Petrophysical analysis of downhole logs requires accurate knowledge of matrix properties, commonly referred to as matrix adjustments. In organic-rich shale, the presence of abundant kerogen (solid and insoluble sedimentary organic matter) has a disproportionate impact on matrix properties because kerogen is compositionally distinct from all inorganic minerals that comprise the remainder of the solid matrix. As a consequence, matrix properties can be highly sensitive to kerogen properties. Moreover, the response of many downhole logs to kerogen is similar to their response to fluids. Relevant kerogen properties must be accurately known to separate tool responses to kerogen (in the matrix volume) and fluids (in the pore volume), to arrive at accurate volumetric interpretations. Unfortunately, relevant petrophysical properties of kerogen are poorly known in general and nearly always unknown in the formation of interest.
A robust method of “thermal maturity-adjusted log interpretation” replaces these unknown or assumed kerogen properties with a consistent set of relevant properties specifically optimized for the organic shale of interest, derived from only a single estimate of thermal maturity of the kerogen. The method is founded on the study of more than 50 kerogens spanning eight major oil- and gas-producing sedimentary basins, 300 Ma of depositional age, and thermal maturity from immature to dry gas (vitrinite reflectance, Ro, ranges from 0.5 to 4%). The determined kerogen properties include measured chemical (C, H, N, S, O) composition and skeletal (grain) density, as well as computed nuclear properties of apparent log density, hydrogen index, thermal- and epithermal-neutron porosities, macroscopic thermal-neutron capture cross section, macroscopic fast-neutron elastic scattering cross section, and photoelectric factor. For kerogens relevant to the petroleum industry (i.e., type II kerogen with thermal maturity ranging from early oil to dry gas), it is demonstrated that petrophysical properties are controlled mainly by thermal maturity, with no observable differences between sedimentary basins. As a result, universal curves are established relating kerogen properties to thermal maturity of the kerogen, and the curves apply equally well in all studied shale plays. Sensitivity calculations and field examples demonstrate the importance of using a consistent set of accurate kerogen properties in downhole log analysis. Thermal maturity-adjusted log interpretation provides a robust estimate of these properties, enabling more accurate and confident interpretation of porosity, saturation, and hydrocarbon in place in organic-rich shales.
Operators face the continuing challenge to improve drilling efficiency for cost containment, especially in deepwater drilling environments where drilling costs are significantly higher. Innovative drilling technologies have been developed and implemented continuously to support the initiative. In many areas of the world, including the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), hydrocarbon reservoirs exist below thick non-porous and impermeable sequences of salt that are considered a perfect cap rock. However, salt poses varied levels of drilling challenges due to its unique mechanical properties.
At ambient conditions, the unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of salt varies between 3,000 to 5,000 psi; however, the strain at failure for salt can be an order of magnitude higher when compared to other rocks. Consequently, during drilling salt's viscoelastic behavior requires that its must be broken with an inter-crystalline or trans-crystalline grain boundary breakage. When compared to other rock types, the unique isotropic nature of salt results in a level of strain that is much higher for the given elastic moduli. This strain level makes salt failure mechanics different from other rock types that are prevalent in the GOM.
Hybrid bits combine roller-cone and polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) cutting elements to perform a simultaneous on-bottom crushing / gouging and shearing action. Two divergent cutting mechanics pre-stresses the rock and apply high strain for deformation and displacement, resulting in highly efficient cutting mechanics. To meet the drilling objectives, different hybrid designs have been implemented to combine stability and aggressiveness for improved drilling efficiency. An operator, while drilling salt sections at record penetration rates, has successfully used this innovative process of rock failure utilizing the dual-cutting mechanics of hybrid bits. This has resulted in significant value additions for the operator.
This paper analyzes field-drilling data from successful GOM wells and attempts to correlate salt failure mechanics and provide insight into dual-cutting mechanics and its correlation with salt failure. The paper also reviews the drilling mechanics of hybrid bits in salt and highlights importance of dual-cutting mechanics for achieving higher penetration rates in salt through improved drilling efficiency.
Ba Geri, Mohammed (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Ellafi, Abdulaziz (University of North Dakota) | Flori, Ralph (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Noles, Jerry (Coil Chem LLC) | Kim, Sangjoon (Coil Chem LLC)
Viscoelastic property of high-viscosity friction reducers (HVFRs) was developed as an alternative fracturing fluid system because of advantages such as the ability to transport particles, higher fracture conductivity, and potential lower cost due to fewer chemicals and equipment on location. However, concerns remain about using HVFRs to transport proppant in DI water and harsh brine solution (e.g. 2wt% KCl and 10 lbs. brine). The primary objective of this study is to investigate the viscoelastic property that can help to understand the true proppant transporting capacity of fracturing fluids in high-TDS environment.
To address the evaluation performance of HVFRs, a comprehensive review of numerous papers associated to viscoelastic property of hydraulic fracturing fluids were investigated and summarized. This paper also provides a full comparison study of viscosity and elastic modulus between HVFRs and among fracturing fluids such as xanthan, polyacrylamide-based emulsion polymer, and guar. Moreover, viscosity profiles and elastic modulus were conducted at different temperatures. Better proppant transportation effect though higher viscosity through Stoke's law and the effect on proppant transportation from elastic modulus comparison were also investigated. Finally, HVFR Conductivity test and successful field test result were explained.
The results of the experimental work show that viscoelastic property HVFRs provides good behavior to transport proppant. Viscosity profile decreased slightly as the temperature increased from 75 to 150 when the DI water was used. While using 10 lbs. Brine the viscosity was reduced by 33%. The longer polymer chains of HVFR indicated better elastic modulus in DI water. The elastic modulus also indicated that the highest values at frequency 4.5 Hz from each amplitude, and lower values as amplitude was increased. Although high molecular weight HVFRs were utilized on the conductivity test, the results observed that the regained permeability was up to 110%. Finally, the promising results from the case study showed that using HVFRs could be performed economically and efficiently for the purpose of proppant transportation and pressure reduction in high TDS fluids.
Descriptive Analytics is the first step of a three-step data-driven analytics workflow used for managing and optimizing completion, production and recovery of shale wells. The comprehensive data-driven analytics workflow for the unconventional resources is called Shale Analytics (
Shale Descriptive Analytics takes into account seven categories of field measurements;
Two conclusions have been achieved as the result of this study.
This work proposes a novel boundary-element based approach to model fluid transport in unconventional shale gas reservoirs with complex hydraulic fracture networks. The fluid flow model employed in this work considers multiple fluid transport mechanisms identified in in gas transporting process in shale nanopores including diffusion, sorption Kinetics, Knudsen diffusion, and sorbed-phase surface diffusion. Accordingly, two governing partial differential equations (PDEs) are written for free and sorbed gases. In the proposed method, boundary integral formulations are analytically derived using the fundamental solution of the Laplace Equation for two governing nonlinear PDEs and Green's second identity. The domain integrals considering the nonlinear terms due to multi-mechanism effects, are transformed into boundary integrals employing the dual reciprocity method (DRM). The resulting boundary integral equations for free and sorbed gas later are solved in terms of a series of discrete nodes after coupling with fracture flow model. The validity of proposed solution is verified using several case studies through comparison with a commercial finite-element numerical simulator COMSOL.
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.
Initial rate and decline are the two main parameters defining the economics of unconventional shale oil development. To improve economics, companies drill longer horizontal wells with more than twenty equidistant stages, different completion strategies and various additives such as surfactants and nano surfactants. This procedure evolves to factory mode in which tasks are optimized in timing and performance without attention to the matrix aspects of improving the recovery. Here, we report the design of a mutual solvent injection pilot in the Vaca Muerta unconventional reservoir during the completion of four unconventional shale oil wells. Reducing
Vaca Muerta has been long regarded as a water wet shale because of the limited water backflow post-fracking job. Alternating water injection was implementing assuming that the well productivity is driven by spontaneous imbibition, but this strategy has been unsuccessful as capillary pressure hysteresis drives this mechanism. We started studying Vaca Muerta from the rock microstructure using energy-dispersive spectrometry and focused gallium Ion Beam ablation FIB SEM images. The microstructure varied widely from millimeters in the same plug which could be expected because in shale rocks millimeters represent more years of deposition than in a conventional reservoir. We identified intercalations of massive water wet zones and strongly oil wet zones in the Vaca Muerta kitchen zone. The oil wet intercalations have high porosity and adsorption isotherm indicating 100 to 1000 times more permeability than the water wet zone. The water wet intercalations are highly saturated with water, and on the contrary, the oil wet intercalations are highly saturated with oil. The pilot designed consisted of four wells in which we will test different injection concentrations but keeping the total mass constant. In this manner, we will estimate the volume contacted by the solvent.
The laboratory protocol indicates a large percentage of macro and meso-pores. We implemented the dimethyl-ether injection which changes the interfacial tension, viscosity and wettability and we obtained the modified relative permeabilities which were the injection of dimethyl ether at 30% concentration along with the hydraulic fracture stimulation stages doubled the initial oil production rate.
The pilot consisted of five wells in which we will test different injection concentrations but keeping the total mass constant. In this manner, using the numerical simulation, we will estimate the volume contacted by the solvent.
Intercalations of high porosity high permeabilities zones in which the injection of a mutual solvent that reduces viscosity and could change wettability in oil wet/water-wet Vaca Muerta improving matrix connectivity.
Al-Alwani, Mustafa A. (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Britt, Larry K. (NSI Fracturing) | Dunn-Norman, Shari (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Alkinani, Husam H. (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Al-Hameedi, Abo Taleb T. (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Al-Attar, Atheer M. (Enterprise Products)
The goal of any hydraulic fracturing stimulation is to design and execute the appropriate treatment that is best suited for the stimulated reservoir. Selecting the best treatment must achieve the desired fracture geometry to maximize long-term well productivity and reserve recovery. The main objective of this study is to conduct detailed short and long-term production and well-to-well comparisons of the different types of fracture stimulation fluids in the Marcellus Shale play.
A database of more than 4,000 wells was integrated for this study. The wells were divided into four groups: water, gel, cross-linked, and hybrid fracs. Chemical data from FracFocus were gathered and processed then coupled with completion and production data to investigate the gas short and long-term production. Detailed monthly production data for the participating wells were captured from DrillingInfo database and utilized in this study.
This paper reports and compares the Marcellus gas initial production, the gas cumulative of the first month, first 6 months, first year, 2 years, and 5 years. The well productivity is tied to each hydraulic fracturing fluid type. The paper provides insights into the different completion trends in the Marcellus as well as the variations in stimulation parameters such as the volume of stimulation fluid and the amount of pumped proppants. The completion aspects of perforated lateral length are also taken into consideration and a comparison of the normalized production and stimulation parameters is also presented. The study shows that water fracturing fluids outperformed the other types of hydraulic fracturing fluids.
This paper introduces several data processing workflows that serve as a reference for individuals who are interested in mining and processing FracFocus database. It also documents the change in hydraulic fracturing fluid types and measures the effects of the fracturing fluid volume and total proppant pumped on the initial and cumulative production.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) injection has recently been applied as an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) method to increase oil recovery from unconventional shale reservoirs. Many interactions will impact the success or failure of this EOR method. This research experimentally investigates the impact of two of these interactions, including asphaltene pore plugging and CO2 adsorption, on the success of CO2 EOR in unconventional shale reservoirs. Two sets of experiments were designed to study the asphaltene pore plugging and CO2 adsorption. The impact of varying CO2 injection pressure, temperature, oil viscosity, and filter membrane pore size on asphaltene pore plugging was investigated. Pertaining to the adsorption experiments, the impact of varying CO2 injection pressure, temperature, and shale particle size was investigated. Asphaltene pore plugging was found to be extremely severe especially in the smaller pore sizes, which indicates that asphaltene poses a serious problem when producing from unconventional nanopores. As the oil viscosity decreased, the asphaltene concentration in the oil decreased as well which made the asphaltene pore plugging less severe in the lower viscosity oils. The thermodynamic conditions, including pressure and temperature, also had a strong impact on asphaltene stability and pore plugging. When undergoing the CO2 adsorption experiments, it was found that increasing the CO2 injection pressure resulted in an increase in adsorption capacity to a certain limit beyond which no further adsorption will be possible. Increasing the temperature resulted in the CO2 molecules becoming highly active which in turn resulted in a decrease in the adsorption capacity significantly. Since experiments were conducted using shale particles, as opposed to an actual shale core, it was important to investigate the accuracy of the results by varying the shale particle size. It was found that as long as the void space volume was measured accurately using helium, the shale particle size had a negligible effect on the adsorption values. This research systematically investigates the impact of two significant interactions on the success of CO2 injection in unconventional shale reservoirs, and studies the impact of several factors within these interactions to determine the extent to which they may influence the success of this EOR method.
Development of reliable models for hydrocarbon-in-place and water saturation estimation requires knowledge about wettability of mudrocks and the parameters (including rock properties and reservoir condition) affecting it. A significant volume fraction of organic-rich mudrocks is composed of kerogen. Therefore, wettability of kerogen affects the overall wettability of organic-rich mudrocks. The chemical composition and structure of kerogen varies with kerogen type and thermal maturity, which affects the surface properties of kerogen such as wettability. In a recent publication, we demonstrated using experimental techniques that kerogen could be water-wet at low thermal maturities and oil-wet at higher thermal maturities. However, the impacts of kerogen type and reservoir temperature/pressure conditions on kerogen and mudrock wettability is yet to be quantified. Therefore, the objectives of this paper include (i) quantifying the impacts of kerogen molecular structure and composition on water adsorption capacities, (ii) quantifying the impacts of reservoir pressure and temperature on water adsorption capacity of kerogen using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations.
In order to achieve the aforementioned objectives, we use a combination of molecular dynamics simulations and experimental work. The inputs to the molecular dynamics simulations include realistic models of kerogen, which are condensed to porous kerogen structures. Water molecules are filled in kerogen pore structure and MD simulation is performed. The outputs of the simulations include radial distribution function (RDF), and adsorption isotherms of water on kerogen for different kerogen types, thermal maturities, and temperature conditions. The adsorption processes are modelled for pressure and temperature conditions ranging from 0 to 35 MPa and 320 to 370 K, respectively. The outcomes of molecular dynamics simulations demonstrated that the water adsorption capacities of kerogen vary significantly with kerogen type, thermal maturity, and temperature and pressure conditions. The RDF results showed that the water adsorption capacity decreased from type I to type III kerogen. The water adsorption capacity of kerogen was found to increase by 128% with 38% increase in oxygen content. The increase in the adsorption capacity was attributed to the strong attraction between oxygen containing functional groups in kerogen and water. The adsorption isotherms of water and kerogen samples showed that the water adsorption capacity decreased by 0.19 mmol/g as the temperature increased from 320 K to 370 K. The average water adsorption capacity of kerogen was found to increase by 20% with increase in pressure by 34 MPa. The results obtained from molecular dynamics simulations were found to be in good agreement with experimental results. The results of this paper can be used to predict the adsorption capacities of any kerogen with the availability of geochemical information. This important property of kerogen is required for estimating kerogen wettability and can enhance understanding of fluid-flow mechanisms in organic-rich mudrocks.