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STRADDLE PACKER TESTS

Practical Field Guide and Troubleshooting


Prepared by

Ankan Basu, P.G


Geologist Marshall Miller and Associates Email: ankan.basu@mma1.com Email: admin@coalgeology.com

Prepared by Ankan Basu, Geologist, MMA

DISCLAIMER
Most of the materials covered in this presentation is from my OWN collection. I have completed various projects involving Packer tests up to 1000 feet deep boreholes. I have used some of the information from Packer Manuals from different manufacturers. Please contact me at admin@coalgeology.com if you need help with a hydrologic investigation project. In coal fields, most commonly Packer Tests are conducted before shaft/slope construction and crossing a creek for mining needs. If you have any questions, please let me know. Ankan Basu, P.G Geologist / Hydrogeologist Marshall Miller and Associates Bluefield, VA, 24605. 304-809-0544
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Calculate Inflation Packer Pressure: This is an online tool written by Ankan Basu that would calculate required inflation pressure. http://coalgeology.com/utility/packerpressure.html

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Unconfined Pressure Curve

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Common Problems!
The air line can only stand up to 333 PSI pressure! When you are 500 feet Down how much inflation pressure Do you usually use?

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Twisted TAM Packers!


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TAM packers busted as geologists use 700 PSI Inflation Pressure. Drillers gave misleading information about the packer type.
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This is an example of Badger Flowmeter rated for 150 PSI. With this type of Flowmeter you can only packer test shallow holes upto 300-400 feet.

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This is a PSI digital flow-meter rated for 1000 PSI injection pressure.
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Straddle Packer Tests


(Pressure Testing)

T=K*b [b=Packer Test Interval]

Goal
Isolate specific section of the bedrock in a borehole (usually 10 feet) Perform Packer test and collect samples (if required) from a particular zone. A series of such tests will provide information about vertical distribution of water quality and hydraulic conductivity Determine PERMEABILITY OF BEDS
T=Transmissivity; K=Conductivityby Ankan Basu, Geologist, MMA Prepared
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Basic Method
Measure water table. Determine pneumatic pressure required to inflate the packers. Lower Packer Assembly to desired test zone inflate packers. Monitor Pressure at flow gauge to ensure equilibrium/stable flow conditions. Remove 3 well volumes of water before running each test; also removes air bubbles. Monitor and record flow from the flow meter at desired interval of time (usually 5 minutes).
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General Configuration
Inflation Tube (Air line) Inflatable Packer Top Packer Inflatable Packer

End Plug

Straddle Test Zone Perforated Pipe

Bottom Packer

Drill Pipe

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Useful Tip for Packer Set Up


Have the sliding ends as shown in the diagrams

Sliding End

Sliding End

In this set up, we dont need any slack in the air line between the packers as the thickness of test zone z1 remains constant. We only need about 1 feet slack at the top of the packer assembly.

During inflation Top Packer- retracts DOWN Bottom Packer-retracts UP by Ankan Basu, Geologist, MMA Prepared

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Source: Bimbar Packer Manual

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Graph for working Pressure

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Source: Bimbar Packer Manual

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BIMBAR Accesories

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Source: Bimbar Packer Manual

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Other Accessories

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Source: Bimbar Packer Manual

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Set up of the Water Measurement Line


BYPASS LINE

Flow meter

Flow Gauge

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Source: Bimbar Packer Manual

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Hand pump to inflate Packers

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Source: Bimbar Packer Manual

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Other Airline Accessories

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Source: Bimbar Packer Manual

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Safety Tips
Packer Inflation: Water is favored over N2 gas (or neutral gas). Other fluids are prohibited such as O2. While inflating with gas for longer period of time, GAS POCKETS may appear at the outer cover of the packers (run water for 3 well volumes to remove any air bubbles before each tests. Inflation Pressure: Must be always greater than the injection pressure for proper seal. Deflation of Packer: Do not move packers before complete deflation.

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Phases of Packer Tests


1. Drilling 2. Geophysical Logging 3. Packer Testing

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Phase 1: Drilling
Geologic and geotech log Fracture Log Photograph core Look for fractures, slickensides, broken zone, coal seams, iron staining, soft rock such as clay and clay-stone etc.

Note: Record depth of such zones: Possible high flow areas.

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Geophysical Logging
OPEN hole logging recommended if borehole condition is stable. Density log Gamma Log Temperature Log Resistivity log (watch for change in resistivity-indicates flow) Caliper log (Very useful identifying fractures in the hole) Acoustic Televiewer log (Most important in visual and accurate identification of fractures and their orientation)

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Use available information to indentify possible high flow zones

Possible Fracture/Coal Seam Sandstone-Shale Contacts

Coal Seam, Broken while logging

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Indentify and Straddle zones of possible high flow first

Caliper Log Showing FRACTURES

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Acoustic Televiewer Log showing Fractures


1 and 2 : Expect moderate flow if not connected to other fracture zones. 3: Expect high flow (Field Data showed 23 GPM at max pump capacity) Note: Zone 2 also showed 23 GPM flow. So, the fracture is probably connected to the fractures at zone 3.

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Acoustic Televiewer Log showing the coal seam, thin bedding plane fractures and highly broken zone
Note: Multiple scattered fractures at zone 2 showed equal amount flow as highly fractured section zone 3. Few bedding plane fractures 1 Highly fractured zone 2 Coal seam 3

Flow=0.04 GPM

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Flow=23 GPM

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Identify zone of no intake great to check if Packers are inflating and sealing properly.

Expect low or NO flow Good zone to test if Packer is sealing properly

Highly fractured zone

Coal seam

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Before Packer testing

Check water table elevation needed parameter for calculation of inflation pressure for the packer. Record inner and outer diameter of AQ rods/ 1 pine Needed parameter to calculate friction loss. Decide Packer interval and set up Packer Assembly. Measure all units within the packer assembly (see picture). Measure stick up of the pipelines above ground.

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Before Packer Testing Continued.


Measure distance of flow gauge above ground-required for K calculation. Set up reference point to measure depth at the drill. Determine all test zone intervals and note down in field book for quick reference. Make sure that the Bottom and Top packers are not sitting at a fractured zone or coal seam. Take photograph of the Packer Assembly. Determine pneumatic pressure required to inflate the packers including the height of the water column in the borehole. Check FLOWMETER RECORD Flow Meter TYPE and SERIAL NUMBER Check for any leaks, RECORD PACKER TYPE and SERIAL Number.

3 feet above ground

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Draw Schematic Diagram


Flow Meter
Shut off Valve (Not required)

Pressure Gauge ELBOW

PUMP
Discharge Line

High Pressure Line


BYPASS Valve Required BYPASS LINE
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AQ Rods

1 inch adapter is used to connect the HIGH PRESSURE line to the AQ rods. Valves at the ELBOW are used to control Back Pressure if required.
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CHECK FLOWMETER
Always start with checking the accuracy of the flow meter. Calibration check: Use bucket with 1-5 gallons mark to check calibration, fill up the bucket up to 5 gallons and check the reading at the flow meter. Very rarely 5 gallons at the difference in reading at the flow meter would equal to 5 gallons in the bucket. Usually the flow meter reads less flow. Use calculator to get conversion factor. Example: 4 gallon at flow meter=5 gallons at the bucket Calibration factor=1.25 X flow meter reading. Accuracy Check 1: Some flow meter respond to pressure and record flow when there is no actual flow. Close the valve to the HIGH PRESSURE LINE so that no flow is going to the packer assembly, apply pressure at the water gauge between 0-150 PSI. In ideal situation, there should not be any flow. But some flow meter show higher flow with higher pressure when there is NO FLOW at all. Change flow meter. Accuracy Check 2: Some flow meter works great at higher flow but could not detect low flow. Let the water run under very low pressure and collect the water with a bucket. Test it as low as 0.1 GPM (10 minutes to fill up 1 gallon at the bucket). Trial and Error to get required flow.
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Caution using Flow meter


Do NOT use too much Pressure: Different types of flow meters are made for different purposes and they all have different limit of maximum pressure that they can perform. If you apply more pressure than the flow meter is built for, it will break. Commonly the bottom part the flow meter breaks due to high water pressure. Read the manual of the particular flow meter. Check the range of pressure for which the flow meter works (see manual) If working in a deep borehole, talk to the drillers before reaching the site about high capacity flow meter. Drillers should carry multiple flow meters. After each test wide open the BYPASS VALVE.

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Set Up of the Water Line

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Test Packer Assembly for Leaks


Check for possible leaks in the airline Check for possible leaks in the pipes, joints and connectors Inflate packers at surface up to 90 PSI (max) to check that the packers are inflating properly. Keep it inflated at a set pressure for 5 minutes. If the pressure at the N2 pump drops, you have a leak. Search and fix. If the pressure is stable, go to next step PACKER TEST at the CASING.
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TEST 1 for any PACKER TEST project should be in the casing


Inflate packer up to 250 PSI. Run water between 10 to 150 PSI. If flow meter records any flow-then either the packers are not sealing properly or the flow meter is responding to pressure. Change flow meter and rerun test till you get 0 gpm flow in the casing. After the test in the casing, go down to the bottommost zone to be tested and start testing.

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Record the TYPE and SERIAL NO. of the FLOW METER

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Tips for Packer Tests-Injection Pressure


Required Water pressure (injection pressure)=0.5xdepth of test zone Example, at 100 feet depth, 50 PSI injection pressure is required. Note: If you get measurable flow below 50 PSI, then no need to raise to the maximum required pressure. If you get no flow, test up to the maximum required pressure for a zone.
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Sensus Flow meter broken due to too high pressure

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Inflation Pressure
Never use below 350 PSI inflation pressure even when close to the surface.

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Source: http://www.qsppackers.com/

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More Practical Tips


Before starting each test run at least 3 well volumes of water to remove any air bubble before inflating the packers. While going down hole, make sure each joints between the AQ rods (or the 1 inch water line) is sealed properly. Use THREAD SEALER if required. Look for leaks at the adapter near ELBOW and valves for leaking water. Keep enough slack in the airline at the top of the packer assembly (at least 1 feet).
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Tip: Tap the Flow meter


Most of the flow meters record flow well at higher flow. But at low flow some of the flow meter would record flow with a little tapping at the side. Without tapping, it would indicate NO FLOW. This is a mechanical problem. If you see very low flow rate, tap the flow meter between and before each readings.

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Tip 1: Use 0-200 flow gauge if working in a 400 feet deep hole

0-200 PSI Range

0-600 PSI Range

Tip 2: Increase inflation pressure by closing the BYPASS valve very SLOWLY. Pressure may build up quickly and break flow meter. Tip 3: Record flow only when the pressure stabilizes
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Troubleshooting
Water gushing out of the hole1. Air line blew off 2. Packers busted Commonly the airline blow off due to lack of slack. Packers can rupture if set at a fracture zone.
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Troubleshooting-High Flow in Tight looking zones


1. 2. High Flow in a tight shale or sandstone indicates mechanical problem. Packers may not be sealing properly, increase packer inflation pressure, rerun the test. If still getting high flow in higher inflation pressure Flow meter may be responding to pressure when there is NO FLOW. Test flow meter. Other possible cause- possible leak in the joints of the AQ rods. Find a zone of crystalline sandstone. Run the test.

3.

Note: I had 1.5 -2.0 gpm of flow in a 200 feet strata composed of tight shale and sandstone (seen from core, verified by Acoustic Televiewer log). Bad data due to flow meter responding to PRESSURE.
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Troubleshooting: Zero Flow


No Flow for a long thickness of the strata may also indicates mechanical problem. Some flow-meter can not record very low flow (0.01-0.04 gpm or less). Check manual for the particular flow-meter for lower sensitivity range. Perform Accuracy test 2 for the flow meter.

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More Tips
No Back Pressure at Maximum Pump Capacity reduce the length of the pressure test till you get any back pressure. However, the test section should NOT be shortened below A/D< 5. A= Length of test section D=Diameter of Hole Never use >20 feet of Test Section. For Most Pumps Maximum capacity ~ 25 GPM

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Tip: Use TAPE Reel instead of counting rods Use tape measure to keep track of depth. Set the bottom of the top packer as 0 feet. Tape the tape measure along with the airline while going down the hole.

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Use Tape instead of counting rods

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Useful to have at least two N2 tanks

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A view of a Packer Test Site


Thread Sealer AQ Rods

Tape

Airline

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Check for Leaks at Surface


1. Inflate Packers up to 90 PSI (max) 2. Listen for any hissing sound. 3. Watch the Pressure gauge at the N2 tank. If pressure drops, we have a leak. 4. Tight Joints in the airline.

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Use enough Pneumatic Pressure but not too much

Use enough pneumatic pressure to inflate the packers at certain depths properly. But if too much of pressure applied to inflate the packersPacker may rupture Rock strata may fracture Too high back pressure may cause other accidents too.

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Leak in the airline

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Record the type of Packers

BIMBAR PACKERS

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Common Leak at the end seal of Bottom Packer

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Packer Set Up

Bottom end of Bottom Packer Slides UP

Bottom Packer

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Extreme Test of Packer Set Up


Packer Assembly inflated completely at surface within surface casing. Turning the flow should show proper seal and no leakage of water at either end of the casing.

Extra Surface Casing

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Coal at 90 feet - 23 GPM About 5.2 Feet/Day

Sandstone immediately below the Coal Seam ~7.0 GPM; About 0.9 Feet/Day

Example Test: Coal Seam at ~ 90 Feet Inflation Pressure: 400-425 Water Pressure: 45 PSI (max) Could NOT raise the pressure at the flow gauge above 15 PSI even when pumping Water at the maximum capacity of the pump. Result: 23 GPM Note: Not all coal seams take a lot by Ankan Basu, This particular coal seam is broken 61 the of water. Geologist, MMA at Prepared bottom half along with some coreless possibly due to fracture.

Zone Broken, with fractures: EXPECT HIGH FLOW

Depth of Zone: 125-135 Pneumatic Pressure needed- 400-425 psi Test Conducted at 20 PSI water pressure at max pump capacity. Test result: about 22 GPM, 6.2 Feet per day Note: The water intake is very close to the pumping capacity of the PUMP itself.
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Expected range of flow in different types of rock


380-390 feet 0 gpm 370-380 feet 0 gpm

360-370 feet 0.57 gpm

350-360 feet 0.04 gpm

340-350 feet0.04 gpm

330-340 feet 0.04 gpm

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Not all coal seams display high flow


Not all coal seams take a lot of flow. The seam here is hard, not fractured and only took 0.57 gpm

The coal seam here is broken at the bottom and has a middle Soft shale unit. Took 23 gpm at maximum pump capacity.

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More Field TIPS


Thread Sealer Use Thread Sealer

Record Packer type and Serial Number.

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Read the pressure gage at the N2 Tank BEFORE, AFTER and DURING test. Drop in pressure indicates leak in the airline. Packers may not seal if the pressure drops below the required inflation pressure.

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Example Application
Packer Test in two nearby boreholes to indentify path of Water flow/fracture.

Image Reference: il.water.usgs.gov/pubs/ofr01-50_chapter4_8.pdf Prepared by Ankan Basu, Geologist, MMA

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Recording Data
Always run for at least 5 minutes before starting to take any readings. Make sure the injection pressure is stable over the period of test. At low flow allow more time to equilibrate the system and to get any measurable flow.

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Formula to calculate Permeability

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Required INPUT Parameters


A=Length of test interval (usually 10 feet) r=Radius of borehole (usually 0.125 feet) Cs=Conductivity coefficient =80 when A=10, r=0.125 (from published graph, Page 263 Ground water Manual, Fig-10.8) h1=distance from gage to water table h2=applied pressure at Gage L=Friction loss of pipe Q=Steady Flow Rate
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Calculations
Need Inside Diameter of Type of rod used for packer testing for calculation of head loss per 100 feet from chart (Hydraulics Field manual page 6.32) Contact Ankan Basu, P.G for details of calculations at admin@coalgeology.com

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