Assessing the Spacing of Stages in Plug and Perf Completions Through Seismic Moment Tensor Inversion

Baig, Adam (ESG Engineering Seismology Group) | Urbancic, Theodore I. (ESG) | Mace, Kaitlyn Christine (Engineering Seismology Group) | Prince, Marc (ESG Engineering Seismology Group)


Hydraulic fracture completions seek to balance spacing of treatment wells and perforation clusters in order to minimize the costs of drilling wells and pumping fluids and proppant downhole while promoting the development of a discrete fracture network to connect even the most isolated pockets of hydrocarbon. To this end, numerous strategies for well completions have been proposed, such as avoiding the overlap of treatment volumes between adjacent wells and/or stages because of the risk that proppant and fluid will preferentially be diverted into earlier treated volumes. In counterpoint, it has also been suggested that the creation of new fractures in a previously treated volume promotes a complex fracture network enhancing drainage. When these stimulations are monitored from multiple arrays surrounding the treatment zone, seismic moment tensor inversion (SMTI) offers the ability to test these hypotheses by inferring if the events represent the opening of fractures or closure of pre-existing natural or newly created fractures. In this paper, we discuss two different completion programs. One common thread between the two data sets is that observed event clusters occur with a significant degree of overlap between neighbouring stages. Both completions were monitored with optimal multi-array configurations allowing for the calculation of SMTI with a high degree of robustness. The first stages in both examples showed significant opening components of failure. Neighbouring subsequent stages show closure events in the overlapping regions suggesting that the previously opened fractures were now closing due to local re-orientations of the stress-strain field stress induced by the later injection over-printing the region of overlap. Based on these analyses, it can be suggested that the moment tensor response can be used to identify the effective spacing for perforation clusters and establish optimal stimulation programs, which could include setting fracture ports farther apart.