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.
Rosenhagen, Nicolas M. (Colorado School of Mines) | Nash, Steven D. (Anadarko Petroleum Corporation) | Dobbs, Walter C. (Anadarko Petroleum Corporation) | Tanner, Kevin V. (Anadarko Petroleum Corporation)
The volume of stimulation fluid injected during hydraulic fracturing is a key performance driver in the horizontal development of the Niobrara formation in the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin, Colorado. Oil production per well generally increases with stimulation fluid volume. Often, operators normalize both production and fluid volume based on stimulated lateral length and investigate relationships using "per-ft" variables. However, data from well-based approaches commonly display such wide distributions that no useful relationships can be inferred. To improve data correlations, multivariate analysis normalizes for parameters such as thermal maturity, depth, depletion, proppant intensity, drawdown, geology and completion design. Although advancements in computing power have decreased cycle times for multivariate analysis, preparing a clean dataset for thousands of wells remains challenging. A proposed analytical method using publicly available data allows interpreters to see through the noise and find informative correlations.
Using a data set of over 5000 wells, we aggregate cumulative oil production and stimulation fluid volumes to a per-section basis then normalize by hydrocarbon pore volume (HCPV) per section. Dimensionless section-level Cumulative Oil versus Stimulation Fluid Plots ("Normalization" or "N-Plot") present data distributions sufficiently well-defined to provide an interpretation and design basis of well spacing and stimulation fluid volumes for multi-well development. When coupled with geologic characterization, the trends guide further refinement of development optimization and well performance predictions.
Two example applications using the N-Plot are introduced. The first involves construction of predictive production models and associated evaluation of alternative development scenarios with different combinations of well spacing and completion fluid intensity. The second involves "just-in-time" modification of fluid intensity for drilled but uncompleted wells (DUC's) to optimize cost-forward project economics in an evolving commodity price environment.
In some basins, large scale development of unconventional stacked-target plays requires early election of well targeting and spacing. Changes to the initial well construction framework can take years to implement due to lead times for land, permitting, and corporate planning. Over time, as operators wish to fine tune their development plans, completion design flexibility represents a powerful force for optimization. Hydraulic fracturing treatment plans may be adjusted and customized close to the time of investment.
With a practical approach that takes advantage of physics-based modeling and data analysis, we demonstrate how to create a high-confidence, integrated well spacing and completion design strategy for both frontier and mature field development. The Dynamic Stimulated Reservoir Volume (DSRV) workflow forms the backbone of the physics-based approach, constraining simulations against treatment, flow-back, production, and pressure-buildup (PBU) data. Depending on the amount of input data available and mechanisms investigated, one can invoke various levels of rigor in coupling geomechanics and fluid flow – ranging from proxies to full iterative coupling.
To answer spacing and completions questions in the Denver Basin, also known as the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin, we extend this modeling workflow to multi-well, multi-target, and multi-variate space. With proper calibration, we are able generate production performance predictions across the field for a range of subsurface, well spacing, and completion scenarios. Results allow us to co-optimize well spacing and completion size for this multi-layer column. Insights about the impacts of geology and reservoir conditions highlight the potential for design customization across the play. Results are further validated against actual data using an elegant multi-well surveillance technique that better illuminates design space.
Several elements of subsurface characterization potentially impact the interactions among design variables. In particular, reservoir fluid property variations create important effects during injection and production. Also, both data analysis and modeling support a key relationship involving well spacing and the efficient creation of stimulated reservoir volumes. This relationship provides a lever that can be utilized to improve value based on corporate needs and commodity price. We introduce these observations to be further tested in the field and models.
A hybrid-hydraulic-fracture (HHF) model composed of (1) complex discrete fracture networks (DFNs) and (2) planar fractures is proposed for modeling the stimulated reservoir volume (SRV). Modeling the SRV is complex and requires a synergetic approach between geophysics, petrophysics, and reservoir engineering. The objective of this paper is to characterize and evaluate the SRV in nine horizontal multilaterals covering the Muskwa, Otter Park, and Evie Formations in the Horn River Shale in Canada, with a view to match their production histories and to evaluate the effectiveness and potential problems of the multistage hydraulic-fracturing jobs performed in the nine laterals.
To accomplish this goal, the HHF model is run in a numerical-simulation model to evaluate the SRV performance in planar and complex fracture networks using good-quality microseismicity data collected during 75 stages of hydraulic fracturing (out of 145 stages performed in nine laterals). The fracture-network geometry for each hydraulic-fracture (HF) stage is developed on the basis of microseismicity observations and the limits obtained in the fracture-propagation modeling. Post-fracturing production is appraised with rate-transient analysis (RTA) for determining effective permeability under flowing conditions. Results are compared with the HHF simulation and the hydraulic-fracturing design.
The HHF modeling of the SRV leads to a good match of the post-fracturing production history. The HHF simulation indicates interference between stages. The vertical connectivity in the reservoir is larger than the horizontal connectivity. This is interpreted to be the result of the large height achieved by HFs, and the absence of barriers between the formations.
It is concluded that the HHF model is a valuable tool for evaluating hydraulic-fracturing jobs and the SRV in shales of the Horn River Basin in Canada. Because of the generality of the Horn River application, the same approach might have application in other shale gas reservoirs around the world.
Among the Society of Petroleum Engineers' (SPE) more than 124,000 professional and student members are those whose outstanding contributions to SPE and the petroleum industry merit special distinction. Each year, SPE confers its highest honors and awards upon such exceptional professionals. Recipients of the 2014 SPE international awards will be recognized at the Annual Reception and Banquet held Tuesday 28 October, and SPE Distinguished Members will be honored at the President's Luncheon, Wednesday 29 October. Both events occur during the 2014 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Honorary Membership is conferred on individuals for outstanding service to SPE and/or in recognition of distinguished scientific or engineering achievement in fields encompassed in SPE's technical scope. Adam T. Bourgoyne, Jr. is president at Bourgoyne Enterprises and Bourgoyne Engineering, both located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He started his career working during the summers of 1963 through 1968 as an intern at Mobil Oil Company, Texaco, Chevron Oil Research Laboratory, and Continental Oil Research Laboratory. He was hired as a senior systems engineer with Continental Oil Company starting in 1969 and, after joining Louisiana State University's College of Engineering in 1971, later went on to become the college's dean. He also served as director of the LSU Petroleum Engineering Research and Technology Transfer Laboratory from 1987 to 1990. Bourgoyne received the SPE Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Educators in 1981 and served on the SPE Board of Directors from 1984 to 1987. In 1986 he wrote the first SPE textbook on drilling engineering, Applied Drilling Engineering. The book is still a popular title today and Bourgoyne has chosen to donate the royalties to the SPE Foundation to keep the price low. He received the SPE Drilling Engineering Award in 1989 and became a Distinguished Member in 1990. Bourgoyne served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer (DL) during 1997–98, delivering the presentation "Well Control Aspects of Underbalanced Drilling."
This paper presents construction and validation of a reservoir model for the Niobrara and Codell Formations in Wattenberg Field of the Denver-Julesburg Basin. Characterization of Niobrara-Codell system is challenging because of the geologic complexity resulting from the presence of numerous faults. Because of extensive reservoir stimulation via multistage hydraulic fracturing, a dual-porosity model was adopted to represent the various reservoir complexities using data from geology, geophysics, petrophysics, well completion and production. After successful history matching two-and-half years of reservoir performance, the localized presence of high intensity macrofractures and resulting evolution of gas saturation was correlated with the time-lapse seismic and microseismic interpretations. The agreement between the evolved free gas saturation in the fracture system and the seismic anomalies and microseismic events pointed to the viability of the dual-porosity modeling as a tool for forecasting and future reservoir development, such as re-stimulation, infill drilling, and enhanced oil recovery strategies.
The economic boundaries of the Williston Basin are being expanded with improved practices. This paper discusses advances in reservoir characterization coupled with the implementation of refined stimulation techniques that have achieved strongly compelling results in an area of the Williston Basin that was previously perceived to be marginally economic.
After more than a decade of intense development, the remaining undrilled acreage in the core of the Bakken has been drastically reduced. Consequently, there is strong motivation to identify additional economically viable drilling locations. Hydraulic fracturing treatments incorporating increased volumes of fluid and proppant in more closely spaced clusters have successfully increased well productivity in many resource plays across the industry. The contemporary slickwater and slickwater hybrid designs implemented in the Bakken have spurred a renaissance of continued development throughout the basin. While these increasingly large frac treatments improve well productivity, in some parts of the basin the high treatment expenses and resulting elevated watercuts challenge the economic viability of development.
Rote application of the "bigger is better" completion strategies developed for the core of the basin has been unsuccessful in some portions of the Bakken. This paper describes the unique geologic characteristics of the study area and the stimulation strategy that has been adapted to accommodate the geologic differences while achieving excellent economic results. Implementation of completion designs tailored to the area has yielded a 300 to 400% production increase compared to offset wells. This "right sized" completion strategy customized for the area achieved highly productive wells with substantially lower capital costs than were budgeted based on strategies currently popular in the core of the Bakken. Although treatment designs continue to evolve and additional improvements are anticipated, the summary of experimentation and learnings from seven sequential wells may be helpful to others pursuing assets considered "marginal".
Unconventional completions in North America have seen a paradigm shift in volumes of proppant pumped since 2014. There is a clear noticeable trend in both oil prices and proppant volumes – thanks to low product and service costs that accompanied the oil price crash in early 2015. As the industry continues to recover, operators are reevaluating completion designs to understand if these proppant volumes are beyond what is optimal. This paper analyzes trends in completion sizes and types across all major unconventional oil and gas plays in the US since 2011 and tracks their impact on well productivity.
Completion and production data since 2011 from more than 70,000 horizontal wells in seven major basins (Gulf Coast, Permian, Appalachian, Anadarko, Haynesville, Williston and Denver Julesburg basins) and 11 major oil/gas producing formations were analyzed to examine developments in proppant and fluid volumes. Average concentration of proppant per gallon of fluid pumped was used to understand transitional trends in fracturing fluid types with time. Production performance indicators such as First month, Best 3 or Best 12 months of oil and gas production were mapped against completion volumes to evaluate if there are added economic advantages to pumping larger designs.
In general, all major basins have seen progressive improvements in average well performance since 2011, with the Permian Basin showing the highest improvement, increasing from an average first-six-months oil production of 25,000 bbl in 2011 to 75,000 bbl in 2017. The Gulf Coast basin, where the Eagle Ford formation is located, has seen a 6-fold increase in proppant volumes pumped per foot of lateral since 2011 while the Permian and Appalachian basins hit peak proppant volumes in 2015 and 2016 respectively. In Permian and Eagleford wells, higher proppant volumes in general have resulted in better production up to a certain concentration. In Williston and Denver basins, most operators are moving away from gelled fluids, and reduced average proppant concentration per fluid volume pumped shows inclination toward hybrid or slickwater designs. While some of these observations are tied to reservoir quality, proppant volumes have begun to peak as operators have either reached an optimal point or are in the process of reducing volumes.
Demand for proppant is expected to nearly double by 2020. As oil prices continue to recover, well AFEs continue to increase, despite multiple efforts to improve capital efficiency. The need for enhanced fracture conductivity and extended half-lengths on EURs are been discussed by combining actual observed production data and sensitivities using calibrated production models. The industry is moving toward large-volume slickwater fracturing operations using smaller proppants, but he operating landscape is expected to see a correction when such designs become less economical.
This paper was prepared for presentation at the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas, USA, 23-25 July 2018. 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. Abstract In unconventional resource plays, constructing a sound geological model that ties various well information is imperative for properly extracting and integrating well and seismic information and for predictive and prescriptive analytic workflows. Unlike conventional plays, unconventional plays that span basins have potentially tens of thousands of wells.
Large-scale features are weaker and have similar dimensions to a typical hydraulic fracture. But is it beneficial to stimulate these features and what are the potential consequences? An analysis of structural features from the Marcellus and Duvernay formations has been undertaken, with static characterization (seismic, image logs and outcrops), dynamic characterization (fracture diagnostics and well performance) and geomechanical modeling; ultimately to understand whether, in the presence of structural features, any field development decisions might get impacted. Outcrop analogues demonstrate how strain is distributed in intrinsically layered media, such as shale. Therefore a shale may preferentially fold above a fault.