Completions & Production: “The Truth About Hydraulic Fracturing – It’s more complicated than we would like to admit”
The Truth About Hydraulic Fracturing – It’s more complicated than we would like to admit
Hydraulic fracturing has been routinely applied for many decades now, with mostly positive economic results. However, our understanding of hydraulic fracturing was quite limited until relatively recent advancements in technology allowed engineers to see what hydraulic fractures really look like and better understand what governs fracture growth and well performance. The introduction of tiltmeter and microseismic fracture mapping, along with advances in tracer technology, now provides our industry with the tools to truly understand fracture growth. But as with all newly acquired knowledge, it is often difficult to fully evaluate the implications of the information and reap the economic benefits. Too often, engineers focus on one aspect of hydraulic fracturing, such as fracture modeling or performance evaluation and now maybe even fracture mapping – resulting in at best a limited understanding of how to improve future treatments and many times miss-diagnosing critical problems. This approach often times leads to inappropriate, sometime costly changes in hydraulic fracture designs and field development strategies. However, by utilizing and fully integrating fracture treatment, production, well test, geological, and fracture mapping information, the right designs changes and better field development strategies can be implemented – thus realizing the economic benefits that technology AND engineering have to offer. To illustrate this process, several examples are presented that document how utilizing a number of independent technologies and integrating their results can lead to a much better understanding of fracture and overall field performance, resulting in changes to both treatment designs and field development practices that significantly improve production economics. Conversely, the pit-falls of a myopic approach to hydraulic fracturing are also illustrated. The case histories presented will illustrate that the appropriate technologies to apply depend on the questions you need to answer, the cost of the technologies and the potential benefits, and the economic environment.
VP of Engineering Services
Pinnacle Technologies, Inc.
Park North Technology Center
219 Airtex Boulevard
Houston, TX 77090
Houston , Texas 77060