced some 200 BOPD of gas with 92 B/D of condensate and 26 BWPD.
for the last 3 years. The upper one produced 150 From pressure-buildup data the permeability is 64 md.
BOPD, but the plastic treatment had to be repeated The shut-in pressure was 4,690 psi and flowing pres-
after 2 years of production. The upper sand has a sure 3,064 psi (from a pressure bomb). No sand was
slightly greater bulk compressibility. The compaction produced.
correction is very high for both sands (C p = 1.8). The upper and lower sands, tested together, gave
Fig. 8 shows another very weak sand (G/Cb ::::::: 0.4 the following production results: 32 MMcf/D gas,
X 1012 psi2) very much like those of Fig. 7. Gravel 155 BID condensate, and 45 BWPD. From pressure
packing was necessary and the formation is produc- buildup analysis, the permeability was determined as
ing 16 BbpD per foot of perforation with a GOR 132 md (commingled). The shut-in pressure was 4,689
of 300 scf/bbl and a drawdown of 150 psi. Before psi and the flowing pressure 3,690 psi, from a pres-
gravel packing, the well sanded in a 3-hour test. This sure bomb. No sand was produced.
is the shallowest example (around 2,000 ft) available. These two sands are around 10,000 ft deep. Note
Fig. 9 is an example of a thick sand at around that Cp averages only 1.1.
9,500 ft with abnormally high pore pressure. Some Fig. 11 shows an even stronger sand (at around
sections of the sand are above the threshold and some 11,000 ft). G / Cb is again off scale. The shear modulus
are below it. This gas well was perforated only in the reaches 1.6 X 10? and the bulk compressibility goes
strongest intervals, and gave sand-free production of below 0.4 X 10- 6 sq in./lb. Note that the intergran-
1.5 MMcf/D per foot of perforated interval for 6 ular porosity, CP;g, rarely exceeds 20 percent. The
months. production is 648 BOPD with 2.2 MMcf/D of gas.
Fig. lOis of interest because, although sanding was From pressure buildup, the permeability is 46 md.
expected by the company, the mechanical-properties Shut-in pressure was 5,078 psi and flowing pressure
log showed it to be a very strong sand. G / Cb was large 4,620 psi. No sand was produced.

0 G(lOS) psi 2 SP 0 G006l psi 2

Gamma Ray
API 100 2 ___ E!>i!~~~to 50% CPig 0
15mV 2___ 3!>J!~:61e~U~ 50%
-, CPig 0
o~ ______ !-____ .?;5
o G/Cb(1012)psi22 .5
Cp 2.5 o______ ~ _____ _ q_.~!~~.~!9.~~p.~!~.? C
0.8 -------~------~~
1.5 0.8 1.5

rg:G/Cb 1 I

, , ! 5?"">

1 { I

«G t-Cb
>"'CPi9J-C P
50ft G~
< (Cb
Cp""'( -CPig
) ;
50ft --..>., > --~
l ... -}
( \

1 1

=s < ,
L_ I

Fig. 10--Exampie shown by mechanical'properties log

Fig. 8--Example of very weak sand (from outside U.S.A.). to be a strong sand, although sanding problems
had been expected by the company (from
offshore Louisiana). G/Cb is off scale.

o G(l06l psi 2 SP o G(lOSlpsi 2

Gomma Ray
API 10 2___ ..cp£19:~lp;;I'~ 50% CP ig 0 15mV 2___ Ep!..l9~~)P~CQ 50% CPig 0

_.....,........... _..._.... --------+------- o _q_ _ q...~(~~.~~~~~p~!.~? ,,~ _____
:"e1.5 ____ 5~5
1 <I

G ....Cp CPig
1 "I
1 50ft
1 (~



Fig. U-$ame well as Fig. 10. Another sand shown by

the mechanical-properties log to be strong. although
Fig. 9-Example of thick sand with abnormal sanding problems had been expected by
pressure (from offShore Texas). the company. G/Cb is off scale.


The very strong and consolidated sand of Fig. 12 but they are not available today.
(at around 12,000 ft) shows a compaction correction, 3. Relationships between the elastic moduli and
Cp = 1, which means that the sand is compacted. permissible production rates for a sand producing
Note that the intergranular porosity is mostly around water have yet to be established.
15 percent for most of this sand. Similar values of the 4. Additional log and test data are needed to fully
elastic constants are exhibited over a 1,000-ft interval predict the behavior of abnormally pressured zones,
in this well. although this situation has not been a source of diffi-
This well made history, because with such indi- culty so far.
cated strength it was decided to try a "barefoot" . 5. The relationship between shaliness and Pois-
completion. To the surprise of many, this well has son's ratio needs further study for the Tertiary basins
produced sand-free 300 BOPD without trouble for producing throughout the world.
the last few months! Elastic moduli have been used in this study for
All of the above examples were perforated with the forecast of sanding problems. The elastic constants
4 holes per foot with through-tubing guns, except for could also have other uses, as in the study of
a few wells from outside the U. S., where casing guns subsidence, driIIabiIity, and reservoir engineering. To
were used. date, only Tertiary formations have been studied, with
the exception of one Illinois well. In that well, sand-
Discussion of Examples
stones of an older age exhibited some shear moduli
The nine examples shown here are only a part of the as high as 2.6 X 106 psi and bulk compressibilities
total experience acquired to date. Strong formations as low as 0.2 X 10- 6 sq in./lb for sandstones near
have been found in the Tertiary as shallow as 3,500 1O-percent porosity. We hope that some application
ft and weak ones as deep as 13,500 ft. So far, we will be found for the log-derived elastic constants in
have no cases where sanding has occurred in oil or these older formations.
gas sands with G/Cb > 0.8 X 1012 psi2. On the other
hand, sand control has been necessary whenever Conclusion
G/Cb ~ 0.7 X 1012 psi2. The mechanical-properties log is a simple and reli-
Improvements on the present state of the art should able tool for the estimation of formation strength. It
be possible by use of detailed well histories, such as has been particularly useful in cases where the log
those kept by the producing companies. has shown adequate formation strength in places
Possible directions of improvement are as follows. where, before the log was run, sanding had been con-
1. With experience, it should be possible to estab- sidered a threat. Such findings have resulted in greater
lish maximum sand-free rates when G / Cb is within production than was anticipated and at a lower cost,
-t- 10 percent of the accepted threshold of 0.8 X since sand control was not necessary.
1012 psi2. Of particular interest is that systematic correlations
2. The effect of pore pressure depletion must be have been found between the mechanical-properties
studied in more detail. Sonic and density measure- log and the mode of production (Le., with or without
ments through casing would greatly help in this study, sand control) in all Tertiary basins, irrespective of
their geographic locations.
o G(l06l ps i 2 A, B = functions of Poisson's ratio (used in Eqs.
Gamma Ray
30 API 130 2__ ~!;?Q~t.6]~sJ~_0 50% <Pig 0 5 and 6)
Cb = bulk compressibility
o q o G/Cb(lOl2lpsi2.5 Cp 2.5
Cp = sonic compaction-correction factor
-------------- ................................._.. - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - -
0.8 1.5
FIt = resistivity formation factor
(FR = Ro/Rw)
II G = shear modulus
I K = bulk modulus
I POB = overburden pressure

Pp = pore pressure
q = dispersed-shale index (Eqs. 8 and A-I)

Ro = resistivity of 100-percent water-saturated
I formation
< I
Rw = resistivity of formation water
SgZO = gas saturation in flushed zone near bore-
? I
I hole
I (Sgzo)eq = an equivalent gas saturation in the flush-
ed zone, used in Eq. B-3
_;=,a. I
Sozo = oil saturation in flushed zone near bore-
." I
V ma = sonic compressional velocity in rock mat-
rix material
Fig. 12-Example of a very strong and consolidated 111, 11110g = (compressional-wave) transit time as
sand (California). G/c. is off scale. measured by sonic log (transit time is
MARCH, 1975 291
time for first arrival to travel 1 ft) Filled Holes," J. Pet. Tech. (March 1963) 321-332;
Trans., AIME, 223.
!1te = compressional-wave transit time
13. Tixier, M. P., Morris, R. L., and Connell, J. G.: "Log
!1teor =corrected value of (compressional-wave) Evaluation of Low-Resistivity Pay Sands in the Gulf
transit time Coast," Trans., SPWLA Ninth Annual Logging Sym-
!1ti = (compressional-wave) transit time in for- posium, New Orleans (June 1968).
mation fluids 14. Hall, Howard N.: "Compressibility of Reservoir Rocks,"
Trans., AIME (1953) 198,309-311.
!1tma = (compressional-wave) transit time in for- 15. MacKenzie, J. K.: "The Elastic Constants of a Solid
mation matrix material Containing Spherical Holes," Proc. Phys. Soc., Series B,
!1t. = shear-wave transit time London (1950) 63, 2-11.
A. = Lame constant 16. Warren, Nick: "Theoretical Calculation of the Com-
pressibility of Porous Media," J. Geophys. Res. (Jan.
p. = Poisson's ratio 1973) 78, No.2, 352-362.
Ph = bulk density (of formation) 17. Wyllie, M. R. J., Gregory, A. R., and Gardner, G. H. F.:
peor = corrected value of bulk density "An Experimental Investigation of Factors Affecting
Elastic Wave Velocities in Porous Media," Geophysics
Pi = density of formation fluid . (July 1958) 23, No.3, 459-493.
Plog = density measurement from well log
pma = density of formation matrix material APPENDIX A
CPe = porosity (fluid filled)
Empirical Relationship Between fL and q
CPD = apparent porosity from density log, com-
puted as CPD = (pma - PIOg)/(Pma - Pf) The empirical relationship of Anderson et al. l l relat-
cpsv = apparent porosity from sonic log, com- ing Poisson's ratio in uncompacted Gulf Coast sands
puted in water sands as to shaliness is shown in Fig. 13. Their values (circles)
flt lOg - fltma 1
were determined from fracture-pressure measure-
cpsv = -C ments. A dispersed-shale index was computed in
fltf - fltma p
water sands according to the relation *
CPig = intergranular space expressed as fraction
of bulk volume q = cpsv - CPD (A-1)
cpsv '
where cpsv and CPD are the apparent porosities derived
We wish to recognize the assistance of Bill Throop,
who wrote the computer program and contributed from sonic and density logs. This dispersed-shale
index is the same as the "q" value of Ref. 12.
much fine work to the project. Thanks are due to
To make a further check of the empirical relation-
the oil companies who released the logs used in the
ship shown in Fig. 13, sonic wave trains were recorded
examples. in two Gulf Coast wells. These recordings were
References searched to pick out sands where there was a usable
1. Hall, C. D., Jr., and Harrisberger, W. H.: "Stability of shear arrival. The shear transit time, flt., was deter-
Sand Arches: A Key to Sand Control," J. Pet. Tech.
(July 1970) 821-829.
2. Wuerker, R. G.: "Annotated Tables of Strength and *q,sv is computed using the Wyllie et al. equation. When neces-
Elastic Properties of Rocks," Reprint Series, No. 6 - sary, a correction is made for lack of compaction. q,D is com-
Drilling, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, puted by the relation, q,D = (Pm. - Plog)/(Pm. - P/)-
Dallas (1962) 23-45.
3. Bond, L. 0., Alger, R. P., and Schmidt, A. W.: "Well
Log Applications in Coal Mining and Rock Mechanics,"
paper 69-F-13 presented at the SME-AIME 99th Annual .40
Meeting, Washington, Feb. 16-20, 1969.
4. Stein, N. and Hilchie, D. W.: "Estimating the Maxi-
mum Production Rate Possible From Friable Sandstones
Without Using Sand Control," J. Pet. Tech. (Sept. 1972)
1157-1160; Trans., AIME, 253. :::l.30
goo t;. 0

5. King, M. S.: "Static and Dynamic Elastic Moduli of
Rocks under Pressure," Proc., 11th Symposium on Rock
Mechanics (June 16-19, 1969) 329-351.
6. Walsh, J. B. and Brace, W. F.: "Elasticity of Rocks: A
- ~t) 0
-u 0

Review of some Recent Theoretical Studies," Rock
Mechanics and Engineering Geology (1966) IV, No.4, (J) .20
283-297. z
7. Gassman, F.: "Uber die Elastizitiit poroser Medien," o(J) o From Anderson et 01
Vierteljahrschrift der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft,
Geo. Zurich (1951) 96, 1-23.
(J) t;. From Soni c
8. Brandt, H.: "A Study of the Speed of Sound in Porous 2 .10 Compress iana 1 a f-
Granular Media," J. Appl. Mech. (1955) 22, 479-486. Shear Veloci ties
9. Mason, W. P.: Physical Acoustics and the Properties
of Solids," D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc., New York
10. Love, A. E. H.: A Treatise on the Mathematical Theory
of Elasticity," Dover Publications, New York (1944). o 10 20 30 40
11. Anderson, R. A., Ingram, D. S., and Zanier, A. M.: II II
"Fracture Pressure Gradient Determination From Well
Logs," J. Pet. Tech. (Nov. 1973) 1259-1268.
12. Alger, R. P., Raymer, L. L., Hoyle, W. R., and Tixier, Fig. 13-Empirical relation between Poisson's ratio and
M.P.: "Formation Density Log Applications in Liquid- shaliness (after Anderson et al.").


mined from the difference in travel times at the 5- for a corresponding (still uncompacted) water-bearing
and 3-ft receivers for the same shear wave. Poisson's case:
ratio was then determined using the following equa-
tion, derived by use of Eqs. 1 and 2 in Eq. 4: flteor = flt log - Cp(Cp - l)cp eSga:o(fltf - flt ma ) ,
1_ 2(~)2 where flleor is the value of fltr that would be obtained
(A-2) for the same formation sat~rated with water, and
M log is the value measured by the sonic log.
The method of determining C p in a nearby clean-
The resulting values were plotted vs the dispersed- water sand has already been discussed. The technique
shale index determined from Eq. 8 as the triangles for determining Sf]ro (gas saturation near the borehole),
on Fig. 13. Basically, the new data are in agreement and cpr (fluid-filled porosity) is given by Ref. 13. When
with Anderson et al.'s results, although the amount of oil is present instead of gas, the above relations are
data is limited and there is considerable scatter. We used by translating the oil saturation, (SoJ:'o)eq, into an
attribute the scatter in these determinations of Pois- equivalent gas saturation, (Sgro)eq, much smaller than
son's ratio to the difficulty in distinguishing a shear Sora. This is done by use of the following proportion-
wave in Gulf Coast sands. ality, which leaves the contribution of the fluids to
the formation density unchanged.
Corrections for Hydrocarbon Effects
(s ) -- S
gxo eq - o:ro
pw - po , (B-3)
pw - Po
flt Correction
where pU', p", and po are the densities of water, gas,
Referring to Fig. 1, the measured value of flt for an and oil.
uncompacted hydrocarbon-bearing sand will be some-
where between the curve for Case 2 (water sand) and Bulk Density Correction
the curve for Case 3 (gas sand), depending on the The bulk density, Pb, of a gas-bearing formation needs
hydrocarbon type and saturation. If the hydrocarbon to be increased; the correction is as follows. 13
is oil with a low GOR, the value will be close to the
water curve. pear = Plog + 0.5 cpe S9XO (pma - Pf) , (B-4)
The total intergranular porosity from the sonic log,
when hydrocarbons are present, is given as 13 where pear is the bulk density that would be obtained
if water were the saturating fluid, and Plog is the value
_ ( flt log - fltma) 1 (C measured by the density log. JFT
CPig - Mf - fltma C - p - 1) CPeSga:o •
(B-l) Original manuscript received in Society of Petroleum Engineers
office Sept. 4, 1973. Revised manuscript received Nov. 8, 1974.
This can be combined with the relationship for CPig Paper (SPE 4532) was first presented at the SPE·AIME 48th
for the case where the saturating fluid is water (mid- Annual Fall Meeting, held in Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 30·0ct. 3,
1973. <0 Copyright 1975 American Institute of Mining, Metal-
dle equation on Fig. 1) to obtain the value of flteoT lurgical and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.

MARCH,1975 293
Discussion SPE 6400

In the article by Tixier et al., "Estimation of Formation suggests that even for a certain flow rate, threshold G/Cb
Strength From the Mechanical-Properties Log" (March should change with production.
JPT, Pages 283-293), the authors have described the role Therefore, a limit based on a fixed-percent pressure
of intrinsic strength of the formation in controlling sand differential and, consequently, threshold G/Cb ratio may
production. The value of 0.8 X 1012 psi2 fortheG/C b ratio not be valid throughout the life of the well for all flow
has been used as the threshold criterion for sanding in oil rates.
or gas sands. Is it valid for any rate? As I understand the The authors have pointed out that production with a
concept, both G and Cb are mathematically related to !! , high water cut may require higher intrinsic strength. This
which again is a function of pressure differential (Pe-P;)' appears to be related to the fact that wave velocities in
This should have two effects: water-saturated sands are higher than those in oil-
1. At high flow rates, because of high pressure differ- saturated sand and much higher than those in gas-
ential, sanding may occur in spite of the G/Cb ratio being saturated sands. Indirectly, this suggests threshold
met; and
2. With production: both Pe andpi should decrease, so
(~) water > (~) oil > (~) gas.
Cb Co Co
that the pressure differential for a certain flow rate would
be progressively higher as the reservoir pressure falls. B. S. Banthia
The first effect suggests that the threshold G/Cb should TerraMar Consultants
be valid only below certain flow rates. The second effect Dallas, Tex.

MAY, 1975 595