This paper presents an operator’s approach to optimize future well
performance by fully integrating all the data captured in the Vaca Muerta
shale. Based upon insight from the study, the operator needed to make more
informed asset management decisions, understand the interaction between the
shale and the hydraulic fracture network, and improve economics. Data were
captured from several wells, both vertical and horizontal. The data
incorporated into the study included fieldwide seismic data, as well as
mineralogical, geomechanical, well plan, drilling, completion, microseismic
monitoring, and production data from the wells.
The project comprised one case history involving the hydraulic fracture
stimulation treatment of a cluster of horizontal wells. Microseismic hydraulic
fracture monitoring (HFM) was utilized to “track” the development
of the hydraulic fractures in real time as they propagated throughout the
formation. The stimulation activity from the well was monitored from a
horizontal array placed in a horizontal lateral drilled parallel to the target
well but landed ~ 80 m shallower in the vertical section.
An integrated unconventional-reservoir-specific workflow was utilized to
develop and evaluate the completion strategies for the subject well. First, a
fieldwide 3D static geologic model was constructed using the aforementioned
data to determine the best reservoir and completion qualities of the Vaca
Muerta formation. Next, the model was used to develop the completion strategy,
including staging, perforation scheme, stimulation design, etc., for the wells.
The completion strategy and stimulation design were performed utilizing an
automated, rigorous, and efficient multistaging algorithm (completion advisor).
This enabled targeting the reservoir section having the best reservoir and
completion qualities for the stimulation treatments. The stimulation designs
were performed using a state-of-the-art unconventional hydraulic fracture
simulator that properly simulates the complex fracture propagation in shale
reservoirs, including the explicit interaction of the hydraulic fractures to
the pre-existing natural fissures in the formation and performs automatic
gridding of the created complex fractures to rigorously model the production
response from the tridimensional fracture network.
A comparison between the microseismic fracture geometry to the planned
fracture geometry is revealing; it shows that the application of this new
technology can identify some of the complications and challenges involved in
the process of fracturing a rock, improve the success of stimulation
treatments, and identify opportunities to improve operational efficiency.
The calibrated complex hydraulic fracture simulation results were
incorporated into a shale-oil, numerical simulator and further calibrated with
current production history of the well. The results of the fracture and
reservoir models were utilized to understand the fracture propagation mechanism
in the Vaca Muerta shale formation.
As a result of the project, the team is now able to run different
scenarios and assess the impact that each key parameter has over the well's
estimated ultimate recovery. Based on these findings, the operator now has a
powerful tool that can be used as the building block for future optimization of
the hydraulic fracture design.
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