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Abstract In this case study, we apply a novel fracture imaging and interpretation workflow to take a systematic look at hydraulic fractures captured during thorugh fracture coring at the Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site (HFTS) in Midland Basin. Digital fracture maps rendered using high resolution 3D laser scans are analyzed for fracture morphology and roughness. Analysis of hydraulic fracture faces show that the roughness varies systematically in clusters with average cluster separation of approximately 20' along the core. While isolated smooth hydraulic fractures are observed in the dataset, very rough fractures are found to be accompanied by proximal smoother fractures. Roughness distribution also helps understand the effect of stresses on fracture distribution. Locally, fracture roughness seems to vary with fracture orientations indicating possible inter-fracture stress effects. At the scale of stage lengths however, we see evidence of inter-stage stress effects. We also observe fracture morphology being strongly driven by rock properties and changes in lithology. Identified proppant distribution along the cored interval is also correlated with roughness variations and we observe strong positive correlation between proppant concentrations and fracture roughness at the local scale. Finally, based on the observed distribution of hydraulic fracture properties, we propose a conceptual spatio-temporal model of fracture propagation which can help explain the hydraulic fracture roughness distribution and ties in other observations as well.
Abstract Fracture growth in layered formations with depth-dependent properties has been a topic of interest amongst researchers because of its critical influence on well performance. This paper revisits some of the existing height-growth models and discusses the evaluation process of a new and modified model developed after incorporating additional constraints.The net-pressure is the primary driver behind fracture propagation and the pressure distribution in the fracture plays an important role in vertical propagation, as it supplies the necessary energy for fracture advancement in the presence of opposing forces. The workflow adopted for this study included developing a preliminary model that solves a system of non-linear equations iteratively to arrive at fracture height versus net pressure mapping. The theoretical results were then compared to those available in the literature. The solution set was then extended to a 100-layer model after incorporating additional constraints using superposition techniques.The predicted outcomes were finally compared to the fracture height observations made in the field on several treatments. A reasonable agreement between model-predicted and observed height was observed when a comparison between the two was made, for most cases.The majority of these treatments were pumped in vertical wells, at low injection rates of up to 8.0 bbl/min (0.021 m/s) where net pressures were intentionally restricted to 250 psi (1.72 MPa) in order to prevent fracture rotation to the horizontal plane.The leak-off was minimal given the low permeability formations. In some cases, however, the pumping parameters and fluid imparted pressure distribution appeared to dominate. Overall, it was apparent that for a slowly advancing fracture front, which is the case in low injection rate treatments, the fracture height could be predicted with reasonable accuracy. This condition could also be met in high rate treatments pumped down multiple perforation clusters such as in horizontal wells, though fracture-height measurement may not be as straightforward as in vertical wells. The model developed under the current study is suitable for vertical wells where fracture treatments are pumped at low injection rates. The solid-mechanics solution that is presented here is independent of pumping parameters and can be readily implemented to assist in selection of critical design parameters prior to the job, with a wide range of applicability worldwide.
Abstract Recovery factor for multi-fractured horizontal wells (MFHWs) at development spacing in tight reservoirs is closely related to the effective horizontal and vertical extents of the hydraulic fractures. Direct measurement of pressure depletion away from the existing producers can be used to estimate the extent of the hydraulic fractures. Monitoring wells equipped with downhole gauges, DFITs from multiple new wells close to an existing (parent) well, and calculation of formation pressure from drilling data are among the methods used for pressure depletion mapping. This study focuses on acquisition of pressure depletion data using multi-well diagnostic fracture injection tests (DFITs), analysis of the results using reservoir simulation, and integration of the results with production data analysis of the parent well using rate-transient analysis (RTA) and reservoir simulation. In this method, DFITs are run on all the new wells close to an existing (parent) well and the data is analyzed to estimate reservoir pressure at each DFIT location. A combination of the DFIT results provides a map of pressure depletion around the existing well, while production data analysis of the parent well provides fracture conductivity and surface area and formation permeability. Furthermore, reservoir simulation is tuned such that it can also match the pressure depletion map by adjusting the system permeability and fracture geometry of the parent well. The workflow of this study was applied to two field case from Montney formation in Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. In Field Case 1, DFIT results from nine new wells were used to map the pressure depletion away from the toe fracture of a parent well (four wells toeing toward the parent well and five wells in the same direction as the parent). RTA and reservoir simulation are used to analyze the production data of the parent well qualitatively and quantitatively. The reservoir model is then used to match the pressure depletion map and the production data of the parent well and the outputs of the model includes hydraulic fracture half-lengths on both sides of the parent well, formation permeability, fracture surface area and fracture conductivity. In Field Case 2, the production data from an existing well and DFIT result from a new well toeing toward the existing wells were incorporated into a reservoir simulation model. The model outputs include system permeability and fracture surface area. It is recommended to try the method for more cases in a specific reservoir area to get a statistical understanding of the system permeability and fracture geometry for different completion designs. This study provides a practical and cost-effective approach for pressure depletion mapping using multi-well DFITs and the analysis of the resulting data using reservoir simulation and RTA. The study also encourages the practitioners to take every opportunity to run DFITs and gather pressure data from as many well as possible with focus on child wells.
Hui, Gang (University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada) | Chen, Shengnan (University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada) | Gu, Fei (PetroChina Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, Beijing, China)
Abstract The recent seismicity rate increase in Fox Creek is believed to be linked to the hydraulic fracturing operations near the region. However, the spatiotemporal evolution of hydraulic fracturing-induced seismicity is not well understood. Here, a coupled approach of geology, geomechanics, and hydrology is proposed to characterize the spatiotemporal evolution of hydraulic fracturing-induced seismicity. The seismogenic faults in the vicinity of stimulated wells are derived from the focal mechanisms of mainshock event and lineament features of induced events. In addition, the propagation of hydraulic fractures is simulated by using the PKN model, in combination with inferred fault, to characterize the possible well-fault hydrological communication. The original stress state of inferred fault is determined based on the geomechanics analysis. Based on the poroelasticity theory, the coupled flow-geomechanics simulation is finally conducted to quantitatively understand the fluid diffusion and poroelastic stress perturbation in response to hydraulic fracturing. A case study of a moment-magnitude-3.4 earthquake near Fox Creek is utilized to demonstrate the applicability of the coupled approach. It is shown that hydraulic fractures propagated along NE45° and connected with one North-south trending fault, causing the activation of fault and triggered the large magnitude event during fracturing operations. The barrier property of inferred fault under the strike-slip faulting regime constrains the nucleation position of induced seismicity within the injection layer. The combined changes of pore pressure and poroelastic stress caused the inferred fault to move towards the failure state and triggered the earthquake swarms. The associated spatiotemporal changes of Coulomb Failure Stress along the fault plane is well in line with the spatiotemporal pattern of induced seismicity in the studied case. Risks of seismic hazards could be reduced by decreasing fracturing job size during fracturing stimulations.
Summary Pulse hydraulic fracturing technology can greatly improve the effect of fracture propagation in rock and form complex fracture networks in reservoirs. The interaction mechanism between hydraulic fractures and pre-existing fractures under pulse hydraulic pressure is unclear. The induced laws of pre-existing fractures on the propagation direction of hydraulic fractures under different pulse frequencies and pulse hydraulic pressures are revealed in this work. We have carried out traditional hydraulic fracturing (THF) tests and pulse hydraulic fracturing tests with rock-like specimens. We compared the interaction between hydraulic fractures and pre-existing fractures in the two hydraulic fracturing tests. Acoustic emission (AE) characteristics of the interaction between hydraulic fractures and pre-existing fractures during pulse hydraulic fracturing are analyzed. The results show that pre-existing fractures in the rock-like specimen can induce the direction of propagation of hydraulic fractures. The influence of pre-existing fracture tips on hydraulic fracture propagation is greater with low pulse frequencies than with traditional hydraulic pressures and high pulse frequencies. When the pulse frequency is 1 Hz, hydraulic fractures are easily induced by pre-existing fracture tips. With increasing pulse frequency, the hydraulic fracture propagation direction gradually moves away from the pre-existing fracture tips and extends perpendicularly to the direction of the minimum principal stress. Under pulse hydraulic loading, more hydraulic fractures are generated around the wellbore than under THF and extend to the pre-existing fracture, and more hydraulic fractures around the wellbore are created with low-frequency pulse loading than with high-frequency pulse loading. Compared with traditional hydraulic pressures, hydraulic fracture propagation with low pulse frequencies (1 and 3 Hz) is more complex than hydraulic fracture propagation with traditional hydraulic pressures and high pulse frequencies (5 Hz). Under high pulse hydraulic pressure and pulse frequency, hydraulic fractures easily extend along the direction perpendicular to the direction of the minimum principal stress like propagation under traditional hydraulic pressure. The study of the interaction mechanism between hydraulic fractures and natural fractures under pulsating hydraulic pressure can provide a method for the formation of fracture network systems in large-scale fracturing and may improve the fracturing efficiency.
Jin, Ge (Colorado School of Mines (Corresponding author) | Ugueto, Gustavo (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)) | Wojtaszek, Magdalena (Shell Exploration and Production Company) | Guzik, Artur (Shell International) | Jurick, Dana (Neubrex Co., Ltd.) | Kishida, Kinzo (Neubrex Energy Services)
Summary The characteristics of hydraulic fractures in the near-wellbore region contain critical information related to the production performance of unconventional wells. We demonstrate a novel application of a fiber-optic-based distributed strain sensing (DSS) technology to measure and characterize near-wellbore fractures and perforation cluster efficiency during production. Distributed fiber-optic-based strain measurements are made based on the frequency shift of the Rayleigh scatter spectrum, which is linearly dependent on strain and temperature changes of the sensing fiber. Strain changes along the wellbore are continuously measured during the shut-in and reopening operations of a well. After removing temperature effects, extensional strain changes can be observed at locations around the perforation cluster during a shut-in period. We interpret that the observed strain changes are caused by near-wellbore fracture aperture changes caused by pressure increases within the near-wellbore fracture network. The depth locations of the measured strain changes correlate well with distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) acoustic intensity measurements that were measured during the stimulation of the well. The shape and magnitude of the strain changes differ significantly between two completion designs in the same well. Different dependencies between strain and borehole pressure can be observed at most of the perforation clusters between the shut-in and reopening periods. We assess that this new type of distributed fiber-optic measurement method can significantly improve understanding of near-wellbore hydraulic fracture characteristics and the relationships between stimulation and production from unconventional oil and gas wells.
Filev, Maksim (JSC NK Kondaneft) | Soldatov, Vadim (JSC NK Kondaneft) | Novikov, Igor (GeoSplit LLC) | Xu, Jianhua (GeoSplit LLC) | Ovchinnikov, Kirill (GeoSplit LLC) | Belova, Anna (GeoSplit LLC) | Drobot, Albina (GeoSplit LLC)
Abstract The tracer-based production logging technology can be used to obtain the well production data continuously for several years without the need for risky well interventions and expensive equipment. The paper examines the case of placing polymer-coated tracers dopped proppant in a horizontal well with ten multi-stage frac intervals and using two different tracers dopped proppant codes for two frac ports (the first and the last ones) to identify the performance of the far and near zones of a hydraulic fracture. Upon the completion of the hydraulic fracturing operations, the collected reservoir fluid samples were studied in the laboratory. Chemical tracers contained in the samples were detected by flow cytofluorometry using custom-tailored machine learning-based software. The studies helped identify the productivity of each frac port, calculate the contribution of each port in percentage points, and also evaluate the productivity of the near and far hydraulic fracture zones in the first and the last intervals. The analysis provided data on the exact content of oil and water in the production profile for each frac interval. The results of tracer-based logging in the well in question revealed that the interval productivity is changing in the course of several months of surveillance. The most productive ports and those showing increasing oil flow rate were identified during quantitative analysis. The use of tracer dopped proppant with different codes within one multi-stage frac interval enabled detecting a peak release of chemical tracers from the far fracture zone in the initial periods of well operation followed by a consistent smoothing of the far and near zones’ production profiles. Laboratory analysis of reservoir fluid samples and hydraulic fracturing simulations proved the uniform distribution of proppant across the entire reservoir pay zone and laid the foundation for further research required to better understand the fracture geometry and reduce uncertainties in production optimization operations.
Abstract Hydraulic fracturing is a widespread well stimulation treatment in the oil and gas industry. It is particularly prevalent in shale gas fields, where virtually all production can be attributed to the practice of fracturing. It is also used in the context of tight oil and gas reservoirs, for example in deep-water scenarios where the cost of drilling and completion is very high; well productivity, which is dictated by hydraulic fractures, is vital. The correct modeling in reservoir simulation can be critical in such settings because hydraulic fracturing can dramatically change the flow dynamics of a reservoir. What presents a challenge in flow simulation due to hydraulic fractures is that they introduce effects that operate on a different length and time scale than the usual dynamics of a reservoir. Capturing these effects and utilizing them to advantage can be critical for any operator in context of a field development plan for any unconventional or tight field. This paper focuses on a study that was undertaken to compare different methods of simulating hydraulic fractures to formulate a field development plan for a tight gas field. To maintaing the confidentiality of data and to showcase only the technical aspect of the workflow, we will refer to the asset as Field A in subsequent sections of this paper. Field A is a low permeability (0.01md-0.1md), tight (8% to 12% porosity) gas-condensate (API ~51deg and CGR~65 stb/mmscf) reservoir at ~3000m depth. Being structurally complex, it has a large number of erosional features and pinch-outs. The study involved comparing analytical fracture modeling, explicit modeling using local grid refinements, tartan gridding, pseudo-well connection approach and full-field unconventional fracture modeling. The result of the study was to use, for the first time for Field A, a system of generating pseudo well connections to simulate hydraulic fractures. The approach was found to be efficient both terms of replicating field data for a 10 year period while drastically reducing simulation runtime for the subsequent 10 year-period too. It helped the subsurface team to test multiple scenarios in a limited time-frame leading to improved project management.
Dealing with and exploiting fracturing of rock has been part of mining engineering for hundreds of years, but the analysis of fracture of rock or other materials has only developed into an engineering discipline since the mid 1940s . In petroleum engineering, fracture mechanics theories have been used for more than 50 years. Rock fracture mechanics is about understanding what will happen to the rocks in the subsurface when subjected to fracture stress. Much of what is used in hydraulic fracturing theory and design was developed by other engineering disciplines many years ago. However, rock formatons cannot often be treated as isotropic and homogeneous.