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Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 215–228 | Cite as

Study on Sealing Failure of Wellbore in Bedded Salt Cavern Gas Storage

  • Xiangsheng Chen
  • Yinping LiEmail author
  • Wei LiuEmail author
  • Hongling Ma
  • Jianli Ma
  • Xilin Shi
  • Chunhe Yang
Original Paper

Abstract

The wellbore tightness of a salt cavern gas storage must be tested before solution mining. According to the test results, it will be evaluated whether the wellbore can meet the cementing requirements of gas storage. However, there are many complex reasons that may cause wellbore leakage; hence, how to comprehensively analyze the test results and accurately expose the causes, locations, and scale of the leakage pose many challenges. These mainly include the incomplete test method and lack of theoretical analysis model. A nitrogen leak test was carried out for five wellbores that have been completed in Jintan (Jiangsu, China). The results show that two of them had leakage risk. To clarify the leakage causes and leakage types, we carried out an investigation of engineering geological data of the wellbores and further conducted laboratorial tests and theoretical analysis. The studies of drilling design and engineering geology show that the wellbores have good integrity and initially reveal that a mudstone interlayer intersecting the open hole between the casing shoe and the top of the salt cavern is a potential leaking layer. Furthermore, the permeability experiments and CT scans confirm that this mudstone interlayer is a leaking stratum and that the internal cracks develop severely. They are the key reasons leading to wellbore tightness failure. The proposed seepage theoretical model determines that the leakage type is horizontal flow in the mudstone interlayer. Comparing the theoretical results with the field test data, we find that the leakage rate curves of the two are in good agreement, which completely confirms that the mudstone interlayer is the fundamental cause of the wellbores tightness failure. This research not only identifies the leakage causes and leakage types of wellbores, but also enriches the leakage rate analysis method of gas storage and provides a theoretical and experimental analysis method for tightness evaluation of bedded salt cavern storage.

Keywords

Bedded salt cavern storage Wellbore tightness test Leaking mudstone interlayer Permeability Leakage analysis 

List of symbols

\(p,\,{p_0},\,{p_{{\text{in}}}}\)

The pressure in the mudstone interlayer, the initial pore pressure and injection pressure, respectively (Pa)

\(r,\,{r_{\text{a}}},\,{r_{\text{d}}}\)

The seepage range, the radius of the open hole and maximum leakage range, respectively (m)

\(k\)

The permeability of the mudstone interlayer (m2)

\(\phi\)

The porosity of the mudstone interlayer (1)

\(t\)

The seepage time (h)

\(M\)

The molar mass of the gas (g/mol)

\(T,\,{T_0}\)

The strata temperature and atmosphere temperature (K)

\(R\)

The universal gas constant (8.314 J/mol/K)

\(m\)

The leaking mass (kg)

\(V\)

The leaking volume (m3)

\(Q\)

The leakage rate determined by the theoretical analysis (m3/h)

\(\bar {Q}\)

The average leakage rate observed by the field test (m3/h)

\(h\)

The any depth along the wellbore (m)

\(n\)

The average thickness of the leaking layer (m)

\({p_{\text{h}}},\,{p_{\text{s}}},\,{p_{\text{w}}}\)

The pressure at any depth in the wellbore, the standard atmosphere pressure and wellhead pressure (Pa)

\({T_{\text{h}}}\)

The temperature at any depth in the wellbore (K)

\(A\)

The horizontal cross-sectional area of the wellbore (m2)

\(\lambda\)

The distance of slice to the top of the sample (mm)

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would gratefully like to acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 41472285, 51774266, 51404241, 51604044), which is greatly appreciated. Many thanks to Jaak J. Daemen for English help.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Institute of Rock and Soil MechanicsChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Coal Mine Disaster and ControlChongqing UniversityChongqingChina
  4. 4.WuhanChina

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