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Questions Over Permeability Prompt Producer-Led Group To Rebuild Key Fracture Diagnostic

A group led by six shale producers has concluded that they need a new way to understand fracture dynamics in order to determine the critical input to all completion designs: permeability.
Source: Getty Images.

For the past 20 years, the diagnostic fracture injection test (DFIT) has been used across the frontlines of the shale revolution to paint a picture of what cannot be seen. However, that picture has not always been so clear in the eyes of subsurface engineers.

It is not the test has been questioned. It is the way a DFIT is analyzed.

Last year, a joint-industry project supported by six shale producers formed to develop a new methodology that aims to bring fractures into sharper focus—especially when it comes to obtaining accurate permeability estimates from within shale gas formations.

The operators who funded and shared field data for the project were ConocoPhillips, Hess, Shell, Equinor, Range Resources, and Apache. The other key participants included oilfield services firm Keane Group (recently renamed NextTier Oilfield Solutions) and a startup called ResFrac whose software was used to run the study’s models and numerical simulations.

The group’s existence reflects both the rising value of pressure data in unconventional engineering and the struggles industry has in trusting it. The outcome of this yearlong study though hopes to improve upon the latter. The group has offered to the unconventional sector a new template for DFIT analysis, one that represents a distinct alternative to the classical methods used by most practitioners today.

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Questions Over Permeability Prompt Producer-Led Group To Rebuild Key Fracture Diagnostic

Trent Jacobs, JPT Digital Editor

01 December 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 12

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