Successful Stimulation of Deep Wells Using High Proppant Concentrations
- S.A. Holditch (Shell Oil Co.) | John Ely (Halliburton Services)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 1973
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 959 - 964
- 1973. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 1.8 Formation Damage, 3 Production and Well Operations, 2 Well Completion, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 2.2.2 Perforating, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
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A unique viscous fluid has been used in fracturing deep, high-temperature reservoirs. By using large treatments and high concentrations of proppants, reservoirs with low permeability and porosity can be proppants, reservoirs with low permeability and porosity can be successfully stimulated. Data from widely varying formations are compared, with special emphasis on the Vicksburg.
Large portions of the easily recovered hydrocarbons of the world are rapidly being depleted. This is particularly the case in the confines of the western particularly the case in the confines of the western hemisphere where many of the most productive fields are in the latter stages of primary and secondary recovery. If complete dependence on foreign oil or a large energy gap is to be averted, new supplies of energy must be found soon. One promising source is the oil and gas tightly held in formations that have very low permeability and porosity. If these formations, a permeability and porosity. If these formations, a large number of which are deep, high-temperature reservoirs, are to be economically produced, an effective means of stimulation must be developed.
Types of Stimulation
There are basically three different types of stimulation methods available to the industry today. The first, chemical stimulation, has not been useful in tight sandstone reservoirs except in the removal of formation damage. In deep, high-temperature and highly soluble formations, it is difficult to use this technique because the acid is rapidly spent near the wellbore. Without deep penetration of live acid into the fracture, effective stimulation cannot be achieved. In some cases the use of large volumes of fluid to cool the formation helps to overcome this deficiency. The second type of stimulation, which is undergoing limited study today, is the use of both conventional and nuclear explosives. At this time, two nuclear explosive projects have been conducted. The tests were apparently successful in safely setting off a nuclear device and achieving some stimulation. However, the economic feasibility of nuclear stimulation is still questioned by a large segment of the industry. The use of conventional explosives presents a considerable hazard during injection; detonation in thin layers at large distances from the wellbore is difficult and not always successful. The third type of stimulation is hydraulic fracturing. Since the inception of fracturing in 1949, many different fluids and proppants have been investigated. In the early 1950's, viscous petroleum base fluids were being used industrywide. From the mid-1950's through the mid-1960's, the trend was to use less viscous fluids pumped at higher rates. Also, the trend has been toward using water-based fluids rather than oil-based fluids for fracturing. The theory of fracturing developed quite rapidly between the mid-50's and mid-60's. In 1957, Howard and Fasts introduced some of the first literature for the calculation of fracture geometry from treatment data. Since that time a continuous stream of literature, which is much too abundant to reference completely, has been published on fracture dimensions and design criteria. The work that has been published indicates that the ratio of (1) fracture published indicates that the ratio of (1) fracture length to the radius drained, and (2) fracture flow capacity to formation permeability are the most critical relationships in the design.
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