An Integrated View of Hydraulic Induced Fracture Geometry in Hydraulic Fracture Test Site 2


Until relatively recently, most of our understanding about the geometry of hydraulically induced fractures in unconventional reservoirs has been inferred by patterns observed via microseismic monitoring. Important information, such as fracture-azimuth, fracture-length, height-growth and other geometric data has been determined from microseismic “event clouds”, which in turn has been used to interpret a stimulated reservoir volume (SRV). It is important to note that relatively limited microseismic results have been acquired in conjunction with other diagnostics and validated in a consistent manner. The Hydraulic Fracture Test Site 2 (HFTS2) in the Permian Delaware Basin provides a unique opportunity to compare the frac geometry interpretations derived from multiple frac diagnostic tools and at multiple scales. The integrated view that emerges from all the frac diagnostic tools is that in HFTS2 the geometries of hydraulically induced fractures are not random and with a highly complex branching architecture. In fact, the fracs are mostly vertical, parallel plana domains, and both vertically and horizontally asymmetrical. The hydraulically induced fractures have a very consistent azimuth with a strike that matches SHmax. At the distance corresponding to the spacing between nearby wells in HFTS2, ~ 660 ft, the pattern of strain interceptions observed from Low Frequency Distributed Acoustic Sensing (LF-DAS) shows far-field dimensions that are consistent with the stage length dimensions at the stimulated well. In general, larger stages with higher number of clusters create larger number of interceptions and wider stimulated intervals than that of shorter stages with the same cluster to cluster spacing and fewer clusters. The hydraulically induced fractures also show a clear tendency to preferentially grow upwards as shown by the microseismic data, by the relative lower number of LF-DAS interceptions in nearby deeper wells and finally by the observed LF-DAS strain patterns in the vertical observation well. In the near field, the geometries of the fracture domains are also consistent. As shown by the distributed strain measurements obtained during production via the monitoring of Rayleigh Frequency Shift (RFS), each cluster has a separate, non-overlapping, frac-zone-domain that are generally centered around the locations of each perforation cluster. Overall, the hydraulically induced fractures in HFTS2 are interpreted as occurring in swarms associated with individual clusters, each with its own unique geometry but with similar predictable geometric and propagation tendencies. The comprehensive frac diagnostic program in HFTS2, the well-pad layout that permits the investigation of the impact that nearby producing wells has on frac geometry, together with an innovative Design of Experiment (DofE) that includes sequential-fracing, consistent cluster-to-cluster distances and few single-perforation-cluster stages, has allowed us to gain a unique perspective about the geometry of the induced hydraulic fractures on this pad. The HFTS2 dataset has also provided us with a better understanding of the applicability and limitations of the different diagnostic tools.

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