This paper presents a new methodology that takes readily available drilling data, to identify the location and relative magnitude of localized depletion that is likely caused by induced fractures that are intersected by a newly drilled well. This paper describes the process used to identify the fractures and presents a case study in the Utica Shale that validates the results.

In recent years, mechanical specific energy (MSE) has been used to assess mechanical properties of rocks. It is further known that changes in reservoir pressure will also influence MSE. This new process analyzes a modified mechanical specific energy, and looks for anomalous increases in MSE, which should be present when drilling through a depleted fracture. To verify the existence of depleted fractures, a set of three wells were analyzed using this technique, a parent well, and two child wells.

Analysis showed that there were no signs of depleted fractures detected in the parent well, while the two child wells both contained multiple drilling signatures that were consistent with depleted fractures. The location of the apparent depleted fractures in the child well were not only consistent with the location of the parent well, but also sections in the parent well that were most likely to create dominant fractures.

The identified fractures in the child wells, also were consistent in location, magnitude and area of effect across both wells. These consistencies further promote the conclusion that dominant fractures created while completing the parent well, being penetrated and identified in both child wells.

Based on the work done, there is clear indication that the proposed methodology can potentially be used to identify depleted fractures. This information can further be used in order to design completion strategies aimed at reducing both the probability and severity of parent-child fracture interactions such as frac hits.

The paper presented will describe the first successful attempt to characterize depleted induced fractures using standard drilling data, without the use of any additional tools being run in the wellbore. This process will provide significant impact, not only in designing completions for parent-child well pairs, but will also further the understanding of far field fracture effects such as the extent of fracture extension, depletion around a fracture, and implications for well spacing.

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