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SPWLA Distinguished Speaker Series. Microfracturing is an excellent method of obtaining direct, in-situ stress measurements, not only in shales, but in conventional reservoirs as well. Recent advances have shown that microfracturing can help improve reservoir management by guiding well placement, optimizing injection rates, and managing perforation strategy.
Microfracturing consists of isolating small test intervals in a well between inflatable packers, increasing the pressure until a small fracture forms and then by conducting a few injection and shut-in cycles, extend the fracture beyond the influence of the wellbore. Results show that direct stress measurements can be successfully acquired at multiple intervals in a few hours and the vertical scale nearly corresponds to electric log resolution. Therefore, microfracture testing (generally performed in a pilot / vertical well) is an appropriate choice for calibrating log derived geomechanical models and obtaining a complete, accurate, and precise vertical stress profile.
This talk describes the microfracturing process and presents several examples that led to increased hydrocarbon recovery by efficient stimulation and/or completion design. Case studies presented range from optimizing hydraulic fracturing in unconventionals (Delaware Basin, USA), determining safe waterflood injection rates in brownfields (Offshore UK), and helping improve perforation placement in ultra-deepwater reservoirs.