Let’s get right down to it: As a Petroleum Engineer working in 2016, one of your daily priorities is to determine that every procedure carried out is money well-spent. Bad economics are a reality in the industry and such an emphasis on cutting cost has impacted many business units –some teams are at a complete standstill, while the most fortunate have completely shifted their goals to accomplishing more with less. But in the wake of collapsing budgets, one thing is holding fast: Well data is essential.
There is a long list of reasons engineers collect well data…and an even longer list of tools used to do it, but there is one operation that can actually lead to saving you money (in addition to the valuable data): Offset frac monitoring with surface pressure gauges. The ways offset frac monitoring can save you money are numerous, but I have highlighted a few below.
Well Spacing Optimization
Optimizing well spacing, particularly in ultra-low permeability formations, is one of, if not, the most important factors to consider regarding peak field production. The idea behind maximizing yields from a reservoir involves careful planning of well location and the orientation of each subsequent frac, to ensure the wells in a network are working together, not competing, to achieve optimal drainage. Sounds elementary, but it’s a delicate procedure – space wells too close together and you could be left with one or more wells competing for the same yield, space wells too far apart and you risk leaving money in the ground.
Monitoring the pressures of offset wells during frac procedures is one economic way to ensure your wells are properly spaced. For the marginal cost of a few surface pressure gauges, offset frac monitoring can help in a big way – insuring maximum production for new wells and forecasting any effect on existing wells, or locating geological anomalies such as naturally-occurring fault locations.
Frac Design Optimization
Generally speaking, the basic idea of hydraulic fracturing isn’t too complex…it is the design and application of that basic idea that can get convoluted. After an ideal candidate is selected, and formation data is measured or estimated, hours of work must be put in to determine specific details such as pad volumes, injection rates, fluid properties, proppant types, proppant volumes, and pump pressures/equipment. Without careful consideration and monitoring, these aspects could easily turn a profitable well into a glorified money pit.
Luckily, offset frac monitoring can help determine some of the data for you, ensuring your frac procedures run as lean and economic as possible. Specifics such as pad volumes – which can dictate the overall volume of which to pump, diversion strategies – which can direct or redirect frac propagation to a certain orientation, proppant volumes, and required horsepower to pump can all be carefully monitored via offset wells at the surface to make sure you’re not overspending on superfluous treatment.
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