The recent growth in horizontal well technology has resulted in existing oil and gas vertical development plays to be evaluated for horizontal well applicability. As operators attmept to evaluate the criteria for converting from vertical well plays to horizontal well plays, sound data gathering and modeling become crucial to understand how completion strategies needs to be modified for improved production, without utilizing an expensive trial and error methodology.

The Powder River basin contains a variety of producing shales and sands currently being explored for vialibility (i.e. Niobrara, Frontier, etc). In this study, reservoir and fracture properties are estimated based on hydraulic fracture modeling, rate-transient analysis techniques and production history matching to calibrate log data measurements. The challenges associated with calibration and modeling measurements from petrophysical and rock mechanics models are compared with hydraulic fracture and production modeling results to understand the direction of optimization and future basin growth.

Past experiences are typically the basis for design and implementation of developing a new drilling and completion program. Interpretation of the hydraulic fracture behavior is often inferred from simple diagnostics, and as production ensues the repeatability for success or failure is often attributed to modifying the hydraulic fracturing program or geological influences, which is subject to inconsistency and qualitative introspection. Within this study a single well modeling approach is utilized to understand fracture geometry, correlate this with production history matching results, and distinguish production attribution from hydraulic fracture characteristics or reservoir properties. Exercising this workflow addresses challenges affiliated with modeling fracture propagation and production matching and the gap associated with horizontal well development in existing vertical plays.

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