Summary

The pressure decline data after the end of a hydraulic fracture stage are sometimes monitored for an extended period of time. However, to the best of our knowledge, these data are not analyzed and are often ignored or underappreciated because of a lack of suitable models for the closure of propped fractures. In this study, we present a new approach to model and analyze pressure decline data that are available in unconventional horizontal wells with multistage, transverse hydraulic fracturing. The methods presented in this study allow us to quantify closure stress and average pore pressure inside the stimulated reservoir volume (SRV) and to infer the uniformity of proppant distribution without additional data acquisition costs. For the first time, field data of diagnostic fracture injection test (DFIT), flowback, and pressure decline of main fracturing stages from the same well are compared and analyzed. We found that the early-time main fracturing stage pressure decline trend is controlled by fracture tip extension, followed by progressive hydraulic fracture closure on the proppant pack, whereas late-time pressure decline reflects linear flow. When DFIT data are not available, pressure decline analysis of a main hydraulic fracturing stage can be a substitution if it can be monitored for an extended period to allow fracture closure on proppants and asperities.

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