Hydraulic fracturing of wells in naturally fractured reservoirs can differ dramatically from fracturing wells in conventional isotropic reservoirs. Fluid leakoff is the primary difference. In conventional reservoirs, fluid leakoff is controlled by reservoir matrix and fracture fluid parameters. The fluid leakoff rate in naturally fractured reservoirs is typically excessive and completely dominated by the natural fractures.

Historically, attempts to fracture-stimulate wells in naturally fractured reservoirs have been unsuccessful due to high leakoff rates and gel damage. The typical approach is to attempt to control the leakoff with larger pad volumes and solid fluid loss additives. This approach is not universally effective and can do more harm than good.

This paper presents several field examples of a fracture stimulation program performed on the naturally fractured Devonian carbonate of West Texas. Qualitative pressure decline analysis and net treating pressure interpretation techniques were utilized to evaluate the existence of natural fractures in the Devonian Formation. Quantitative techniques were utilized to assess the importance of the natural fractures to the fracturing process. This paper demonstrates that bottomhole pressure monitoring of fracture stimulations has benefits over conducting minifrac treatments in naturally fractured reservoirs. Finally, the results of this evaluation were used to redesign fracture treatments to ensure maximum productivity and minimize costs.

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