Hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling is the key to unlocking vast unconventional reservoirs. However, understanding the relationship between fracturing/completion-design parameters and the process efficiency remains challenging. The objectives of this paper are 1) to estimate initial fracture volume and its variations during the production by using flowback data and 2) to investigate the existence of correlations between completion-design parameters and induced fracture volume process optimization. We analyze flowback data and completion-design parameters of 16 shale-gas completed in the Eagle Ford Formation. First, we estimate ultimate water recovery and initial fracture volume by using harmonic-decline model, and fracture volume loss during flowback by using a new iterative approach that accounts for fracture-porosity changes with time. Then, we conduct a multivariate analysis to develop empirical correlations of completions-design parameters with initial fracture volume and fracture characteristic-closure rate (FCR).

The results show that harmonic-decline model could be used to estimate initial fracture volume with an average absolute percentage error (AAPE) of 7%. The correlations developed between initial fracture volume and completion-design parameters show that the proppant concentration has the most significant effect on fracture volume, followed by gross perforated interval (GPI) and shut-in time, respectively. Total vertical depth (TVD) and fluid injection rate have insignificant effects. The results indicate that increasing choke size during early flowback leads to a relatively-sharp decrease in fracture volume, while changing choke size during late flowback has negligible effects. The proposed correlation between FCR and completion-design parameters demonstrates the significant effect of proppant concentration on fracture closure during flowback, while GPI and TVD have negligible effects.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.