|Theme||Visible||Selectable||Appearance||Zoom Range (now: 0)|
Acoustic logging is a subset of borehole-geophysical acoustic techniques. Continuing developments in tool hardware and in interpretation techniques have expanded the utility of these logs in formation evaluation and completion (fracture) design and evaluation. A virtual explosion in the volume of acoustic research conducted over the past 20 years has resulted in significant advances in the fundamental understanding of downhole acoustic measurements. These advances, in turn, have greatly influenced practical logging technology by allowing logging-tool designs to be optimized for specific applications. Acoustic-wave data-acquisition methods cover a broad range of scales from millimeters to hundreds of meters (Figure 1).
Gels are a fluid-based system to which some solid-like structural properties have been imparted. In other words, gels are a fluid-based system within which the base fluid has acquired at least some 3D solid-like structural properties. These structural properties are often elastic in nature. All of the conformance improvement gels discussed are aqueous-based materials. The term "gel" as used in this page (unless specifically noted otherwise) refers to classical, continuous, bulk, and "relatively strong" gel material and does not refer to discontinuous, dispersed, "relatively weak," microgel particles in an aqueous solution. Gels discussed in this page, when formed in a beaker for example, constitute a single and continuous gel mass throughout its entire volume within the beaker.
The drilling conditions described above have led to the following practices, which are reasonably uniform, in the geothermal drilling industry. Because of the hard, fractured formations, roller-cone bits with tungsten-carbide inserts are almost universally used for geothermal drilling. The abrasive rocks mean that bit life is usually low (50 to 100 m), but many bits are also pulled because of bearing failures caused by rough drilling and high temperature. Polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits have the dual advantages of more efficient rock cutting and no moving parts, but experience with PDC bits in geothermal drilling is both scant and unfavorable. Much research and development in hard-rock PDC bits is under way, so it is possible that these bits will come into wider use in geothermal drilling.
The first fracture treatments were pumped just to see if a fracture could be created and if sand could be pumped into the fracture. In 1955, Howard and Fast published the first mathematical model that an engineer could use to design a fracture treatment. The Howard and Fast model assumed the fracture width was constant everywhere, allowing the engineer to compute fracture area on the basis of fracture fluid leakoff characteristics of the formation and the fracturing fluid. Modeling of fracture propagation has improved significantly with computing technology and a greater understanding of subsurface data. The Howard and Fast model was a 2D model.
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.
Fracture diagnostic techniques are divided into several groups. Direct far-field methods consists of tiltmeter-fracture-mapping and microseismic-fracture-mapping techniques. These techniques require sophisticated instrumentation embedded in boreholes surrounding the well to be fracture treated. When a hydraulic fracture is created, the expansion of the fracture causes the earth around the fracture to deform. Tiltmeters can be used to measure the deformation and to compute the approximate direction and size of the created fracture.
The most important data for designing a fracture treatment are the in-situ stress profile, formation permeability, fluid-loss characteristics, total fluid volume pumped, propping agent type and amount, pad volume, fracture-fluid viscosity, injection rate, and formation modulus. It is very important to quantify the in-situ stress profile and the permeability profile of the zone to be stimulated, plus the layers of rock above and below the target zone that will influence fracture height growth. There is a structured method that should be followed to design, optimize, execute, evaluate, and reoptimize the fracture treatments in any reservoir. The first step is always the construction of a complete and accurate data set. Table 1 lists the sources for the data required to run fracture propagation and reservoir models.
Propping agents are required to "prop open" the fracture once the pumps are shut down and the fracture begins to close. The ideal propping agent is strong, resistant to crushing, resistant to corrosion, has a low density, and is readily available at low cost. The products that best meet these desired traits are silica sand, resin-coated sand (RCS), and ceramic proppants. Silica sand is obtamust be tested to be sure it has the necessary compressive strength to be used in any specific situation. Generally, sand is used to prop open fractures in shallow formations.
Before computer modeling was common, the 3D aspects of a waterflood evaluation were simplified so that the technical problem could be treated as either a 2D-areal problem or a 2D-vertical problem. To simplify 3D to 2D areal, either the reservoir must be assumed to be vertically a thin and homogeneous rock interval (hence having no gravity considerations) or one of the published techniques to handle the vertical heterogeneity and expected gravity effects within the context of a 2D-areal calculation must be used. The primary areal considerations for a waterflood involve the choices of the pattern style (see Figure 1) and the well spacing. Maximizing the ultimate oil recovery and economic return from waterflooding requires making many pattern- and spacing-related decisions when secondary recovery is evaluated. This has been particularly true for onshore oil fields in the US in which a significant number of wells were drilled for primary production.