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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation

Hernán Buijs, OGR/SFL (Wintershall Headquarters)

January, 2018
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Safety Moment
 Scanning for Hazards… HOW? REMEMBER: SILENCE = CONSEQUENCES!

 Use all your senses:


 Look
 Listen
 Smell
 Feel!

Source: Añelo, NQN (Argentina)_LMNeuquen.com

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Today‘s „Road Map“
We will be talking about how to create value through
 Summary multidisciplinary collaboration!
 Is Hydraulic Fracturing something new?
 Stress Directionality.
 Proppant: “The Main Stay of our Treatment”
 Fracturing Fluids.
 How does a “Frac” looks like?
 Rock Mechanics & 1DMEM.
 Diagnostic Fracture Inject Test (DFIT).
 Unconventional Developments in Perspective.
Source: G. King (MIT, 2014)

 Hydrocarbon Storage.
 Not all Shales are the same… Not all Shales are Shales!
 Sweet Spots.
 Hydrocarbon Flow in Shales…Only Possible through Natural Fractures!
 Multi-Frac Completions.
 Perforating for Fracturing.
 Lecture “Take Away”. 4
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Hydraulic Fracturing 101
Fracturing is an evolving
Is Hydraulic Fracturing Really New? technology – just as
medicine, construction,
 The physics of fracturing has not changed significantly since the early 1950’s. manufacturing, cars, are
 First 1 million wells were fractured between 1952 and 1992. evolving technologies.

 First 1 million fractures in horizontal wells were done between 1974 to 2013.
Source: G. King, MIT (Jan, 2014)

Source: Britt., SPE Distinguisehd Lecture

“Secret Science” “Joint Industry Projects”

Source: J. Jenkins, et al. May 2012 (adapted by H. Buijs) Source: Project Gasbuggy Test, 1967
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Hydraulic Fracturing 101
 How do we do it? We create an “Artificial Reservoir” within the host rock!
 We need to pump a minimum amount of “Pad Fluid” to create a crack and generate enough width to
start pumping proppant into.
 Ideally, when designing a “Frac”, we start pumping proppant in increasing concentrations (slurry). The
last proppant concentration pumped into the well should be equal to slurry concentration at the tip of
the Fracture.
 The conductivity of the Fracture and the Reservoir Deliverability needs to be Balanced.
 There is a critical sand concentration we can reach before screening out (this is reservoir dependent).
Depending on the near wellbore pressure loss, we would try to reach this concentration as fast as
possible.

Source: BJ Fracturing Manual (2007)

We get to play “mother Nature” for 1-2hrs! We are recreating a depositional environment,
we get to select the “sediment particles” and carrier fluid.
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Hydraulic Fracturing 101
 Hydraulic Fractures Follows the Maximum Stress:
 Stress Directionality

 Longitudinal vs Transverse Fractures (Basic Definition)


Transverse Fractures Longitudinal Fractures

Source: Hazzim Abbas, Rock Mechanics (2011) Source: Economides et al., BJ Fracturing Manual (2007)
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Proppant... The „Main Stay“ of our treatment!
“As Cheap as Dirt, as Light as
 What would be a perfect proppant? Feathers…As Hard as Diamonds!”

 Cheap.
 Infinite strength to withstand extreme closure pressure at zero crushing.
 Spherical shape to minimize embedment and spalling
(Better distribution of load and higher permeability).
 Mono-size distribution for maximum porosity and therefore highest
permeability.
 Density close to water.
 Absence of impurities (fines).
 Chemically inert along time to either reservoir fluids or fracturing fluids,
temperature and formation rocks.
 No HSE impact.
 Oil/gas and water repellent to enhance fluid flow.
 Possibility to add special additives (e.g. tracers, scale inhibitors, etc.) to or
into grains without compromising virgin properties.
 Design to prevent proppant flowback per se.
Source: J. Ponce, SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Workshop (Neuquen, 2017)
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Proppant... The „Main Stay“ of our treatment!
 Measuring Proppant Conductivity = Width*Permeability
(Ability to Transport Fluids)
 Proppant Pack Conductivity Increases with:
 Better Material (Increase Perm: ceramics are better than sands)
 Higher Proppant Size
 Increased Proppant Concentration (Increase Width)
 Lower Closure Stress

Source: B. Duenckel (SPE Webinar, 2016) / Stimlab, 2012

Source: Predict K, BJ Fracturing Manual 2007 9


An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Proppant... The „Main Stay“ of our treatment!
 Measuring Proppant Conductivity: API RP61 (1989) – “Short Term Conductivity”
 The API Institute published standard testing protocols in the 80s’:
The effective conductivities
 Flowing water (2%KCl) – No Multiphase Flow of the treatments we place
 Clean Proppant Packs – No Polymer are extremely low!
 Laminar Flow – 1 tea spoon of water per minute (2-6ml/min)
 2 lbs/ft2 (on Stainless Steel plates)– Considerable width (difficult to place in the vast majority of the fracs pumped today)

 API recognized that these conductivities were not representative of downhole conditions in the
“disclaimer”. Still some companies use this to describe their proppants.
 Were designed for operational efficiency and repeatability.

Source: SPE 119143 10


An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Proppant: The „Main Stay“ of our Treatment
The Conductivity Challenge! - SPE 16900 (1987): „Long Term Conductivity Testing“
Even with relatively benign conditions, proppants degrade: More than 30 years of laboratory
• Occurs regardless of fluid (brine, water, oil, nitrogen) work clearly proved that there is a
• Occurs faster with larger diameter materials degradation of proppant
• Occurs faster with lower strength proppants
conductivity with time…
Fracs have an expiration date!
• Resins do not help!
This would suggest mechanical degradation…still Chemical Interactions play a role!
(Diagenesis, Scaling, Asphaltenes)

50%

Source: Penny et al., 1987

Source: Wintershall (2011)


Source: McDaniel, 1986

Our Industry have tried everything we can imagine and still was unable to reverse this proppant conductivity
degradation trend (real conditions are even worst!). This is something we need to learn to live with!
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Fracturing Fluids
 Fracturing Fluids:
 Definition based on Rheology:
 Slickwater (Water Friction Reduced Fluid)
 Lineal Gels (Guar-HPG-CMHPG without xlinker)
 Xlinked Gels (Borate-Zirconate + Guar-HPG-CMHPG)
 Hybrids (a combination of the above)
 The Fracturing Fluid performs 2 functions during the treatment:
 Transfers energy from the frac pumps to the formation… creating the fracture.
 Transports and suspends the proppant.
 In order to Increase Production, a Frac Fluid must also:
 Be compatible with the formation minerals and native fluids.
 Minimize damage to proppant pack.
 Be easily recovered after the treatment.
 It Must Also be Environmentally-Friendly and Easy to Use. Keep it as Simple as possible…But
bring out all you need!
 It must be CHEAP!
 A hand full of Additives are used… not all of them are necessary, not all of them work!
 Clay Control?  Friction Reducers.  Polymer?  High Temperature Stabilizer?
 Surfactants?  Biocides.  Breakers? 12
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Green Fracturing Fluid under German Standards
 Friction Reducer based Fracturing Fluid
 The main polymer is Polyacrylamide (friction reducer
additive). No x-linker (no borates) and no breakers
are needed. If water is of good quality, no biocides
are needed.
 Has very high viscosity at low shear rates (can
transport up to 10ppag of proppant) with proppant
regained permeability of plus 70- 90%.
 Proppant convection is drastically reduced when
using this fluid (this is key for ultra tight perm rocks)
 Very cheap option when compared to traditional x-
lined frac fluids. Easy to handle, transport and mix
(less HSSE exposure).
 More than 20,000 stages pumped with this new
formulation (Technology is proven!).
 Commercialized by Calfrac, Halliburton, Weatherford,
CDS… (combined with other additives).
Source: SPE 179154

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Green Fracturing Fluid under German Standards
 Friction Reducer based Fracturing Fluid

30# xlinked gel

Slickwater (1 GPT)

Source: J. Monzon, SFN (IAPG - October, 2017)

Source: SPE 179154


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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
How does a “Frac” Looks Like?
 Mineback Studies Fracs will tend to grow
through the path of
least resistance where
they can spend the less
amount of energy
Hf Hf Fracs will follow stress
Xf globally and Locally it
follows the rock fabric
Source: SPE 119351 (planes of weaknesses)
Source: SPE 163863
Several disconnection
points are present
(vertical and lateral
continuity can be
Hf jeopardized)

Source: SPE 145949

Source: DOE Mineback Tests


Source: SPE 124919 15
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
How does a “Frac” Looks Like?
 Outcrop Studies: Magma Dikes
High viscosity Magma intrusions are an analogue to a Xlinked Frac Job (no leak off into the matrix
or natural fractures).
There are several “Tensional and Shear Fracs” around the main Fracture (Magma Dike).

Gohfer Frac Modelling Approach

Source: Delaney, Dusseault et al. (1986-1992)

Source: Delaney-Pollard, Alhambra Rock-Utah (1986) Source: Magma Dike, Papagayo beach (Courtesy of Paul Veeken)

Fractures are complex features that tend to have an enhance permeability


region around them made out of tensional and shear events!

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
How does a “Frac” Looks Like?
 Outcrop Studies: Geology Controls Fracture Growth!
 Notice that many fractures terminate at bed boundaries and that none persist all the way from
top to bottom of the section…but there is a continuity across permeable rocks!

This analysis can be


used to build a
strategy to access the
reservoir through a
better perforation
placement (Gas
Shows or Gas Ratios
gives out an
indication of Perm)
Source: Carboniferous Outcrop, Osnabruck (SPE 167793)
Source: Dueste Z10, 2013 Perforation Placement Strategy

Source: WIDE Study, Koehrer et al. 2014

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Rock Mechanics Property Model
 Rock Mechanics… Why!?
 To understand the state of stress of the rock (Height Growth).
 To Model Rock Deformation/Alteration during Fracturing (Width).
Rock Mechanical Properties and Stresses are the
“main engine” behind any Fracture Model
Source: Sneddon 2D Crack, R3 (Schlumberger)
 What is the Problem we are currently facing?
 There are several school of thought regarding how to model:
• Rock Mechanical Properties.
• Stress.
 There are several ways to measure/interpret:
• Rock Mechanics Triaxial Tests.
• Minimum Stress.
 Any model can be forced to matched any interpretation (consistent Models)…
• Do consistency with the main modelling variables makes a model valid ?...Most likely not!.
• How do we narrow the uncertainty range, build and validate a stress model?.
Sometimes it is very difficult to prove which model is more representative than the other and
cannot be taken apart… they can push you to follow totally different completion optimization cycle.
A robust multidisciplinary approach will be extremely helpful to test different hypothesis!
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Rock Mechanics Property Model
 The “Wave Equation”
Source: Miskimins, Horizontal Well HF Course (2012)
Source: hermentorcenter.com

Follows Newton’s Second Law of Motion And Combines Hooke’s


Law.
You need Compressional and Shear Sonic Data.
Main Issues behind this equations:
• When using a ratio of velocities, any error is magnified.
• Results are affected by Pore Fluid Saturation and TOC
Source: Petroleum Related Rock Mechanics, 2004 • Are a set of equations that are “Lithology-Blind”!

Source: SPE 118703 19


An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Rock Mechanics Property Model
 Travel Time Correction: Fluid and TOC Substitution

Source: hermentorcenter.com

DTC_Resistivity = RES_Offset + RES_Scale * LN (Deep Resistivity) DTC_GR = GR_Offset + GR_Scale * GR

Source: Wintershall (Buijs, 2011)

 Resistivity and SGR curves are used to perform the fluid substitution on the measured travel time and a
new curve is created with the intention of avoiding fluid partial saturation/TOC effects that affect our
rock mechanics property model (we need to build a 100% water saturated DTC curve to use the lithology
based rock property models from the previous slide).
 There is no need to run expensive Sonic Tools (the whole process is built on “Compressional Sonic”).

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Rock Mechanics Property Model
 Lithology Based Rock Mechanics

Source: Dr Barree, Marathon 1980s (Verified with Corelab Data)

 If we have a lithology model, the compressional travel time can be used to estimate dynamic elastic
properties of the rock using the curves shown (values for mixed lithologies can be estimated by
interpolating between the pure lithology lines).
 These are correlations were built through 100s of rock mechanics triaxial test performed across a wide
range of stress conditions on 100% pure minerals vertical plugs saturated with water.
 From the graph we can understand that you may have the same travel time but, depending on the type of
lithology you have, you will have totally different rock mechanical properties. 21
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Rock Mechanics Property Model
 Workflow: Fast, Simple… Robust! 2

1. Build a lithomodel (use cuttings or XRD data to calibrate it).


2. Do the Fluid Substitution Technique on the measured travel time and
construct a new travel time that is not affected by fluid saturation/TOC.
3. Combine 1 and 2 plus an additional correlation to take YM to static
Conditions… Your Rock Property Model is ready to be used! Source: SPE 118703 22
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Rock Mechanics & Stress Models
Example: Field Implementation of Lithology Based Synthetic Rock Mechanics Models
25% of the wells had no Compressional Sonic Data. When following traditional technics, 80%
of the wells could not have been able to
80% of the wells had no Shear Sonic Data. have a Rock Mechanical Model.

PR = RES_Offset + RES_Scale * LN (Deep Resistivity)

YM_Dynamic = RES_Offset + RES_Scale * LN (Deep Resistivity)


Source: Well A (Built correlations) Source: Well B (located 10Km away)

Source: Wintershall (Buijs, 2014)


You can apply this correlations at a field level and produce
Rock Mechanical Models within less than 15% in error! 23
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test (DFIT)
 Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test (DFIT) is way to examine and characterize each
zone in the well as it is being completed by creating a small fracture with a
Newtonian Fluid (Water, Oil or N2).
 Often provides information that cannot be obtained by any other technique:
 Minimum stress
 Net extension pressure
 Reservoir Permeability
 Pore pressure
Fracture Data Reservoir Data
 The presence and stress state of natural fractures
 Leakoff magnitude and closure mechanism

Source: Dr Barree Frac Course (2010)

The results of pre-frac tests determine practically every input and output of our fracture design process.
They determine the expected frac geometry, conductivity, formation flow capacity, and optimum frac
design as well as the means necessary to place the design.

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test (DFIT)
 The G-Function: A Reservoir Characterization Tool!
Pumping is one of the few processes we have to establish a
“conversation” with our reservoir… The G-Function is the language
Source: Nolte, G Function (1979) we use to “talk” with the host rock!
 The G-Function is a dimensionless function of Shut in time normalized to pumping time.
 This function is used to reduce ambiguity and provide large amount of information about leak off
mechanism and minimum stress (Type Curve Matching).

Closure Mechanism: “Tip Extension”

Pseudo Linear Flow Period

Pseudo Linear Pore Pressure

Source: Buijs, Ponce (Vaca Muerta Shale, SPE 189866) 25


An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Vaca Muerta Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test
 Numerical Simulation of Prefrac Tests
 Interval with extremely low permeability. Fracture continues growing after pumps are stopped.
 Cycles of low and high permeability intervals at different positions.

Grid Size: 0.25m x 0.75m Grid Size: 0.25m x 0.75m


Time: 1.9 min (pumps are stopped!) Time: 2.5min (frac continue growing!)

100 meters 100 meters

Source: Buijs, Ponce (Vaca Muerta Shale, SPE 189866)

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Vaca Muerta Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test
Gohfer (3D Fracture Simulator): Numerical Simulation of Prefrac Tests

 Numerically simulated model


provides similar G-function
type curve, minimum stress,
time to reach closure and after
closure pressure transients
(pore pressure).
 Numerical model is capable of
reproducing actual pressure
response, thus drastically
reducing the uncertainty range
of possible solutions.
 Can this technique be utilized
to differentiate meaningful vs
meaningless Flow Capacity and
State of Stress Models?

Source: Well A, DFIT Lower Vaca Muerta Source: Well A, Simulated DFIT Lower Vaca Muerta
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Vaca Muerta Permeability Model
 Permeability seems to have a correlation with measured Resistivity?
 Permeability derived from DFIT closure
time are higher within higher resistivity
intervals.
 When combining an independent
permeability function built by integrating
DFIT data from several hydraulic units
with the core measured TOC:
– Strong correlation with core
measured TOC (the “slowing” curve
might be used to model
permeability!)
– Correlation between permeability
model and TOC, would indicate that
natural fissures are related to the
maturation process and sourcing of
hydrocarbons

Source: Buijs, Ponce (Vaca Muerta Shale, SPE 189866)

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs 16 Wells can Drain 8 Km2 (2000 Acres). A
 Developments in Perspective Typical field Development is approx. 150
Wells, which are capable of draining
almost 50% of the Hannover City Area!
Herrenhäuser Garten

Waterloosäule

 In the US there were 63,000 Shale Wells (June, 2012). Source: Google Maps, 2017

 Today there must be at least 120,000 Shale Wells (Personal Estimation) = We have aprox. drilled 20 times
the Earth diamater.
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 Is this Drilling Engineering or Mining Engineering?
 In Shale reservoirs you need more than a 1,000 fractures placed through 16 horizontal wells to
properly drain 2000 acres while in conventional reservoir you need 1 horizontal well to drain more
area.
 In Unconventionals economics plays a big role (If you can not make it cheap, you go broke!)

Source: SPE Webinar, Unconventional Completions, Martin Rylance 2015 (modified by Buijs)

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 Hydrocarbons Storage
 Hydrocarbons are generated, stored and trapped in the same rock. Due
to its extremely low permeability, hydrocarbons did not have enough
time to migrate.
 Hydrocarbons are stored in the pore space (organic and inorganic
pores) and fractures at all levels (from nano-cracks to natural fissures).
Gas can be dissolved in liquid hydrocarbons and water (also can be
stored at clay surfaces).
 Very low size pores are impaired to hold liquid hydrocarbons (and frac
water… Shales are thirsty features!). Pore size distribution has
importance.
Source: Jorge Ponce, Challenges in Liquid Rich Shales, June 2014

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 The “Nano World” in Perspective: How “Small” is Small!?
 Pulse Decay Core permeabilities ranges that provide economic wells: The concept of pores and pore
throats begin to break down
• Gas Reservoirs: 10 to 2,000 nD at these scales!
• Oil Reservoirs: 100 to 10,000 nD Source: Blasingame (2016)

• Fracturing can increase the system permeability typically between 10-100 times!

Source: G. King (2011)

Human Hair ≈ 50-100 μm

Source: Pore Throat Size Nelson (2009), modified by J. Ponce

Source: University of Rochester, Human Hair 32


An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 Not all Shales are the same… Not all Shales are Shales!

Source: SPE 115258

 Definition of the word “Shale” is based on grain size (low permeability) rather than mineralogy.
 One way used by the industry to compare different Shales is to compare its mineralogy:
 It looks like that the vast majority of US Gas Shales has an analogue somewhere in the Barnett (but all produce
differently).
 Mineralogy has no information about the main variables that define the host rock flow capacity (permeability,
state of stress, Pore Pressure and Fracture Geometry) and can not be used to predict well performance.
 There are not economically producing shales that have more than 40% clay („Gumbo Shales“). Nevertheless, many
different combinations of mineralogy can still be economic. You must modify the completion and stimulation
program to make it work. 33
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 What is the definition of “Sweet Spot”?
▪ High TOC Zone?
▪ High KH?
▪ Easy to Drill?
Source: www.eremedia.com
▪ Easy to Frac?
▪ Close to transport? Source: eimages.com

▪ Close to water resources?


There is no clear definition
(we might be looking at different things!)

 Do “Sweet Spots” Exists? Really!?


▪ In many cases, the extremes are as close as only 1
well location.
▪ Ten fold variance observed in production.
▪ Clearly “Sweet Spots” do Exist…But where!?

Source: SPE 138427 34


An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 Sweet Spots: Where are those wells?
 Who ever got this answer will become a millionaire! Barnett Shale
(I “want in”…Call me!)
 Through the implementation of technology the industry
was able to drastically increase IP/EUR…but we are still
drilling a lot of uneconomical wells (the moving average is
not changing much)!
 Technology enables you to produce from this ultralight
systems but it wont guarantee positive cash flow…
Geology will play a huge role here!

Eagle Ford Shale Bakken Shale Haynesville Shale

Source: SPE Distinguished Lecturer, Multi-disciplinary Approach to Increasing Production in Shales (Fisher, 2017)

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 The “Red Queen Effect”… Running Faster, but staying in the same place!
▪ Geometric Spacing of Perforation clusters.
▪ 10% of Frac Jobs are simulated (mainly production modelling is done!).
▪ Less than 5% of the wells have Micro seismic.
Homogeneous Completions in
▪ Only 10% are logged! Heterogenous Reservoirs DO
NOT WORK!
▪ 73% of the Companies do not understand the subsurface.
▪ 55% do not use Geomechanics.
▪ 40-60% of perforation clusters do not produce.
Source: Welling and Company, 2014

 Shales are like a Rubik Cube!


▪ You need the Right Rock.
▪ You need Technology.
▪ You need the Right Technique (Completion Quality).
▪ You need The Right Market.
▪ You need The Right People.
▪ You need a Cheap Service Infrastructure.
Source: a.tgcdn.net
Source: SPE Forum on Unconventional Gas (Abu Dhabi, 2013) 36
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 Hydrocarbon Flow in Shales… Only Possible through Natural Fractures!
 Natural Fractures may be global or localized, leading to variations in productivity through out the
reservoir.
 Natural fissures, either open, healed or created after fracturing, provide the main path for fluid flow.
 Development of “network fracturing” enables flow but it doesn’t guarantee it!.
 Propping Cracks is difficult (compare size of the “crack vs size of the proppant):
 Propping major natural fractures (structural features) is easier but still not easy!
(wellbore images quantify fracture apertures between 0.3-2.5 mm…100 mesh can fit in!).
 Smaller fractures are impossible to be packed with traditional proppants in the market.
(Core Inspection quantify fracture apertures between 0.025-0.0025 mm)
Model to understand proppant transport in Fractured Media

Source: G. King, Shale Selection Completion & Fracturing (2012)

Source: SPE 168579 37


Source: Mike Vincent, 2012
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 Rejuvenation of a Naturally Fracture Rock by Hydraulic Fracturing
 Creating cracks and connecting isolated pores (tensional/shear failure of the rock).
 Dislocating natural fracs (face displacement).
 Water Dissolving Carbonate Cement of Natural Fissures.
 Microcracks generation due to osmotic pressures.
“… numerical modelling requires gas permeabilities 2 to 4 orders of magnitude greater than observed to match
flow rates and ultimate recoveries … Some other, higher permeability pathway through shale seems necessary.”
Source: Cluff, Shanley and Miller, AAPG 2007

Source: SPE 145949

Source: Fredd, SPE 74138 (2001)


Source: SPE 168998 Source: SPE 168612 38
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 How do we Preserve the Permeability of the Rejuvenated Fractured System?
 The surface Area of the Rejuvenated Fracture System (unpropped) created can be at least 1 order
of Magnitude higher of the propped area (M. Sharma, SPE 174946).
 Field observations showed 3 things:
• Choked Wells Accumulate more Hydrocarbons
(Increased EUR compared to other wells near by produced at higher rates).
• The best choke strategy needs to be implemented/tested at the field.
(some Shales respond better to higher chokes/rates than others)
• Wells that were closed for longer time, show better performance (“Frac & Bake”).
 There are on-going investigations to use Nano-Proppants (<300-400 mesh) that can fit in natural
fractures and keep them open for a longer period of time (this should maximize well performance)

Fly Ash: 60% Silica of 0.001-0.003mm

Source: SPE 174037


Source: Halliburton, Case Histories (2017) 39
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Why we utilize Multi-Frac Completions?
 Cheapest way to put in the ground several wells at the same time!
 Increase Drainage and EUR while limiting the number of wells (maximize Reservoir Contact):
• Hydraulic fracturing increases reservoir contact in a vertical well at least 3 orders of magnitude!
• Multi-hydraulic fractured horizontal well increases reservoir contact over a vertical one
~5 orders of magnitude! (This is the main reason to justify multi-fractured horizontal wells)
 Pad drilling and completion (Offshore approach). “ You can place 12 wells in 6 acres
 Centralized facilities (smaller foot print). and access 6,000 acres of Shale!”
(reduced the vertical well footprint
 They provide the highest Productivity Index: of well by more than 90%)
Source: G. King (MIT, 2014)
 No other technology can surpass it.
 High Number of Fractures provides large IP and EUR (there are economical limits!).
 Mandatory state regulations:
 Requirement of minimum ground disturbance.
 Access to reservoirs under populated cities, farming areas, preserved lands, water resources
Source: Vincent, Ponce et al.

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 Multi-Frac Horizontal Wells: “The Dan Field” (Denmark, 1987)
 The Dan Field was the first Significant Multi-Frac Horizontal Wells Field Development.
 This kind of Completion started in 1987 and by early 90s’ there were 14 horizontal wells with 126
fracture stages.
 Offshore SIMOPS Techniques were taken to the Onshore Multi-Frac Developments.

≈ 45 propped
MFB-14: Km fracs (1st Horizontal well)

MFB-15: 7 propped fracs (2nd Horizontal well)

Source: Schlumberger, Oil field Review (July, 1990) 41


An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 Multi-Frac Horizontal Wells : “The Proppant Distribution Challenge”
 Plug & Perf (75%)  Hybrids (6%)
 Ball Activated Sleeves (12%)
 Coiled Tubing (7%)
Source: Welling & Company, 2014

Source: SPE DL “Bridging the Gap Between Drilling & Completions”, M. Van Domelen 42
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Perforating for Fracturing
 Limited Entry Perforation Design for Vertical and Horizontal Wells
▪ Introduced in the industry in vertical wells by Murphy-Juch in Lake Maracaibo Venezuela (Shell)
▪ Principle: Contact more rock in less time (sometimes in a better way), with less money (in other
words, reducing pumping cost and maximizing NPV).
▪ To properly distributing sand across these perforations calls for skills (Art-Science-Field Application)!
Remember: Limited = Inefficient!
Source: Jorge Ponce (2011), modified by Buijs (2016)

Source: SPE 163863

Source: Blasingame, UNSW Seminar (2012)

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Perforating for Fracturing
 Perforation Design for Horizontal Wells: Cluster Perforation
 How we connect to the rock…MATTERS!
 3 Variables that needs to be balanced:
(perf position requires fine tuning with logging data)
• Production Interference (defined by system permeability).
• Mechanical Interference (Stress Shadowing). Source: thewoodwhisperer.com

• Number of clusters per fracture stage (3 clusters per stage is recommended).


Number of connecting points is clearly more important than frac
length (Number and Frac size needs to be balanced!)

Source: Vincent, 2016

We are pumping the same amount of


proppant/fluid, contacting the same amount
of rock… But we do it in a different way,
having an impact on production!

Source: Vincent et al. (SPE 134595) 44


An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Unconventional Reservoirs
 Where do we land the laterals?
 Production in unconventional reservoirs is directly driven by contacted area assuming we are in the
right position (connect to high Permeability intervals).
 Critical to initiate hydraulic fractures at the right point in order to ensure optimized vertical and
longitudinal growth:
• Frac barriers / Bed interface can inhibit fracture propagation (decoupling).
• Ductile layers can limit or stop fracture initiation.
• Strike-slip regime impact on frac initiation: potential pancake fracs.
Source: Jorge Ponce, Developing Liquid Rich Shales (2015)

Source: Mike Vincent SPE HF Conference Keynote Speech, 2013


Source: Buijs, Ponce (Vaca Muerta Shale, SPE 189866) 45
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Final Comments
 Understand the reservoir first…then try to stimulate it! (Rely on facts & Field observations).
 Fracture geometries are defined by Fracture Design, State of Stress and Geology… you can not
deceive Nature (there are limits)!
 As the Geologic reality gets more complex…the modeling must be more rigorous. When using
oversimplified models…a toll will have to be paid.
 Be willing to listen to production data (your models should be tested!).
 Avoid False Economies and Invest in Reservoir Characterization…Science MATTERS!.
 A Continuous Optimization Process is a must!
(Optimization ends when we drill the last well in the Field)
 Our models need to be challenged over and over again (there is always a better way!).

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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Lecture “Take Away”
 Fracturing is an “evolving technology”…. Just like any other technology (is changing as we speak!)
 We are playing “mother nature” and creating an artificial reservoir. Everything we know about
reservoir engineering plays a vital role here!
 The Fracturing Fluid performs 2 functions during the treatment:
• Transfers energy from the frac pumps to the formation… creating the fracture
• Transports and suspends the proppant
 Most of the principles use to build Frac Fluids have proven to be wrong and several additives
currently pumped to increase well performance actually does the opposite.
 Proppant is the “Main Stay” of our treatment (this is the main engine behind fractured well
performance). The Production benefit comes from creating additional drainage area.
 Fractures are not perfect features. The effective geometries contributing to flow are limited and the
proppant pack placed degrades with time (fractures have an expiration date).
 Predict K is a +35 year continuous research effort done by over 50 major energy companies that is
guided by Stimlab. The primary areas of interest continue to include:
• Determination of the long-term conductivity of proppants (baseline data);
• Evaluation of the impact of fracturing fluid leak off and damage upon proppant conductivity.
• Determination of the impact of non-Darcy and multiphase flow on effective conductivity.

47
An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Lecture “Take Away”
 Hydraulic Fractures tend to have one main body that is fully pack with proppant. It’s common to see
horizontal components in rock interfaces and several branches.
 Secondary Fractures can accept certain amount of proppant but do not tend to be far from the main
fracture body (depends on many things but proppant size is a dominant variable). Fluid can travel
further!
 Fractures can “stair-step” when it encounters natural fractures (may even disconnect from the main
fracture body). Reservoirs are not continuous rock masses …there are imperfections in every scale!
 Hydraulic Fractures are influenced by heterogeneities within the reservoir (Joints, Faults, Layers) and
its geometry depends on the depositional environment (Geology Controls Fracture Growth!).
 Hydraulic Fracturing geometry and it’s associated performance can be match in many ways (there are
different softwares and workflows capable of doing this). Such non-unique solutions can push the
engineer to follow the wrong Stimulation Strategy without even knowing it.
 The best solutions always comes from a data driven process run by a multidisciplinary team that are
allowed to think and innovate focusing on creating value. Don’t limit yourself when getting a match,
think beyond and see what you have learnt about the whole process.
 There is a very limited amount of variables we can control to effectively increase well performance:
• Fracture Design (Rate, Fluid, Proppant)
• The way we access the reservoir (Type of well / Perforation Design)
• How we produce our wells
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An Engineered Approach to Unconventional Reservoirs Stimulation
Lecture “Take Away”
 There is no “Plug & Play” Fracture design (learning curves must be faced in every single reservoir).
 Diagnostic Injections is one of the few ways we can establish a conversation with our reservoir. The
Gfunction is the language we utilized. When used properly, this is an extremely robust reservoir
characterization tool since we can obtained information about:
• Pore Pressure, system permeability, state of stress, presence of natural fractures…
 The After Closure Analysis (ACA) is an analogue to Pressure Build Ups (instead of analysing the
pressure going up, we analyze how the pressure is declining).

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Source: iversity.org

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