Measuring Fracture Network Pressures During Fracturing and Production in Unconventionals in Saudi Arabia

Rueda, Jose (Saudi Aramco) | Valbuena, Jose (Saudi Aramco) | Baki, Sohrat (Saudi Aramco) | Mechkak, Karim (Saudi Aramco) | Mohannad, Mahfouz (Saudi Aramco) | Momin, Ali (Saudi Aramco) | Mulhim, Nayef (Saudi Aramco)



There is little understanding on how the fracture networks in unconventional source plays, commonly referred as Stimulated Reservoir Volumes (SRV), grow with distance and time during the fracturing jobs and connect other offset laterals with or without hydraulically created SRVs. Understanding of this connectivity with offset wells helps on defining the distance among the laterals to avoid any potential negative impact during fracturing and production.

In Jafurah field, several pads have been used to monitor pressures during the fracturing jobs (crosslinked, hybrids and slickwater) and flowbacks. This provides a unique way of measuring the fracturing network pressures at different distances for the initial life of the wells, starting from the generation of the fracture system up to pressures responses due to the production of offset wells.

This paper summarizes the layout and technologies used in a series of pads to understand the connectivity among the wells. Bottom-hole and surface pressures were collected during frac and production in the pads. Also, the outer wells on the pads were monitored from offset contiguous pads. Once the pressure data was synchronized in the different events during fracturing, pressures are plotted to determine the level of pressure disturbance with time. Simultaneously, the absolute values are compared with the minimum stresses, re-opening pressures of natural fractures, and the vertical stresses from the area to determine if the fracture network is reaching the monitor wells and stimulating them. Pressures and derivative behavior are also plotted during the production of the offset wells, to see the level of interference during the initial production, and how the intensity changes as function of time.

It was observed in all the pads that pressures in the monitor wells during the fracturing jobs have four periods: 1) no pressure disturbance is observed (compressibility effects); 2) pressure slowly increases up to equivalent minimum stress (closure pressure); 3) pressure continues increasing from the minimum horizontal stress up to re-opening pressure of the natural fracture systems; and 4) pressure stays above the natural frac re-opening pressure but below the vertical stresses (overburden). It can be seen that pressures in the monitor wells present a cumulative effect, suggesting a generation of fracture systems all hydraulically communicating. This paper will present the different levels of interference observed in the pads as a function of frac types, distance to the monitor wells, and existence of hydraulic fracture in the monitor area. The methodology can investigate interference in unconventional wells during the fracturing treatments and production. This approach will help in understanding how the fracture networks in unconventionals grow and connect to other offset wells.