The perforation strategy for a hydraulic fracture completion for an unconventional reservoir can have a very large influence on the overall success of the injection program at effectively stimulating that network. To evaluate differences in perf clustering methodologies, operators are frequently in need of observational evidence to suggest which strategy is most efficient. We present a paper where we look at a detailed analysis of microseismicity for different stages with different completion programs.

While event distributions tend to be the first and most frequently examined aspect of a microseismic monitoring effort, because the generation of a microseismic event is not immediately diagnostic of fluid-induced fracturing, the event clouds tend to overestimate the effective area of fracturing. In order to gain further insight into how microseismic events describe effective fracture growth, a deeper look at the waveforms through techniques like Seismic Moment Tensor Inversion (SMTI) and subsequent stress inversion can be effective. These steps are necessary to describe the discrete network of cracks, from the microseismic data. Using a fracture network topology approach, the network can then be characterized in terms of its ability to percolate fluids.

We compare how cracks behave for a regular geometric shot cluster (GSC) and a variable shot cluster (VSC) and assess variations in the stimulations. Both shot clusters were completed in consecutive stages of the same lateral. The mechanisms from the GSC stages show shear-dominant mechanisms with opening and closing components in roughly equal proportions, while the VSC stages have a higher concentration of shear-tensile opening failures. Furthermore, the GSC stages showed modest connectivity around the treatment well relative to the VSC stages, which showed significant growth of connected fractures away from the treatment well. Since the VSC stages also showed relatively more stable stress behaviour than the GSC stages, these observations suggest that stability in stresses allows for steady growth of the fracture network across the reservoir.

This type of higher-order analysis of microseismic data is critical to establishing value from this data stream in terms of completion evaluation. The recognition that each microseismic event is tied to the rupture of a crack in the reservoir allows for these types of comparisons to be made in a robust fashion and be tied to the underlying geomechanics that governs the type of response from one type of completion to the other.

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