Tectonic Stress Causes Stuck Pipe

Tectonic stress is a nature phenomenal and it naturally occurs due to lateral force from the formation. Typically, if the rig is close to mountains, there is high chance to face with the tectonic stress issue. 

The later force will create stress which will squeeze sandstone causing under gauge hole. Moreover, the lateral stress will fracture shale and create additional cuttings. 

 These two main results (under gauge in sand stone and shale fractures) can cause stuck pipe situations.

Warning signs when you get stuck due to tectonic stress

• The rig location is nearby mountains.

• Drilling torque is erratic.

• Abnormal drag is happened.

• Shale fractures are observed at shale shakers.

Indications when you are stuck due to tectonic stress

• It could be happened either while tripping or drilling.

• When it happens, the hole may be completely packed off or bridged off; therefore, circulation is very difficult or impossible to establish.

What should you do for this situation?

1. Attempt to circulate with low pressure (300-400 psi). Higher pump rate is not recommended because it will cause more cutting accumulation around a drill string.

2. If you are drilling or POOH, apply maximum allowable torque and jar down with maximum trip load.

3. If you are tripping in hole, jar up with maximum trip load without applying any torque.

4. Attempt until pipe free and circulate to clean wellbore.

Preventive actions:

1. Increase mud weight to increase wellbore stability.

2. Use high vis/weight sweep to help hole cleaning.

3. Minimize operation time. The less time you drill and complete the well, the less tectonic stress affects your wellbore.

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