Source Rock Overpressure Prediction and Its Relation to Kerogen Maturity
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Accurate formation pressure estimation is important to drilling and production operations and necessary for reservoir engineering calculations. Methods developed to estimate formation pressure from well logs are reliable for conventional reservoirs but do not translate well to unconventionals. Due to a limited hydraulic connectivity between the organic matter (kerogen) pore network and the inorganic matrix pore network holding the stored hydrocarbons, current methods may not accurately estimate the magnitude of overpressure in source rocks and unconventional targets in mature basins. In this work, a pressure estimation method is developed mainly using data from porosity logs. The proposed method is applied to areas in the Delaware Basin to demonstrate the presence of overpressure in the Bone Spring Sands and Wolfcamp formation. Validation pressure measurements based on DST, flowback, and managed pressure drilling data through multiple horizons indicate the weak transport coupling of the 3rd Bone Spring Sands and Wolfcamp horizons while also demonstrating a reliable method to estimate formation pressures using sonic well logs. The estimated overpressures in the Delaware Basin demonstrate a strong correlation with previously measured kerogen maturity and indicate that hydrocarbon generation is the significant source of the recognized present day overpressure.
Villarreal, Christopher Austin (2016). Source Rock Overpressure Prediction and Its Relation to Kerogen Maturity. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from