Monolayer Microproppant-Placement Quality Using Split-Core-Plug Permeability Measurements Under Stress

Kim, Brice Y. (Texas A&M University) | Akkutlu, I. Yucel (Texas A&M University) | Martysevich, Vladimir (Halliburton) | Dusterhoft, Ronald G. (Halliburton)


Brice Y. Kim and I. Yucel Akkutlu, Texas A&M University, and Vladimir Martysevich and Ronald G. Dusterhoft, Halliburton Summary The stress-dependent permeabilities of split shale core plugs from Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Barnett Formation samples are investigated in the presence of microproppants. An analytical permeability model is developed for the investigation, including the interactions between the fracture walls and monolayer microproppants under stress. The model is then used to analyze a series of pressure-pulsedecay measurements of the propped shale samples in the laboratory. The analysis provides the propped-fracture permeability of the samples and predicts a parameter related to the quality of the proppant areal distribution in the fracture. The proppant-placement quality can be used as a measure of success of the delivery of proppants into microfractures and to design stimulation experiments in the laboratory. Introduction Unconventional-oil/gas resources, such as tight gas/oil and resource shale, have low porosity and ultralow permeability. Creating a well-connected complex fracture network is a key component of increasing the permeability and accelerating production. The early era of hydraulic fracturing horizontal wells in unconventional formations was concerned with achieving long fractures with multistage treatments with large cluster spacing. However, recent trends in this type of well completion and stimulation involve fractures that are created in narrower clusters in much closer spacing, targeting larger surface areas. It is argued that the practice of hydraulic fracturing with narrow clusters in close spacing along a lateral wellbore creates fractures with significantly reduced sizes, but in a complex network (Rassenfoss 2017). The creation of a network of fractures includes major operational issues.