An experimental study of stress changes induced by reservoir depletion under true triaxial stress loading conditions

Ali Mortazavi, Hadi Atapour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The reduction of pore pressure during reservoir production alters the initial stress state within the reservoir and the surrounding rocks. This stress variation is responsible for many problems encountered during production (e.g. fault reactivation, casing deformation). In this investigation, a newly designed True Triaxial Stress Loading and Pore Pressure Applying Apparatus (TTSL-PPAA) was applied to study the coupling of pore pressure drawdown and reservoir stress changes under actual field conditions. The objective was to overcome the shortcomings of commonly employed depletion testing under conventional triaxial conditions, which assumes that both horizontal stress components are equal. The depletion simulations were performed by decreasing the pore pressure and under applying constant vertical and keeping zero horizontal strains, i.e. uniaxial strain boundary conditions. The results showed that both horizontal stresses decrease with a linear trend with pore pressure depletion. The reduction rates of minimum and maximum horizontal stresses, however, are not uniform. The rate of maximum horizontal stress reduction is higher than the minimum horizontal stress component. Moreover, the pore pressure/stress coupling intensity is dependent on the initial, pre-production, stress state. By increasing the initial vertical stress, and therefore, decreasing the ratios of horizontal to vertical stress, (referred to as KH = σHV and Kh = σhV), the effect of pore pressure depletion on in situ stress components was decreased. The obtained test results imply that, in addition to stress magnitude changes, the stress regime might be locally changed by production due to pore pressure/stress coupling. Furthermore, the rock sample failure in some depletion tests indicates that the pore pressure/stress coupling can be used to describe the production induced seismicity reported in hydrocarbon reservoirs worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1366-1377
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • In situ stress field
  • Pore pressure-stress coupling
  • Reservoir depletion test
  • True triaxial stress loading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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