Fracture growth modeling has seen two dramatic changes over the last two decades. First, the completions industry found a way to economically stimulate unconventional rocks. Second, fracture modelers “got their eyes” through commercial development and proliferation of direct fracture diagnostics such as micro-seismic fracture mapping.
Direct observations from fracture mapping enabled calibration of fracture models, resulting in a "roller coaster ride" of changes to frac modelers’ understanding of how fractures grow. To explain these observations, modelers incorporated new physical mechanisms – simultaneous growth of multiple fractures, fracture tip effects and composite layering effects – into their models.
What I would like members to take away from this lecture is that model calibration has become a vital part of the fracture modeling process, creating ever more realistic fracture growth predictions. Calibration has made fracture models more valuable as tools to evaluate economic tradeoffs, making fracture models more practical tools than ever before.