Broad Spectrum Electromagnetic Sensing Using Passive and Active Fraction Injection Transient Responses and the Feasibility of Uniquely Separating Fracture and Proppant Distributions

Period of Performance: 02/21/2017 - 11/20/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Multi-phase Technologies, Llc
1430 Greg Street Suite 503
Sparks, NV 89431
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Tracking both the extent of the induced fracture and the distribution of the proppant within the fracture are critical in understanding and optimizing the hydraulic fracture processes. Several groups are studying the use of electromagnetic methods and electrically conductive proppants to image the post-fracture proppant distribution. Interpreting these large-scale electromagnetic surveys will likely require coupling them with other methods such as micro-seismic monitoring which can track fracture propagation. Preliminary results from shallow hydrofracture studies indicate that fluid in the propagating fracture may be monitored with electromagnetic methods. Due to unique, pressure dependent properties of electrically conductive proppants it may be possible to discriminate between the proppants and the fracture itself. The development of an electromagnetic monitoring system to measure the transient electrical response of fractures formed in deep reservoirs will be challenging but feasible with 21st Century technology. The precision of the system must improve an order of magnitude over current commercial systems and new strategies must be developed to dramatically improve signal discrimination in noisy oil- field environments. The Phase I effort will address developing and testing a distributed, low-cost receiver system to be coupled with commercial high-power signal sources. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits Currently there is no industry accepted, high resolution electromagnetic approach for hydraulic fracture delineation. If successful, the proposed research would provide a tool that can deployed using existing steel cased wells oil reservoirs filling an important gap in technology to delineate and thus optimize hydraulic fracturing.