This paper highlights the current state of fiber optic distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology by reviewing its application to hydraulic fracture diagnostics in a multi fractured horizontal well (MFHW). It will be shown that, with the advent of DAS, a gap in the feedback — which could previously occur using various hydraulic fracture diagnostic options — has been filled. Results are shared that were obtained from the first successful application of high resolution DAS during the placement of multiple hydraulic fractures in a horizontal well that was completed with an open hole packer and frac valve system.

Observations of the real time acoustic soundfield in the near wellbore (NWB) region during hydraulic fracturing are presented as high resolution images. These images have enabled an analysis of key dynamic aspects of the fracturing process. In examining the resultant data, it has become apparent that DAS has overcome some limitations intrinsic in other diagnostic tools such as distributed temperature sensing (DTS), microseismic monitoring, and tracer programs. An overview of the well design is provided as well as selected samples from the dataset which highlight some of the events that were observed during the hydraulic fracturing process. Sample images are used to demonstrate the current capability of DAS measurement, selected both from the real time soundfield display (SFD) and from processed high resolution soundfield maps. DAS processing methods are briefly discussed, as well as two categories of field observations— which highlight some of the mechanical reliability aspects of the swell packer/ball actuated frac sleeve system, as well as some aspects of the near wellbore region during hydraulic fracturing such as single or multiple fracture initiation sites and the general behaviour of wellbore fluids over the course of the fracture treatment.

Distributed acoustic sensing using a single mode optic fiber has been described in recent literature (Molenaar, 2011) for applications involving the recording of acoustic events during various stages of well completion and stimulation. The current paper provides further description on how DAS works and shares results from a high resolution DAS survey, obtained while placing multiple hydraulic fractures in a horizontal well, completed in a tight sand using an openhole ball actuated valve system with swell packers for fracture isolation. Earlier findings are supported, in particular that DAS will enable an improved understanding of in-wellbore activities and, in so doing, that it will enable optimization of hydraulic fracturing design and execution. It is recognized that much is yet to be learned in the processing of fiber optic DAS data, but also that it would be beneficial to share the work that has been completed to date to facilitate accelerated development of DAS processing technology.

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