Abstract

The Eagle Ford Shale Laboratory is a DOE and industry-sponsored multi-disciplinary field experiment aimed at applying advanced diagnostic methods to map hydraulic fractures, proppant distribution, and the stimulated reservoir volume. The field site is an Inpex Eagle Ford, LLC lease in LaSalle county, Texas that has a legacy Eagle Ford producing well and that will be developed with 5 new producers. Utilizing newly-developed monitoring technologies, the project team will deliver unprecedented comprehensive high-quality field data to improve scientific knowledge of three important processes in unconventional oil production from shales: (1) a re-fracturing treatment in which the previously fractured legacy well will be re-stimulated for improved production, (2) a new stimulation stage where the most advanced hydraulic fracturing and geosteering technology will be applied during zipper-fracturing of 3 new producers, and (3) a Gas-Injection Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Phase where one of the wells will be later tested for the efficiency of Huff and Puff gas injection as an EOR method. Field monitoring is being complemented with laboratory testing on cores and drill cuttings, and coupled modeling for design, prediction, calibration, optimization, and code validation. The multi-disciplinary team consists of researchers from Texas A&M University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stanford University, Rice University, and Inpex Eagle Ford, LLC.

The ultimate objective of the Eagle Ford Shale Laboratory Project is to help improve the effectiveness of shale oil production by providing new scientific knowledge and new monitoring technology for both initial stimulation/production as well as enhanced recovery via re-fracturing and EOR. The main scientific/technical objectives of the project are:

  • Build and test active seismic monitoring with fiber optics in an observation well to conduct: (1) real-time monitoring of fracture propagation and stimulated volume, and (2) 4D seismic monitoring of reservoir changes during initial production and during an EOR pilot.

  • Test distributed temperature sensing (DTS), distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) and distributed strain sensing (DSS) with fiber optic technology and develop protocols for field application.

  • Assess spatially and temporally resolved production characteristics and explore relationships with stimulated fracture characteristics by open hole logging, cased hole logging, production logging, and tracer technology.

  • Understand rock mechanical properties and reservoir fluid properties and their effect of stimulation efficiency through coring and core analysis.

  • Evaluate suitability of re-fracturing to achieve dramatic improvements in stimulated volume and per well resource recovery.

  • Develop understanding of gas-based EOR Huff and Puff methods to increase per well resource recovery by lab tests and field test.

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