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Chevron has performed over 200 refracture treatments m the diatomite reservoir within the Lost Hills field. Most treatments have consisted of refracturing intervals originally stimulated with less than adequate fluid and proppant volumes to efficiently deplete the reservoir. Many of these refracture treatments show production and pressure responses similar to new development wells completed in virgin" reservoir. Recently, from 1990 to 1993, four new wells (post 1986) with modern initial fracture treatments were refractured in the same intervals with treatments similar (fluid and proppant volumes) to the original fracture treatments. All wells responded with post refracture production response equal to or slightly less than that of the original treatments. On the average these wells showed production increases of 50 BOPD over the previous daily rates of approximately 10 BOPD.

An effort began in 1993 to investigate possible reasons for the apparent "virgin" production response that resulted from the refracture treatments. A number of potential mechanisms were considered, including dramatic fracture conductivity degradation of the original propped fracture treatments; greatly enhanced fracture length growth upon refracturing; and stress change induced reorientation of the refracture treatments along a different fracture plane than the original fractures. This latter mechanism was considered the most likely mechanism and a program was designed to gather the necessary data for positive determination. Because Chevron had previously utilized tiltmeter fracture mapping on over 100 propped fracture treatments in the Lost Hills Diatomite, there existed ample original fracture treatment orientation data for comparison with fracture mapping data from refracture treatments.

In the Spring of 1993 tiltmeter fracture mapping was performed on five refracture treatments. All five of the refracture treatments propagated along a significantly different orientation than the original fracture treatments in these wells. Refracturing along a different fracture plane from the original fracture plane has dramatic implications for production strategies of both primary and secondary recovery. The tiltmeter fracture mapping results, production data, calculated reservoir stress changes, and proposed mechanism for refracture reorientation are all presented in the paper.


The Lost Hills Field is located approximately 45 miles northwest of Bakersfield, California along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley (Fig. 1). Since its discovery in 1910, four major productive horizons have been developed (Fig. 2). The majority of production has been produced from the diatomite reservoir which consists of diatomaceous material interbedded with fine sand, silt and clay.

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