Baker Hughes and VSFusion recently completed one of the largest microseismic hydraulic fracture monitoring surveys ever undertaken. The survey for Apache Canada in the Horn River Basin of northwest Canada deployed Baker Hughes' geophone strings simultaneously in two observation wells for over 30 days. Microseismic events were recorded for hydraulic stimulations in 13 wellbores adjacent to the observation wells. In all, over 75 separate hydraulic stimulations were recorded.
The project used a variety of deployment geometries in both the horizontal and near-vertical sections of the observation wells to optimize hydraulic fracture imaging in the reservoir. Operations were conducted 24 hours a day and VSFusion provided real-time display of recorded microseismic events, both on the wellsite and in Apache's offices in Calgary and Houston. Monitoring and analysis of microseismic information during operations provides the ability to optimize the hydraulic stimulation process by modifying the fracture stage design while pumping into the formation.
Apache used the real-time data to experiment with how different perforation patterns impacted fracture propagation and to then make real-time changes in the fracture program as a result. At one point, the data showed an absence of growing microseismic activity, alerting Apache to switch from pumping proppant to flushing the well with water to avoid a potentially costly sanding-off of the fractures.
"The data collected from Baker Hughes' microseismic survey are important to Apache’s success in the Horn River Basin," said Ron Larson, senior staff geophysicist with Apache Canada. "The ability to evaluate the effectiveness of our hydraulic fracture program, both real-time and post-project, affords us the opportunity to optimize the spacing of the horizontal wells on future drilling pads, with potential near-term cost savings that may exceed the cost of the microseismic data," he noted.
"We are pleased that this microseismic survey yielded excellent results for Apache," said Mike Davis, president of Baker Hughes in Canada. "We believe microseismic monitoring is a key technology in our growing production enhancement portfolio. The addition of pressure pumping to our wide range of drilling and completion services will further enhance our ability to partner with our customers to create wider solutions on these critical projects."
Recording microseismic events to monitor rock fracturing in 3-D space and time during the stimulation process allows confirmation of the rock volume and formation geometry being stimulated. From this information, future well placement and completion designs can be optimized for cost-effective drainage of unconventional reservoirs.
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