Recent improvements in tilt measurement techniques have greatly enhanced the resolution of hydraulic fracture-induced tilts, resulting in both greater mapping precision and an increase in the maximum mapping depth achievable with a surface tiltmeter array. With a previous depth limitation of around 6,000 ft., surface tiltmeter mapping was limited to areas with relatively shallow production. Application is greatly broadened now with a depth range down to 10,000 ft. In addition to the expanded depth range, there has been a marked improvement in the fracture mapping resolution.
This paper begins with an overview of the tiltmeter fracture mapping concept, highlighting both the strengths of this technique and its limitations. Following that is a description of the technical advancements made over the last three years to allow fracture mapping at far greater depths. Finally, two brief case studies are presented to demonstrate fracture mapping at great depth, and also to provide insight on hydraulic fracture growth behavior in two different environments. As the case studies make clear, fracture growth is far more complex than is generally assumed. Better understanding of these complexities can lead to significantly enhanced fracture stimulation practices.
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