Overview: Hydraulic Fracturing (March 2006)
- Simon Chipperfield (Santos)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 50 - 50
- 2006. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Innovation can come from surprising places.
Henry Bessemer commented, after developing the modern steel-making process: “I had an immense advantage over many others dealing with the problem inasmuch as I had no fixed ideas derived from long-established practice to control and bias my mind, and did not suffer from the general belief that whatever is, is right.”
The key to Bessemer’s success was his unique and unencumbered way of thinking. In hydraulic fracturing, many new technologies have been developed in a similar manner, namely by introducing new ways of thinking, often developed in different areas of our industry.
Microseismics, a technology more closely associated with geophysics, now is used by engineers to optimize hydraulic fracturing, and, in some reservoirs, it reveals a more complicated geometry than many people previously predicted. The challenges now for engineers are to better understand what drives this complexity and to further optimize stimulation treatments.
Fracture stimulation has recently learned from both traditional reservoir engineering and classical heat-transfer theory to develop after-closure analysis and other diagnostic-injection approaches. These methods enable more accurate reservoir characterization.
Hydraulic fracturing also has merged with conventional sand control. This application of hydraulic fracturing (termed frac packing) has extended into more-challenging environments such as deep water, increasingly less consolidated reservoirs, and areas where cost minimization is critical (e.g., the development of screenless sand control).
I anticipate that the trend of sharing ideas between disciplines will continue into the future, blurring the boundaries between fracture stimulation and other sciences.
The next generation of hydraulic fracturing will challenge the existing paradigm, in much the same way as the above technologies have. It is crucial that we continue to challenge the accepted wisdom and to encourage and test ideas that some might label “crazy.”
As Albert Einstein said, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
Hydraulic Fracturing additional reading available at the SPE eLibrary: www.spe.org
SPE 95568 “Comparison of Single- and Dual-Array Microseismic Mapping Techniques in the Barnett Shale,” by N.R. Warpinski, SPE, Pinnacle Technologies Inc., et al.
SPE 93419 “After-Closure Analysis To Determine Formation Permeability, Reservoir Pressure, and Residual Fracture Properties,” by M.Y. Soliman, SPE, Halliburton, et al.
SPE 97994 “Application of Microseismic-Imaging Technology in the Appalachian Basin Upper Devonian Stimulation” by J. Fontaine, SPE, Universal Well Services, et al.
SPE 96080 “Developing Calibrated Fracture-Growth Models for Various Formations and Regions Across the United States” by L. Weijers, SPE, Pinnacle Technologies Inc. et al.
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