Zhu, Ziming (Colorado School of Mines) | Fang, Chao (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) | Qiao, Rui (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) | Yin, Xiaolong (Colorado School of Mines) | Ozkan, Erdal (Colorado School of Mines)
In nanoporous rocks, potential size/mobility exclusion and fluid-rock interactions in nano-sized pores and pore throats can turn the rock into a semi-permeable membrane, blocking or hindering the passage of certain molecules while allowing other molecules to pass freely. In this work, we conducted several experiments to investigate whether CO2 can mitigate the sieving effect on the hydrocarbon molecules flowing through Niobrara samples. Molecular dynamics simulations of adsorption equilibrium with and without CO2 were performed to help understand the trends observed in the experiments. The procedure of the experiments includes pumping of liquid binary hydrocarbon mixtures (C10 C17) of known compositions into Niobrara samples, collecting of the effluents from the samples, and analysis of the compositions of the effluents. A specialized experimental setup that uses an in-line filter as a mini-core holder was built for this investigation. Niobrara samples were cored and machined into 0.5-inch diameter and 0.7-inch length mini-cores. Hydrocarbon mixtures were injected into the mini-cores and effluents were collected periodically and analyzed using gas chromatography (GC). After observing the membrane behavior of the mini-cores, CO2 huff-n-puff was performed at 600 psi, a pressure much lower than the miscibility pressure. CO2 was injected from the production side to soak the sample for a period, then the flow of the mixture was resumed and effluents were analyzed using GC. Experimental results show that CO2 huff-n-puff in several experiments noticeably mitigated the sieving of heavier component (C17). The observed increase in the fraction of C17 in the produced fluid can be either temporary or lasting. In most experiments, temporary increases in flow rates were also observed. Molecular dynamics simulation results suggest that, for a calcite surface in equilibrium with a binary mixture of C10 and C17, more C17 molecules adsorb on the carbonate surface than the C10 molecules. Once CO2 molecules are added to the system, CO2 displaces C10 and C17 from calcite. The experimentally observed increase in the fraction of C17 thus can be attributed to the release of adsorbed C17. This study suggests that surface effects play a significant role in affecting flows and compositions of fluids in tight formations. In unconventional oil reservoirs, observed enhanced recovery from CO2 huff-n-puff could be partly attributed to surface effects in addition to the recognized gas-liquid interaction mechanisms.
Use of diverters for altering fluid distribution among created hydraulic fractures in horizontal wells has gained popularity in recent years, both for initial and re-fracturing treatments. Aims in initial fracturing treatments have included creating more uniform distribution of slurry within the created fractures, increasing stage efficiency by reducing the number of pumping stages while increasing the number of clusters per stage, increasing the number of fractures created in openhole completions, reducing interactions between fractures in adjacent horizontal wells, etc. In re-fracturing treatments, a popular application is for altering fluid distribution in wells re-treated without isolation between stages (Pump & Pray/Bullheading) with the intent of increasing the number of re-activated fractures and initiating new fractures through added perforations.
Engineering analysis of the mechanics of fluid diversion has not received the same degree of attention as its use. The reported discussions are often limited in their scope, two-dimensional in structure, and somewhat speculative in their conclusions.
This paper divides the targets of diversion into three categories; at the wellbore/perfs, near wellbore, and deeper inside the fracture. It divides the types of diverters into three categories, mechanical, solid particulate (including proppants), and chemical. The applications are divided into two categories, initial and re-fracturing, together with highlighting their differences and requirements for successful diversion. The paper discusses how presence of proppant changes the fluid distribution in favor of more conductive perforations. It considers the fracture as a three-dimensional structure, extending on both sides of the wellbore. It describes how different diverting agents cause fluid redistribution between the fractures, and the important role of proppant in some applications. It shows that as the target of fluid diversion moves away from the wellbore the chances of its success become smaller and more unpredictable, while also the time before effective diversion takes place becomes longer.
Comprehensive understanding of the mechanics of fluid diversion helps in the selection of the type of diverter and how best to deploy it for achieving specific objectives and results.
Unal, Ebru (University of Houston) | Rezaei, Ali (University of Houston) | Siddiqui, Fahd (University of Houston) | Likrama, Fatmir (Halliburton) | Soliman, M. (University of Houston) | Dindoruk, Birol (Shell International Exploration and Production, Inc.)
In the last decade, technical advancements have greatly improved the design and execution efficiency of well completions, leading to improved recovery from unconventional reservoirs. However, analyzing fracture diagnostic tests in unconventional plays are still challenging due to high uncertainty in predictive capabilities in the context of fracture dynamics during treatment. The main objective of this study is to identify fracture behavior during injection and pressure fall-off periods in hydraulic fracturing treatments and diagnostic fracture injection tests (DFIT), respectively.
In this study, discrete wavelet transformation (DWT) was used to analyze real field injection and fall-off data in the wavelet domain. The analyzed data are from multi-stage hydraulic fracturing operations and DFIT in unconventional horizontal wells. DWT coefficients reveal very crucial information related to the nature of the events within recorded signals; they also reveal various patterns that are hard to recognize otherwise. The high-frequency components of the pressure and rate signals (detail coefficients) that are calculated by the wavelet transformation determine localization and separation of various events. We compared the identified events for injection and fall-off periods with moving reference point (MRP) and G-function analysis, respectively.
The main advantage of our proposed approach is that it is based on real-time data and does not require any assumptions related to existing or created fractures. Also, it is very sensitive to physical changes in the system; thus, it reveals hidden information related to those changes. Consequently, the energy of detail coefficients represents several events at different frequencies. We used pseudo-frequency of wavelet coefficients as a diagnostic tool for an accurate comparison of fracture propagation and fracture closure events to determine similarities and differences between them. For example, the signal energy of detail coefficients from the wavelet transformation of hydraulic fracturing data demonstrates abrupt frequency changes during dilation or fracture height growth during fracture propagation. Therefore, we were able to identify those events by energy density analysis in both time and pseudo-frequency domains in an objective manner, which otherwise was not possible with conventional methodologies such as G- function derivative analysis.
This paper details the successful methodology for effective implementation of a new fracture diagnostic technique for fracturing operations or DFITs in unconventional horizontal wells. This new fracture diagnostic method does not require any reservoir or fracture pre-assumptions; it mainly relies on the pressure behavior, which is a result of various events at different frequencies. Pressure fall-off behavior of a DFIT gives essential information related to closure event of the created mini-fracture. Identification of these events at different pseudo-frequency ranges improves the understanding of the dynamic fracture behavior also the characteristics of the reservoir. Unlike many other diagnostic techniques, this data-driven approach requires minimum input/data for analysis. This approach also lends itself to real-time application quite easily.
Cui, Xiaona (Texas A&M University and Northeast Petroleum University) | Song, Kaoping (China University of Petroleum - Beijing) | Yang, Erlong (Northeast Petroleum University) | Jin, Tianying (Texas A&M University) | Huang, Jingwei (Texas A&M University) | Killough, John (Texas A&M University) | Dong, Chi (Northeast Petroleum University)
The phase behavior shifts of hydrocarbons confined in nanopores have been extensively verified with experiments and molecular dynamics simulations. However, the impact of confinement on large-scale reservoir production is not fully understood. This work is to put forward a valid method to upscale the pore-scale fluid thermodynamic properties to the reservoir-scale and then incorporate it into our in-house compositional simulator to examine the effect of confinement on shale reservoir production.
Firstly, a pore-scale fluid phase behavior model is developed in terms of the pore type and pore size distribution (PSD) in the organic-rich shale reservoir using our modified Peng-Robinson equation of state (PR-C EOS) which is dependent on the size-ratio of fluid molecule dynamic diameter and the pore diameter. And the fluid composition distribution and PVT relation of fluids in each pore can be determined as the thermodynamic equilibria are achieved in the whole system. Results show that the initial fluid composition distribution is not uniform for different pore types and pore sizes. Due to the effect of confinement, heavier components are retained in the macropore, and lighter components are more liable to accumulate in the confined nanopores. Then an upscaled equation of state is put forward to model the fluid phase behavior at the reservoir-scale based on our modified PR-C EOS using a pore volume-weighted average method. This upscaled EOS is validated with the pore-scale fluid phase behavior simulation results and can be used for compositional simulation. Finally, two different reservoir fluids from the Eagle Ford organic-rich shale reservoir are simulated using our in-house compositional simulator to investigate the effect of confinement on production. In addition to the critical property shift which can be described by our upscaled PR-C EOS, capillary pressure is also taken into account into the compositional simulation. Results show that the capillary pressure has different effects on production in terms of the fluid type, leading to a lower producing Gas/Oil ratio (GOR) for black oil and a higher GOR for gas condensate. Critical property shift has a consistent effect on both the black oil and gas condensate, resulting in a lower GOR. It should be noted that the effect of capillary pressure on production is suppressed for both fluids with the shifted critical property.
The large independent put together a team of data scientists, software developers, and petrotechnical staff to create a forward-looking vision for how to use digital technology to solve problems. Baker Hughes is still a GE company, but it has partnered with a second company for artificial intelligence expertise, C3.ai. The deal is expected to speed the integration of AI into oilfield operations by the company which also markets GE’s device analytics platform, Predix. Marathon Oil says its shale fields are producing more oil and gas with less hands-on work from company personnel thanks to a growing arsenal of digital technologies and workflows. Malaysia’s Petronas, Shell Malaysia, and Thailand’s PTTEP are now in the midst of full-scale digital adoption.
Geochemical data measured on oil samples produced from wells landed in the Austin Chalk, the Eagle Ford Formation, and the Buda Formation and on petroleum samples sequentially extracted from Upper Eagle Ford and Lower Eagle Ford marl and calcareous shale core pucks using several solvents were used to estimate the amount and properties of producible oil, immobile adsorbed/dissolved oil, and non-producible bitumen in those core samples. Crushed core samples obtained from two monitor wells located on the San Marcos Arch where Eagle Ford source-rock beds have reached different levels of maturity were sequentially extracted using a weak solvent (cyclohexane; CH), two stronger solvents (toluene and DCM), and a very strong solvent (chloroform-methanol; CM). Similar geochemical data were measured on the core extracts (after heating them to evaporate the solvents), and on native and topped oil samples. The CH extracts exhibit n-alkane profiles characteristic of crude oil, but extracts obtained using stronger solvent do not resemble oil. C15-C35 HC compounds present in produced oils are more abundant in CH extracts (which principally contain producible oil and adsorbed/dissolved oil) than in extracts obtained using stronger solvents (which principally contain bitumen). The SARA composition of topped oil samples also is more similar to the composition of core extracts obtained using CH than extracts obtained using stronger solvents (which contain significantly more resins and asphaltenes). The extract obtained from lower-maturity marl core pucks using CH contains much more sulfur (≈4.4 wt%) than the CH extract obtained from more thermally mature marl core pucks (≈2.0 wt%). Calibrations between the API gravity, C7 temperature, and sulfur content of native and topped oil samples were used to estimate the gravity and sulfur content of core extracts obtained using different solvents. The amount of resin-rich immobile oil in the core extracts was estimated using reasonable assumptions about the composition of that component. The Lower Eagle Ford marl at the higher-maturity monitor well contains ≈0.35 wt% of ≈30-31°API producible oil and ≈0.27 wt% of non-producible bitumen. That reservoir contains only ≈0.12 wt% of ≈27°API producible oil and ≈0.38 wt% of non-producible bitumen at the lower-maturity monitor well. The LEF calcareous shale contains approximately the same amount of producible oil as the overlying marl at the more mature monitor well, but it contains much less non-producible bitumen (≈0.12 wt%).
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.
The Niobrara interval in the Denver-Julesberg (DJ) Basin contains several important unconventional hydrocarbon targets. However, the Niobrara is extensively faulted, which poses challenges for accurately landing and steering laterals in zone. Insight into small faulted structures in the Niobrara using traditional manual fault interpretation techniques is challenging because of the tuning thickness in seismic data. Fault throws less than the tuning thickness are difficult to interpret and incorporate into geosteering plans. Consequently, drillers frequently find themselves out of zone after crossing these small faults. Using independent information about fault locations and throws provided from multiple horizontal wells in the DJ Basin, this paper demonstrates the fault likelihood attribute (Hale, 2013) can resolve fault throws as small as 10 ft, allowing seismic-based well plans and unconventional project economics to be significantly improved.
Traditional geoscience data interpretation workflows in support of well planning can be tedious and time consuming, requiring manual fault picking on seismic profiles in conjunction with horizon tracing and gridding for structural mapping. The emergence of unconventional resource plays requires both more efficient geoscience workflows to support round-the-clock drilling operations and more detailed structural interpretations to help ensure laterals are steered along sweet spots. Pre-drill mapping of small-scale faults is therefore of particular importance for safe operations and helping ensure that lateral wells stay in zone.
Recent advances in fault-sensitive post-stack seismic attributes are changing the way subsurface professionals think about faults and how to map them in 3D space. In particular, the fault likelihood attribute (Hale, 2013) has provided a breakthrough improvement in the quality of seismic-derived fault attributes. Typically, the fault likelihood attribute is used in exploration settings to rapidly generate a broad-scale structural interpretation, being used both as a guide to manual fault interpretation and as input into automated fault extraction algorithms. This paper demonstrates the value of fault likelihood in development settings for assisting the well planning and geosteering process.
The completion design process for most horizontal wells in shale reservoirs has become a statistical evaluation process, rather than an engineering-based process. Our paper presents an alternative approach using an engineering approach to define the reservoir properties and the effectiveness of the fracture treatments. We then use these results in an economic analysis that allows the engineer to be predictive with respect to how capital is spent in the completion process.
This paper presents a methodology for both the evaluation of the reservoir and the design of the well completion where the engineer can make economic decisions and determine the change in the return on investment as a function of the change in capital expenditure. The engineer can then be able to “optimize” the completion and fracture treatment designs based on Net Present Value, Return on Investment or any other economic parameter desired. We use a rate transient analysis approach to estimate reservoir and fracture properties. We present case histories in the paper, and the interpretation of the production analyses of these case histories yields information about the formation permeability and the effective lengths and number of hydraulic fractures created during the completion process.
With knowledge of the reservoir and fracture properties in hand, the engineer can then determine the “optimum” completion design for future wells. This understanding can be achieved much quicker and for much less money than the cost to drill the number of wells necessary to make statistical analysis meaningful. The results of the case histories indicate that many completion designs are not in the “optimum” range. Too much capital is being spent increasing stage count when it should be going to increased effective length. The focus on early-time production has ignored the effect that more fractures has on ultimate recovery.
The results and conclusions in this paper will run contrary to much of the direction most unconventional completion designs have been evolving over the past 5 to 10 years. A much greater emphasis on achieving increased effective lengths will be demonstrated and that increased stage count can prove detrimental to economic success over the well's life. Processes in the paper will also prove valuable for smaller operators that do not have a large well counts that are usually required to achieve a meaningful statistical evaluation.