Hydraulic fracturing treatments require measurement of numerous parameters including surface rates and pressures to quantify the fluids, proppant and additives being utilized. Computers are used to acquire data for the purpose of calculating bottomhole pressure, compiling quality control data, generating diagnostic plots and, on occasion, for modelling fracture geometry in real-time.
In the recent past, modems have been routinely utilized in conjunction with cellular phone systems to transmit field monitored data to a remote office. More recently, this data has been used at the remote site to perform 3-D fracture modelling for design verification and adjustment. A description of the data transmission technology is presented and a discussion of the related cost and reliability made. A field example is provided which involves the use of real-time 3-D analysis at the remote location.
Remote transmission of data offers a major benefit to operators by providing the ability to monitor treatments and communicate requests or queries over the phone during the execution of a job. Since reports and pertinent job information are immediately available at the remote location, it is possible to perform more sophisticated real-time analyses at a lower cost.
In the past, remote transmission of data has not been practical due to the related cost and technological difficulties. Recent advances in technology, such as the wide availability of cellular phone coverage, however, have made it both cost effective and reliable. Although the frequency of "noise" and lost connections is typically low, these problems can be handled by implementing an error correction/recovery scheme. This technique ensures a continuous flow of information.
Computers have been utilized for real-time monitoring of fracturing treatments for many years. However, routine use of remote monitoring only started in 1991, and remote use of 3-D modelling started in 1992. During the past decade, remote transmission of data using a satellite link has been performed. However, it did not become a routine practice due to cost and technical factors.