Low-Cost Measurement of Hydraulic Fracture Dimensions Using Pressure Data in Treatment and Observation Wells – A Workflow for Every Well

Nicholson, A. Kirby (Pressure Diagnostics Ltd.) | Bachman, Robert C. (Pressure Diagnostics Ltd.) | Scherz, R. Yvonne (Endeavor Energy Resources) | Hawkes, Robert V. (Cordax Evaluation Technologies Inc.)


Abstract Pressure and stage volume are the least expensive and most readily available data for diagnostic analysis of hydraulic fracturing operations. Case history data from the Midland Basin is used to demonstrate how high-quality, time-synchronized pressure measurements at a treatment and an offsetting shut-in producing well can provide the necessary input to calculate fracture geometries at both wells and estimate perforation cluster efficiency at the treatment well. No special wellbore monitoring equipment is required. In summary, the methods outlined in this paper quantifies fracture geometries as compared to the more general observations of Daneshy (2020) and Haustveit et al. (2020). Pressures collected in Diagnostic Fracture Injection Tests (DFITs), select toe-stage full-scale fracture treatments, and offset observation wells are used to demonstrate a simple workflow. The pressure data combined with Volume to First Response (Vfr) at the observation well is used to create a geometry model of fracture length, width, and height estimates at the treatment well as illustrated in Figure 1. The producing fracture length of the observation well is also determined. Pressure Transient Analysis (PTA) techniques, a Perkins-Kern-Nordgren (PKN) fracture propagation model and offset well Fracture Driven Interaction (FDI) pressures are used to quantify hydraulic fracture dimensions. The PTA-derived Farfield Fracture Extension Pressure, FFEP, concept was introduced in Nicholson et al. (2019) and is summarized in Appendix B of this paper. FFEP replaces Instantaneous Shut-In Pressure, ISIP, for use in net pressure calculations. FFEP is determined and utilized in both DFITs and full-scale fracture inter-stage fall-off data. The use of the Primary Pressure Derivative (PPD) to accurately identify FFEP simplifies and speeds up the analysis, allowing for real time treatment decisions. This new technique is called Rapid-PTA. Additionally, the plotted shape and gradient of the observation-well pressure response can identify whether FDI's are hydraulic or poroelastic before a fracture stage is completed and may be used to change stage volume on the fly. Figure 1: Fracture Geometry Model with FDI Pressure Matching Case studies are presented showing the full workflow required to generate the fracture geometry model. The component inputs for the model are presented including a toe-stage DFIT, inter-stage pressure fall-off, and the FDI pressure build-up. We discuss how to optimize these hydraulic fractures in hindsight (look-back) and what might have been done in real time during the completion operations given this workflow and field-ready advanced data-handling capability. Hydraulic fracturing operations can be optimized in real time using new Rapid-PTA techniques for high quality pressure data collected on treating and observation wells. This process opens the door for more advanced geometry modeling and for rapid design changes to save costs and improve well productivity and ultimate recovery.

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