Several field trials since 2016 have showcased the early development of a novel borehole to surface geophysical technique to characterize propped fractures in the far field of the well bore. Recent advancements have been made with the technique with regards to the processing and inversion algorithms, that have improved the confidence level and extent of the proppant imaged. These advancements will be presented in detail, along with field examples of its application.

The imaging technique is broadly classified into three phases: (a) survey design, (b) data acquisition and processing, and (c) inversion to provide propped fracture dimensions and location. The survey design phase includes acquisition of geophysical noise data and synthetic data generation using a realistic simulation of the target and its ambience. This helps determine source receiver locations to maximize response from the propped fracture. Acquired data is digitally processed to remove potential sources of noise arising out of cultural debris, acquisition anomolies, etc. Geophysical inversion of processed data utilizing known geological, engineering, and other constraints then provides the propped fracture image.

The novel electromagnetic method for determining propped fracture location and geometry has been developed and deployed safely and successfully in multiple field trials. The recent advancements in modelling and processing have been successfully used to analyze recent field applications, providing key insights on depletion effects of parent wells on bi-wing fracture growth in child wells, as well as proppant settling and stress shadowing impacts. Additional learnings on proppant/fracture fluid interactions, well landing location, and other important issues have demonstrated the potential to impact the planning of future wells in this area. This paper will present the current full-physics methods for processing, modelling and imaging the proppant location. It will include confidence levels and probability functions of the mapped proppant. The paper will also show field examples of the various insights gained from the results (mentioned above), which can be used for future development objectives.

The latest advancements in modeling, processing and inversion will be of interest to those who are knowledgeable with forward modeling and inversion theory. In addition, the field results will be useful to development engineers who are interested in optimizing well/lateral spacing, both areally and vertically, as well as understanding the impact of parent-child depletion, stress shadowing and cluster efficiency.

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