Microseismic Monitoring of Fracture Networks During Hydraulic Stimulation: Beyond Event Locations

Kendall, Michael (University of Bristol) | Verdon, James P. (University of Bristol) | Baird, Alan (ESG Solutions) | Wuestefeld, Andreas (Los Alamos Natl. Lab) | Rutledge, James T.


The successful exploitation of tight-gas reservoirs requires fracture networks, sometimes naturally occurring, often hydraulically stimulated. Borehole microseismic data acquired in such environments hold great promise for characterising such fractures or sweet spots. The loci of seismic events delineate active faults and reveal fracture development in response to stimulation. However, a great deal more can be extracted from these microseismic data. For example, inversions of shear-wave splitting data provide a robust means of mapping fracture densities and preferred orientations, useful information for drilling programs. They can also be used to track temporal variations in fracture compliances, which are indicative of fluid flow and enhanced permeability in response to stimulation. Furthermore, the frequency-dependent nature of shear-wave splitting is very sensitive to size of fractures and their fluidfill composition. Here we demonstrate the feasibility of using such analysis of shear-wave splitting measurements on data acquired during hydraulic stimulation of a tight-gas sandstone in the Cotton Valley field in Carthage, West Texas.