Design Optimization of Horizontal Wells With Multiple Hydraulic Fractures
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 118 - 123
- 2014. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 361 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 167770, "Design Optimization of Horizontal Wells With Multiple Hydraulic Fractures in the Bakken Shale," by Luigi Saputelli, SPE, Frontender Corporation; Carlos Lopez, SPE, BP; Alejandro Chacon, SPE, Halliburton; and Mohammed Soliman, SPE, Texas Tech University, prepared for the 2014 SPE/EAGE European Unconventional Resources Conference and Exhibition, Vienna, Austria, 25-27 February. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
The ultimate performance of fractured wells in tight reservoirs is affected severely by the interfering effects inside the fracture and interfractures. The most important parameters for determining the optimum fracture length have been shown to be the formation permeability and the stimulated reservoir volume. Although studies have examined the performance of horizontal fractured wells and the fracture-geometry effect, fracture spacing and intersecting angles in vertical and horizontal wells should be investigated further. This study presents the results of a tight-oil-reservoir analogy.
An efficient way to improve the productivity of ultratight shale formations is to increase the density of hydraulic fractures. Decreasing hydraulic-fracture spacing increases the productivity of the well, but the incremental production gain for each additional hydraulic fracture decreases. The current field practice is to develop 640- to 1,280-acre leases with 4,000- to 10,000-ft horizontal wells with multiple fractures. However, the determination of the optimal number of fractures is a challenge.
Historically, many of the first horizontal wellbores were drilled using the openhole method in the pay zone. This allowed a significant portion of the wellbore to be in contact with the reservoir. In 2004, a coiled-tubing-deployed jetting assembly was successfully used to focus the stimulation treatments in the openhole wellbore. This further demonstrated that openhole horizontal wells can be successful. Another completion method of that period that is still used is the plug-and-perforation technique in cased holes. The disadvantage of using this completion method, however, is that fracturing fluids can come in contact with the formation for an extended period of time.
Near the wellbore, the flow configuration in a transverse fracture intersecting a horizontal well can be of two types. Outside the fracture, the flow from the reservoir into the fracture is linear; inside the fracture, the flow is converging radial. Additionally, turbulence effects, fracture-conductivity impairment, scaling, and unstable wellbore flow regimes can play an important role in creating pressure drops, which affect well performance.
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