The Gas Research Institute (GRI) Tight Gas Sands program has conducted hydraulic fracturing research since 1983 to learn how to compute and/or measure the shape and extent of a hydraulic fracture in real time. GRI has conducted field projects in the Travis Peak and Cotton Valley sands in east Texas, the Canyon Sands in west central Texas, and the Frontier sands in southwestern Wyoming. These field projects have lead to substantial progress in the understanding of tight gas reservoirs and hydraulic fracture stimulation processes. In addition, new technology has been developed that has improved fracture modeling and fracture diagnostic methods.

Even with substantial progress over the years, there are still many "questions" concerning the hydraulic fracturing process. One problem is that few data sets are available to test and validate the results generated from 2-D and 3-D fracture propagation models. To provide "Proof-of-Concept" experiments to validate fracture propagation models and to resolve certain questions concerning the fracturing process, GRI has designed a Hydraulic Fracture Test Site (HFTS). The HFTS will be used to conduct experiments and gather data sets that will be valuable to both fracture model developers and scientists involved with fracture diagnostic measurements.

This paper summarizes the goals, research objectives, and planning requirements set forth for the HFTS. Data have been gathered on three tight gas formations that have been identified as candidates for the HFTS laboratory. These formations include the Canyon sandstone in the Val Verde Basin, the Corcoran sandstone in the Piceance Basin, and the Clinton sandstone in the Appalachian Basin.

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