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Evaluation of Wellbore Stability by Analytical and Numerical Methods: A Case Study in a Carbonate Oil Field

Faramarz Abazari

Department of Mining and Petroleum, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran

Hossein Jalilifar

Department of Mining and Petroleum, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran

Mohammad Ali Riahi

Institute of Geophysics, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Copyright © 2022 Author(s). Published by Nan Yang Academy of Sciences Pte. Ltd.

Creative Commons License

This is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The instability of the wellbore has significant effects on drilling, causing delays in operations, increasing costs, and ultimately may result in the abandonment of wells. Nowadays, it is possible to stabilize a wellbore by changing the drilling mud composition. With the help of rock mechanics and knowledge of the mechanical properties of the formation, the optimal path for the drilling of the well and the window of the mud is determined. Several features of the formation are influential in wellbore design; knowing these features is necessary for designing optimal mud weight to ensure wellbore stability. In practice, analytical methods for the calculation of the optimal mud weight are more convenient than numerical ones because the latter needs information on many samples that are usually unknown at the commencement of the project. This research investigates the wellbore stability in the Kupal carbonate oil field using an analytical method with three rock strength criteria of Mogi-Coulomb, Mohr-Coulomb, and Hoek-Brown failure. The authors conclude that the Mogi-Coulomb criterion predicts a minimum drilling mud pressure and is more conservative. This is due to the use of its intermediate stress.

Keywords: Drilling mud window, Failure criteria, Minimum and maximum mud pressure, Wellbore stability


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