The fracture azimuth is an important parameter for well performance after fracturing, especially in pattern water flooding in anisotropic reservoirs. There have been several methods developed to determine the fracture azimuth, but most of them are expensive, and/or have limitations in their applications.

This paper presents a case study of using a reservoir simulation model to determine the fracture azimuth by history-matching the production data from a fractured well. The method is practical and convenient. In this study, a 3D, 3-phase reservoir simulator was used to simulate the performances of hydraulically fractured producing wells in Toskoro field in China. Water flooding had been applied to the field before fracturing. Some producing wells then were fractured to improve their productivities. After fracturing, the water cut increased dramatically in some wells, which was suspected to have been caused by the communication between the fractures and the nearby water injection wells. The fracture azimuth of the wells was determined by matching the production history curves, and the simulation result showed that for the well having extremely high water cuts, the fracture was oriented towards the injection well.

The fracture azimuth was also detected by monitoring microseisms during the fracturing stimulation in four subsequent fracture treatments in the same area. The results confirmed the fracture azimuth obtained from the reservoir simulation model. The fracture azimuth was then used in well pattern design in water flooding and fracturing design in the same area to obtain the maximum benefit from hydraulic fracturing.

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