Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Term Paper

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¶ … Technologies in Hydraulic Fracturing Technologies Presented at the SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference: 6-8 February 2012

This trip report provides a summary of the events attended, reports reviewed and other aspects of my attendance at the SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference conducted 6 -- 8 February 2012 at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, the Woodlands, Texas.

Summary of Latest Hydraulic Fracturing Technologies

One of the most promising three-dimensional technologies demonstrated at the Conference was offered by Computer Modeling Group, Ltd. The product, Results: 3D, Graph and Report, provides the following

Designed for maximum flexibility and visual impact, Results provides a Windows interface to a wide array of visual display tools.

Product can also explain reservoir mechanisms to management to facilitate project approval.


The ability to animate graphic data to quickly identify trends visually as illustrated below.

Figure 1. Static graph

Figure 2. Series of animations based on static graph

In addition, cross-sectional views provide direct views into reservoirs as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3. Representative cross-sectional view produced by Results

Part II. Summary of Recent Hydraulic Fracturing Research

Several academic papers were also presented at the Conference; the most salient studies are briefly summarized in Table 1 below.

Table 1

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Results of Recent Hydraulic Fracturing Research


Topic/Key Themes

J. Harpel, SPE, L. Barker, SPE, J. Fontenot, SPE, C. Carroll, SPE, S. Thomson, SPE, K. Olson, SPE, Southwestern Energy

Case History of the Fayetteville Shale Completions

These authors report their recent completions in the world-class Fayetteville shale that stretch across central Arkansas and discuss the progression of the completions from the beginning to their current best practices.

Term Paper on Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Assignment

Roussel, NP, SPE, ConocoPhillips, Ripudaman Manchanda, SPE, and Mukul M. Sharma, SPE, the University of Texas at Austin

Implications of fracturing pressure data recorded during a horizontal completion on stage spacing design

This study concerns horizontal completions that have changed considerably in the last few years and ways to improve the drainage of shale gas reservoirs, as well as fracture spacing on the propagation direction of multiple transverse fractures, and consequently the expected performance of the horizontal well.

Ricardo Melo, SPE, James Curtis, SPE, Julio Gomez, SPE, Alexandre Melo, SPE, Fernando Garcia, Helio Pedrosa, SPE, Baker Hughes

Phosphonic/Hydro-flouric Acid: A Promising New Weapon in the Tortuosity Remediation Arsenal for Fracturing Treatments

These authors emphasize that tortuosity has been among the major challenges for shale and tight gas hydraulic fracturing treatments, leading to high near-wellbore friction pressures, premature screen-outs, reduced treating rates and poor production results and offer solutions.

J.E. Olson, B. Bahorich, J. Holder, University of Texas at Austin

Examining Hydraulic Fracture: Natural Fracture Interaction in Hydrostone Block Experiments

The authors report the results of the tests to examine the effect of cemented natural fractures on hydraulic fracture propagation.

Ted Urbancic, Adam Baig, Shoshana Goldstein, Engineering Seismology Group

Assessing Stimulation of Complex Natural Fractures as Characterized Using Microseismicity: An Argument the Inclusion of Sub-Horizontal Fractures in Reservoir Models

This study was focused on local stress perturbations through stress transfer that allow for fractures to propagate and initiate failure along pre-existing fracture sets, which include sub-vertical and sub-horizontal fractures.

Jon E. Olson, Kan Wu, the University of Texas at Austin

Sequential vs. Simultaneous Multizone Fracturing in Horizontal Wells: Insights From a Non-Planar, Multifrac Numerical Model

This study concerned developing successful shale gas and tight oil applications.

C. Cabarcas, SPE, and L. Saugier, SPE, Hilcorp Energy Company and G. Haas, J. Le Calvez, SPE, and J.C. Woerpel, SPE, Schlumberger

The Impact of Dipping Velocity Models on Microseismic Event Locations

This study emphasizes the importance of integrating all available data and implementing well-known quality controls before using microseismic monitoring data for reservoir analysis

George E. King, Apache Corporation

Hydraulic Fracturing 101: What Every Representative, Environmentalist, Regulator, Reporter, Investor, University Researcher, Neighbor and Engineer Should Know About Estimating Frac Risk and Improving Frac Performance in Unconventional Gas and Oil Wells

This study describes the basic steps involved in hydraulic fracturing.

Jonathan C. Morrill, Marathon Oil Company and Jennifer L. Miskimins, Colorado School of Mines

Optimization of Hydraulic Fracture Spacing in Unconventional Shales

The authors identify what properties are most important in determining the minimum distance needed between hydraulic fractures to avoid stress interference.

M. Marqueza, N. Tonmukayakul, L. Schafer M. Zielinskia, P. Lord and T. Goosen Chevron Corporation and Halliburton

High Pressure Testing of Borate Crosslinked Fracturing Fluids

This study describes the equipment and experimental procedures for high pressure rheology testing of selected seawater and higher density brine-based borate crosslinked fracturing fluids in the shear rate range of 20 to 80 s-1, up to 20,000 psi and 180oF.

Adam Baig, Ted Urbancic, Kaitlyn Mace, Marc Prince, Engineering Seismology Group

Assessing the Spacing of Stages in Plug and Perf Completions Through Seismic Moment Tensor Inversion

This study describes several strategies for fracturing such as avoiding the overlap of treatment volumes between adjacent wells and/or stages because of the risk that proppant and fluid will preferentially be diverted into earlier treated volumes and discusses two different completion programs.

Randy F. LaFollette, William D. Holcomb, Jorge Aragon, PhD, SPE, Baker Hughes

Practical Data Mining: Analysis of Barnett Shale Production Results With Emphasis on Well Completion and Fracture Stimulation

This study documents follow-on work to an original data mining study and analyzes well and production data beginning with over 15,000 producing Barnett wells.

Randy F. LaFollette, SPE, William D. Holcomb, SPE, and Jorge Aragon, Ph.D., SPE, Baker Hughes

Impact of Completion System, Staging, and Hydraulic Fracturing Trends in the Bakken Formation of the Eastern Williston Basin

In this study, the authors analyzed well and production data beginning with more than 400 wells in the greater Sanish-Parshall area of the Bakken to search for relevant trends in the distribution of production results for wells completed with fracturing sleeves and packers, plug and perforated, or complex completions to determine whether differences in productivity existed and needed to be factored into completion recommendations.

Yun Hsu, Xinglai Dang, Warren Chilton, Philemon Chan (L-3 ATG), Igor Stelin, Deepak Gusain, Neill Northington (Carbo Ceramics) and Hans de Pater (Fenix Consulting Delft)

New Physics-Based 3D Hydraulic Fracture Model

The authors present a fully 3D planar fracture model based on a finite element solution for fracture opening and a finite difference solution for slurry transport in the fracture. The new model can be used in cases with sufficient data gathered from logs, cores and micro-fracs. It can also be used in conjunction with fracture mapping to develop calibrated models that are based on the fundamental physics of fracturing.

Ripudaman Manchanda, Jon E. Olson, and Mukul M. Sharma, SPE, University of Texas at Austin

Permeability Anisotropy and Dilation Due to Shear Failure in Poorly Consolidated Sands

The authors describe a three-dimensional discrete element model that can be used to estimate changes in porosity and permeability due to mechanical deformation of sand-packs. Using pore network fluid flow simulations, the effect of shear failure and stress anisotropy on the permeability anisotropy and dilation of the granular specimens is then analyzed.

Warren MacPhail, SPE, Devon Canada Corporation, Bill Lisoway, SPE, Pure Energy Services, Kevin Banks, SPE, Inversion Technologies Inc.

Fiber Optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing of Multiple Fractures in a Horizontal Well

This study highlights the current state of fiber optic distributed acoustic sensing technology by reviewing its application to hydraulic fracture diagnostics in a multi-fractured horizontal well (MFHW).

Abram D. Grae, Shell Western E&P Inc., Robert J. Duenckel, CARBO Ceramics, Inc., Jordan R. Nelson, El Paso Corporation, Harry D. Smith, Jr., Consultant, Xiaogang Han, CARBO Ceramics, Inc., Terry T. Palisch, CARBO Ceramics, Inc.

Field Study Compares Hydraulic Fracture Diagnostic Technologies

The study describes a new technology that uses a non-radioactive ceramic proppant containing a high thermal neutron capture compound (HTNCC) to replace conventional fracturing methods.

C. Cipolla, S. Maxwell, and M. Mack, Schlumberger

Engineering Guide to the Application of Microseismic Interpretations

This study describes the use of microseismic monitoring of hydraulic fracture treatments and provides a practical guide for the engineering application of microseismic interpretations, documenting reliable application workflows while highlighting the consequences of misapplication of microseismic interpretations. The study also discusses the applications of advanced processing results, emphasizing how the limitations and uncertainties of the processing affect the subsequent applications.

LF Neumann, TJL Oliveira, PD Fernandes, PETROBRAS; JLA de Oliveira e Sousa, EM Brandao, UNICAMP

Building Acid Frac Conductivity in Highly-Confined Carbonates

This study discusses the feasibility of acid fracturing stimulation in hard carbonates.

Robert Shelley, P.E., StrataGen Engineering; Luke Saugier, Hilcorp Energy Company; Wadhah Al-Tailji, Nijat Guliyev, Koras Shah, Jonathan Godwin, StrataGen Engineering

Data-Driven Modeling Improves the Understanding of Hydraulic Fracture Stimulated Horizontal Eagle Ford Completions

This study examines the results from a data driven modeling effort to derive best practices for the completion of hydraulically fractured horizontal Eagle Ford wells.

Finally, a recapitulation of the pre- and post-conference training courses offered at the conference is provided in Table 2 below.

Table 2

Recap of Pre- and Post-Conference Training Courses



Hydraulic Fracturing -- a Concise Overview

Michael B. Smith • 5… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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