Development and Testing of Advanced Inter-well and Inter-Stage Pressure Pulse Analysis for Fracture Diagnostics Phase II

Period of Performance: 07/31/2017 - 07/30/2019


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

GeoMechanics Technologies
103 E. Lemon Ave. Suite 200
Monrovia, CA 91016
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Multi-stage hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies have been primary contributors to the very substantial increase in natural gas and oil production from shale and tight sand formations in the US over recent years. With increased application of fracturing in horizontal wells, it is critical to better characterize and monitor “where the fractures go” both to optimize production and at the same time to ensure fracture containment in the target interval to avoid inadvertent impact to potable water supplies or out of zone methane migration. GeoMechanics Technologies is developing an innovative technique that characterizes the fracture dimensions using both analytical and numerical simulation with inversion techniques from pulse testing to provide a clearer and accurate (about 66% more accurate) propagation of the fracture based on the pressure response. This novel technique would allow application to real world anisotropic reservoir conditions, such as dipping beds and varying lithology, providing a more accurate fracture analysis than current fracture diagnostic alternatives. During the Phase I study, we developed and validated the methodology to characterize a single hydraulic fracture using pulse testing. We also initiated a simple demonstration of multi-stage fracture study. The results from the multi-stage fracture characterization shows that the proposed methodology should be validated with field data since fracture characterization is highly sensitive to variations in reservoir properties and heterogeneous condition. For Phase II, GeoMechanics Technologies propose to expand on our Phase I efforts to provide a detailed study and an advanced technique of fracture characterization for multi-stage fractures. During Phase II, we will perform detailed numerical modeling studies with integrated geomechanics and flow models for multi-stage fracture system in horizontal wells for a range fracture geometry and formation characteristics. We will also demonstrate inversion technique to characterize the multi-stage fracture system and application with several real-world application examples. Actual field test will be performed during this Phase II. Finally, the fracture characterization techniques developed will be compared with actual field data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the techniques. Successful development and demonstration of this new technique will provide industry with a more cost-effect and improved technique to characterize single and multiple fractures in a wide range of geologic conditions. The technique is less costly than current fracture diagnostic alternatives, such as microseismic monitoring and downhole tilt meter monitoring. This information can lead to more effective production and more reliable evaluation of environmental risks, including enhanced protection of potential underground sources of drinking water.