Experimental Investigation of Drilling Lateral Boreholes in Chalk Rocks with High-Pressure Jets

M. K. Medetbekova*, H. F. Christensen, S. Salimzadeh, R. R. Bakker, H. M. Nick

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Increasing reservoir connectivity to the wellbore and bypassing the damaged area is crucial in improving the productivity of the wells and enhancing the swept area. This has become feasible by a new technology called radial jet drilling (RJD), in which relatively long, small-diameter laterals can be drilled radially from the main wellbore. In this study, the authors attempt to gain a better understanding of the efficiency of a high-velocity jet drilling on chalk destruction, and also identify parameters controlling the jet drilling. For this purpose, two distinct outcrop chalks from Austin, Texas (US) and Northern Province, Welton (UK) are used in this study, which are analogs to the reservoir chalk in the North Sea. In conjunction with the jet drilling experiments, basic rock mechanics testing is carried out in order to correlate the rock strength and stiffness properties to the jet drilling performance. Jet drilling of boreholes is evaluated not only by varying the fluid and nozzle type and the fluid pressure at the nozzle, but also varying the jet drilling setup under unconfined and also confined stress fields resembling reservoir condition. Results of our study show a clear correlation of the rock strength (and stiffness) on the threshold pressure and specific energy required to break the rock. Tight chalk requires more than 30% higher pump pressure than used in soft chalk for breaking the chalk, having more than twice the strength properties. Soft chalk presents larger borehole size and better rate of penetration, both with water and acid-aided fluid, owing to its higher matrix permeability value, as well as lower mechanical properties that favor diffusion of the jet drilling fluid into the rock and faster erosion/breakage compared with tight chalk. Static nozzles create a larger surface area compared with rotating nozzles. The penetration rate of the nozzle is improved significantly under stress confinement. In addition, jet drilling in the direction of minimum principal stress (σ3) appears to be faster owing to localization of shear failure around the drilled hole induced by the differential stresses compared with the jet drilling in the direction of maximum principal stress (σ1) under isotropic stress or ambient conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number04020049
    JournalInternational Journal of Geomechanics
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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