65 years have passed since the first hydraulic fracture treatment in the Hugoton Field; however, the now mature hydraulic fracturing technology for conventional plays has proven to be insufficient when applied to the extremely low permeability, fractured formations common to the unconventional plays under development today. To address this, the industry has turned to newer technologies, like microseismic monitoring, and to common practices like data mining, but still many of the completion designs for unconventional developments are generated in a trial-and-error fashion. Because of this, as well as the lack of predictive tools, empirical ‘wisdom’ has emerged such as the concepts of ‘complexity’, ‘brittleness’, ‘fracability’, and ‘Stimulated Reservoir Volume’ (SRV).
The presentation will focus on the role of geomechanics in understanding the fundamental physics behind the stimulation of fractured, unconventional plays. Moreover, the geomechanical foundations, or lack thereof, for the common, empirical ‘wisdom’ for the completion of unconventional plays will be reviewed, including the geomechanical significance of microseismicity. The presentation will also focus on the application of the new numerical techniques that overcome the limitations of pseudo-3D models for stimulation design in unconventional plays.