The Effect of Vertical Fractures on Well Productivity
- W.J. McGuire (The Atlantic Refining Co.) | V.J. Sikora (The Atlantic Refining Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 1960
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 72 - 74
- 1960. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology
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Several years ago, we used an electric analogue computer to study the effect of vertical fractures on the productivity of wells in expanding fluid-drive reservoirs. The results of this work were used both as a guide to research and as a basis for the design of actual fracturing operations. In 1958, Dyes, Kemp and Caudle published portions of the data from this study. The results were released in 1959 to service companies for use in fracturing guides.
The purpose of this note is to discuss the experimental conditions and assumptions which were made to derive the information which is already partially a matter of public record.
This study applies to fractures which extend in a vertical plane symmetrically from the well. For simplicity, we chose to study the case of a well in a square drainage area with its fractures extending toward two of its nearest neighbors. We have assumed no migration of fluid across the boundary of this area. The quadrant shown in Fig. 1 models this system.
We made the usual assumptions that the reservoir is homogeneous and isotropic, that the fluid is homogeneous and that production is effected by fluid-expansion drive. We also assumed that the fracture extends from top to bottom of the reservoir.
Of more practical interest is our assumption that the fracture does not change the size of the drainage area. This premise is appropriate if all the wells in the reservoir are fractured in the same way. But where a single well is fractured, its drainage area may be enlarged at the expense of its neighbors. This could be of economic importance. The assumption that the fracture will not extend beyond the established drainage area of the well also limits the application of the results. Such long fractures will yield benefits in excess of those predicted here.
When we assume homogeneity, we disregard the frequently observed zone of damage in the vicinity of the well. Where damage is severe, the benefits resulting from by-passing it will far exceed those predicted by this study. All comparisons were made of systems producing in the semi-steady state. By this we mean that equal volumes contributed equally to flow (pressure was dropping at a uniform rate throughout the system) when the rate of flow was observed.
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