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The Relationship Between Net Pressure Development During Hydraulic Fracture Treatments and Productivity in Fruitland Coal Completions

Jeff S. Jordan, P.E., John D. Harkrider, William L. Anthony/APEX Petroleum Engineering, Thomas W. DeLong, Ray F. Martin/ XTO Energy Inc.

Abstract

This paper describes an innovative fracture treatment design approach that has been successfully used to improve the productivity of Fruitland coal CBM completions. The process integrates real-time treating pressure evaluation to adjust key treatment parameters on the fly and maintain a low net pressure development. The low net pressure development indicates good proppant distribution through the created fracture geometry and minimizes potential formation/fracture damage from the fracturing fluids. This results in shorter dewatering periods and accelerates peak production of the Fruitland Coal completions.

In the Fruitland Coal, the dominant fracturing mechanism controlling the ability to distribute proppant laterally into the far-field is the quality of the near-wellbore connection. Complex near-wellbore fracture geometries result in a convoluted slurry pathway, which hinders lateral proppant distribution into the far-field. Further, if the near-wellbore connection was not mitigated effectively, the overall net pressure development while placing proppant became excessive. This paper discusses the innovative changes made to improve the near-wellbore connection, allowing the treatment to be completed and productivity of the well increased.

Based on an offset well study, it was observed that excess net pressure development damaged the fracture conductivity and/or the cleat system of the coal. When an excessive level of net pressure was developed, polymer dehydration into the cleat system caused irreparable damage to the existing permeability. Evidence of the damage was indicated by the extended load fluid recovery time. Since de-watering of the coal begins only after the load is recovered, it was observed that gas production was significantly delayed when the net pressure development during the propped fracture treatment was excessively high.

Observing this relationship, treatment designs were altered, but more importantly, real-time assessment of the treatment pressure character was found to be essential in achieving design objectives. The completion approach discussed in this paper has been employed in over thirty-five Fruitland Coals completions over the past three years with excellent production results.


Copyright 2003, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Eastern Regional/AAPG Eastern Section Joint Meeting held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., 6􀂱10 September 2003.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to a proposal of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The proposal must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836 U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.

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