Productivity-Maximized Horizontal-Well Design With Multiple Acute-Angle Transverse Fractures
- Nadav Sorek (Quantum Reservoir Impact) | Jose A. Moreno (Anadarko) | Ryan N. Rice (Rice Energy) | Guofan Luo (University of Houston) | Christine Ehlig-Economides (University of Houston)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- October 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,539 - 1,551
- 2018.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Multiple Acute Angle Transverse Fractures, Hydraulic Fracture Angle
- 14 in the last 30 days
- 164 since 2007
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Hydraulic fractures propagate perpendicular to the horizontal-well axis whenever the drilling direction is parallel to the minimum-principal-stress direction. However, operators frequently drill horizontal wells parallel to lease boundaries, resulting in hydraulic-fracture vertical planes slanted at angles less than 90° from the well axis.
The stimulated-rock-volume (SRV) dimensions are defined by fracture height, well length, and fracture length multiplied by the sine of the angle between fracture planes and the horizontal-well axis (fracture angle). The well productivity index (PI) under boundary-dominated flow (BDF) is given by the PI for one fully penetrating fracture multiplied by the number of fractures. An extension of the unified-fracture-design (UFD) approach for rectangular drainage areas enables determination of the unique number of fractures that will maximize well productivity under BDF conditions given the formation permeability, proppant mass, fracture angle, and well spacing. Fracture length and width vary depending on the fracture angle, but the total-propped-fracture volume remains constant.
Because the likely reason for drilling at an angle to the minimum-stress direction is to better cover a lease area with north/south and east/west boundaries, the smallest fracture angle will be 45°, corresponding to northwest/southeast or northeast/southwest minimum-stress direction. This results in the need to lengthen fractures by at most 40% to preserve the SRV for a given horizontal-well length and spacing. For the same sufficiently large proppant mass, this will reduce fracture conductivity by the same factor. However, because the flow area has increased, the result will be greater well productivity.
This study shows a simple strategy for designing wells to maximize productivity even when not drilled in the minimumstress direction.
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