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ARMA 13-177

Hydraulic Fracturing Design OptimizationBakken Case Study

Hadi Jabbari and Steven A. Benson
Petroleum Engineering Department, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202 USA

Copyright 2013 ARMA, American Rock Mechanics Association

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 47th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium held in San Francisco, CA, USA,
23-26 June 2013.

This paper was selected for presentation at the symposium by an ARMA Technical Program Committee based on a technical and critical
review of the paper by a minimum of two technical reviewers. The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of
ARMA, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial purposes without
the written consent of ARMA is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 200 words;
illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgement of where and by whom the paper was

ABSTRACT: Low permeability shale formations, such as the Bakken, require a large fracture network to enhance well
productivity. In this research, through a comprehensive fracture-simulation/reservoir-performance study, we evaluated the
main parameters controlling the fracture stimulation in horizontal wells. The main goal was to investigate opportunities to
optimize hydraulic fracturing and production of horizontal Williston Basin Bakken Formation wells. The project area used in
the investigation was located in Williams County, North Dakota. To design a successful hydraulic fracture treatment, three
tasks were conducted: First, a reservoir simulation to evaluate the response of the reservoir to fracture stimulation and to
calibrate the reservoir model was performed using two steps involving: a) sensitivity analysis (SA) to determine the
significant well/reservoir properties and parameters and b) history matching (HM) simulation results to the production data
from the stimulated horizontal well in the study area. Second, the amount of fracturing materials was estimated and
preliminary pump schedules were developed based on selected design parameters that include: half-length, pump rate, and
maximum proppant concentration. Design parameters screening was conducted using 2D fracture geometry solutions for
fracture treatment parameters. An optimization task was performed to identify optimal stimulation treatment(s) that together
with optimal operating conditions would return a maximum value for the objective function (e.g. Net Present Value). Finally,
fully-3D hydraulic fracture modeling was utilized to perform implicit, coupled, finite difference/finite element solutions to
basic conservation equations. The pump schedule obtained from the scoping design was changed in terms of the pad
volume and proppant schedule for treatment optimization. The overall goal of such a schedule refinement was to place the
right amount of proppant in the right place along the fracture.
Past studies by Breit et al. [1] used reservoir
1. INTRODUCTION simulation to compare multi-well to single-well
The Bakken reservoir of Williston Basin is composed completions in the Bakken Formation. In their
of an upper shale member, a middle member of modeling, they considered a homogeneous layer with
sandstone and siltstone, and a lower shale member. dual porosity and with an anisotropic permeability
The first development of the Bakken Formation ratio of 4 to 1. Sadrpanah et al. [2] also used reservoir
occurred in the 1960s [1]. Early Bakken development simulation to evaluate multiple hydraulic fractures in
with vertical wells resulted in minor production. Later, horizontal wells. Using explicit simulation to
horizontal drilling in the 1980s improved production as implement the hydraulic fractures into the horizontal
compared to previous vertical well completions. wells, they predicted the fracture behavior and post-
Activity in developing the Bakken Formation has frac production profiles to make optimal designs for
increased due to the success of horizontal drilling maximum production enhancement. Lentz et al. [3]
coupled with multi-stage hydraulic fracturing described the benefits of re-fracture treatment in
stimulation. However, production forecast which horizontal wells in the Bakken Formation. They
may be acquired by fracture modeling and reservoir concluded that more perforations and diversion
simulation is quite challenging for these types of techniques would be attributed to the success of the
wells. treatments.
In recent years, there have been several studies on the Besler et al. [4] studied the stimulation and operation
simulation of horizontal wells in the Bakken of horizontal completions in the Middle Bakken
Formation [1, 3, and 4]. The main goal of the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana. They
reservoir simulation past efforts has been to simulate compared the production histories of the fractured
the production performance of the wells and to horizontal wells to offset wells completed with other
develop optimum scenarios for further field techniques to evaluate best industry practices. Cox et
development. al. [5] investigated the production performance of the
Bakken wells, and by using reservoir simulation and

pressure transient test analysis, evaluated optimal completed in the Middle Bakken member and
economics in the early phase of the Bakken stimulated with multi-stage transverse fractures.
development. A similar study, with an emphasis on
economics, was conducted on the Marcellus shale by
2.1. Sensitivity Analysis of Reservoir Properties
Schewitzer et al. [6] where several hydraulic fracture
treatments were evaluated with the goal of determining and Parameters
the most efficient wellbore/fracture configurations. A sensitivity analysis was performed to ascertain how
The economic study for a hydraulic fracturing project a given model output varies based on the input
was performed using the average present-day parameters. This is an important method for checking
completion costs and projected sale price of gas used the quality of a given model as well as a powerful tool
in the calculation process. Shanqiang et al. [7], on the for checking the robustness and reliability of the
other hand, studied more complex fluid flow physics analyses [9]. The sensitivity analysis helps reservoir
and stimulation practices in making long-term modelers achieve a better understanding of how
production forecasts for unconventional reservoirs. different parameters influence their results. The
They proposed a probabilistic reservoir simulation information from such analysis can later be used in
workflow to provide realistic range of production other tasks, such as history matching, optimization,
forecast with application in the Bakken Formation. and uncertainty assessment as it helps determine which
The work presented in this paper provides the results parameter(s) to vary and to what degree.
of an integrated fracture/reservoir simulation together
with a financial analysis to evaluate the production and 2.2. Sampling Method
economics of the Bakken horizontal wells stimulated
with a variety of fracturing strategies. The main goal For a given set of parameters and values, the parameter
of this research was to investigate the opportunities for space is usually very large, and it would be too
optimizing hydraulic fracture treatments in the Bakken perplexing to select a reliable design (the set of job
horizontal wells. patterns). According to the theory of experimental
design (Design of Experiments, or DOE), an efficient
design should have two characteristics to be acceptable
BAKKEN CASE STUDY that include [10, 11, 12]: a) the input parameters
In an effort to adjust the well/reservoir properties and should be approximately orthogonal. This means that
parameters, history matching of the reservoir model in a design matrix, the correlation between the vectors
was performed for the study area to yield the observed of any pair of columns should be either zero or very
production data. Reservoir simulation was used to small, and b) the sampling point (job patterns) should
perform three major tasks to provide insights into the be evenly distributed in the parameter space. Or, in
design of hydraulic fracture stimulation. These tasks other words, the design matrix should represent all
include: a) sensitivity analysis (SA), which is used to possible job patterns (space-filling). This means that
determine how sensitive an objective function (an no two points are close to each other.
expression or single quantity) is to different parameters One common method used to select a job pattern is by
and their ranges in values, b) history matching (HM) random design, but its main disadvantage is that the
for calibrating the reservoir parameters conducted by interpretation of the results is not accurate due to
an automated algorithm to simulation results, and c) an random confounding and the estimated coefficients
optimization (OP) stage for developing best case can be biased [10, 12]. To avoid the random design
scenarios for future hydraulic fracture treatments in the problem, we have used the Latin hypercube sampling
Bakken Formation. (LHS) method proposed by Mckay et al. [11], in that
The location of the study area is in section 36-T156N- the input variables are considered to be random
R95W in eastern Williams County, North Dakota, on variables with known distribution functions. The
the eastern flank of the Nesson Anticline (Fig.1). The parameters whose changes were examined in the
matrix porosity values used in the reservoir simulation sensitivity analysis are listed in Table 1. Each
were 0.05 (Upper Bakken), 0.06 (Middle Bakken), and parameter is given a range of values over which it can
0.05 (Lower Bakken). The matrix permeability values vary.
were 0.00012 md (Upper Bakken), 0.003 md (Middle The results from 2,300 simulation runs were collected
Bakken), and 0.00015 (Lower Bakken) [8]. The and analyzed to screen for the parameters (factors)
observed data of Well X was used for the history which appeared to have significant effects on the
matching process- adjusting the reservoir simulation response (objective function). The statistical
parameters that could best represent the actual significance of each effect and interaction was
reservoir. The cumulative production data for the study
well are shown in Fig.2. examined by comparing its signal-to-noise t-ratio, t E

Figure 3 shows the grid setup for the simulation model (or tn 1 ), to the critical t-value, denoted by t* / 2 , which
where a horizontal well with 3600 ft lateral length is is the inverse of the two-tailed t-distribution. When the
populations standard deviation ( ) is unknown (i.e.

small samples, or small n ), we can replace it by an data, Rwm, p is the measured maximum change for well
estimate, s p (pooled standard deviation), then the
w and production data p , and Ewm, p is measurement
quantity in Eq.1 follows the t-distribution with n 1
degrees of freedom (for n runs) [12].
The global objective function (Eq. 2) was used for
Y o
tn 1, / 2 (1)
history matching only the cumulative oil production
sp n (Cum_OIL) and cumulative water production
(Cum_WTR) data of Well X. The cumulative gas
Note that the significance level ( ), which is left to production data was found to be unreliable. By forcing
the investigator, was considered to be 5% as the well to produce at historic oil rates the reservoir
reasonable accuracy was required. Finally, we used a model was matched to the production history. The
Tornado chart of the effects to determine the final history matching plot in Fig.6 shows the
magnitude and the importance of the effects on the convergence of the objective function after 1467 runs.
cumulative oil and cumulative water production. The
charts in Figs.4 and 5 display the effects. The The relative permeability curves were developed using
significant parameters were obtained from the the Corey correlation which is power-law in the water
sensitivity analysis. Note that the absolute values of saturation [14-16] (Eqs.3-6). Note that since there was
their t-ratios (for Cum_OIL and Cum_WTR) were no experimental data available for the relative
found to be greater than the critical t-value (obtained permeability curves, the end-point saturations were
from t-distribution for the specified degree of estimated from the history matching process.
freedom). nw
S w Swcrit
krw krwiro .(3)
2.3. History Matching 1 S wcrit Soirw
History matching is a well-examined method of tuning So Sorw
reservoir characteristics (properties) used in the model krow krocw (4)
to match historical field data. This process is 1 S wcon Sorw
accomplished through an iterative trial-and-error nog
process. The sensitivity analysis described above was Sl Sorg S gcon
krog krogcg (5)
used to identify the significant parameters, shown in 1 S
wcon Sorg S gcon
Table 1. These parameters were then adjusted, over
realistic ranges, in order to achieve a close match ng
between the simulation results and the field data, while S g S gcrit
krg krgcl ...(6)
insignificant parameters were set to constant values 1 S S S
based on available data. gcrit oirg wcon
During the history matching process a global objective Also, the linear relative permeability (X-curves) was
function was used to measure the relative difference considered for the grids containing the hydraulic
between historical data and simulation results. In such fractures. The parameters estimated from the history
a function the well variables are accounted for by matching process are listed in Table 1. As shown in
means of a root-mean-squared error method (RMSE). Figs. 7, 8, and 9, reasonable matches were obtained for
The goal of the history matching is to obtain small OIL_PROD, Cum_OIL and Cum_WTR production
values of objective functions to correspond with small trends.
differences between historical data and simulation The reservoir simulation is followed by hydraulic
results. The global objective function is given by Yang fracture modeling (2D/3D) to simulate the fracturing
et al. [13]: process and evaluate the different stimulation
T ( w, p )
strategies for the study well in the Bakken Formation.
( Rw, p , t Rw, p , t )
s m 2

t 1

1 N ( w) T ( w, p ) (2) 3. FRACTURE TREATMENT DESIGN

Eg Ww, p
Rw, p
N ( w) m m
p 1 4 Ew , p
Ww, p 3.1. Optimal Treatment Materials
p 1
Hydraulic fracture stimulation is required for
Where, subscripts w , p , and t are well, production economic development of low permeability reservoirs,
data, and time, respectively, N ( w) is the total such as the Bakken Formation. This is because a
highly conductive fracture results in a negative skin.
production data from well 1 to w , Ww, p is weight, At the same time, there is no single fracture treatment
T ( w, p) is the total of time step, Rws , p ,t represents design that best fits all possible cases. The amount of
knowledge about the treatment environment shapes the
simulation results while Rwm, p ,t is measured historical design process to a very large degree. When the area to

be hydraulically fractured is new, there are generally a The method of Latin hypercube plus proxy
large number of potential uncertainties that may have optimization was used to find the optimal treatment
effects on the production responses, such as the static scenario(s). This method consists of four main steps: a)
and dynamic parameters. constructing combinations of the input parameter
values to obtain the maximum information from the
We have presented hydraulic fracturing designs for a
minimum number of simulation runs (Latin hypercube
Bakken horizontal well with 10000-ft lateral drilled
design), b) building an empirical proxy model by using
inside a 1280 acre drainage area. The goal of the
the data from Latin hypercube design runs (proxy
design was normally to consider all plausible
model), c) conducting a proxy-based optimization, and
combinations of fluids and proppants to find the best
d) validation of the optimal solution obtained from the
candidates of treatment materials. Improper fracturing
proxy by iterative simulation runs. The algorithm is
design can result in fractures that are too narrow that
shown in Fig.10.
may cause proppant bridging and screenout or too
wide that can allow too much proppant settling. In this Figure 11 illustrates the results of such NPV
study we have done a comparative study of proppants, calculations using the Latin hypercube algorithm. The
pads, and fracturing fluids to determine the best iterative procedure, over 324 runs, was able to
combination(s) for carrying out the stimulation job in optimize the NPV from 27 million to almost 84 million
the Bakken horizontal wells. USD. The NPV was calculated for a standard
horizontal well completed with 12, 18, and 36 fracture
The first step was to use a 2D fracture simulation
stages. It is clear from this figure that the job-IDs 39,
method (PKN model in this case) to quickly perform
106, 162, 198, 280, and 318 with the specifications
the sensitivity analysis, preliminary designs, and
shown in Table 5, outperformed the other treatment
calculating the fracturing material sizes prior to
performing fully-3D fracture modeling. Table 2 shows
the results of the scoping calculations that were carried Using crosslinked gel plus either resin-coated sand or
out for 27 combinations of the candidate fracturing ceramic as the fracture treatment materials appeared to
materials. Note that the average fracture height used in be the best choices due to the higher cumulative oil
the 2D modeling was estimated from the microseismic produced in 5 years as compared to all the other
mapping data of the well, being 120 ft [8]. combinations of treatment materials. One of the
notable successes with this design strategy would be
A financial analysis was used to evaluate the costs and
the elimination of proppant flowback. Many operators
benefits associated with each hydraulic fracturing
in the Bakken reported tremendous problems with
design. The expense considered for fracturing job
production of sand, requiring frequent pump changes
economic analysis and gross treatment sizing were
as the pumps were damaged by crushed sand. A
restricted to four major components: a) fluid cost, b)
review of wells completed by three operators using
proppant cost, c) pumping charges, and d) gross
high-strength proppants indicated zero pump failures
equipment charges. The treatment costs per fracture
due to proppant sand flowback [4].
stage, the sum of the 4 major components, are shown
in Table 2. Other parameters used in the economic
analysis are shown below in Tables 3 and 4. All cost 3.2. Hydraulic Fracture Simulation
values used are general averages based on personal
communications with various operators. The optimal fracture treatment materials were
determined by integrating fracture modeling (2D, PKN
model) with reservoir simulation. As a next step, 3D
An optimization task was conducted to identify the fracture simulation was performed to more accurately
optimal stimulation plan (fracture treatment design) model the created fracture in order to find an
and operating conditions (flowing bottomhole optimized pump schedule. Figure 12 shows a log style
pressure) that would yield a maximum value for the illustration of the major data that was input into the
objective function, being net present value (NPV) in fracture model as compared to depth in the study area.
this case. In the optimization study the history matched The geologic model was comprised of five layers with
reservoir model was used to forecast the reservoir differing stresses, permeabilities, and moduli. They
response based on different hydraulic fracturing were: Lodgepole, Upper Bakken, Middle Bakken,
strategies. The main goal was to determine the best Lower Bakken, and Three Forks.
fracture treatment(s) that would yield the highest profit
from the well stimulation plan(s). The well was Since the estimation of fracture geometry plays a
operated at bottomhole pressures of 1000, 1500, and major role in evaluating the completion plans, a
2000 psi during the 5-year period. The NPV is made commercial hydraulic fracture simulator was used to
up of three terms: a) the value of the oil produced estimate the created fracture geometry and its
being $96/STB, b) the cost for water characteristics. To evaluate the success of a fracture
disposal/processing being $3/STB, and c) the capital treatment in a horizontal well, the production response
expenses (CapEx) (Table 3). The annual interest rate of the well due to the hydraulic fractures should be
for calculating the discounted NPV used in this study investigated. First, we need to know the fracture
was considered as 6%. geometry and fracture conductivity. This information

comes from fracture geometry models that range from FEM needs to be used for fracture width/propagation
simple hand calculation procedures (2D models) to calculations. FEM should be used in any case where
complex 3D models (pseudo-3D or fully 3D). modulus values in different layers differ by a factor of
2 or more [19, 20].
Fluid injected at the beginning of the fracturing job
(pad) initiates and opens up the fracture. Pad provides Furthermore, three main constraints were considered in
the necessary extra fluid that is leaked off into the the design of the hydraulic fracture treatments: a) a
formation during a treatment. The pad also generates limit of 1000 psi was considered for the net-pressure
sufficient fracture length and width to place the that can influence the surface treating pressure
proppant. If the pad volume is too small, the treatment (#HHP), and can have an effect on the fracture height
may screen out. If the pad volume is too large, we will growth (unwanted fracture growth into the Lodgepole),
waste money, the fracture height will grow into b) a fracture width limit that should be at least 3 times
unwanted zones (i.e. the Lodgepole), and the fracture the proppant diameter in order to prevent the proppant
will not close as rapidly as it would with a smaller pad bridging and involuntary screenout [19], and c) the
volume. After pumping the specified volume of pad, injection time must be less than 24 hours. As is clear
the proppant concentration is ramped up step-by-step from the calculations in Table 10, these constraints are
as the slurry is being injected. If proppant prematurely validated in this case.
bridges in the fracture during pumping, the treating
pressure will rise rapidly to the technical constraint, a 4. CONCLUSIONS
situation called screen-out.
A study was conducted on hydraulic fracturing designs
For calculating the proppant ramp schedule, a material for a Bakken horizontal well. First, in an effort to
balance method was used, such as the power-law adjust the reservoir properties, history matching and
method of Nolte [17]. The power-law method is reservoir simulation were performed for the study
explained thoroughly by Economides et al. [18] (Table case. Next, the calibrated reservoir model was used for
6). In an ideal pump schedule, the proppant schedule fracture treatment optimization and material selections.
should be designed such that a uniform proppant Using the results from reservoir simulation and
concentration is obtained in the fracturewith the hydraulic fracture modeling, NPV cash flow models
value of concentration equal to the maximum proppant were developed for various fracture treatment cases. A
concentration ( ce , which is a design parameter) and comparison of the oil production and the NPV of
a minimum pad volume is used to achieve the desired several strategies for well stimulation was the
objective of the simulations and modeling. Finally,
fracture half-length ( X f _ Design ).
hydraulic fracture modeling was performed to
In the end, the pump schedule designed for the accurately model the created fracture so as to find an
selected treatment scenario (optimal treatment case) appropriate pump schedule.
was developed as shown in Fig.13 with the details The main goal of this research was to improve
presented in Table 7. Obviously, a pump schedule may hydraulic fracturing design by improving proppant
vary based on the fracturing treatment materials, coverage along the fracture, optimizing treatment
and/or based on the desired fracture half-length and volumes and pump rates, understanding fracture
fracture conductivity. Additionally, Tables 8 and 9 geometry, and optimizing proppant selection. The
present the characteristics of the fluid and proppant design of a successful fracturing job in a low
used for the treatment. permeability formation (e.g. the Bakken) requires a
Using fully-3D modeling with the developed pump treatment that yields a long fracture. For this reason,
schedule, the fracture dimensions and fracture no improvement in the NPV values was observed in
conductivities were calculated. These parameters were cases with low fracture half-lengths (Fig.11). The
then evaluated to ensure that the fracture would not results from this study suggest that for a Bakken well
grow upwards into the Lodgepole Formation. Several with 10,000-ft lateral, a fracturing strategy utilizing a
operators have reported difficulty keeping fractures high fracture half-length, with a high number of
contained within the target Bakken horizon, and have fractures (36 or more) would provide the most efficient
observed radioactive tracer indicating vertical height balance between the operating charges, fracture
growth into the shallower Lodgepole Formation. In treatment costs, drilling expenses, and the benefit
some cases, high H2S or elevated water-cut indicated earned from the incremental oil production.
fractures had propagated into the Lodgepole Formation The effective fracture width in an optimal case where
[4]. Table 10 contains the details of the treatment x f 1000 ft is shown in Fig.14. As is clear from this
design and the results from the fully-3D fracture
simulations. figure, the fracture height is nearly equal to the
thickness of the pay zone. Generally, it is believed that
Note that in the 3D modeling we have used a finite in-situ stress differences (in the vertical stress profile)
element method (FEM) for calculating fracture width are the major controlling factor of fracture height
and fracture propagation. Generally, for cases where confinement [21]. Figure 15 depicts the fracture tip
formation layers have differing values for modulus, position at successive stages of fracture propagation.

Figure 16 depicts the proppant coverage versus natural fracture density in y-
DJ_NatFrac :
fracture penetration. Other results from the fully- direction (used in DualPOR model)
3D/FEM fracture simulations are shown in Figs.17-20. DK_NatFrac : natural fracture density in z-direction
HHP : hydraulic horsepower, hp
The results from this research also imply that using
ratio of vertical to horizontal
crosslinked gel plus either resin-coated sand or KvKhRatio :
permeability of matrix
ceramic as fracturing materials would lead to optimal
krocw : kro at connate water
stimulation in the Bakken horizontal wells. The major
concerns about the use of sand as proppant may krwiro : krw at irreducible oil
include: a) lost conductivity caused by inadequate krogcg : krog at connate gas
proppant strength due to increased closure stress, as krgcl : krg at connate liquid
severe crushing of frac sand from aggressive mp : Proppant mass, lb
drawdown or reservoir depletion would dramatically
decrease well productivity, and b) lost conductivity n : run number
due to proppant flowback, caused by overflushing the nw : exponent for calculating krw
treatment [3, 22, and 23]. Overdisplacing proppant now : exponent for calculating krow
carried in a crosslinked fluid may seriously nog : exponent for calculating krog
compromise the wellbore to fracture conductivity. ng : exponent for calculating krg
With ceramic, no proppant fowback has been observed
in the Bakken Formation. Overall, higher production matrix permeability modifier (used
PermMtrxMultplier :
in HM)
performance has been observed from high quality
ceramic wells in the Bakken Formation, suggesting PermNatFrac : natural fracture permeability
higher ultimate recovery with better proppants [4]. matrix porosity modifier (used in
PorMtrxMultplier :
Note also that in this research the basic theory of fluid PorFracMultplier :
natural fracture porosity modifier
loss from a hydraulic fracture has been employed (used in HM)
based on 1-D fluid loss (also called Carter fluid loss sp : pooled estimate of standard
deviation of individual responses
[19]), which is valid for matrix fluid loss as long as the
lateral propagation (height and length) is rapid Sw : water saturation
compared to the rate of fluid leakoff normal to the Swcrit : critical water saturation
fracture. If the hydraulic fracture intersects with Soirw : irreducible oil for water-oil table
existing natural fractures, then these natural fissuers Sorw : residual oil for water-oil table
may begin to open under the high pressure associated Swcon : connate water saturation
with the injected fluid. This can dramatically increase
Sorw : residual oil for water-oil table
the rate of fluid loss [19]. The natural fractures will
begin to open when the net pressure inside the fracture Sl : liquid saturation
begins to exceed a critical value (PnetCrit.). As the net Sorg : residual oil for gas-liquid table
pressure rises above this critical level, the rate of fluid S gcon : connate gas saturation
loss then becomes proportional to the product of Swtr : connate water saturation
natural fracture density and (Pnet - PnetCrit.) cubed. The
te : time at end of pumping, min
critical net pressure can be obtained by analyzing the
Nolte-Smith log-log plot of net treating pressure versus ti : time of injection, min
time [24]. Since this type of data for the study well tE : signal-to-noise t-ratio
was not available, the extra fluid loss due to natural
t* : critical t-ratio
fractures was considered by increasing the leak-off
coefficient to some degree. Vi volume of injection into one wing,
: cu ft
Vf : volume of fracturing fluid
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS w : fracture width, in

The authors would like to thank the Institute for Energy Xf : fracture half-length, ft
Studies and the Department of Petroleum Engineering at the
University of North Dakota. We also appreciate NSI
Y : sample average
: mean
Technology Inc. and CMG for their software supports.
: proppant schedule exponent,
NOMENCLATURE e : fluid efficiency at end of pumping,

CPor_Mtrx : matrix compressibility

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142896 presented at the SPE EUROPEC/EAGE 21. Warpinski, N.R., R.A. Schmidt, and D.A. Northrop.
Annual Conference and Exhibition, Vienna, Austria, 1982. Insitu stresses: the predominant influence on
May 23-26. hydraulic fracture containment. J. of Pet. Tech., 653-
664, March.
8. BRC report (Bakken Research Consortium). 2008.
Hydraulic fracturing and microseismic monitoring 22. Phillips, Z.D., R.J. Halverson, S.R. Strauss, J.M.
project, a report submitted by Headington Oil Co. and Layman, and T.W. Green. 2007. A case study in the
XTO Energy Inc. on behalf of the Bakken Research Bakken Formation: changes to hydraulic fracture
Consortium: Brigham Exploration, Continental stimulation treatments result in improved oil
Reseources, Encore Operating, Hess Corporation, production and reduced treatment costs, paper SPE
Petro-Hunt LLC, Whiting Petroleum, Schlumberger 108045 presented at the 2007 Rocky Mountain Oil
Oilfield Services, MicroSeismic Inc., TerraScience, and Gas Symposium, Denver, April 16-18.
DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory, and 23. Wiley, C., B. Barree, M. Eberhard, and Tom Lantz.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 2004. Improved horizontal well stimulations in the
9. Saltelli, A., S. Tarantola, F. Campolongo, and M. Bakken Formation, Williston Basin, Montana. SPE
Ratto. 2004. Sensitivity analysis practice; A guide to Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 26-29
assessing scientific models. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., September 2004, Houston, Texas.
England. 24. Kim, G.H. and J.Y Wang. 2011. Interpretation of
10. Cioppa, T.M. 2002. Efficient nearly orthogonal and hydraulic fracturing pressure in low-permeability gas
space-filling experimental designs for high- formations. SPE 141525, presented at the SPE
dimensional complex models. Naval Postgraduate Production and Operations Symposium, 27-29 March
School PhD Dissertation, Sep. 2011, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.

11. Mckay, M.D., R.J. Beckman, and W.J. Conover.

1979. A comparison of three methods for selecting

Fig.1 Project area location in eastern Williams County, ND (Courtesy of BRC 1 [8])

Fig.2 Cum-production dataWell X

Fig.3 Reservoir simulation grid setup grid top

Bakken Research Consortium

Fig.4 Tornado plot of Cum_OIL (linear model t-ratios)

Fig.5 Tornado plot of Cum_WTR (linear model t-ratios)

Fig.6 Final history-matching iteration of 1467 jobs showing the convergence of

the objective function (red dots represent the cases with the lowest error values)

Fig.7 Oil production rate history match

Fig.8 Cumulative oil production history match-- oil production rate constraint

Fig.9 Cumulative water production history match-- oil production rate constraint

Fig.10 The algorithm of Latin hypercube plus Proxy Optimization (courtesy of Computer Modeling Group)

Fig.11 NPV calculations for 324 different scenarios

Fig.12 Input parameters for fracture geometry

modeling in Well X

Fig.13 Developed pump schedule using Nolte method


Stress (psi) Max Width 0.05 in

Propped Width
Profile at Closure





7000 7500 8000 8500 -0.028-0.021-0.014-0.007-0.000 0.007 0.014 0.021 0.028

Fig.14 Width profile at closure

Stress (psi) Vs. Time ( 5.5, 10.3, 22.3, 49.4 min)





7000 7500 8000 8500 200 400 600 800 1000

Fracture Penetration (ft)

Fig.15 Propagation of fracture tip

10100 59.04 min
10200 0.058


Proppant Coverage lb/ft^2

M-Bkn 0.290
10400 0.348
10500 0.464

0.151 m/sec

7000 7500 8000 8500 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Stress (psi) Fracture Penetration (ft)

Fig.16 Proppant placement in the fracture at closure

10100 55.95 min

Width/Critical Bridging Width WIDTH/WIDTHC

10200 0.300


10400 1.800
10500 2.400

0.151 m/sec

7000 7500 8000 8500 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Stress (psi) Fracture Penetration (ft)

Fig.17 The ratio of fracture width to average proppant particle diameter at closure
10100 55.95 min
10200 26.000

Temperature F


10400 156.000
10500 208.000

0.151 m/sec

7000 7500 8000 8500 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Stress (psi) Fracture Penetration (ft)

Fig.18 Temperature distribution in the fracture at closure


Average Width (in)


At Shut-in
Average Width (in)
200 400 600 800
Penetration (ft)

Fig.19 Average width profile vs. penetration at closure

10100 59.04 min
10200 0.000


Cumulative Loss M-Gal


10400 0.001
10500 0.002

0.151 m/sec

7000 7500 8000 8500 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Stress (psi) Fracture Penetration (ft)

Fig.20 Cumulative fluid loss at closure

Table 1 Parameters and properties examined in the Sensitivity Analysis & History Matching
Lower Level Upper Level History-
Parameters Base Value
(-1) (+1) Matched
PorMtrxMultplier 1 0.5 10 10
PermMtrxMultplier 1 0.5 20 10
PorFracMultplier 1 0.5 10 10
PermNatFrac 0.001 0.00001 0.01 0.001
KvKhRatio 0.1 0.01 0.3 0.1
CPor_Mtrx 1.00E-06 2.00E-06 8.00E-06 8.00E-06
CPor_NatFrac 5.00E-06 1.00E-06 1.00E-05 2.00E-06
DI_NatFrac 200 100 1000 1000
DJ_NatFrac 200 100 1000 500
DK_NatFrac 50 20 300 185
Rel. Perm. Table -- Matrix
swcon 0.1 0.05 0.2 0.1
swcrit 0.3 0.25 0.45 0.3
soirw 0.1 0.05 0.25 0.10
sorw 0.25 0.25 0.45 0.25
soirg 0.1 0.05 0.25 0.1
sorg 0.4 0.25 0.45 0.4
sgcon 0 0 0.02 0
sgcrit 0 0.01 0.06 0
krocw 1 0.3 1 1
krwiro 0.3 0.2 0.7 0.6
krgcl 1 0.4 1 0.9
krogcg 1 0.3 1 1
nw 2 1 3 1
no 3 2 5 3
nog 2 1 3 2
ng 2 1 3 2
Rel. Perm. Table Nat. Frac.
sgconf 0 0 0.01 0
sgcritf 0 0.01 0.06 0.06
sorgf 0.4 0.25 0.45 0.35
soirgf 0.1 0.05 0.25 0.15
sorwf 0.25 0.25 0.45 0.3
soirwf 0.1 0.05 0.25 0.1
swcritf 0.3 0.25 0.45 0.40
swconf 0.1 0.05 0.25 0.05
krgclf 1 0.4 1 0.90
krogcgf 1 0.3 1 0.90
krwirof 0.3 0.2 0.7 0.55
krocwf 1 0.3 1 0.9
nwf 1.5 1 2 2
nof 1.5 1 2 1.5
nogf 1.5 1 2 2
ngf 1.5 1 2 1.5
Swtr(i) 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.37
Hyd. Frac. Cond. (kfw), md-ft 22 22 500 22

Table 2 Comparison of different fracturing treatmentsper stage
kfw Vf_total mp Material
NO. Cases xf HHP
(md-ft) (M-Gal) (M-lbs) Cost
1 500 261 11.3 32.3 9164 $338,463
2 1000 260 22.6 64.4 9101 $341,038
20/40 Ottawa Sand
3 1500 297 38.2 110.3 9204 $351,700

4 500 1039 11.3 32.3 9168 $344,745

5 1000 1035 22.7 64.3 9104 $353,362
16/30 RC Sand
6 1500 1183 38.4 110.2 9208 $372,789

7 500 824 10.8 32.3 9130 $345,901

8 1000 828 21.9 64.9 9075 $357,612
20/40 Ceramic
9 1500 946 37.1 111.3 9175 $380,716

10 500 157 7.4 19.4 8814 $325,526

50# Linear HPG
11 1000 197 17.9 48.6 8925 $336,430
20/40 Ottawa Sand
12 1500 225 30.2 83.4 9003 $347,381

13 500 623 7.4 19.3 8816 $329,253

50# Linear HPG
14 1000 782 18 48.6 8928 $345,805
16/30 RC Sand
15 1500 894 30.3 83.3 9006 $363,337

16 500 498 7.2 19.5 8798 $330,156

50# Linear HPG
17 1000 626 17.4 49.1 8906 $348,895
20/40 Ceramic
18 1500 715 29.3 84.1 8981 $369,083

19 500 261 11.3 32.3 9164 $342,870

30# XLink Gel
20 1000 319 27 78.9 9339 $362,368
20/40 Ottawa Sand
21 1500 359 45.1 133.2 9459 $381,940

22 500 1039 11.3 32.3 9168 $349,152

30# XLink Gel
23 1000 1271 27.1 78.9 9344 $377,589
16/30 RC Sand
24 1500 1430 45.3 133.2 9465 $407,562

25 500 824 10.8 32.3 9130 $350,113

30# XLink Gel
26 1000 1008 26 79 9298 $381,737
20/40 Ceramic
27 1500 1134 43.4 133.4 9413 $415,491

Table 3. Cost of fracture treatment & completion.

Components Cost
Fixed Cost $400,000
Drilling & Completion
Lateral length=4500 ft $5,500,000
Lateral length=10000 ft $8,500,000
Ottawa Sand $0.09-0.12/lb
Resin-Coated Sand $0.25-0.31/lb
Ceramic $0.32-0.39/lb
Slickwater $0.09/gal
Linear HPG $0.32/gal
Xlinked Gel $0.48/gal
Pumping charges $36.40/HHP Includes all pump EQP

Table 4. Other parameters used in the economic analysis.
Parameter Value
Oil Price, $/STB 96
Water disposal/process, $/STB -3
Monthly Operational Cost, $ -7,900

Table 5 Optimal fracture treatment cases

Bottomhole Fracture
Xf, Fracturing fluid Proppant Number
Job ID pressure, conductivity,
(ft) Type Type of stages
(psi) (md-ft)
39 1500 1008 Ceramic
106 1000 1271 RC Sand
162 1000 1008 Ceramic
1000 Xlinked gel 36
198 2000 1271 RC Sand
280 1500 1271 RC Sand
318 2000 1008 Ceramic

Table 6 Developing proppant schedule using power-law method [17]

1 e
a) Calculation of the exponent of proppant concentration curve:
1 e

b) Calculation of pad volume and pad pumping time: V pad Vi , t pad ti

t t pad
c) Mass per unit of injected slurry volume: c ce
te t pad

d) Converting the concentration from mass per slurry volume into mass added per unit volume
of base fluid ( c a ): ca
1 c

Table 7. Pumping schedule using Nolte method [14]

Conc. (PPG) Cum
Slurry Vol Fluid Vol Rate Fluid Prop Pump Time
(M-Gal) (M-Gal) Start End (BPM) Type Type (min)
6.00 6.00 0.0 0.0 10.00 Slickwater - 0.0 14.3
0.32 0.29 3.0 3.0 10.00 Xlinked Gel 40/70 Sand 0.6 0.8
4.04 3.62 3.5 3.5 10.00 Xlinked Gel 20/40 Ceramic 3.5 9.6
9.38 8.31 4.0 4.0 10.00 Xlinked Gel 20/40 Ceramic 10.6 22.3
Total Slurry, M-Gal 19.7 Total Fluid 18.2
Total Proppant, M-lb 46.8 Avg. Conc 2.6
Total Pump Time, min 47.0 Pad % 30.4
M is a Roman for thousand.

Table 8. Proppant data [Courtesy of NSI Tech., 2012]

Ceramic 20/40
Specific Gravity 3.70
Damage Factor (1.0 = No Damage) 0.85
Stress, psi 0 2000 4000 8000 16000
KfW @ 2 lb/sq ft (md-ft) 7300 7100 6400 4800 2200

RC Sand 16/30
Specific Gravity 2.55
Damage Factor (1.0 = No Damage) 0.80
Stress, psi 0 2000 4000 8000 16000
KfW @ 2 lb/sq ft (md-ft) 11800 10800 8900 5500 1500

Table 9. Fracturing fluid data [Courtesy of NSI Tech., 2012]

Specific Gravity 1.04
Data @ Wellbore @ FormTmp 1.0 hr 2.0 hr 4.0 hr 8.0 hr
vis(cp @ 170 1/sec) 188.0 123.0 88.0 67.0 35.0 14.0
non-Newtonian n' 0.46 0.53 0.58 0.61 0.64 0.67
K(lb/sec/ft )x1000 0.06 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.00

30# X-linked gel

Specific Gravity 1.04
Data @ Wellbore @ FormTmp 2.0 hr 3.7 hr 5.2 hr 6.6 hr
vis(cp @ 170 1/sec) 500.0 400.9 226.0 124.8 83.2 54.1
non-Newtonian n' 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72
K(lb/sec/ft2)x1000 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.00

Table 10 The results of fully3D/FEM fracture simulation

'Hydraulic' Length (ft) 1091.8
Half Length
Propped length (ft) 870.0
Max Net Pressure (psi) 1213.0
Final Net Pressure (psi) 755.0
Surface Pres-End of Pad (psi) 7116.0
Surface Pres-Start of Flush (psi) 5621.1
Surface Pres-End of Job (psi) 6656.9
Maximum Hydraulic orsepower 1779.0
Max Exposure to Form. Temp. (min) 45.3
Time to Close 12.0
RATE: Fluid Loss Rate during pad (BPM) 0.17
EFFICIENCY: At end of pumping schedule 0.96
Average In Situ Conc.(lb/ft^2) 0.2
PROPPANT: Average Conductivity (md-ft) 556.3
Fcd (KfW/kXf) 213.15
HEIGHT: Max Fracture Height (ft) 150.2
WIDTH: Avg width at end of pumping (in) 0.14
Total Fluid Volume (M-Gal) 18.2
Total Proppant Volume (M-Lbs) 46.8