Previous Talks

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Microseismic Depletion Delineation for Well Spacing - 4D for Unconventionals

Ted Dohmen, Hess Corporation


Hess Corporation performed microseismic monitoring of hydraulic fracturing in two infill horizontal wells in the Middle Bakken Play of North Dakota during 2011. Six vertical observation wells were drilled to monitor microseismic events. Each observation well was fitted with a pressure gauge in the Middle Bakken interval, capped by a bridge plug, and instrumented with 40 geophones. The experiment was specifically designed to observe the interaction of the fracs with a pre-existing Middle Bakken horizontal well, which had been on production for about two and a half years. The producing well was shut in for the duration of the experiment and instrumented with a downhole pressure gauge.

Experimental results show the hydraulic fracturing did not propagate as anticipated. Instead, the microseismic observations provided a very interesting result early during the stimulation of the first infill well. While fracturing the fourth stage of the first infill well, microseismic events appeared along the length of the nearby production well at distances up to 9,000 ft away from the open frac port. During this stage, and just prior to the appearance of the distant events, a pressure connection was established to the original well as recorded by the pressure gauge in that well. Our interpretation is that these microseismic events were distributed throughout the depleted zone surrounding the original production well. We provide evidence for the development of a cloud of depletion points through the use of pressure measurements, microseismic event speed plots, and Mohr’s circle analysis.

This experiment provided a unique opportunity to “see” the shape of the depleted zone and to understand its influence in developing Bakken resources. By analyzing the outline of the depleted zone, we can now propose a series of reasonable infill well locations at a minimum distance from the original producer. We are leveraging microseismic as a tool to optimize the spacing of development wells. Our objective is to infill drill at the minimum distance required to maximize fracture contact in-zone near the infill wells and yet avoid significant overlap into previously depleted zones. Thus, a new application for microseismic monitoring is envisioned, in which one would pressure-up a producing well in order to measure its actual area of depletion prior to planning subsequent development wells and executing field-wide strategies for hydraulic fracturing

Speaker Biography

Ted Dohmen has 36 years of experience working as an exploration geophysicist.  Ted retired from ConocoPhillips in 2011 and now works for Hess Corporation in their newly formed Unconventional Resource Technology Group where his primary interest lies in discovering how geophysics can inform engineering decisions for unconventional plays. Ted received a BS in Geophysics in 1976 from the University of Oklahoma and a MS in Geophysics from Stanford in 1979.