The Fracture Development program was defined and implemented by an operating division of what is now Shell Western an E and P Inc (SWEPI) in 1982. The objective of this program has been to improve hydraulic fractured well productivity through an increased understanding of hydraulic fracture behavior and improved design and optimization techniques. Program accomplishments reflect an effective cooperative effort between SWEPI, Shell Development Company, and Service Company personnel.
Major developments include those of the AWP Olmos and McAllen Ranch field areas. In AWP, frac height was defined and both design height and length were increased through developments by factors of 2 over original estimates. Additionally, fracture fluid type was changed from oil to water based fluids, minifrac testing was initiated, field quality control (Q.C.) procedures were instituted, proppant type was procedures were instituted, proppant type was changed and proppant concentrations reached then unprecedented levels of 15 lbm/gal [1797 kg/m3] while costs were reduced. In McAllen Ranch, fracture height growth was studied, minifrac testin was initiated, detailed Q.C. procedures were instituted, proppant concentrations were increased to over 2 times previously set limits, and fracture quality improve while costs were reduced.
The benefits of this Fracture Development Program have been improved well performance, increased technical capabilities, enhanced R and D model development, and improved service company products and service.
Hydraulic fracture technology has grown considerably in the past several years through the development of new physical concepts, mathematical modeling, laboratory research and field research laboratory programs. The activities described herein focus on a hydraulic fracture developmental program conducted in an operating division of Shell program conducted in an operating division of Shell Western E and P Inc. that included field tests and development in the field research laboratory environment.
In 1982 the Fracture Development Program was defined and implemented in the Onshore West operating division of what is now Shell Western E and P Inc. (SWEPI). A formal statement of the project objective was to "Improv floe performance and ultimate recoveries in hydraulically fractured wells through increased understanding of hydraulic fracture behavior and improved frac design and optimization methods". The Frac Development Program was conducted largely by having engineers Program was conducted largely by having engineers within the operating division carry out assigned technical developments in addition to their more routine well operations and surveillance duties. Thus, the program provided additional technical developments that were coordinated with and supplementary to other R and D laboratory programs. In addition, the program included in-depth field tests and developments in selected areas. This aspect of the program will be the dominant focus of what follows.
Although the field tests of the Fracture Development Program were conducted by the operating division, activities involved cooperative efforts with both R and D and service company personnel as appropriate.