3. METHODS USED IN
OVERPRESSURE ANALYSIS
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
1
2
There are several methods that can be applied to predict, evaluate and
calculate the pressures existing in a well (or below, while drilling is still in
progress). They could be divided into three main categories:
1. (not always reliable) Methods used BEFORE DRILLING A WELL,
and in some cases even instead of drilling a well
Seismic Data Analysis and Interpretation
Data of Reference Wells, if available and (again) reliable
2. Methods used WHILE DRILLING A WELL (qualitative vs quantitative)
Drilling Data Processing and Interpretation
MWD, LWD, and also LWF Processing and Interpretation
3. Methods usually used AFTER DRILLING A BOREHOLE SECTION
Wireline Log Analysis (Sonic Log, Resistivity Log, etc.)
3.1. INTRODUCTION
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
2
3
METHOD WHEN WHAT HOW
SURFACE SEISMICS BEFORE DRILLING Interval velocities From reflection times
to transit times
DRILLING
PARAMETERS
WHILE DRILLING ROP, WOB, W, MW,
HS, RPM
Drilling exponent and
Sigmalog
CUTTINGS
ANALYSIS
WHILE DRILLING CUTTINGS Features and size of
drilled cuttings
TEMPERATURE WHILE DRILLING MUD
TEMPERATURE
Measurement of mud
temperature inside and
outside the well
WELL BEHAVIOUR WHILE DRILLING Overpulls,
reaming, drilling
break, gas
detection, torque,
water influx
Anomalies in parameter
values, salinity control
MWD LWD
LOGGING
WHILE DRILLING Resistivity and
Sonic Log
Resistivity and transit
time
WIRE LINE LOGS AFTER DRILLING A
HOLE SECTION
Resistivity and
Sonic Log
Resistivity and transit
time
3.1. INTRODUCTION
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
3
4
3.2. PRESSURES PREDICTION AND
EVALUATION
FROM SEISMIC DATA ANALYSIS
(not always reliable),
BEFORE DRILLING A WELL
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
4
A. AVERAGE VELOCITY vs
REFLECTION TIME
B. VELOCITY ANALYSIS
(example)
3.2.1. Seismic Data Presentation Formats ENI example
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
5
Enis Way
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
6
Average
Velocity
TwoWay
Time
Cumulative
Depth
Interval
Velocity
Interval
Velocity
Correct
Interval
Depth
Correct
Cumulative
Depth
Correct
Average
Velocity
Correct
Interval
Travel
Time
CORRECTIONS
V
av,i
t
i
H
i
V
int, i
V
int,c, i
H
int,c, i
H
i, c
V
av,c, i
t
int,i
m/sec sec m m/sec m/sec m m m/sec sec/ft
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
1,600 0.000 0.00
1,815 0.200 181.5 1,815 181.5 181.5 168
1,876 0.300 281.4 1,998 1,992 99.6 281.1 1,874 153
1,936 0.400 387.2 2,116 2,106 105.3 386.4 1,932 145
1,991 0.500 497.7 2,211 2,197 109.9 496.3 1,985 139
2,042 0.600 612.6 2,297 2,280 114.0 610.3 2,034 134
2,095 0.700 733.2 2,413 2,383 119.4 729.7 2,085 128
2,151 0.800 860.4 2,543 2,508 125.4 855.3 2,138 122
2,214 0.900 996.3 2,718 2,665 133.2 988.3 2,198 114
2,291 1.000 1,145.5 2,964 2,893 144.7 1,133.0 2,266 105
3.2.1. Seismic Data Presentation Formats ENI example
Enis Way
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
7
1. The cumulative depth (Column 3) can be easily determined with the following relationship:
H
i
= (V
av, i
t
i
)/2
2. The interval velocity (Column 4), that is the velocity with which the sound waves travel within
each single depth interval can be obtained by applying the following relation:
V
int, i
= [(V
av, i
t
i
) (V
av,i1
t
i1
)]/(t
i
t
i1
)
3. The interval velocity, V
int, c,i
, (Column 5) can be corrected by using the following equation:
V
int,c,i
= [(V
2
av, i
ti) (V
2
av,i1
t
i1
)]/(t
i
t
i1
)
4. Once the interval velocity for each time interval is determined, the thickness of the interval
characterised by given value of V
int,c,i
, (Column 6) can be obtained from the relation:
H
int,c, i
= [V
int,c,i
(t
i
t
i1
)]/2
5. By summing up the thickness of each single interval, the corrected cumulative depth, H
i,c
, is
calculated (Column 7):
H
c,i
= H
int,c, I
6. Knowing the interval velocities, corrected according to Dix (Point 3), the corrected average
velocities can be recalculated (Column 8) by using this equation:
V
av,c, i
= [V
int,c,i
(t
i
t
i1
)]/t
i
7. At this point the corrected interval velocities are transformed into their reciprocal, that is into
interval travel times, t
int,i
in sec/ft, (Column 9):
t
int, I
= (0.3048 10
6
)/V
int,c, i
3.2.1. Seismic Data Presentation Formats ENI know how
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
8
3.2.2. Geopressures Evaluation from Seismics
The seismic data (transformed in terms of depths, interval
velocities and interval travel times), at this point are ready
to be used for pressure gradient calculation, that is for the
determination of:
overburden pressure and gradient;
pore pressure and gradient;
fracture pressure and gradient (when possible).
According to ENI standards, here sec means seconds,
to be properly indicated by s
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
9
As a start point, the following relationship between t and can be written:
t = t
max
(1 ) + t
fl
where:
 t = transit time of sound through the formation (sec/ft)
 t
max
= transit time of sound through the solid frame (sec/ft)
 t
fl
= transit time of sound in the pore fluid (sec/ft)
 = porosity, fraction
The previous equation can be also expressed in terms of porosity:
= (t  t
max
)/( t
n
 t
max
)
where (in the opinion of ENI):
 t
fl
= assumed equal to 200 sec/ft (a conservative value for pore pressure
gradient calculations)
 t
max
= values which depend on lithology
3.2.2. Geopressures Evaluation from Seismics
Enis Way
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
10
BUT: Eni E&P has found from laboratory tests that the previous equation
can better represent the behaviour of noncemented or undercompacted
formations (i.e. sand, gravel, shales), if written in the following form:
=1.228 [ ( t  t
max
) / ( t + 200) ] experimental eq.
By combining this equation with the following equation, which gives the bulk
density of a rock,
b
:
b
=
fl
+ (1 )
max
the relations expressed in next slide can be derived, which allow the
calculation of bulk densities from travel (transit) times or interval
velocities.
3.2.2. Geopressures Evaluation from Seismics
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
11
3.2.2.1. Overburden Pressures and Gradients Calculation
BULK DENSITIES CALCULATION
Bulk densities can be computed with the following equations, proposed by
Eni E&P (but NOT shared worldwide):
In terms of interval traveltimes:
In terms of interval velocities:
min
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
12
BULK DENSITIES CALCULATION
where:

b
= bulk density of the formation, g/cm
3

max
= matrix density, g/cm
3
(an average value of 2.75 g/cm
3
is usually assumed)
t
int
= interval transittime obtained from analysis of the seismic data, sec/ft
t
max
= interval transittime of the rock matrix, sec/ft (assumed between 43.5 47.0
sec/ft)
t
fl
= interval transit time of the fluid present in the rock, sec/ft (equal to 200 sec/ft)
V
int
= interval velocity obtained from analysis of the seismic data, m/sec
V
max
= velocity of sound in the rock matrix, m/sec (assumed to be 6,485  7,000 m/sec)
 V
min
= minimum velocity of sound corresponding to the first superficial layer, m/sec
(generally around 1,500 m/sec).
3.2.2.1. Overburden Pressures and Gradients Calculation
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
13
OVERBURDEN PRESSURE CALCULATION
The following equation is applied:
which expressed in terms of interval transittime becomes:
3.2.2.1. Overburden Pressures and Gradients Calculation
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
14
OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION
The Overburden Gradient can be calculated with the following equation:
where:
 G
ov
= overburden gradient, kgf/cm
2
/ 10 m
 P
ov
= overburden pressure, kgf/cm
2
 H = depth, m
3.2.2.1. Overburden Pressures and Gradients Calculation
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
15
OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION EXAMPLE
Results of calculations are as here below shown.
Depth Interval Transit Time Bulk Density Overburden
Pressure
Overburden
Gradient
H, m t
int,c,i
, sec/ft g/cm
3
kgf/cm
2
kgf/cm
2
/10 m
181.5 168 2.056 37.32 2.056
281.1 153 2.116 58.40 2.078
386.4 145 2.151 81.05 2.098
496.3 139 2.177 104.98 2.116
610.3 134 2.200 130.06 2.131
729.7 128 2.229 156.67 2.147
855.1 122 2.259 185.00 2.163
988.3 114 2.300 215.64 2.182
1133.0 105 2.349 249.63 2.203
1285.1 100 2.377 285.78 2.224
1450.5 92 2.425 325.89 2.247
1629.7 85 2.469 370.13 2.271
1802.7 88 2.450 412.52 2.288
1928.3 85 2.469 456.68 2.305
3.2.2.1. Overburden Pressures and Gradients Calculation
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
16
BULK DENSITY
(kg/dm
3
)
OVERBURDEN
GRADIENT
(kgf/cm
2
/10m)
2.0 2.5
zero
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
1.5
P
r
o
f
o
n
d
i
t
m
BULK DENSITY
INTEGRATED OVERBURDEN
DENSITY
3.2.2.1. Overburden Pressures and Gradients Calculation
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
17
3.2.2.2. Pore Pressures and Gradients Calculation
Two methods of analysis of the data can be applied for Pore
Pressure calculation (the final goal, of course). They are:
1) (Interval Velocity versus Depth) or, more commonly,
Interval Transit Times versus Depth Plots, finally leading
to a quantitative assessment performed either by the
EQUIVALENT DEPTH method or by EATON method
2) (empirical method) Interval Velocity / Theoretical Velocity
Ratio, R = V
1
/V
2
, for clastic formations.
Enis Way
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
18
The calculation procedure can be summed up in the following points:
determination of the interval velocity, V
int
;
determination of the depth H relative to each interval velocity;
transformation of the interval velocities into interval travel times, t
int
;
construction of the graph t
int
versus H on semilog paper (see next slide).
Generally, for plotting the data a two cycle semilog paper is used, with depth on
the ordinates and t
int
on the abscissae (logarithmic scale). It is also advisable to
plot the depth in such a way as to have 1 cm corresponding to 100  200 m;
once interval transit times as a function of depth have been plotted, the
interpretation of the curve results easier if the following points are taken into
consideration:
in normal compaction conditions, t
int
decreases with depth; G
p
is
normal and equal to 1.031 kgf/cm
2
/10 m. Through these points, the
reference trend line can be drawn;
when t
int
values start to increase, this means abnormal compaction
conditions and an abnormal pore pressure gradient, which has to be
calculated.
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
19
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
10 100 1000
D
e
p
t
h
(
m
)
The t
int
decreases with
depth down to 2900 m,
where the data start to
increase.
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
20
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
10 100 1000
D
e
p
t
h
(
m
)
Overpressures
Top
The t
int
decreases with
depth down to 2900 m,
where the overpressure
top is located.
Below 2900 m,
overpressures are
encountered.
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
21
The methods used to quantify pore pressure gradients
using the travel time vs depth plots usually are:
A. the EQUIVALENT DEPTH method (most used)
B. EATON method
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
22
A. EQUIVALENT DEPTH METHOD PRINCIPLE
1. As already pointed out, the overburden pressure acting at a certain depth, H, is the sum of the
effective pressure, P
eff
or , and the pore pressure, P
p
, as given by the equation:
P
ov
= P
eff
+ P
p
2. If at the considered depth H
1
, the rock has been able to dissipate the pressure generated within
its pores as a consequence of its burial at major depth, its compaction is considered normal and
also normal is its pore pressure, assuming a value equal to the hydrostatic trend.
3. If, for instance, the rock laying at the depth H
2
was impeded, for any reason, to expel the excess
of water located within its pores during the burial process as a consequence of the increasing
weight of the sediments above it, it will show a porosity higher than normal, and will be therefore
undercompacted and will have a pore pressure above the hydrostatic one.
4. If the two rocks are made both by the same lithology (i.e. both are shales) and have the same
transit time, though being at different depths, this means that they have the same porosity and
that have been subjected to the same compaction pressure.
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
23
5. Therefore, once calculated the overburden pressure at the depth H
1
and knowing that here the
pore pressure gradient is normal (equal, for instance to 1.031 kgf/cm
2
/10 m), by applying the
above mentioned equation the effective compaction pressure can be easily calculated:
P
eff,H1
= P
ov,H1
P
p,H1
(at depth H
1
)
6. Moving to the depth H
2
, the overburden pressure is easily calculated, being the overburden
gradient already available; by subtracting from the overburden pressure the effective
compaction pressure, as obtained at the previous point, the pore pressure is finally determined
by the difference:
P
p,H2
= P
ov,H2
P
eff,H1=H2
(at depth H
2
)
Operatively you must:
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
24
1. Select the depth at which you want to compute the Pressure Gradient (i.e. point H
2
at 3500 m).
2. Intersect vertically the Normal Compaction Trend line (point H
1
at 2300 m).
This means that shales at 3500 m are as compacted as those at 2300 m.
3. From the Integrated Overburden Gradient curve, obtain the Overburden Gradient
at 3500 m and 2300 m:
G
OV
at 3500 m (H
2
) = 2.42 kgf/cm
2
/10m G
OV
at 2300 m (H
1
) = 2.34 kgf/cm
2
/10m
4. Calculate the Compaction Pressure at Depth H
1
:
(G
OVH1
 G
p,n
) x H
1
(2.34  1.03) x 2300
P
c
= = = 301,3 kgf/cm
2
10 10
5. Calculate the Overburden Pressure at Depth H
2
:
G
OVH2
x H
2
2.42 x 3500
P
OV
= = = 847,0 kgf/cm
2
10 10
6. Calculate the Pore Pressure at 3500 m: P
P
= P
OV
 P
c
= 847,0  301,3 = 545,7 kgf/cm
2
7. Calculate the Pore Pressure Gradient at 3500 m:
G
P
= (P
P
x 10)/H
2
= (545,7 x 10)/3500 = 1.56 kgf/cm
2
/10 m
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
25
D
e
p
t
h
m
0
10 100 1000
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
Transit time  sec/ft
H
4
H
3
H
1
H
2
THE EQUIVALENT
DEPTH METHOD
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
26
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
1.5
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
2.0 2.5 3.0
Overburden Gradient, kgf/cm
2
/10 m
THE EQUIVALENT DEPTH
METHOD
H
1
H
2
G
ov,H1 G
ov,H2
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
27
B. EATON METHOD
A different and simpler method to calculate the pore pressure gradient is
the method proposed by B. Eaton (1969), which is, however, less careful
with respect to the equivalent depth method. The Eaton relationship is
based on the ratio, at the examined depth, between the normal t, t
NCT
,
as read on the normal compaction trend line, and the computed value,
t
calc
, that is:
( )
(
(


.

\

A
A
=
n
calc
NCT
sed sed p
t
t
G G G 03 . 1
The exponent n depends on the method used to define the normal
compaction trend line and is, usually, taken equal to 3 if the Sonic Log (or
a seismic data set) has been performed and evaluated, or to 1.5 if a
Resistivity Log has been considered.
3.2.2.2.1. Interval Transit Times versus Depth
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
28
EATON METHOD
A A
G
ov
= 2.10 kgf/cm
2
/10 m
n = 3
t
NCT
(A) = 50 sec/ft
t
calc
(A) = 70 sec/ft
G
p
= 1.71 kgf/cm
2
/10 m
( )
(
(


.

\

A
A
=
n
calc
NCT
sed sed p
t
t
G G G 03 . 1
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
29
It is an empirical method, developed within Eni E&P (but not shared by
other OC) to solve some interpretation problems, sometimes encountered
when using the two previously mentioned techniques in clastic formations.
It is based on the calculation and subsequent graphic representation of the
ratio, indicated as R, between the interval velocity, V
int
, and the sound
velocity, V
s
, as follows:
R = V
int
/V
s
where:
 V
int
= interval velocity as obtained from seismics, sec/ft
 V
s
= sound velocity, that is the velocity of the sound that should be
observed within normally compacted shales, sec/ft
Depending on the values assumed by the quantity R, the following
conditions will be possible:
if R =1 normally compacted and pressured formations
if R < 1 undercompacted and abnormally pressured formations
if R > 1 overcompacted formations or carbonates
3.2.2.2.2. Interval Velocity/Theoretical Velocity Ratio, R = V
1
/V
2
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
30
R ratio
0
0,5 0,6 0,8
1,0
1,2 1,4 1,6 1,8 2,0
500
1,000
1.500
2.000
2.500
3.000
3.500
4.000
4.500
5.000
5.500
6.000
6.500
7.000
Very porous or
overpressured
formations (R<1)
1,0
Example of an R ratio plot
for a Po Valley Basin well,
Italy
Normally compacted
and normally
pressured formations
(R = 1)
3.2.2.2.2. Interval Velocity/Theoretical Velocity Ratio, R = V
1
/V
2
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
31
0
0,5 0,6 0,8
1,0
1,2 1,4 1,6 1,8 2,0
500
1.000
1.500
2.00
0
2.500
3.000
3.500
4.000
4.500
5.000
5.500
6.000
6.500
7.000
Overcompacted
formations (R>1)
R ratio
Very porous or
overpressured
formations (R<1)
1,0
Example of the R ratio trend in
a well with presence of
overcompacted formations or
carbonates (upper section).
3.2.2.2.2. Interval Velocity/Theoretical Velocity Ratio, R = V
1
/V
2
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
32
Once the overburden and pore pressures gradients have been calculated from
the analysis of seismic data as seen before, the fracture gradients can be
easily derived by applying the following equations:
a) The fracture gradient, showing the rate at which the fracture pressure
changes with depth, is given, for a rock having an elastic behaviour, by the
followng expression:
G
fr
= G
p
+ ( 2 ) (G
ov
G
p
)
1
b) If the drilling fluid is water or whenever the drilling fluid invades in depth the
formation, we have:
G
fr
= G
p
+ ( 2 ) (G
ov
G
p
)
c) If the rock has a plastic behaviour, the fracture gradients is given by the
formula:
G
fr
= G
ov
3.2.2.3. Fracture Pressures and Gradients
33
3.3. PRESSURE PREDICTION AND
EVALUATION
FROM DRILLING DATA ANALYSIS
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
33
Enis Way
34
The processing and interpretation of drilling parameters represents a very
important group of techniques, which have the advantage to be available
more or less in real time and to be referred to any possible well in progress.
These methods can be:
qualitative, which, if analyzed in their completeness, can anyway provide
significant information about the actual status of the well and alert the drilling
engineering staff in case dangerous and abnormal conditions are in progress;
quantitative, which ensure the quantification of the pressures acting in and
around the well and the related risk levels.
3.3.1. INTRODUCTION
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
34
Enis Way
35
Among the qualitative techniques, based on drilling and geological parameters
recording, processing and interpretation, we can recall the following ones:
rate of penetration
torque
overpulls
cavings and hole tightening
flow rate and pumping pressure
mud level in the pits
cuttings increase at shale shakers
hole fill up
mud resistivity and chlorides concentration
pH
shale resistivity and shale density
gas shows
mud temperature
montmorillonite concentration in the mud (MBT test)
3.3.2. QUALITATIVE INDICATORS
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
35
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36
DRILLING RATE OR RATE OF PENETRATION ROP
If everything else remains constant, the drilling rate (here also called
penetration rate or rate of penetration, ROP) gradually declines as depth
increases due to the decreasing porosity caused by the weight of the
overlying sediments and the increase in differential pressure between the
hydrostatic head of drilling mud in hole and the pressure of formation fluids.
But raw penetration rate values are affected by so many influencing factors
(characteristics of formations, bit types and wear, WOB, RPM, mud type
and weight, etc), that it is impossible to use them directly within a reliable
and efficient detecting method. Furthermore, penetration rate values
provide only a qualitative indication about formations porosity and do not
allow any quantitative evaluation of existing (or not) abnormal pressures.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
36
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3.3.2.1. QUALITATIVE DRILLING INDICATORS
37
TORQUE
The amount of torque required during the drilling operations can supply
reliable information about the presence of abnormally pressured formations.
It must be remembered that the amount of required torque depends on the
resistance met by the bit, which is a function of: the weight on bit, the
coefficient of friction of the formation and the amount of restoring torque, the
latter parameter being significantly dependent on the amount of frictional
force developed against the wellbore walls. Any change in the torque value,
therefore, can be due to a change in weight on bit, to a change in the type
of formation or to bit balling, and not only to hole tightening, which could
be indicative of wellbore instability and of presence of abnormal pressure
values.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
37
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3.3.2.1. QUALITATIVE DRILLING INDICATORS
38
OVERPULLS
When tripping out a string, the amount of hook load is approximately
proportional to the depth reached. For various causes, not always
imputable to the presence of an abnormal pressure, the predicted value
may be exceeded, thus causing an overpull condition. The main causes of
hook load increase can be represented by the following items:
bit balling,
stuck drill string;
unusual swabbing effects;
severe doglegs.
If these above stated causes can be ruled out, the overpull may be
attributed to underbalance conditions with hole tightening, and then to the
possible presence of overpressures.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
38
Enis Way
3.3.2.1. QUALITATIVE DRILLING INDICATORS
PUMPING PRESSURE
If a fluid, having a density which is lower than the mud density in the hole, enters the
well, a decrease in pumping pressure can be observed, because the hydrostatic
pressure in the annulus becomes lower than the pressure in the drill pipes
determining as a consequence a decrease also in pumping pressure for the U tube
effect. In these conditions also the friction losses in the annulus decrease.
FLOW RATEIN AND FLOW RATEOUT
If the mud flow rate exiting the hole is higher than the mud flow rate pumped into the
drill string, that clearly indicates underbalance conditions, before any mud pit
volume (say surface level position) change can be appreciated.
HOLE FILLUP
If, during tripping the drill string out of the hole, less mud than expected is required
to fill the hole, this indicates underbalance conditions and then the necessity to
increase the mud density, unless evident signs of swab are recognized.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
39
Enis Way
3.3.2.1. QUALITATIVE DRILLING INDICATORS
40
MUD SALINITY, RESISTIVITY, pH
If an increase in the salinity (mainly
chlorides) of the mud is observed, this
means that water, present in the rock
pores, has entered the hole, because of
insufficient pressure exerted by the
mud column. Being the formation water
usually more salty than the water used
for preparing the mud, an increase in
salinity is therefore experienced.
The inflow of salty formation waters into
the hole determines, not only an
increase in salinity, but at the same
time provokes a decrease in mud
resistivity and in its pH. If these
quantities are continuously monitored
and plotted versus depth, the
occurrence of abnormally pressured
formations can be detected.
RESISTIVITY  The resistivity analysis of the salty water that contaminates the drilling
mud (from overpressured layers) tends to show slowly decreasing values.
MUD CHLORIDES An increase in Chlorides concentration is an overpressure index.
D
e
p
t
h
m
RESISTIVITY
OVERPRESSURE
TOP
D
e
p
t
h
m
CHLORIDES
OVERPRESSURE
TOP
MUD RESISTIVITY  CHLORIDES
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
40
Enis Way
3.3.2.1. QUALITATIVE DRILLING INDICATORS
41
MUD DENSITY/GAS RELATIONSHIP
The volume of gas released from a drilled formation will be dependent upon: porosity,
permeability, gas saturation and differential pressure of this formation.
The progressive and continuous increase of gas in mud while drilling (background
gas) and while connecting pipes to the drill string (pipe connection gas) could be
regarded as another way to monitor abnormal pressure conditions, provided that other
causes such as swab or drilling through gas bearing rock could be excluded.
The influx of gas into the wellbore determines a decrease in mud density, which can be
calculated by using the relation:
with:
 W
1
= gascut mud density, lb/gal
 W
2
= uncut mud density, lb/gal
3.3.2.2. QUALITATIVE GEOLOGICAL INDICATORS
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
41
Enis Way
42
CUTTINGS CHARACTERISTICS
When underbalance conditions
are approached, an increase in
penetration rate occurs; in this
case the amount of the cuttings
produced and lifted to the surface
increases too. The extraquantity
of produced cuttings depends on:
length of the interval drilled in
underbalance;
differential pressure between the
mud and the formation;
bit penetration rate.
When drilling in underbalanced
conditions, also cavings are
produced. Cavings are large
pieces of formation detached from
the wellbore walls and not due the
bit activity (as the cuttings are).
A. TYPICAL SHALE CAVINGS
PRODUCED BY
UNDERBALANCED DRILLING
B. TYPICAL ARGILLACEOUS
CAVINGS PRODUCED BY
STRESS RELIEF
A B
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
42
Enis Way
3.3.2.2. QUALITATIVE GEOLOGICAL INDICATORS
43
SHALE DENSITY
This has been a very popular technique in the past, when sensors and computers were
not so common at rig sites.
The method is based on the measurements of shale density, assuming that
overpressured shales be undercompacted, therefore more porous and with a lower
density than normally compacted shales. By plotting the density, as obtained from
cuttings collected at the shale shakers, versus depth, a graph is built, which shows an
increase in shale density if normal conditions exist and a decrease when overpressures
are entered.
The magnitude of the bulk density change will vary with the type and magnitude of the
geopressure. Bulk density may also decrease, but it may remain constant (due to
lithology) or continue to increase at a lower rate than the previously established trend
due to the geopressure mechanism.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
43
Enis Way
3.3.2.2. QUALITATIVE GEOLOGICAL INDICATORS
44
OVERPRESSURED shales are UNDERCOMPACTED, have a LOWER DENSITY
than what they should have at the depth where they are located.
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
DENSITY g/cm
3
2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5
DENSITY g/cm
3
2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5
OVERPRESSURE
TOP
SHALE DENSITY
NORMAL
COMPACTION UNDERCOMPACTION
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
44
Enis Way
3.3.2.2. QUALITATIVE GEOLOGICAL INDICATORS
45
SHALE DENSITY
Ideal Clay
Density
Responses in
Geopressured
Zones Caused
by Different
Mechanisms
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
45
Enis Way
3.3.2.2. QUALITATIVE GEOLOGICAL INDICATORS
46
TEMPERATURE
The geothermal gradient, or the rate at which subsurface temperatures increase with
depth, can be calculated by using the relation:
G
T
= 100 [(T
F2
T
F1
)/(D
2
D
1
)]
where:
 G
T
= geothermal gradient (C / 30 m)
 T
F1
= temperature (C at depth D
1
, m)
T
F2
= temperature (C at depth D
2
, m)
While the average temperature gradient across normally pressured formations may be
constant, pressured formations exhibit abnormally high geothermal gradients, due to
their higher porosity and higher fluid content, which make them very poor heat
conductors. Therefore, overpressured shales will heat the mud much more than other
normally pressured rocks.
Monitoring and recording mud flowline temperature is a practical method to determine
temperature gradient, provided variable factors such as pump rate, lag time,
environment temperature, lithology and temperature changes at the surface (due to
mud mixing and to chemical treatments) can be accounted for.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
46
Enis Way
3.3.2.2. QUALITATIVE GEOLOGICAL INDICATORS
47
TEMPERATURE
A. Geothermal Gradient Change
Through an Insulating Geopressured
Zone
B. Expected Flowline Temperature When
Drilling Through a Geopressured Interval
A
B
Prior to reaching a
geopressured zone, a
ttz (say a temperature
transition zone) will
be encountered in
which, due to distortion
of the isothermal lines,
there will be a
reduction in
geothermal gradient,
followed by an
extremely large
increase, occurring as
the geopressured zone
is penetrated.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
47
Enis Way
3.3.2.2. QUALITATIVE GEOLOGICAL INDICATORS
48
TEMPERATURE
At the rigsite flowline
temperature is
plotted against
depth. The transition
zone is characterized
by a decrease in
geothermal gradient,
while the entrance into
the overpressures
shows an increase in
geothermal gradient.
The mud temperature
is affected by many
variables and can give
only qualitative type
responses.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
48
Enis Way
3.3.2.2. QUALITATIVE GEOLOGICAL INDICATORS
49
NORMALIZED PENETRATION RATE
As seen before, the rate at which a formation can be drilled is determined by a number
of factors, such as:
weight on bit, WOB;
rotary speed, RPM;
bit tooth efficiency;
differential pressure;
hydraulics;
rock matrix strength;
formation compaction.
To make penetration rate info more useful, several attempts have been made in the
past to correct them for some of the most important parameters which affect drilling, in
particular WOB, RPM, hole size, differential pressure and mud density and,
consequently, a number of drillability or normalized penetration rate formulations
have been proposed in order to simplify the treatment of the effects of so many drilling
variables.
3.3.3. QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION OF GEOPRESSURES
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
49
Enis Way
50
NORMALIZED PENETRATION RATE
Among the many drillability formulations, proposed by several authors to correct
penetration rates for the variables affecting them, one particularly used in the Industry,
at least as a starting point, was that developed by G.F. Combs (1968):
where:
 R
0
= penetration rate with a new bit and P=0, ft/h
 W = weight on bit per hole size unit, lbs/in
 D
h
= hole diameter, in
 N = rotary table revolutions per minute, rpm
 Q = flow rate, gal/min
 D
n
= bit nozzle diameter, 1/32ths of an inch
 a
w
= exponent of weight on bit
 a
n
= exponent of rotary table speed
 a
q
= exponent of hydraulics
 P = differential pressure, psi
 T = bit teeth wear index
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
50
Enis Way
3.3.3. QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION OF GEOPRESSURES
51
From this basic drillability equation proposed by Combs, two are the most common
simplified methods derived to obtain a quantitative evaluation of pressures and relevant
gradients while drilling a well, that is:
the drilling exponent, dexp, with its more advanced version, that is the corrected
drilling exponent, d
c
exp, method;
the Sigmalog method, developed also by Eni E&P (but different from other versions).
1. Both methods are semiempirical and are based on a relationship between
penetration rates and the selected drilling parameters.
2. If all other conditions remain the same, these drillability indices are proportional to
the depth. In other words, in normal compaction conditions, they increase as the depth
of the well increases, because the rock becomes harder and the differential pressure
between the mud in hole and the formation pressure increases too, while in presence of
overpressures the drillability index decreases, because the porosity of the rock
increases and the differential pressure decreases..
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
51
Enis Way
3.3.3. QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION OF GEOPRESSURES
52
M.G. Bingham (1965) proposed the following relationship between the drilling rate,
weight on bit, rotary speed and bit diameter.
where:
 R = drilling (penetration) rate, ft/h
 N = rotary speed, rpm
 D = bit diameter, ft
 W = Weight on bit, lbs force
 a = matrix constant, dimensionless
 d = drillability exponent, dimensionless
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
52
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
53
This mathematical relationship was revised and adapted to field requirements by Jorden
and Shirley (1966), solving for d and by introducing constants to take into account the
units of measurement commonly used in the petroleum industry in order to obtain values
that vary within an acceptable range. It assumed the following form which is known as
drilling exponent or simply dexp:
where:
 dexp = drilling exponent. dimensionless
 R = drilling or penetration rate. ft/h
 N = rotary speed, rpm
 W = weight on bit, Ibs force
 D = bit diameter, in
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
53
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
54
Using metric units and changing from natural to common logarithms, the previous
equation becomes:
where:
 dexp = drilling exponent. dimensionless
 R = drilling or penetration rate, m/h
 W = weight on bit, ton force
 D = bit diameter, in
 N = rotary speed, rpm
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
54
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
55
Since differential pressure depends upon the mud density and formation pore pressure,
whenever there is any change in the mud density this will promote an unwanted change
in the dexp; for this reason, the corrected drilling exponent or d
c
exp was proposed
(Rehm and McClendon, 1971), whose expression, in metric units, is the following:
 G
pn
= normal pore pressure (equal to 1.031), kgff/cm
2
/10 m
 ECD = Equivalent Circulating Density (mud density plus friction losses), kg/litre
or more simply:
d
c
exp = dexp/MW
with:
 dexp = uncorrected drilling exponent
 MW = mud weight (referring to the density of the mud in use, given in kg / litre)
log
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
55
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
56
The calculation sequence generally adopted in the field is the following:
the drilling parameters (ROP, WOB, RPM, HS) are recorded every 1 meter drilled
and processed by using the equations previously seen;
the resulting dexp and d
c
exp values are plotted versus depth on a semilogarithmic
paper;
in normal compaction conditions, the dexp, and also the d
c
exp, will increase with the
depth and all points, taken in correspondence of shales, will lay on what is called the
normal compaction trend line;
as soon as the dexp and d
c
exp values, always taken in correspondence of shale
levels, start to decrease, this means that abnormal formations are entered and the
more these values depart from the reference trend line the higher is their overpressure.
Of course, the true overpressure values have to be calculated on the d
c
exp curve,
because it has been corrected for the mud weight present in the well. The following slide
shows that the dexp curve, with respect to the d
c
exp curve, is masked as the mud
weight seems to result increased, thus indicating (apparently) a lower pressure regime.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
56
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
57
d Exponent
d Exponent
d
c
Exponent
d
c
Exponent
D
e
p
t
h
Normally
Compacted Zone
Mud Masking
Effect
Overpressured
Zone
Overpressure
Top
dexp and d
c
exp
trends versus depth
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
57
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
58
The quantitative calculation of pore pressures and gradients can be performed with
one of the three following methods, that is:
A. the equivalent depth principle, as seen when dealing with the interval travel times
in seismics;
B. (slightly modified) the socalled Eaton method;
C. the r ratio method (abacus construction) which is based on the expression:
P
o
= P
N
[(d
c
exp)
N
/(d
c
exp)
p
]
where:
 P
o
= the actual pore pressure at the depth, H, of interest, kgf/cm
2
 P
N
= normal pore pressure, obtained from (H x 1,031)/10, kgf/cm
2
 (d
c
exp)
N
= actual d
c
exp value at the depth of interest;
 (d
c
exp)
p
= value at the depth of interest as read on the normal compaction trend line
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
58
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
59
d d
c c
 exponent exponent
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
D
e
p
t
h
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
D
e
p
t
h
A
2
A1 H
1
H
2
d
c
EXPONENT: A) EQUIVALENT DEPTH METHOD
P
c,H1
= P
ov,H1
P
p,H1
P
ov,H1
= (G
ov,H1
H
1
)/10
P
p,H1
= (1.03 H
1
)/10
P
c,H1
= P
c,H2
P
ov,H2
= (G
ov,H2
H
2
)/10
P
p,H2
= P
ov,H2
P
c,H1=H2
G
p,H2
= (P
p,H2
10)/H
2
G
ov,H1
= 2.13 kg/cm
2
/10 m
G
ov,H2
= 2.28 kg/cm
2
/10 m
H
1
=2300 m
H
2
= 3400 m
P
ov,H1
= 490 kg/cm
2
P
p,H1
= 237 kg/cm
2
P
c,H1
= P
c,H2
= 253 kg/cm
2
P
ov,H2
= 775 kg/cm
2
P
p,H2
= 522 kg/cm
2
G
p,H2
= 1.54 kg/cm
2
/10 m
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
59
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
60
( )
2 . 1
03 . 1


.

\

=
norm
comp
ovbd ovbd p
dc
dc
G G G
d
c
EXPONENT: B) EATON METHOD
A A
G
ov
= 2.10 kg/cm
2
/10 m
dc
comp
(A) = 0.4
dc
norm
(A) = 0.6
G
p
= 1.44 kg/cm
2
/10 m
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
60
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
61
d
c
exp
D
E
P
T
H
d
c
EXPONENT: C) r RATIO METHOD (ABACUS)
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
61
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
62
211
131
131
131
111
B
i
t
r
u
n
d
e
p
t
h
m
Sand
Line
Gp Lines
1.7 1.5 1.3 1.1
SHALES
Line
bit
Wear
Bit Wear
Top of Overpressure
Porosity effect
The interpretation of the
d
c
exp curve is facilitated
by taking into
consideration:
lithology;
bit runs,
casing setting points;
hole difficulties;
knowledge of the area.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
62
Enis Way
3.3.3.1. THE DRILLING EXPONENT AND
CORRECTED DRILLING EXPONENT METHOD
63
The Sigmalog method has been developed during the 1970s also (but not
only) by Eni E&P to overcome the limits of the d
c
exp technique experienced
while drilling deep wells in the Po Valley Basin, in particular its deficiency in
identifying overpressures within carbonatic reservoirs.
The Sigmalog takes into account the mud density effect on penetration rates
and is based on the drillability concept, as all other methods which process
drilling data. Again the parameters involved are ROP (m/h), RPM (rpm), WOB
(ton force) and bit or hole size HS (in).
The Sigmalog does not allow only the calculation of the pore pressure
gradients, but also of the overburden and fracture gradients through steps
very long and tedious indeed; for this reason, the overburden gradients can be
more easily determined from seismic interpretation or from Sonic Log analysis.
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
63
Enis Way
64
The basic equation of Sigmalog is as follows:
t
= WOB
0,5
x RPM
0,25
D
h
x ROP
0,25
where:
 WOB : weight on bit, ton force
 RPM: revolutions per minute of the rotary table
 D
h
: hole size (also indicated as HS), in
 ROP: rate of penetration, m/h
To compensate for values excursion at shallow depth, a correction factor,
depending from depth, has been introduced:
t
=
t
+ 0,028 (7 H/1000)
where:
 H: depth, m
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
64
Enis Way
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
65
In order to take into account the effect of the differential pressure, P, on the
penetration rate, the following relationship is introduced:
P = (MW G
p
) x H/10
where:
 MW: mud weight, kg / litre
 G
p
: pore pressure gradient at the depth H, kgf/cm
2
/10m (taken equal to 1.031)
Because ROP does not change linearly with P, a correction factor takes into
account this occurrence:
F* = 1 + 1  1 + n
2
P
2
n P
where:
 n = 3,2/(640
t
) if
t
1
 n = 1 x (4 0,75 ) if
t
> 1
640
t
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
65
Enis Way
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
66
The value of Sigmalog, which is plotted versus depth, is given by the following
equation:
o
= F
t
The interpretation criterion is the same as per the d
c
exponent method., that is:
 if the
o
values increase with depth in homogeneous formations (shales), it means
that normal conditions exist and the pore pressure is normal;
 if the
o
values tend to decrease with depth, always in homogeneous formations, it
means that abnormal conditions are encountered and that overpressures are
present.
A reference trend line
r
, indicating normal compaction, can be drawn through
the
o
values in the section of the hole where they constantly increase with depth.
The departure of the
o
values from the
r
trend line is proportional to the
amount of overpressure.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
66
Enis Way
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
67
The normal compaction trend line has a constant inclination:
(angular coefficient a = 0,088)
Trend line equation:
where: H = depth, m
b = intersection between the trend line and the xaxis
o
r
= a
H
1000
+ b
Pore Pressure Gradient Calculation
3. Calculate the PORE PRESSURE GRADIENT
2. Recalculate the mud/pore
differential pressure
F*
t
r
=
'
o
o
A P =
2 (1  F)
1 (1  F)
1
n
2
o
O
o
'
t
1. Once you
know
G
P
= d 
p 10
H
Mud
A
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
67
Enis Way
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
68
NORMAL COMPACTION
TREND LINE
ABNORMALLY
COMPACTED AND
OVERPRESSURED ZONE
TRUE SIGMALOG
D
E
P
T
H
OVERPRESSURE TOP
True Sigmalog
Versus Depth
Plot Example
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
68
Enis Way
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
69
Sigmalog:
Determination of
the Reference
Trend Line
DETERMINATION OF THE
NORMAL COMPACTION TREND
LINE:
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
Normal
compaction
trend
o
O
o
r
THE SIGMALOG METHOD: INTERPRETATION
b
SLOPE: 0.088
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
69
Enis Way
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
70
Correction of the
Reference Trend
Line by Shifts
in the Normally
Compacted
Zones
o
O
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
D
e
p
t
h
m
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
D
e
p
t
h
m
SHIFTS OF THE
SIGMALOG CURVE
ALLOW THE
CORRECTION OF
THE REFERENCE
TREND LINE
THE SIGMALOG METHOD: INTERPRETATION
b
1
b
2
b
3
b
4
SLOPE: 0.088
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
70
Enis Way
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
71
Correction of the
Reference Trend
Line by Shifts
in the
Abnormally
Compacted
Zones
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
D
e
p
t
h
m
0,2 0,4 0,6
b
1
2
0
o
0
o
1
0
o
b
2
THE SIGMALOG METHOD: INTERPRETATION
CORRECTION OF THE
REFERENCE TREND LINE BY
SHIFTS IN THE
OVERPRESSURED
INTERVALS
OVERPRESSURE
TOP
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
71
Enis Way
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
72
2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
CALCULATION OF PORE PRESSURES AND GRADIENTS
Once the term b is defined for each shift recognizable on the Sigmalog
curve, the pore pressure gradient at any particular depth is calculated using
the following procedure:
calculate the values assumed by the reference trend line as seen above;
calculate the term F from the equation:
define the differential pressure P as:
P = [2 (1 F)]/[1 (1 F)
2
] (1/n)
calculate the pore pressure gradient as:
G
p
= d
f
 [(P 10)/H]
where:
 d
f
= mud density, kg / litre
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
72
Enis Way
3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
73
THE SIGMALOG METHOD: PRESENTATION EXAMPLE
1.1 1.3
1.50.
8
1.71.
2
1.81.
6
2.22.
0
0.1 0.3 0.5 0.7 0.9
124
134
128
136 231
126
124
527
134
124
124
131
131
131
131
111
111
111
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
A
C
B
Kick
A B C
A: Sigmalog before
interpretation with
representation of the
reference trend lines
B: Sigmalog after
interpretation with
representation of
only one reference
trend line
C: Pore pressure
gradient trend with
representation of the
mud densities used
while drilling the well
At the left and right
of the curves, bit
runs, hole sizes and
lithology are shown
Example of Pore
Pressure
Gradient
Development
from
an Interpreted
Sigmalog Curve
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
73
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3.3.3.2. THE SIGMALOG METHOD
74
3.4. PRESSURES PREDICTION
AND EVALUATION
FROM WIRELINE LOGS
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
74
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75
3.4.1. INTRODUCTION
The analysis of wireline logs allows the calculation of:
 Overburden Gradients
 Pore Pressure Gradients
 Fracture Gradients
The wireline logs generally used for pressure prediction and evaluation are:
Sonic Log (SL)
Induction Log (IES)
Formation Compensated Density Log (FDC)
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
75
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76
The Sonic Log is interpreted in the same way as the seismic data; in fact
both are based on the use of travel times, t, plotted versus depth.
The Sonic Log allows the calculation of:
overburden pressures and gradients
pore pressures and gradients
fracture pressures and gradients
3.4.2. SONIC LOG
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
76
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77
As already seen, the following relationship between t and can be written:
t = t
max
(1 ) + t
fl
where:
 t = transit time of sound through the formation (sec/ft)
 t
max
= transit time of sound through the solid frame (sec/ft)
t
fl
= transit time of sound in the pore fluid (sec/ft)
The previous equation can be also expressed in terms of porosity:
= (t  t
max
)/( t
n
  t
max
)
where:
 t
fl
= assumed equal to 200 sec/ft (a conservative value for pore pressure
gradient calculations)
 t
max
= values depend on lithology
3.4.2.1. SONIC LOG: OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
77
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78
SOLID Density t
MATTER g/cm
3
microseconds/ft
Dolomite 2.87 43.5
Limestone 2.71 43.5  47.5
Anhydrite 2.96 50
Shale 2.70 47
Transit Times and Density for Some Rock Matrices
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
78
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3.4.2.1. SONIC LOG: OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION
79
Laboratory tests proved the following relations correct.
Relation between transit time and porosity
for consolidated and cemented rocks
for unconsolidated sands
for shales
Relation between density and transit time
for cemented and compacted formations
for noncemented formations

=
(1)
t

t
153
ma
A A

t +
(2)
= 1.228
t

t ma
A A
A 200

(3)
= 1.568
t

t
t
+
ma A A
A 200
o
= 3.28 
t
89
A
(4)
o = 2.75  2.11
t
t +
 t ma A A
A 200
(5)
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
79
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3.4.2.1. SONIC LOG: OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION
80
Comparisons with density values detected by the FDC log (formation
density compensated log) attested and verified that the following relation
is valid for all formations:
A
b
=
+
2 75 2 11
47
200
.
.
A
t
t
where:
47 = t
max
(transit time through the rocky matrix assumed to be equal to 47 sec/ft
200 = t in water, sec/ft
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
80
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3.4.2.1. SONIC LOG: OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION
81
To determine the exact transit time in an interval of H thickness, the following procedure
can be applied:
the number of milliseconds elapsed for the sound wave to cross the formation interval
having thickness H is read (this is done by counting the ITT pips on the SL to the left)
on the log;
this value is multiplied by 1,000 to change milliseconds into microseconds, and is
divided by the value of H; in order to obtain the values of t, measured in sec/ft, here
H must be changed from meters into ft by dividing by 3.28;
the final expression represents the average transit time in the H interval and takes the
simple form:
t = (K 1000)/(3.28 H)
where:
 K = milliseconds required by the sound wave to pass through a section of height H:
 H = depth interval, m
The t values can be also more rapidly read on the log by taking into account the
intervals characterized by more or less the same values.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
81
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3.4.2.1. SONIC LOG: OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION
1 82
SONIC LOG INTERPRETATION
ITT = INTEGRATED TRANSIT TIME
H = 15.5 m
K = 8.2
t = 161 sec/ft
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
82
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3.4.2.1. SONIC LOG: OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
83
Once determined the bulk density versus depth with the equations seen above,
the procedure for the calculation of the overburden pressure and relevant
overburden gradient using the transit times read on a Sonic Log is the same as
discussed when dealing with seismic data interpretation, to which the reader
has to refer. Therefore, the basic equations to consider are, as already known,
the following:
Enis Way
3.4.2.1. SONIC LOG: OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION
Enis Way
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
84
BULK DENSITY
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
1,6 1.8 2.0
kg/dm
3
2.2 2.4
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
1.5
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
2.0 2.5 3.0
Overburden Gradient,
kgf/cm
2
/10 m
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3.4.2.1. SONIC LOG: OVERBURDEN GRADIENT CALCULATION
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
85
20 60 100 200
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
The plot of Transit Times t, as
obtained from Sonic Log readings,
versus depth is the most common
method for overpressure detection
and calculation, being a quick and
reliable tool. As in the case of
seismics, the transit times in shales
decrease regularly with depth in
normally compacted and normally
pressured formations. This is due to
the fact that the density of the rocks
increases with depth in normal
conditions and increases also the
velocity with which the sound waves
propagate through them. The transit
times will lay on a straight line, which
is the normal compaction trend line.
At (s/ft)
3.4.2.2. SONIC LOG: PORE PRESSURE GRADIENT CALCULATION
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
86
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
D
e
p
t
h
m
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
60
100 80 200
Considering always valid the assumption
that density, porosity and relevant
pressures (effective and pore pressure)
are correlated, it derives very clearly that
the t will decrease regularly with the
depth when normal conditions exist and
that an increase in its values, on the
contrary, will determine its departure from
the reference trend line and will be
indicative of abnormal conditions
(undercompaction and overpressures).
At (s/ft)
OVERPRESSURES TOP
OVERPRESSURED shales are
UNDERCOMPACTED and have a
HIGHER PORE WATER CONTENT.
Therefore they have a HIGHER t,
compared to the depth at which they
lie.
3.4.2.2. SONIC LOG: PORE PRESSURE GRADIENT CALCULATION
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
87
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
0
500
1000
1500
2000
100 80 60 200
At (s/ft)
In the t vs depth plots, it is possible
sometimes to see both shifts and
slope changes in the reference trend
line. Very often these anomalies,
clearly indicated by an abrupt
dislocation of the points rightwards or
leftwards, are not related to
overpressures but to particular
geological conditions (overcompacted
formations, for instance in the upper
part of the well) and, therefore, have to
be corrected during interpretation.
TRUE OVERPRESSURES TOP
ERRONEOUS OVERPRESSURES TOP
OVERCOMPACTED
SECTION
3.4.2.2. SONIC LOG: PORE PRESSURE GRADIENT CALCULATION
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03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
88
Once the curve has been interpreted and adequately corrected, the pore
pressure gradients are calculated by the usual equivalent depth method or
by the Eaton method, as already seen.
3.4.2.2. SONIC LOG: PORE PRESSURE GRADIENT CALCULATION
Enis Way
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
89
microseconds/ft
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
(
m
)
10 20 30 50 100 200 300 500 1.000
0
500
1.000
1.500
2.000
2.500
3.000
3.500
4.000
4.500
5.000
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
1.5
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
2.0 2.5 3.0
kgf/cm
2
/10 m
POINT A:
 P
ov
= 1125 kgf/cm
2
 P
c
= 332 kgf/cm
2
 P
p
= 1125  332 =
793 kgf/cm
2
 G
p
= 1.76 kgf/cm
2
/10m
POINT B:
 P
ov
= 590 kgf/cm2
 P
p
= 258 kgf/cm2
 P
c
= 590  258 =
332 kgf/cm
2
POINT A
POINT B
2.36 2.50
2500 m
4500 m
4500 m
2500 m
EQUIVALENT DEPTH PRINCIPLE
3.4.2.2. SONIC LOG: PORE PRESSURE GRADIENT CALCULATION
Enis Way
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
90
Once the overburden and pore pressures gradients have been calculated, the
fracture gradients can be easily derived by applying the following usual
equations:
a) The fracture gradient, showing the rate at which the fracture pressure
changes with depth, is given, for a rock having an elastic behaviour, by the
followng expression:
G
fr
= G
p
+ ( 2 ) (G
ov
G
p
)
1
b) If the drilling fluid is water or invades in depth the formation, the relationships
becomes:
G
fr
= G
p
+ ( 2 ) (G
ov
G
p
)
c) If the rock has a plastic behaviour, the fracture gradients is given by the
formula:
G
fr
= G
ov
3.4.2.3. SONIC LOG: FRACTURE GRADIENT CALCULATION
91
The resistivity of a rock depends on its porosity and on the amount of fluids
present in the pores; therefore low porosity rocks are usually high resistivity
formations (for instance, compacted limestone, volcanic rocks, etc).
If all other conditions are the same, the resistivity of a rock depends on:
saline concentration of the fluids within the pores;
rock composition;
formation temperature.
As depth increases, shales are more and more compacted and less porous,
therefore their resistivity tends to progressively increase.
3.4.3. SHALE RESISTIVITY: PORE PRESSURE GRADIENTS CALCULATION
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
91
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92
There are two methods of overpressure analysis based on
Shale Resistivity:
Method 1  Find shale resistivity on the recorded electric log,
and plot it directly on a semilogarithmic scale,
without any elaboration.
Method 2  Analyze the F shale factor (shale formation
factor).
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
92
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3.4.3. SHALE RESISTIVITY: PORE PRESSURE GRADIENTS CALCULATION
93
RESISTIVITY LOG
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
93
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3.4.3.1. SHALE RESISTIVITY PLOT
94
METHOD 1
The resistivity of the cleanest shales is plotted Vs depth, on a semilogarithmic scale. The
inversely proportional relationship existing between resistivity and porosity (meant as fluid content)
will produce a diagram, whose values will increase with the depth in case of normal compaction
conditions.
D
e
p
t
h
Shale resistivity
Therefore, in case of normally
compacted and normally pressured
formations, the resistivity values
will increase with the depth and will
lie on the normal compaction trend
line, as shown in Figure aside.
Formation with a NORMAL
pressure gradient.
As depth increases, so does
compaction, while porosity
decreases
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
94
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3.4.3.1. SHALE RESISTIVITY PLOT
95
METHOD 1
In case of overpressured formations, the resistivity values, as obtained from the log
readings, will tend to depart from the normal compaction trend line, assuming lower values
than expected for that depth of burial.
Overpressure Top
Shale resistivity
D
e
p
t
h
This depends on the fact that more
fluid with more salt is present in the
pores of the rock and this makes the
resistivity to decrease. The more the
points depart from the reference
trend line, the higher the pore
pressure gradient will be.
OVERPRESSURED formations
Undercompacted shales with
high porosity, compared to
the depth where they lie.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
95
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3.4.3.1. SHALE RESISTIVITY PLOT
96
F shale  Normal
Gradient Formations
METHOD 2
In this case, it is not made reference only to the resistivity values as read on the log, but it is
necessary to determine the Shale Formation Factor, or simply the F shale factor, which is the
ratio between the shale resistivity and the formation water resistivity, as shown below:
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
0
0.100 0.080 0.060 0.200
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3.4.3.2. SHALE RESISTIVITY: SHALE FORMATION FACTOR, F
SH
w shale w
shale
shale
R C R
R
F
= =
1
where:
 R
shale
= shale resistivity
 C
shale
= shale conductivity
 R
w
= formation water resistivity
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
96
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97
,
0
0.100 0.080 0.060 0.200
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
F shale 
Overpressured
Formations
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
OVERPRESSURE
In presence of undercompacted
shales, hence in OVERPRESSURE,
F
shale
values decrease when
compared to the normal
compaction trend.
METHOD 2
Also in this case, if overpressured
formations are encountered, a decrease in
F
sh
values can be observed; again, higher
is the departure of the points from the
reference trend line, higher will be the pore
pressure gradient values.
OVERPRESSURES
TOP
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
97
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3.4.3.2. SHALE RESISTIVITY: SHALE FORMATION FACTOR, F
SH
98
CALCULATION SEQUENCE
The operational sequence required to compute pore pressure gradients by means of the
F
shale
technique is as follows:
1. Calculate R
W
, that is the formation water RESISTIVITY along the whole well profile.
2. Plot R
W
values on a semilogarithmic scale.
3. Read the Conductivity value in the log in correspondence of clean shales, along the whole
well profile.
4. Calculate the F shale value.
5. Plot the F shale on semilogarithmic paper.
6. Draw the F shale normal compaction trend.
7. Interpret the F shale variation and observe the possible presence of overpressures.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
98
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3.4.3.2. SHALE RESISTIVITY: SHALE FORMATION FACTOR, F
SH
99
1. FORMATION WATER RESISTIVITY (R
W
) calculation along the entire well profile
CALCULATION SEQUENCE
1. Create a chart, copying at different depths the well temperatures recorded on the electric log.
2. Read the Spontaneous Potential (SP) variation value in correspondence of the cleanest
sands.
3. Find the R
mf
(resistivity of mud filtrate in well) value with the corresponding temperature.
on the log heading
4. Enter the mud and temperature R
mf
values read on the log heading in the
SCHLUMBERGER Gen 9 A6 diagram , and read the R
mf
values at depth and
temperature of SP values.
5. Calculate the (R
mf
)
e
value:
if R
mf
at 75 F is > than 0.1 ohmm
(R
mf
)
e
=
R
mf
x 0.85. If R
mf
at 75 F is < than 0.1 ohmm, (R
mf
)
e
is to be found
in the Schlumberger SP2 A12 diagram.
Please note: This is true for waterbased muds with the exclusion of lime and
gypsumbased muds.
6. Enter the pair of SP and temperature values in the SCHLUMBERGER SP1 A10
diagram, and read the (R
mf
)
e
/ (R
W
)
e
ratio values.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
99
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3.4.3.2. SHALE RESISTIVITY: SHALE FORMATION FACTOR, F
SH
100
8. Obtain R
W
for the entire well. Entering the (R
W
)
e
values and corresponding
temperatures in the Schlumberger SP2 A12 diagram, obtain R
W
values along the
whole well profile.
( ) R
W e
( ) R
mf e
( ) R
mf e
( ) R
W e
=
CALCULATION SEQUENCE (continued)
7. Once the (R
mf
)
e
terms and the (R
mf
)
e
/ (R
W
)
e
ratio are known,
calculate (R
W
)
e
using this equation:
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
100
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3.4.3.2. SHALE RESISTIVITY: SHALE FORMATION FACTOR, F
SH
101
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
10 100 1000
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
(
m
)
MEAN R
W
VALUES
(RAVENNA SEA ZONE) OHMm
The R
w
values, as
obtained with the
procedure detailed
above, are then plotted
versus depth, obtaining a
curve, similar to that
shown in Figure.
Each well or area is
characterized by a
specific R
w
curve.
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
101
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3.4.3.2. SHALE RESISTIVITY: SHALE FORMATION FACTOR, F
SH
102
CALCULATION SEQUENCE (continued)
9. In the Resistivity/Conductivity log read the Conductivity value in correspondence of
clean shales .
10. Compute the F shale value using the following relation:
11. Plot the F shale values on semilogarithmic paper.
12. Draw the shale normal compaction trend and interpret F shale variation to detect the
possible presence of overpressures.
F
C R
shale
shale W
=
1
x
C
shale
=Shale conductivity
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
102
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3.4.3.2. SHALE RESISTIVITY: SHALE FORMATION FACTOR, F
SH
103
"F
shale
V
e
r
t
i
c
a
l
d
e
p
t
h
m
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
0,01 0,10 1,00
The F
shale
values
plotted versus
depth indicate
the presence of
overpressures
when they
depart
(decreasing)
from the normal
compaction
trend line.
Overpressures Top
Normally Pressured
Zone
Overpressured Zone
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
103
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3.4.3.2. SHALE RESISTIVITY: SHALE FORMATION FACTOR, F
SH
104
The main limits of the methods based on Resistivity Measurements
can be summarized as here follows:
They can never be applied reliably to CARBONATES.
They can only be applied in presence of frequent interbeddings
of shales and sands.
The SP (Spontaneous Potential) value between shales and
sands must be clearly detectable.
Shales must be clean.
Fluids contained in shales (gas or oil) modify the Conductivity value.
Borehole must not be caved in (say its geometry must be regular).
03. ABNORMAL PRESSURES
104
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3.4.3.2. SHALE RESISTIVITY: SHALE FORMATION FACTOR, F
SH
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