PEH:Hydraulic Fracturing - PetroWiki


Introduction The first hydraulic fracturing treatment was pumped in 1947 on a gas well operated by Pan American Petroleum Corp. in the Hugoton field.[1] Kelpper Well No. 1, located in Grant County, Kansas, was a low-productivity well, even though it had been acidized. The well was chosen for the first hydraulic fracture stimulation treatment so that hydraulic fracturing could be compared directly with acidizing. Since that first treatment in 1947, hydraulic fracturing has become a common treatment for stimulating the productivity of oil and gas wells. Hydraulic fracturing is the process of pumping a fluid into a wellbore at an injection rate that is too great for the formation to accept in a radial flow pattern. As the resistance to flow in the formation increases, the pressure in the wellbore increases to a value that exceeds the breakdown pressure of the formation open to the wellbore. Once the formation "breaks down," a fracture is formed, and the injected fluid begins moving down the fracture. In most formations, a single, vertical fracture is created that propagates in two directions from the wellbore. These fracture "wings" are 180 apart and normally are assumed to be identical in shape and size at any point in time; however, in actual cases, the fracture wing dimensions may not be identical. In naturally fractured or cleated formations, it is possible that multiple fractures can be created and propagated during a hydraulic fracture treatment. Fluid that does not contain any propping agent (called the "pad") is injected to create a fracture that grows up, out, and down, and creates a fracture that is wide enough to accept a propping agent.