Transient Pressure Testing of Fractured Water Injection Wells
- K.K. Clark (Pan American Petroleum Corp.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- June 1968
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 639 - 643
- 1968. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.1.2 Faults and Fracture Characterisation, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.6.5 Tracers, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 5.6.3 Pressure Transient Testing, 3 Production and Well Operations, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
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Excessive injection pressures in water injection wells may create deeply penetrating fractures, or may open up existing reservoir fractures. If these fractures are oriented toward offset producing wells, oil recovery at injected water breakthrough and ultimate recovery will be impaired.
A method of calculating fracture lengths from pressure fall-off test data is presented. The method is based on a linear flow model that simulates conditions present during the early-time period after shutting in an injection well. Fracture lengths can be calculated directly if formation permeability is known. A graphical technique is presented that provides fracture lengths based on permeabilities calculated from normal fall-off tests, where those permeabilities are adjusted for flow geometry.
Test data from four injection wells and results obtained from applying the method to these wells are discussed.
Rates of water injection into nonstimulated wells in low permeability reservoirs frequently fall below economically desirable levels. Therefore, some form of stimulation such as hydraulic fracturing often is performed on these wells. Usually these fractures penetrate a short distance from the well-short as compared with interwell spacing and therefore should not create problems of water channeling to offset producing wells.
In the past, some operators have been tempted to increase injection pressures continually to maintain a specified injection rate, But pressures cannot be increased indefinitely. Field data indicate that continued injection above fracture opening pressure can cause excessively long fractures to approach between well distances. If these long fractures intersect or closely approach offset producing wells, premature water breakthrough can result. It is difficult to seat effectively these fractures by various workover procedures after premature water breakthrough has occurred. This paper describes testing procedures that are potentially capable of detecting premature water breakthrough before it occurs.
Knowledge of fracture lengths and fracture opening pressures can assist field engineers in selecting optimum operating conditions for water injection wells. Fracture lengths should be calculated from pressure fall-off tests on injection wells, and maximum permissible injection pressures should be determined from step-rate injectivity tests. Equipped with this information, the field engineer is in a better position to recommend for a particular injection well the optimum operating conditions that will lessen the chances of channeling to offset producers.
Historically, pressure transient tests have been conducted primarily on producing wells and analysis procedures have been based on radial flow concepts. Several authors have suggested that these same procedures be applied to tests conducted on water injection wells. This application is justified for wells that are not connected to extensive fracture systems. However, if the formation is severely fractured, the interpretation methods must be modified.
Several authors have presented the pressure response of various systems that are intended to simulate reservoir conditions. A paper by Russell and Truitt on vertically fractured systems is probably the most useful from the standpoint of the field engineer. Russell and Truitt presented the pressure-vs-time behavior of a well connected to vertical fractures with various fixed lengths. Their permeability adjustment technique is used in this paper to refine methods of calculating fracture length and interwell permeability.
Theory and Definitions
Three flow-system geometries are considered in analyzing injection well test data. These various geometries are applicable during specific time intervals of transient pressure tests. Schematic drawings of the flow models, and the time intervals over which they are applicable, are shown in Fig. 1 in the chronological order that they are applied to the pressure response of water injection wells in fractured formations. The very early response is simulated by an infinite linear system as shown in Fig. 1A. This representation permits the calculation of matrix surface area exposed to the fracture.
The model shown in Fig. 1B is identical with the one studied by Russell and Truitt. They evaluated the transient pressure response of this vertically fractured system by finite difference techniques. The results were presented as tabulations of dimensionless pressure drop functions for a range of fracture lengths. A semilog plot of these data shows that the apparent matrix permeability can be related to the true matrix permeability by a simple exponential function. Their adjustment factor is used in this paper to improve the accuracy of matrix-permeability and fracture-length calculations.
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