Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering
Traditional hydraulic fracturing methods have left large portions of shale reservoirs unstimulated. In many thick reservoirs, there remain large, untouched oil reserves lying above or below the stimulated region. One Texas A&M team’s research has the potential to enable operators of thousands of existing fractured horizontal wells to better select re-fracturing candidates and design re-fracture treatments that could increase oil production.
With $8 million from the Department of Energy, and further assistance from WildHorse Resource Development (WRD), Dr. Daniel Hill is leading a research team in developing an innovative field laboratory in the Eagle Ford Shale.
Thanks to organizational efforts from Dr. George Moridis, George and Joan Voneiff Professor in Unconventional Resources, Hill is collaborating with Dr. Jens Birkholzer and his team from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Dr. Mark Zoback and his team from Stanford University, and Dr. Matthew Averill from WRD.
“By applying the most advanced monitoring technology ever implemented in the field, we will learn more than ever before about the hydraulic fracture systems created and the subsequent reservoir flow patterns in hydraulically fractured unconventional reservoirs,” explains Hill.
WRD is contributing one existing well for re-fracturing and two new-stimulation wells, and also investing funds to drill and complete them while Hill and his team develop methods to improve the effectiveness of shale oil production.
Researchers investigating unconventional reservoirs will have the opportunity to conduct active seismic monitoring using fiber optics in observation wells, providing a real-time view of fracture propagation and stimulated volume for both new stimulations and legacy well re-fracturing. The team will also conduct time-lapse seismic monitoring of reservoir changes during initial production and enhanced oil recovery from a re-fractured well. A gas-injection-enhanced oil recovery pilot test in the re-fractured well will be the project’s final phase.
“The Eagle Ford Shale Laboratory will undoubtedly influence future drilling and well completion practices in shale reservoirs.”
— Dr. Daniel Hill, Professor and Noble Chair, Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering
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