Wellbore monitoring techniques are proving to be significant in reservoir management and intervention design, particularly in unconventional fields where fluid flow behavior is not very well understood. Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) technology allows for an estimation of zonal flow rates in the entire well as a function of time during hydraulic fracturing, as well as during the production phase.
In this work, a novel transient thermo-hydraulic model that includes fluid transport and thermal coupling and simulates fluid flow and temperature in both the wellbore and reservoir is presented. Real DTS data from a hydraulic fracturing operation in a low-permeability basin in west Texas has been inverted using this model. Flow allocation based on the thermo-hydraulic model is presented. It was found that the reservoir heterogeneity, and hence the zonal flow rates, can be accurately obtained based on temperature and pressure data from the well.
Most of the steady-state DTS data inversion models are typically applicable to production scenarios, where the transient in temperature has vanished. Injection operations, such as in fracturing where the temperature does not achieve a steady- state during the injection stage, require a transient model that can capture the initial-time effects. Also, some of these models fail to include the Joule-Thomson effect, and this leads to an incorrect flow allocation. The thermo-hydraulic model developed in this work includes both the Joule-Thomson and transient effects. It can be applied to non-reactive fluid injection during stimulation operations, such as matrix acidizing and fracturing. In particular, application of the model for fluid distribution before, during, and post-fracturing provides an estimate of the efficiency of fracturing stages.