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Pei, Yanli (The University of Texas at Austin) | Yu, Wei (The University of Texas at Austin / Sim Tech LLC) | Sepehrnoori, Kamy (The University of Texas at Austin) | Gong, Yiwen (Sim Tech LLC / The Ohio State University) | Xie, Hongbin (Sim Tech LLC) | Wu, Kan (Texas A&M University)
The extensive depletion of the development target has triggered the demand for infill drilling in the upside target of multilayer unconventional reservoirs. To optimize the hydraulic fracturing design of newly drilled wells, we need to investigate the stress changes in the upside target induced by parent-well production. In this work, an integrated parent-child workflow is presented to model the spatial-temporal stress evolution and propose the optimal development strategy for the upside target using a data set from the Permian Basin. The stress dependence of matrix permeability and fracture conductivity is determined based on available experimental data and incorporated in our reservoir simulation with the aid of an embedded discrete fracture model (EDFM). With calibrated reservoir properties from history matching of an actual well in the development target (i.e., 3rd BS Sand), we run the finite element method (FEM) based geomechanics simulator to predict the 3D spatial-temporal evolution of the local principal stresses. A displacement discontinuity method (DDM) hydraulic fracture model is then applied to simulate the multi-cluster fracture propagation in the upside target (i.e., L2BSSh) with the updated heterogeneous stress field. Numerical results indicate that stress field redistribution associated with parent-well production not only occurs within the development target but also vertically propagates to the upside target. A smaller parent-child horizontal offset induces a severer deviation of child-fractures towards the parent wellbore, resulting in more substantial well interference and less desirable oil and gas production. The parent-child fracture overlapping ratio in our study is in 0.6 ~ 0.8 for the 400 ft horizontal offset and 0.2 ~ 0.5 for the 600 ft horizontal offset. Varying the parent-child vertical offset gives the same trend as we change the horizontal offset. But with a delayed infill time, placing child-well in different layers causes more significant variation in the ultimate recovery. Moreover, infill operations at an earlier time are less affected by parent-well depletion because of the more homogeneous stress state. The candidate locations to implement infill-wells are suggested in the end for different infill timing by co-simulation of the parent-child production. With the reservoir-geomechanics-fracture model, this work provides a general workflow to optimize the child-well completion in multilayer unconventional reservoirs. The conclusions drawn from this study are of guiding significance to the subsequent development in the Permian Basin.
Summary The United States National Science Foundation has funded a sustainability-research network focused on natural-gas development in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. The objective of this specific study is the assessment of the use of existing water wells to monitor the risk of contamination by the migration of fracturing fluids or hydrocarbons to freshwater aquifers. An additional objective of the study is to modify existing risk estimates using the spatial relationships between the existing water wells and producing oil wells. This will allow estimates of single-barrier failure and multiple-barrier failure, resulting in contamination projections for oil and gas wells in areas without surrounding water wells to detect migration, dependent on well-construction type. Since 1970, the Wattenberg Field in Colorado has had a large number of oil and gas wells drilled. These wells are interspaced tightly with agricultural and urban development from the nearby Denver metropolitan area. This provides a setting with numerous water wells that have been drilled within this area of active petroleum development. Data from 17,948 wells drilled were collected and analyzed in Wattenberg Field, allowing wells to be classified by construction type and analyzed for barrier failure and source of aquifer contamination. The assessment confirms that although natural-gas migration occurring in poorly constructed wellbores is infrequent, it can happen, and the migration risk is determined by the well-construction standards. The assessment also confirms that there has been no occurrence of hydraulic-fracturing-fluid contamination of freshwater aquifers through wellbores. The assessment determines both the spatial proximity of oil and gas wells and surface-casing depth to water wells to then determine the utility of water wells to monitor migration in oil wells. Introduction The Wattenberg Field in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, Colorado, began oil and gas production in 1970. The field is the most-active oil and gas field in Colorado and is bordering the highest-population area of the state in the Denver metropolitan area (Figure 1). There are four main producing formations in the field from deepest deposition to shallowest deposition: Muddy-J, Codell, Niobrara, and the Shannon-Sussex Formations.
Abstract In some basins, large scale development of unconventional stacked-target plays requires early election of well targeting and spacing. Changes to the initial well construction framework can take years to implement due to lead times for land, permitting, and corporate planning. Over time, as operators wish to fine tune their development plans, completion design flexibility represents a powerful force for optimization. Hydraulic fracturing treatment plans may be adjusted and customized close to the time of investment. With a practical approach that takes advantage of physics-based modeling and data analysis, we demonstrate how to create a high-confidence, integrated well spacing and completion design strategy for both frontier and mature field development. The Dynamic Stimulated Reservoir Volume (DSRV) workflow forms the backbone of the physics-based approach, constraining simulations against treatment, flow-back, production, and pressure-buildup (PBU) data. Depending on the amount of input data available and mechanisms investigated, one can invoke various levels of rigor in coupling geomechanics and fluid flow – ranging from proxies to full iterative coupling. To answer spacing and completions questions in the Denver Basin, also known as the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin, we extend this modeling workflow to multi-well, multi-target, and multi-variate space. With proper calibration, we are able generate production performance predictions across the field for a range of subsurface, well spacing, and completion scenarios. Results allow us to co-optimize well spacing and completion size for this multi-layer column. Insights about the impacts of geology and reservoir conditions highlight the potential for design customization across the play. Results are further validated against actual data using an elegant multi-well surveillance technique that better illuminates design space. Several elements of subsurface characterization potentially impact the interactions among design variables. In particular, reservoir fluid property variations create important effects during injection and production. Also, both data analysis and modeling support a key relationship involving well spacing and the efficient creation of stimulated reservoir volumes. This relationship provides a lever that can be utilized to improve value based on corporate needs and commodity price. We introduce these observations to be further tested in the field and models.
Abstract In unconventional resource plays, constructing a sound geological model that ties various well information is imperative for properly extracting and integrating well and seismic information and for predictive and prescriptive analytic workflows. Unlike conventional plays, unconventional plays that span basins have potentially tens of thousands of wells. Constructing geological models to include all wells and then updating them as additional ones become available can be a daunting task. When constructing large cross sections, regional stratigraphic patterns are easily discernible visually. Converting these geologic events and spatial patterns to digital information using the power of the computer and new machine learning techniques is becoming more important than ever as geoscientists attempt to "keep up" with all this information. This paper will cover a modern technology toward that end. Introduction Previous attempts have been made to pick geologic well tops automatically using expert systems (Olea et al.), neural networks (Luthi et al.), and dynamic programming (Lineman et al., Inazaki, Zoraster et al., Fang et al.). While these previous efforts have been helpful in defining the problems and building blocks to solve well-log correlation automatically, they have clearly been much less successful than has been observed in seismic picking algorithms that started in the 1980's. This is mainly owing to the nature of seismic data. Seismic traces are band-limited, closely spaced (on the order of meters) with neighboring traces almost identical to each other, and are consistent with the same start and ending times, sample rates, and vertical representation. These traits make correlating neighboring peaks, troughs and zero-crossings reasonably easy as compared to well logs, which are more widely spaced (on the order of hundreds to thousands of meters), have inconsistent depth ranges with possible gaps, and may be from highly non-vertical well bores. As more oil companies transition from exploration to resource recovery optimization and the number of new wells in well-known basins dramatically increases, geologic cross sections across these basins begin to take on more of a seismic look, as shown in Figures 1 and 2 below. When logs are hung on stratigraphic datums, as Figure 2 shows, geologic intervals are readily evident across many tens, if not hundreds or thousands of wells. Not only is the lateral consistency of strong events evident, such as the Codell in this case, but patterns of finer detail in the sequence stratigraphy (flooding surfaces, onlap, thickening and thinning from changing accommodation and sediment supply) become more visually apparent. Further refined picking of associated events is warranted but could prove tedious and time consuming if done manually.
Summary Rapid development of shales for the production of oils and condensates may not be permitting adequate analysis of the important factors governing recovery. Understanding the performance of shales or tight oil reservoirs producing condensates requires numerically extensive compositional simulations. The purpose of this study is to identify important factors that control production of condensates from low‐permeability plays and to develop analytical “surrogate” models suitable for Monte Carlo analysis. In this study, the surrogate reservoir models were second‐order response surfaces functionally dependent on the nine main factors that most affect condensate recovery in ultralow‐permeability reservoirs. The models were developed by regressing the results of experimentally designed compositional simulations. The Box‐Behnken (Box and Behnken 1960) technique, a partial‐factorial method, was used for design of these experiments or simulations. The main factors that controlled condensate recovery from ultralow‐permeability reservoirs were reservoir permeability, rock compressibility, initial condensate/gas ratio (CGR), initial reservoir pressure, and fracture spacing. Another main outcome of this paper was the generation of probability‐density functions, and P10, P50, and P90 values for condensate recovery on the basis of the uncertainty in input parameters. The condensate‐recovery P50 for rate‐based outcome of a 5‐B/D per fracture was found to be less than 10%.
Summary Restimulation treatments have been attempted in a wide variety of reservoirs, and more than 140 papers have been published documenting the success and failure of these efforts. A database of these published examples has been compiled and analyzed to identify the mechanisms responsible for production improvement following restimulation with propped fractures (refracs). A portion of this database was recently published (Vincent 2010), and specific field examples were highlighted to demonstrate that refrac treatments can improve production by numerous mechanisms, including Enlarged fracture geometry Improved pay coverage through increased fracture height in vertical wells Greater lateral coverage in horizontal wells or initiation of more transverse fractures Increased fracture conductivity compared with initial frac Restoration of fracture-conductivity loss caused by embedment, cyclic stress, proppant degradation, gel damage, scale, asphaltene precipitation, fines plugging, and other factors Increased conductivity in previously unpropped or inadequately propped portions of fracture Use of more-suitable fracturing fluids Reorientation caused by stress-field alterations, leading to contact of "new" rock This paper will briefly review restimulation attempts in six Canadian reservoirs of interest to the local audience, and will then present a more-detailed review of restimulation of horizontal wells in the unconventional Bakken oil formation. In addition to a summary of published results, this paper will introduce a significant amount of previously unpublished data regarding refrac treatments of horizontal laterals completed in the Middle Bakken. This study will identify several additional concerns and opportunities with restimulating horizontal wellbores that were not previously identified in literature reviews. This organized summary of field results and references will provide significant value to readers evaluating or designing restimulation treatments.
Abstract Screenouts of Propped Hydraulic Fracture (PHF) treatments have numerous failure causes, namely, Near-Wellbore Friction, Deviatoric stress, Non-compliant geologic formations, Multiple fractures, Segmented en-echelon fractures, Backstress due to pressure depletion, and, Fracture-tip dilatancy. This paper focuses on the newly-introduced parameter of the Median Ratio (MR) of the Rate Step-down Test (RST) and Near-wellbore (NWB) friction, both of which must be used concurrently as Proppant Admittance (PA) criteria, because screenout causes are not failure diagnosis methods, therefore, not useful in predicting, and/or avoiding screenouts. Each of the PA criteria, while necessary for diagnosis, is not sufficient for accurate prediction of screenout potential, because, when each PA criterion is considered separately it is accurate in 40–45% of the cases, whereas, when both of the PA criteria are used concurrently prediction accuracy increases to over 95%. Therefore, both PA criteria are necessary for accurate Fracture Entry Friction (FEF) analysis, and, prediction of screenout potential. The MR can be determined easily, rapidly, and accurately with the proposed four-equal-step RST procedure. The MR is an empirical function defined as: MR=DP4 / DP1. Concurrent occurrence of: 1) a MR value greater than 0.5, and, 2) a NWB friction value greater that 30 bar (435 psi) is considered: a) an anomaly, b) it is indicative of higher than normal NWB friction, and, c) it is the threshold for PA problems. Both the MR and NWB friction are calculated accurately with enhanced FEF analysis of the RST. The RST has a very short duration, during which, all parameters remain constant: wellbore configuration, perforation configuration, fluid parameters, and fracture dimensions (length, width and height). In addition, pressure loss due to friction is a function of flowrate; hence, progressively smaller pressure reduction steps should be noted as the rate is reduced during the RST. Because all parameters are constant, any deviation from the expected pattern of progressively decreasing pressure loss steps is a strong indication of hindrance to fluid flow, and can only be caused by a restrictive NWB area, and the associated NWB friction. Therefore, the MR and NWB friction are powerful diagnostic criteria of PA, which are useful for the successful design and placement of PHF treatments. The methodology of concurrent usage of the MR and NWB friction, and of the specific four-step RST procedure, has been tested extensively on numerous PHF treatments, in both geologically and geographically diverse conditions. We demonstrate that they provide a high-level of confidence required for pre-mainfrac redesign and modifications to the completion, the treatment procedure, and the treatment schedule, and also, for on-the-fly, real-time decision and control. Utilized wisely, the methodology increases the probability of achieving safe and effective placement of PHF treatments.
Abstract Restimulation treatments have been attempted in a wide variety of reservoirs, and more than 140 papers have been published documenting the success and failure of these efforts. A database of these published examples has been compiled and analyzed to identify the mechanisms responsible for production improvement following restimulation with propped fractures (refracs). A portion of this database was recently published (Vincent 2010), and specific field examples were highlighted to demonstrate that refrac treatments can improve production by numerous mechanisms including: –Enlarged fracture geometry –Improved pay coverage through increased fracture height in vertical wells –Greater lateral coverage in horizontal wells or initiation of more transverse fractures –Increased fracture conductivity compared to initial frac –Restoration of fracture conductivity loss due to embedment, cyclic stress, proppant degradation, gel damage, scale, asphaltene precipitation, fines plugging, etc. –Increased conductivity in previously unpropped or inadequately propped portions of fracture –Use of more suitable fracturing fluids –Reorientation due to stress field alterations, leading to contact of "new" rock This paper will briefly review restimulation attempts in six Canadian reservoirs of interest to the local audience, and will then present a more detailed review of restimulation of horizontal wells in the unconventional Bakken oil formation. In addition to a summary of published results, this paper will introduce a significant amount of previously unpublished data regarding refrac treatments of horizontal laterals completed in the Middle Bakken. This study will identify several additional concerns and opportunities with restimulating horizontal wellbores that were not previously identified in literature reviews. This organized summary of field results and references will provide significant value to readers evaluating or designing restimulation treatments.
Abstract A database has been compiled and analyzed, summarizing more than 100 field studies in which restimulation treatments (hydraulic refracs) have been performed, along with the production results. Field results demonstrate that refrac success can be attributed to many mechanisms, including: –Enlarged fracture geometry, enhancing reservoir contact –Improved pay coverage through increased fracture height in vertical wells –More thorough lateral coverage in horizontal wells or initiation of more transverse fractures –Increased fracture conductivity compared to initial frac –Restoration of fracture conductivity lost due to embedment, cyclic stress, proppant degradation, gel damage, scale, asphaltene precipitation, fines plugging, etc. –Increased conductivity in previously unpropped or inadequately propped portions of fracture –Improved production profile in well; preferentially stimulating lower permeability intervals [reservoir management] –Use of more suitable fracturing fluids –Re-energizing or re-inflating natural fissures –Reorientation due to stress field alterations, leading to contact of "new" rock Although less frequently published, unsuccessful restimulation treatments are also common. Documented concerns illustrated in this paper include: –Low pressured, depleted wells (especially gas wells) posing challenges with recovery of fracturing fluids –Low pressured or fault-isolated wells with limited reserves –Wells in which diagnostics indicate effective initial fractures and drainage to reservoir boundaries –Wells with undesirable existing perforations, or uncertain mechanical integrity of tubing, casing, or cement This paper will explore the common problems that lead to unsatisfactory stimulation, or initial treatments that fail over time. Guidelines for evaluating refrac candidates and improving initial treatments will be reviewed. The paper summarizes restimulation attempts in oil and gas wells in sandstone, carbonate, shale and coal formations. This organized summary of field results and references will provide significant value to readers evaluating or designing restimulation treatments.
Abstract As the demand for energy worldwide increases, the oil and gas industry will need to increase recovery from unconventional gas reservoirs (UGR). To economically produce UGRs, one must have adequate product price and one must use the most current technology. Tight Gas Sands (TGS) contribute three quarters to the total U.S. gas production from UGRs. TGS reservoirs require stimulation as a part of the completion, so improvement of completion practices is very important. We did a thorough literature review to extract knowledge and experience about completion and stimulation technologies used in TGS reservoirs. We developed the principal design and two modules of a computer program called Tight Gas Sand Advisor (TGS Advisor), which can be used to assist engineers in making decisions while completing and stimulating TGS reservoirs. The modules include Perforation Selection and Proppant Selection. Based on input well/reservoir parameters these subroutines provide unambiguous recommendations concerning which perforation strategy(s) and what proppant(s) are applicable for a given well. The most crucial parameters from completion best-practices analyses and consultations with experts are built into TGS Advisor's logic, which mimics human expert's decision-making process. TGS Advisor's recommended procedures for successful completions will facilitate TGS development and improve economical performance of TGS reservoirs. Introduction Unconventional gas reservoirs (UGR), including tight gas sands (TGS), coalbed methane, and gas shale formations, account for 40% of total U.S. gas production and they are expected to surpass U.S. onshore conventional reservoirs in 2009. TGSs contribute 76% to the total gas production from the UGRs. Moreover, in 2005 the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that TGSs could account for up to 35% of the U.S. recoverable gas resources. TGSs is a critical hydrocarbon source required to meet raising energy demand and its role as an energy source is constantly increasing. The U.S. government has defined a TGS as a gas reservoir with an expected permeability of 0.1 md or less. TGSs are considered as unconventional resources, because the economic exploitation of TGSs is not feasible without advanced technologies and sophisticated stimulation treatments as a part of the completion process. In spite of the plethora of information about development of TGSs that has been documented in the publicly available petroleum literature in the U.S.A., this knowledge is neither easily accessible nor has been systematically documented. Improved data collection and analysis including best-practices is one of the industry's most important technology challenges.