Interpretation of the microseismic data acquired during hydraulic fracture treatments is based on a variety of techniques that make use of the locations, times, and source parameters of the detected events, in conjunction with the stimulation treatment data. It is sometimes possible to observe trends or changes in the microseismic data that correspond to the surface pressure measurements; however this aspect of interpretation becomes problematic due the variability of fluid friction, slurry density, perforation restrictions, and other near-wellbore pressures when computing bottom hole fracturing pressure.

An interpretation technique is proposed that uses pressure measurements in observation wells that are offset to the treatment well during microseismic interpretations. The observation well can be any well with open perforations in close proximity to the treatment well. The observation well pressures are not affected by the many complicating factors that are encountered when estimating pressure in the fracture from the surface pressure measured in the treatment well.

Example data from field observations are used to demonstrate that the detection of microseismic events near an observation well and corresponding detection of fluid pressure from the fracture in the observation well validates the calculated event locations. The relationship between fracture pressure, the state of stress, and microseismic responses is discussed using Mohr-Coulomb failure criteria. Observation-well pressures and microseismic events are also used to identify instances where reservoir pressure depletion near the observation well affects surface operations at the treatment well.

The results of the study show that reliable measurements of fracture pressure for use in microseismic interpretations can be obtained from offset observation wells, and where reservoir pressure depletion causes deviations from expected fracture behavior. The results also show that microseismic responses are directly related to fracture pressure, and not simply the presence of fracturing fluid itself, leading to an improved understanding of the conditions under which microseismic events occur.

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