Zhang, Bo (China University of Petroleum & Texas A&M University) | Guan, Zhichuan (China University of Petroleum) | Lu, Nu (China University of Petroleum) | Hasan, A. R. (Texas A&M University) | Xu, Chuanbin (Tianjin Geothermal Exploration and Development-Designing Institute) | Xu, Shenqi (China University of Petroleum) | Liao, Hualin (China University of Petroleum) | Zhang, Zheng (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Horizontal well greatly propels the development of unconventional oil and gas. Considering the drilling safety and basic demand of hole cleaning, define length of horizontal well as extreme hydraulic extension length when the drilling fluid pump rate is equal to minimum cutting-carry pump rate and hole cleaning satisfied basic demand. Based on this concept, a prediction model is established according to the relationship among minimum cutting-carry pump rate, bottomhole pressure, circulation pressure loss and drilling pump pressure. This model considers the influence of cuttings on the hydrostatic column pressure, horizontal annular pressure drop and annular geometrical shape. And then this model is used to analyze the impact of well structure, formation property, drilling fluid property, hole cleaning degree and drilling parameters on extreme hydraulic extension length. On the above basis, a new index called ration of dispersion coefficient is introduced to evaluate the sensitivity of each factor. The sensitivity decreases as the sequence of cutting particle size, drilling fluid flow behavior index, acceptable cutting bed height, wellbore diameter, ROP(8-15 m/h), drilling fluid density, drilling string eccentricity, formation fracture pressure, drilling fluid consistency index, well vertical depth and ROP(1-8 m/h). Based on both mitigation effect and feasibility, cutting particle size, drilling fluid flow behavior index, acceptable cutting bed height and rate of penetration are worthy to optimize to prolong EHEL.
The roughness of fractures may play an important role in affecting the migration and placement of proppants during hydraulic fracturing operations. Previous studies focused on investigating the proppant transport in smooth vertical fractures, which did not consider the effect of the fracture-surface roughness. We examine the migration of proppants in rough and vertical fractures and then quantitatively reveal the effect of roughness on the instantaneous proppant transport and final proppant placement. Two types of rock samples (marble and granite) are fractured with the Brazilian test and molded to manufacture 20 × 20 × 5 cm transparent replicas. The surface roughness of these rock samples was first characterized by fractal dimensions. Then, the dyed fracturing fluid with a given proppant loading was injected into the rough vertical fracture. In each test, the inlet pressures were continuously monitored in order to obtain the differential pressure across the fracture model while the proppants were being transported in the fracture. The process was videotaped to real-time track the proppant distribution in the rough fracture.
The proppant-transport behavior in the rough and vertical fracture was observed to be totally different from that in the smooth fracture. The major experimental findings include the following: 1) The proppant in a rough vertical fracture does not progress as a regular sand bank that commonly occurs in the smooth fracture, but rather an irregular-shape sand clusters with fractal characteristics; 2) In the rough and vertical fracture, the phenomenon of proppant bridging is visually observed, and such phenomenon is more likely to occur in the location with a larger roughness height. This implies rough fracture could promote a wider spreading of the proppant in the fracture compared to smooth fractures, and; 3) The existence of roughness enhances the vertical displacement of fluid containing proppants. These effects are also favorable for obtaining a better filling of the proppants in the fracture. Our experimental study reveals the mechanisms of proppant transport and distribution in real vertical fractures under the influence of roughness effect.
In-situ stresses and heterogeneity of the formation rock are the dominant factors that influence hydraulic fracturing process. The rheology of frac fluid also significantly affects hydraulic fracturing treatment regarding fracture propagation, proppant transport, formation property alteration, and flow back process. Non-Newtonian CO2 foams stabilized by nanoparticles has been recently studied as a promising frac fluid, which is advanced in less water contents, proppant placement, fast clean, and maintaining conductive channels. For the application of the new frac fluid for unconventional reservoir development, it is critical to investigate fracture propagation and proppant transport using CO2 foams.
This study simulated hydraulic fracturing and proppant transport by viscous gas foams in a horizontal well perforated in Eagle Ford Shale formation of Zavala County, TX. A 3D numerical model was setup with heterogeneous reservoir properties using a commercial fracturing simulator - GOHFER. To represent formation heterogeneity, the rock mechanical properties were derived from well logs including Gamma Ray, Resistivity, Neutron Porosity, and Density Porosity logs, characterized by Young's modulus (3 × 106 ~ 6 × 106 psi), Biot constant (0.6 ~ 0.8), and Poisson's ratio (0.2 ~ 0.4). The flow behavior of CO2 foams stabilized by nanoparticles was characterized by Carreau rhelogy model based on the experimental data. During the pumping schedule for multistage fracturing process, the effects of variable injection rate (20 ~ 40 BPM), CO2 foams quality (50 ~ 80 %), incremental proppant distribution (0 ~ 5 PPA), and fluid leakoff were investigated.
The results showed that a laterally un-even shape of fracture propagation profile was developed during multi-stage CO2 fracturing, which represents the reservoir heterogeneity with varying in-situ stress and poroelastic properties. The results also indicated that the rheology of frac fluid significantly influences the fractures propagation. As the viscosity of CO2 foams increases with variation of foam quality from 50% - 80%, fracture width increases but fracture length decreases. The fluid loss during fracturing was quantified by pressure dependent leakoff approach. For different CO2 foams quality (50% - 80%), fluid leakoff rate decreases with increasing the CO2 foam quality.
This study provides a pioneering insight and improved fracture treatments design by non-Newtonian frac fluid - CO2 foams application with increased fracture conductivity and efficiency, which is vital for hydrocarbon exploitation from unconventional reservoirs.
Microseismicity is a physical phenomenon which allows us to estimate the production capability of the well after hydraulic fracturing (HF) in a naturally fractured (NF) reservoir. Some of the microseismic events are reactivations of NFs induced by a direct hit of HF, while others are induced by the fluid leak-off from the previous stages or by elastic waves emitted into the reservoir with hydraulic fracture plane propagation. The former NFs have a chance to be propped there as the latter will not significantly increase their contribution to the production. Identification of such microseismic events helps to reduce uncertainty in the description of fracture network geometry.
Based on inferred data from core analysis NF densities and orientations, we generated multiple realizations of the semi-stochastic Discrete Fracture Network (DFN). In order to constrain them, we used time evolution of microseismic cloud in addition to results of core analysis. Fluid and proppant pumping schedule is used to identify such microseismic events because they should be located close to the pressure diffusion front generated by hydraulic fluid. Events outside of proposed region may be triggered by other factors, such as stress-strain relaxation from other stages and correspondent fractures. In most cases, they are not wide enough to take proppant from the main HF. This approach was used to reduce range of production for DFN realizations.
This workflow is implanted to a 15-stage hydraulic fracture treatment on a horizontal well placed in a siltstone reservoir with intrinsic fractures. The spatio-temporal dynamics of microseismic events are classified into two groups by the front of nonlinear pressure diffusion caused by 3-dimensional hydraulic fracturing, considered as effective and ineffective events. DFNs with only effective microseismicity and with all the induced events are generated. Then, two types of DFN related uncertainties on production are performed to evaluate the impact of filtration. Results of aleatory uncertainty quantification caused by the randomness of DFN modeling indicate the filtered events can generate a production DFN with a more consistent connected fracture area. Moreover, sensitivity analysis caused by lack of accuracy in natural fracture characterization shows the production area of DFN with filtration process is more insensitive to the variation of fracture parameters. Finally, a history match with production data and pressure data indicates this DFN model properly represents the reservoir and completion.
Our methodology characterizes well the conductive fracture network utilizing core data, microseismic data, and pumping schedule. It could restore the true productivity of each fractured stage from a massive microseismic cloud, which helps understand the contribution of fracturing job right after the treatment.
The production from a hydraulically fractured unconventional well depends on the stimulated permeability and its interaction with the naturally fractured background permeability. Since the propagation of a hydraulic fracture is often asymmetric and depends on geomechanical factors, the ensuing pressure depletion and the EUR depends on this asymmetric behavior. An analytical asymmetric tri-linear model to approximate pressure depletion is presented. The model uses asymmetric frac design results as input and estimates the pressure depletion around a parent well. This new approach represents an acceptable alternative to full reservoir simulation when investigating frac hits problems.
This asymmetric tri-linear model was combined with our poro-elastic geomechanical modeling simulator in order to capture the physics created by the depleted pressure sink zone. This physics combines the stimulation operations in the neighboring infill well and their interactions with the complex local and far scale geologic features such as natural fractures and faults.
The pressure depletion determined at an Eagle Ford well using the asymmetric tri-linear model was similar to those found with a full reservoir simulator. Hydraulic fracture modeling of a child well located in the vicinity of a parent well with a pressure depleted zone highlighted the potential of developing a frac hit if geological features in the area were creating fluid and pressure conduits. A similar observation is made for a Wolfcamp well where a fault affected the nearby stage causing interference between potential stacked wells.
The integration of the asymmetric tri-linear model and our geomechanical simulator presents the necessary completion modeling tool to quickly, yet accurately design hydraulic fracturing while preventing frac hits, especially now with the increasing of number of infill unconventional wells.
The scope of this paper is to use publicly sourced data as a starting point for production analysis of two distinct well populations. The well populations that will be examined are horizontal Marcellus Shale wells (1) frac'd earlier in time with a defined plug-to-plug stage spacing and (2) frac'd at the same time or later in time with 1.5 to 3 times the number of stages, a production acceleration technique known as Reduced Cluster Spacing (RCS).
Public production databases were used to create snap shots of completion activity over time. To speed work flow, a more robust and regularly updated commercially available database that contains both completion and production data was used. Two distinct populations of wells for analysis were identified. A conservative decline curve analysis (DCA) was made to forecast estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) for all wells using only public data. For selected wells, reciprocal production rate versus square root of time plots were generated.
This paper will attempt to answer the following questions: (1) were statistically meaningful populations of both stimulation techniques found to exist; (2) how much production uplift did RCS achieve both early on and later time; (3) was there a real increase in EUR; (4) was there a difference in stimulation efficiency; and, (5) what can we learn by plotting P10, P50, and P90 values and EUR distribution curves for specific well populations.
To the authors' knowledge this would be the first SPE paper to explore this topic over such large Marcellus Shale well populations in Pennsylvania.
Well operation is one of the key foundations for optimal production of hydrocarbons from unconventional shale plays. However, optimal production practices do not follow the versatility of "one size fits all" phenomenon. Completion strategy, Pressure-Volume-Temperature (PVT) properties and petrophysical properties vary from play to play. Hence, the well operating practices should be custom tailored to suit the completion and fluid properties.
In this paper, we propose optimal shut-in practices for dry gas shale reservoirs. We elaborated our study from a Marcellus shale dataset. Marcellus shale dry gas window has in place fluid properties that differ from liquid rich reservoirs like Eagle Ford and Wolfcamp shales. Therefore, production best practices borrowed "as-is" from liquid rich reservoirs and applied to dry gas reservoirs (or vice versa) may not affect the well ultimate recoveries in a positive manner and in some cases, may even reduce the expected ultimate recoveries (EUR's).
We show that the practice of "well conditioning", "resting" or "soak-in" i.e. shutting in the well for a significant time after hydraulic fracturing and before connecting to pipeline as well as frequent shut-in impedes the water unloading from the dry gas reservoirs. This leads to reduction in matrix permeability with an additional skin introduced by water imbibition.
Our methodology by simultaneously history matching gas rate, flowing bottomhole pressure (FBHP) and water rates in a reservoir simulator. We observe that after shut-in, water to gas ratio (WGR) decreases and gas rate increases. However, this increased gas rate is accompanied with higher declines in rates and pressures and ultimately leads to lower EUR's. The reduction in EUR in our case is modeled as a function of water saturation increase in the matrix due to imbibition. Thus, EUR in our study is a function of duration of shut-in and the time in well life at which the shut-in occurs.
Conventional rock classification in carbonate reservoirs typically requires considerable amount of core data, which usually may not be available at the depth resolution required for each target interval. In cases of tight carbonate rocks with extremely low porosity (less than 5% in average) and permeability (less than 0.1 md), a reliable rock classification is essential for well stimulation modeling. Such rock classification should take into account depth-by-depth petrophysical, compositional, and elastic properties of the formation. In this paper, we apply an integrated rock classification technique to enhance (a) well-log-based estimates of petrophysical, compositional, and elastic properties and (b) selection of appropriate candidate zones for acid fracturing treatment design in a tight carbonate reservoir in northern slope of Tazhong Uplift, Tarim Basin, China.
We first perform multi-mineral analysis and estimate volumetric concentrations of minerals, porosity, and fluid saturations. Since shear wave sonic logs are not available in most of the wells, we estimate elastic moduli using effective medium models including self-consistent approximation and differential effective medium theory. Corrections including the impact of fluids are developed using Biot-Gassmann fluid substitution. The inputs to the effective medium models include (a) the petrophysical and compositional properties obtained from well logs, (b) bulk and shear moduli for each mineral and fluid component, and (c) shape of rock inclusions (i.e., grains and pores). Core measurements are used for cross validating the well-log-based estimates of elastic moduli and petrophysical properties. Accordingly, we proposed a rock classification technique using unsupervised neural network that integrated depth-by-depth volumetric concentrations of minerals, porosity, and elastic moduli. Finally, we derived permeability models in each rock type and estimated the permeability in the target depth intervals. Variogram analysis on well-log-based estimates of permeability provides correlation lengths as inputs to acid fracturing treatment modeling.
We successfully applied the technique introduced here to a challenging tight gas interval of Tarim field in China. The estimated porosity and permeability were in good agreement with laboratory core measurements. The identified rock classes were verified by core samples and thin sections. We estimated elastic moduli with average relative errors of approximately 13% compare to the core measurements. The estimated elastic moduli were used as a key input for modeling of acid-fracturing treatments and improved stimulation success.
The rock classification technique introduced here provides important input parameters for well stimulation modeling, gives insight into evaluation of acid fracturing in tight carbonate reservoir, and helps with selection of best candidate zones for acid fracturing treatment design.
With the increase in average lateral length for horizontal wells comes increased challenges for reaching total depth (TD) with the production casing. Any production interval left un-cased will not contribute to initial or ultimate production or be booked as reserves, which can have a major detrimental impact on the financials of these wells.
ALTISS Technologies has designed a patent pending aluminum casing concept to facilitate the installation of long cased laterals, and assist with landing casing at the total depth. Due to its low density and low modulus of elasticity, the aluminum casing is about half the buoyed weight and twice as flexible as comparable steel casing. These physical properties help the aluminum casing lighten the toe of the casing string and navigate through micro doglegs and tortuous wellbores.
The aluminum casing was designed with a focus on torque and drag reduction, to be used in limited quantities to maximize the benefits and ensure that casing reaches total depth. Analysis showed that 4,000 pounds of hook load could be added, without casing rotation, with as little as 160 feet of aluminum casing installed, in some cases. To ensure proper threaded connections with the low modulus aluminum, ALTISS designed its own 5 ½" premium threaded connection, which exceeded 56,000 ft.-lbs. yield torque in testing. Multiple aluminum tubular specimens were collapsed in a laboratory setting to validate equations which are not covered by API calculations, nor conventional closed form solutions (e.g. Timoshenko, Tamano). An experimental nano-coating is currently being evaluated that will protect the aluminum from potential forms of corrosion, including galvanic reactions and acid programs.
The advantages of installing aluminum casing may allow for eliminating expensive premium threaded connections needed for rotating casing, or alternatives such as floating casing. Ensuring the lateral is 100% cased improves initial production, allowable booked reserves, and ultimate hydrocarbon recovery of the well.
Performing a reservoir simulation study for hydraulically fractured horizontal wells in unconventional reservoirs relies on input parameters which are not often well defined. The uncertainty of the input parameters (i.e. completion design, petrophysics, reservoir fluid phase) leads to uncertainty in the resulting history matches and less confidence when using the model results. This paper focuses on the importance of fluid phase characterization in reservoir simulation studies.
One of the challenges the industry currently faces is PVT (pressure-volume-temperature) fluid characterization for tight rock formations. When submitting a production fluid sample for analysis, it is crucial to define an accurate estimate of pressure, temperature, and gas-oil ratio (GOR) in order to place the sample in the appropriate fluid window to yield a representative PVT characterization for use in reservoir simulation studies.
The case study presented in this paper describes a reservoir simulation study in the Powder River Basin with varying fluid regimes across the field (