Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

3D Modeling and Characterization of Hydraulic Fracture Efficiency Integrated with 4D/9C Time-Lapse Seismic Interpretations in the Niobrara Formation, Wattenberg Field, Denver Basin
by Alfataierge, Ahmed, M.S., Colorado School of Mines, 2017, 170; 10634132
Abstract (Summary)

Hydrocarbon recovery rates within the Niobrara Shale are estimated as low as 2–8%. These recovery rates are controlled by the ability to effectively hydraulic fracture stimulate the reservoir using multistage horizontal wells. Subsequent to any mechanical issues that affect production from lateral wells, the variability in production performance and reserve recovery along multistage lateral shale wells is controlled by the reservoir heterogeneity and its consequent effect on hydraulic fracture stimulation efficiency. Using identical stimulation designs on a number of wells that are as close as 600ft apart can yield variable production and recovery rates due to inefficiencies in hydraulic fracture stimulation that result from the variability in elastic rock properties and in-situ stress conditions.

As a means for examining the effect of the geological heterogeneity on hydraulic fracturing and production within the Niobrara Formation, a 3D geomechanical model is derived using geostatistical methods and volumetric calculations as an input to hydraulic fracture stimulation. The 3D geomechanical model incorporates the faults, lithological facies changes and lateral variation in reservoir properties and elastic rock properties that best represent the static reservoir conditions pre-hydraulic fracturing. Using a 3D numerical reservoir simulator, a hydraulic fracture predictive model is generated and calibrated to field diagnostic measurements (DFIT) and observations (microseismic and 4D/9C multicomponent time-lapse seismic). By incorporating the geological heterogeneity into the 3D hydraulic fracture simulation, a more representative response is generated that demonstrate the variability in hydraulic fracturing efficiency along the lateral wells that will inevitability influence production performance.

Based on the 3D hydraulic fracture simulation results, integrated with microseismic observations and 4D/9C time-lapse seismic analysis (post-hydraulic fracturing & post production), the variability in production performance within the Niobrara Shale wells is shown to significantly be affected by the lateral variability in reservoir quality, well and stage positioning relative to the target interval, and the relative completion efficiency. The variation in reservoir properties, faults, rock strength parameters, and in-situ stress conditions are shown to influence and control the hydraulic fracturing geometry and stimulation efficiency resulting in complex and isolated induced fracture geometries to form within the reservoir. This consequently impacts the effective drainage areas, production performance and recovery rates from inefficiently stimulated horizontal wells.

The 3D simulation results coupled with the 4D seismic interpretations illustrate that there is still room for improvement to be made in optimizing well spacing and hydraulic fracturing efficiency within the Niobrara Formation. Integrated analysis show that the Niobrara reservoir is not uniformly stimulated. The vertical and lateral variability in rock properties control the hydraulic fracturing efficiency and geometry. Better production is also correlated to higher fracture conductivity. 4D seismic interpretation is also shown to be essential for the validation and calibration hydraulic fracture simulation models. The hydraulic fracture modeling also demonstrations that there is bypassed pay in the Niobrara B chalk resulting from initial Niobrara C chalk stimulation treatments. Forward modeling also shows that low pressure intervals within the Niobrara reservoir influence hydraulic fracturing and infill drilling during field development.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Benson, Robert D., Davis, Thomas L.
Commitee: Miskimins, Jennifer L., Sonnenberg, Steven, Trainor-Guitton, Whitney, Tutuncu, Azra
School: Colorado School of Mines
Department: Geophysics
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 57/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geophysical engineering, Engineering, Petroleum engineering
Keywords: 4D seismic interpretations, Hydraulic fracturing, Integrated analysis, Niobrara formation, Reservoir characterization, Simulation model
Publication Number: 10634132
ISBN: 9780355562620
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