Abstract

The redistribution of stresses around a fractured vertical well has two sources: (a) opening of propped fracture (mechanical effects) and (b) production or injection of fluids in the reservoir (poroelastic effects). In this paper, the coupling of both phenomena was numerically modeled to quantify the extent of stress reorientation around fractured production wells. The results have been compared to field data from the Codell tight gas formation and analyzed for their impact on refracturing operations.

For previously fractured wells, a secondary fracture may be initiated perpendicular to the first fracture if a stress reversal region is present. Altered-stress refracturing makes it possible to access zones of the reservoirs that are less depleted, thus increasing well production and reserves.

The results of our model quantitatively agree with previous tiltmeter measurements, confirming the existence of refracture reorientation in the Codell formation. The performance of refracturing treatments has been observed to be highly variable in the Wattenberg field (Colorado) with some wells underperforming while others are restored to initial production rates. Historical production from neighboring wells and initial fracture performance were shown to impact the potential benefits from refracturing predicted by the numerical model.

This paper introduces a three-dimensional model coupling mechanical and poroelastic stress reorientation used to interpret tiltmeter measurements and historical production in the Codell tight gas formation. Guidelines are drawn from the Wattenberg field case study that allow an operator to (a) select candidate wells, (b) choose the timing of the refracture operation in the life of the well, and (c) evaluate the potential increase in well production after refracturing.

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