SPE Online Education
Unconventional Frac Jobs for Unconventional Reservoirs – What Should You Be Concerned About?
Recorded On: 03/03/2015
Unconventional reservoirs are just that – unconventional. Extrapolation of techniques that have been used for decades in conventional reservoirs to unconventional reservoirs is dangerous and can prevent further development by providing poor results and turning funding away to “safer" areas. In order to avoid such misapplications, unconventional reservoirs call for unconventional thought processes. In no place is this more evident than in the area of hydraulic fracturing, where an entirely different mindset has to be developed, not just for unconventional reservoirs in general, but specifically for each individual type of unconventional reservoir including shale gas, tight gas, and low permeability oil.
These changing approaches affect almost every aspect of unconventional treatment design from fracturing materials to reservoir management. Increased use of “slickwater" and other minimally-loaded fracturing fluids can be directly related to the desire to minimize damage in these tight, low permeability reservoirs. However, these types of fluids have different proppant transport mechanisms that must be considered. From a mechanical aspect, fracture growth in unconventional reservoirs can be extremely complex, beyond our current capabilities to completely predict, and direct diagnostics coupled with mineback and laboratory experiments are helping to improve the understanding of what causes these intricate patterns. Even from a reservoir management standpoint, hydraulic fracturing has become more of a tool rather than just an event. Diagnostic injection tests can provide information on reservoir characteristics; and reserve recoveries can be enhanced through practices such as improved well spacing and reorientation of fracturing treatments.
This presentation reviews these changing perspectives and design considerations. The main “take-away" from this lecture is that unconventional reservoirs have requirements very different and distinct from conventional reservoirs and that we can improve our designs by considering these unique requirements and “thinking unconventionally".
Dr. Jennifer L. Miskimins
Associate Professor/Associate Department Head in the Petroleum Engineering Department, Colorado School of Mines
Dr. Miskimins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in petroleum engineering and has over 25 years of experience in the petroleum industry. Between her BS and graduate degrees, she worked for Marathon Oil Company in a variety of locations as a production engineer and supervisor. Dr. Miskimins started teaching at CSM in 2002 and was full-time until 2013 when she returned to industry. From 2013-2016, she continued to hold a part-time appointment at CSM, advising research and graduate students, while working for Barree & Associates. In 2016, she returned full-time to the university.
Dr. Miskimins specializes in well completions, stimulation, hydraulic fracturing, and associated production issues. She is the founder and current Director of the Fracturing, Acidizing, Stimulation Technology (FAST) Consortium and also co-directs the Center for Earth Materials, Mechanics, and Characterization (CEMMC). Her research interest focus on the optimization of stimulation treatments and the importance of such on associated recovery efficiencies.
Dr. Miskimins served as the first Completions Technical Director on the SPE International Board of Directors from 2016-2018. She was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2010-2011 and 2013-2014 on hydraulic fracturing in unconventional reservoirs. Dr. Miskimins serves on a variety of conference organizing committees, including the SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technical Conference and Exhibition, and as a technical editor for various journals. She is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado (License #36193).
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