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AAPG Southwest Section Annual Convention

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Practical Integration of Stimulation Modeling: Geomechanics Through Diagnostics

Abstract

After the geological and reservoir characteristics of unconventional plays are well understood, optimal development with horizontal wells is primarily driven by a combination of completion design parameters, well spacing, and sequencing of stimulations. Estimating fracture geometry, or more generally the associated surface area, is key to engineering these drivers. One way to estimate the fracture geometry is to incorporate a hydraulic fracture numerical model. While the integration of these models into various workflows has been discussed by many authors, several unresolved questions remain. For example, which model is “best?” In our experience, finding an appropriate model requires matching model capabilities to specific design questions. Similarly, an appropriate level of field diagnostics should, at least in part, be integrated to mitigate model uncertainty. Our modelling framework has evolved to include a variety of stimulation models, each applicable to a specific set of engineering questions. Incorporating multiple models was particularly critical as we transitioned from single-zone to multi-zone development. For example, relatively simple models are used in situations where rapid solutions are required and influences of natural fractures and/or offset hydraulic fractures are minimal. On the other hand, complex models provide a variety of capabilities including modelling effects of stress shadowing, natural fractures, depletion, and many similar processes. This framework continues to evolve to provide timely solutions for design questions related to well stacking, spacing and stimulation sequencing. In this presentation we review our lessons learned in the model selection process, and how this process incorporates critical elements from the regional geological work and fracture diagnostics.