Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional Resources Program)
Advanced Hydraulic Fracturing Technology For Unconventional Tight Gas Reservoirs
Texas Engineering Experiment Station, College Station, TX 77843
Crisman Research Institute, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843
Carbo Ceramics, Inc., Houston, TX 77024
BJ Services, Houston, TX 77092
Halliburton, Duncan, OK 73536
Schlumberger, Sugar Land, TX 77478
The central role of hydraulic fracturing in enabling economic production from unconventional gas reservoirs makes it clear that advances in the economic application of hydraulic fracturing will add substantial unconventional gas reserves to the nation’s future gas supply. The objectives of this proposed research are to develop new methods for creating extensive, conductive hydraulic fractures in unconventional tight gas reservoirs by statistically assessing the productivity achieved in hundreds of field treatments with a variety of current fracturing practices ranging from “water fracs” to conventional gel fracture treatments; by laboratory measurements of the conductivity created with high rate proppant fracturing using an entirely new conductivity test – the “dynamic fracture conductivity test”; and by developing design models to implement the optimal fracture treatments determined from the field assessment and the laboratory measurements.
Description of Project:
First, we will conduct a thorough data-driven study of current field practices in hydraulic fracturing of tight gas reservoirs. We will develop an advisory system based on the database to guide optimal fracture design. Second, we will develop new fracture conductivity testing procedures to more closely simulate the process occurring in high-rate, low proppant concentration fracturing. In these dynamic fracture conductivity tests, we will inject proppant/frac fluid slurries under realistic field conditions, and then shut-in the conductivity cell to simulate the way conductivity is actually created. By applying a fresh approach to determining the manner in which proppant is placed and fracture conductivity created in low-permeability gas well fracturing, we aim to develop novel, systematic treatment design procedures to develop the next generation of hydraulic fracturing technology for these reservoirs. We expect this new understanding to lead to improved designs of hydraulic fracturing treatments, with changes possible in the proppant loading and schedule, proppant type and size, and fluid type and polymer loading. Finally, we will implement the findings of the field treatment analysis and the laboratory studies to design optimized hydraulic fracture treatments.
Impact and Benefits:
Success in improving tight gas hydraulic fracturing technology from the research proposed will increase recoverable gas reserves in virtually every tight gas basin in the United States.
Principal Investigator Ding Zhu