Early Warning Systems - Using PTA Analysis of DFITs to Understand Complex Hydraulic Fractures and Optimize Treatment Designs
- A. Kirby Nicholson (Perpetual Energy Inc.) | Robert V. Hawkes (Trican Well Services Ltd.) | Robert C. Bachman (CGG)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 30 September - 2 October, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2019. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Tortuosity, DFIT Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test, Overburden Lithostatic, PTA Pressure Transient Analysis, Hydraulic Fracturing
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- 242 since 2007
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This paper outlines methods to characterize hydraulic fracture geometry and optimize full-scale treatments using knowledge gained from Diagnostic Fracture Injection Tests (DFITs) in settings where fracturing pressures are at or above the overburden gradient.
Hydraulic fractures, whether created during a DFIT or a larger scale treatment, are usually represented by vertical plane fracture models. These models work well in a relatively normal stress regime with homogeneous rock fabric where fracturing pressure is less than the Overburden (OB) pressure. However, many hydraulic fracture treatments are pumped above the OB pressure. This high pressure may be caused by near well friction or tortuosity but may also be the result of more complex fractures in multiple planes.
Bachman et al (2012, 2015), Hawkes et al (2018) and Nicholson et al (2019) advanced DFIT analysis by using the Pressure Transient Analysis (PTA) technique. This allows the identification of flow regimes useful for understanding fracture geometry and closure behavior beyond that available from more familiar G-function analysis techniques. In this paper DFITs from the Duvernay, Montney, Rock Creek and Cardium formations of Western Canada are analyzed using the PTA method. Particular attention is given to Early-Time Flow Regimes (ETFRs) present between the end of pump shut-down (End of Job Instantaneous Shut-In Pressure, EOJ ISIP) and the 3/2-slope Nolte flow regime. Identification of pressure gradients at the start and end of these flow regimes is of vital importance to the interpretation process. This allows the authors to build on case histories of DFIT-derived fracture geometry interpretations presented in Nicholson et al (2017, 2019).
Procedures are proposed for picking Farfield Fracture Extension Pressure (FFEP) in place of conventional IIP estimates while distinguishing between storage, friction and tortuosity vs. fracture geometry indicators. Analysis of FFEP and ETFRs combined with the context of rock fabric and stress setting are useful for designing full-scale fracturing operations. A DFIT may help identify potentially problematic multi-plane fractures, predict high fracturing pressures or screen-outs. Fluid and completion system designs, well placement and orientation may be adjusted to mitigate some of these effects using the intelligence gained from the DFIT early warning system.
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