Industry studies

Collaborating to solve the industry's toughest problems

Industry studies integrate our singular modeling capability with operator expertise

Each industry study is organized around a central theme and performed in 12-15 months. Operators share data, and we work closely together to perform an integrated modeling study. Studies have a dual track: (1) provide practical recommendations that yield measurable improvement, and (2) address ‘what is happening and why’?

The DFIT Industry Study

Our new procedure enables much more accurate estimation of stress and permeability - the foundations of reservoir engineering and fracture design

About the study

In a diagnostic fracture injection test (DFIT), a small volume of fluid is injected to create a hydraulic fracture. Pressure is monitored for days after shut-in to infer the permeability, stress, and pore pressure. DFITs are valuable because they provide relatively cheap, direct measurements of key engineering parameters. In 2019, we organized an industry study with seven other companies to address apparent discrepancies in conventional interpretation techniques and to design a new procedure from the ground-up.

The challenge

In SPE 179725, investigators at The University of Texas at Austin and ConocoPhillips identified problems with conventional methods for DFIT interpretation. These results suggested we needed to design a new procedure to resolve issues and improve accuracy. In the DFIT industry study, operators contributed dozens of DFITs from shale plays around North America. We performed a large number of DFIT simulations under a variety of conditions. Because ResFrac handles fracture closure and integrates fracture simulation with reservoir simulation, it is uniquely suitable for investigating the physics of a DFIT.

Impact & outcomes

Integrating modeling results and field data, we developed a new step-by-step interpretation procedure. With the sponsoring companies, we presented the procedure in URTeC-2019-123, which was recognized as one of the top papers at URTeC in 2019. In SPE 195980, we applied the procedure to a Utica dataset to show how dramatically improved permeability estimates result in better frac designs and well spacing – with big impact on economics. In SPE 205297, we compared results across 62 DFITs from ten different shale plays. A common industry methods was 10-1000x inaccurate for permeability, and an average of 2.5x inaccurate for net pressure. As discussed in the ResFrac blog, two recently published studies with direct, in-situ strain measurements have confirmed our findings regarding fracture closure.

The Parent/Child Industry Study

We are integrating world-class field datasets with cutting edge modeling to to deliver measurable improvements in frac design and well performance

About the study

The Parent/Child Industry Study was launched in March 2021 and will run for 15 months. Seven operators are sharing a total of ten datasets across the Midland Basin, Delaware Basin, Bakken, and Montney. The datasets provide extraordinary detail into fracture geometry and the drainage volume. ResFrac is building detailed simulation models based on each dataset. Once calibration is complete, we will perform a series of sensitivity analysis simulations and design optimizations. The study follows dual tracks: (1) deliver actionable, clear recommendations to each operator based on their dataset, and (2) compare/contrast between datasets to determine ‘what is happening and why’.

The challenge

A high percentage of new shale wells are ‘child’ wells drilled near older wells that have been previously fractured and produced. Interaction between the wells causes underperformance among the child wells, and often, production loss at the preexisting ‘parent’ wells. These issues cost the industry billions of dollars every year. Production impacts are caused by production-induced stress changes around the parent well, production interference, and in some cases, chemical damage mechanisms. Operators have options for mitigating impacts, but there is no silver bullet. Our challenge is to identify the most economically effective mitigation strategies for each operator in each basin.

Impact & outcomes

Launched in March 2021, the project is ongoing. When we begin making recommendations to operators, it will be critical to track performance and objectively measure outcomes. Please refer to our recent blog post on ‘hypothesis-driven development’ for more information on how we’re integrating field test design into our workflows.

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