--> --> Abstract: Microseismic Monitoring Reveals Natural Fracture Networks, by Shoshana Goldstein, Margaret Seibel, and Theodore Urbancic; #90124 (2011)

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Making the Next Giant Leap in Geosciences
April 10-13, 2011, Houston, Texas, USA

Microseismic Monitoring Reveals Natural Fracture Networks

Shoshana Goldstein1; Margaret Seibel1; Theodore Urbancic1

(1) Engineering Seismology Group Canada Inc., Kingston, ON, Canada.

Microseismic monitoring is used to visualize fracture growth during hydraulic fracture treatments. Naturally occurring fracture networks within the formation of interest, as well as direction of maximum horizontal stress, play significant roles in determining the way that these fractures propagate. Naturally occurring fracture networks may include large-scale faults, parasitic faults associated with the large-scale faults, and smaller-scale fractures. The locations of microseismic events can be used to visualize induced fractures and atypical natural fractures where they exist.

Geological knowledge is valuable to accurately interpret microseismic event locations. Trends in microseismic event locations can illustrate the existence and orientation of naturally occurring fracture networks. Two case studies, one from the Montney Formation in NE British Columbia, Canada, the other from the Barnett Shale in Texas, USA, will demonstrate the effects natural fractures can have on hydrocarbon production.

Microseismic event locations from the Barnett Shale and the Montney Formation show that natural fracture networks exist. Wells connected to these networks show higher production values due in part to the higher permeability associated with open fractures. Variations in productivity between wells may be related to the presence or absence of natural fractures. When natural fracture networks are revealed by microseismic monitoring, that knowledge can then be used to optimize drilling and completion programs, which in turn reduces costs and maximizes production.