Multidomain Data and Modeling Unlock Unconventional Reservoir Challenges
- Utpal Ganguly (Schlumberger) | Craig Cipolla (Schlumberger)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 32 - 37
- 2012. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Completion strategy and hydraulic fracture stimulation are important keys to economic success in low- permeability and unconventional reservoirs such as tight sand and shale. Therefore, engineering workflows in unconventional reservoirs need to focus on completion and stimulation optimization, just as they do well placement and spacing.
The primary obstacles associated with optimizing completions in these reservoirs have been the absence of hydraulic fracture models that properly simulate the complex fracture propagation common in many reservoirs, the lack of efficient methods to create discrete reservoir simulation grids to rigorously model hydrocarbon production from complex hydraulic fractures, the lack of automated fracture treatment staging algorithms, and the lack of ability to efficiently integrate microseismic mapping measurements with geological and geophysical data.
This article details a novel approach for enabling efficient multistage completions, new complex fracture models, unstructured gridding-based reservoir simulation, and a comprehensive integrated workflow developed within single reservoir-centric stimulation design software. Though primarily focused on unconventional reservoirs, this efficient full-cycle seismic-to- simulation workflow is applicable also for conventional reservoirs.
Seismic-to-Simulation Through Stimulation
In recent years, an increasing amount of hydrocarbons in North America have been produced from unconventional reservoirs, with a similar trend expected worldwide. The International Energy Agency projects the hydrocarbon reserves in unconventional reservoirs to be as high as 8 trillion BOE. Most of these low-permeability reservoirs must be hydraulically fractured to produce. In unconventional reservoirs, stimulation is the key step in the seismic-to-simulation workflow.
For unconventional reservoirs, detailed reservoir characterization plays a fundamental role in completion design, affecting the staging strategy, location of perforations or fracture ports, and stimulation design. Properly modeling the interaction of induced fractures with the rock fabric and coupling the hydraulic fracture geometry and conductivity with subsequent well performance is an essential element in this comprehensive workflow. The unconventional reservoir simulations include a detailed geologic description. The modeling is focused on the well and the specifics of the completion (i.e., the hydraulic fracture treatments). In contrast, this information can be significantly scaled up for conventional reservoirs, shifting the focus to large-scale reservoir behavior (i.e., multiwell and full-field simulation models).
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