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Official Definition from Oilfield Glossary

1. n. [Well Workover and Intervention]


A stimulation treatment routinely performed on oil and gas wells in low-permeability reservoirs.
Specially engineered fluids are pumped at high pressure and rate into the reservoir interval to be
treated, causing a vertical fracture to open. The wings of the fracture extend away from the
wellbore in opposing directions according to the natural stresses within the formation. Proppant,
such as grains of sand of a particular size, is mixed with the treatment fluid keep the fracture open
when the treatment is complete. Hydraulic fracturing creates high-conductivity communication with
a large area of formation and bypasses any damage that may exist in the near-wellbore area.

2. n. [Well Testing]
The process of pumping into a closed wellbore with powerful hydraulic pumps to create enough
downhole pressure to crack or fracture the formation. This allows injection of proppant into the
formation, thereby creating a plane of high-permeability sand through which fluids can flow. The
proppant remains in place once the hydraulic pressure is removed and therefore props open the
fracture and enhances flow into the wellbore.

The above definition is the formal definition from the Oilfield Glossary, which is under the sole
control of the owner of the Glossary. Contributions are however welcome below this point, through
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Other information
Details on Hydraulic Fracturing can be found in "Reservoir Stimulation 3rd
edition" . by Michael J.Economides, Kenneth G.Nolte (editors) Publisher: John
Wiley & Sons ,June 9, 2000. 20 chapters, coauthored by industry experts
covering all aspect of Reservoir Stimulation with extensive list of references.
All chapter in pdf are in Intouch

Related Links
stimulation
1. n. [Well Workover and Intervention, Shale Gas] ID: 4793

A treatment performed to restore or enhance the productivity of a well. Stimulation treatments fall into two
main groups, hydraulic fracturing treatments and matrix treatments. Fracturing treatments are performed
above the fracture pressure of the reservoir formation and create a highly conductive flow path between
the reservoir and the wellbore. Matrix treatments are performed below the reservoir fracture pressure and
generally are designed to restore the natural permeability of the reservoir following damage to the near-
wellbore area. Stimulation in shale gas reservoirs typically takes the form of hydraulic fracturing
treatments.

pressure
1. n. [Well Testing] ID: 8128

The force distributed over a surface, usually measured in pounds force per square inch, or lbf/ in.2, or psi,
in US oilfield units

1. n. [Geology] ID: 423

A subsurface body of rock having sufficient porosity and permeability to store and transmit fluids.
Sedimentary rocks are the most common reservoir rocks because they have more porosity than most
igneous and metamorphic rocks and form under temperature conditions at which hydrocarbons can be
preserved. A reservoir is a critical component of a complete petroleum system.
See: aquifer, basement, cap rock, condensate, dolomitization, downdip, fairway, fluid contact, formation pressure, gas-oil
contact, gas-water contact, hydrocarbon, impermeable, in situ, oil-water contact, pay, pinch-out, play, primary migration,
prospect, seal, secondary migration, sequence stratigraphy, spill point, time-lapse seismic data

fracture
1. n. [Geology, Shale Gas] ID: 218

A crack or surface of breakage within rock not related to foliation or cleavage in metamorphic rock along
which there has been no movement. A fracture along which there has been displacement is a fault.
When walls of a fracture have moved only normal to each other, the fracture is called a joint. Fractures
can enhance permeability of rocks greatly by connecting pores together, and for that reason, fractures
are induced mechanically in some reservoirs in order to boost hydrocarbon flow.

Fractures may also be referred to as “natural fractures” to distinguish them from fractures induced as
part of a reservoir stimulation or drilling operation. In some shale reservoirs, natural fractures improve
production by enhancing effective permeability. In other cases, natural fractures can complicate
reservoir stimulation.

Synonyms: natural fracture


See: competent, dilatancy, en echelon, fracture gradient, halite, incompetent, permeability, pore, S-wave, strain, structure

formation
1. n. [Geology] ID: 213

The fundamental unit of lithostratigraphy. A body of rock that is sufficiently distinctive and continuous that
it can be mapped. In stratigraphy, a formation is a body of strata of predominantly one type or combination
of types; multiple formations form groups, and subdivisions of formations are members.
See: differential compaction, formation pressure, geologic map, geostatic pressure, isochore, isopach, lithostatic pressure,
permeability, relative age, structure map, tight, trap, underpressure
2. n. [Geology] ID: 214

A surface land form.


See: geologic map
3. n. [Formation Evaluation] ID: 3156

A general term for the rock around the borehole. In the context of formation evaluation, the term refers to
the volume of rock seen by a measurement made in the borehole, as in a log or a well test. These
measurements indicate the physical properties of this volume. Extrapolation of the properties beyond the
measurement volume requires a geological model.

proppant
1. n. [Well Workover and Intervention, Shale Gas] ID: 4985

Sized particles mixed with fracturing fluid to hold fractures open after a hydraulic fracturing treatment. In
addition to naturally occurring sand grains, man-made or specially engineered proppants, such as resin-
coated sand or high-strength ceramic materials like sintered bauxite, may also be used. Proppant
materials are carefully sorted for size and sphericity to provide an efficient conduit for production of fluid
from the reservoir to the wellbore.

sand
1. n. [Geology] ID: 438

A detrital grain between 0.0625 mm and 2 mm in diameter. Sand is larger than silt but smaller than a
granule according to the Udden-Wentworth scale. Sand is also a term used for quartz grains or for
sandstone.
See: arenaceous, detrital, fairway, pay, point bar, quartz, sandstone, tar sand, Udden-Wentworth scale
2. n. [Drilling Fluids] ID: 2277

A category of size used to describe particles in a mud that will not pass through a 200-mesh screen (74
micrometers and larger).
See: fines, sand test, silt
3. n. [Well Completions] ID: 2793

A generic term used to describe small formation particles known as fines that may be produced with the
reservoir fluid. Sand production generally is undesirable and, if severe, may require some remedial action to
control or prevent production, such a gravel packing or sand consolidation.

formation
1. n. [Geology] ID: 213

The fundamental unit of lithostratigraphy. A body of rock that is sufficiently distinctive and continuous that
it can be mapped. In stratigraphy, a formation is a body of strata of predominantly one type or combination
of types; multiple formations form groups, and subdivisions of formations are members.
See: differential compaction, formation pressure, geologic map, geostatic pressure, isochore, isopach, lithostatic pressure,
permeability, relative age, structure map, tight, trap, underpressure
2. n. [Geology] ID: 214

A surface land form.


See: geologic map
3. n. [Formation Evaluation] ID: 3156

A general term for the rock around the borehole. In the context of formation evaluation, the term refers to
the volume of rock seen by a measurement made in the borehole, as in a log or a well test. These
measurements indicate the physical properties of this volume. Extrapolation of the properties beyond the
measurement volume requires a geological model.