For as long as we have been hydraulic fracturing, the intent has been to stay out of undesirable horizons containing water and/or gas. An absolute control of created fracture height has eluded the industry for more than 70 years. Fundamentally, we have tried to delay, influence, or subvert the underlying equations of net-pressure and stress variation, condemning ourselves to limited success or more often outright failure. More recently, there has been a reassessment of the relative importance of this goal along with changes that may help us achieve it.
Unconventionals have delivered the rapid deployment and acceleration of a range of completion technologies that were unavailable to us just a few years ago. This presentation will show that these technologies potentially offer the capability to actually control fracture height-growth. Previously, applied height-growth approaches were often largely attempts to fool or fudge height growth mechanisms. It will be demonstrated that with technologies and approaches available today, height-growth control is finally within reach. Data will be presented from a multi-well pilot program involving the deployment and execution of these techniques.
In summary, this presentation will offer an overview of the myriad height-growth approaches that have been utilized over the last 70 years, while describing their limitations. It will then be demonstrated how completion advances over the last 10 - 15 years have finally made this approach a reality, and that field implementation is within reach.