In multiple-stage hydraulic fracturing treatments performed in horizontal wells, treatment confinement is the state in which fracturing fluid and proppant flow out of the wellbore only through the specific perforations targeted for the fracturing stage. The terms treatment confinement and treatment isolation are synonymous. Isolation from previously treated intervals is a necessary condition for efficient treatment along the lateral. Failure to confine fracturing stages can be a result of failure of the fracture plug to maintain a seal or the development of casing breaches (holes) in the proximity of the fracture plug. Both conditions can be strongly impacted by proppant induced erosion.
This paper is a sequel to a previous publication in which casing erosion and breaches were investigated in fracture treated horizontal wells in the Montney Formation (White et al. 2020). Integrated diagnostic methods based on data from treating pressure analysis, fiber-optic measurements, and downhole imaging were applied to investigate the root cause of failure. It was determined that treatment pressure analysis was effective in diagnosing casing and associated fracture plug integrity-loss events. This was achieved by (1) identifying treating pressure trends and anomalies during the main part of the treatment that signify confinement loss, (2) calculating near-wellbore friction at the end of treatments to compare to the friction expected for a confined treatment, and (3) analyzing step-down tests conducted during the pad stage and overflush stage at the end of the treatment to determine the near-wellbore frictional components of perforation friction and near-wellbore tortuosity. This information enables comparison of previous with current treatments for determining the effects of job design and fracture plug modifications on treatment confinement.
The objective of this paper is to validate that useful conclusions on the degree of treatment confinement can be made using only stand-alonepressure-based analysis. This is achieved by comparing the analysis results with fiber-optic and post-treatment wellbore imaging measurements. Also highlighted is the use of downhole gauges for accurately calculating pipe friction, which is necessary for accurately calculating bottomhole treating pressure at the active treatment interval.