3D Hydraulic-Fracture Simulation Integrated With 4D Time-Lapse Multicomponent Seismic and Microseismic Interpretations, Wattenberg Field, Colorado

Alfataierge, Ahmed (Colorado School of Mines) | Miskimins, Jennifer L. (Colorado School of Mines) | Davis, Thomas L. (Colorado School of Mines) | Benson, Robert D. (Colorado School of Mines)


A. Alfataierge, J. L. Miskimins, T. L. Davis, and R. D. Benson, Colorado School of Mines Summary The 3D hydraulic-fracture-simulation modeling was integrated with 4D time-lapse seismic and microseismic data to evaluate the efficiency of hydraulic-fracture treatments within a 1 sq mile well-spacing test of Wattenberg Field, Colorado. Eleven wells were drilled, stimulated, and produced from the Niobrara and Codell unconventional reservoirs. Seismic monitoring through 4D time-lapse multicomponent seismic data was acquired by prehydraulic fracturing, post-hydraulic fracturing, and after 2 years of production. A hydraulic-fracture-simulation model using a 3D numerical simulator was generated and analyzed for hydraulic-fracturing efficiency and interwell fracture interference between the 11 wells. The 3D hydraulic-fracture simulation is validated using observations from microseismic and 4D multicomponent [compressional-wave (P-wave) and shear-wave (S-wave)] seismic interpretations. The validated 3D simulation results reveal that variations in reservoir properties (faults, rock-strength parameters, and in-situ stress conditions) influence and control hydraulic-fracturing geometry and stimulation efficiency. The integrated results are used to optimize the development of the Niobrara Formation within Wattenberg Field. The valuable insight obtained from the integration is used to optimize well spacing, increase reserves recovery, and improve production performance by highlighting intervals with bypassed potential within the Niobrara. The methods used within the case study can be applied to any unconventional reservoir. Introduction The Niobrara Formation is an organic-rich, self-sourcing unit composed of carbonate deposits in the form of alternating layers of chalks and marls. The Niobrara resource play is typically compared with the Eagle Ford Shale because of its high carbonate content. Early production can be dated back to 1976 from vertical wells in Wattenberg Field, although development was not deemed commercially viable at the time (Sonnenberg 2013). The shale play has become more attractive because of horizontal drilling and multistage hydraulic fracturing, allowing the Niobrara to be developed with overall success in the Denver-Julesburg Basin since 2009. The Niobrara Formation extends into several basins within the central USA involving Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas.

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