Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Investigation of post hydraulic fracturing well cleanup physics in the Cana Woodford Shale
by Lu, Rong, M.S., Colorado School of Mines, 2014, 103; 1557524
Abstract (Summary)

Hydraulic fracturing was first carried out in the 1940s and has gained popularity in current development of unconventional resources. Flowing back the fracturing fluids is critical to a frac job, and determining well cleanup characteristics using the flowback data can help improve frac design. It has become increasingly important as a result of the unique flowback profiles observed in some shale gas plays due to the unconventional formation characteristics.

Computer simulation is an efficient and effective way to tackle the problem. History matching can help reveal some mechanisms existent in the cleanup process. The Fracturing, Acidizing, Stimulation Technology (FAST) Consortium at Colorado School of Mines previously developed a numerical model for investigating the hydraulic fracturing process, cleanup, and relevant physics. It is a three-dimensional, gas-water, coupled fracture propagation-fluid flow simulator, which has the capability to handle commonly present damage mechanisms.

The overall goal of this research effort is to validate the model on real data and to investigate the dominant physics in well cleanup for the Cana Field, which produces from the Woodford Shale in Oklahoma.

To achieve this goal, first the early time delayed gas production was explained and modeled, and a simulation framework was established that included all three relevant damage mechanisms for a slickwater fractured well. Next, a series of sensitivity analysis of well cleanup to major reservoir, fracture, and operational variables was conducted; five of the Cana wells' initial flowback data were history matched, specifically the first thirty days' gas and water producing rates.

Reservoir matrix permeability, net pressure, Young's modulus, and formation pressure gradient were found to have an impact on the gas producing curve's shape, in different ways. Some moderately good matches were achieved, with the outcome of some unknown reservoir information being proposed using the corresponding inputs from the history matching study. It was also concluded that extended shut-in durations after fracturing all the stages do not delay production in the overall situation.

The success of history matching will further knowledge of well cleanup characteristics in the Cana Field, enable the future usage of this tool in other hydraulically fractured gas wells, and help operators optimize the flowback operations. Future improvements can be achieved by further developing the current simulator so that it has the capability of optimizing its grids setting every time the user changes the inputs, which will result in better stability when the relative permeability setting is modified.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Miskimins, Jennifer L.
Commitee: Fleckenstein, William, Hoffman, Todd
School: Colorado School of Mines
Department: Petroleum Engineering
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 53/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geophysics, Petroleum engineering
Publication Number: 1557524
ISBN: 978-1-303-95037-7
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