Fracture Surface Area Estimation from Hydraulic-Fracture Treatment Pressure Falloff Data
- Guoqing Liu (University of Houston) | Tong Zhou (SINOPEC) | Fengxia Li (SINOPEC) | Yuanzhao Li (SINOPEC) | Christine A. Ehlig-Economides (University of Houston)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- September 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 438 - 451
- 2020.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- multiple stage fracturing, pressure falloff analysis, natural fracture, fracture surface area
- 31 in the last 30 days
- 203 since 2007
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It has often been reported that the peak production of a well drilled in tight formations is highly dependent on the fracture-contact area. However, at present, there is no efficient approach to estimate the fracture surface area for each fracture stage. In this paper, we propose a method to calculate the fracture surface area on the basis of the falloff data after each stage of the main hydraulic-fracture treatment.
The created hydraulic fracture closes freely before its surfaces hit the proppant pack, and this process can be recognized in the pressure falloff data and its diagnostic plots. The pressure-decline rate during fracture closure is mainly caused by the fluid leakoff from the fracture system into the formation matrix. For a horizontal well drilled in the same formation, with the known leakoff coefficient(s) and fracture-closure stress(es), the total-fracture surface area can be calculated for all stages to meet the requirement of the fluid-leakoff rate.
The wellbore-storage effect, friction dissipation, and tip extension dominate the early pressure falloff data. Whereas the transient pressure dominated by friction losses typically lasts approximately 1 minute, the tip extension might end after approximately 15 minutes. Therefore, falloff data should be acquired for at least 30 minutes to observe a fracture-closure trend. The fracture-closure behavior can be identified on the G-function plot as an extrapolated straight line or on the Bourdet derivative in log-log plot as a late-time unit slope. The behavior of the late unit slope depends on the pressure-decline rate, or correspondingly, to the fluid-leakoff rate. Therefore, the total-fracture surface area can be estimated using hydraulic-fracture design input values for the formation-leakoff coefficient and fracture-closure stress. The calculated fracture surface area represents the combined area of primary and secondary fractures—effectively all fracture surfaces contributing to the fluid leakoff.
We applied the approach to all stages in a horizontal well that exhibit the fracture-closure behavior. The approach shows some promise as a potential way to estimate fracture surface areas that could allow an early estimate of the expected well performance.
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