Technical Papers: Quantifying Proppant Transport for Complex Fractures in Unconventional Formations

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 119300
Presentation Date: 2009
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Since the widespread proliferation of microseismic fracture mapping, it has been observed that some naturally fractured formations exhibit a nonplanar, or complex, set of microseismic events. This fracture mapping technique has provided some valuable insight into the nature of this complex fracturing.

However, this mapping is not necessarily a direct measurement of hydraulic fracturing. Many of the improvements have been through empirical trial and error and qualitative techniques. Although this technique has been useful it is often very slow and can be expensive. It took many years to optimize the Barnett play in the Fort Worth basin. But even more detrimental is when a success from one basin is applied in another basin without fully understanding the underlying mechanics. This can often lead to costly disappointment.

This paper reviews the key parameters that need to exist to enable complex fracturing such as

  • the nature and genesis of the natural fractures
  • the orientation of the minimum and maximum horizontal stress
  • the juxtaposition of the natural fractures to the stresses
  • the magnitude of the difference between the minimum and maximum horizontal stress
  • Poisson’s ratio and Young’s modulus of the rock being stimulated.

The goal of this paper is to demonstrate a methodology for quantifying the width relationship of these intersecting fracture systems which can be used to determine if multi planar proppant placement is possible and help design the optimum mesh size and net pressure required to enable successful placement.

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