This paper details the state-of-the-art in applying both conventional and advanced technologies to better understand hydraulic fracturing and improve treatment designs. The initial portion of the paper describes the application and limitations of various diagnostic tools and methods, including well testing, net pressure analysis (fracture modeling), techniques that employ open-hole & cased-hole logs, surface & downhole tilt fracture mapping, microseismic fracture mapping, and production data analysis. The bulk of the paper is dedicated to case histories that illustrate the application of these various fracture diagnostic technologies. The case histories include examples of how several fracture diagnostics can be used in concert to provide more reliable estimates of fracture dimensions and allow better economic decisions.
Knowledge about fracture geometry is difficult to obtain with fractures growing thousands of feet below the surface. In addition, hydraulic fractures are proving to be vastly more complex than initially thought.1-3 While fracture treatments continue to be designed using the best tools and techniques available, geometry estimates from fracture models have been difficult to verify. Numerous fracture diagnostic techniques are now available to fill this knowledge gap, improving our understanding of hydraulic fracture behavior.4-10
There are many fracture diagnostic technologies available (see Figure 1), including techniques that directly image "big picture" far-field fracture growth, dimensions, and orientation; tools that provide a local measurement of the fracture at the wellbore; and lower-cost indirect (model-dependent) diagnostic methods. There are three main groups of commercially available fracture diagnostic techniques, each with their own set of capabilities and limitations. A summary of the techniques, limitations and the parameters each technique measures is provided in Table 1.11
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