Pacific Section AAPG, SPE and SEPM Joint Technical Conference

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Experimental Analysis Of Flow Channeling Through A Fracture


Fracture fairways develop through a complex interaction of pressure gradient and permeability structure. Although fairways coalesce at the kilometer scale, they are initiated by flow channeling very close to a well. To understand the meter scale behavior of flow channeling we performed a series of experiments at an analog sandstone bedrock site. Through the use of hydraulic, tracer, heat transfer experiments combined with imaging by ground penetrating radar, we show that flow behavior is structured even in a single fracture. We also demonstrate the value of hydraulic and tracer tests for establishing hydraulic connectivity and sweep efficiency between injection and producing wells. Periodic hydraulic tests were better able to establish hydraulic connectivity than constant rate pumping tests. Multi-ionic tests provided information about swept area that single tracer tests were unable to deliver.