Industry Article: Pilot Wells Test Stimulation Approach

Eagle Ford Shale Activity Update article for AOGR
Publication: American Oil & Gas Reporter
Publication Date: 09/01/2011

The main goal in stimulating shale formations is to maximize the reservoir contact with the hydraulic fracture face. To achieve this goal, current practices include pumping low-viscosity fluids at high rates with small mesh proppant.

A novel approach developed by an operator/service company alliance during the exploration phase was used in a well in the Eagle Ford Shale to enhance the stimulated area. Real-time microseismic hydraulic fracture monitoring (RT HFM) indicates the conventional slick water treatments were not providing adequate lateral coverage across the planned stage. To address this issue, controlled changes were made to the pumping schedule, and the effects were evaluated using RT HFM. The results indicate that a novel stimulation technique that uses a shutdown during pumping to allow pressure relaxation, or equilibration, prior to reinitiating the fracturing process proved highly successful in increasing the estimated stimulated volume (ESV) in this area.

With this approach, part of the stimulation treatment is pumped (usually the pad plus proppant slugs), followed by an extended shutdown to relax the formation. Once the surface pressure reaches a predetermined value, the treatment is resumed with monitoring for microseismic activity. The microseismic activity observed during the second part of the treatment showed a significant increase compared with the first part, with improved lateral coverage.

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