The completion strategy and hydraulic fracture stimulation are the keys to economic success in unconventional reservoirs. Therefore, reservoir engineering workflows in unconventional reservoirs need to focus on completion and stimulation optimization as much as they do well placement and spacing. This well-level focus requires the integration of hydraulic fracture modeling software and the ability to utilize measurements specific to unconventional reservoirs. This paper details a comprehensive integration of software, data, and specialized measurements specific to unconventional reservoirs that allows efficient full-cycle seismic-to-simulation evaluations.
It is very important to properly model hydraulic fracture propagation and hydrocarbon production mechanisms in unconventional reservoirs, a significant departure from conventional reservoir simulation workflows. Seismic-to-simulation workflows in unconventional reservoirs require hydraulic fracture models that properly simulate complex fracture propagation which is common in many unconventional reservoirs, algorithms to automatically develop discrete reservoir simulation grids to rigorously model the hydrocarbon production from complex hydraulic fractures, and the ability to efficiently integrate microseismic measurements with geological and geophysical data. The introduction of complex hydraulic fracture propagation models now allows these work-flows to be implemented.
This paper documents an efficient, yet rigorous, integration of geological and geophysical data with complex fracture models, single-well completion and stimulation focused reservoir simulation, and microseismic measurements. The implementation of a common software platform and the development of specialized gridding algorithms allow complex hydraulic fracture models to be calibrated using microseismic measurements in the context of local geology and structure. The complex hydraulic fracture geometry, including the distribution of proppant, is automatically gridded to a common Earth Model for single-well reservoir simulation. The software platform, newly developed complex hydraulic fracture models, and automated gridding algorithms are illustrated in a case history from the Barnett Shale unconventional gas play.