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BASIC

HYDRAULIC
FRACTURING
James A. Craig

Introduction
Job Procedures
Hydraulic Fracturing Materials
In-situ Stresses
Fracture Initiation
Fracture Geometry
PKN Model
KGD Model

Conductivity & Equivalent Skin Factor

INTRODUCTION
Hydraulic fracturing occurs when the well

pressure gets high enough to split the


surrounding formation apart.
Unintentional fracturing leads to:
Lost circulation
Hydrostatic pressure loss in the well
Blowout

Intentional fracturing (well stimulation):


Pumping fluid and solids (proppants)
To increase permeability of the reservoir.

Heavy equipment involved in hydraulic

fracturing jobs include:


Truck-mounted pumps
Blenders
Fluid tanks
Proppant tanks

OPERATION PROCEDURES
A hydraulic fracturing job is divided into 2

stages:
Pad stage
Slurry stage

Fracturing fluid only is injected to break down


the
formation & create a pad.

Pad Stage

Fracture
width

1/2"

Open fracture
during job

Fracture tends to
close
once the pressure has
been released

Fracturing fluid is mixed with sand/proppant in


a blender & the mixture is injected into the
fracture.

Slurry Stage

Propped Fracture

Proppant/sand is
used to keep the
frac open

Acid Fracture

Acid etched
in the walls
keep the frac
open

After filling the fracture with proppant, the


fracturing job is over & the pump is shut down.

HYDRAULIC FRACTURING
MATERIALS
Base fluid systems
Chemical additives
Proppants

Base Fluid Systems


Slickwater
Applications
Low Friction
Low Viscosity (<5cp)
Low Residue, less
damaging
Low Proppant
Transport
capabilities

Linear Gel Applications

Mild Friction

Pressures
Adjustable Viscosity
(10<x<60cp)
High Residue, more
damaging

Crosslinked
Applications
High Friction
High Viscosity
(>100cp)
Excellent Proppant
Transport capabilities
High Residue, more
damaging
Expensive
Complex Chemical
Systems
pH & Temperature
dependent

Energized Fluid
Applications

Carbon Dioxide
Nitrogen
Water Sensitive

Formations
Depleted Under
pressured wells
Low Permeable Gas
Formations
High Proppant
Transport
capabilities

Gelled Oil Fluids

Acidizing Services

Chemical Additives
Gelling Agents
Friction Reducers
Crosslinker Control

Oxygen Scavengers

Surfactants

pH Adjusting Agents

Recovery Agents

Clay Control

Foaming Agents

Acids

Breakers

Anti-Sludge Agents

Emulsifiers

Fluid Loss Agents

Resin Activator

Scale Inhibitors
Corrosion Inhibitors
Bactericide

Proppants
Frac Sand (<6,000 psi) Intermediate Strentgh
Jordan
Ceramics (<10,000
Ottawa
psi)
Brady
Carbo Ceramics
Norton-Alcoa
Resin-Coated Frac
Sand
(<8,000 psi)
High Strength
Santrol
Ceramics
Cureable
(<15,000 psi)
Borden
Precured
Carbo Ceramics
Sintex
17

Strength
comparison of
various types
of proppants

Ceramic Proppants

Ultra LightWeight Proppants

IN-SITU STRESSES
There are always 3 mutually orthogonal

principal stresses. Rock stresses within the


earth also follow this basic rule.
The 3 stresses within the earth are:
Vertical stress
Pore pressure
Horizontal stresses

These stresses are normally compressive,

anisotropy, and non-homogeneous.

The magnitude and direction of the principal

stresses are important because:


They control the pressure required to create &

propagate a fracture.
The shape & vertical extent of the fracture
The direction of the fracture..
The stresses trying to crush and/or embed the
propping agent during production.

Vertical Stress
At some depth gravity has a main control on

the stress state.


Vertical stress is a principal stress
Vertical stress is given by the weight of
overburden.
D

v z gdz
0

v gD

= density of the material


g = acceleration due to gravity
D = depth in z-axis pointing vertically

downward.
Average overburden density 15 19.2 ppg.

f z

Note:
It increases slightly with depth ( 1 psi/ft).
Upper sediments have high porosity, hence low

density
At greater depth, density is high because
porosity is reduced by compaction and
diagenesis.

Pore Pressure
Pore pressure is derived from the pore fluid

trapped in the void spaces of rocks.


The pore fluid carries part of the total stresses
applied to the system, while the matrix carries the
rest.
Pore pressure can be normal or abnormal.

Pf ,n f gD

f = density of the fluid


Average pore fluid density for brine 8.76 ppg.
Normal pore pressure ranges from 0.447 0.465

psi/ft.
It averages 0.0105 MPa/m.

Gullfaks field
in Statfjord

Valhall field
in Ekofisk

Horizontal Stresses
They are to some extent also caused by

gravity.
In the ocean, horizontal stress equals vertical
stress
Ocean consists of only fluid and no shear stress

(no rigidity).
In a formation (with a certain rigidity),

horizontal stress is different from vertical


stress.
H or 2 represents maximum horizontal
stress. H h tect
h or 3 represents minimum horizontal stress.

v or 1

v >H > h
h or 3

H or 2

Models
Hookes law

h h Pf

h
V
1
v v Pf

Should be used with extreme caution! Or not

used at all!!!
v = Poisson ratio
= Biots poroelastic constant
Pf = Pore pressure

Breckels and van Eekelen (1982)


D < 3,500 m:

h 0.0053D1.145 0.46 Pf Pf ,n

D > 3,500 m:

h 0.0264 D 31.7 0.46 Pf Pf ,n

Derived from fracture (leak-off test) data in GoM

(Gulf of Mexico) region.


Often used in tectonically relaxed areas like the
North Sea.
Abnormal pore pressure taken into account.

Effects of Plate Tectonics


In general, H > h because of plate tectonics

and structural heterogeneities.


Plate tectonics include:
Spreading ridge
Subduction zone
Transform fault

Vertical stress ( = 2.1


g/cm3)
Horizontal stress
(from Breckels and
van Eekelen)
Pore pressure (f
= 1.05 g/cm3)

Fractures develop in the direction

perpendicular to the least principal stress.


This is the direction of least resistance.
Smallest principal stress is horizontal stress.
Therefore, resulting fractures will be vertical.

Vertical well

Vertical
fracture

FRACTURE INITIATION
Conditions:
A vertical borehole
Poroelastic theory
Hookes law of linear elasticity is obey

Upper Limit
Also called Fast Pressurization limit.
Formation is assumed to be impermeable.
Pore pressure is constant and unaffected by

the well pressure.


Initiation/Breakdown Pressure(assume = 1) :

Pw, frac 3 h H Pf To
To = tensile strength of the rock

Lower Limit
Also called Slow Pressurization (to ensure

steady state during pumping) limit.


Formation is assumed to be permeable.
Pore pressure near the borehole and the well
pressure are equal.
Initiation/Breakdown Pressure(assume = 1) :

Pw, frac

3 h H

FRACTURE GEOMETRY
Fracture geometry include width, length and

height of the fracture.


The information is necessary in stimulation
design in order to know what volume of fluid
to pump.
The 2 classical models are:
PKN Model Perkins-Kern-Nordgren
KGD Model Kristianovitch-Geertsma-de Klerk

Newtonian fluid only is considered.


2-D only is considered.

PKN Model
Fracture height is constant and independent of

the fracture length.


Appropriate when xf/hf > 1.
Commonly used in conventional hydraulic
fracture modeling.

Maximum width of the fracture, wm is:

Q 1 x f
wm 0.3

The rectangular shape of a cross section further

from the well has a smaller width, decreasing to


zero at the fracture length L, so assuming an
wm 0.59
wmaverage width is:
elliptical shape,
the
V f 2 x f h f wm
Volume of fracture:

wm = maximum width of the fracture, in.


Q = pumping rate, barrels/min
= fluid viscosity, cp
L = fracture half length, ft
= Poissons ratio (dimensionless)
G = Shear modulus, psi

E
G
2 1
E = Youngs modulus, psi
Vm = volume of fracture, ft3

KGD Model
Fracture height is constant and independent of

the fracture length.


Appropriate when xf/hf < 1.
Commonly used in open hole stress tests.
Not interesting from a production point of view.

Maximum width of the fracture, wm is:

Q 1 x

2
f

wm 0.29

Gh f

The rectangular shape of a cross section further

from the well has a smaller width, decreasing to


zero at the fracture length L, so assuming an
elliptical shape,
the
wm 0.79
wmaverage width is:
V f 2 L H wm
Volume of fracture:

CONDUCTIVITY AND
EQUIVALENT SKIN FACTOR
Hydraulic fracturing does not change the

permeability of the given formation.


It creates a permeable channel for reservoir
fluids to contact the wellbore.
The primary purpose of hydraulic fracturing is
to increase the effective wellbore area by
creating a fracture of given geometry, whose
conductivity is greater than the formation.

Productivity of fractured wells depends on 2

steps:
Receiving fluids from formation.
Transporting the received fluid to the wellbore.

The efficiency of the first step depends on

fracture dimension (length & height)


The efficiency of the second step depends on
k f wf
fracture permeability.
FCD
Fracture conductivity is given as: ke x f
FCD of 10 30 is considered optimal.

Damage
ke
kf

wf

xf
kf = Fracture permeability
ke = Formation

permeability
xf = Fracture half-length
wf = Fracture width

In hydraulic

fracturing, damage is
not an issue.

Cinco-Ley & Samaniego


Chart

Sf = equivalent skin factor

The Cinco-Ley chart is converted into a

correlation as follows:
x f
1.65 0.328u 0.116u 2
S f ln
2
3
r
1

0.18
u

0.064
u

0.05
u
w
Where

u ln FCD

The inflow equation is given as:

kh Pe Pwf

re
141.2 Bo o ln S f
rw

The fold of increase is given as:

Jf
J

re
ln
rw

re
ln S f
rw

Jf = PI of fractured well, STB/D/psi


J = PI of non-fractured well, STB/D/psi