Travers, Patrick (Dolan Integration Group) | Burke, Ben (HighPoint Resources) | Rowe, Aryn (HighPoint Resources) | Hodgetts, Stephen (Dolan Integration Group) | Dolan, Michael (Dolan Integration Group)
Scope: The management, treatment and disposal of hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids and produced water presents a major challenge to operators. Though the volumes of water are tracked closely during operations, the sources of that water are not well understood. The objective of this study is to apply a cost effective and proven technique, stable isotope analysis, along with an extensive sampling program (n>1,500 samples) to describe the contributions of variable water sources through completions, flowback and the production lifecycle of multiple horizontal, hydraulically fractured wells in the Denver Basin, Colorado.
Methods: The water stable isotopes of hydrogen (1H and 2H) and oxygen (16O and 18O) are conservative tracers and particularly advantageous because they occur naturally in these systems and rely on well-established scientific and analytical techniques. Sample collection is simple and does not require specialized equipment or operational downtime. 80 horizontal, hydraulically fractured wells completed in the Cretaceous Niobrara or Codell Formations were selected for this study. More than 1,500 samples were collected and analyzed in total, including: baseline samples of the source water used to stimulate the well, time series samples collected at daily or semi-daily intervals during the early weeks of flowback, and samples collected several months after the wells were brought on production. Samples of produced water were also collected from legacy wells in the field as well as offset wells being monitored for frac hits during completions.
Results: Samples of the near surface and shallow aquifer source water collected prior to hydraulic fracturing fell on or near the global meteoric water line (GMWL) as defined by Craig (1961). This isotopic signature is expected for modern water in aquifers charged by precipitation. In contrast, samples collected during flowback and production were significantly enriched in 2H and 18O. Furthermore, the magnitude of the isotopic difference between the source and flowback water increased with time until equilibrating after several months. This equilibrated composition is consistent for Niobrara and Codell wells in the field, as well as legacy wells sampled and consequently is hypothesized to be indicative of native formation water. The study did find exceptions, particularly with wells known to be connected to major fault or fracture networks. These samples deviated from typical formation water signatures, potentially indicating the migration of deeper sourced fluids or the vertical mixing of shallower fluids with Cretaceous waters.
Significance: The scale of this study is unique in the literature and provides novel and comprehensive insight into the dynamics of flowback and the sources of produced water in the Denver Basin. This study demonstrates that these data can clearly differentiate water injected during stimulation from native formation waters, as well as track the magnitude and duration of well cleanup. It can also identify wells that may be producing water with a unique composition due to fluid migration through faults or fracture networks or due to nearby well communication.
This paper was prepared for presentation at the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference held in Denver, Colorado, USA, 22-24 July 2019. The URTeC Technical Program Committee accepted this presentation on the basis of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). The contents of this paper have not been reviewed by URTeC and URTeC does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information herein. All information is the responsibility of, and, is subject to corrections by the author(s). Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this paper does so at their own risk. The information herein does not necessarily reflect any position of URTeC. Any reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper by anyone other than the author without the written consent of URTeC is prohibited.
Deep formation damage caused by killing fluid frequently occurs in blowout wells and clean-up operations may result in early water breakthrough and less hydrocarbon recovery. This paper presents three innovative practices applied in oil and gas wells that suffered blowout accidents for more hydrocarbon recovery. i.e.:
These methods have been successfully utilized in more than 40 wells for over 50 years. The three typical field examples are illustrated. One of them is an oil well in sandstone reservoir, with double oil rate as the nearby wells. The rest are a gas well in massive carbonate pool with bottom water, with the most prolific gas production in the field, and a gas well in a naturally fractured reservoir, with Gp of over 180 BCF.
Each year tens of thousands of oil and gas wells are successfully drilled worldwide. The overall safety record of the drilling and workover operations is quite satisfactory. On occasion, however, blowout problems can arise during drilling and workover where the control of a well is lost, whenever a well begins to flow uncontrollably.
Tang, Xueqing (RIPED, PetroChina) | Dou, Lirong (RIPED, PetroChina) | Wang, Ruifeng (Petro Energy Co.) | Wang, Jie (RIPED, PetroChina) | Wang, Shengbao (RIPED, PetroChina) | Wang, Jianshun (RIPED, PetroChina) | Shi, Junhui (RIPED, PetroChina)
Jake field, discovered in July, 2006, contains 10 oil-producing and 12 condensate gas-producing zones. The wells have high flow capacities, producing from long-perforation interval of 3,911 ft (from 4,531 to 8,442 ft). Production mechanisms include gas injection in downdip wells and traditional gas lift in updip, zonal production wells since the start-up of field in July, 2010. Following pressure depletion of oil and condensate-gas zones and water breakthrough, traditional gas-lift wells became inefficient and dead. Based on nodal analysis of entire pay zones, successful innovations in gas lift have been made since March, 2013. This paper highlights them in the following aspects:
As a consequence, innovative gas-lift brought dead wells back on production, yielding average sustained liquid rate of 7,500 bbl/d per well. Also, the production decline curves flattened out than before.
Discovered in July, 2006, Jake field is situated at the north part of Fula Western trend with oil-bearing area of approximate 45,714 acres. This field contains two distinct productive formations in the Early Cretaceous age: Bentiu oil reservoir at the average depth of 4,724 ft plus Abu Gabra gas-condensate reservoir at the average depth of 8,425 ft. The producing reservoirs are normally pressured, and the field has a normal geothermal gradient of approximately 2.60℉/100 ft.
Most of the shale reservoirs in US land are naturally fractured. The fracture intensity and types vary from one shale to another. Even within the same shale in the same field, the heterogeneity of fracture intensity can be often expected to be high in a horizontal well. The current popular geometrical completion design can potentially ignore the existence of natural fractures. Hence, maximizing stimulation efficiency without understanding existing natural fractures can be a challenge. In this paper, study was made of the majority of the published case studies related to natural fractures in the US shales in the last 20 years. The evidence of natural fractures from either outcrops or subsurface data, i.e. core, borehole images, or other data is summarized for each studied shale. The latest studies show that the hydraulic fracture propagation can be strongly influenced by existing natural fractures regardless of whether they are open or closed. The roles of existing fractures in the shales include: 1) providing enhanced reservoir permeability for improved productivity if they are open and effectively connected by hydraulic fractures; 2) promoting much better fracturing network complexity regardless of whether they are open or closed prior to the stimulation; 3) giving possible negative impact sometimes, i.e. high water cut, if they are connected with wet zones below or above the reservoirs. It can be concluded that engineered completion designs that employ accurate knowledge of natural fracture data, in-situ stresses, and other reservoir and completion quality indicators as inputs can provide opportunities for enhancing stimulation efficiency and fracturing network complexity. This in turn can lead to better connectivity to a larger reservoir volume and access to more drainage area in the shales.
The US shale gas story actually featured natural fractures. William Hart, a local gunsmith, drilled the first commercial natural shale gas well in US in Fredonia, Chautauqua County, NY in 1821, in shallow, low-pressure rock with fractures . The well was first dug to a depth of 27ft in a shale which outcropped in the area, then later drilled to a depth of 70ft using 1.5 inch diameter borehole. The produced gas was piped to an innkeeper on a stagecoach route. Then the well was produced without any stimulation for 37 years until 1858 when it supplied enough natural gas for a grist mill and for lighting in four shops. It was a combination of the idea from Mr. Hart to drill the well and the presence of the natural fractures in the gas shale that made the 1st commercial shale gas discovery possible in shale gas history.
This paper illustrates an innovative field-scale application of injecting condensate gas and recycling gas in Jake field, Sudan. This field has two production series, namely AG condensate gas pools and Bentiu oil pool from bottom to up, with the former 3520 ft. below the Bentiu reservoir and 1695 psi of initial reservoir pressure difference. Bentiu pool of Jake field is a medium crude oil (29 API) pool with strong aquifer support. Well productivity was 500 BOPD. Operator intended to inject high-pressure condensate gas into Bentiu pool to increase field output, whereas was confronted with following challenges: 1) injection of condensate gas in an easy-to-operate wellbore configuration; 2) optimization of injection parameters to achieve highest output; 3) suppress aquifer water breakthrough.
Field scale application had been optimized and implemented since 2010:1) High-pressure condensate gas had been injected into two updip crest Bentiu wells in the same well bore, following a huff-and-puff process, well output amounted 4,000 to 13,800 BOPD under natural flow; 2) 1/4 recycling gas volume from compressors was re-injected into 12 downdip wells at controllable pressure to avoid early water breakthrough; 3) The remaining recycling gas was utilized to gas-lift other five updip wells.
Oil producers were reduced from 19 to 7 comparing to original field development plan, while oil rate ascended from 22,000 to 30,000 BOPD, with watercut dropping to 7% from 15%, achieving a high offtake rate of 6%. Reservoir simulation indicated ultimate recovery factor is expected to be over 50% with such full-field gas injection.
Conclusions drawn from field scale injection of condensate gas and recycling gas were as follows:1) condensate gas injection in the same well bore was technically innovative and operationally robust; 2) recycled gas injection into downdip wells helped detain water breakthrough; 3) field scale application had evidenced outstanding success with high output and high offtake rate.