Downhole temperature measurements either by permanent sensors or temporarily conveyed tools provide information that has been used in many production diagnosis applications. This paper presents a study that correlates the temperature behavior to the flow profile in a multi-stage fractured horizontal well. The ultimate goal is to interpret well performance and to optimize fracture treatment design from monitored temperature data.
This study has developed flow and thermal models for horizontal wells with transverse fractures. The system was divided into a horizontal wellbore and a reservoir having multiple fractures in the study. The wellbore flow and thermal model were formulated based on mass, momentum and energy balance. Numerical reservoir simulation was adopted for the reservoir flow problem, and the reservoir thermal model was formulated by a transient energy balance equation considering viscous dissipation heating and temperature variation caused by fluid expansion besides heat conduction and convection. In the reservoir system, the primary hydraulic fractures perpendicular to the horizontal well were modeled with thin grid cells explicitly, and the fracture network around the horizontal well was modeled as an enhanced permeable zone with respect to the unstimulated matrix permeability. The reservoir grids between two fractures were logarithmically spaced to capture transient flow behavior. The reservoir flow and thermal model was coupled with the wellbore model to predict the temperature distribution in a horizontal wellbore. The results of the model show two main mechanisms in this thermal problem: heat conduction by formation heating/cooling effects at non-perforated zones, and wellbore fluid mixing effects with reservoir inflow at fracture locations (fluid entry points).
The examples in the paper illustrated that the models can be used to predict temperature profiles in stimulated horizontal wells for identical or non-identical transverse fractures. Sensitivity studies were performed to evaluate the influences of fracture conductivity and half-length on temperature behavior in the defined system. The results indicate that the wellbore temperature is primarily sensitive to fracture geometry (fracture half-length). It is possible to interpret the fracture geometry using temperature data after the flow rate is stabilized after certain period of production. In addition, wellbore temperature is also sensitive to fracture conductivity. However, the signal of high fracture conductivity diminishes, and after the surface flow is stabilized, the signal might not be identified by temperature measurement. Real time temperature data measurement is helpful for the evaluation of fracture conductivity.