Mid-Continent Section

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Microseismic Monitoring of Hydraulic Fracturing: Optimizing performance and mitigating risk


Shale plays are fast growing segments in E&P operations in the US. These previously uneconomic plays now account for increasing portions of reserves. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing allow for oil and gas extraction from shale as never before. Microseismic monitoring of fracture stimulation is a key facilitator in development of shale fields. Up to 5% of the fracture treatments performed in the US are now monitored. Reservoir complexity is driving the adoption of this technology. Key advances in the analysis of collected data drive the increased use of technology. The industry has moved beyond simple pictures and animations of hypocenter locations, the so called ‘dots in the box’ to real time analyses of failure mechanism, fracture geometry, proppant placement and estimates of probable production. The technology is moving beyond descriptions of what happened when the well was stimulated to now providing prescriptions for the optimal completion of each frac stage. Growth of this technology has occurred as the public has expressed increasing concern about groundwater contamination & earthquake events related to hydraulic fracturing. Microseismic monitoring is becoming important in detecting and mitigating these concerns. The presentation covers the history and development of hydraulic fracturing and frac monitoring, the current state of the art and how the technology is important in dealing with environmental concerns using case history data from the Mid-Continent.