i
Table of Contents
June 1997
1.1 History of Hydraulic Fracturing .................................................................................. 11
1.2 Amoco Hydraulic Fracturing Course Outline ........................................................... 111
1.3 Nomenclature ............................................................................................................ 114
1.4 References ................................................................................................................. 117
2.1 The Continuity Equation ............................................................................................. 21
2.2 Model Differences and the Elasticity Equation .......................................................... 24
2.3 References ................................................................................................................... 28
3.1 Reservoir Response To Fracture Stimulation ............................................................. 31
3.2 SteadyState Reservoir Response .............................................................................. 310
3.3 Transient Reservoir Response .................................................................................. 324
3.4 Bilinear Flow  Liquid Reservoirs (Reproduction of PTA Course Material) ........... 327
3.5 Bilinear Flow  Gas Reservoirs ................................................................................. 340
3.6 References ................................................................................................................ 349
4.1 Elastic Properties of the Formation ............................................................................. 41
4.2 Fracture Toughness .................................................................................................... 47
4.3 Hardness ................................................................................................................... 410
4.4 References ................................................................................................................. 411
5.1 Fracture Height/Fracture Height Growth  3D Modeling/Design ............................. 51
5.2 Fluid Loss .................................................................................................................. 520
5.3 Fluid Viscosity ......................................................................................................... 527
5.4 Treatment Pumping ................................................................................................... 536
5.5 References ................................................................................................................. 543
6.1 Fluid Selection .......................................................................................................... 61
6.2 Fluid Classification ..................................................................................................... 61
6.3 Fluid Selection Criteria .............................................................................................. 63
6.4 Description of FracturingFluid Types ..................................................................... 630
6.5 Rheological Testing Of Fracturing Fluids ................................................................ 649
6.6 Service Company Trade Names ............................................................................... 652
6.7 Fluid Scheduling ...................................................................................................... 670
6.8 References ................................................................................................................ 680
7.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 71
7.2 Proppant Properties ..................................................................................................... 74
7.3 Conductivity/Permeability ....................................................................................... 719
7.4 Proppant Transport .................................................................................................... 726
7.5 NonDarcy Flow ........................................................................................................ 729
7.6 References ................................................................................................................. 732
8.1 Introduction To Fracturing Pressure Analysis ........................................................... 81
8.2 Fracture Closure Stress ............................................................................................... 84
8.3 Bottomhole Treating Pressure .................................................................................. 814
8.4 Pressure Decline Analysis ........................................................................................ 825
8.5 Pressure History Matching ....................................................................................... 846
8.6 Proppant/Fluid Schedule From Pressure Decline ..................................................... 855
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8.7 Nomenclature .............................................................................................................868
8.8 References ..................................................................................................................870
9.1 Introduction ..................................................................................................................91
9.2 General Economic Criteria ...........................................................................................93
9.3 Elements Of Fracturing Treatment Costs ...................................................................920
9.4 References. .................................................................................................................921
10.1 Fracturing Tests ..........................................................................................................103
10.2 Introduction To TerraFrac ........................................................................................1029
10.3 References ................................................................................................................1049
11.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................111
11.2 Stimulation Design and Planning ...............................................................................112
11.3 Water Quality Control ................................................................................................114
11.4 Proppant Quality Control ...........................................................................................116
11.5 Fracture Treatment Setup ...........................................................................................118
11.6 Fracture Treatment Execution ..................................................................................1110
11.7 PostFrac Cleanup ....................................................................................................1113
11.8 Frac Treatment Reporting Requirements .................................................................1114
FRAC School Problem No. 1 ............................................................................................... P1
FRAC School Problem No. 1 ............................................................................................... P2
9.9 History of Hydraulic Fracturing....................................................................................11
Chapter 1 Introduction
Developments in Hydraulic Fracturing .......................................................................13
Fracture Orientation: ..............................................................................................13
Fracturing Fluid: .....................................................................................................14
Proppants: ................................................................................................................15
Fracture Treatment: .................................................................................................16
Early Fracture Design ...................................................................................................18
9.10 Amoco Hydraulic Fracturing Course Outline.............................................................111
9.11 Nomenclature ..............................................................................................................114
9.12 References...................................................................................................................117
9.13 The Continuity Equation...............................................................................................21
Chapter 2 Fracturing Models
9.14 Model Differences and the Elasticity Equation ............................................................24
9.15 References.....................................................................................................................28
9.16 Reservoir Response To Fracture Stimulation ...............................................................31
Fracture Length ............................................................................................................31
Chapter 3 Reservoir Analysis
Reservoir Permeability .................................................................................................32
Fracture Flow Capacity ................................................................................................33
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Fracture Orientation ................................................................................................ 38
9.17 SteadyState Reservoir Response .............................................................................. 310
Effective Wellbore Radius, r'
w
................................................................................... 310
A Direct Way Of Finding FOI ................................................................................... 314
Optimizing Fractures for Secondary Recovery ......................................................... 315
Acid Fracturing .......................................................................................................... 322
9.18 Transient Reservoir Response ................................................................................... 324
9.19 Bilinear Flow  Liquid Reservoirs (Reproduction of PTA Course Material)............. 327
Flow Periods For A Vertically Fractured Well .......................................................... 327
Fracture Linear Flow ........................................................................................... 327
Bilinear Flow ....................................................................................................... 327
Formation Linear Flow ........................................................................................ 327
PseudoRadial Flow ............................................................................................. 327
Bilinear Flow Equations ........................................................................................... 328
Constant Formation Face Rate ............................................................................ 328
Constant Formation Face Pressure ...................................................................... 329
Bilinear Flow Graphs ................................................................................................ 330
Constant Formation Face Rate ............................................................................. 330
Constant Formation Face Pressure ....................................................................... 331
End of Bilinear Flow ................................................................................................. 333
Constant Formation Face Rate ............................................................................. 333
Constant Formation Face Pressure ....................................................................... 333
Analysis of Bilinear Flow Data ................................................................................ 335
LiquidConstant Rate ........................................................................................... 335
LiquidConstant Pressure .................................................................................... 336
Effect of Flow Restrictions ....................................................................................... 337
Effect of Wellbore Storage ....................................................................................... 337
9.20 Bilinear Flow  Gas Reservoirs .................................................................................. 340
Bilinear Flow Equations ............................................................................................ 340
Constant Formation Face Rate ............................................................................. 340
Constant Formation Face Pressure ....................................................................... 340
Bilinear Flow Graphs ................................................................................................ 341
Constant Formation Face Rate ............................................................................ 341
Constant Formation Face Pressure ...................................................................... 342
End of Bilinear Flow ................................................................................................. 343
Constant Formation Face Rate ............................................................................. 343
Constant Formation Face Pressure ...................................................................... 344
Analysis of Bilinear Flow Data ........................................................................... 346
GasConstant Rate ............................................................................................... 347
GasConstant Pressure ......................................................................................... 347
9.21 References ................................................................................................................ 349
9.22 Elastic Properties of the Formation ............................................................................. 41
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June 1997
Chapter 4 Formation Mechanical Properties
Effect Of Modulus On Fracturing ................................................................................44
Typical Modulus Values .............................................................................................44
9.23 Fracture Toughness ...................................................................................................... 47
9.24 Hardness ....................................................................................................................410
9.25 References ..................................................................................................................411
9.26 Fracture Height/Fracture Height Growth  3D Modeling/Design ..............................51
Factors Controlling Fracture Height ............................................................................51
Chapter 5 Design of Pseudo 3D Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments
Factors Controlling Fracture Height ............................................................................52
Effect Of Closure Stress Profile On Fracture Height Growth .....................................53
Effect Of Bed Thickness On Fracture Height Growth .................................................56
Effect Of Other Factors On Fracture Height Growth .................................................510
Picking Fracture Height ..............................................................................................512
(Estimating the Insitu Stress Profile) ........................................................................512
Factors Which Dominate Insitu Stress Differences ..................................................512
3D Fracture Modeling/3D Fracture Design .............................................................515
Measuring Fracture Height .........................................................................................517
Fluid Loss Height .......................................................................................................518
9.27 Fluid Loss ...................................................................................................................520
Fluid Loss Coefficient, Ct ..........................................................................................520
Spurt Loss ...................................................................................................................524
9.28 Fluid Viscosity ..........................................................................................................527
Viscosity Determination and Rheological Models .....................................................527
Fluid Entry Conditions and Temperature Considerations ..........................................529
Reservoir Temperatures .............................................................................................532
Effect of Proppant on Viscosity .................................................................................533
Summary For Fluid Viscosity ....................................................................................534
9.29 Treatment Pumping ....................................................................................................536
Fracture Radius ..........................................................................................................536
Pump Rate ..................................................................................................................536
Fluid Volume: ......................................................................................................537
Transport and Viscosity: ......................................................................................538
Summary for Pump Rate: ......................................................................................540
Depth .........................................................................................................................540
Friction Pressure ........................................................................................................540
9.30 References ..................................................................................................................543
9.31 Fluid Selection ...........................................................................................................61
9.32 Fluid Classification ......................................................................................................61
WaterBase Fracturing Fluid Systems .........................................................................61
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Chapter 6 Fluid Selection and Scheduling
HydrocarbonBase Fracturing Fluid Systems ............................................................. 62
9.33 Fluid Selection Criteria ............................................................................................... 63
Safety and Environmental Compatibility .............................................................. 65
Compatibility with Formation, Formation Fluids, and Chemical Additives ......... 66
Simple Preparation and Quality Control ............................................................... 67
Low Pumping Pressure .......................................................................................... 69
Appropriate Viscosity .......................................................................................... 611
Low Fluid Loss .................................................................................................... 614
Good Flow Back and Cleanup ............................................................................. 618
Economics ........................................................................................................... 623
9.34 Description of FracturingFluid Types ..................................................................... 630
WaterBase Polymer Solutions ............................................................................. 630
FastCrosslinking WaterBase Gels .................................................................... 632
Delayed Crosslinked Fluids ................................................................................. 638
Polymer Emulsion Fluid ...................................................................................... 640
Foamed Frac Fluids ............................................................................................. 641
Gelled Hydrocarbons ........................................................................................... 646
Gelled Methanol .................................................................................................. 648
9.35 Rheological Testing Of Fracturing Fluids ................................................................ 649
9.36 Service Company Trade Names ............................................................................... 652
9.37 Fluid Scheduling ....................................................................................................... 670
Fluid Scheduling Given the Fluid Rheology ............................................................ 670
Fluid Scheduling Using Constrained Rheology ....................................................... 671
Warning: .................................................................................................................... 673
9.38 References ................................................................................................................ 680
9.39 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 71
Why Do We Need Proppants? ..................................................................................... 71
Types of Proppants Available ...................................................................................... 71
Calculating the Stress on Proppant ............................................................................. 71
Chapter 7 Proppants
What Causes A Proppant To Be Substandard? ............................................................ 73
Overview of Chap. 7 .................................................................................................... 73
9.40 Proppant Properties ..................................................................................................... 74
Sphericity and Roundness ........................................................................................... 74
Hardness ..................................................................................................................... 74
Size Distribution ......................................................................................................... 75
Crush Resistance ......................................................................................................... 79
Bulk and Grain Density ............................................................................................ 711
Acid Solubility .......................................................................................................... 711
Turbidity ................................................................................................................... 713
ResinCoated Proppant ............................................................................................. 716
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June 1997
Precured ResinCoated Proppant ..........................................................................716
Curable ResinCoated Proppant ............................................................................716
9.41 Conductivity/Permeability ........................................................................................719
Laboratory Methods of Measuring Fracture Conductivity .........................................719
Radial Flow Cell ...................................................................................................719
Cylindrical Pack ....................................................................................................720
Cylindrical Cell With Platens ...............................................................................720
CookeType Cell (API Cell) .................................................................................720
LongTerm Conductivity: Baseline Data ..................................................................720
LongTerm Conductivity: Damage Caused By Frac Fluids and Additives ...............723
9.42 Proppant Transport .....................................................................................................726
9.43 NonDarcy Flow ........................................................................................................729
9.44 References ..................................................................................................................732
9.45 Introduction To Fracturing Pressure Analysis ............................................................81
History ..........................................................................................................................81
Chapter 8 Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Similarity to Pressure Transient Analysis ....................................................................82
9.46 Fracture Closure Stress ................................................................................................84
Microfrac Tests ............................................................................................................84
PumpIn/Decline Test ..................................................................................................87
PumpIn/Flowback Test ..............................................................................................89
StepRate Injection Test .............................................................................................810
9.47 Bottomhole Treating Pressure ...................................................................................814
NolteSmith LogLog Interpretation .........................................................................814
Critical Pressure ........................................................................................................820
BHTP Measuring Techniques ...................................................................................822
BHTP Measuring Devices .........................................................................................823
9.48 Pressure Decline Analysis .........................................................................................825
Fracture Stiffness .......................................................................................................826
Fluid Loss Rate ..........................................................................................................827
P*  Pressure Decline Analysis ...............................................................................830
Type Curve Analysis .................................................................................................832
'G' Function Plot for P* ...........................................................................................835
Fluid Efficiency .........................................................................................................836
Example/Guidelines ..................................................................................................838
Example  Pressure Decline Analysis: ..................................................................838
Pitfalls .........................................................................................................................839
PostproppedFrac Pressure Decline Analysis ..........................................................842
9.49 Pressure History Matching ........................................................................................846
Simple History Matching ..........................................................................................848
Simple History Matching Procedure & Example .......................................................849
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Complex Geology Effects .......................................................................................... 850
Problem Definition .................................................................................................... 852
Pressure Decline Analysis Variables ......................................................................... 852
9.50 Proppant/Fluid Schedule From Pressure Decline ...................................................... 855
Advantages of an Efficiency Derived Schedule ........................................................ 856
Disadvantages of an Efficiency Derived Schedule .................................................... 856
Determining Fracture Fluid Efficiency ..................................................................... 858
Pad Volume .............................................................................................................. 859
Proppant Addition Schedule ..................................................................................... 862
Effect of Treatment Volume ..................................................................................... 864
Example ..................................................................................................................... 865
Find Actual Job Expected Efficiency ..................................................................... 865
Treatment Pad Percentage ........................................................................................ 866
Proppant Addition Schedule ..................................................................................... 866
Time/Temperature History ....................................................................................... 867
9.51 Nomenclature ............................................................................................................ 868
9.52 References ................................................................................................................. 870
9.53 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 91
Chapter 9 Economic Optimization of Hydraulic Fracture Treatments
9.54 General Economic Criteria .......................................................................................... 93
The Present Worth Concept ......................................................................................... 94
Profitability Index ....................................................................................................... 97
Discounted Return on Investment (includes Fracture Discounted Return
on Investment) .......................................................................................................... 98
Payout ........................................................................................................................ 910
Return on Investment ................................................................................................. 911
Incremental Economics .............................................................................................. 912
Present Worth Vs. the Profitability Index ................................................................. 914
YettoSpend (Point Forward Evaluation) Vs. FullCycle Economics ...................... 917
9.55 Elements Of Fracturing Treatment Costs .................................................................. 920
Stimulation Service Company Costs ......................................................................... 920
9.56 References. ................................................................................................................ 921
Chapter 10 Special Topics
9.57 Fracturing Tests ......................................................................................................... 103
Introduction ................................................................................................................ 103
Core Tests to Determine Mechanical Rock Properties and Fluid
Loss Coefficient ...................................................................................................... 103
Prefrac Logging Program ........................................................................................... 105
Borehole Geometry Log ............................................................................................ 105
Long Spaced Digital Sonic Log (LSDS) .................................................................. 106
Downhole Television and Borehole Televiewer ...................................................... 107
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June 1997
Cement Bond Log ......................................................................................................107
Temperature Logs .......................................................................................................108
Perforating and Permeability Determination ............................................................1010
Bottomhole Treating Pressure Measurement ..........................................................1011
Procedure for Measurement of Static Pressure Tubing/Annulus .............................1012
Procedure for Recording Downhole with Surface Readout .....................................1012
Procedure for Downhole Pressure Measurement .....................................................1013
Pressure Measurement Devices ................................................................................1013
Closure Stress Tests ..................................................................................................1013
Minifracs .................................................................................................................1017
Postfrac Logging Program ........................................................................................1018
Temperature Decay Profiles ................................................................................1018
Postfrac Temperature Log Interpretation .................................................................1018
Postfrac Gamma Ray Logs ......................................................................................1021
Fracture Azimuth Determination ..............................................................................1021
Tiltmeters .................................................................................................................1022
Borehole Geophones ...............................................................................................1024
Oriented Core Analysis ...........................................................................................1026
Borehole Geometry .................................................................................................1028
9.58 Introduction To TerraFrac ........................................................................................1029
General Description of the TerraFrac Simulator ......................................................1029
Input To Terrafrac ....................................................................................................1031
Terrafrac Simulation Runs .......................................................................................1032
Confined Fracture Growth .................................................................................1032
Unconfined Fracture Growth .............................................................................1036
Summary ..................................................................................................................1041
9.59 References ................................................................................................................1049
9.60 Perforating ....................................................................................................................... 1
Hole Diameter ................................................................................................................. 1
Chapter 11 Fracture Stimulation Guidelines
and
Quality Control
Chapter 12
Number of Perforations ................................................................................................... 3
Perforation Phasing ......................................................................................................... 4
Perforating for Deviated/Horizontal Well Fracturing ..................................................... 4
OverPressured Perforating ............................................................................................. 8
Other Considerations ....................................................................................................... 9
9.61 WELLBORE CONFIGURATION 10
Fracturing Down Casing ............................................................................................... 11
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Fracturing Down Tubing with a Packer .........................................................................11
Fracturing Down OpenEnded Tubing ..........................................................................12
Methods of Obtaining Fracturing BHP ..........................................................................12
Considerations for FracPack Completions ...................................................................14
9.62 PRETREATMENT PLANNING 16
Data Collection Requirements .......................................................................................16
Preliminary Treatment Design .......................................................................................17
Frac Brief Procedure ..................................................................................................18
Service Co./Operator Interaction ...................................................................................18
9.63 FRACTURING FLUID QC 20
Base Mixing Fluid .........................................................................................................21
Transport and Storage of Fluid ......................................................................................23
Quality Controlling WaterBased Gels ..........................................................................24
Quality Controlling OilBased Gels ..............................................................................30
Quality Controlling Foam Fracturing Fluids .................................................................33
Additional Fluid Quality Control Measures ..................................................................34
9.64 PROPPANT QC 36
Closure Stress and Proppant Strength ............................................................................36
Proppant Particle Size ....................................................................................................36
Proppant Grain Shape ....................................................................................................41
Proppant Fines ...............................................................................................................42
Interpretation ............................................................................................................43
Additional Proppant Quality Control Measures ............................................................45
9.65 TREATMENT EXECUTION 46
Lines of Authority and Communication ........................................................................46
Safety Meeting ...............................................................................................................46
Pressure Testing .............................................................................................................47
Treating Problems ..........................................................................................................47
Flushing the Treatment ..................................................................................................49
When to Flowback .........................................................................................................50
9.66 POSTFRAC LOGGING 51
Temperature Logs ..........................................................................................................51
GammaRay Logs ..........................................................................................................54
9.67 FRAC School Problem No. 1 P1
9.68 FRAC School Problem No. 2 P2
Abstract ........................................................................................................................ P2
Purpose ........................................................................................................................ P2
Description ................................................................................................................... P2
Procedure: .................................................................................................................... P9
9.69 Workshop Problem 3 P10
Abstract ...................................................................................................................... P10
Description ................................................................................................................. P10
Objective .................................................................................................................... P10
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June 1997
Procedure: .................................................................................................................. P11
9.70 Workshop Problem 4 P15
Abstract ..................................................................................................................... P15
Purpose ...................................................................................................................... P15
Geologic Setting ........................................................................................................ P15
Description ................................................................................................................ P15
9.71 Workshop Problem No. 5 P23
Abstract ..................................................................................................................... P23
Description ................................................................................................................ P23
Objective: .................................................................................................................. P23
Procedure: .................................................................................................................. P29
9.72 Water Injection Well Problem 6 P30
Pressure Falloff Test .................................................................................................. P30
MiniFrac Pressure Data ........................................................................................ P34
9.73 Tight Gas Problem 7 P39
9.74 Oil Well Problem 8 P43
Other Pertinent Information ...................................................................................... P43
Pressure BuildUp Data from Offset Well ................................................................ P43
Results from Minifrac Treatment .............................................................................. P48
9.75 Bili near FLow Problem 9 P49
P49
P49
P49
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
11
Chapter
February 1993
1.1 History of Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing has made a significant contribution to the oil and gas industry as a primary
means of increasing well production. Since fracturing was introduced by Stanolind (Amoco) in
1947, over one million fracture treatments have been performed and currently about 40% of all
wells drilled are stimulated using hydraulic fracture treatments. Fracture stimulation treatments
not only increase production rates, but are also credited for adding to the United States reserves an
additional seven billion barrels of oil and over 600 trillion scf of gas which would have otherwise
not been economical to develop. In addition, hydraulic fracturing has accelerated recovery and sig
nificantly increased the present worth of U.S. reserves.
As we move towards the next century, we are challenged with applying this technology domesti
cally in an attempt to offset large domestic trade deficits and declining production. In addition, as
our industrys focus moves internationally, methods of accelerating recovery, such as fracturing,
must be explored. Fig. 1.1 presents a world cross section of producing oil wells, their average pro
duction and the total production of each country. This logarithmic plot shows that fracturing appli
cations will continue to be important throughout North America, driven by the large number of
wells available and the corresponding low producing rates presently experienced by these wells.
Fig. 1.1  Producing Wells and Average Production
1000000
100000
10000
1000
100
10
Saudi Arabia U. K. Nigeria Mexico China Canada U. S.
10
8
6
4
2
0
No. Wells/Av. Productionbbl/d Total Daily Productionbbl
PRODUCING WELLS & AVERAGE PRODUCTION
Likelihood of Fracturing
Country
# Oil Wells
Total Production
Well Rate
Excerpted DOE/FE0139
Introduction
1
Introduction
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
1
12
February 1993
The idea of hydraulically fracturing a formation to enhance the production of oil and gas was con
ceived by Floyd Farris
1
of Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation (Amoco) after an extensive study of
the pressures encountered while squeezing cement, oil and water into formations. The first exper
imental treatment intentionally performed to hydraulically fracture a well for stimulation was per
formed by Stanolind in the Hugoton gas field in Grant County, Kansas, in 1947 as shown in
Fig. 1.2. A total of 1,000 gallons of napalm thickened gasoline was injected, followed by a gel
breaker, to stimulate a gas producing limestone formation at 2,400 ft. However, the deliverability
of the well was not changed appreciably. The hydraulic fracturing process was first introduced to
the industry in a paper written by J. B. Clark
2
of Stanolind in 1948 and patented and licensed in
1949. These patents resulted in royalty income to Amoco in the 17 years following and essentially
funded the construction of the Amoco Production Research (APR) complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma
(i.e., APR is the house that fracturing built).
Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company was given an exclusive license on the new process. The
first two commercial fracturing treatments were performed in Stephens County, Oklahoma, and
Archer County, Texas, on March 17, 1949, using lease crude oil or a blend of crude and gasoline,
and approximately 100 to 150 pounds of sand. Both wells were successful and thereafter applica
tion of the fracturing process grew rapidly, peaking, as shown in Fig. 1.3, at an average of +3,000
wells per month by the mid1950s and increasing the supply of oil in the United States far beyond
our early projections.
3
The first onehalf million pound fracturing job in the free world was performed in Stephens
County, Oklahoma, in October 1968, by Pan American Petroleum Corporation, now Amoco.
Fig. 1.2  Hugoton Gas Field in Grant County, Kansas, 1947.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
History of Hydraulic Fracturing
13 February 1993
Today, fracture treatments are performed regularly in all petroleum producing countries, including
the Soviet Union. It is estimated that at least 30% of the recoverable oil and gas reserves in the
United States can be attributed to the application of hydraulic fracturing.
Significant technical advancements have been made during the four plus decades since the first
commercial treatments. After the first few jobs, the average fracture treatment consisted of about
750 gallons of fluid and 400 pounds of sand. Today, treatments average about 43,000 gallons of
fluid and 68,000 pounds of propping agent with the largest treatments exceeding one million gal
lons of fluid and three million pounds of proppant. This reflects advancements made by the indus
try in both theory and practice which have resulted in a better understanding of the fracturing
process. As this process evolved; cleaner and more suitable fluid systems were developed; sand
quality increased and higher concentrations were pumped; higher strength synthetic proppants
were developed for deepwell fracturing; pumping and monitoring equipment were improved and
computerized; and fracture design and evaluation techniques grew in sophistication.
Developments in Hydraulic Fracturing
Fracture Orientation:
The original, shallow fracture treatments were thought to be horizontal, even though some of the
deep wells that had been squeeze cemented showed cement in vertical fractures. The theory was
that the overburden was lifted and the fracture was inserted in a horizontal plane. Clark et al.
4
reported on a method of forming a vertical fracture in 1953 by plastering the walls of the wellbore
to where it became a thick wall cylinder. Pressures were then applied to obtain vertical fractures,
otherwise it was theorized horizontal fractures were obtained. Huitt et al.
57
extended the theories
in the late 1950s that the best fracture systems were horizontal and they could be obtained by
notching the formation. Hubbert and Willis
8
with Shell Oil Company presented a paper in 1956
reporting on the work they had done in a gelatin model. This work indicated that all fractures were
Fig. 1.3  Average Number of Fracturing Treatments per Month United States.
5000
4000
3000
2000
1000
1949 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985
YEARS
A
V
E
R
A
G
E
N
U
M
B
E
R
O
F
J
O
B
S
P
E
R
M
O
N
T
H
Introduction
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
1
14
February 1993
vertical, creating quite a controversy. In spite of this, it was not until the mid1960s that the indus
try accepted the theory that practically all fractures were vertical and that only a few were horizon
tal. Prior to this time, theories were advanced that all fractures with a treating gradient of over 0.8
or 0.9 psi per foot of depth were vertical. All those with treating gradients less than this were hor
izontal. Work initiated by Cochran, Heck and Waters and reported on by Anderson and Stahl
9
proved, without a doubt, that the majority of fractures were in fact vertical and it was a rare excep
tion when a horizontal fracture was obtained.
Fracturing Fluid:
Hydraulic fracturing fluids have varied considerably over time as shown in Fig. 1.4. The first frac
ture treatments were performed with gelled lease crude, later, gelled kerosene was used. In 1952,
refined and lease crude oils began to gain momentum, and by the latter part of 1952, a large portion
of all fracturing treatments were performed with refined and lease crude oils. These fluids were
inexpensive and safer, permitting greater volumes to be pumped at a lower cost. Their lower vis
cosities exhibited less friction than the original viscous gel, thus injection rates could be obtained
at lower treating pressures. Higher injection rates, though, were necessary to transport the sand due
to the lower viscosity and high rates of leakoff for these fluids.
In 1953, with the advent of water as a fracturing fluid, a number of different gelling systems were
developed. Surfactants were added to minimize emulsions with the formation fluid and potassium
chloride was added to minimize the effect on clays and other water sensitive constituents of the
formation. Later, other clay stabilizing agents were developed that enhanced the potassium chlo
ride and permitted the use of water in a greater number of formations. Other new innovations, such
as foams and addition of alcohol, have enhanced the use of water in a number of formations. Aque
ous fluids such as acid, water and brines are nowused as the base fluid in over 70%of all fracturing
treatments employing a propping agent. In the early 1970s, a major innovation in fracturing fluids
Fig. 1.4  Trend of Fracturing Base Fluids.
AQUEOUS BASE FLUID
OIL BASE FLUID
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
1989 1985 1981 1977 1973 1969 1965 1961 1957 1953 1949
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
O
F
T
R
E
A
T
M
E
N
T
YEAR
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
History of Hydraulic Fracturing
15 February 1993
was to use crosslinking agents to enhance the viscosity of gelled water base fracturing fluids. Less
pounds of gelling agent were required to reach the desired pumping viscosity, thus reducing cost.
In many cases, however, too high a viscosity was obtained and pumping problems resulted. This
system was soon perfected by reducing the concentration of gelling agents and crosslinker, result
ing in an economically satisfactory fracturing fluid system.
During the mid 1970s, fracture stimulations were designed for deeper formations. Gel stabilizers
were developed to maintain the properties of the fluid system at the higher temperatures at these
greater depths. The first of these temperature stabilizers was 5% methanol. Later chemical stabi
lizers were developed that could be used alone, or with the methanol. There was a synergistic effect
obtained when the chemical and the methanol were used together as stabilizers.
Recently, a new innovation was introduced which gives even greater temperature stability. As the
gelled fluid reaches the bottom of the hole and the temperature is increasing, a secondary gelling
agent reacts giving a more uniform viscosity than previous surface crosslinked fluids. Improve
ments in crosslinkers involve a delayed effect, thus permitting the fluid to reach the bottom of the
hole in high temperature wells prior to crosslinking. This system gives adequate viscosity for mov
ing the propping agent through the surface equipment and into the tubing, reducing the shearing
effect caused by tubulars, and supplying a good fluid in the hydraulically created fracture to ensure
adequate proppant transport. These are only a few of the highlights of fracturing fluid develop
ments. Many other developments have enhanced the performance of fracturing fluids.
Proppants:
To keep the artificially created hydraulic fractures open, proppants of many different kinds have
been used. The first fracturing treatment used a northern type sand for proppant; however, screened
river sand was also employed on many early treatments. In fact, on some of these treatments, con
struction sand sieved through a window screen was employed as the propping agent. It was soon
realized, however, that a high quality sand was desirable and specifications were established on
the type of sand to be used. There have been a number of trends in the size of sand, from very large
down to small. From the very beginning a 20 to 40 U.S. standard mesh sand has been the most
popular and at the present time approximately 85%of the sand used is of this size. Numerous prop
ping agents have been evaluated throughout the years, including plastic pellets, steel shot, Indian
glass beads, aluminum pellets, high strength glass beads, rounded nut shells, resin coated sands,
sintered bauxite and fused zirconium.
Fig. 1.5 shows that the amount of sand used per fracture treatment has steadily increased through
time. As shown, the concentration of sand (lb/fluid gal) remained low until the mid1960s when
the use of viscous fluids, such as complexed water base gel and viscous refined oil were intro
duced. At that time, large size propping agents were advocated to improve well deliverability.
Proppant design techniques at low sand concentration changed from the monolayer or partial
monolayer concept to pumping sand at multiple grain diameters and high concentrations. Over the
last decade, there has been another sharp increase in sand concentrations used corresponding with
improved hydraulic fracturing fluids and advanced pumping equipment.
10
It is not infrequent to
Introduction
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
1
16
February 1993
see proppant concentrations averaging 10 to 12 lbm/gal used throughout the treatment. This means
that low concentrations are used at the start of the job and rapidly increased to concentrations of
15 lbm/gal or more.
Corresponding to increased fluid viscosity, higher pump rates and deeper well applications, the
hydraulic horsepower (hhp) used in treatments has increased from an average of about 75 to over
1500 hhp as shown in Fig. 1.6.
Fracture Treatment:
There are cases where as much as 15,000 hhp has been available on jobs with over 10,000 hhp
actually being utilized. Contrast this to some of the early jobs where only 10 to 15 hhp was
required. The initial jobs were performed at rates of two to three barrels per minute (bpm). Rates
Fig. 1.5  Trend of Average Fracture Treatments in the United States.
a
Fig. 1.6  Evolution of Fracturing Techniques.
100
90
80
60
50
40
30
20
10
0 0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70 70
80
90
100
Fluid/treatment
P
o
u
n
d
s
S
a
n
d
s
(
T
h
o
u
s
a
n
d
)
2.0
1.8
1.6
1.4
1.2
1.0
0.8
0.6
0.4
S
a
n
d
C
o
n
c
e
n
t
r
a
t
i
o
n
1949 1953 1957 1961 1965 1969 1973 1977 1981 1985 1989
Years
Sand
Concentration
Sand/treatment
G
a
l
l
o
n
s
o
f
F
l
u
i
d
(
T
h
o
u
s
a
n
d
s
)
HHP/JOB
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
1949 1953 1957 1961 1965 1969 1973 1977 1981 1985 1989
YEARS
3000
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
H
Y
D
R
A
U
L
I
C
H
O
R
S
E
P
O
W
E
R
INJECTION
RATE
R
A
T
E
,
b
b
l
/
m
i
n
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
History of Hydraulic Fracturing
17 February 1993
increased rapidly until the early 1960s where rates around 20 bpm became popular. Today, jobs
are performed at a lowrate of about 5 bpm, to a high rate of over 100 bpm. At one time in the Hugo
ton gas field, pumping rates of over 300 bpmwere employed. Surface treating pressures sometimes
are less than 100 psi, yet others may approach 20,000 psi. Today, as treatment size, pressure and
pump rate increase, treatment costs have also increased, ranging from less than $10,000 to over
$1,000,000. The first two commercial treatments cost between $900 and $1,000.
Conventional cement and acid pumping equipment were utilized initially to execute fracturing
treatments. One to three units equipped with a jet mixer and one pressure pump delivering 75 to
125 hhp were adequate for the small volumes injected at the low rates. Amazingly, many of these
treatments gave phenomenal production increases. As the treating volumes increased, accompa
nied with demand for greater injection rates, purpose built pumping and blending equipment was
developed to performthese specialized functions. Today, the development of fracturing equipment
continues, including intensifiers, high pressure manifolds, and computer control systems. Large,
massive hydraulic fracturing (MHF) treatments as illustrated in Fig. 1.7, were developed by
Amoco in the Hydraulic Fracturing Department, Amoco Production Research in Tulsa. The treat
ments were developed to convert noncommercial, tight gas deposits found throughout North
America into viable, commercial properties. MHF treatments require several million dollars worth
of equipment, utilize in excess of one million gallons of fluid and have placed over 3.3 million
pounds of sand, injected in one continuous operation pumped over 10 hours at rates of approxi
mately 40 bpm.
Sand and fluid are mixed in a piece of fracturing equipment called a blender. For the first few
years, sand was added to the fracturing fluid by pouring it into a tank or jet mixer containing frac
Fig. 1.7  Massive Hydraulic Fracture Treatment.
Introduction
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
1
18
February 1993
turing fluid and connected to the pump suction. Later with less viscous fluid, a ribbon or paddle
type batch blender was employed. Finally, the continuous proportioner and blender was devel
oped. Blending equipment has become very sophisticated to meet the need for proportioning a
large number of dry and liquid additives, then properly blending them into the base fluid with the
specified concentrations of sand or other propping agents. In order to handle large volumes of
propping agents required in large treatments, special storage facilities have been developed to
facilitate storing and moving the propping agents at the proper rate to the blender. Proportioning
and mixing of the gelling agents has become a very sophisticated procedure utilizing computer
control systems to step or ramp sand concentrations in the blender as shown in Fig. 1.8. It is nec
essary to blend them in a uniform method to give the maximum yield viscosity. One procedure is
to use a concentrated gelling agent prepared prior to the treatment, then taken to the field where it
is proportioned into the base fluid in a semicontinuous method. A very uniform high yield viscos
ity is obtained. With the advent of larger size treatments, it has become necessary to have a com
puter control center (Fig. 1.9) to coordinate all of the activities that are transpiring simultaneously,
each of which is critical.
Early Fracture Design
The first treatments were designed by very complex application charts, nomographs and calcula
tions to arrive at the treatment size to be pumped. The calculations generally predicted a treatment
size of 800 gallons, or multiples thereof, of fluid, and the sand at concentrations of around onehalf
to threefourths lbm/gal. A hit and miss method of designing treatments was employed until the
mid1960s when programs were developed for use on simple computers. The original programs,
based on work developed by Howard and Fast
11
on fluid efficiency and the shape of a fracture sys
tem, were a great improvement. Since that time, many innovations have been introduced through
Fig. 1.8  Schematic Diagram of Sand Fluid Proportioner.
FRACTURING
FLUID
METERING
PUMP
PROPORTIONING
CONTROL
SAND
BULK OR SACK
SAND  FLUID
MIXTURE TO
PUMP TRUCK
PRESSURIZER
AGITATOR
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
History of Hydraulic Fracturing
19 February 1993
mathematical modeling in both fixed height, twodimensional and variable height, threedimen
sional solutions.
Today, programs are capable of determining temperature profiles of the treating fluid during a
fracturing treatment. Such a profile can assist in designing the gel concentrations, gel stabilizer
concentrations, breaker concentrations and propping agent concentrations during the various
stages of the treatment. Models have been developed to simulate the way fluids move through the
fracture and how the propping agent is distributed. From these simulations, production increases
can be determined. Following a fracturing treatment, reservoir models and pressure transient anal
ysis methods can then be used to history match the pressure and production performance to deter
mine what type of treatment was actually achieved.
The history of fractured reservoir response analysis dates from the late 1960s. Tinsley et al.
12
did
work on an electrolytic model to determine the effect fracture lengths and flow capacity would
have on the production increase obtained from wells with a different drainage radius. Several oth
ers developed mathematical models for similar projections. Nolte and Smith
13
developed proce
dures to correlate between observations made during fracturing treatments and Britt
14,15
and
Veatch
1618
presented methods to optimize the fracturing process. Several theories have been
advanced by this work which added considerably to the understanding of the hydraulic fracturing
process. This technology added considerably to the understanding of the hydraulic fracturing pro
cess and is summarized in the SPE Monograph Volume 12.
19
Marked advancements were achieved by Amoco and the industry during the 1970s and early
1980s. Much of what was learned during this period is now being applied to fracturing oil and gas
formations. The most notable contribution was field test procedures and data collection programs
developed to better estimate fracture design parameters. These include prefrac stress tests, minifrac
Fig. 1.9  Computer Control Console.
Introduction
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
1
110
February 1993
calibration treatments and the measurement of bottomhole treating pressures during fracturing.
Observations from these tests indicate lateral fracture extension rate, vertical growth behavior,
fracturing fluid leakoff rate, and general characteristics associated with defining fracture geome
try. This information has led Amoco and the industry to a more precise and systematic approach
to fracture treatment design.
Well stimulation by hydraulic fracture treatment is an important production engineering process
to Amoco Production Company. There are many fields in the United States that would not be in
existence today if it had not been for hydraulic fracturing. Some of these include the Sprayberry
trend in west Texas; the Pine Island field in Louisiana; many wells in the Anadarko Basin, the Bruy
River and Cardinal Fields in Canada, a large number of Morrow wells in northwestern Oklahoma;
the entire San Juan basin of New Mexico; the Denver Julesburg basin of Colorado; the East Texas
and north Louisiana trend in the Cotton Valley; the tight gas sands of south Texas and western Col
orado; the tight gas sands of southwestern Wyoming and many of the producing areas of the north
eastern part of the United States. Recent economic developments and the constant fluctuation in
petroleum prices have led to a nearhalt in the development of tight gas fields until recently. The
industry has turned its attention more to low risk, high profit type projects. Still, fracturing remains
as important to many of these projects as to the earlier tight gas developments. With continuing
advancements in technology, hydraulic fracturing promises to continue playing a vital role in
unlocking otherwise unobtainable reserves and extending field life accordingly. For additional
information on current hydraulic fracturing technology, refer to the technical references at the end
of this chapter.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Amoco Hydraulic Fracturing Course Outline
111 February 1993
1.2 Amoco Hydraulic Fracturing Course Outline
The purpose of this course is twofold. The course will present the principles behind the fracturing
process which will assist you in understanding the dependencies between fluid hydraulics, rock
properties, resulting fracture geometry and associated reservoir response. The second, and most
important purpose, is to provide a technical understanding to evaluate the results you achieve. This
understanding will allow you to improve field applications and develop new techniques for appli
cation. Significant financial benefits are possible by diligently applying the current state of tech
nology, and overcoming arbitrary and poorly implemented procedures and attitudes.
A question often asked today is, What can be changed to maximize profits? As shown in
Fig. 1.10, the optimumtreatment results frombalancing different parameters, i.e., fracture conduc
tivity, fracture length and reservoir permeability, to achieve the maximum profit. Generally speak
ing, the desired fracture length for optimal production is bigger for lower permeability formations
as shown in Fig. 1.11. Conversely, the desired fracture conductivity for optimal production is
greater for higher permeability reservoirs.
The optimum treatment will differ from field to field and from one area of a field to another based
on reservoir characteristics and treatment cost. Recognize that the amount of fluid and proppant
required to achieve a desired penetration will vary greatly from location to location as a function
of lithology, wellbore stresses and fracture containment. Therefore, it is very important for overall
financial optimization, that the optimization process be completed for each different situation and
that at least two or three different fluid and proppant systems be evaluated for each situation.
Fig. 1.12, illustrates a simplified schematic of the optimization process used in the design of
hydraulic fracture stimulations. The upper portion of Fig. 1.12 considers the reservoir response
resulting from fracturing and the revenue produced. The detailed aspects of reservoir behavior are
covered in other courses, however, a general discussion of how these topics relate to optimizing
revenue through fracture design is included in this manual in Chap. 3 and Chap. 9. The lower por
Fig. 1.10  Critical Factors to Optimum Fracture Stimulation.
Introduction
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
1
112
February 1993
tion of Fig. 1.12, relates to creating the fracture (i.e., the cost aspect). Unlike reservoirs, fractures
are created by humans and therefore can be changed and made both longer and wider as required.
The design and implementation of a propped hydraulic fracture stimulation treatment is the pri
mary topic of this course.
The topics detailed in this course include how a fracture is created, what proppants should be used
to hold it open and how the fluid flow in a reservoir is altered. The effect of fracture penetration,
the importance of fracture height development, the concepts of effective wellbore radius, dimen
sionless fracture conductivity (F
CD
) and folds of increase (FOI) for steadystate conditions are dis
cussed. The effect of early time transient production and bilinear flow, and the application of
economic analysis and revenue optimization are elements of coupled reservoir analysis and
Fig. 1.11  Desired Fracture Halflengths for Different Formation Permeabilities.
Fig. 1.12 Fracture Stimulation DesignThe Total Concept for Optimization.
Frac. 1/2 Length
1000s Feet
4
3
2
1
0
MD
Micro
Darcies
InSitu Gas Permeability
.0001 .001 .005 .01 .05 .1 1.0 10.0 100.
.1 1 5 10 50 100 1000 10,000 100,000
Extremely
Tight
Very
Tight Tight
Near
Tight
Conventional
Reservoir
Simulator
Hydrafrac
Simulator
C
u
m
.
P
r
o
d
.
T
r
e
a
t
m
e
n
t
V
o
l
.
Years Length
Length
Fracture Length
Fracture Length
$
R
e
v
e
n
u
e
$
C
o
s
t
$ Revenue
Less
$ Cost
Fracturing
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Amoco Hydraulic Fracturing Course Outline
113 February 1993
hydraulic fracture treatment designs covered in this course.
The financial results obtained in fracturing can be significantly increased, over the standard prac
tice of the industry, through a better understanding of the fracturing process, how to optimize a
treatment design, and the implementation of quality control in the field. The nomenclature which
follows on the next pages summarizes the most important and frequently used terms in the manual.
The SPE Monograph Volume 12
19
provides a comprehensive review and list of references on
many of the aspects covered in this course.
Introduction
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
1
114
February 1993
1.3 Nomenclature
BHCP Bottomhole closure pressure in psi. It is equal to fracture pressure; it is also
c
.
BHTP Bottomhole treating pressure in psi. It is equal to surface treating pressure plus hy
drostatic pressure minus friction pressure. It is also equal to BHCP plus P
N
.
bpm Barrels per minute.
C Fracturing fluid leakoff coefficient. It is also equal to C
t
in .
C
I
Part of C
t
. It is the effects of the frac fluid viscosity and relative permeability in
.
C
II
Part of C
t
. It is the effects of the reservoir fluid viscosity and compressibility in
.
C
III
Part of C
t
. It is the effects of the wall building properties of the frac fluid in
.
C
t
The total effects of the frac fluid leakoff coefficient in .
C
t
It is the total compressibility factor of the reservoir and fluid in psi
1
. It is used to
calculate part of C
III
.
E Modulus of Elasticity in psi.
F
CD
A dimensionless fracture capacity. It is related to the contrast in permeability be
tween the fracture and the formation.
FOI Folds of Increase. It is the ratio of the stabilized production after fracturing to the
production before fracturing. It is equal to Q
FRAC
/Q
UNFRAC
.
Rock porosity in decimal percent.
H Total or gross fracture height in feet.
hhp Hydraulic Horse Power in hp.
H
p
Permeability Height. That portion of the frac height, H, to which frac fluids may be
lost.
k Reservoir permeability in millidarcies (md).
k
f
Fracture permeability in md.
k
f
w Fracture conductivity in mdft.
ft/ minute
ft/ minute
ft/ minute
ft/ minute
ft/ minute
Introduction
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1
116
February 1993
t Time in minutes.
c
Closure Stress. Equal to BHCP.
TVD True Vertical Depth in feet.
V
FRAC
Volume of fracture cavity in cubic feet.
V
IN
Volume of frac fluid pumped into the well in cubic feet.
V
LOST
Volume of frac fluid leaked from the crack into the formation in cubic feet.
w Fracture Width in feet (may also be in inches).
Average Fracture Width in feet (may also be in inches).
x
f
Fracture radius in feet (or fracture halflength). Measured from the center of the
wellbore to the end of the proppant on one wing of the fracture.
w
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
References
117 February 1993
1.4 References
1. Farris, R. F.: U. S. Patent reissued Nov. 10, 1953, Re 23733.
2. Clark, J. B.: A Hydraulic Process for Increasing the Productivity of Oil Wells, Trans., AIME (1949) 186, 18.
3. Maly, J. W. and Morton, T. E.: Selection and Evaluation of Wells for Hydrafrac Treatment, Oil &Gas J, (May
3, 1951) No. 52, 126.
4. Clark, R. C. et al.: Application of Hydraulic Fracturing to the Stimulation of Oil and Gas Production, Drill. &
Prod. Prac., API (1953) 11322.
5. Huitt, J. L. and McGlothin, B. B. Jr.: The Propping of Fractures in Formations Susceptible to ProppingSand
Embedment, Drill. & Prod. Prac., API (1958) 115.
6. Huitt, J. L., McGlothin, B. B. Jr., and McDonald, J. F.: The Propping of Fractures in Formations in Which Prop
ping Sand Crushes, Drill. & Prod. Prac., API (1958) 115.
7. Huitt, J. L.: Hydraulic Fracturing with Single Point Entry Technique, JPT, (March 1960) XII, No. 3, 11.
8. Hubbert, M. K. and Willis, D. G.: Mechanics of Hydraulic Fracturing, Trans., AIME (1957) 210, 15366.
9. Anderson, T. O. and Stahl, E. J.: A Study of Induced Fracturing Using an Instrumental Approach, JPT (Feb.
1967) 26167; Trans., AIME, 240.
10. Coulter, G. R. and Wells, R. D.: The Effect of Fluid pH on Clays and Resulting Formation Permeability, pre
sented at the Southwestern Petroleum Short Course, Dept. of Petroleum Engineering, Texas Tech University,
Lubbock, Texas, April 1718, 1975.
11. Howard G. C. and Fast, C. R.: Optimum Fluid Characteristics for Fracture Extension, Drill. & Prod. Prac.,
API (1957) 26170.
12. Tinsley, J. M. et al.: Vertical Fracture HeightIts Effect on SteadyState Production Increase, JPT (May 1969)
63338; Trans., AIME, 246.
13. Nolte, K. G. and Smith, M. B.: Interpretation of Fracturing Pressures, JPT, (Sept. 1981), 176775.
14. Britt, L. K.: Optimized Oil Well Fracturing, Phase I Report, Amoco Production Company Report F84P23
(May 25, 1984).
15. Britt, L. K.: Optimized Oil Well Fracturing, Phase II Report, Analysis of the Effects of Fracturing on the Sec
ondary Recovery Process; Amoco Production Company Report F85P7 (Jan. 24, 1985).
16. Veatch, R. W. Jr.: Overview of Current Hydraulic Fracturing Design and Treatment TechnologyPart 1, JPT
(April 1983) 67787.
17. Veatch, R. W. Jr.: Overview of Current Hydraulic Fracturing Design and Treatment TechnologyPart 2, JPT
(May 1983) 85364.
18. Veatch, Ralph W. Jr.: Economics of Fracturing Some Methods and Case Study Examples, Amoco Production
Company Report F89P58 (Aug. 3, 1989).
Introduction
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
1
118
February 1993
19. Gidley, J. L., Holditch, D. E., Nierode, D. E., and Veatch, R. W., Jr.:, Monograph Series, SPE, Richardson, TX
(1989) 12.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
21
Chapter
July 1993
Fracture design models attempt to simulate the natural phenomena associated with the hydraulic
fracturing process. They account for the total volume of fluid injected in the ground (continuity
equation) and estimate the fluid volume that leaks off in the formation and the fluid volume that
remains within the fracture; they relate fracture width to the applied hydraulic pressure (elasticity
equation); they account for pressure loss due to flow within the fracture (fluid flow equation); and
they predict fracture dimensions due to fluid pressure by satisfying a fracture propagation criterion
at the fracture tip.
In many cases, the consideration of continuity and elasticity equations provides insight into the
basic relationship between directly measured qualities of the fracturing process, such as injected
volume and treating pressure.
2.1 The Continuity Equation
The continuity (or volume balance) equation expresses the relationship:
Volume Pumped = Volume Lost + Volume in Fracture or
(2.1)
It states that the volume pumped into the fracture is equal to the volume lost to the formation by
fluid loss plus the volume remaining or stored in the fracture. The individual terms (for a constant
height fracture, pumped at a constant rate) are defined as follows:
(2.2)
(2.3)
(2.4)
Substituting Eqs. (2.2)  (2.4) into Eq. (2.1) , and solving for the tip to tip length, L, gives
(2.5)
V
IN
V
LOST
V
FRAC .
+ =
V
IN
Qt proportional to total cost ( ) =
V
LOST
3CH
p
L t proportional to lost cost ( )
V
FRAC
wHL ( proportional to effective cost) =
L
Qt
3CH
p
t wH +
  =
Fracturing Models
2
Fracturing Models
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
2
22
July 1993
where Q = pump rate in cubic feet per minute (5.6 cu. ft. = 1bbl), t= pump time in minutes, C =
fluid loss coefficient in ft/ , Hp = permeable fracture height in feet, = average fracture width
in feet, and H = total fracture height in feet.
Eq. (2.5) determines the length which will result for a fracture treatment in terms of the other vari
ables and compares within 1015% of computer fracture models. Also this equation can be rear
ranged to form a quadratic equation in terms of . Solving this equation gives the pumping time
(i.e., V
IN
) to obtain a desired fracture length.
Inspection of Eq. (2.5) indicates that increasing any of the terms in the denominator (except time)
will decrease the fracture length. In particular, changing the height, H, and/or fluid loss coeffi
cient, C, can have dramatic effects on fracture length. Fig. 2.1 shows an example of the relation
ship between fracture height and length for a given treatment volume. Fig. 2.2 shows a similar
relationship between fluid loss coefficient and length.
Fig. 2.1  Fracture Height vs. Fracture Length 300,000 Gallon Treatment Design.
min w
t
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
0 1000 2000 3000
H
e
i
g
h
t

F
e
e
t
Fracture Length  Feet
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
The Continuity Equation
23 July 1993
Fig. 2.2  Fracture Length vs. Volume Pumped for Low (emulsion) and High (base gels) Fluid Loss
Behavior.
Low Fluid Loss
High Fluid Loss
Polymer
Emulsion
Water & Oil
Base Gels
150 ft Fracture Height
20 BPM
Length
Height
2000
1500
1000
500
0
20 60 100 140 180 220 260
Volume (1000s Gallons)
F
r
a
c
t
u
r
e
L
e
n
g
t
h
(
f
t
)
Fracturing Models
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
2
24
July 1993
2.2 Model Differences and the Elasticity Equation
The width term, , in Eq. (2.5) , has caused the industry many problems because two fundamen
tally different model assumptions are used for constant height designs which give significantly
different results. The two models are commonly termed the Perkins and Kern (PK)
1
and the Khris
tianovic (K) model.
2
The differences in the models result from their different applications of the
theory of elasticity to hydraulic fracturing. It should be noted that the Perkins and Kern model was
later extended by Nordgren,
3
while the Khristianovic model was extended by Geertsma and de
Klerk.
4
As a result, PK and PKN are used synonymously for the Perkins and Kern model as
K and GDK are for the Kristianovic model.
A classical solution in the theory of elasticity predicts that, for an infinite, elastic slab, in plane
strain (i.e., deformation restricted between parallel planes in the slab), with a pressurized slit
through the slab, the slit will deform into the shape of an ellipse. The ellipse will have a major axis
equal to the slit halflength and a minor axis proportional to the pressure and slit length, and
inversely proportional to the elastic modulus as seen in the upper portion of Fig. 2.3. This elastic
solution was applied to hydraulic fracturing, but in different directions as seen in the bottom por
tion of Fig. 2.3. As shown, the ellipse in the PK model is vertical while the ellipse in the K model
is horizontal. As a result, a continuing debate has been waged during the last 30 years as to which
is correct. This debate is more than academic since the two models predict significantly different
fluid volumes to achieve a desired fracture length. In this regard, the K model requires greater vol
ume per foot of length. Additionally, the K model implicitly assumes free slip between the frac
tured bed and bounding beds which is physically improbable at depth.
The prevailing thought within Amoco is that the PKNmodel is most applicable for fractures which
are long when compared to their height and that the GDK model is more applicable for fractures
Fig. 2.3  Two Very Different Models.
w
Fracture Pressure and Width
VOL
IN
= VOL
LOST
+ VOL
FRAC
W H L
ELASTICITY
TWO MODELS
ELLIPSE
ELLIPSE
ELLIPSE
P=S+p
L/2
L=D
W~
D
_
E
p
PERKINS & KERN MODEL
KHRISTIANOVIC MODEL
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Model Differences and the Elasticity Equation
25 July 1993
which are short compared to their height. In this latter scenario, a penny frac or a 3 Dimensional
model would be more appropriate.
Fig. 2.4 shows the resulting difference between the PKN and GDK models as a result of the dif
ferent application of the elasticity relation. Note that their relationships for viscosity (for flow of a
Newtonian fluid), rate, and rock modulus are the same. However, the relationships for pressure and
width are very different as shown in Table 2.1.
For the general case with length greater than height, the PKN model will predict less width; thus
from Eq. (2.5) , the PKN model will generally predict more length. Also, the PKN model predicts
that the net pressure (fluid pressure in fracture minus formation closure pressure) increases as
length, L, (or time, t,) increases, while the GDK model predicts net pressure decreases with length,
L, (or time, t,) as shown on Fig. 2.5.
Bottomhole pressure measurements indicate that, if height is relatively constant and significantly
smaller than fracture length, the pressure will increase as predicted by the PKN model. Also,
downhole televiewer pictures obtained by Amoco, which directly measured the fracture width in
an open hole completion, indicated that the pressurewidth relationship of the PKN model was
most applicable.
Table 2.1  Comparison of Perkins and Kern and Khristianovic Models.
Elasticity Fluid Flow (Newtonian)
Perkins and Kern p ~ L
1/4
Khristianovic p ~
P&K Model Khrist. Model
I. Elasticity
II. Friction From Fluid Flow
(Newtonian)
III. Combining I & II
Fig. 2.4  Comparison of Perkins and Kern and Khristianovic Models.
W H
W L
1
L
1 2 /

W
H
E
p
W
4
W =
W~ W~
L_
P
p
W
QL
E
 ( )
1/4
W
QL
2
EH

,
_
1/4
p
E
3/4
H
 QL ( )
1/4
p
E
3/4
L
1/2
 QL ( )
1/4
Fracturing Models
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
2
26
July 1993
The consequence of the different width assumptions in the models can be seen by a comparison of
service company designs based on exactly the same requested input. This comparison was made
by Amoco in 1980. The input variables supplied to the service companies are shown in Table 2.2.
Table 2.3 shows the dramatic variations in the results because of the different schools of thought
in each company at that time. As shown, the Halliburton and Dowell Programs were based on the
GDK model, while the Western, Smith and Amoco programs were based on the PKN model. It is
noted that the BJ program set the leakoff height to 200 ft instead of 100 ft and the Western model
assumed that the fracture width down the complete length was the maximum value at the wellbore.
The large differences in the output indicate the impact of modeling assumptions associated with
Fig. 2.5  Perkins & Kern (PKN) Model and Khristianovic (GDK) Model.
5
Table 2.2  Input Values  Service Company Designs.
Input Variables Input Values
Propped Radius 2000 ft
Frac Height 200 ft
Leakoff Height 100 ft
Modulus 6x10 psi
Loss Coefcient 0.001 ft/min
Pump Rate 25 BPM
Viscosity 100 CP
Proppant Concentration 1 lb/ft
Frac gradient, depth, surface and reservoir temperatures, and
rock type also specied.
p L
1/4
p Q ( )
1/4
p
1
L
1/2

l
o
g
L
log t (or VOL.)
l
o
g
p
l
o
g
p
log L
log L
(TIME )
PKN
GDK
PKN Model GDK Model
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Model Differences and the Elasticity Equation
27 July 1993
comparing service company bids and highlight the importance of knowledgably designing your
own treatments. However, many oil companies still rely on the service companies for designs.
Table 2.3  Results  Service Company Designs.
Company Model Type
Average
Width Inches Sand, M lb
Volume,
M gal Pad, M gal
Amoco PKN 0.24 715 250 110
BJ PKN 0.39 800 630 125
Dowell GDK 0.51 1280 420 110
Halliburton GDK 0.69 1150 535 150
Smith PKN 0.29 657 166 36
Western PKN 0.40 1425 400 80
Fracturing Models
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
2
28
July 1993
2.3 References
1. Perkins, T. K. Jr. and Kern, L. R.: Widths of Hydraulic Fractures, JPT (Sept. 1961) 93749; Trans., AIME, 222.
2. Khristianovic, S. A. and Zheltov, Y. P.: Formation of Vertical Fractures by Means of Highly Viscous Fluids,
Proc., Fourth World Pet. Cong., Rome (1955) II, 579.
3. Nordgren, R. P.: Propagation of a Vertical Hydraulic Fracture, SPEJ (Aug. 1972) 30614; Trans., AIME, 253.
4. Geertsma, J. and de Klerk, F.: A Rapid Method of Predicting Width and Extent of Hydraulically Induced Frac
tures, JPT (Dec. 1969) 157181; Trans., AIME, 246.
5. Nolte, K. G. and Smith, M. B.: Interpretation of Fracturing Pressures, JPT (Sept. 1981) 176775.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
31
Chapter
July 1999
3.1 Reservoir Response To Fracture Stimulation
To understand the reservoir response to fracture stimulations, one must understand the interrela
tionship between the important reservoir and fracture variables. These variables include reservoir
permeability, fracture conductivity, and fracture half length. The Dimensionless Fracture Capac
ity, F
CD
, describes this interrelationship. This equation:
(3.1)
relates the fracture's ability to flow fluids to the wellbore to the reservoir's ability to flow fluids to
the fracture. If, for example, F
CD
is low (F
CD
1.6) the fracture has finite conductivity and the res
ervoir fluids would rather flow towards the wellbore than the fracture. It further indicates that
increasing fracture length would not result in improved reservoir response. Conversely, if F
CD
is
high (F
CD
500), the fracture has infinite conductivity. As a result, increasing fracture conductiv
ity would not improve reservoir response. For practical purposes, fractures having F
CD
> 30 act as
infinite conductivity fractures. The parameters used to define F
CD
are illustrated in Fig. 3.1.
Fracture Length
Fracture length or penetration generally has the greatest impact on low permeability reservoirs.
The following examples are from the Wattenberg Field, which is operated by Amoco Production
Fig. 3.1  Major Factors Affecting Performance.
F
CD
k
f
w
k x
f
 =
Fracture Length, x
f
, feet
Formation Permeability, k, md
Fracture Flow Capacity, k
f
w, mdft
x
f
k
k
f
w
3
Reservoir Analysis
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
3
32
July 1999
Company. This field is located north of Denver, Colorado, and has a permeability of about 0.005
md. Fig. 3.2 shows the effect of fracture halflength, x
f
, on cumulative gas production. As shown,
increasing fracture half length results in significant incremental gas recovery over a 25year
period.
Reservoir Permeability
Reservoir permeability, k, and its effect on fractured well performance is illustrated in Fig. 3.3 and
Fig. 3.4. Shown in the figures is the pressure distribution map for only one quadrant of a fractured
well. The pressure distribution map was obtained from a computer simulation after the well,
located in the upper left corner, was produced for a period of time. The simulated fracture in
Fig. 3.3 is located vertically on the left and has a high fracture flow capacity, k
f
w. The formation
permeability, k, in the computer simulator was very low at 0.005 md (5 micro darcies). Contours
of the pressure profile in psi were made and because gas flows perpendicular to these pressure con
tour lines, streamlines which represent the path by which the gas travels to the well can be drawn.
Since the formation permeability is extremely low relative to the fracture flow capacity (k
f
w), the
flow is nearly linear and the fracture acts as an infinite conductivity fracture. As a result, the frac
ture carries almost all the total gas flow to the well. The path of least resistance is the shortest dis
tance to the fracture.
Fig. 3.4 shows a pressure distribution map for a fractured well with the same fracture flowcapacity
as in Fig. 3.3, but this time the formation permeability is significantly higher at 100 md. Since the
formation permeability more nearly approximates the fracture flow capacity, equal pressure lines
become circular and the flow is nearly radial as can be seen by converging flow lines. In this case,
the fracture carries a relatively small fraction of the total gas flow which indicates that the benefit
Fig. 3.2  Effect of Fracture Length Cumulative Gas Produced (25 Years).
ADDITIONAL RECOVERY BY
INCREASING FRACTURE LENGTH
RADIAL FLOW
Time (years)
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600
1800
2000
1500 ft
1000 ft
400 ft
C
u
m
m
u
l
a
t
i
v
e
G
a
s
P
r
o
d
u
c
t
i
o
n

M
M
C
F FRACTURE LENGTH
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Reservoir Response To Fracture Stimulation
33 July 1999
realized from the fracture stimulation was minimal. In this case, the path of least resistance is pri
marily via the reservoir.
Fracture Flow Capacity
The key difference in Fig. 3.3 and Fig. 3.4 is the ratio of the fracture flow capacity to the reservoir
permeability, k.
Fracture flow capacity is defined as the product of the permeability in the fracture, k
f
, and the frac
ture width, w, with dimensions of mdft. It is also referred to as fracture conductivity. Shown in
Fig. 3.5 are three types of fracture flow capacity. An infinite flow capacity fracture is a fracture
that acts similar to a large diameter pipeline where there is essentially no pressure drop from the
tip of the fracture to the wellbore. Afinite flowcapacity fracture has a pressure drop along the frac
ture that is proportional to the fracture flow capacity, k
f
w. Nearly all created fractures have finite
capacity. The reservoir response associated with variable conductivity fractures is governed by the
arithmetic average flow capacity.
Estimates of k
f
w are available from the service companies and Amoco's Production Research
(APR) Department. The STIMLAB data in Fig. 3.6 shows the effect of proppant type on liquid
permeability. The entire set of Stimlab data can be accessed in the Proppants Manual or from APR.
Fig. 3.6 shows that the manufactured proppants bauxite, intermediate density proppant and zirco
nia have high permeability up to very high closure stresses.
Fig. 3.3  Pressure Distribution and
Approximate Streamlines, Reservoir K =
0.005 md.
Fig. 3.4  Pressure Distribution and Approxi
mate Streamlines, Reservoir K = 100 md.
PRESSU
4
0
0
p
s
i
6
0
0
p
s
i
1
0
0
0
p
s
i
1
2
0
0
p
s
i
8
0
0
p
s
i
F
R
A
C
T
U
R
E
Streamlines
Pressure
Contour
Lines
1
2
0
0
p
s
i
Well
Flow is nearly linear
FCD > 25 (Inifinite Conductivity)
Fracture carries almost the total gas
flow to the well
4
0
0
p
s
i
8
0
0
p
s
i
6
0
0
p
s
i
1
0
0
0
p
s
i
F
R
A
C
T
U
R
E
6
0
0
p
s
i
8
0
0
p
s
i
1
0
0
0
p
s
i
1
2
0
0
p
s
i
4
0
0
p
s
i
Flow is nearly radial
FCD << 25 (Finite Conductivity)
Fracture carries almost no gas
to the well
Pressure
Contour
Lines
Streamlines
Well
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
3
34
July 1999
The resin coated sand has intermediate permeability values, and the sands (Brady and Ottawa)
have the lowest values at higher stresses. Fig. 3.6 indicates that the Brady sand has higher per
meability for closure pressure less than 5000 psi (i.e., nominally 6000 to 7000 ft) than the more
pure silica sand of the Ottawa type. This results because the Brady sand tends to be coarser (i.e.,
more toward 20 mesh) and more angular. At higher stresses the less pure and more angular sand
has less permeability (i.e., more crushing).
Fig. 3.7 shows laboratory values of conductivity, k
f
w for both Brady and Ottawa type sands. Note
that the Ottawa types are not available in the coarser sizes, while Brady is not available for the finer
sizes. Notice that at 4000 psi, the 8/16 Brady sand has about 5 times more conductivity or capacity
than the commonly used 20/40 Ottawa (i.e., 15,000 vs 2800 md ft).
Post treatment evaluation experience indicates that insitu capacity is dramatically less than these
laboratory values. This results from gel residues, fluid loss additives and potentially rock debris.
Indicated values are about 1/3  1/10 of the lab values. In addition, Amoco's design program indi
cates that propped widths of more than 1 lb/ft
2
are difficult to achieve. It is noted that some service
companies claim they achieve 4 lb/ft
2
. Since the laboratory standard (i.e., Fig. 3.7 is 2 lb/ft
2
); a fur
ther reduction for width must be made. The best method to determine insitu capacity is to perform
well tests in the field and use the bilinear flow analysis techniques discussed in Section 3.3. If
actual insitu values are not available, the following guideline for capacity should be used.
(3.2)
Fig. 3.5  Fracture Flow Capacity.
(Fracture Perm. x Fracture Width)
INFINITE CAPACITY
FINITE CAPACITY
VARIABLE FINITE CAPACITY
k
f
k
f
k
f1
k
f2
expected k
f
w 0.3
k
f
w lab data
lb/ft
2
lab data
lb/ft
2
expected =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Reservoir Response To Fracture Stimulation
35 July 1999
Most lab tests are run at 2 lb/ft
2
. However, your test data may be different. Proppant concentration
at which the tests were run should be available, or the data should not be used. The 0.30 factor is
a permeability reduction applied to the lab data to correct for inherent differences in insitu fracture
conditions and idealized laboratory conditions. This is nothing but a fudgefactor and varies
widely. This correction may be used for scoping studies, but pressure transient testing is still the
preferred technique to obtain the actual insitu value of k
f
w.
The importance of fracture conductivity and fracture length are illustrated in Fig. 3.8 through
Fig. 3.10. These figures show the results of simulations which combine variations of conductivity
and length with reservoir permeabilities of 0.005, 0.08, and 5.0 md, respectively. The results are
shown as the ratio of flow rate after fracturing to that before stimulation. This ratio is known as
Folds of Increase, FOI.
Fig. 3.6  Effect of Proppant Type on Flow Capacity.
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
3
36
July 1999
Fig. 3.7  Laboratory Fracture Conductivity for Frac Sands.
E
f
f
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c
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F r a c t u r e C o n d u c t i v i t y , k l x W
f ,
d a r c y x f o o t , D x f t
1
0
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Reservoir Response To Fracture Stimulation
37 July 1999
Fig. 3.8 shows for a formation permeability equal to 0.005 md that as the fracture flow capacity,
k
f
w, is reduced from 1000 mdft to 1.0 mdft, the effect of improved flow rate due to increased
fracture length is diminished. However, the effect becomes significant when k
f
w is increased from
1 to 10 and 100 mdft. Beyond a k
f
w = 100 mdft, the effect of increasing fracture flow capacity
has diminishing returns. Fig. 3.9 and Fig. 3.10 show that as formation permeability increases, the
effect of improved flow rate due to increasing the fracture length diminishes further.
Fig. 3.9 shows a similar graph where formation permeability, k, is increased to 0.05 md. Notice
that increasing the flow capacity, k
f
w, above 100 mdft will still have an effect on improving flow
rate. This was not the case when k was 0.005 md. Also note that for fracture flow capacities equal
to 10 mdft or lower, there is little rate improvement as the fracture length increases.
Fig. 3.8  Formation Permeability Equal to
0.005 md.
Fig. 3.9  Formation Permeability Increased
to 0.05 md.
Fig. 3.10  Formation Permeability Equal to 5.0 md.
0 200 100 300 400 500 600 700 800
K=0.005 MD
k
f
w = 1000 Mdft
k
f
w = 100 Mdft
k
f
w = 10 Mdft
k
f
w = 1 Mdft
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
Q
f
r
a
c
/
Q
u
n
f
r
a
c
FractureHalf Length
K=0.05 MD
K
fw
=1000 Mdft
K
fw
=100 Mdft
K
fw
=10 Mdft
FractureHalf Length
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
Q
f
r
a
c
/
Q
u
n
f
r
a
c
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800
K
fw
=1 Mdft
Kfw = 1000 Mdft
Kfw = 100 Mdft
Kfw = 10 Mdft
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
FractureHalf Length
Q
f
r
a
c
/
Q
u
n
f
r
a
c
K=5.0 MD
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
3
38
July 1999
Fig. 3.10 shows a similar plot with formation permeability, k, of 5.0 md. This plot shows that
increasing fracture length beyond 200 ft in a 5 md reservoir, has little productivity advantage.
Fig. 3.10 exposes the myth that fractures are only for low permeability wells. As reservoir perme
ability increases, the Q
frac
/Q
unfrac
ratio decreases for a given fracture length and conductivity. But
since for radial flow, the base rate is directly proportional to permeability, the base rate (Q
unfrac
) is
increasing. Would you invest in a frac for a 5 md well making 10 MMCFD? Fig. 3.10 indicates
that a 100 ft, 1000 mdft frac would make it a 25 MMCFD well. When the importance of short,
high conductivity fractures is better understood, many high permeability wells will be fractured in
the future. In general, wells in high permeability reservoirs are the least expensive to stimulate and
often provide the greatest incremental benefit.
Fracture Orientation
As a reservoir's permeability decreases, the drainage pattern becomes more elliptical (i.e., smaller
aspect ratio) for an optimum fracture. This results because of two reasons: first, the drainage per
pendicular to the fracture face decreases, and second, the optimum fracture length is longer.
Fig. 3.11 shows the effect of fracture orientation on reservoir drainage. This figure shows the ellip
tical patterns after 10 and 25 years for Wattenberg reservoir conditions on 320 acre spacing. The
upper portion of Fig. 3.11, shows fractures placed properly with respect to the fracture orientation.
As shown, there is little interference and relatively complete drainage would occur. However on
the lower portion of Fig. 3.11, for a azimuth, there is significant overlap of the patterns and
substantial areas of the reservoir that will not be drained. Also note that the contours are for a 300
psi drawdown at 10 and 25 years  very far from depletion.
If a similar contour map of the well configuration (unfavorably oriented) shown in the lower por
tion of Fig. 3.11, was made after 100 years of production, it might show as complete a coverage or
drainage as the well configuration in the upper portion of Fig. 3.11 has shown in 25 years. It suf
fices to say that fracture orientation can have a significant affect on both ultimate recovery and rate
acceleration benefits derived from fracturing.
It is obvious that to generally benefit from knowing the orientation, well placement must be
selected in a manner that differs from normal practices. The required spacing is with wells closer
in the direction perpendicular to the fracs and farther apart in the direction of the fracs. Also since
the orientation is likely not to be near or , the optimum well placement will be quite differ
ent than normal patterns of subsequent quartering sections. An SPE paper by M. B. Smith
1
gives
an excellent study of the effect of fracture azimuth, well spacing, and lost production for Watten
berg.
45
0 45
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Reservoir Response To Fracture Stimulation
39 July 1999
Fig. 3.11  Optimum Well Placement vs. Fracture Orientation.
DRAINAGE AREAS
INITIAL PRESSURE  2800 PSI FORMATION PERMEABILITY = 0.004 md
DRAINAGE AREAS
INITIAL PRESSURE  2800 PSI FORMATION PERMEABILITY = 0.004 md
2500 PSI
10 YEARS
2500 PSI
10 YEARS
25 YEARS
25 YEARS
5280
5280
5
2
8
0
'
5
2
8
0
Reservoir Analysis
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310
July 1999
3.2 SteadyState Reservoir Response
The fracturing response for wells in moderate to high permeability reservoirs quickly reaches a
pseudo steadystate condition which can be modeled by radial flow behavior. This is not the case
for very low permeability formations which are in transient flow for a significant part of their pro
ductive life. Transient flow will be addressed in Section 3.3.
The pseudo steadystate radial flow for fractures in moderatetohigh permeability reservoirs per
mits modeling by the effective wellbore concept. This concept was introduced by Prats
2
along
with the term, F
CD
, discussed previously (page 31).
Effective Wellbore Radius, r'
w
This powerful tool indicates that fracturing wells in moderatetohigh permeability reservoirs is
equivalent to increasing the area of the wellbore, i.e., a giant underreaming job. Thus fracturing
in moderatetohigh permeability reservoirs is equivalent to enlarging the wellbore. Consequently
the relative benefits of fracturing are the same for heavy or light oils.
Theoretically, for an infinite conductivity fracture, Prats found that
(3.3)
Taking the wellbore analog further and using the steadystate radial flow equation, the ratio of pro
duction after and before fracturing is
(3.4)
where FOI= folds of increase, q
f
= postfrac production rate, q
o
= prefrac production rate, r
e
= exter
nal drainage radius, r
w
= actual wellbore radius, and r'
w
= effective wellbore radius. When evalu
ating the ratio of production in Eq. (3.4), the drawdown pressure, permeability and viscosity are
assumed the same before and after fracturing.
Prats also gave the theoretical relationship between r'
w
and dimensionless flow capacity. Fig. 3.12
gives this relationship in terms of F
CD
. The figure shows that for F
CD
> 30, that r'
w
= 0.5 x
f
; i.e.,
the fracture acts as an infinitely conductive fracture and there is no benefit from increasing F
CD
.
Fig. 3.12 also shows for small F
CD
(i.e., less than 0.3) that r'
w
is independent of the fracture length
and depends only on conductivity.
Studying Fig. 3.12 will reveal where the producer should be spending his money to increase the
results of a fracture stimulation. For example, if the reservoir permeability is 10 md, the fracture
has a conductivity of 1000 mdft, the fracture half length is 500 ft, wells are 2000 ft apart, and bore
hole diameter is 5.5 in:
r'
w
0.5 ( ) x
f
; F
CD
large =
q
f
q
o
 FOI
ln r
e
/r
w
( )
ln r
e
/r'
w
( )
 = =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
SteadyState Reservoir Response
311 July 1999
From Fig. 3.12, for an F
CD
= 0.2,
Therefore,
The FOI = (ln 1000/0.229(ID of 5.5 in CSG))/(ln 1000/24)
FOI = 7.6/3.73 = 2.04
Assuming that this FOI is not acceptable, will a bigger frac help?
From Fig. 3.12
Therefore, FOI = (ln 1000/0.229)/(ln 1000/24) is the same as before.
Notice that the cost of the fracture stimulation would have more than doubled by going from x
f
=
500 ft to x
f
= 1000 ft with NO increase in r'
w
or FOI.
Suppose, instead of a longer frac, the decision is made to improve k
f
w. If k
f
w = 2000 mdft instead
of 1000 mdft.
F
CD
1000/10 500 .2 = =
r'
w
/ x
f
.048 =
r'
w
.048x
f
.048 500 24' = = =
x
f
1000 ft =
F
CD
1000/10 1000 .1 = =
r'
w
/ x
f
.024 for F
CD
.1 = =
r'
w
.024 x
f
.024 1000 24 ft . = = =
FOI 2.04 =
F
CD
2000/10 500 .4 = =
r'
w
/ x
f
.09 =
r'
w
.09 x
f
.09 500 45 = = =
FOI
ln 1000/0.229 ( )
ln 1000/45 ( )
 =
7.6/3.1 2.45 = =
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
3
312
July 1999
Fig. 3.12  Effective Wellbore Radius vs. F
CD
.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
SteadyState Reservoir Response
313 July 1999
Notice by doubling conductivity, a productivity increase of 20% has been accomplished. A review
of Fig. 3.7 indicates that conductivity could be doubled simply by changing from 20/40 to 16/30
mesh sand.
In summary, for F
CD
less than 0.5, increasing x
f
is a total waste of time and investment. The invest
ment should be made on a higher conductivity proppant.
Another example, if k = 0.02 md, k
f
w = 1000 mdft, x
f
= 1000 ft,
The decision is made to improve fracture conductivity, k
f
w from 1000 to 2000.
Notice, greatly improving fracture conductivity, k
f
w, had NO effect on increasing FOI.
However, if x
f
is doubled to 2000 ft,
r
e
2000 ft, r
w
0.229 ft = =
F
CD
1000/.02 1000 50 = =
r'
w
/ x
f
.5 =
r'
w
.5 x
f
.5 1000 500 ft = = =
FOI
ln 2000/0.229 ( )
ln 2000/500 ( )
 =
8.294/1.386 =
FOI 5.98 =
F
CD
2000/.02 1000 100 = =
r'
w
/ x
f
.5 =
FOI
ln 2000/0.229 ( )
ln 2000/500 ( )
 which is the same as before =
5.98 =
F
CD
1000/.02 2000 25 = =
r'
w
/ x
f
.48 =
r'
w
.48 x
f
.48 2000 960 ft = = =
Reservoir Analysis
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3
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July 1999
It is evident from the above, that if F
CD
is greater than 25 to 30, improving fracture conductivity is
not helpful. The investment should be made to achieve more fracture length to increase FOI, if the
increased production offsets the increased cost of the treatment (i.e., economics, addressed in
Chap. 9). When F
CD
's are between 0.5 and 25, FOI will experience an increase if x
f
or k
f
w is
increased. Therefore when F
CD
's fall in the range of 0.5 to 25, economics must be used to determine
whether improving conductivity or creating longer fractures, or some combination of both, is the
most cost effective (i.e., profitable).
A Direct Way Of Finding FOI
In using the FOI technique just shown, x
f
must be determined by trial and error for a design. That
is, once a FOI is selected, a r'
w
can be calculated that will be required to effect a given production
increase. However, since for finite conductivity fractures, x
f
affects both r'
w
and F
CD
, the x
f
is
required to yield the desired FOI.
Fig. 3.13 shows a modified version of Fig. 3.12 which includes the conversion of
on the left vertical axis. On the right vertical axis are various x
f
/r
e
curves. The horizontal axis is
k
f
w/kr
e
. This parameter should be known for specific proppant size and concentration (i.e., k
f
w)
since the k and r
e
should be known. Also from x
f
/r
e
on Fig. 3.13, x
f
can then be determined from
the known r
e
.
Fig. 3.14 shows the use of Fig. 3.13 for a case with a desired FOI = 5 (denoted by a), 160 acre
spacing (denoted by b), a horizontal line (denoted by c), the value of k
f
w/kr
e
= 1.1 (denoted
by d), the intersection (denoted by e), and finally the indicated x
f
/r
e
of 0.75 (denoted by f)
to achieve the FOI.
Fig. 3.13 can also be used in reverse; i.e., find the FOI for a given x
f
/r
e
.
Another example, the objective is an FOI = 4, well spacing is 640 acres (r
e
= 2640), k is 0.1 md
and the proppant selected will have a k
f
w of 1320 mdft at the proposed concentration and closure
stress. This gives k
f
w/kr
e
= 5
FOI
ln 2000/0.229 ( )
ln 2000/960 ( )
 =
8.294/.734 =
FOI 11.3 =
FOI
ln r
e
/r
w
( )
ln r
e
/r'
w
( )
 =
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SteadyState Reservoir Response
315 July 1999
Enter Fig. 3.13 from the left vertical axis with FOI. Find the intersection for FOI of 4 and the well
spacing of 640 acres. This determines r'
w
/r
e
. A horizontal line should be drawn from the intersec
tion of the FOI and the spacing line, completely across the graph. Then enter Fig. 3.13 from the
bottom with k
f
w/kr
e
of 5. Draw a vertical line up to intersect the r'
w
/r
e
line. A curved line should
be drawn to the right vertical axis from the intersection of k
f
w/kr
e
and r'
w
/r
e
parallel to the x
f
/r
e
lines, x
f
/r
e
is then determined to be 0.2.
Therefore,
Notice, that by varying k
f
w on the horizontal axis, x
f
/r
e
and therefore x
f
will change.
Studying this graph will also show quickly where to invest time, effort and money. When the x
f
/r
e
curves become horizontal, increasing k
f
w will not result in an increase in FOI. Also, when k
f
w/kr
e
is very small, increasing x
f
has a minimal effect on FOI.
Optimizing Fractures for Secondary Recovery
When designing any fracture stimulation, engineers must consider two primary factors:
(1) designing the treatment to yield the highest productivity or injectivity per dollar cost, and
(2) designing the treatment to minimize any loss in reserves. For moderate permeability wells
under primary recovery, fracture length should be optimized to reservoir permeability and fracture
conductivity. For reservoirs under secondary recovery, the fracture length must not only be eco
nomically optimized as above, but other factors such as the impact of fracture length and fracture
orientation upon recovery must be addressed.
Two research reports by L. K. Britt,
3,4
have been published which provide significant insight into
the importance of length and fracture orientation on secondary recovery projects.These reports
drew several conclusions that are pertinent to fracture stimulation design in waterfloods:
1. The older potentiometric reservoir response models, such as McGuire and Sikora are invalid.
2. Prats' effective wellbore radius concept (Fig. 3.12), whereby the effect of a fracture upon res
ervoir response is modeled as an increased wellbore radius, is valid if frac lengths are less than
25% of the interwell distance.
3. Short fractures cause no loss in reserves, and can contribute significantly to rate acceleration.
What frac radius will be required to achieve this FOI?
x
f
/r
e
0.2 =
x
f
0.2 r
e
( ) 0.2 2640 ft ( ) = =
x
f
528 ft =
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
3
316
July 1999
Fig. 3.13  Folds of Increase vs. Relative Conductivity.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
SteadyState Reservoir Response
317 July 1999
Fig. 3.14  Folds of Increase vs. Relative Conductivity.
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
3
318
July 1999
4. Fracture length (radius) greater than 25% of the distance between injector and producer may
reduce reservoir recovery when the fracture orientation is unfavorable (injector or producer)
and improve recovery when the fracture orientation is favorable (injector to injector).
5. The economically optimum fracture stimulation for moderate permeability reservoirs (150
md) is short, with very high conductivity.
6. Insitu fracture proppant conductivity is on the order of 1030% of published laboratory data.
To verify that Prats' results were correct using Amoco's reservoir simulators, the Coning model
was used to simulate primary recovery from a fractured moderatepermeability reservoir. Runs
were made comparing productivity by combining a radial model using Prats' effective wellbore
radius to simulate the effect of the fracture, and an areal gridded model using the Coning model
with actual fracture parameters. The results were found to be nearly identical.
This comparison was further evaluated for secondary recovery by using a model to compare a frac
ture simulated in a radial mode using Prats' effective wellbore radius to an areal model for a five
spot waterflood pattern with both injectors and producers stimulated with identical fractures
(Fig. 3.15).
Increasing the fracture length on the gridded model provides the correct answer used as the basis
for the evaluation. Increasing the effective wellbore radius in the radial model to compare to that
Fig. 3.15  Validation of the Effective Wellbore Radius Concept.
FRACTURE VS. EFF. WELL RADIUS
FIVE SPOT PATTERN DEVELOPMENT
XFP/XFI EQUALS 1
PERCENT ERROR IN WATER/OIL
RATIO EVALUATED AT THE
ECONOMIC LIMIT OF 2 BDPD
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
100
80
60
40
20
0
FRACTURE HALF LENGTH/INTERWELL DISTANCE
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
E
R
R
O
R
(
%
)
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
SteadyState Reservoir Response
319 July 1999
in the areal model introduces about 10% error when the fracture length for each well reaches 25%
of the interwell distance, implying that Prats' radial flow curves are in error beyond this point.
The effect of fracture length on recovery was also evaluated for a fivespot moderate permeability
waterflood pattern. Fig. 3.16 shows the results of increasing fracture length on recovery. Recovery
is relatively unaffected for fracture lengths up to about 25% of the interwell distance. This data is
for the most unfavorable fracture orientation, where the producing well fracture is directly in line
with the injection well fracture.
It should be noted that even though recovery is about the same for short fractures, the rate of recov
ery can be significantly different. For moderate permeability, and a maximum fracture length of
25% of the interwell distance, 2 HCPV of water could be injected 2030 years sooner than if the
well were unfractured, significantly increasing the economic viability of the project. Note also that
results of a study conducted by Connie Bargas
5
indicate that unfavorable mobility recovery pro
cesses (i.e., CO
2
floods) are even more sensitive to fracture length and orientation.
When fracture stimulation is used to work over wells to restore lost injectivity or productivity, we
must ensure that the two goals stated at the beginning of this section are met. That is, fractures must
be designed to yield the maximum rate of return on investment, and must not reduce recovery due
to excessive length. In most cases, the economically optimum length will be less than the maxi
mum to affect recovery.
To assure that secondary recovery is not affected by the placement of fractures in the reservoir, the
design fracture radius should not exceed the maximums shown in Table 3.1 unless wells are favor
ably oriented.
In any situation where the potential to infill drill a field is high, some guidelines must be estab
lished for the tightest well spacing that might be drilled. The maximum design frac length should
not be allowed to exceed 25% of that interwell distance. Once a hydraulic fracture is created, and
Fig. 3.16  Loss in Secondary Recovery vs. FRAC Radius.
0 10 20 30 40 50
50
40
30
20
10
0
FRAC RADIUS/INTERWELL DISTANCE, %
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
L
O
S
S
I
N
R
E
C
O
V
E
R
Y
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3
320
July 1999
conductivity established either by proppant or by acidizing, we obviously cannot reduce that frac
length.
Table 3.1  Maximum Design Fracture Radius.
Well Spacing Frac HalfLength
10 ac 165 ft
20 ac 233 ft
40 ac 330 ft
80 ac 466 ft
160 ac 660 ft
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
SteadyState Reservoir Response
321 July 1999
Class Problem
Find: x
f
Given: k = 1 md, 160 acre spacing, Depth = 6000 ft (normal grad.), r
e
= 1320 ft
Find: x
f
for 2040, 1220, 612 Brady sand to obtain 5fold increase in production over non
damaged or stimulated wellbore.
Solution: kr
e
= 1 x 1320 = 1320 mdft
Use capacity guidelines (1 lb/ft) @ 6000 ft = 4000 psi
k
f
w  2040 500 mdft [Fig. 3.7 and Eq. (3.2)]
1220 ____________
816 ____________
What is the optimum proppant size, and why?
Explain:
Mesh k
f
w' k
f
w/kr
e
r
e
/r
w
x
f
/r
e
x
f
2040 500
1220
816
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322
July 1999
Acid Fracturing
Fracturing with acid in carbonates creates a highlyconductive, etched fracture. Fig. 3.13 can be
used for predicting performance of an acid fracturing treatment by assuming F
CD
= (i.e., infinite)
or effectively greater than 30. The line shown on Fig. 3.17 represents an infinite conductivity frac
ture (F
CD
> 30), and is equivalent to the vertical line for a specific k
f
w/kr
e
for a propped fracture
(i.e., line d on Fig. 3.14). Equivalently for a given x
f
/r
e
or FOI a horizontal line can be drawn
directly across Fig. 3.17 to determine the relationship between FOI and x
f
/r
e
.
Many carbonate wells are initially acidized and later fractured with proppant. This causes a sand
production problem after the fracture treatment because any sand in an acid channel will not be
trapped and is eventually washed into the wellbore by production fluids. Therefore, if a propped
fracture would give a larger FOI, it would be desirable to conduct this fracture initially, thereby
saving the cost of an acid treatment, obtaining more production, and reducing sand production
problems.
For 40 acre spacing, maximum acid x
f
= 150 ft, maximum k
f
w = 1300 mdft for
proppant, find if an acid frac or propped frac appears more optimumfor k = 1 md
and k = 5 md.
Infinite Conductivity
Unstimulated
defines the degree
of stimulation
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Transient Reservoir Response
325 July 1999
Fig. 3.18 also shows finite capacity fracture behavior (i.e., 1.045 1.234). In finite capacity
fractures, bilinear flow can occur. During bilinear flow, the pressure transient has not reached the
tip of the fracture; both linear flow from the reservoir to the fracture and linear flow down the
length of the fracture are occurring. The bilinear flow region, is very important for two reasons:
(1) unique fracture length cannot be found from the production response, and (2) the actual value
of conductivity insitu, k
f
wcan be determined. The loglog curves, either constant rate or pressure,
have a 1/4 slope for bilinear flow.
Fig. 3.19 shows a plot of pressure change vs. the fourth root of time for fractures with an F
CD
of
greater than 1.6, equal to 1.6, and less than 1.6, respectively. In addition, the lower portion of
Fig. 3.19 shows the effect of damage on the fourth root of time behavior. The upper plot on
Fig. 3.19 shows that a straight line should result on a pressure change vs. fourth root of time if the
fracture is in bilinear flow. It also shows howthe data deviates fromthe straight line (bilinear flow)
is a qualitative indicator of F
CD
. If, for example, the data deviates up from the bilinear flow line
this indicates that F
CD
is greater than 1.6. Conversely, if the data deviates downward fromthe bilin
ear flow line the F
CD
< 1.6. The lower plot on Fig. 3.19 indicates that if the bilinear flow line does
not go through the origin, the entrance to the fracture is damaged. This loss of production can result
from:
inadequate perforations  reperforate and/or redesign perforations on subsequent wells,
turbulent flow  increase proppant size/concentration,
over displacement of proppant  do not overflush,
kill fluid was dumped into the fracture  let fracture clean up before conducting test.
Fig. 3.20 shows an example of these plots and the indicated k
f
w.
The data in Fig. 3.20 deviates downward from the bilinear flow line qualitatively indicating that
the F
CD
is less than 1.6. Since F
CD
is low, efforts should be made to either increase fracture con
ductivity, reduce fracture length, or both. A more complete presentation of the transient response
of fractured wells is included in the Pressure Transient Analysis manual from the PTA course
given by the Training Center. Because of the importance of bilinear flow in the analysis of frac
tured reservoirs and the improvement of treatment design, the section on bilinear flow from the
PTA course is included in this chapter for ease of reference.
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
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326
July 1999
Fig. 3.19  Bilinear Flow on Fourth Root of Time Plot.
Fig. 3.20  Example of Bilinear Flow Analysis.
FCD > 1.6
END OF BILINEAR FLOW
SLOPE = mbf
p
,
p
s
i
FCD < 1.6
t
1/4
, hours
1/4
BILINEAR
DAMAGE OR
CHOKED FRACTURE
IDEAL
t
1/4
, hours
1/4
ps
0
0
p
,
p
s
i
Mbf = 134
Kfw = 1168/RcD = 1320 mdft
BILINEAR FLOW ANALYSIS
NORTH COWDEN UNIT WELL  A
Downward Deviation
From Bilinear Flow
Line indicates FCD is
less than 1.6
AMERADA BOMB
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
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327 July 1999
3.4 Bilinear Flow  Liquid Reservoirs (Reproduction of PTA Course Material)
Flow Periods For A Vertically Fractured Well
Fig. 3.21 depicts the various flow periods which are associated with finite conductivity vertical
fractures.
Fracture Linear Flow
The Fracture Linear Flow, (a) on Fig. 3.21, is the first flow period which occurs in a fractured
system. Most of the fluid which enters the wellbore during this period of time is a result of expan
sion within the fracture, i.e., there is negligible fluid coming from the formation. Flow within the
fracture during this time period is linear.
Equations which can be used to predict the following formation face pressure, p
wf
, during fracture
linear flow are presented by CincoLey et al.,
6
for the constant rate case. This reference also pre
sents an equation which predicts the time when this flow period ends. Unfortunately, fracture lin
ear flow occurs at a time which is too early to be of practical use in well test analysis.
Bilinear Flow
The next flow period to occur is called Bilinear Flow, (b) on Fig. 3.21, because two types of lin
ear flow simultaneously occur. One flow is linear incompressible flow within the fracture and the
other is linear compressible flow in the formation. Most of the fluid which enters the wellbore dur
ing this flow period comes from the formation. Fracture tip effects do not affect well behavior dur
ing bilinear flow; accordingly, unless a well test is run sufficiently long for bilinear flow to end, it
will not be possible to determine fracture length from the data.
Bilinear flow was first recognized by CincoLey et al.
6
Since its introduction into literature, the
use of bilinear flow analysis to characterize both formation and fracture properties has been docu
mented.
711
The details of analyzing bilinear flow data will be detailed in subsequent discussions
beginning on page 335.
Formation Linear Flow
The analysis of Formation Linear Flow, (c) on Fig. 3.21, is covered in the Pressure Transient
Analysis course manual.
PseudoRadial Flow
The analysis of PseudoRadial Flow, (d) on Fig. 3.21, is covered in the Pressure Transient Anal
ysis course manual.
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328
July 1999
Bilinear Flow Equations
Constant Formation Face Rate
Dimensionless Pressure:
(3.5)
Dimensionless Time:
(3.6)
Dimensionless Fracture Conductivity:
(3.7)
Fig. 3.21  Flow Periods for a Vertically Fractured Well.
WELL
FRACTURE
FRACTURE
WELL
(a) FRACTURE LINEAR FLOW (b) BILINEAR FLOW
(c) FORMATION LINEAR FLOW (d) PSEUDORADIAL FLOW
FRACTURE
FRACTURE
WELL
P
D
kh p
i
p
wf
( )
141.2qB
  oil ( ) P
D
khm p ( )
1424T
q
 gas ( ) = =
t
Dxf
0.0002637kt
c
t
x
f
2
 =
F
CD
k
f
w
kx
f
 =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Bilinear Flow  Liquid Reservoirs (Reproduction of PTA Course Material)
329 July 1999
Bilinear Flow Equation:
(3.8)
(3.9)
Bilinear Slope (graph of p
i
p
wf
vs. t
1/4
):
(3.10)
Constant Formation Face Pressure
Dimensionless Rate:
(3.11)
Bilinear Flow Equation:
(3.12)
(3.13)
Bilinear Slope (graph 1/q of vs. t
1/4
):
(3.14)
Note: The equations presented in this section are written specifically for pressure drawdown tests.
These equations can be modified for pressure buildup tests by replacing the pressure differ
P
D
2.45 t
Dx
f
1 4 /
F
CD
1\/2
 =
p
i
p
wf
44.1qB
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4
 t
1/4
=
m
bf
494qT
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
kc
t
( )
1/4
 =
q
D
141.2qB
kh p
i
p
wf
( )
  (oil) q
D
1424Tq
khm p ( )
 (gas) = =
1
q
D

2.72 t
Dx
f
1/4
F
CD
1/2
 =
1
q
 
48.9B
p
i
p
wf
( )h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4
 t
1/4
oil ( ) = =
1
q
 
494T
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
kc
t
( )
1/4
m p ( )
 t
1/4
(gas) = =
m
bf
48.9B
p
i
p
wf
( )h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4
 (oil) =
m
bf
494T
h k
fw
( )
1/2
kc
t
( )
1/4
m p ( )
 (gas) =
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330
July 1999
ential , and the producing time, t, with appropriate values as shown in the fol
lowing table:
Bilinear Flow Graphs
Constant Formation Face Rate
When the rate of a well is maintained constant, the pressure change at the formation face is
described by Eq. (3.9). This equation indicates that a plot of p
i
p
wf
(p
ws
p
wf
) for buildup tests) vs.
t
1/4
(t
1/4
for buildup tests) will yield a straight line with slope, m
bf
, predicted by Eq. (3.10). The
plot of pressure change vs. fourth root of time is illustrated by Fig. 3.22. When bilinear flow ends,
the straight line will end and the plot will exhibit curvature which is concave upward or downward
depending upon the value of the dimensionless fracture conductivity, F
CD
. When F
CD
1.6, the
curve will be concave downward; a value of F
CD
> 1.6 will cause the curve to be concave upward.
When F
CD
> 1.6, bilinear flow ends because the fracture tip begins to affect wellbore behavior. If
a pressure transient test is not run sufficiently long for bilinear flow to end when F
CD
> 1.6, it is not
possible to determine the length of the fracture. When F
CD
1.6, bilinear flow in the reservoir
changes from predominately onedimensional (linear) to a twodimensional flow regime. In this
case, it is not possible to uniquely determine fracture length even if bilinear flow does end during
the test.
Test Differential Time
Drawdown p = p
i
p
wf
t
Buildup p = p
ws
p
wf
t or t
e
Fig. 3.22  Bilinear Flow Graph for a Constant Rate Well.
p p
i
p
wf
=
F
CD
> 1.6
END OF
BILINEAR FLOW
SLOPE = mbf
t
1/4
, hours
1/4
p
,
p
s
i
F
CD
< 1.6
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Bilinear Flow  Liquid Reservoirs (Reproduction of PTA Course Material)
331 July 1999
A more diagnostic plot to recognize the occurrence of bilinear flow is the loglog plot. From
Eq. (3.9),
(3.15)
Eq. (3.15) indicates that a loglog plot of p
i
p
wf
vs. t will yield a straight line with a onefourth
slope; this is illustrated by Fig. 3.23.
Constant Formation Face Pressure
When formation face pressure remains constant, the formation face rate will change with time as
described by Eq. (3.13). According to Eq. (3.13), a plot of 1/q vs. t
1/4
should yield a straight line
with slope, m
bf
, defined by Eq. (3.14) this plot is depicted by Fig. 3.24. Following the end of the
bilinear flow period, the curve for will be concave downward and the curve for F
CD
>
2.8 will be concave upward. The straight line caused by bilinear flow ends for the same reasons as
described for the constant rate case.
Eq. (3.13) also indicates that a loglog plot of 1/q vs. t should yield a straight line with a slope of
onefourth:
(3.16)
The plot illustrated by Fig. 3.25, is the primary diagnostic tool by which bilinear flow can be rec
ognized.
Fig. 3.23  Loglog Plot Illustrating the Effect of Ideal Bilinear Flow for the Constant Rate Case.
p
i
p
wf
( ) log
44.1qB
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4

1
4
 t . log + log =
SLOPE = 1/4
t, hours
p
,
p
s
i
F
CD
2.8
1
q
 
,
_
log
48.9B
p
i
p
wf
( )h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4

1
4
 t . log + log =
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July 1999
Fig. 3.24  Bilinear Flow Graph for a Constant Pressure Well.
Fig. 3.25  Loglog Plot Showing Effect of Ideal Bilinear Flow for the Constant Rate Case.
FCD > 2.8
END OF
BILINEAR FLOW
SLOPE = mbf
t
1/4
, hours
1/4
D
p
,
p
s
i
FCD < 2.8 1/q
SLOPE = 1/4
t, hours
D
p
,
p
s
i
1/q
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333 July 1999
End of Bilinear Flow
Constant Formation Face Rate
The relationship between (t
Dxf
)
ebf
and F
CD
is depicted graphically by Fig. 3.26. This relationship
can be approximated as:
(3.17)
(3.18)
(3.19)
For the case where F
CD
3, the dimensionless pressure at the end of bilinear flow is
(3.20)
Therefore,
(3.21)
and,
(3.22)
Constant Formation Face Pressure
The relationship between (t
Dxf
)
ebf
and F
CD
is presented graphically by Fig. 3.27. This relationship
can be approximated by the following equations:
(3.23)
2 < F
CD
< 5: See Fig. 3.27
(3.24)
For the case where F
CD
5,
F
CD
3: t
Dxf
( )
ebf
0.1
F
CD
2

1.6 F
CD
3: t
Dxf
( )
ebf
0.0205 F
CD
1.5 ( )
1.53
< <
F
CD
1.6: t
Dxf
( )
ebf
4.55
F
CD
 2.5
,
_
4
p
D
( )
ebf
1.38
F
CD
 . =
F
CD
1.38
p
D
( )
ebf
 =
F
CD
194.9qB
kh p
i
p
wf
( )
ebf
 . =
F
CD
5: t
Dxf
( )
ebf
6.94 10
2
F
CD
2
 =
0.5 F
CD
2: t
Dxf
( )
ebf
1.58 10
3
F
CD
1.6
=
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July 1999
(3.25)
Therefore,
(3.26)
and,
(3.27)
Fig. 3.26  Dimensionless Time for the End of the Bilinear Flow Period vs. Dimensionless Fracture
Conductivity, Constant Rate Case.
6
10
1
1
10
1
10
2
1
10
1
10
2
10
3
10
4
10
5
F
CD
(
t
D
x
f
)
e
b
f
1
q
D
( )
ebf

1.40
F
CD
 . =
F
CD
1.40 q
D
( )
ebf
=
F
CD
197.7q
ebf
B
kh p
i
p
wf
( )
  . =
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Bilinear Flow  Liquid Reservoirs (Reproduction of PTA Course Material)
335 July 1999
Analysis of Bilinear Flow Data
The conventional analysis of bilinear flowdata requires two plots  a loglog plot of the appropriate
rate or pressure function vs. t, and a cartesian plot of the appropriate rate or pressure function vs.
t
1/4
.
LiquidConstant Rate
The following procedure can be used to analyze bilinear flow data for fracture conductivity and
fracture length when the production rate is constant:
1. Make a loglog plot of (p
i
p
wf
) vs. equivalent producing time, t
p
.
2. Determine if any data fall on a straight line of quarter slope.
3. If any data form a quarter slope in Step 2, plot p
i
p
wf
vs. t
1/4
on cartesian paper and identify the
data which form the bilinear flow straight line.
4. Determine the slope, m
bf
, of the bilinear flow straight line.
5. Using the slope, m
bf
, from Step 4, compute the fracture conductivity, k
f
w, using Eq. (3.10):
(3.28)
It should be noted that this calculation can only be made if k is known from a prefrac test.
6. If the bilinear flow straight line ends and the data rise above the straight line, determine the
value of p, i.e., p
ebf
, at which the line ends. Then, from Eq. (3.24), F
CD
can be computed as
(3.24)
with F
CD
known, the fracture length can be computed using Eq. (3.7):
(3.29)
It should be noted that Eq. (3.24) assumes F
CD
3. If enough data is available beyond bilinear
flow, a type curve match should be attempted to verify that this is true.
k
f
w
44.1qB
m
bf
h c
t
k ( )
1/4

2
. =
F
CD
194.9qB
kh p
i
p
wf
( )
ebf
 . =
x
f
k
f
w
kF
CD
 . =
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July 1999
LiquidConstant Pressure
When formation face pressure remains constant during a test, the following procedure can be used
to analyze the bilinear flow data for fracture conductivity and fracture length:
1. Make a loglog plot of 1/q vs. t.
2. Determine if any data fall on a straight line of quarter slope.
3. If any data in Step 2 form a quarter slope, plot 1/q vs. t
1/4
on cartesian paper and determine the
slope, m
bf
, of the bilinear flow straight line.
4. Using the slope, m
bf
, from Step 3, compute the fracture conductivity, k
f
w, using Eq. (3.14)
Fig. 3.27  Dimensionless Time to the End of Bilinear Flow for Constant Pressure Production.
9
F
CD
= 5
10
1
10
2
10
3
10
4
10
5
10
1
10
2
1 2.8 10
(
t
D
x
f
)
e
b
f
F
CD
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Bilinear Flow  Liquid Reservoirs (Reproduction of PTA Course Material)
337 July 1999
(3.30)
5. If the bilinear flow line ends and the data rise above the straight line, determine the value of q
where the line ends, i.e., q
ebf
. Then, from Eq. (3.27), F
CD
can be computed as
(3.27)
With F
CD
known, the fracture length can be computed using Eq. (3.24):
(3.29)
Eq. (3.27) assumes F
CD
5 ;accordingly, if enough data are available beyond bilinear flow, a
type curve match should be attempted to verify that this is true.
Effect of Flow Restrictions
When a flowrestriction exists in the formation adjacent to the fracture, or when a restriction occurs
in the fracture near the wellbore, the ideal bilinear flow behavior discussed previously, shown by
Fig. 3.22 and Fig. 3.24 will be altered. Ideal bilinear flow results in a straight line on a cartesian
plot of p (constant rate) or 1/q (constant pressure) vs. t; further, this line passes through the origin.
Bilinear flow still exists when a flow restriction is present; however, the restriction causes an extra
pressure drop, p
s
, in the system. This additional pressure loss does not alter the slope, m
bf
, of the
bilinear flow straight line; instead, rather than passing through the origin, the line will have an
intercept equal to p
s
for the constant rate case. This behavior is depicted by Fig. 3.28.
Fig. 3.28  Effect of a Flow Restriction on Bilinear Flow, Constant Rate Case.
k
f
w
48.9B
m
bf
p
i
p
wf
( )h c
t
h ( )
1/4

2
. =
F
CD
197.7q
ebf
B
kh p
i
p
wf
( )
 . =
x
f
k
f
w
k F
CD
 . =
DAMAGE OR
CHOKED FRACTURE
IDEAL
t
1/4
, hours
1/4
ps
0
0
p
,
p
s
i
{
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July 1999
A loglog plot of p (constant rate) or 1/q (constant pressure) vs. t will exhibit a straight line with
quarter slope for ideal bilinear flow. The slope of this line will be altered, however, when a flow
restriction is present. This nonideal behavior is depicted by Fig. 3.25 for the constant rate case.
Effect of Wellbore Storage
Wellbore storage will alter or completely mask the bilinear flow straight lines ideally expected on
the cartesian and loglog plots of p or 1/q vs. t
1/4
and p or 1/q vs. time, respectively. Fig. 3.30
depicts the effect of storage on a plot of p vs. t
1/4
for the constant rate case. The corresponding
effect of storage on the loglog plot is shown in Fig. 3.31. It has been reported by CincoLey et al.,
6
that the end of wellbore storage effects occurs approximately three log cycles after the end of the
unit slope line.
Fig. 3.29  Effect of a Flow Restriction on the Loglog Plot for the Constant Rate Case.
DAMAGE OR
CHOKED FRACTURE
SLOPE = 1/4
t, hrs
p
,
p
s
i
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339 July 1999
Fig. 3.30  Effect of Wellbore Storage on a Plot of p vs. t
1/4
for the Constant Rate Case.
Fig. 3.31  Effect of Wellbore Storage on the Loglog Plot for the Constant Rate Case.
p
,
p
s
i
IDEAL BILINEAR
FLOW
EFFECT OF
WELLBORE STORAGE
t, hrs
p
,
p
s
i
t, hrs
SLOPE = 1/4
UNIT SLOPE
= 3 LOG CYCLES
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3.5 Bilinear Flow  Gas Reservoirs
Bilinear Flow Equations
Constant Formation Face Rate
Dimensionless Pressure:
(3.31)
Dimensionless Time:
(3.6)
Dimensionless Fracture Conductivity:
(3.7)
Bilinear Flow Equation:
(3.8)
(3.32)
Bilinear Slope (graph of m(p) vs. t
1/4
):
(3.33)
Constant Formation Face Pressure
Dimensionless Rate:
(3.34)
P
D
kh m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( ) [ ]
1424qT
  =
t
Dxf
0.0002637kt
c
t
x
f
2
 =
F
CD
k
f
w
kx
f
 =
P
D
2.45 t
Dx
f
1 4 /
F
CD
1\/2
 =
m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( )
444.6qT
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4
 t
1/4
=
m
bf
444.6qT
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4
 =
q
D
1424qT
kh m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( ) [ ]
  =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Bilinear Flow  Gas Reservoirs
341 July 1999
Bilinear Flow Equation:
(3.12)
(3.35)
Bilinear Slope (graph of 1/q vs. t
1/4
):
(3.36)
NOTE: The equations presented in this section are written specifically for pressure drawdown
tests. These equations can be modified for pressure buildup tests by replacing the
pseudopressure differential, m(p), and the producing time, t, with appropriate values as
shown in the following table:
Bilinear Flow Graphs
Constant Formation Face Rate
When the rate of a gas well is maintained constant, the pressure change at the formation face is
described by Eq. (3.32). This equation indicates that a plot of m(p
i
)m(p
wf
) vs. t
1/4
for drawdown
tests, or m(p
ws
)m(p
wf
) for buildup tests, will yield a straight line with slope, m
bf
, predicted by
Eq. (3.33). This plot described by Eq. (3.32) is illustrated by Fig. 3.24. When bilinear flow ends,
the straight line will end and the data will exhibit curvature which is concave upward or downward
depending upon the value of the dimensionless fracture conductivity, F
CD
. When F
CD
1.6, the
curve will be concave downward, a value of F
CD
> 1.6 will cause the curve to be concave upward .
When F
CD
> 1.6, bilinear flow ends because the fracture tip begins to affect wellbore behavior. If
a pressure transient test is not run sufficiently long for bilinear flow to end when F
CD
> 1.6, it is
not possible to determine the length of the fracture. When F
CD
1.6, bilinear flow in the reservoir
changes from predominately onedimensional (linear) to a twodimensional flow regime. In this
case, it is not possible to uniquely determine fracture length even if bilinear flow does end during
the test.
A more diagnostic plot to recognize bilinear flow is the loglog plot. From Eq. (3.32)
Test Pseudopressure Differential Time
Drawdown m(p) = m (pi)m(pwf) t
Buildup m(p) = m(p
ws
)mp(p
wf
) t or t
e
1
q
D

2.72 t
Dx
f
1/4
F
CD
1/2
 =
1
q

493.6T
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4
m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( ) [ ]
 t
1/4
=
m
bf
493.6T
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4
m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( ) [ ]
 =
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342
July 1999
(3.37)
Eq. (3.37) indicates that a loglog plot of m(p
i
)m(p
wf
) vs. t will yield a straight line with a one
fourth slope; this is illustrated by Fig. 3.35.
Constant Formation Face Pressure
When formation face pressure remains constant, the formation face rate will change with time as
described by Eq. (3.35). According to Eq. (3.35), a plot of 1/q vs. t
1/4
should yield a straight line
with slope, m
bf
, defined by Eq. (3.36) this graph is depicted by Fig. 3.24. Following the end of the
bilinear flowperiod, the curve for F
CD
2.8 will be concave downward and the curve for F
CD
> 2.8
will be concave upward. The straight line for bilinear flow ends for the same reasons presented for
the constant rate case on page 341. Eq. (3.35) also indicates that a loglog plot of 1/q vs. t should
yield a straight line with a slope of onefourth:
(3.38)
The loglog plot of pressure change vs. time, illustrated by Fig. 3.35, is the primary diagnostic tool
by which bilinear flow can be recognized.
Fig. 3.32  Bilinear Flow Graph for a Constant Pressure Well.
F
CD
> 1.6
END OF
BILINEAR FLOW
SLOPE = m
bf
t
1/4
, hours
1/4
p
,
p
s
i
F
CD
< 1.6
m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( ) [ ] log
444.6qT
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4

1
4
 t . log + log =
1 of q ( ) log
493.6T
h k
f
w ( )
1/2
c
t
k ( )
1/4
m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( )

1
4
 t . log + log =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Bilinear Flow  Gas Reservoirs
343 July 1999
End of Bilinear Flow
Constant Formation Face Rate
The relationship between (t
Dxf
)
ebf
and F
CD
for constant formation face rate is depicted graphically
by Fig. 3.37. This relationship can be approximated as:
(3.17)
Fig. 3.33  Loglog Plot Showing Effect of Ideal Bilinear Flow for the Constant Gas Rate Well.
Fig. 3.34  Bilinear Flow Graph for a Constant Pressure Well.
SLOPE = 1/4
t, hours
p
,
p
s
i
FCD > 1.6
END OF
BILINEAR FLOW
SLOPE = mbf
t
1/4
, hours
1/4
p
,
p
s
i
FCD < 1.6
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July 1999
(3.19)
(3.20)
For the case where F
CD
3, the dimensionless pressure at the end of bilinear flow is
(3.39)
Therefore,
(3.40)
and,
(3.41)
Constant Formation Face Pressure
The relationship between (t
Dxf
)
ebf
and F
CD
for constant formation face pressure is presented graph
ically by Fig. 3.37. This relationship can be approximated by the following equations:
Fig. 3.35  Loglog Plot Illustrating the Effect of Ideal Bilinear Flow for the Constant Pressure Case.
SLOPE = 1/4
t, hours
p
,
p
s
i
1.6 F
CD
3: t
Dxf
( )
ebf
0.0205 F
CD
1.5 ( )
1.53
< <
F
CD
1.6: t
Dxf
( )
ebf
4.55
F
CD
 2.5
,
_
4
p
D
( )
ebf
1.38
F
CD
 . =
F
CD
1.38
p
D
( )
ebf
 =
F
CD
1965.1qT
kh m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( ) [ ]
ebf
  . =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Bilinear Flow  Gas Reservoirs
345 July 1999
(3.23)
2 < F
CD
< 5: See Fig. 3.37
(3.24)
For the case where F
CD
5,
(3.25)
Fig. 3.36  Dimensionless Time for the End of the Bilinear Flow Period vs. Dimensionless Fracture
Conductivity, Constant Formation Face Rate Case.
6
10
1
1
10
1
10
2
1
10
1
10
2
10
3
10
4
10
5
F
CD
(
t
D
x
f
)
e
b
f
F
CD
5: t
Dxf
( )
ebf
6.94 10
2
F
CD
2

1
q
D
( )
ebf

1.40
F
CD
 . =
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346
July 1999
Therefore,
(3.26)
and
(3.42)
Analysis of Bilinear Flow Data
The conventional analysis of bilinear flowdata requires two plots  a loglog plot of the appropriate
rate or pressure function vs. t, and a cartesian plot of the appropriate rate or pressure function vs.
t
1/4
.
Fig. 3.37  Dimensionless Time to the End of the Bilinear Flow for Constant Pressure Production.
9
F
CD
= 5
10
1
10
2
10
3
10
4
10
5
10
1
10
2
1 2.8 10
(
t
D
x
f
)
e
b
f
F
CD
F
CD
1.40 q
D
( )
ebf
=
F
CD
1988Tq
ebf
kh m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( ) [ ]
  . =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Bilinear Flow  Gas Reservoirs
347 July 1999
GasConstant Rate
The following procedure can be used to analyze bilinear flow data for fracture conductivity and
fracture length. When rate is constant:
1. Make a loglog plot of m(p
i
)m(p
wf
) vs. t.
2. Determine if any data fall on a straight line of quarterslope.
3. If any data in Step 2 form a quarterslope, plot m(p
i
)m(p
wf
) vs. t
1/4
on cartesian paper and iden
tify the data which form the bilinear flow straight line.
4. Determine the slope, m
bf
, of the bilinear flow straight line.
5. Using the slope, m
bf
, from Step 4, compute the fracture conductivity, k
f
w, using Eq. (3.33):
(3.43)
It should be noted that this calculation can only be made if k is known from a prefrac test.
6. If the bilinear flow straight line ends and the data rise above the straight line, determine the
value of m(p), i.e., [m(p)]
ebf
, at which the line ends. Then, from Eq. (3.42), F
CD
can be com
puted as
(3.42)
With F
CD
known, the fracture length can be computed using Eq. (3.7):
(3.29)
It should be noted that Eq. (3.43) assumes F
CD
3. If enough data is available beyond bilinear
flow, a type curve match should be attempted to verify that this is true.
GasConstant Pressure
When formation face pressure remains constant during a test, the following procedure can be used
to analyze the bilinear flow data for fracture conductivity and fracture length:
1. Make a loglog plot of 1/q vs. t.
2. Determine if any data fall on a straight line of quarter slope.
k
f
w
444.6qT
m
bf
h c
t
k ( )
1/4

2
=
F
CD
1965.1qT
kh m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( ) [ ]
ebf
  . =
x
f
k
f
w
kF
CD
 . =
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
3
348
July 1999
3. If any data in Step 2 form a quarterslope, plot 1/q vs. t
1/4
on cartesian paper and determine the
slope, m
bf
, of the bilinear flow straight line.
4. Using the slope, m
bf
, from Step 3, compute the fracture conductivity, k
f
w, using Eq. (3.38):
(3.44)
5. If the bilinear flow line ends and the data rise above the straight line, determine the value of q
where the line ends, i.e., q
ebf
. Then, from Eq. (3.43), F
CD
can be computed as
(3.42)
With F
CD
known, the fracture length can be computed using Eq. (3.29):
(3.29)
Eq. (3.29) assumes F
CD
5; accordingly, if enough data are available beyond bilinear flow, a
type curve match should be attempted to verify that this is true.
k
f
w
493.6T
m
bf
h c
t
k ( )
1/4
m p
i
( ) m p
wi
( ) [ ]

2
=
F
CD
1988Tq
ebf
kh m p
i
( ) m p
wf
( ) [ ]
  . =
x
f
k
f
w
kF
CD
 . =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
References
349 July 1999
3.6 References
1. Smith, M. B.: Effect of Fracture Azimuth on Production With Application to the Wattenberg Gas Field, paper
SPE 8298 presented at the 1979 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Las Vegas, Sept. 2326
2. Prats, M.: Effect of Vertical Fractures on Reservoir Behavior  Incompressible Fluid Case, SPEJ (June 1961)
10518; Trans., AIME, 222.
3. Britt, L. K.: Optimized Oil Well Fracturing, Phase I Report, Amoco Production Company Report F84P23
(May 25, 1984).
4. Britt, L. K.: Optimized Oil Well Fracturing, Phase II Report, Analysis of the Effects of Fracturing on the Sec
ondary Recovery Process; Amoco Production Company Report F85P7 (Jan. 24, 1985).
5. Bargas, C. L.: The Effects of Vertical Fractures on the Areal Sweep Efficiency and Relative Injectivity of Ad
verse Mobility Ratio Displacements, Amoco Production Company Report F89P13 (Feb. 13, 1989).
6. CincoLey, H. and SamaniegoV., F.: Transient Pressure Analysis for Fractured Wells, JPT (Sept. 1981) 1749
66.
7. CincoLey, H. and SamaniegoV., F.: Transient Pressure Analysis: Finite Conductivity Fracture Case vs. Dam
aged Fracture Case; paper SPE 10179, presented at the 1981 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San
Antonio, Oct. 57.
8. CincoLey, H.: Evaluation of Hydraulic Fracturing by Transient Pressure Analysis Methods, paper SPE 10043,
presented at the 1982 SPE Intl. Petroleum Exhibition and Technology Symposium, Beijing, March 1922.
9. Bennett, C. O., Reynolds, A. C., and Raghavan, R.: Performance of FiniteConductivity, Vertically Fractured
Wells in SingleLayer Reservoirs, SPEFE (Aug. 1986) 399412; Trans., AIME, 281.
10. Guppy, K. H., CincoLey, H., and Ramey, H. J. Jr.: Pressure Buildup Analysis of Fractured Wells Producing at
High Flow Rates, JPT (Nov. 1982) 265666.
11 Rodiquez, F., Horne, R. N., and CincoLey, H.: Partially Penetrating Vertical Fractures: Pressure Transient Be
havior of Finite Conductivity Fracture, paper SPE 13057, presented at the 1984 SPE Annual Technical Confer
ence and Exhibition, Houston, Sept. 1619.
Reservoir Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
3
350
July 1999
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
41
Chapter
March 1993
The following mechanical properties are of interest in fracturing: (1) Elastic Properties of the For
mation (i.e., Modulus of Elasticity and Poissons Ratio), (2) Fracture Toughness, and (3) Hardness.
Rock strength plays only a small role in the fracturing process and is not included in the fracture
design calculations.
4.1 Elastic Properties of the Formation
As an engineering simplification, the formation is often assumed to be a linearly elastic homoge
neous material. This simplification allows the use of solutions from the theory of elasticity to esti
mate, for example, fracture widths and stresses in the formation. However, it should always be
remembered that the formation is neither homogeneous nor isotropic. Therefore, the assumption
of a linearly elastic isotropic formation may be grossly violated, especially in poorly consolidated
formations.
Based on this simplifying assumption, formation properties can be characterized by two elastic
constants, the modulus of elasticity (or Youngs modulus), E, given in psi or units of pressure, and
Poissons ratio (in honor of the great French mathematician), , a dimensionless number as its
name implies. The modulus characterizes how stiff the formation is and quantifies how easily a
core is deformed by an axial stress (tension or compression). Poissons ratio quantifies howa core
bulges (expands or contracts laterally) by an axial compression or tension and it characterizes
(together with E) the transmittal of horizontal pressure due to the overburden.
Fracture design is greatly affected by how much the formation opens for a given pressure inside a
fracture. Fracture width depends on both fracture dimensions and formation stiffness. Fracture
width is inversely proportional to the formation plane strain modulus, E , given by
. (4.1)
Fig. 2.3 in Chap. 2 expressed this spring stiffness type relation as
(4.2)
where, for simplicitys sake, E was used instead of E . This is usually a good approximation since
a rough estimate for the Poissons ratio for most rocks is between 0.20 to 0.35. Therefore, E is
expected to be about 4 to 12% larger than E. Note that the theoretically expected values for are
E
E
1
2
( )
 =
W
D
E
 p
0
0.5
s
M
o
d
u
l
u
s
(
m
i
l
l
i
o
n
p
s
i
)
Formation Mechanical Properties
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
4
46
March 1993
Again, this dynamic modulus will be an upper bound for the static modulus used for fracture
design.
The best solution is to obtain core samples and have tangent modulus measured in a lab. If this is
impossible and E must be estimated, try to estimate on the high side. This will result in a design
with a narrower fracture width, higher net pressure and greater fracture height than should actually
occur, providing a conservative safe approach to fracture design.
Fig. 4.5  Youngs Modulus (E) vs. Acoustic Travel Time.
E x 10
6
 psi
Sand
Dolomite
Lime
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
100
80
60
40
A
c
o
u
s
t
i
c
T
r
a
v
e
l
T
i
m
e
(
m
i
c
r
o
s
e
c
o
n
d
s
/
f
t
)
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracture Toughness
47 March 1993
4.2 Fracture Toughness
Fracture toughness is one of the most elusive material properties that comes from linear fracture
mechanics. It is discussed here because it is often used in numerical simulators as a matching
parameter of the treating pressure and because there are many near fracture tip phenomena that
could appear as apparent fracture toughness.
Without getting too deep into theory, the fracture toughness concept comes from Griffiths
1
work
on the fracture of brittle solids. The fracture toughness of a material represents its natural ability
to resist the propagation of a fracture. To quote an article by Srawley and Brown,
2
In the simplest
terms, the fracture toughness of a material determines how big a crack the material is able to tol
erate without fracturing when loaded to a level approaching that at which it would fail by excessive
plastic deformation. Fracture toughness can be quantified by lab experiments (such as the three
point loading of the Chevron notch) from which the loading vs. deformation curve is plotted until
failure, and the energy spent to fracture the specimen can be calculated from this diagram. It may
be noted that loading capacity of a specific specimen depends not only on crack size, but also on
crack shape, bulk of the specimen, crack orientation with respect to layering of material (e.g. for
mation), temperature, rate of loading, etc. For this reason, it is very difficult to extrapolate labora
tory results to the field, and an indirect assessment of apparent fracture toughness is done in the
field from treating pressure behavior using fracturing simulators, as described below.
The fracture toughness is quantified by either of two related parameters: (1) the critical strain
energy release rate, G, expressed in energy per area of created fracture (not the area of the fracture
faces) in units of force/length; and (2) the critical stress intensity factor, K
c
, expressed in units of
pressure times square root of length. The relation between the two parameters for hydraulic frac
turing problems (plane strain problems) is
G = K
c
2
/E'. (4.5)
Typical laboratory range of K
c
values are given by Thiercelin
3
in Table 4.2. From Table 4.2 we see
that typical laboratory K
c
s are of the order of 900 to 2000 psi with a value of about 1500
psi being a good rough estimate. A corresponding rough estimate of fracture energy is about 1
psiin. Note that some simulators require K
c
and some require G as input.
Fracture toughness relates the pressure required to propagate a fracture with the dimensions of the
fracture. Let us consider an example from the Wattenberg field,
4
where fractures in the Muddy J
formation are highly confined by shale layers above and below the pay. Stress tests, minifrac and
fracturing treatments in the example well show that a fracture height of 90 ft is representative for
these type of calculations. Furthermore, net pressures, P
N
, on the order of 400 to 550 psi for mini
frac treatments and 2100 psi for the main fracture treatments are typical. These observations indi
cate the magnitudes of the formation toughness (i.e., critical stress intensity factor K
c
), the
confining stress contrast
c
between layers, and other rock mechanics considerations. Consider
in
in
Formation Mechanical Properties
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
4
48
March 1993
ing the lateral propagation of the fracture tip of this highly confined fracture gives estimates of the
Muddy J pay toughness, or, better, its apparent toughness.
The fracture tip is essentially a penny shaped fracture that is subjected to the net treating pressure
P
N
. There is no stress contrast confining the fracture in the horizontal direction. Therefore, fracture
toughness is expected to be a dominant confining mechanism in the horizontal direction. From
fracturing mechanics,
5
the stress intensity factor, K, in the opening mode of a penny shaped crack
under uniform pressure is given by
(4.6)
where R is the radius and P
N
the uniform net pressure. The fracture propagates when K is equal to
the formation fracture toughness, K
c
(which is a material property), and remains stationary when
K < K
c
.
The fracture tip geometry of the Wattenberg fractures is characterized by R = 45 ft = 540 in and P
N
= 500 psi. This value of net pressure is estimated from the minifrac treatment which does not have
the additional friction due to a proppant. With these values, Eq. (4.6) gives K
c
= 13110 psi . This
estimate is approximately 10 times greater than the fracture toughness of rocks measured in the lab
which have a typical toughness value of 1000 to 1500 psi . Note that this discrepancy is a com
mon phenomenon and consequently the calculated K
c
is called an apparent formation toughness.
Table 4.2 Fracture Toughness and Properties as a Function of Conning Pressure.
Lithology
Porosity
%
Youngs Modulus
Conning
Pressure K
Ic
MPa
Error 10
6
psi MPa psi MPa
% Error
psi
Mesa Verde
Sandstone

510




32,000 (3) 11%


4.8
0.
13.8
20.7
0
2068
3102
2.12 (2)
2.4 (2)
3.6 (1)
11%
17%
1993
2256
3384
Mesa Verde
Mudstone



45,000 (2)
9% 
6.7
0.
20.7
0
3102
2.12 (1)
2.6 (1)
1993
2444
Cardium
Sandstone
13


25,500 (2)

31%

3.8
0.
21.0
0
3147
0.98 (3)
3.3 (2)
14%
6%
921
3102
Berea
Sandstone


23





19,400 (2)
20,500 (1)


2%


2.9
3.1
0.
5.0
10.0
20.0
0
74
9
1499
2997
1.11 (2)
1.3 (2)
1.3 (2)
1.5 (3)
5%
8%
8%
13%
1043
1222
1222
1410
Note: the gures in parentheses show the number of samples tested.
t
m
t i n
K 2 P
N
R
c2
c2
c
c2
c1
=
Zone 2
Zone 1
Zone 3
H
i
a
b
A
B
C
D
0 1 2 3 4 5
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
Ratio Frac Height:
Initial Frac Height
H
H
i
 ( )
R
a
t
i
o
N
e
t
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
:
S
t
r
e
s
s
D
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
c
e
P
n
c







_
0
c
A
B C
D
d
Pressure
A
B
C
D
Time
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracture Height/Fracture Height Growth  3D Modeling/Design
55 December 1995
allowed to rise to 10001100 psi before the fracture will begin to grow significantly out of zone.
This would allow an ample pressure limitation for designing most fracture treatments.
Obviously, an insitu fracture closure stress profile, as seen in Fig. 5.3, is the major input data for
3D or Pseudo 3D fracture treatment design. The example in Fig. 5.3 illustrates a stress profile
generated by conducting multiple small volume, microfrac stress tests. Generally, such multiple
stress data are not available and some form of logstress correlation will be required. However,
this example illustrates another important item  namely typical (or maximum) values for
insitu stress differences. Consider data from the sandstone at ft showing a fracture closure
pressure (closure stress) of psi. Then consider the stress of psi at a depth of about
7650 ft in the Mancos Tongue Shale. This stress difference of psi at this depth represents a
stress difference of psi/ft  and this is about the maximum stress difference which has been
recorded, verified, and published. Thus, assuming some lithology differences exist, an optimistic
estimate for insitu stress differences might be:
Max Stress Difference, = 0.2 psi/ft of depth.
Fig. 5.3  Variations in Fracture Closure Stress in a Sand/Shale Sequence.
7500 t
6500 t 8000 t
1500 t
0.2 t
0
0
.
0
5
0
.
0
1
0
0
.
0
1
5
0
.
0
2
0
0
.
0
0
.
3
0
.
2
0
.
1
0
.
0
0
.
1
ft
7300
(2225m)
7400
(2255m)
7500
(2286m)
7600
(2315m)
7700
(2347m)
7800
(2377m)
7900
(2408m)
8000
(2438m)
8100
(2459m)
GAMMA (GAPI)
POROSITY
COAL
SILT
SHALE
SAND
M
A
N
C
O
S
T
O
N
G
U
E
C
O
Z
Z
E
T
T
E
M
A
N
C
O
S
T
O
N
G
U
E
R
O
L
L
I
N
S
P
A
L
U
D
A
L
6
0
0
0
7
0
0
0
8
0
0
0
9
0
0
0
STRESS (psi)
m
2250
2300
2350
2400
2450
45 50 55 60 MPa
Estimated over
burden stress
(1.05 psi/ft)
Design of Pseudo 3D Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
5
56
December 1995
The effects of lithology on insitu stress (fracture closure stresses or closure pressure) along with
the effect of closure stress variations on fracture geometry may also be seen in Fig. 5.4, a set of
field data presented by Esso Canada.
2
Fig. 5.4 compares two cases (within the same wellbore)
showing measured insitu stresses along with pre and postfrac radioactivity logs for fracture height
growth. For Case 1, several stress tests (microfrac type stress tests) were conducted in zones with
(based on differing gamma ray readings) varying lithology. This stress data showed basically a
psi/ft (e.g. normal) stress gradient  and the postfrac logs suggest massive height growth
outofzone. Case 2 shows stress data collected from two zones, both of which were perforated, and
a propped fracture treatment was conducted attempting to stimulate the two zones simultaneously.
The upper zone shows a significantly higher closure stress (associated with a different lithology)
and the postfrac logs indicate that the entire treatment entered the deeper, lower stress zone.
Thus we see examples  in the same wellbore  of lithology changes with and without associated
differences in fracture closure pressure. A guideline for interpreting stress profiles where no other
information exists might be:
There must be some change in lithology in order to expect some variations in closure pressure
 and thus some degree of fracture height confinement. However, do not try to quantify
lithology logs. That is, relatively minor apparent lithology changes could signify significant
stress differences, OR a major lithology change might have no associated stress differences.
As discussed in Chap. 4, the one exception to this would be for stress changes created by artificial
changes in reservoir pressure (e.g. depletion).
Effect Of Bed Thickness On Fracture Height Growth
In addition to the stress difference in the beds, bed thickness is important. If the bounding beds are
not infinitely thick, then we must consider their thickness to determine if the fracture might grow
completely through the bounding beds and into zones of lower stress. A 2 ft shale bounding a 10
ft pay zone is obviously not going to stop a fracture from growing out of zone, nor will a 20 ft shale
bounding a 50 ft zone. A good rule for beds immediately bounding a zone to be fractured, is that
they should be at least as thick as the zone being stimulated to confine frac height; the basis
for this ruleofthumb is discussed under Picking Fracture Height on page 512.
Consider the PressureHeight Curve as seen in Fig. 5.2b. At the point where the fracture has tri
pled in height (e.g., H/H
i
= 1 and the fracture has grown upwards a distance equal to one initial
height and downwards one initial height), net pressure has reached % of the insitu stress
difference. Also at this point, pressureheight behavior is fairly flat, that is, relatively large
amounts of height growth begin to occur for small increases in bottomhole treating pressure. Thus,
even for infinite bounding beds, fracture height will begin to increase rapidly after an upward
or downward growth about equal to one original formation thickness.
0.7 t
80 t
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracture Height/Fracture Height Growth  3D Modeling/Design
57 December 1995
Case 1
Apparent Lithology No Stress Difference
Case 2
Large Stress Differences
No FRAC in High Stress Interval
Fig. 5.4  Examples of Lithology Changes, With and Without Associated Stress Differ
ences.
Collar
Locations
2675
2700
2725
2750
Increasing Gamma Activity
Gamma Ray
PostFrac
Gamma Ray
Base
P
a
r
t
s
D
e
p
t
h
(
m
e
t
e
r
s
)
0.7 psi/ft
gradient
6
0
0
0
7
0
0
0
Closure Stress (psi)
U
p
p
e
r
Z
o
n
e
L
o
w
e
r
Z
o
n
e
Collar
Locations
2060
2060
2060
D
e
p
t
h
(
m
e
t
e
r
s
) P
e
r
f
s
P
e
r
f
s
Base
GR
PostFrac GR
Increasing Gamma Activity Closure Stress (psi)
4
0
0
0
5
0
0
0
Design of Pseudo 3D Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
5
58
December 1995
The first important effect of bed thickness then is the thickness of bounding formations as illus
trated by the four drawings in Fig. 5.5. This figure repeats the threelayer behavior discussed
above until point C is reached  e.g. the fracture has approximately tripled in height and the top
of the fracture has just reached the top of the barrier formation. At that point in time, the treating
pressure inside the fracture, near the wellbore, is considerably greater than the pressure needed to
propagate a fracture into the shallower low stress zone. Thus treating pressure will begin to drop
(sometimes fairly rapidly) as the fracture preferentially migrates into this new formation.
Fig. 5.5  Fracture Height Growth Through Finite Bounding Beds.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracture Height/Fracture Height Growth  3D Modeling/Design
59 December 1995
This can, in extreme cases, even lead to the main fracture beginning to grow shorter and can have
major (usually undesirable) effects on the ability to pump proppant, proppant placement, and on
stimulation effectiveness. Some of the treatment pumping problems which can arise from such
height growth behavior are discussed in Chap. 8. Also, some of the fracture modeling/fracture
design issues raised by such a fracture geometry are briefly discussed below.
The second major importance of bed thickness is thickness of the pay zone itself. The net pressure
which the stress and thickness of the bounding beds must counteract depends on the thickness of
the pay zone. Fig. 5.6 illustrates the net pressure required to create a 500 ft fracture for several pay
zone thicknesses. This figure shows that height growth would probably not be expected to be con
fined to a 20 ft zone at 2000 psi, but height confinement could be expected for a 200 ft zone at 200
psi. While the actual net pressures tabulated in Fig. 5.6 are for a specific case, the figure can also
be used, in a general, qualitative, sense to estimate the potential for height confinement for partic
ular zones.
The actual net pressures tabulated in Fig. 5.6 are for a specific case. However, they might also be
viewed as typical values of net treating pressure for various gross zone thicknesses. Thus, if a
formation being considered for fracturing has a gross thickness on the order of 30 ft  then net treat
ing pressure will probably be psi, and stress differences on the order of 1600 psi will be
needed to give reasonable height confinement. Assuming a formation depth of 6000 ft, the required
gradient of stress difference would be 0.27 psi/ft  good height confinement is unlikely and
extensive height growth would be expected. On the other hand, a typical net pressure for fracturing
a zone with a gross thickness of 60 ft might be on the order of 800 psi  with stress differences of
psi needed for reasonable height confinement. For a formation depth of 8000 ft, the required
Fig. 5.6  Net Pressure Required to Create a 500 ft (1/2 Length) Fracture.
1500 t
900 t
Design of Pseudo 3D Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
5
510
December 1995
gradient difference is only 0.1 psi/ft  and assuming some lithology differences exist  then fairly
good height confinement may be a reasonable possibility.
Effect Of Other Factors On Fracture Height Growth
Modulus contrast between pay and bounding beds
Interface or bedding plane slip  applicable at shallow depth?
Ductility of bounding bedmay facilitate bedding plane slip, rare
Stress gradient due to fluid pressure  generally insignificant
Fracture toughness or strength differencesprobably not a barrier
Probably the most important of the remaining variables which affects frac height (after the stress
and pressure behavior), are modulus contrasts (Fig. 5.7), and bedding plane slip (Fig. 5.8 and
Fig. 5.9).
Though not as strong a barrier as once thought, bounding beds with higher modulus than the pay
zone can retard height growth by causing fracture width in the bounding formations to be very nar
row. However, as seen in Fig. 5.7, the maximum possible L to H ratios are fairly small  that is the
height confining effect of modulus contrasts is actually quite minimal.
For shallow depths, overpressured formations, or highly jointed formations such as coals, slip may
occur along bedding planes at the top or bottom tip of the fracture, Fig. 5.8, blunting the fracture
and arresting height growth. This would be a very strong barrier; however, it probably does not
occur often in oil and gas well fracturing except possibly at the interfaces with coal seams. Slip of
this type would be required for the Geerstma de Klerk model to be applicable for fractures with
lengths greater than their height (L/H > 1).
Fig. 5.9 presents the results of a series of lab tests conducted to determine the likelihood of a
hydraulic fracture stopping at an unbonded interface between two rock layers. As seen from these
Fig. 5.7  Effect of Modulus Contrast on Fracture Containment.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracture Height/Fracture Height Growth  3D Modeling/Design
511 December 1995
results, for an effective vertical stress across the interface (e.g. overburden weight minus pore pres
sure) of only psi the fracture crossed the interface for almost all rock types. Since an effec
tive vertical stress of this magnitude would correspond to a depth of only about 2000 ft  it is clear
that interface slip will not be an effective barrier to vertical frac height growth for most oil and gas
well situations.
Fracture closure pressure or closure stress generally increases with depth, with a typical gradient
of psi/ft  e.g. for each 100 ft increase in depth, closure pressure will increase by 70 psi. This
increase in closure stress is generally greater than the increase (with depth) in fluid pressure inside
the fracture due to the hydrostatic gradient of the fluid. As an example, consider a fracture 200 ft
in height which is filled with a water based fluid. Closure stress at the bottom of the fracture is
greater by about 140 psi than closure stress at the top; at the same time the driving fluid pressure
at the bottom is greater by psi (assuming a hydrostatic gradient of 0.43 psi/ft for water). Thus
net pressure (e.g. driving fluid pressure minus closure pressure) is about 54 psi less at the bottom
of the fracture than at the top. Thus the fracture would have some tendency to grow upward rather
than downward.
However, for many (most?) fracturing cases net pressure may have a typical value on the order of
500 to 1000 psi  thus a difference (over the height) of psi in net pressure is relatively insig
nificant. Stress gradients, then, only become significant in affecting fracture height growth for
cases where significant height already exists (e.g. several hundred feet), or for cases of very low
net pressure (e.g. typically associated with low modulus formations and/or the pumping of very
low viscosity fluids).
Fig. 5.8  Illustration of Fracture Interface
Slip.
Fig. 5.9 Interface Slip vs. Stress.
1000 t
0.7 t
86 t
50 t
Design of Pseudo 3D Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
5
512
December 1995
Picking Fracture Height
(Estimating the Insitu Stress Prole)
Obviously, normal strata are not as simple as the idealized case described in Fig. 5.10, but the prin
ciples are still applicable. If the bounding beds are not infinitely thick, then we must ensure that
they are of adequate thickness so the fracture does not grow completely through them and into a
zone of lower stress. A 2 ft shale bounding a 10 ft pay zone is obviously not going to stop a fracture
from growing out of zone. As discussed on page 56, a good rule for beds immediately bounding
a zone to be fractured is that they must be at least as thick as the zone being treated. Still, there will
be some height growth into the bounding layers with the final magnitude of fracture height being
predominantly determined by the stress difference between the pay and the bounding forma
tions. Thus predicting or picking fracture height becomes an exercise in estimating (or measuring)
the insitu closure stress for various zones.
There are tools which may, under some conditions, possibly aid in determining the insitu stress
profile. However, in general, consideration of two dominant parameters will aid in constructing
reasonable estimates of insitu stresses.
Factors Which Dominate Insitu Stress Differences
Lithology Changes
Pore Pressure
Pore Pressure Variations
Fig. 5.10  Illustration of Stress Gradient Effect on Frac Height Growth.
Generally Insignificant Except in Case of Unrestrained
Vertical Growth Where Height Becomes Very Big
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracture Height/Fracture Height Growth  3D Modeling/Design
513 December 1995
One minimum consideration for height confinement is significant lithology changes as seen with
a Gamma Ray log. Shales often have higher closure stresses than clean sands so thick boundary
shales can confine fractures. Such confinement is not always the case, but the lack of lithology
changes virtually ensures unrestricted height growth or radially shaped fractures. Thus a change in
lithology makes it possible for stress differences to exist. However, one should not try to quan
tify a Gamma Ray log, e.g., if a lithology difference exists, then stress differences may exist and
fracturing pressure analysis (as discussed in Chap. 8) must be used to determine the magnitude of
the stress differences.
As discussed, closure stress is related to reservoir pressure. Therefore, a reservoir that has been
drawn down, as in a producing well, is likely to have a lower closure stress than normal in the pay
zone, and consequently a higher stress differential between pay and the bounding beds, improving
chances for height confinement. On the other hand, height confinement could be more difficult to
achieve in an injection well due to pressuring up of the pay zone. Thus pore pressure and pore pres
sure differences between zones (e.g. due to partial depletion from offset production) is a major fac
tor to consider in estimating insitu stresses. Fracture closure stress is generally related to pore
pressure by
3
(5.2)
where OB = Overburden Pressure 1 psi/ft, p = pore pressure, = Poissons ratio, Sandstones
= 25, and Carbonates = .33.
Inspection of Eq. (5.2) for a typical sandstone reservoir with a Poissons ratio, of 0.25 indi
cates that for every psi change in reservoir pressure there is a corresponding 2/3 of a psi change in
closure pressure. Thus a depletion of 1500 psi in a sandstone will typically cause a reservoir clo
sure pressure to decrease by about 1000 psi. Since there should presumably be no pore pressure
reduction in the surrounding impermeable shales, this 1000 psi decrease in the pay zone closure
pressure would be added to any naturally existing stress differences and very good height con
finement can exist in depleted formations. Further inspection of Eq. (5.2) for a typical carbonate
reservoir would show a 1/2 psi change in closure pressure for every psi change in reservoir pres
sure.
Special logs have been developed and marketed which may, sometimes be of value in determining
the insitu stress profile (see Chap. 10). However, these logs are based on simple, elasticity
assumptions and should be treated with extreme caution. For sand/shale sequence geology, there
is often some relative truth in the logs and the actual stresses can frequently be successfully cal
ibrated against the log derived stress values. Carbonate geology tends to be more complex and
the value of the logs is more questionable. In either case, however, the raw information from the
logs should never be used. If test procedures are not planned in order to calibrate the logs  then
the logs should not be run.
1

,
_
OB p ( ) p + =
f
Design of Pseudo 3D Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
5
522
December 1995
The C
I
effect is primarily governed by the viscosity of the filtrate of the fracturing fluid. Since the
viscosity is generally very small (i.e., < 1 cp), the C
I
term is generally large for current fracturing
fluids and is not effective for fluid loss control. This is not the case for very viscous oils such as
those used during the 50s and 60s.
The reservoir fluid viscositycompressibility (i.e., formation fluid) effect can be obtained from the
following equation:
(5.6)
The C
II
effect is primarily governed by the compressibility, c
t
and therefore is very important for
liquid filled reservoirs such as oil wells or water injection wells. These generally have a very low
c
t
compared to gas reservoirs. However, the C
II
term has negligible control in gas reservoirs which
have a relatively high c
t
(c
t gas
= 1/p
r gas
).
Permeability to the reservoir fluids (k
HC
) (millidarcies) should be measured by a pressure transient
test. Viscosity and compressibility of the reservoir fluids should be determined as in a pressure
transient analysis (e.g., lab tests, tables, or calculations).
The wall building effect for the fluid loss coefficient is determined from data obtained experimen
tally in a laboratory as shown in Fig. 5.16. A standard fluid loss test is conducted in a high pres
surehigh temperature Baroid filter press containing core samples or filter paper. The fluid loss test
is run with a pressure differential of 1000 psi as standard, although may be much larger, i.e.,
3000 psi. Additional work is required on the effect of which is currently assumed to be neg
ligible.
For very low k rocks (< .1 md), the tests should be run using filter paper instead of cores. Other
wise, the data for C
III
will be erroneous due p of the filtrate through the core during the early por
tion of the test which has a high loss rate. The fluid loss in cubic centimeters is measured at time
intervals of 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, and 36 minutes; and these fluid loss values are then plotted on straight
coordinate paper against the square root of time in minutes (Fig. 5.16). The experimental fluid loss
coefficient is then calculated as follows:
(5.7)
where m is the slope of the plotted data (cc/ ) and A is the cross sectional area (cm
2
) of the core
wafer.
Normally, C
III
is furnished by the fracturing service company. For critical treatments, fluid loss
tests for the specific fluid and insitu conditions should be requested.
C
II
0.374 p
k
HC
c
t
HC
1000
HC
 =
p
p
C
III
0.0164m/A =
t
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fluid Loss
523 December 1995
Fig. 5.17 shows a qualitative comparison of C
III
values for different fluids based on laboratory data
from low permeability cores. These test data were run at 150 F and one polymer loading. At
250 F, it has been found that the C
III
values for most frac fluids increased by a factor of 1.5 to 2
because of the reduced viscosity of the filtrate through the wall (Fig. 5.15). Keep in mind that the
data in Fig. 5.17 is approximate and the wall building ability of a fracturing fluid depends on for
mation temperature, and the fracturing fluid type and polymer loading under consideration.
The addition of 5%hydrocarbon to crosslinked water systems (Type III, on Fig. 5.17) can be a very
effective loss control additive for permeabilities less than 1 md and is generally recommended. The
addition of a hydrocarbon dispersion works primarily by reducing the relative permeability of the
polymer cake to water and by droplet plugging of pore throats. Adding the second (oil) phase
reduces the relative permeability to water. Since the hydrocarbon works primarily in the polymer
cake, this technique provides little benefit if most of the fluid loss is C
I
or C
II
controlled, as in high
permeability reservoirs. The effect of droplet plugging on a lowpermeability formation also makes
wall building fluid loss control important for emulsion and foam fluids.
Solid fluid loss additives are sometimes required for efficient fracturing in moderate to high per
meability or naturally fractured reservoirs. These agents work by blocking the larger pore throats
(i.e., required to form wall building) and fractures. Fig. 5.18 shows the effect of silica flour (Hal
liburton's WAC9) on C
III
. Such agents are silica flour, 100 mesh sand and manufactured mixtures.
These additives must be used with extreme caution if they are mixed with the proppant, since they
can plug the proppant, unless they are designed to dissolve in the produced fluid. Use of these
additives with proppant laden fluid is not recommended unless absolutely required and then such
that the total does not exceed 1% of the total proppant during the treatment. The addition of silica
flour to the pad at a loading of 15 lb/1000 gal has been used to seal off closed natural fractures.
WALL BUILDING FLUID LOSS TEST
Fig. 5.16  Standard Fluid Loss Test.
HC
0.125 =
g
0.0174 cp =
C
III
0.001 ft\/ min =
d

wR
o
R
o
R
i
 =
F
A

T / R
i
2R
i
H

T
2R
i
H
 = = =
Rheological Models
I. Newtonian II. Bingham III. Power Law
Y
p
Y
p
p
+ =
p
log
n'
log
1.0
K'
K'
n
=
Y
p
0 n' 0
Newtonian
p
=
Newtonian
K' =
1
Power Law: Given: n' = .5
a
= 100 cp, =170 sec
1
Find: K',
a
at 40 and 511 sec
1
K' = 100 x (170)
.5
/ 4.8 x 10
4
= 0.27
a
(511) = (170/511)
.5
x 100 = 58 cp
a
(40) = (170/40)
.5
x 100 = 206 cp
a
4.8 10
4
K'
1 n ( )
 =
a
cp =
For Power Law Model
1/sec, sec
1
K' lb sec
n'
/ft
2
=
Find: K',
a
at 40 and 511 sec1
K' = 100 x (170).5 / 4,8 x 104 =. .027
a
(511) =
170
511
 ( )
0.5
x = 58 cp
a
(40) =
170
40
 ( )
0.5
x 100 = 206 cp
 = Depends on
( )
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fluid Viscosity
531 December 1995
As alluded to previously, the entry viscosity of the fluid depends on the type of fracturing fluid as
well as on the fluid and thermal histories at the surface and down the wellbore. Not all fluids have
maximum viscosities at the entry temperature. Some gelled oil systems, and most all delayed orga
Table 5.2  Typical Service Company Rheology Data (DS  1984).
Fluid
Temp Time
n' K'
Viscosity (cp)
( F) (hr) 170 sec
1
511 sec
1
YF440
YF440
YF440
YF440
YF440
225
225
225
225
225
1
2
4
6
8
0.600
0.657
0.746
0.808
0.848
0.095
0.052
0.017
0.0065
0.0027
582
426
225
116
60
375
293
167
94
50
YF440
YF440
YF440
YF440
YF440
YF440
260
260
260
260
260
260
1
2
3
4
5
6
0.640
0.697
0.745
0.786
0.820
0.849
0.036
0.023
0.014
0.0091
0.0057
0.0036
272
230
186
145
109
079
183
165
141
114
89
67
YF450
YF450
YF450
YF450
YF450
260
260
260
260
260
1
2
4
6
8
0.600
0.657
0.746
0.808
0.848
0.056
0.035
0.016
0.0081
0.0047
342
289
205
145
103
221
197
157
117
87
YF450
YF450
YF450
YF450
YF450
285
285
285
285
285
1
2
4
6
8
0.640
0.697
0.786
0.849
0.888
0.030
0.018
0.0068
0.0029
0.0014
228
178
108
65
39
152
130
86
54
33
YF460
YF460
YF460
YF460
YF460
260
260
260
260
260
1
2
4
6
8
0.580
0.637
0.726
0.788
0.828
0.091
0.055
0.023
0.011
0.0058
502
409
270
177
115
317
273
199
140
95
YF460
YF460
YF460
YF460
YF460
285
285
285
285
285
1
2
4
6
8
0.600
0.657
0.746
0.808
0.848
0.057
0.033
0.013
0.0056
0.0027
350
274
166
100
59
225
186
127
81
50
Fig. 5.22  A Bilinear Temperature Variation Down the Fracture.
G
R
I
14
A
M
O
C
O
Design of Pseudo 3D Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
5
534
December 1995
Summary For Fluid Viscosity
Fluid viscosity is critical for the successful execution of pressure controlled treatments. Sufficient
viscosity is required for proppant transport, while excessive viscosity will proportionally reduce
the fracture penetration prior to the fluid pressure reaching the formation's pressure capacity (i.e.,
inefficient fracture extension).
For proppant transport, crosslinked gels are preferred over noncrosslinked gels. Studies show sub
stantial reduction (e.g., 78%) in proppant fall rates through crosslinked gels, under shear, com
pared to noncrosslinked gels with the same apparent viscosity. The fall rate through foams and
emulsions are also believed to be less than indicated by the apparent viscosity. Another consider
ation is particle concentration which increases slurry viscosity and retards particle fall. The effect
of increased slurry viscosity due to proppant concentration is important for pressure controlled
designs and requires the base fluid's viscosity to be reduced as proppant concentration increases.
Also, the apparent viscosity for nonNewtonian fluids depends on the shear rate with lower rates
producing higher apparent viscosities. Generally, the shear rate in the fracture is lower than the 170
sec
1
normally used to characterize fluids.
The above considerations can significantly reduce the viscosity requirement over that indicated by
a direct use of Stokes Law. An example, illustrated in Fig. 5.3, show that if proppant fall were to
be limited to 10 ft in four hours, a direct application of Stokes Law would require a viscosity of
1500 cp for 2040 mesh sand. Assume that under fracturing conditions the crosslink effect would
retard fall only by 50% in contrast to the 78% for ambient and laboratory conditions. In addition,
assume the slurry dehydrates from a low proppant concentration as it enters the fracture to 10
lbm/gal, Fig. 5.3, at the end of the treatment. For these conditions, the effect of hindered settling
would be equivalent to a multiple of 3.2 in the timeaveraged value of viscosity. If the reference
viscosity is at 170 sec
1
, the shear rate in the fracture is 40 sec
1
and the fluid can be characterized
by the power law with n = 0.6, the apparent viscosity would be 1.8 times greater in the fracture
than for the reference. If, during the time in the fracture and at reservoir temperature, the fluid vis
cosity reduces by a factor of 10 with a logviscosity vs. time relationship, the average value of vis
cosity would be 4.3 times the final value. Combining these factors (2 x 3.2 x 1.8 x 4.3) results in a
multiple of 50, as shown in Table 5.3, and for the fluid considered, sufficient viscosity would be
achieved if it had a final viscosity of 1500/50 = 30 cp at the end of the treatment. Furthermore, this
estimate may be conservative since a reduction of the crosslink effect was used, the fluid does not
experience reservoir temperature for a portion of the fracture length, and suspended particles are
transported in the center portion of the channel (for viscoelastic fluids), where the shear rate is
lower and the apparent viscosity higher than the channel average. Consequently, the viscosity
requirements for proppant transport can be grossly overestimated and a reference value of 100 to
150 cp can provide significant transport.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fluid Viscosity
535 December 1995
The next chapter, Chap. 6, gives more background for selecting specific fluids and additives to
achieve the desired viscosities throughout a treatment.
Table 5.3  Why Low Viscosity Fluids Work.
Sufficient Viscosity (
= 1500cp)
1) XL FLUID (HARRINGTONHANNAH
,
_
H
p
CL t WHL + =
=
VOL
Q
 IN
QL ( )
1/4
=
FRAC
LOST
log Q
log VOL
FOR FIXED L
FLUID LOSS &
VOLUME REQMENTS
1 ) Q
2
1.5 Q
1
LOST
2
0.82 LOST
1
FRAC
2
, 1.11 FRAC
1
= = =
18% +11%
CAN SHOW VOL
IN
if
VOL
FRAC
VOL
IN
 > eff 62% > =
2 ) Q
2
2/3Q
1
LOST
2
1.22 LOST
1
; FRAC
2
0.90 FRAC
1
= = =
+22% 10%
3 ) eff 0 VOL
IN
1/Q
F Q
1.75
QL ( )
1/4
TURBULENT ( )
1 )Q
2
1.5 Q
1
F
2
2.0 F
1
; HHP
F
2
3.0 HHP
F
1
; p
2
1.11 p
1
= = = =
+100% +200% +11%
2 )Q
2
2/3Q
1
F
2
0.49 F
1
; HHP
F
2
0.33 HHP
F
1
; p
2
0.90 p
1
= = = =
51% 67% 10%
MAY BE CRITICAL
TO HEIGHT CONFINEMENT
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Treatment Pumping
539 December 1995
Increasing pump rate will increase proppant transport distance (per fall distance) by an amount
approximately proportional to the pump rate increase (as shown by the examples in Fig. 5.28.)
(Note that transport distance is independent of height.)
The examples also indicate that increasing pump rate can reduce the fluid viscosity requirements.
These reduced requirements result from both the lower ultimate viscosity for proppant transport
needed and from the smaller residence times which reduce the initial viscosities required to allow
for time degradation. This can be very significant for large jobs in hot zones.
However, high pump rates down small tubulars (i.e., high friction pressures) may cause signifi
cant fluid degradation for some fluid systems. These systems are nondelayed crosslinked systems
with metallic bonding (e.g., Titinate). Guidelines for these systems which will not result in signif
icant degradation are:
Pump Rate and Time
PROPPANT TRANSPORT
& 1.5 > ENDURANCE
Fig. 5.28  Effect of Rate on Transport and Viscosity Requirements.
Tubulars Maximum Rate (bpm)
23/8 7
27/8 12
31/2 15
41/2 28
51/2 40
7 65
H
V
2
V
1
D
D
H

V
1
V
2
 =
V
1
FLUI D VELOCI TY =
Q
HW

Q
H Q ( )
1/4

Q
3/4
H
1/4
 or ; V
2
FALL RATE
1
 = =
D
H

Q
3/4
3/4
H
 (D indep. of H)
1 )Q
2
1.5 Q
1
D
2
1.35 D
1
same ( );
2
0.79
1
same D ( ) = = =
+35% D 21%
2 )Q
2
2/3Q
1
D
2
.74 D
1
2
1.28 , = = =
26% D +28%
Design of Pseudo 3D Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
5
540
December 1995
For these degradable systems, pumping down the annulus can cause significant degradation at very
low rates due to the effect of the tool joints.
Degradation is not a consideration for fluids which rebuild their crosslink, i.e., borate crosslinker,
or fluids which benefit from shear, i.e., foams or emulsions. High pump rates can actually improve
the quality of foams and polyemulsion fluids.
Summary for Pump Rate:
Pump rate has far reaching effects on many aspects of a fracture treatment, and these different
aspects (Fig. 5.29) should be weighed o arrive at the optimum rate for a given treatment.
Depth
The depth to mid point of perforations is used in the wellbore hydraulics equation to estimate sur
face pressure. At the present time it is considered to be true vertical depth for hydrostatic calcula
tions.
Friction Pressure
The pressure loss associated with the flow of fracturing fluid and proppant through tubulars. Gen
erally the values to be entered are estimated for the fluid system in units of psi/100 ft.
Pump Rat e and Time
Summary
I. VOLUME REQUIREMENTS REDUCE VOLUME:
a) EFF > 60  70%; DECREASE RATE
b) EFF < 60  70%; INCREASE RATE
c)
II. PROPPANT TRANSPORT INCREASING RATE WILL:
a) BETTER TRANSPORT
b) REDUCE REQUIREMENTS
c) REDUCE TIME ENDURANCE FOR FLUID
III. PRESSURES DECREASING RATE WILL:
a) LESS PRESSURE FOR TUBULARS
b) LESS HHP
c) REDUCE NET FRAC PRESS.
Fig. 5.29  Considerations for Rate.
EFF 0; VOL 1/Q
1 4 /
Z
1
v
t
/U ( )
o
x
1
 ; N
Rep
d
p
n
v
t
2 n
3
n 1
K

0.695 d
p
n
v
t
2 n
K
 = = =
(in OilField Units)
p
3 v
t
/d
p
36 v
t
/d
p
(in oilfield units). = =
p
C
D
24
N
Rep
 , Where N
Rep
d
p
v
t
p
( )
18 K (3)
n 1
 =
1/n
d
p
n 1 +
p
( )
9.626 36 ( )
n
K
 =
1/n
, for N
Rep
2.0 . <
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fluid Selection Criteria
613 July 1999
If the calculated v
t
, does not give a N'
Rep
less than 2., then the higher Reynolds number correlations
can be used.
5
For 2 < N'
Rep
< 500, C
D
= 18.5/N'
Rep
0.6
; and for 500 < N'
Rep
< 200,000, C
D
= 0.44.
Thus, this can involve a trial and error approach. Shah
6
developed a method using empirically gen
erated correlation constants which avoids trial and error.
Note that the above are relationships for single particle settling. As proppant concentration
increases, the particles may clump and give accelerated settling. Above a certain proppant concen
tration, however, i.e. 4 lb/gal liquid, the separation between proppant particles becomes small
enough where hindered settling starts to reduce the settling velocity. Hindered settling can be
treated by increasing the K' to reflect an increase in the effective viscosity of the continuous
medium. Novotny
7
performed static settling tests in simulated fractures using concentrated prop
pant slurries in polyacrylamide solution and found the hindered settling velocity, v
h
, to be related
to proppant concentration as
where ppg is the lbm proppant/gal liquid, and
p
is the proppant density in lbm proppant/gal prop
pant (e.g. 22.1 for sand). Thus, for ppg = 8, and v
t
= 0.005 ft/sec, v
h
would be 0.0009 ft/sec. For a
fracture flow velocity, U, of 0.56 ft/sec, (40 BPM down a 50 ft high by 0.25 inch wide twowing
fracture) this would give v
h
/U equal to 0.0016, which according to Medlins criteria would give
suspension flow. The clear fluid layer at the fracture top after 1000 ft would only be 1.6 ft. This of
course is a rough estimate of settling. The settling properties of flowing suspensions are not yet
well established.
The viscosity is affected by temperature and time and should be accounted for in fracturing design
since this can affect fracture width and proppant transport as stated above. There are high and low
temperature versions of waterbase crosslinked and uncrosslinked gels, of hydrocarbonbase
crosslinked gels, and foams. Polyemulsion is usually restricted to temperatures less than 250F.
High temperature stabilizers, such as sodium thiosulfate or methanol, are used above 200F to
retard oxidative hydrolysis of waterbase polymers. At pH less than 6., the sodium thiosulfate sta
bilizer is not effective in some cases.
There can be a large variation of high temperature behavior for similar gel systems. For example
in Fig. 6.3, various service company high temperature gels are compared at 265F. All the gels
were tested by Amoco using the Amoco procedure for testing organometallic crosslinked gels. It
is apparent that high temperature stability is a function of pH and type of polymer, buffer, and
crosslinker. In some cases, service companies reported viscosities to be up to six times greater than
those measured in Amocos lab (e.g. those for the Saturn I, Apollo I, Gemini III DXL, and Titan
XL gels). The discrepancy is the result of many factors including conditioning method, viscometer
bob, viscometer procedure, and calculation method. At this time we feel our procedure gives the
v
h
1
ppg
ppg
p
+
 =
5.5
v
t
,
Fluid Selection and Scheduling
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
6
614 July 1999
most realistic data. As of 1991, the API is still a couple of years away from approving a recom
mended practice for testing organometallic crosslinked gels.
Low Fluid Loss
Fracturing fluid systems offer varying degrees of fluid loss control. Waterbase fluids with poly
mer give fluid loss control by building filter cake as the fluid leaks off in formations having per
meability less than 510 md. In higher permeability formations, a particulate fluid loss additive
(preferably a degradable product, 100 mesh sand, or silica flour) should be used to prevent the
polymer from flowing into the pores. This is especially true for naturally fractured reservoirs
where the natural fractures provide the bulk of the permeability. Particulate fluid loss additives
should be used only in the pad to avoid damaging the fracture conductivity. The gel filter cake has
permeability on the order of 1x10
6
md and thus can significantly lower fluid loss. Crosslinked gels
give fluid loss control roughly the same as uncrosslinked gels at the same polymer loading.
Fluids with internal phases can have additional fluid loss control when used in low permeability
reservoirs ( < 1. md). This is true when the internal phase is a hydrocarbon, such as is the case when
diesel fluid loss additive is used. Aromatic hydrocarbons with surfactants which yield microemul
sions are also used but to a lesser extent. Generally speaking 3%diesel gives about 80%of the fluid
loss reduction possible with hydrocarbon fluid loss additives. Accordingly, polyemulsion (i.e.,
polymer emulsion), with 67% hydrocarbon internal phase, gives the lowest values of wall building
Fig. 6.3  Ti and Zr ContinuousMix Gels at 265 F.
All Delayed Crosslinked
Except Gemini II DXL Gel.
Conditioned at 0.8 hp/ft3
for 5 min to simulate
40 BPM down 5 1/2" casing
All contain 10 lb stabilizer
and no breaker.
40 lb Versagel HT, HPGTi, pH 8.32
40 lb Ultra Frac RXL, GuarZr Lactate, pH 7.9
40 lb Saturn II, HPGZr, 2 gal XLD, pH 9.0
40 lb PurGel III, CMHPGZrNH4C1, pH 6.56
40 lb Titan XL, CMHPGZr AL acetate, pH 5.2
40 lb Gemini III DXL, CMHPGZrAl, pH 6.5.6
40 lb MYTGel HT, GuarTi, pH 8.77.9
40 lb Saturn I, GuarZr, pH 9.59.0
40 lb Appollo I, GuarTi, pH 7.35.8
t639908 DATA
t
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fluid Selection Criteria
619 July 1999
Fig. 6.9  Spurt Loss vs. Permeability and Additive for 40 lbm Complexed HPG Fluids at 125 F.
Fig. 6.10  Spurt Loss vs. Permeability and Gel Concentration For Complexed HPG Fluids at 125 F.
p
1
p
( )C
p
C
s
p
 , =
s
H
P
G
s
o
l
u
t
i
o
n
.
R
e
f
e
r
e
n
c
e
s
H
y
d
r
a
u
l
i
c
F
r
a
c
t
u
r
i
n
g
T
h
e
o
r
y
M
a
n
u
a
l
6

6
7
J
u
l
y
1
9
9
9
Fig. 6.19  Comparison of 40lbm/1,000gal Hpg Gels Crosslinked with Titanium Acetyl Acetonate
Subjected to Various Turbulent Flow and Temperature Histories.
Fluid Selection and Scheduling
6
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
668
July 1999
References
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual 669 July 1999
Fluid Selection and Scheduling
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
6
670 July 1999
Fig. 6.20  Viscosity of Halliburtons Boragel (Borate Crosslinked Guar) as a Function of Time at
225 F.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
References
671 July 1999
Table 6.6  Useful Crosslinkers for Guar and Guar Derivatives.
Crosslinking Guar
Crosslinker
pH Range of
Fluid
Effective Temperature
Region
Borate 810 60 F  275 F maximum
Antimony 23.5 140 F maximum
Titanate 78 or higher 300 F +
Zirconium 78 or higher 350 F +
Aluminum 48 160 F maximum
Zirconium <1 (acids) <100 F
Fig. 6.21  Generalized Crosslinking Scheme.
NolteSmith Plot
Slope: 1/8 to 1/4
Log Time
L
o
g
P
n
e
t
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Bottomhole Treating Pressure
817 July 1993
To analyze what may cause this flattening of the pressure  time slope, the continuity or mass bal
ance equation can be examined;
where q
Frac
is the rate of fluid storage in fracture volume (e.g., w + H+ L). Pressure is propor
tional to fracture width, thus the equation can be rewritten as
where K is a constant. For the Mode I behavior, injection rate Q is constant, height is constant (H
= 0), and q
Loss
increases with time as fracture area increases. Also, P and L are increasing with
time. If P goes to zero, then q
l
and/or H must increase to honor the equation. As a result, more
fluid is lost to the formation or stored in additional height. This leads into a discussion of Mode II
behavior on a loglog net pressure vs. time plot.
Mode II  A flat pressure:time slope indicates stable height growth or increased fluid loss which
negates the predicted pressure increase. The potential for height increase is shown in
Fig. 8.17, where the fracture penetrates a section of higher stress at a constant growth
rate. As additional height is generated, the crosssectional area of the fracture increases,
thus reducing the flow velocity and frictional pressure drop down the fracture and
reducing the normal pressure increase. If height growth continues and reaches a low
stress zone, as seen in the figure, the pressure:time slope may become negative, indicat
ing uncontrolled, rapid height growth (Mode IV). This type of behavior is discussed
later on page 8.19. The other variable that can change besides H, without violating the
continuity equation is q
Loss
(fluid loss). One mechanism for a higher fluid loss rate
would be opening of natural fissures intersected by the main fracture as shown in
Fig. 8.18. The opening of natural fissures increases fracture volume and fluid loss area,
and decreases the pressure in the fracture. When pressure declines below the stress
holding the fissures closed, the fissures reclose. Pressure then increases slightly and the
fissures reopen, etc. This openingclosingopening of the fissures is like a pressure reg
ulator, producing a constant pressure profile. Due to the increased fluid loss rate, Mode
II will normally be followed by undesired behavior such as a screenout.
Looking back at the continuity equation, if something occurs to stop fracture extension (i.e., L =
0), then either P or H must increase. As shown in Fig. 8.18, increased fluid loss to natural fis
sures may dehydrate the slurry to the point that a proppant bridge forms in the fracture. If pumping
continues, no additional fracture penetration will occur. If the fracture is contained, pressure must
increase at a higher rate as seen in cases 1 and 2 on Fig. 8.16. If the fracture is not contained, the
rate of height growth will increase and pressure will decrease with time as shown by case 3 of
Fig. 8.16. In the case where the fracture is contained and the pressure increases, this rapid pressure
increase is characteristic of Mode III behavior on the loglog NolteSmith plot, Fig. 8.21.
Q q
Loss
q
Frac
+ =
Q q
Loss
K P H L + + [ ] , + =
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
8
818
July 1993
Mode III  This behavior is characterized by a region of positive unit slope (i.e., 1:1 loglog
slope), indicating a flowrestriction in the fracture. This implies that the pressure is pro
portional to time or, more importantly, that the incremental pressure change is propor
tional to the incremental injected fluid volume. This 1:1 slope is similar to the same
slope in Pressure Transient Analysis, indicating storage of fluid, in this case by swell
ing or ballooning the fracture. Common causes of this behavior are pad depletion
where proppant reaches the fracture tip, slurry dehydration to natural fissures (dis
cussed above), excessive height growth increasing fluid loss area, and/or proppant fall
out due to poor gel quality.
Fig. 8.19 shows how excessive height growth can cause slurry depletion resulting in a premature
screenout. The fracture has grown through a shale section into a lower closure pressure sand. Due
to the higher stress in the shale, the fracture width is less than in the sands forming a pinch point
which will not allow sand to pass through, yet allows fluid to pass, dehydrating the slurry in the
Fig. 8.17  Height vs. Net Pressure for Multizone Geology.
Fig. 8.18  Effect of Natural Fractures, Critical Pressure Causes Increased Fluid Loss.
P + S < : I P + S > : II
P V 1/1 Slope
Screenout: III
Regulator
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Bottomhole Treating Pressure
819 July 1993
target interval. As the slurry dehydrates it forms a plug which will eventually bridge in the fracture.
The approximate distance to the bridge can be calculated from:
where Q = pump rate (bpm), E' = modulus (psi), H = frac height (ft), and p/t = rate of pressure
increase (psi/min). This information can be useful in postanalysis and the design of future treat
ments. A nearwellbore bridge would likely be caused by natural fissures, height growth, or a high
sand concentration slug; whereas a bridge some distance from the wellbore would more likely be
due to pad depletion, or sand fallout due to poor gel quality.
As noted previously on page 8.14, if fracture extension ceases and the fracture is not contained,
then rapid, unstable height growth will occur as pumping continues and the pressure:time slope
will become negative. This is Mode IV behavior as seen during case 3, Fig. 8.16.
Mode IV  A negative slope can be interpreted as rapid height growth into a lower closure stress
zone. Referring back to the continuity equation, discussed on page 8.17, a significant
decrease in pressure must be accompanied by a significant increase in one or more of
the other variables. A significant increase in fluid loss is possible from opening new
fractures or fissures, but is not likely with decreasing pressure. An increase in length
is not consistent with a decrease in pressure. The only change which is compatible
with a decrease in pressure is an increase in height.
The steepness of the negative slope would imply the rate of unstable growth. A high
rate of growth would exhibit a steep slope, while a low negative slope would imply a
low rate of growth. If the fracture grows into a much lower stress zone, the decrease
Fig. 8.19  Example of Height Growth Directly Leading to Premature Screenout.
Log
Width
Top
Top
R
max
x
f max
1.8
QE'
H
2
p/t
 = =
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
8
820
July 1993
in pressure will be rapid. If the fracture grows into a slightly lower stress zone the neg
ative slope will be shallower.
A negative slope observed from the beginning of the treatment indicates a lack of
height confinement. In this case the fracture will grow radially and future treatments
should be designed using a radial model.
While the observed pressure behavior on the net pressure vs. time plot is primarily a function of
fracture geometry, other parameters may interfere with interpretation. These parameters are shown
in Fig. 8.20, clearly showing that an increase in rate or viscosity will increase net pressure. As a
simple example of this, consider the plot in Fig. 8.21 for a gelled oil fracture treatment. The initial
declining pressure indicates unconfined fracture height, and then after 9 minutes, pressure begins
to increase. This might be interpreted as a change in fracture geometry but, for this simple case,
this is simply the time when gelled fluid is on the perforations. After 4 or 5 minutes, the fracture
is filled with this new, higher viscosity fluid, and pressure again begins to decline. Complete
records of treating parameters must be kept, and what was happening during a job borne in mind
when interpreting net pressure behavior.
Critical Pressure
As mentioned in the previous discussion on page 8.17, Mode II behavior on the net pressure vs.
time plot is usually followed by some undesirable behavior such as excessive height growth or a
screenout. For this reason, the net pressure where the pressure:time slope flattens is termed the crit
ical pressure. For the case of height growth, critical pressure is roughly 7080% of the differential
closure stress between the initial zone and bounding beds. When natural fissures exist, critical
Fig. 8.20  Variables Affecting Fracture Pressure.
t
P & K
Conned Height
Fracture
Unconned Height
Penny Shaped
Fracture
Elasticity
Fluid Friction
Combining
W
H
E
P W
R
E
P
W Q
L
E
 ( )
1 4 /
W Q
R
E
 ( )
1 4 /
P
E
1 4 /
H
 QL ( )
1 4 /
P
E
3 4 /
R
 QR ( )
1 4 /
=
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
8
828
July 1993
the fracturing pressure decline data will become of limited usefulness. However, while this func
tion is not known, it can be bounded and these bounds can be used to test the importance. For
example, as shown by Nordgren,
23
Geertsma,
4
and others, for very low fluid loss, fracture area will
grow approximately linearly with time,
(8.7)
while for very high fluid loss, fracture area will grow with the square root of time
(8.8)
as illustrated in Fig. 8.26.
As an example, consider a low fluid loss case, A t, or
where A is the total fracture area created at the end of the pump time, t
p
, and 'a' is a small incre
mental fracture area that was created or opened at time , < t
p
. This gives
or
Fig. 8.26  Fracture Growth with Time.
A t , Low "0" ( )Loss
A t , High "" ( )Loss
Time
A
r
e
a
a
A

t
p
 =
s
a
A
 t
p
=
q
Loss
2Cda
t A/a ( )t
p
[ ]

=
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Pressure Decline Analysis
829 July 1993
which can be integrated from area=0 to area = A to give the rate of fluid loss, q
Loss
, for times
greater than (or equal to) t
p
. This integration gives
or
where time, t, equals t
p
+t
s
(e.g., pump time + shutin time) and = t
s
/t
p
.
Similarly, for high fluid loss, Eqs. (8.6) and (8.8) can be integrated to give
or, more generally,
(8.9)
where
and a new parameter, r
p
, has been added for cases where only a fraction of the fracture area is lea
koff area. That is, r
p
is the ratio of permeable area opened by the fracture to total fracture area,
The time behavior of the fluid loss rate is determined by f()
and these two functions are plotted vs. dimensionless shutin time, in Fig. 8.27. The similarity
between the two time functions seen in the figure indicates that an EXACT knowledge of how the
fracture grew with time is not necessary for the decline analysis  so long as the fracture was free
to extend, e.g., no screenout condition occurred. For example, consider the dashed curve in
Fig. 8.24, showing an ideal fracture area vs. time behavior for a treatment which screens out very
early. For this case, fracture area stops increasing early during the pumping. Thus, during the pres
q
Loss
2AC
t
p
2 t t t
p
{ } =
q
Loss
2AC
t
p
2 1 + ( ) { } =
q
Loss
2CA
t
p
 sin
1 1
1 + ( )

' )
=
q
Loss
2Cr
p
Af ( )
t
p
 =
t
s
/t
p
e.g., Shutin Time/pump time ( ) =
r
p
Permeable Fracture Area
Total Fracture Area
  . =
f ( ) 2 1 + ( )
1/2
1/2
{ } Low Fluid Loss =
sin
1
1/ 1 + ( ) [ ] High Fluid Loss
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
8
830
July 1993
sure decline, all of the leakoff area is old, leading to lower than expected leakoff and application
of the pressure decline analysis to the postpumping pressure behavior would calculate an errone
ously lowfluid loss coefficient. Finally, note that Fig. 8.27 does not indicate that there is no behav
ior difference between high and lowfluid loss cases. Merely just that the exact timerateofgrowth
of the fracture while pumping is not a dominant factor, and that postfrac fluid loss rate (and thus
pressure decline behavior) is a function of fluid loss coefficient, C, pump time, t
p
, and the total cre
ated fracture area, A.
P*  Pressure Decline Analysis
Going back to the basic pressure decline behavior Eq. (8.2) and combining this with the fluid loss
rate from Eq. (8.9) gives
(8.10)
or
(8.11)
and this gives a definite relation between fracture stiffness, S, fluid loss coefficient, and postfrac
pressure decline. If pressure decline were a linear function of time (e.g., dp/dt = constant), then the
relation could be characterized with a simple psi/minute. For example, assume a case with a
pump time, t
p
, of 20 minutes. If 10 minutes after pumping is stopped, e.g., t
s
= 10 or = 0.5, the
rate of pressure decline, dp/dt was 5 psi/minute, then, from Fig. 8.25, f() 1. If the fracture stiff
ness were known, then Eq. (8.11) could be solved for fluid loss coefficient. However, the behavior
Fig. 8.27  Bounds on Rate of Fluid Loss Function (bounds are less than 10%different after shutin
time equal to 1/4 of pump time).
q
Loss
2AC
t
p
 r
p
f ( )
A
S
d p
net
/dt = =
d p
net
/dt
2CS
t
p
 r
p
f ( ) =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Pressure Decline Analysis
831 July 1993
is more complex than this, and a value, defined as P*, will be used to describe the pressure
decline behavior. Basically, P* is a single value which characterizes the rate of pressure decline.
A high value indicates a rapid pressure decline, which would usually correspond to high fluid loss,
however, it might also correspond to a very stiff formation. Thus we see that P* does not directly
describe fluid loss, but rather it will be seen to specify a relation between several variables.
Unfortunately, the rate of change of pressure, dp
net
/dt, is hard to measure and use, making it con
venient to integrate the pressure decline, dp
net
/dt, to convert Eq. (8.11) into a pressure difference
form. Clearly integrating dp/dt from time = t
o
to time = t
o
+ t
gives a pressure difference
where t
o
(or
o
) is just a convenient marker time or starting time for calculating pressure differ
ences.
Simultaneously, the right hand side of Eq. (8.11) is integrated from t
o
to a later time, t giving
where the G function, G(
o
,), is defined as
and arises from integrating the time function, f(), controlling the postfrac rate of fluid loss. For
example, for the low fluid loss (high efficiency) limit, g() is given by
while, for the high fluid loss (low efficiency) limit,
Finally, redefining the variable group (C r
p
S)/(2) as P* gives
(8.12)
dp
dt
dt
p p t=t
o
( ) p t
o
t + ( ) + = =
p
o
, ( ) p
o
( ) p ( ) =
p
o
, ( ) p
o
( ) p ( )
pCS
2
 r
p
t
p
G
o
, ( ) = =
G
o
, ( )
4
 g ( ) g
o
( ) { } =
g ( )
4
3
 1 + ( )
3/2
3/2
{ } , =
g ( ) 1 + ( )sin
1 1
1 + ( )
 + =
t
p
p
o
, ( ) P* G
o
, ( ) , =
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
8
832
July 1993
indicating that the variable P* is simply a multiplier which best matches the actual pressure
decline behavior to the theoretically perfect behavior defined by G,
Type Curve Analysis
The actual value for P* is found by creating theoretical type curves from the G function (as
seen in Fig. 8.28) and then matching the actual data to these curves. This is illustrated in the fol
lowing example.
Consider a case where a minifrac (e.g., a volume of fracturing fluid pumped without proppant)
has been pumped down tubing while measuring surface annulus pressure. After shut in, the pres
sure decline is measured as seen in Fig. 8.29 and tabulated in the table below.
The first step in any pressure decline analysis is to determine the fracture closure pressure and
closure time. For the example here, it is assumed that preminifrac stress tests indicated a (surface
equivalent) closure stress of 1500 psi. The minifrac pressure decline reaches this pressure after a
shutin time, t
s
, of about 26 minutes  giving a closure time, t
c
, of 26 minutes. This gives a dimen
sionless closure time,
c
, of 1.3, with, since no proppant was pumped, the fracture being com
pletely closed at closure time.
Fig. 8.28  Plot of G(,
o
), Master Curves for Matching Pressure Differences.
P*
CS
2
 r
p
t
p
. =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Pressure Decline Analysis
833 July 1993
Fig. 8.29  Example, Minifrac Pressure Decline Data.
Table 8.2  Example Pressure Decline Data.
Shutin
Time (min)
Pressure
(psi)
P(t
o
=4,t)
(psi)
P(t
o
=10,t)
(psi)
P(t
o
=20,t)
(psi)
0 1658
2 1.4 1642
4 2.0 1625
6 2.47 1610 16251610
= 15 psi
8 2.83 1595 30
10 3.16 1582 43
12 3.46 1569 56 13
14 3.74 1558 67 24
16 4.0 1544 81 38
18 4.24 1534 91 48
20 4.47 1525 100 57
22 4.69 1515 110 67 10
24 4.90 1507 75 18
26 5.10 1498 84 27
28 5.29 1493 89 32
30 5.48 1486 96 39
32 5.66 1481 101 44
34 5.83 1476 106 49
ts
c
t
c
/t
p
Shutin Time at Closure
Pump Time
 
26
20
 . = = =
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
8
834
July 1993
In selecting the start times for the pressure difference analysis, all start times must be less than
this dimensionless closure time since the analysis has no meaning for pressures below fracture clo
sure pressure. Referring to the type curve of Fig. 8.28, one might select the 0.2, the 0.5, and
the 1.0 curves, since the dimensionless start times,
o
, for these curves all come prior to the
dimensionless closure time of
c
= 1.3. For the
o
= 0.2 curve, the corresponding real start time is
e.g., dimensionless start time,
o
, times pump time.
Thus a column of pressure differences is created (as seen in Table 8.2) starting at a shutin time of
four minutes. Similarly, a column of pressure differences is created corresponding to a real start
time of 10 minutes (t
o
=
o
x t
p
= 0.5 x 20) and to a real start time of 20 minutes. These pressure
difference values are then plotted vs. shutintime (as three separate and independent curves) on
loglog scales identical to the type curve scales as seen in Fig. 8.30, and the data is matched to
the theoretical curve.
Note, however, that the theoretical type curves include two sets of curves: three dashed curves
for dimensionless start times of
o
= 0.05, 0.10, and 0.20; and solid curves for dimensionless start
times of
o
= 0.20, 0.50, 0.75, 1.0, and 2.0. The early time, dashed curves correspond to the
low efficiency solution, while the later time, solid curves correspond to the high efficiency,
e.g., low fluid loss, solution. Closure time, found by plotting the pressure decline vs. the
Fig. 8.30  Type Curve Match for Example.
t
o
o
t
p
0.2 20 4 minutes . = = =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Pressure Decline Analysis
835 July 1993
squareroot of shutin time, is used to determine which type curves to use. If the fracture closes at
a dimensionless time less than 0.5 (
c
< 0.5), e.g., a fracture closing in less than 30 minutes after a
1 hour pump time, then the high curves (dashed) should be used. For closure times greater than
pump time, the low curves (solid) should be used. For cases which fall into the gray area in
between these limits (e.g., maybe a closure time of 30 minutes after a pump time of 40 minutes)
the curves which best match the shape of the data should be used, and/or one might interpolate
between the two sets of theoretical type curves.
'G' Function Plot for P
*
Eq. (8.12) showed a linear relation between the pressure decline differences and a function of
shutin time  the 'G' Function. As a special case for using this equation, a start time,
o
, of 0
might be chosen, then Eq. (8.12) could be rewritten as
where ISIP is the Instantaneous ShutIn Pressure. This leads to
or
That is, the slope of a linear plot of the shutin pressure decline vs. 'G' (as defined earlier) gives
the match pressure P
*
.
Since this 'G' function is generally a complex function of the dimensionless shutin time, d, the 'G'
Function Plot is clearly most amenable to computer generated analysis. Also, in several cases the
'G' function has been found to work better for very high fluid loss cases where closure time is on
the order of 20 to 30% of pump time or less. For cases with longer closure times, e.g., closure time
40% (or more) of pump time, the type curve approach discussed above often offers an easier anal
ysis.
For the previous example, the pressure decline data is plotted vs. 'G' in Fig. 8.31, where, as before,
closure stress is assumed known fromminifrac tests to be 1500 psi. (Actually, this would be a sur
face equivalent closure pressure, with real closure pressure equal to 4530 psi, e.g., 1500 plus
the hydrostatic head of t7000 ft of water.) At any rate, in the 'G' Function Plot, the slope of the
data is taken just prior to closure pressure, though for this plot (which is an excellent example of a
'G' Plot) the slope is relatively constant from shutin all the way down to fracture closure. Taking
the slope of the indicated line shows a slope of 98 psi, which gives P* = 98 psi, essentially per
fect agreement with the earlier type curve match analysis.
p 0 , ( ) ISIP p ( ) P*G 0 , ( ) = =
p ( ) ISIP P*G 0 , ( ) =
P* dp/dG . =
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
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836
July 1993
This plot also shows a distinct slope change at a pressure of t1500 psi, e.g., just at closure pressure
and sometimes, a 'G' Function Plot can be used to determine fracture closure. The procedure is
similar to a rootshutintime analysis for closure, a distinct slope change is taken to indicate a dis
tinct fracture behavior change, e.g., the fracture closing. Again, as with 'G' Function Plot analysis
in general, we have found this analysis procedure to be most useful in low efficiency (high fluid
loss) environments  though clearly this example shows a very clear 'G' Function analysis for a case
with closure time equal to 1.3 times pump time, e.g.,
c
= t
c
/t
p
= 1.3.
A final note concerning 'G' Function Plots is  What 'G' Function should be used? For low effi
ciency (high fluid loss) cases where
c
< 0.4 to 0.5, clearly the low efficiency function is correct.
Similarly, for longer closure time cases with
c
> 1, the high efficiency (low fluid loss) function as
used for Fig. 8.31 is probably most correct. However, for the gray area between these limits,
some distortion and error can be introduced by the lack of a purely applicable 'G' Function. In these
cases, type curve analysis often proves superior by allowing easy, manual interpolation between
the two limiting theoretical solutions.
Fluid Efciency
Fluid efficiency is defined as the fracture volume (at the end of pumping, e.g., at time = t
p
) divided
by the total slurry volume pumped (e.g., fluid, sand, everything). As an aid in Pressure Decline
Analysis, the rate of pressure decline equation can be integrated to determine the volume of fluid
lost between shutin, t
p
, and the time at which the fracture closes, t
p
+ t
c
. For a minifrac treatment,
e.g., a small volume calibration treatment with no proppant, the volume lost between t
p
and t
p
+t
c
equals the volume of the fracture at t
p
. Dividing this volume by the total volume injected gives effi
ciency. Thus, a relationship between closure time and fluid efficiency exists as shown in Fig. 8.32.
Fig. 8.31  G Function Plot.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Pressure Decline Analysis
837 July 1993
The efficiency, e
f
, obtained from this figure is used to define a new variable, , which is used in
the type curve analysis and defined as
where V
f
is fracture volume and V
L
is fluid loss volume during injection. can also be determined
directly from the type curve analysis in terms of the match pressure, P
*
, and the net fracturing
pressure at shutin, p
s
(e.g., ISIP  closure pressure).
where G
o
is the pressure difference function at = 0 (discussed on page 8.31) and equal to
1.570.238 e
f
(within 5%, G
o
= 1.45), and K is a correction to the fluid loss coefficient which
accounts for additional fluid loss only during pumping (e.g., spurt loss or opening of natural fis
sures during injection). However, K cannot (at this time) be determined from any analytical pres
sure decline analysis so should always be set equal to 1.
These two efficiency values supply a means of quality control for fracturing pressure decline
analysis. First, efficiency is determined from the dimensionless timetoclose,
c
and the graph in
Fig. 8.32. Next, the loss ratio, , is determined from the type curve match pressure, P*, and the
final net pressure, ps, as discussed above. This value for is then used to calculate an efficiency
Fig. 8.32  Efciency vs. Dimensionless Closure Time.
V
f
/V
L
e
f
/ 1 e
f
( ), or = =
e
f
/ 1 + ( ), =
p
s
/4Kg
o
P* , =
g
o
1.57 0.238 e
f
(within 5%,g
o
1.45), = =
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
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July 1993
from e
f
= / (1 + ). These efficiency values should be within 2 to 3 percentage units of each
other, e.g., 10%vs. 12%would be good agreement as would 90 vs. 92%. If the difference is greater
than this, then one might initially check the analysis, choice of closure pressure, etc. If disagree
ment persists, then it may indicate a real discrepancy between actual fracture behavior, and the the
oretical assumptions which form the basis for decline analysis. If the efficiency from timetoclose
and the chart in Fig. 8.32 is less than the calculated efficiency (e.g., calculated from P*), the dis
crepancy could be due to significant spurt loss and/or to fluid loss to natural fractures which are
open during injection but which close (or are closing) during the pressure decline. Decline analysis
cannot quantify this loss, but can indicate its existence and thus allow appropriate job changes (for
example, possibly the inclusion of 100 mesh fluid loss additive to reduce any loss to natural frac
tures).
In addition to this quality control procedure for the decline analysis, Section 8.6 presents a proce
dure for determining a fracture treatment design schedule based solely on fluid efficiency. Also,
efficiency corrections are presented to account for proppant in the fracture at closure, so the pres
sure decline after an actual propped fracture treatment can be used in a type curve analysis to cal
culate fluid loss coefficient.
Example/Guidelines
The following will present some general guidelines for fracturing pressure decline analysis in the
context of reviewing an actual field example. The pressure data is the same as that presented and
discussed earlier in Fig. 8.29 and Table 8.2.
Example  Pressure Decline Analysis:
Prefrac tests were conducted on a 7000 ft deep oil bearing formation with a reservoir pressure
of 3250 psi and a formation temperature of 240F. The formation is a thick sandshale
sequence with 510 ft sandstone layers (porosity of 12 to 14%) interbedded with 1 to 3 ft thick
layers of low porosity siltstones and anhydrites. From pumpin/flowback stress tests, surface
closure pressure was found to be 1500 psi. The stress tests were followed by pumping a 20,000
gallon crosslinked gel minifrac (estimated viscosity of t300 cp) in 20 minutes at an average
rate of 24 bpm. At the end of pumping the ISIP was 1658 psi and the postminifrac pressure
decline data was shown in Fig. 8.29 (listed in Table 8.2).
Lab Tests show the sand to have a Young's modulus of 4 to 5 million psi; the siltstones, 68
million; and the anhydrite, 810 million. Based on a simple volume percentage, a modulus of
6 million psi is assumed to be representative of the formation.
Before proceeding with the example, some general guidelines are given in Table 8.3, and these
guidelines will be followed (essentially stepbystep) for analyzing this data and calculating a fluid
loss coefficient.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Pressure Decline Analysis
839 July 1993
Following the general guidelines, the first step is always to determine fracture closure pressure.
For this case, closure pressure was known as 1500 psi from preminifrac stress tests and one might
simply assume that the fracture closes when the pressure declines to this value. However, it is often
a good procedure to conduct a closure stress analysis with the decline data itself. This is particu
larly appropriate since into a liquid saturated formation (remembering that this is an oil bearing
formation) can locally increase pore pressure and thus locally increase closure pressure, e.g., fluid
loss can generate what is often referred to as back stress. Since this is an oil zone, the pressure
decline is first plotted vs. root shutin time as seen in Fig. 8.33. This shows a distinct slope change
at a pressure of 1500 psi, e.g., for this case the minifrac has not altered closure stress.
Table 8.3  Guidelines for Analysis.
1. Must know when fracture closes (or closes on proppant)
a. pressure = known closure pressure
b. pressure vs. plot (t
s
is shutin time)
2. Find dimensionless timetoclose
c
= Shutin timetoclosure / pumptime (t
c
/t
p
)
3. Select 2 or 3
o
values from master curves such that
o
< about 2/3
c
4. Convert
o
to real shutin time, t
o
= (
o
) x (t
p
)
5. Find pressure differences for each t
o
e.g., P(t
o
,t) = p(t
o
)  p(t), t > t
o
6. Plot a data curve for each t
o
e.g., plot P(t
o
,t) vs. t on loglog paper with same scale as Master Curves
7. Draw vertical line at t = t
c
do not use data for matching after fracture closure
8. Draw vertical line at t = t
p
(shutin time equal to pump time)
9. Place transparency of Master over data with vertical PUMPTIME line on Master aligned with
vertical t = t
p
line on data
10. Only moving master vertically, find best match for corresponding t
o
curves
 give most weight for greater to curves as these are least affected by any additional fracture extension
 give more weight for longer times on each curve (but t < t
c
)
11. After match, read P* (match pressure) from pressure difference scale on left
12. Determine efficiency from
a. Find efficiency from
c
and timetoclose vs. efficiency chart
b. Use P* from type curve match and net pressure at shutin
(p
s
= ISIP  closure pressure) to calculate e
f
.
13. Compare e
f
(a) and (b)
If similar within a 23 percentage units, proceed to determine and choose correct fracture model and then calculate
other variables such as fluid loss coefficient, etc.
Pitfalls
1. Using pressure data after fracture closed.
2. Using equations for wrong fracture model.
t
s
c
Shut In Time To Closure
Pump Time
  26 / 20 1.3 , = = =
p
s
/4KG
o
P*
3.142 158
4 1 1.45 100
 0.86 = = =
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841 July 1993
where G
o
is assumed = 1.45, K = 1, and e
f
= / (1 + ) = 0.86 / 1.86 = 0.46.
Note: If this calculated efficiency was significantly different from50%, it would probably be best
to use this first calculated efficiency to recalculate g
o
= 1.57  0.238 * e
f
, and then use this
new value of g
o
to find a new efficiency. It is seldom worthwhile, however, to follow this
iteration for more than one time through.
This is clearly in excellent agreement with the timetoclose efficiency and thus the analysis can
proceed with confidence, e.g., there is no indication of unaccounted for fluid loss.
Note that up to this point, the analysis has been independent of fracture geometry, e.g., it made
no difference whether the fracture was radial, confined height, etc. However, once the match pres
sure, P*, and efficiency have been determined and the efficiency checked, then it is necessary
to assume a fracture geometry in order to calculate a loss coefficient.
For this example, one might initially expect no height confinement based on: (1) no discrete beds
with sufficient thickness to contain a fracture, and (2) high modulus which leads to high treating
pressures and thus increases any tendencies for height growth. While it is not conclusive, the low
net pressure at shutin of 160 psi reinforces this expectation since confined height fractures often
have higher net treating pressures than this. Equations from Table 8.5 can then be used as seen
below:
First the radius of the fracture is found from
and this radius is then used to calculate a fluid loss coefficient and fracture width
and
Taking a look at this problem from a slightly different view, assume that postminifrac logs were
available which gave indications of a gross fracture height of 350 to 400 ft. This value for H' might
then be used in the equations for a confined height fracture (e.g., a Perkins & Kern fracture geom
etry) as seen below,
x
f
0.134 VG E'
2KP*g
o
1 + ( )

1/3
=
x
f
0.134 ( ) 20 000 , ( ) 6 10
6
( )
2 ( ) 3.14 ( ) 1 ( ) 100 ( ) 1.45 ( ) 1.86 ( )

1/3
211 ft = =
C P*x
f
( )/ r
p
E' t
p
( ) [ ] 100 ( ) 211 ( )/ 1 ( ) 6 10
6
( ) 20 ( ) 0.0008 ft/ min = = =
w 6p
s
x
f
( )/E' 6 ( ) 3.14 ( ) 158 ( ) 211 ( )/ 6 10
6
( ) 0.10 inches. = = =
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
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July 1993
However, it is immediately noted that this gives a tiptotip length of 326 ft which is less than the
approximate fracture height of 350 to 400 ft; thus, the Perkins & Kern model would not be appro
priate, and the calculations should move on to the radial model (as discussed on page 8.26) or to
the Geertsma model calculations (which would be for a fracture with a tiptotip length less than
the height). For this example, the radial model shows a predicted radius of 211 ft which would give
a total, gross fracture height of H = 422 ft, and since this would be in fair agreement with the logs,
a radial model would probably be the most appropriate geometry model for describing the test.
It is important to note in these calculations that there are several uncertainties; in particular, the
final result for fluid loss coefficient (the usual goal for the decline analysis) is strongly dependent
on the value of modulus. If this value is not known from core analysis then the final result for 'C'
becomes uncertain. In many cases, however, the final analysis can be improved through a proce
dure of pressure history matching as discussed in Section 8.3.
PostproppedFrac Pressure Decline Analysis
Fracture pressure decline analysis as presented above assumes a minifrac test injection, where, at
closure, a fracture will be completely closed. However, the same analysis is applicable to post
proppedfracture treatment pressure data, so long as two important points are remembered:
1. After a propped fracture treatment, fracture closure occurs when the fracture closes on prop
pant. However, at this point, of course, the fracture is not completely closed, but is held par
tially open by the proppant. Thus the timetoclose efficiency must be corrected as discussed
below.
2. The pressure decline analysis assumes that the fracture was free to propagate during the injec
tion period. When proppant is included in a real stimulation there is, of course, always the pos
sibility that due to slurry dehydration and/or proppant reaching the fracture tip, fracture
extension will be halted and a tip screenout will occur. This is usually evident from the net
pressure behavior and if such a condition occurs, then normal decline analysis is no longer ap
plicable. Note, however, that pressure history matching as discussed below can still be used to
analyze the data with the time where the screenout starts (e.g., the beginning of the unit slope
on a NolteSmith plot, Fig. 8.16) being a good marker for history matching analysis.
The timetoclose expressions previously presented on page 8.35, assumed the fracture closed
completely, e.g., no proppant. Similar analysis can be performed fromthe postfrac pressure decline
x
f
0.134 VG E'
4KP*
x
g
o
1 + ( )H
2
  =
x
f
0.134 ( ) 20 000 , ( ) 6 10
6
( )
4 ( ) 1 ( ) 100 ( ) 0.65 ( ) 1.45 ( ) 1.86 ( ) 375 375 ( )
 163 ft . = =
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843 July 1993
Table 8.4  Pressure Decline Analysis Calculations.
Perkins & Kern (Conned Height) Geometry Geertsma deKlerk Geometry
Radial Geometry (Unconned Height Growth)
NOMENCLATURE
s
 See discussion on reverse side of table
K  Correction factor for spurt loss, normally K = 1
C  Fluid loss coefcient (ft/
E'  Plain Strain Modulus = E / (1
2
) (psi)
E  Youngs Modulus,  Poissons Ratio
e
f
 Fluid efciency = Fracturevolumeatshutin / Volumeinjected
g
o
 Constant approximately = 1.45, (g
o
= 1.57  0.238 e
f
)
H
p
 Permeable or leakoff height (ft)
H  Gross fracture height (ft)
P* Pressure decline Type Curve Match Pressure (psi)
P
s
 Net pressure at shutin (psi)
 Loss Ratio = FractureVolumeatshutin divided by Volumelostduringpumping = e
f
/ (1e
f
)
r
p
 Ratio of permeable or leakoff area to total fracture area
For P&K or Geertsma r
p
= H
p
/ H, for a radial geometry r
p
is more difcult to dene and is normally set = 1
t
p
 Injection time (minutes)
VG  Total Injected Volume in Gallons = V
p
w  Average fracture width (inches)
x
f
 Fracture 1/2 length or penetration (ft) (Radius for Radial Geometry)
x
f
0.134 VG E'
4KP*
s
g
o
1 + ( )H
2
 =
x
f
0.134 VG E' [ ]
1/2
8KP*
s
g
o
1 + ( )H
 =
w 6
s
p
s
H/E' =
w 12
s
p
s
x
f
/E' =
C P*
s
H ( )/ r
p
E' t
p
( ) = C 2P*
s
x
f
/r
p
t
p
E' =
x
f
0.134 VG E'
2KP*g
o
1 + ( )

1/3
=
w 6p
s
x
f
( )/E' =
C P*x
f
( )/ r
p
E' t
p
( ) =
min
s
 Average Pressure Correction Factor
Pressure decline analysis is based on the average pressure in the fracture, but, unfortunately, the only value that
can be monitored is wellbore pressure, which will tend to be slightly higher than the average pressure. The value
for this correction factor is a function of fracture geometry and uid rheology.
Geertsma deKlerk Geometry
For a fracture with this geometry, Daneshy showed in SPE publications that
p
(the correction factor during pump
ing) is t 0.85. After shutin, the correction f actor will be higher than this, thus 0.85 <
s
< 1.0. Typically, a value of
0.9 is used.
Radial Geometry
For a radial geometry (or penny shaped fracture),
s
is near unity. For convenience in simplifying the preceding
equations,
s
was assigned a value of
Perkins & Kern Geometry
Perkins & Kern Geometry
For a conned height fracture, the correction factor can vary from 0.5 to 0.8, with a typical value of 0.65. The
exact value for a particular case is a function of the nonNewtonian character of the injected uid, and a function of
how much viscosity degradation occurs along the fracture during pumping. The nonNewtonian nature of the uid
is characterized by the uids nonNewtonian, n', and this parameter might vary between 0.5 (for very nonNewto
nian uids such as a Nitrogen foam) and 1.0 for an essentially Newtonian uid such as a linear gel. The amount of
viscosity degradation is qualitatively associated with a, where a=1 indicates no viscosity degradation along the
fracture, a=1 indicates moderate viscosity degradation, and a=2 indicates severe viscosity degradation fromthe
wellbore out to the fracture tip. The pressure correction factor is found from these two parameters by
Typical Values for this factor are given below:
T(F) n ' a
s
Linear Gel  6080 1 1 0.67
80120 1 2 0.57
Crosslink Gel  80120 0.75 0 0.78
140180 0.75 1 0.64
200250 0.75 2 0.54
Nitrogen Foam  80120 0.5 1 0.60
140180 0.75 2 0.54
Gelled Oil  100140 0.5 1 0.60
150220 0.75 2 0.54
Table 8.4  Pressure Decline Analysis Calculations.
s
3
2
/32 0.925 . = =
s
2n' 2 + ( )/ 2n' 3 a + + ( ) . =
V
f
' V
f
V
pr
, =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Pressure Decline Analysis
845 July 1993
where f
pr
is the volume fraction of proppant pumped (including proppant porosity) relative to the
total slurry injected and defined as
W is the proppant weight,
pr
is the specific weight of the proppant material, e.g., 165 lb/ft
3
,
2.65 gm/cc, 22 lbs/gallon for sand, is the proppant porosity (typically on the order of 0.40 since
this refers to a proppant pack with essentially zero stress), and V
p
= V
fl
+W/
pr
. For example,
assume a fracture treatment containing 100,000 gallons of gel and 300,000 lbs of sand is pumped
at a rate of 30 bpm. After the end of injection, the pressure decline is monitored and fracture clo
sure is detected at t
c
= 45 minutes. The total volume injected is
Substituting V
p
into the equation for f
pr
,
Total pump time was 113,636 gallons/(42 gal/bbl)/(30 bpm) = 90.2 minutes and with a closure
time of t
c
= 45 minutes, the dimensionless timetoclose was
This value of
c
= 0.50 is used with the timetoclose/efficiency relation to give an apparent effi
ciency of 28%,
However, the actual efficiency must be greater than this since this apparent efficiency is based
on closure on proppant, and, of course, the fracture is not completely closed at this point. The
actual efficiency is then found from
to be equal to 41%.
This efficiency of 0.41 is now used with the pressure decline data (prior to closure on proppant)
to perform a type curve analysis using the same procedures discussed previously and outlined in
Table 8.3.
e
f
1 1 f
pr
( ) 1 e
f
' ( ) , =
f
pr
V
pr
/V
p
W/
pr
V
p
1 ( ) ( ) . = =
V
p
100 000 gals 300 000 lbs/(22 lbs/gal) , [ ] + , 113 636 gals . , = =
f
pr
300 000 lbs/ 22 lbs/gal ( ) 113 636 gals , ( ) 1 0.40 ( ) [ ] , 0.179 . = =
c
45/90.2 0.50 . = =
e
f
' 0.28 . =
e
f
1 1 f
pr
( ) 1 e
f
' ( ) =
1 0.179 ( ) 1 0.28 ( ) 0.41 . = =
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
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July 1993
8.5 Pressure History Matching
The most powerful method of interpreting/analyzing fracturing pressure data is via the history
matching of actual net treating pressure (and pressure decline) data  generally with a numerical
fracture simulator. Another method of looking at this is  Calibrating the Fracture Model for the
particular formation being studied. Also, whether a numerical model is used, or the simple equa
tions below are used, some simple pressure history matching can overcome the uncertainties
involved in fracturing pressure analysis.
These uncertainties mainly arise since there are essentially more variables than there are equations.
The first of the two main equations can be represented by (from Section 8.3)
where the net treating pressure (and thus the value for p
s
used in the decline analysis) is mainly a
function of the modulus of the formation and the gross or total fracture height, H.
The second main equation is the pressure decline behavior which might be represented by the
P* value
where 'S' is the fracture stiffness which (for any fracture geometry) is primarily a function of frac
ture height and the formation modulus. Thus there are three main variables or unknowns, modulus,
E, height, H, and fluid loss coefficient, C. The important point here is that since there are basically
three unknowns and only two equations, these equations and any solution for them is interde
Fig. 8.34  Pressure History Matching
Pressure Decline
(Fluid Loss; Sand Schedule)
Treating Pressures
(Critical Pressure)
Simulator
Improved Designs
p
net
E'
H
 QL [ ]
3/4
=
P*
CS
2
r
p
t
p
. =
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Pressure History Matching
847 July 1993
pendent. For example, simply solving the pressure decline equations for a loss coefficient gives no
assurance that the answer is meaningful; i.e., is the modulus and fracture height used to calculate
the fluid loss consistent with the net treating pressure. If these values are consistent, then the fluid
loss coefficient determined from P
*
will be a reasonable (though possibly still not unique) value.
This history matching process is illustrated in Fig. 8.34. For an example, consider the data in
Fig. 8.35. The NolteSmith plot of net treating pressure shows increasing pressure with a small
positive slope, indicating a confined height fracture and a numerical model was used to history
match this data and thus determine a height and modulus consistent with the actual treating pres
sure behavior (with the modulus also being consistent with published industry data). This height
and modulus can then be used with some confidence to calculate a fluid loss coefficient from the
decline analysis. At this point, however, the calculated value for 'C' might be different from the
value used in the initial numerical modeling of the treating pressure, and if this difference is sig
nificant (e.g., greater than 20 to 30% difference), the modeling should be redone with the new
value for 'C', modifying the height and/or modulus values as required. The new height and modu
lus would be used to calculate a revised fluid loss coefficient, e.g., one would iterate. Note, how
ever, that it is very seldomnecessary more than one time since the net treating pressure is relatively
in sensitive to a precise value for 'C'. Because of this relationship (that net pressure is relatively
insensitive to fluid loss), the history matching should always begin with matching the net pressure,
with the modulus and height thus determined then used to calculate a loss coefficient .
With this history match, then, one has a set of three main variables (H, E, &C) which yield a good
description of the minifrac test. These can then be used with some confidence to consider different
Fig. 8.35  Case History of Pressure History Matching
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
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848
July 1993
treatment designs, larger/smaller volumes, etc. Note, however, that even though the three values
may be consistent they are still not necessarily the correct values. External data is required to
fully determine the problem. For example, core data for the modulus might make this a fully deter
mined problem. For the case in Fig. 8.35, postfrac temperature logs showed a height in fair agree
ment with the history matching, making this a fully determined problem.
Simple History Matching
The use of a numerical model for pressure history matching offers many advantages including the
ability to handle fairly complex geology, the ability to simulate the entire history of a test, and (pos
sibly most important) the ability to proceed immediately to considering different treating sched
ules, treatment volumes, etc. Since these considerations are based on a set of data that has
accurately described the past, one can simulate other treatment designs and arrive at an optimum
treatment with some confidence. However, in many cases an appropriate model may not be avail
able, but, rather than abandon history matching, it is often possible to use quite simple equations
to gain some of the benefits achievable from detailed modeling and matching.
In particular, for a confined height fracture (e.g., a case where the net treating pressure increases
during a job as seen in Fig. 8.35), treating pressure is generally dominated by fluid flow consider
ations and can often be reasonably predicted (e.g., maybe within t10%). For a confined height
fracture, net pressure can be approximated by the following equation
(8.13)
(8.14)
where is the average fluid viscosity (centipoise), 'VG' is the total fluid volume pumped in gallons,
'Q' is the pump rate in bpm, 'E' is the modulus in psi, x
f
is the fracture 1/2 length in feet, 'H' is the
gross fracture height in feet, and P
*
, , etc., are determined from the pressure decline analysis as
discussed earlier starting on page 8.30.
For other geometries such as an unconfined, radial fracture or a case where the fracture is initially
confined but then experiences significant height growth, rock mechanics considerations at the frac
ture tip begin to play a more dominant role, often precluding the use of such simple, analytical
equations. However, such equations can be developed and may sometimes prove useful. For exam
ple, for a radial fracture,
p
net
0.015 E
3
Qx
f
[ ]
1/4
H
 =
x
f
0.134 VG E
4KP*
s
g
o
1 + ( )H
2
 =
p
net
0.0078 QE
3
[ ]
1/4
x
f
2/3
 =
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Pressure History Matching
849 July 1993
Simple History Matching Procedure & Example
The suggested procedure for use of such equations is a type of single data point history matching.
That is, p
s
, the final net pressure (e.g., ISIP minus closure pressure) is matched to determine a com
patible set of 'H' and 'E' values to use in calculating fluid loss coefficient, 'C'. These values for
modulus and height are then used in the pressure decline equations to recalculate the fracture 1/2
length, x
f
, and the loss coefficient. If these new values for penetration and 'C' are significantly dif
ferent from the first values, it might be necessary to iterate one more time. However, as mentioned
above, it is seldom necessary to iterate more than once. If the final height determined from this
pressure matching is consistent with the geology and/or possibly other log indications of fracture
height; or if the modulus is consistent with core data; then the final three major variables (E, H,
and C) can be used with confidence.
As an example, consider the minifrac studied earlier in Section 8.4, with some of the relevant data
from that case listed in Table 8.5.
Using this data in the radial fracture geometry calculation for p
net
gives a predicted net pressure at
shutin (e.g., p
s
) of 240 psi, somewhat greater than the actual measured value of p
s
= 158 psi.
Remembering that the modulus was strictly an assumed value, one might then use a lower modu
lus, say 4x10
6
psi to calculate (still using the initial value for x
f
) a final net pressure of 178 psi, in
fair agreement with the actual data. This new modulus is then used to revise the initial estimate of
fracture radius (x
f
), with a new calculated value of x
f
= 185 ft, and a new calculated loss coefficient
of 0.0010 ft/ . With this new fracture radius of 185 ft, and the new modulus of 4 million
psi, the new calculated p
s
is 195 psi, which is still about 20% greater than the actual data, thus one
more iteration might be in order with a modulus of maybe 3.5x10
6
psi. At the end of that final iter
ation, a set of the three major variables (H, E, and C) would be determined which are compatible
with the minifrac data. In addition, since the calculated fracture radius of t190 ft (which gives a
Table 8.5  Minifrac Analysis Data.
Test Parameters
Volume=20,000 gallons t
p
= 20 minutes
Q =24 bpm = 300 cp
Minifrac Analysis Parameters
K =1 e
f
= 0.46
DP* =100 psi = 0.86
Pressure Decline Analysis Initial Results
(Calculations for Radial Fracture Geometry)
E' =Assumed equal to 6x10
6
psi
x
f
=Calculated as 211 ft
C =Calculated as 0.0008 ft/
x
f
0.134 VG E'
2KP*g
o
1 + ( )

,
_
1/3
= .
minute
minute
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
8
850
July 1993
gross fracture height at the wellbore of 380 ft) is consistent with fracture height logs, it is probable
that these values are a very good solution to the actual insitu conditions.
Complex Geology Effects
Pressure analysis might be considered proven for simple geologies, making it a practical tool for
many (if not most) cases. In general, even, it might be stated that where the basic theory and anal
ysis methods break down  the problems are related to some more complex geology. These geo
logic complexities can further be categorized into cases involving: (1) multiple formation layers
and (2) natural fractures. In fact, the bulk of the problems in analyzing fracturing pressure data or
in utilizing the results of such analysis can be traced to one of these complicating factors.
The effect of natural fractures was discussed in Section 8.4, and this effect is often identifiable
from a constant net pressing pressure on a NolteSmith plot (e.g., a critical pressure) and some
times by comparing the type curve match efficiency with the efficiency derived directly from the
timetoclose.
The possible effects of multiple formation(s) layers is more difficult to categorize since such
multilayered geology can lead to gross distortions and changes with time of the basic fracture
geometry. As an example, consider the case pictured in Fig. 8.36, where a hydraulic fracture was
initiated in one zone, but then penetrated a barrier and broke into a zone with lower closure
stress. During the remainder of the pumping, the lower stress zone will accept most of the injected
fluid. That is the main fracture will not be in the zone where the fracture started. After shutdown,
however, one might expect the barrier between these two zones to close rather quickly  isolating
the perforated interval from the main fracture. Thus the pressure decline behavior will be dom
inated by the characteristics of the perforated zone, and may give little or no information concern
ing the redirection of the fracture geometry, or the characteristics of the lower stressed zone which
accepted most of the injection. Possibly, though, such behavior may be inferred through an obser
vation of some decline in the net treating pressure indicating the height growth combined with dis
crepancies between the P
*
derived efficiency and the efficiency derived from the timetoclose.
Another example of the effect of multiple layers might be seen in the Big pressure decline anal
ysis problem. The problem as described and several parameters determined from the pressure
decline analysis are included in table Table 8.6.
Using the simple history match equations from page 8.48 (for a confined height, Perkins &Kern
geometry since the net pressure for the minifrac increased indicating height confinement),
(8.13) p
net
0.015 E
3
Qx
f
[ ]
1/4
H
 =
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(8.14)
and the problem definition data from Table 8.6, one calculates a final net treating pressure (e.g.,
net pressure at shutin) of 688 psi, 20% less than the actual value of about 860 psi. Since net pres
sure is most affected by fracture height and modulus, either the fracture height must be less than
the gross zone thickness (e.g., less than 150 ft), or the modulus of the formation(s) must be greater
than 7x10
6
psi, or ?. Since it might be unexpected (but not impossible) for the fracture height to
be less than the gross formation thickness, an initial approach to history matching this data would
probably be to increase the modulus. Doing this shows, after a couple of iterations, a modulus of
9x10
6
psi giving a calculated final net pressure, p
s
, of 885 psi, in near perfect agreement with the
actual data. The new calculated values for x
f
and 'C' are then 802 ft and 0.00075 ft/ ,
respectively.
Fig. 8.36  Fracture Going Out of Zone.
x
f
0.134 VG E
4KP*
s
g
o
1 + ( )H
2
 =
minute
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Thus the pressure history matching gives a set of three major variables of H = 150 ft, E = 9x10
6
psi, and C = 0.00075 ft/ , which satisfy both the final net treating pressure of about 860 psi
and the pressure decline behavior of P
*
= 260 psi and efficiency = 62%. However, since core data
indicated a modulus on the order of 7 million psi, what might explain the higher apparent stiffness
of the formation(s)?
A possible answer to this might be seen in Fig. 8.37, which illustrates the geology of the forma
tion, showing that the 110 ft net height (out of the 150 ft gross section) is actually composed of two
distinct sandstone layers with t30 ft of shale separating the two zones. Since the increasing pres
sure behavior during the minifrac seems to indicate good height confinement (e.g., the over and
underlying shales having higher closure stress than the sands), it might be reasonable to assume
that the separating shale might also be a barrier (e.g., have a higher closure stress) to fracture
growth. Thus this shale would pinch the fracture width (as seen Fig. 8.37), causing the fracture
to behave stiffer than a simple, 150 ft high fracture, thus explaining the need for an unusually
high modulus if the basic pressure analysis methods are to be used.
Given this more complex geology, a fracture simulator capable of treating multiple formation lay
ers might be used to history match the actual data, as seen in Fig. 8.38 for the treating pressure
behavior. Once the model is successfully set up to history match the past, it can then, of course,
be used with some confidence to design future jobs. Or, in fact, where the dominant effect of the
multiple zones is to just stiffen the fracture, a simple Perkins & Kern type procedure might be
used for frac design by using the artificially high modulus value to account for the effect of the
shale layer on fracture width.
Table 8.6  Big Pressure Analysis Problem.
Problem Denition
Volume Pumped = VG = 38,000 gallons
E = Modulus, estimated as 7 million psi
Gross formation thickness = H = 150 ft
Leakoff Height (= net height?) = 110 ft
Rate = 35 bpm
Pump Time = 25.5 minutes
Fluid Viscosity estimated at 300 cp
Pressure Decline Analysis Variables
P
*
= 260 psi
Final Net Treating Pressure = ps = 860 psi
Efficiency = 0.62
= 0.62 / (1  0.62) = 1.63
Initial Calculations
Fracture 1/2 Length = 624 ft
C = 0.00095 ft/ minute
minute
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Fig. 8.37  Actual Fracture Geometry  Pressure Decline Analysis Problem.
Fig. 8.38  NolteSmith History Match, Pressure Decline Analysis Big Problem.
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The above two brief examples have illustrated the extreme range of effects that multiple formation
layers can have on fracture pressure analysis  from the case of the frac growing totally out of zone
and almost invalidating the analysis methods; to a case where the basic analysis methods are fine,
but a slightly artificial modulus must be used in order to accurately describe the fracture width. In
general, it is this extreme range of effects that makes general statements about the effects of com
plex geology difficult or impossible to make. However, while multiple formation layers clearly
create problems, two recent studies (Warpinski
25
and Miller and Smith
22
) have shown that the
combination of pressure decline analysis with numerical modeling/history matching provides a
useful, powerful tool for analysis of such complex geologic cases.
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8.6 Proppant/Fluid Schedule From Pressure Decline
While the ultimate goal of a well stimulation treatment is to increase production using the most
cost effective procedures and materials, the actual, final product from the treatment design and
analysis consists of pumping schedules specifying volumes, proppant addition concentrations (as
seen in Fig. 8.39), and specifying insitu timetemperature history for the injected fluid (as seen in
Fig. 8.40 for use in selecting and specifying materials). The pressure analysis procedure discussed
in this chapter have concentrated on measuring or determining the physical variables which govern
fracture growth, e.g., insitu stresses, modulus, fluid loss coefficient, etc. With these variables
properly measured, it becomes possible, through the use of a numerical fracture model, to develop
pumping schedules for achieving the desired goals. However, in some conditions existing wellbore
limitations, or time/budget constraints may not allow adequate time or data collection for measur
ing the individual variables governing fracture behavior. However, it will be shown and discussed
below (following Nolte
14
) that the final products (e.g., pumping schedules) are a strong function
of a single variable, the fluid efficiency for the treatment. If this single value can be determined
from a prefrac injection test (or from experience gained on previous treatments in the area) then a
pumping schedule can be determined directly from this one value, e.g., efficiency is essentially a
state variable for the propped fracturing process. Note however, that the efficiency derived
schedule is developed from a preselected total treatment volume  with no direct consideration of
fracture length, fracture conductivity, etc. (e.g., no direct consideration of creating the best or most
cost effective stimulation for a particular formation).
Fig. 8.39  Treatment Schedule, Proppant Addition Concentrations.
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Advantages of an Efciency Derived Schedule
1. Allows development of an optimum pumping schedule based on a direct measurement of
fluid efficiency for the particular well and formation being treated.
2. The analysis requires relatively simple data collection and can generally be done from surface
pressure information. Also, the analysis can be completed in a short time making it an ideal
procedure for field use.
3. Final pumping schedule is not significantly affected by actual fracture geometry, thus efficien
cy procedures can be used in formations (such as coal seams for one example) where actual
fracture geometry may be very complex. Also, this independence from fracture geometry
makes the procedure ideal for initial treatments in a new, wildcat area.
Disadvantages of an Efciency Derived Schedule
1. Prefrac injection must use same fluid as planned for the stimulation and must be pumped at
the same rate as will be used for the actual propped fracture treatment.
2. Efficiency procedure assumes no knowledge of actual fracture geometry, thus the preselected
treatment volumes used as a basis for developing the final pumping schedule may be insuffi
cient for achieving required production, or the volumes may be excessive, incurring additional
costs and unnecessarily increasing the risks associated with completion operations.
The information generally needed for a stimulation are: (1) the fluid volume to be injected, (2) the
injection rate, (3) the proppant addition schedule, (4) the resulting propped fracture width and
length, and (5) the amount of time that fluids will be exposed to reservoir temperature. This expo
Fig. 8.40  Treatment Schedule, Fluid Temperature History.
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sure time is needed for selecting the required fluid system along with the amount and type of fluid
additives. For a new area, the volume limitations may be determined from budget constraints, or,
for a more developed area, volumes may be specified based on the requirements to achieve a rel
ative change in fracture length (or conductivity) from that achieved by prior treatments. Finally,
pump rate is often prescribed based on horsepower limitations or pressure limit constraints of the
wellhead and/or tubulars. While, as mentioned above, the efficiency procedure gives no informa
tion on propped fracture length or width, it does give the final ingredient, that being the required
pad volume and proppant addition schedule.
While lack of knowledge of final propped fracture dimensions precludes any quantitative devel
opment of the treatment design in terms of postfrac production; determining the required pad vol
ume and pumping schedule still remains the most difficult and critical to obtain of any of the
necessary information. As an example, consider the final fracture conductivity distribution pic
tured in Fig. 8.41. This is the results of a numerical simulation for a case which (purposefully)
included an excess pad volume. As seen in the figure, at shutdown (e.g., at the end of pumping)
the propped fracture 1/2 length is on the order of 500 ft, which was the design length. However,
due to the excess pad volume, the created length is nearly twice as long. Since the area of high fluid
loss is located near the fracture tip, fluid continues to flow from the wellbore region of the fracture
out toward the fracture tip after shutdown. This afterflow results in a proppant redistribution
leaving a relatively (undesirable) low fracture conductivity in the near well area  reducing future
production rates. Another example of the critical need for pad volume/proppant schedule informa
tion is, of course, the case of inadequate pad volume. This will result in the slurry portions of a
treatment dehydrating and screening out, reducing the propped fracture length and possibly forc
ing remedial wellbore cleanout operations. Thus, even for fixed treatment volume, either too
much, or too little pad volume is detrimental to final postfrac results.
Determining Fracture Fluid Efciency
As discussed in Section 8.3, the fluid efficiency for a treatment can be determined by measuring
the timetoclose after a fracturing rate injection. Thus the most direct way to measure fluid effi
ciency for use in an efficiency design is to conduct a prefrac calibration treatment or minifrac
test. This is the most common method when using the efficiency design techniques, and data col
lection and analyses for such prefrac testing are thoroughly discussed in earlier sections and will
not be repeated here.
However, an alternate method may be available when earlier propped fracture treatments have
been performed in the area, and where formation properties such as thickness and permeability do
not change radically fromwelltowell. As an example, consider the ideal NolteSmith net pressure
plot in Fig. 8.42, and assume this is a field measured curve from an offset propped fracture stimu
lation. At a pump time of 20 minutes, proppant is on the formation (e.g., pad was pumped for
twenty minutes) and one hour later (e.g., at a pump time of t80 minutes) pressure starts to increase
indicating that fracture growth has stopped. Probably this job would have been pumped to comple
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tion, since pressure only increases by t500 psi after the start of the screenout, with this relatively
small increase possibly not even being noted in normal surface pumping records. However, unless
this screenout was a planned occurrence, it is probable that fracture length is much less than
desired. While unfortunate for this well, the information can aid in future treatment designs by sim
ply noting the pad percentage at the start of the pressure increase.
For this case, pressure starts increasing after t80 minutes, with a pad pump time of 20 minutes 
thus pad percentage for the first part of the job was 25%. For future treatments, the pad percent
age should be increased in volume to at least equal 25% of the total pump time. More accurately,
since pad percentage is related to job size, the pad percentage of 25% could be used to back out
Fig. 8.41  Fracture Conductivity Redistribution Resulting from Excess Pad Volume.
Fig. 8.42  Use of Field Data to Determine Fluid Efciency.
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a fluid efficiency. The fluid efficiency thus measured for the first 80 minutes of the job is then used
to calculate an expected fluid efficiency for a larger treatment (as discussed below), and this
expected efficiency for the total job is used to determine the new, required pad percentage and pad
volume.
Pad Volume
Once an efficiency (or expected efficiency) has been determined for a proposed treatment, the
required pad percentage for the job is found from the simple relation
(8.15)
where e
f
is the expected efficiency for the treatment, f
p
is the required pad fraction for the treat
ment, and f
C
is a correction term.
In developing this, consider the curve shown in Fig. 8.43. This curve illustrates fracture area grow
ing with time (or volume). Further, consider that at some time, ft
p
(where t
p
is the total pump time
and f is a fraction) a switch is made from pumping pad to pumping proppant laden slurry. Thus,
the initial fracture area created (e.g., the small element of fracture created just as pumping starts)
is exposed to fluid loss for the entire pump time t
p
, with this fluid loss coming out of the pad from
time '0' to time ft
p
, with subsequent fluid loss coming out of, and serving to dehydrate, the proppant
laden slurry.
Similarly, one might consider some later element of the created fracture area, da, which is created
at time = (e.g., before that time it did not exist since the fracture had not reached that point) and
has a total exposure time to fluid loss of = (t
p
 ). For some fraction of that total exposure time
( < t
p
), fluid loss from this increment of the fracture area will come from the pad volume. After
that point, the slurry front passes and subsequent fluid loss out of that element of the fracture
Fig. 8.43  Variables for Determining Pad Percentage.
f
p
1 e
f
( )
2
f
c
+ =
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area will be coming out of the slurry. Assume then, that this point in time where the slurry front
passes an element of fracture area is similar for each element of the fracture. Then for some incre
mental area, da, total fluid loss exposure time is . For a fraction of this total time, f, fluid loss is
from the pad while for the remainder of the exposure time, fluid loss is from slurry.
The volume of fluid lost during a fraction, f, of each incremental fracture area's fluid exposure
time, , can then be found by integrating
14
where V
Loss
is the total volume of fluid lost during the entire pump time. Thus the portion of fluid
lost for a (constant) fraction of the fluid exposure time of each incremental area of the fracture is
simply proportional to . Also, if this assumption concerning the slurry front passing each ele
ment of the fracture is correct, then this simple curve (dashed line in Fig. 8.43) defines the perfect
pad. That is, the slurry front reaches the fracture tip just as pumping stops, e.g., it neither reaches
the tip prematurely leading to proppant bridging (a screenout), nor does it fail to reach the tip, leav
ing a portion of the fracture without proppant or allowing harmful afterflow proppant redistribu
tion during fracture closure.
Clearly then this is a possible curve for the optimum pad volume, and based on this curve, the
desired fraction, f = f
p
, is readily found. As discussed above, the volume of fluid lost during a frac
tion, f, of each fracture elements' fluid exposure time, equals x V
Loss
, where V
Loss
is the total
loss volume during the treatment. For the ideal pad then this fractional lost volume exactly equals
the pad volume giving
where V
p
is the total volume injected during the entire pump time t
p
. Since efficiency, e
f
, is defined
as fracture volume at the end of pumping divided by the total volume injected, then V
Loss
, must
equal
and the ideal, theoretical pad fraction is given by
V
Loss
f ( ) 2C
d

0
f
da
0
A
=
f x V
Loss
=
f
f
f
p
xV
p
f xV
Los
=
V
Loss
1 e
f
( )xV
p
=
f
p
1 e
f
( )
2
= .
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However, reviewing the dashed (slurry front propagation) curve in Fig. 8.43 shows a vertical
slope at the beginning, e.g., implying an initially infinite velocity for the slurry front. This is clearly
an impossibility, and leads to a correction factor,
14
f
C
, as shown in Fig. 8.44.
Thus, more generally, the ideal pad percentage, f
p
, is given by
(8.13)
where f
C
= 0.05, efficiency, e
f
, > = 0.20, = e
f
/4, efficiency < 0.20 .
Using this (somewhat in reverse) with the ideal case shown in Fig. 8.42 where the pad percentage
(prior to start of screenout) was 0.25 gives an efficiency on the order of
for the first 80 minutes pumping of that job. (Note that in this case, the final efficiency is greater
than 0.20, thus the initial estimate of f
C
= 0.05 was correct, otherwise it would have been necessary
to iterate on the correction term in order to find the actual efficiency.)
Of course, while the dashed curve in Fig. 8.43 represents the general character of an ideal pad
stage, the assumption that each incremental fracture area element is exposed to pad fluid loss and
slurry fluid loss in the same ratio (e.g., 'f' is a constant for each incremental element of the fracture)
is not proven. As one proof, or at least justification, for this assumption, pad percentage and
proppant addition schedules (as discussed in the following section) arising from the efficiency
analysis are compared to schedules developed from computer models in Fig. 8.45. This shows
actual treatment schedules from three separate areas, representing fluid efficiencies ranging from
18 to 70%. The low loss, high efficiency example is for a tight gas field in Colorado where height
Fig. 8.44  Correction Factor for Pad.
f
p
1 e
f
( )
2
= f
C
+
0.25 1 e
f
( )
2
= 0.05 1 e
f
( )
2
, + 0.20 =
e
f
0.55 t =
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confinement was virtually perfect; the middle curve comes from treatment histories from a gas
field in East Texas where some height growth generally occurred; and the third, high fluid loss
example, was for fracturing in a thick, moderate permeability, carbonate formation in the North
Sea. In each case, computer model designs were based on extensive data collection programs and
field experience, and, in each case, the final proppant schedule is seen to be quite accurately deter
mined by fluid efficiency alone.
Proppant Addition Schedule
The average proppant concentration, c
avg
, for a treatment is
(8.16)
where W is the total weight of the proppant and V
p
is the total slurry volume (fluid plus proppant)
injected. Note here that this definition of proppant concentration differs from the normal field
usage of poundsofproppant per gallonorfluid. Additionally, c
f
is defined as the final, maximum
proppant concentration pumped during a treatment, and due to fluid loss, c
f
must be greater than
c
avg
. One possible design goal for a propped fracture stimulation is to, at the end of pumping, have
a uniform proppant concentration, equal to c
f
, from the wellbore to the fracture tip. This will gen
erate a fracture with reasonably uniform conductivity along the fracture length (assuming a single
type of proppant is used) and will maintain fairly uniform slurry viscosity throughout the fracture.
In terms of the fracture volume at the end of pumping, V =e
f
x V
p
, this final proppant concentration
can be written as
Fig. 8.45  Comparison with Computer Models.
c
avg
W/V
p
=
c
f
W/V W/ e
f
V
p
( ) . = =
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Combining this with the definition of average concentration gives
where c
Davg
is a normalized value for average concentration. Similarly, a normalized concen
tration at any point in time during the treatment is defined by
and, for convenience a new time scale is defined, , where the new time scale starts at 0 when
proppant is started and reaches a value of 1 at the end of the job as illustrated in Fig. 8.46.
In terms of this new time scale, certain fixed values for the normalized proppant schedule, c
D
, can
be stated
Assuming a function for the proppant schedule of the form
the exponent, , can be evaluated from the above limits on the function, c
D
, given above
Fig. 8.46  Time Scale, , for Determining Proppant Addition Schedule.
c
D avg
c
avg
/c
f
e
f
, = =
c
D
c/c
f
, =
t f t
p
( )/ t
p
f t
p
( ) . =
c
D
( ) 0 = 0 < ( ), =
c
D
( ) 1 = 1 < ( ) =
c
D avg
e
f .
=
c
D
( ) (0 = = 1) < < =
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or after incorporating a correction factor discussed on page 8.62 for the pad volume calculations
Thus a dimensionless or normalized proppant addition schedule is defined by
(8.17)
and since this function satisfies the numerical end points for a proppant schedule as stated above,
satisfies the relation for the final average proppant concentration, and also provides a monotoni
cally increasing schedule as commonly utilized in practice  it is expected to be a reasonable
approximation to an ideal schedule. As seen in Fig. 8.45, again for three cases covering a range of
conditions and fluid efficiency, this simple relation does indeed provide an acceptable pumping
schedule.
Effect of Treatment Volume
In an example considered in the discussion of Fig. 8.42, from the pad pump time of 20 minutes and
the time when a screenout started at 80 minutes (pad fraction, f
p
, of 0.25), it was found that the
fluid efficiency for the first 80 minutes of pumping was t55%. Also, a minimum design criteria
for future treatments in that formation was to use a pad volume equal to 25% of the total volume
to be pumped. However, this fluid efficiency of 55% is applicable for the first 80 minutes of the
job and, in general, fluid efficiency is a function of job size and will tend to decrease as pumping
time gets longer and longer. Thus for a job requiring a total pump time of about 2 hours as shown
in Fig. 8.42, the expected efficiency would be somewhat lower than 55% and the required pad per
centage would be somewhat greater than 25%.
Fluid efficiency is related to pump time (e.g., volume and rate), fluid loss coefficient, C, and to the
fluid loss area, or r
p
, the ratio of loss area to total fracture area. While these are the primary vari
ables governing efficiency, it is also slightly affected by fracture geometry (e.g., confined height
vs. radial fracture growth) and fluid rheology. For a general case there is no analytical solution for
fluid efficiency, however, as with the other fracturing pressure decline analyses discussed earlier,
it is possible to place certain bounds. For example, for efficiency approaching 0 (e.g., very high
fluid loss), fluid efficiency is proportional to time raised to a power
14
= 1 e
f
.
= 1 e
f
f
C
/e
f
.
c
D
( )
0 = < = 1 < ( ) , = 1 e
f
f
C
/e
f
, =
e
f
t** n / 2n 2 + ( )
5n 2 + ( )/ 82 8 + ( )
"PK"
"Radial"
Geometry
Geometry
Geometry
2n 1 + ( )/ 4n 4 + ( )
"GdK"
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where 'n' is the power law exponent for a nonNewtonian fluid. 'n' generally ranges between 0.5
and 1 for common fracturing fluids, and using n = 0.75 (a typical value for crosslink gels) gives
While the range between these various possible fracture geometries is possibly significant in some
cases, it is noted that the values above are for the limited case of very high fluid loss. As efficiency
approaches 1 (e.g., no fluid loss), then the fracture geometry does not effect efficiency, and, in
the above form, efficiency is proportional to time raised to the 0 power, e.g.,
Interpolating between these limits gives a ratio of efficiencies between two different pump times
(t
2
and t
1
) as
but, generally, acceptable accuracy is obtained by simplifying the above ratio to a single relation
ship
(8.18)
Example
As an example, consider a case where a minifrac test was pumped. The test consisted of a cross
linked gel identical to the fluid planned for use during the propped fracture treatment. The test used
25,000 gallons (595 barrels) pumped at 25 bpm with a total pump time, t
p
, of 23.8 minutes. Frac
ture closure was observed 28.6 minutes after shutin, e.g., t
c
= 28.6 minutes. This gives a dimen
sionless closure time of
And, from Fig. 8.32,
c
of 1.20 gives e
f
= 0.45 (45).
Find Actual Job Expected Efciency
Now assume that it is desired to pump an actual propped fracture treatment with a total slurry vol
ume of 100,000 gallons and a final proppant concentration of 8 ppg (pounds of proppant per fluid
gallon). The actual treatment will also be pumped at 25 bpm, and it is important to note here that
e
f
t**
"PK"
"GdK"
"Radial"
Geometry
Geometry .
Geometry
0.357
0.214
0.411
e
f
t
0
constant 1 . = =
e
f 2
/e
f 1
( ) t
2
/t
1
( ) ** = 0.214 1 e
f 1
( )
0.411 1 e
f 1
( )
"PK"
"GdK"
"Radial"
Geometry
Geometry ,
Geometry
0.357 1 e
f 1
( )
e
f 2
/e
f 1
( ) t
2
/t
1
( )
1 e
1
( ) 3
=
c
t
c
/t
p
28.6/23.8 1.20 = = =
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while the minifrac efficiency can be corrected for the larger volume, it cannot be corrected for
rate changes, thus in order to use simply the efficiency from the minifrac, the propped stimulation
treatment must be pumped at the same rate. This gives [using Eq. (8.18)] an expected efficiency
for the actual treatment of
Treatment Pad Percentage
The actual treatment pad percentage is then found from Eq. (8.15)
and since the total expected treatment volume is 100,000 gallons, the pad stage should consist of
47,000 gallons.
Proppant Addition Schedule
The proppant schedule exponent, , is then found from
and the dimensionless proppant schedule is given by
and this equation is used to construct the simple table shown in Table 8.7, where the slurry vol
umes shown are arbitrarily selected points which will be used to construct a curve of prop con
centration vs. slurry volume. It is particularly important to note that the calculations are conducted
in terms of slurry volume and slurry concentration, e.g., pounds of proppant per slurry gallon, so
a conversion is necessary to the more common industry terminology of ppg (pounds of proppant
per fluid gallon).
These conversions from ppg (pounds of proppant per fluid gallon  C
fl
) to pounds of proppant per
slurry gallon (C
sl
) have been made using the formulae
and
e
f 2
/0.45 4/1 ( )
1 0.45/3 ( )
=
e
f 2
0.45 ( ) 4 ( )
0.18
0.35 35% . = = =
f
p
1 0.35 ( )
2
= 0.05 + 0.47 , =
1 e
f
f
C
/e
f
1 0.35 0.05/0.35 0.51 = = =
c
D
( )
c
Dimensionless Closure Time,
c
= t
c
/t
p
e
f
Fracture Fluid Efficiency = Fracture Volume at ShutIn (V)/Total Volume Pumped (V
p
)
E Young's Modulus of Formation (psi), Typical Values  2x10
6
psi to 8x10
6
psi
E' Crack Opening Modulus = E/(1
2
) (psi)
f Fraction
f
p
Pad Fraction or Pad Percentage
f
pr
Proppant Fraction of Job, V
pr
/V
p
H Total or Gross Fracture Height (ft)
H
p
Permeable or Leakoff Height (ft)
p
c
Fracture Closure Pressure (psi)
p
net
Net Fracturing Pressure (e.g., bottomhole treating pressure just outside the perforations
minus fracture closure pressure) (psi)
p
s
Net Pressure at ShutIn (e.g., ISIP  p
c
)
Porosity of Proppant Pack (typically on the order of 0.40)
Q Total Injection Rate (barrels/minute, bpm)
q
Loss
Fluid Loss Rate (bpm)
r
p
Ratio of permeable or leakoff area to total fracture area for P&K or Geertsma r
p
= H
p
/ H;
for a radial geometry r
p
is more difficult to define and is normally set = 1
Loss Ratio = efficiency/(1  efficiency)
pr
Specific Gravity of Proppant (e.g., 2.65 gm/cc or 22 lb gal for sand)
S Fracture Stiffness for Pressure Decline Analysis
t
c
Closure Time, e.g., ShutIn Time to Fracture Closure (minutes)
t
p
Pump Time (minutes)
t
s
ShutIn Time (e.g., incremental time since pumping stopped) (minutes)
minute
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Nomenclature
869 July 1993
Time when an incremental element of fracture area is first exposed to fluid loss
V Fracture Volume (ft
3
)
V
Loss
Total Fluid Loss Volume During Pumping (ft
3
)
V
p
Total Slurry Volume Pumped (ft
3
)
V
pr
Total Proppant Volume Pumped (ft
3
), including porosity of proppant
V
fl
Total Fluid Volume Pumped (ft
3
)
Dimensionless ShutIn Time, t
s
/t
p
or (tt
p
)/t
p
W Total weight of proppant pumped (pounds)
Poisson's Ratio for Formation (dimensionless), Typical Values  0.15 to 0.25
Fluid Viscosity (centipoise)
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
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July 1993
8.8 References
1. Godbey, J. K. and Hodges, H. D.: Pressure Measurements During Fracturing Operations, Trans., AIME, (1958)
213, 6569.
2. Khristianovic, S. A. and Zheltov, Y. P.: Formation of Vertical Fractures by Means of Highly Viscous Liquid,
Proc. Fourth World Pet. Cong., Rome (1955) Sec. II, 57986.
3. Perkins, T. K. Jr. and Kern, L. R.: Widths of Hydraulic Fractures, JPT (Sept. 1961) 93749; Trans., AIME 222.
4. Geertsma, J. and de Klerk, F.: ARapid Method of Predicting Width and Extent of Hydraulic Induced Fractures,
JPT (Dec. 1969) 157181; Trans., AIME 246.
5. Veatch, R. W. and Crowell, R. F.: Joint Research/Operations Programs Accelerate Massive Hydraulic Fractur
ing Technology, JPT (Dec. 1982), 276375.
6. Nolte, K. G. and Smith, M. G.: Interpretation of Fracturing Pressures, JPT (Sept. 1981), 176775.
7. Nolte, K. G.: Determination of Fracture Parameters from Fracturing Pressure Decline, paper SPE 8341, pre
sented at the 1979 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Las Vegas, Sept. 2326.
8. Schlottman, B. W., Miller, W. K. II, and Leuders, R. K.: Massive Hydraulic Fracture Design for the East Texas
Cotton Valley Sands, paper SPE 10133, presented at the 1981 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibi
tion, San Antonio, Oct. 47.
9. Elbel, J. L. et al.: Stimulation Study of Cottage Grove Formation, JPT (July 1984) 11991205.
10. Dobkins, T. A.: Procedures, Results, and Benefits of Detailed Fracture Treatment Analysis, paper SPE 10130,
presented at the 1981 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Oct. 47.
11. Smith, M. B.: Stimulation Design for Short, Precise Hydraulic Fractures SPEJ (June 1985) 37179.
12. Smith, M. B., Miller, W. K. II, and Haga, J.: Tip Screenout Fracturing: A Technique for Soft, Unstable Forma
tions, SPEFE (Feb. 1987) 95103; Trans., AIME, 283.
13. Morris, C. W. and Sinclair, R. A.: Evaluation of Bottomhole Treatment Pressure for Geothermal Well Hydraulic
Fracture Stimulation, JPT (May 1984) 82936.
14. Nolte, K. G.: Determination of Proppant and Fluid Schedules From FracturingPressure Decline, SPEPE (July
1986) 25565; Trans., AIME, 281.
15. Nolte, K. G.: A General Analysis of Fracturing Pressure Decline With Application to Three Models, SPEFE,
(Dec. 1986) 57183.
16. Martins, J. P. and Harper, T. R.: Minifrac Pressure Decline Analysis for Fractures Evolving From Long Perfo
rated Intervals and Unaffected by Confining Strata, paper SPE 13869 presented at the 1985 SPE/DOE LowPer
meability Gas Reservoirs Symposium, Denver, May 1922.
17. Castillo, J. L.: Modified Fracture Pressure Decline Analysis Including PressureDependent Leakoff, paper
SPE 16417, presented at the 1987 SPE/DOE LowPermeability Gas Reservoirs Symposium,.Denver, May 1819.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
References
871 July 1993
18. Cooper, G. D., Nelson, S. G., and Schopper, M. D.: Comparison of Methods for Determining InSitu Leakoff
Rate Based on Analysis With an OnSite Computer, paper SPE 13223 presented at the 1984 SPE Annual Tech
nical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Sept. 1619.
19. Warpinski, N. R.: Investigation of the Accuracy and Reliability of In Situ Stress Measurements Using Hydraulic
Fracturing in Perforated, Cased Holes, Proc., 24th U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics, College Station, TX,
(June 1983) 77386.
20. McLennan, J. D. and Rogiers, J. C.: How Instantaneous are Instantaneous ShutIn Pressures, paper SPE 11064,
presented at the 1982 Annual Meeting of SPE, New Orleans, Louisiana, Sept. 2629.
21. Warpinski, N. R. and Teufel, L. W.: InSitu Stresses in LowPermeability, Nonmarine Rocks, JPT, April, 1989.
22. Miller, W. K. II and Smith, M. B.: Reanalysis of the MWXFracture Stimulation Data from the Paludal Zone of
the Mesaverde Formation, paper SPE 19772, presented at 1989 Annual Fall Meeting of SPE, San Antonio, Tex
as, Oct. 811.
23. Nordgren, R. P.: Propagation of a Vertical Hydraulic Fracture, SPEJ (Aug. 1972) 30614; Trans., AIME, 253.
24. Carter, R. D.: Appendix I to paper by C. C. Howard and C. R. Fast, Optimum Fluid Characteristics for Fracture
Extension, presented at the 1957 ASME Spring Meeting, MidContinent District, Div. of Production, Tulsa,
OK, April.
25. Warpinski, N. R.: Dual Leakoff Behavior in Hydraulic Fracturing of Tight, Lenticular Gas Sands, SPE Pro
duction Engineering (August 1990) 243.
Fracture Treating Pressure Analysis
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References
873 July 1993
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
91
Chapter
August 1992
9.1 Introduction
After 40 years of growth in income, we are now in a period where there will be little growth. We
have to continue to rationalize both staff and assets to reduce our operations to the size required
for expected level of (future) investment and to reduce costs so that cash flow can be maximized.
The fat, lazy days are over. We must continue to become leaner and meaner. We must improve our
efficiency. This is the charge made by the authors of a paper entitled Petroleum Reinvestment
Is there a future for our Industry?
Doom and gloom or a challenge to be overcome? These statements bring home the importance of
properly maximizing cash flow in the management of our oil and gas properties and emphasize the
need to focus on immediate opportunities to bring about revenue improvement. Well stimulation,
either by acidizing or through hydraulic fracture stimulation, is one method available to generate,
virtually overnight, improved production revenues that will assist in our accomplishing this goal.
Well stimulation, however, is a business decision that can just as easily result in an investment loss
if not properly understood and applied.
Amoco Corporation has traditionally reinvested over 50% of it's total earnings in Amoco Produc
tion Company (APC) for the sole purpose of developing reserves and the resulting production of
oil and gas. Over the last decade, APC has developed and applied hydraulic fracture stimulation
technology worldwide, an investment that today provides over 50% of all oil and gas produced in
our domestic U.S., Canadian and North Sea operations. Price declines in recent years have made
it increasingly difficult to justify investment in drilling, completing and stimulating wells. Low
prices have been compounded by an increased incidence of poor economic returns and project cost
overruns, as summarized in Table 9.1, suggesting better risk management procedures must be
included as a part of economic analysis and stimulation optimization. This section addresses the
methods to follow and the pitfalls to avoid when maximizing revenue from the implementation of
hydraulic fracture treatments.
Table 9.1  Average of Gulf of Mexico Projects to 1988.
1
Production: 10%
Reserves 9%
Project Time +29%
Project Cost: +33%
Present Worth 88%
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Introduction
92 August 1992
Economic optimization of a well stimulation treatment requires that the designer carefully balance
a large number of parameters describing the reservoir, including its fluid and rock properties, with
the inflow performance and associated cost of providing a manmade flow conduit that will pro
duce the largest production increase at the least incremental cost. There are usually many solutions
to this problem because the different stimulation materials and their associated costs can be com
bined in many ways to produce an optimum. The challenge facing us today is to consider all mate
rials and sensitivities, and their associated risks, to arrive at the true optimum, a task that is by
no means trivial and is best suited to todays computer technology. Amoco Production Research
has developed an integrated fracture, reservoir, and economics program called ULTRAFRAC.
This programallows the user to assess the economic benefits and sensitivities of the fracturing pro
cess. The following sections are some of the more important considerations to be evaluated when
optimizing stimulation treatments.
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9.2 General Economic Criteria
Provided that cash inflows may be reinvested in projects yielding some positive rate of return,
there is a benefit associated with receiving cash inflows as early as possible, and delaying expen
ditures as long as possible. This is just a restatement that funds have time value. The magnitude
and timing of project net cash flows are important yardsticks by which to measure project perfor
mance. Similar considerations are valid with associated costs of production.
Amoco evaluates investment projects on the basis of several standards. The most important of
these will be discussed in this section, and the merits and shortcomings of each will be outlined.
As the discussion proceeds, it will become clear that no single measure is sufficient to adequately
analyze a project and that an evaluation utilizing a variety of measures is desirable. The measures
used within Amoco are defined as follows:
1. Net Present Worth or Value (PW or PV) The sum of all future cash flows discounted to the
initial time, at a stated discount rate.
2. Incremental Present Worth or Value of the Fracture (INCPVF) The Net Present Value of a
fracture case less the present value of the unfractured case.
3. Fracture Incremental Present Worth or Value (FINCPV) The Net Present Value of a fracture
case less the present value of the preceding case. Used to show diminishing returns.
4. Profitability Index (PI) The [continuous] compound interest rate whose discount factors make
the present worth of a projects net cash flows equal to zero.
5. Discounted Return on Investment (DROI) The ratio of a projects net present worth to the
present worth of the total investments discounted at a stated rate. (The denominator is calcu
lated after tax and overhead and includes investment tax credits and the aftertax effect of de
preciation.) In ULTRAFRAC, DROI includes capital expenses such as well costs in addition
to fracturing costs.
6. Fracture Discounted Return on Investment (FDROI) FDROI is defined as above only cap
ital costs such as well costs are excluded. Only the AFIT (After Federal Income Tax) fracturing
costs are used in this economic analysis.
7. Incremental Discounted Return on Investment (INCDROI) INCDROI is defined as the ratio
of the incremental present worth of the fracture cases to the incremental cost to achieve the ad
ditional length. As a result, a DROI cutoff, consistent with Business Unit budgeting, can be
used to aid in determining the optimum fracture treatment.
8. Payout (PO) The time for the cumulative undiscounted cash flow of a project to reach zero.
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94 August 1992
The Present Worth Concept
A concept which lies at the foundation of economic evaluation procedures is present worth, also
called present value (PV). While these two expressions are interchangeable and all of Amocos
other subsidiaries use the term present value, the term present worth is normally used within
Amoco Production. Present worth is abbreviated in this text as PW
i
, where i is the interest rate. The
principle is that a dollar of income is worth more to an investor, or a firm, if received now rather
than at some time in the future. This is because the dollar can be invested at some positive percent
age rate of return (interest rate) during the intervening time.
For example, a dollar received now would, at 5% annual interest, be worth $1.05 after one year.
Hence, to be indifferent between accepting a dollar now or a certain sum of money one year in the
future, that sum of money would have to be $1.05 (assuming 5% return is the highest return avail
able to investors). The future worth (FW) of a dollar after one year at 5% is calculated as follows:
FW = 1.00 (1 + .05)
= 1.05
After two years, if the interest were left in the account, the future worth would be:
FW = 1.00 (1 + .05) (1 + .05)
= 1.00 (1.05)
2
= 1.1025
Present worth is the value that, when invested at the given interest rate, will yield the given future
worth after the applicable number of periods. Using the previous example of $1.05 received after
a year, the present worth is $1.00 (since it would grow to the future worth of $1.05 when invested
at 5%for one year). Another way to think of present worth is the value in current dollars you would
require to make you indifferent between receiving that amount or the future worth.
The relationship of present and future worth can be stated generally as,
FW = PW (1 + i)
n
(2.1)
where FW = future worth, PW = present worth, i = interest rate (assumed constant), and n= number
of periods over which the interest rate applies.
In general terms, present worth is found by solving Eq. (2.1) for PW.
PW = FW (2.2)
The quantity
1
1 i + ( )
n

1
1 i + ( )
n

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is known as a discount factor.
The form of present worth discussed so far is known as endofperiod discrete (or periodic) dis
counting. If one assumes that the time period over which compounding occurs is infinitesimally
short, the result is continuous discounting, the type employed Amoco. With continuous discount
ing, the present worth is determined as follows:
(2.3)
where PW = present worth, FW = future worth, e = Exponential Function, i = Interest Rate
(assumed constant) and n = number of periods over which the interest rate applies
The use of tables and computer programs simplifies the calculation of the discount factor 1/e
ni
.
If more than one future amount, occurring at different times, is being discounted, it is necessary to
alter the equation to account for multiple cash flows. Eq. (2.4) illustrates the case of n cash flows,
each assumed to occur at year end.
(2.4)
where C
0
, C
1
, ..., C
n
= annual pointintime cash flows for years 1 through n and DF
1
, DF
2
, ..., DF
n
= associated continuous discount factors for years 1 through n.
The discussion of present worth thus far has centered around cash flows which occur at a point in
time. More frequently, however, cash flows occur uniformly throughout a period, rather than at
year end. An example of a uniformcash flowis revenue froman oil well. The oil is not all produced
on December 31, 19xx; therefore endofyear discounting is not appropriate. An example of a sit
uation tailored to use endofperiod discounting might be annuity payments received at year end
for several years.
Table 9.2 summarizes the types of discounting and cash flows which exist and the applicable dis
count factor tables, which are included, along with brief instructions, in a separate section of this
manual. Only the continuous form of discounting is utilized by Amoco and all future references to
discounting will be to that form.
Annual continuous discount factors, the type normally used by Amoco, for pointintime cash
flows are listed in Table 9.3, and factors for uniform cash flows are listed in Table 9.4. Examples
Table 9.2  Summary of Discounting and Cash Flows.
Type of Discounting Cash Flow Applicable Table
1. Discrete Pointintime
Uniform
Not applicable
Not applicable
2. Continuous Pointintime
Uniform
9.3
9.4
PW
FW
e
ni
 =
PW C
o
C
1
DF
1
( ) C
2
DF
2
( ) ... C
n
DF
n
( ) + + + + =
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General Economic Criteria
96 August 1992
of present worth calculations for both uniform and pointintime cash flows are also provided. For
anything other than the simplest of examples, computer programs such as ULTRAFRAC and
GEM handle the calculations.
Table 9.4 also shows an example of present worth calculation. The annual $75 M project net cash
flow streams are assumed to result from a $100 M investment. Discounted cash flows are obtained
by multiplying the annual net cash flows by the appropriate discount factors. The present worth of
the project is the sum of the discounted cash flows. Present worth has been calculated at 15% dis
count rate for pointintime and uniform cash flows.
The significance of present worth is that, provided an investor has other investment opportunities
at the stated discount rate, he would be indifferent to accepting $81.1 M now or accepting the
undiscounted uniform cash flows over the three years of project life. In fact, the value of a firm is
frequently said to be the present worth of all of its cash flows from its various projects.
Present worth is helpful in ranking projects of the same size as illustrated by Table 9.5:
In examining these projects, it is clear that an investor would favor project A over B, because
Project B for the same investment ($1,000 M) yields $100 M less per year over the threeyear
Table 9.3 Calculation of Present Worth Using Continuous Discount Factors (Amoco).
Year
Net Cash Flow
($M)
Pointintime Cash Flows
Discount Factors @ 15%
Discounted Cash Flow
($M
0 100  100
1 75 .8607 64.6
2 75 .7408 55.6
3 75 .6376 47.8
68.0 = PW
15
(PointinTime)
Table 9.4  Calculation of Present Worth Using Uniform Discount Factors.
Year
Net Cash Flow
($M)
Uniform Cash Flows
Discount Factors @ 15%
Discounted Cash Flow
($M
0 100 
100
01 75 .9286
69.6
12 75 .7993
59.9
23 75 .6879
51.6
81.1 = PW
15
(Uniform)
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project life. Project A and Project C, however, each return a total of $500 M, and the concept of
present worth aids in differentiating between them. Project C is preferred because it returns more
of its cash earlier which leads to its having a higher present worth (the incoming cash can be rein
vested). This once again emphasizes that both the timing and magnitude of investments have to
be considered. It is interesting to note that Project B, while returning all of its investment, still has
a negative present value at both 13% and 15% discount rates.
If this firms cost of capital is 13%, it would undertake all projects with a PW
13
> 0, accepting
project A and C but rejecting B. However, if the firm were capital constrained, it would rank the
projects in order of economic attractiveness and choose those which maximize the value of the firm
within the imposed constraints.
Amoco has set a minimum investment criterion that those projects accepted must have a positive
PW
15
. Subject to the size of Amocos investment budget and manpower constraints, those
projects should be selected which maximize the present worth of the total package of projects
available.
Protability Index
Profitability Index (PI) is defined as that [continuous] compound interest rate whose discount fac
tors make the present worth of a projects net cash flows equal to zero. PI is also referred to as the
projects internal rate of return.
The PI may also be thought of as the discount rate which sets the sum of the discounted annual
cash inflows equal to the sum of the discounted annual cash outlays. Investments normally occur
at the commencement of a project, followed by a number of years of cash inflows. Where this pat
tern is substantially altered, there may be multiple PIs, which is a serious limitation to the use of
this technique.
Table 9.5  Project Ranking Using Present Worth Concept.
Year
Annual Cash Flows
Project A Project B Project C
0 1,000 1,000 1,000
1 500 400 600
2 500 400 600
3 500 400 300
Total 500 200 500
PW
13
163 70 193
PW
15
120 104 152
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98 August 1992
An example may be helpful in explaining PI. Suppose a firm is offered a project with annual end
ofyear pointintime cash flows of $100 M for five years after an initial (time zero) investment
of $350 M. The calculation of PI for such a project is shown in Table 9.6.
Recall that the PI is that discount rate which sets the present worth of the project equal to zero.
Therefore, by interpolation,
Once the PI is calculated for a proposed project, it should be compared to the established standard.
In the current environment for Amoco, the minimum standard is 15 PI (or ). Projects
which yield less than a 15 PI should not generally be accepted. However, other considerations,
such as an interrelationship with more profitable opportunities, may lead to their acceptance.
Should Amocos supply of projects returning at least 15 PI dwindle to the point where the available
monies exceed the investment requirements for such projects, the minimumPI standard would pre
sumably be lowered, but never less than the cost of capital. Investors would prefer that Amoco pay
out the excess funds as dividends if they can earn higher return than can be realized by plowing
the funds back into Amocos operations. Amoco might also choose to invest the funds elsewhere
within the consolidated corporation if projects in other lines of business could yield a higher PI.
Discounted Return on Investment (includes Fracture Discounted Return on Investment)
Discounted Return on Investment (DROI) is the ratio of a projects net present worth to the present
worth of the total investments (after tax and overhead and including investment tax credits and the
aftertax effects of depreciation), discounted at some rate. The denominator is calculated as fol
lows:
Table 9.6  Calculation of Protability Index.
Time (years) Cash Flow ($M)
Present Worth @ 12% Present Worth @ 14%
Discount
Factors Present Value
Discount
Factors Present Value
0 350  350.0  350.0
1 100 .8869 88.7 .8694 86.9
2 100 .7866 78.7 .7558 75.6
3 100 .6977 69.8 .6570 65.7
4 100 .6188 69.9 .5712 57.1
5 100 .5488 54.9 .4966 59.7
+4.0 15.0
PI
4
19
 x 14% 12% ( ) 12% + =
PI 12.4 approximately =
PW
15
0
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Discounted PW of Cash Investment, After Tax =
+ (Capitalized Part of Investment), discounted at i percent
+ 0.5 (Expensed Part of Investment), discounted at i percent
+ 0.5 (0.2 x Investment), discounted at i percent
 0.5 (Depreciation), discounted at i percent
 (Investment Tax Credit), discounted at i percent
where 0.5 = Tax Rate and 0.2 x Investment = Overhead
DROI is a measure of capital efficiency which may be viewed as the amount of aftertax present
worth generated per dollar of discounted investment. It is only used within Amoco Productions
domestic operations. Differing fiscal regimes in foreign countries make it difficult to define the
denominator of the expression on a consistent basis, so the measure is not useful to any subsidiary
having operations outside the United States. To understand how DROI is useful in economic eval
uations, it may be worthwhile first to review other evaluation criteria, and the circumstances under
which they are useful. Some of their shortcomings will illustrate the utility of DROI.
When considering two mutually exclusive projects with the same investment, the one with the
higher present worth should be accepted. Likewise, when considering an entire collection of poten
tial projects with different investment requirements (such as during budget preparation), the
present worth of the total package should be maximized. The decision as to which projects to
include and which to reject is complicated by the fact that not all projects offering a given present
value require an equal capital investment. DROI is a useful tool for dealing with this problem, as
illustrated by the following group, in Table 9.7, of potential projects available to a firm:
Table 9.7  Utility of DROI in Project Ranking.
Project
Current Year
Investment
($MM)
Aftertax PW
15
Investment
($MM) PI
PW
15
($MM) DROI
15
*
A 12 6 21 9 1.50
B 8 4 17 5 1.25
C 4 2 18 4 2.00
D 6 3 19 2 0.67
E 2 1 16 3 3.00
F 2 1 20 2 2.00
G 8 4 14 2 .50
* Assumes these are aftertax numbers and that no overhead, tax credits, or depreciation
credits exist.
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910 August 1992
Assume that this years capital budget allows $20 MM of expenditures. Since the projects return
ing at least 15 PI exceed the available funds, some projects must be foregone. Under these condi
tions, the firm should rank its projects in such a way as to maximize the present worth of the
package of projects. Ranking these projects on the basis of the highest PW
15
results in Projects A
and B being selected with a combined PW
15
of $14 MM. Ranking these projects on the basis of PI
results in the selection of projects A, F, and D with a combined PW
15
of 9 + 2 + 2 = $13 MM for
the total $20 MM investment. Ranking on the basis of highest DROI
15
yields projects E, C, F, and
Afor a combined PW
15
of 3 + 4 + 2 + 9 = $18 MMfor the $20 MMinvestment, which is consistent
with the goal of maximizing PW
15
of the package of projects given the spending limitations.
The PW method of ranking fails in the situation described above because of the different invest
ments required to yield a given present worth. The PI method also fails to rank projects since it
implies an ability to reinvest cash thrown off by a project at the PI rate. Since this is not generally
the case, the PI method does not compare projects on a consistent basis.
In summary, DROI is of use in ranking projects of different investment magnitudes. It takes into
account the time value of money and it also measure a projects susceptibility to risk. In the above
example, a DROI
15
of 1.50 is the minimum which would be accepted. Amoco in fact has no rigid
minimum DROI criterion. In general, where a 15 PI is Amocos minimum investment standard, a
DROI
15
would be determined and used to rank the available investment projects. A DROI
15
equal
to zero will indicate that the 15 PI standard has been met. While DROI provides a consistent
method of ranking projects, other factors such as payout, ROI, and maximum cash outofpocket
may be considered depending upon the investment climate.
Payout
Payout (PO) is defined as the length of time taken for the cumulative cash flowof a project to reach
zero. For some projects payout provides a rough measure of risk, by indicating how long the
investment capital is exposed. Amoco has no specific payout time criterion. When neither present
worth, PI nor DROI distinguishes between two mutually exclusive projects, the one with the
shorter payout is generally preferred.
The major shortcoming of the payout standard is that it fails to account for the timing of cash flows,
or to recognize cash flows after payout. If, for example, most of the project life occurs after payout,
later cash flows are not considered by the payout criterion. Table 9.8 summarizes a comparison of
two projects which have identical payouts but differ in present worth and illustrates howthe timing
of cash flow is ignored by payout.
When used in combination with PI and present worth, payout does serve a useful purpose. Not only
does it indicate how long investment capital is at risk, but it also functions as a rough measure of
liquidity. For instance, if Amocos management decided that all available capital was to be needed
next year for a major expenditure, e.g., a large acquisition, then payout time could be the determin
ing factor in ranking economically qualified projects.
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Return on Investment
Return on Investment (ROI) is defined as the ratio of the undiscounted cumulative net cash flow
of a project to the total investments (after tax and overhead and including investment and depreci
ation tax credits). The ROI calculation is performed in the same manner as the DROI calculation
(shown on page 98) with the exception that all values are undiscounted in the ROI equation. When
comparing project with similar cash flow patterns, such as a number of individual development
drilling wells, ROI, in combination with payout, can provide an indication of project attractive
ness.
Like payout, however, ROI does not account for the time value of money. This is illustrated by the
two projects in Table 9.9 which are identical with regard to ROI. When evaluated on a present
worth basis, which accounts for the time value of money, Project B is clearly preferred.
Another characteristic of ROI, which may be misleading, is that the measure increases dramati
cally with an increase in project life. The example in Table 9.10 clearly demonstrates this effect
for five projects, each of which shows a 15 PI on a single $1,000 time zero investment. The cash
return is the total amount of cash to be returned to the investor at the end of the project.
All five projects are equally attractive assuming the ability to reinvest the cash in similar 15 PI
opportunities over the lives of the projects.
Amoco has no minimum ROI standard, for reasons which are apparent from the above example.
The high ROI, longlife project does have the advantage that the company does not have to go out
and find a 15%reinvestment opportunity quite as soon, but as long as it is assumed that such oppor
tunity can be found, there is no need for a minimum ROI. Requiring minimum ROIs indicates that
the company does not have the ability to find reinvestment opportunities. As a result, ROI is not
included in ULTRAFRAC.
Table 9.8  Pitfalls of Optimizing Using Payout.
Year
Net Cash Flow
Project A Project B
0 $2000 $2000
1 1500 1000
2 500 1000
3 1000 1000
PW
15
= $ 299 $ 240
PI = 23.3 21.0
PO = 2.0 years 2.0 years
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
General Economic Criteria
912 August 1992
Incremental Economics
The PI standard should be employed to qualify projects for acceptance, but not to select between
mutually exclusive projects, i.e., projects such that either Project A or Project B may be under
taken, but not both.
Incremental economics should be run in this case. If both projects return positive cash flows, there
is an opportunity cost in opting for one over the other. Hence, the benefit to the firm, in terms of
increased cash flow, is the difference (or increment) between the two cash flows.
An importance use of incremental economics is shown by the example below (Table 9.11). The
two alternatives represent the options of developing or dropping a certain lease. Note that because
Alternative A generates tax benefits with no cash expenditures, the resulting PI is infinite.
Examining either mutually exclusive option in isolation can result in an incorrect decision. In the
example, while Alternative A provides a positive PW
15
due to the benefit of being able to write off
Table 9.9  Pitfalls of Optimizing Using ROI.
Year Project A Project B
0 200 200
1 100 150
2 100 150
3 150 100
4 150 100
Total 300 300
ROI 1.5 1.5
PW
15
138.1 158.9
Table 9.10  ROI and Project Life Relationship.
Project Life
(years)
Cash Return
($) PI ROI
1 1,162 15 0.16
5 2,117 15 1.12
10 4,482 15 3.48
20 20,089 15 19.09
50 1,808,042 15 1,807.04
Economic Optimization of Hydraulic Fracture Treatments
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
9
913
August 1992
the asset on current taxes, it is less than the PW
15
of Alternative B. On the other hand, deciding on
Alternative B means foregoing the option of dropping the lease (an opportunity cost). The net ben
efit to Amoco of developing would not be $3.5 MM, but rather $0.5 million.
When considering development of a lease, it is important to examine the drop alternative since
doing nothing is generally a poor alternative. Dropping the lease at least has the advantage of tax
writeoffs. A development vs. drop analysis is ideally handled by incremental economics, as in the
above example. On occasion, the alternatives may both have negative (but different) PW
15
s, but
an incremental PW for one alternative over the other will always be positive.
Mutual exclusivity frequently gives rise to multiple PIs since the cumulative incremental cash flow
may have several sign reversals. In that case, the PW vs. discount rate profile would cross the hor
izontal axis (PW=0) more than once (Table 9.12). The following example illustrates this situation.
Table 9.11  Incremental Economics.
Alternative A
(Drop)
Alternative B
(Develop)
PI 19
PW
15
($MM) 3 3.5
Table 9.12  Illustration of Multiple or Dual PI.
Year
Project A
(M$)
Investment Annual Cash Flows
Cumulative
Incremental
Project B
(M$)
Incremental
(B)(A)
0 400 500 100 100
01 75 150 75 25
12 100 150 50 25
23 100 150 50 75
34 125 150 25 100
45 100 150 50 150
56 50 0 50 100
67 50 0 50 50
78 25 0 25 25
89 25 0 25 0
910 20 0 20 20
Total 270 250 20 20
F
C
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
109 September 1992
1. Run static temperature log over interval to be fractured [approximately 1,000 ft above pay to
Plug Back Total Depth (PBTD)] at 2030 ft/min.
2. Run tubing openended to 2025 ft above PBTD.
3. Circulate water down tubing and up the annulus at maximum possible rate within pressure lim
itations for at least 34 hours. Friction reducer may be added to the water to reduce pumping
pressure. The water may be recirculated if a significant temperature differential exists between
reservoir temperature and the outlet temperature of the water at the surface. Cold water should
be added to the inlet stream when the outlet temperature rises by 25% of the initial reservoir:
inlet temperature differential.
4. Trip in with temperature tool to 1,000 ft above the pay interval.
Fig. 10.5  Effect of Wellbore & Completion.
11
INJECTION
CURVE
INJECTION TIME
2100
DAYS
150
DAYS
48 HR
SI
11 DIA
HOLE
INJECTION ZONE
75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115
4300
4400
4500
4600
4700
4800
4900
H
O
L
E
D
E
P
T
H
(
f
t
)
TEMPERATURE F
75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115
4300
4400
4500
4600
4700
4800
4900
INJECTION
CURVE
HOURS SHUTIN
3
12
48
CEMENT
14 DIA
HOLE
INJECTION ZONE
TEMPERATURE F
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1010 September 1992
5. Log downward at a speed of 2030 ft/min.
6. Pull tool to 1,000 ft above pay.
7. Repeat logging runs every 3045 minutes until temperature anomalies are well developed, usu
ally 35 logging runs.
This technique has shown more success in some areas than others. Still, in new areas, the test may
be run to verify whether it shows potential to increase the accuracy of postfrac temperature log in
terpretation.
Perforating and Permeability Determination
The interval to be stimulated should be perforated with a casing gun at a minimum density of four
shots per expected bpm fracturing injection rate, using guns with 90 or 120 phasing.
Perforating with many large holes will reduce perforation friction pressure and excessive shear on
the frac fluids. Perforating out of phase decreases the likelihood of the perforation being oriented
in a line at a high angle to the fracture azimuth, as shown in Fig. 10.6, and therefore reduces friction
pressure and shear between the wellbore and fracture. This method of perforating also affords a
better flow path to the wellbore during bottomhole pressure buildup and may reduce the need to
acidize the zone to attain an adequate flowrate for obtaining a buildup. If possible, do not stimulate
or breakdown the perforations prior to flow testing.
Fig. 10.6  The Effect of Zero Degree Phasing Perforations on a Fracture Treatment.
Narrow
Gap Vertical
Fracture
min
max
Cement
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
1011 September 1992
Better results are obtained in the minifrac and fracture treatment analysis if only one pay zone is
perforated. The analysis of net pressure is complicated by fracturing multiple zones at the same
time, particularly if the zones are separated by sufficient thicknesses of confining beds to allow the
propagation of two or more fractures at the same time.
When closure stress tests are performed in shales to measure the closure stress of bounding layers,
experience has indicated that high density perforating with large charges could compress the shale
around the perforation tunnel. This added stress to the rock has made breakdown impossible in
some cases. Little is known at this time about the best method for perforating shales for stress test
ing and further field research testing is required in this area.
A bottomhole pressure buildup test should be run to determine formation flow capacity. The for
mation permeability is used to determine optimum fracture length, to set limits on the fluid loss
coefficient to be used for designing the fracture stimulation, for improving the accuracy of post
fracturing performance prediction, and for analyzing postfrac buildup tests for fracture length and
conductivity.
Bottomhole Treating Pressure Measurement
Three tests require the measurement of BottomHole Treating Pressure (BHTP): closure stress tests
to establish the base fracturing pressure, minifracs to determine the mechanics of fracture growth
and to estimate fluid loss coefficient, and fracture stimulation BHTP analysis to determine the me
chanics of fracture growth and to evaluate the treatment. In all cases, the pressure data needed is
the pressure at the perforations to eliminate tubing friction pressure as a factor. To date, a fool
proof technique has not been developed to accurately account for all variables affecting friction
pressure to allow the subtraction of friction pressure from surface treating pressures to yield
BHTP. Extensive work has been performed in this area by the industry, but at best the results are
only reliable about 50% of the time.
Three techniques are recommended for measuring BHTP.
12
Fig. 10.7 shows wellbore schematics
for executing these procedures. The first requires running tubing openended (without a packer)
and pumping down either the tubing or annulus. The other side is then static, and pressures at the
surface on the static side are a direct reflection of BHTP, corrected for hydrostatic pressure. The
second technique involves the use of a surface readout pressure gauge mounted in a side pocket
mandrel, strapping the electric line to the outside of the tubing. The third technique employs a
downhole recording pressure bomb placed into a simple mandrel below a packer. With this tech
nique, actual BHTP are recorded, but the data cannot be accessed until after the treatment. For the
two procedures where BHTP is measured in realtime, the stimulation service companies can pro
vide onsite computer vans which facilitate quick manipulation of the prefrac test and/or main
treatment data for plotting to make onsite judgmental decisions.
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1012 September 1992
Procedure for Measurement of Static Pressure Tubing/Annulus
Run tubing open ended (without packer) to within 100 ft of the perforations. When pumping be
gins, tubing and annular pressure will be continuously recorded. If pumping down the tubing, the
annular pressure is a direct reflection of BHP, with a correction for hydrostatic head. Any gas on
the static side (tubing or annulus) should be circulated out of the hole so that the pressure at the
surface will reflect true bottomhole treating pressures. Gas bubbles in the static fluid column will
(1) alter the hydrostatic head of the fluid and (2) dampen the pressure response being transmitted
through the fluid as the gas compresses and expands with changing pressure. Collect four water
samples for determination of specific gravity at onethird points (beginning, onethird, twothirds,
and end) of the total volume used to load and circulate the hole. Since BHTP must be corrected for
hydrostatic head to derive bottomhole closure stress, an accurate fluid density determination is de
sirable.
Procedure for Recording Downhole with Surface Readout
Prior to running tubing for any of the BHTP tests, a side pocket mandrel is placed in the tubing
string just above the packer. A port from the side pocket mandrel to the inside of the tubing allows
measurement of pressure by a pressure gauge in the mandrel. The wireline for the pressure gauge
is strapped to the tubing as the string is run in the hole. The wireline is connected to the pressure
bomb through an electrical port which is an integral part of the side pocket mandrel.
Fig. 10.7  BHTP Measurement.
P
t
Q
t
P
a
Q
a
Q
t
 0
P
t
 BHPP
n
or
Q
a
 0
P
a
 BHPP
n
WIRELINE
SIDE POCKET
MANDRIL
PRESSURE
SENSOR
MANDRIL
PORT
PACKER
Q
Q
PACKER
PERFORATED
SUB
(BLAST JOINT)
PRESSURE
BOMB
SEATING
NIPPLE
NOGO NIPPLE
(a) (b) (c)
Openended Tubing Downhole Recorder
With Surface Readout
Downhole Pressure
Measurement
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
1013 September 1992
Procedure for Downhole Pressure Measurement
Prior to running tubing and packer a special mandrel must be constructed in which to set a pressure
bomb. The mandrel consists of (from bottom to top) a joint of tubing with a NOGO nipple at
the bottom, a seating nipple, a perforated sub (usually a blast joint) and a pup joint for tailpipe. A
downhole recording pressure bomb is set into the seating nipple with a slick line, and the treatment
pumped down tubing and out the perforated sub. Pressures at the bottomof the string are then mea
sured by the bomb.
To ensure the mandrel assembly does not cause increased fluid shear during the treatment, (1) the
perforated subs should be prepared such that the perforation area is adequate to yield near zero per
foration friction, and (2) the outside diameter of the assembly should not exceed the outer diameter
of the tubing to provide adequate annular space between the assembly and casing. Probably the
easiest and least expensive way to prepare the perforated sub is to have the holes drilled in a ma
chine shop. This ensures all holes are open, large and properly spaced.
After the fracture treatment, the pressure bomb may be retrieved with a slick line by latching onto
a fishing neck on top of the bomb or by pulling the tubing string.
Pressure Measurement Devices
A number of service companies are equipped to accurately record treating pressures. Accurate
pressure measurements are a must. The minimum pressure/time resolution for minifrac and frac
ture treatment analysis is pressure to the nearest 10 psi and data acquisition once per minute. For
closure stress tests, pressure resolution to the nearest 1 psi and 10 sec data acquisition is usually
adequate. Fracturing service company pressure transducers have proven to be too unreliable for
this type of work. Aside from the resolution of the transducers, fracturing company equipment is
often not accurately calibrated and is prone to failure. In cases where highly accurate pressure de
vices have been used to independently monitor the same pressures as the service companies, the
two pressure recordings commonly differed by 100500 psi. This level of accuracy is generally un
acceptable for this type of analysis.
Closure Stress Tests
Closure stress is measured to determine the minimum pressure necessary to sustain a fracture, to
allowdetermination of net fracture pressure during a minifrac and fracture stimulation, and to eval
uate proppant strength requirements. In the analysis of bottomhole treating pressures while frac
turing, closure pressure is analogous to the flowing bottomhole pressure measured in pressure
transient tests; i.e., it is a base pressure above which pressure analysis is performed.
Closure stress is determined by pumping a volume of fluid at a rate sufficient to create a fracture,
and then allowing the fracture to close either by shuttingin the well and allowing pressure to de
cline to below closure pressure, or by flowing the well back until pressure is reduced to below clo
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1014 September 1992
sure pressure.
12
In either case, closure pressure is identified by a change in the pressure decline
characteristics as the fracture closes. Either test should be preceded by a steprate test to determine
extension pressure, which should be within about 100 psi of closure pressure. The steprate test
will also assure that a fracture exists before the closure test is attempted. Fig. 10.8 shows a typical
steprate test plot. The time step at each rate should be constant, e.g., 2 minute intervals.
To create the fracture requires that a sufficient volume of fluid be pumped at a sufficient rate. In
practically all cases, pumping for 1020 minutes at 10 bpm has proven to be adequate; but, depend
ing on the results of the steprate test, these guidelines may be altered. In low permeability, low
leakoff formations 50 bbls at 5 bpm may be sufficient.
Any fluid, which is compatible with the formation rock and fluids, may be used for the tests. Gen
erally whatever base fluid is to be used for the fracture stimulation is used for the closure stress
test: produced formation water, 2% KCl water, etc.
Determination of closure pressure from shutin pressure declines is operationally very simple. The
well is left shutin until pressure declines to a point at which closure pressure can be identified as
shown in Fig. 10.9. This method of determining closure pressure is most appropriate for high per
meability formations which close quickly. In this type formation, closure would occur almost in
stantly during a flowback test making identification of closure pressure difficult. The data, during
a shutin decline test, should be plotted realtime, if possible, to determine the length of shutin
time. The decline data can also be plotted on a Horner type plot, Fig. 10.9, to identify radial flow
and, thus, ensure the fracture has closed.
13
Also, this plot can be used to estimate the near wellbore
reservoir pressure, p*. To ascertain the length of shutin time may require a trial test, followed
by subsequent tests. The number of tests performed will depend on the agreement of closure pres
sures picked. If good agreement is evident, only 23 tests may be required. It has been noted that
in liquid filled reservoirs closure pressure increases with each subsequent test due to an increase
in pore pressure. When this occurs, the earlier test results are probably most representative of for
Fig. 10.8  StepRate Test.
I
N
J
E
C
T
I
O
N
R
A
T
E
TIME INJECTION RATE
FRACTURE
EXTENION PRESS
B
O
T
T
O
M
H
O
L
E
P
R
E
S
S
.
A
T
S
T
E
P
E
N
D
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
1015 September 1992
mation closure and should be used to calculate net pressure during the minifrac and fracture treat
ment.
Closure stress determination from flowback pressures is only slightly more complicated than a
shutin decline test and is more conducive for low to moderate permeability formations, which
would require extensive monitoring periods during a shutin decline test. The flowback rate is de
termined by the fluid loss characteristics of the formation and the surface pressure; the purpose of
the flowback being to flow back at a rate on the order of the rate at which fluid is being lost to the
formation. For this flow back rate, a characteristic reverse curvature occurs in the pressure decline
at closure pressure as shown on Curve b in Fig. 10.11. A suggested initial flowback rate is 12
bpm. The proper flowback rate is usually determined by trial and error on the first tests, flowing
back at different rates until the correct flow back rate is found and a good test is obtained.
To control the flowback rate, a manifold similar to that shown in Fig. 10.12 is required. An adjust
able choke, gate valve, or automatic constant flow regulator (e.g., manufactured by Oilmaster  se
Fig. 10.9  PumpIn/ShutIn Decline. Fig. 10.10  PumpIn/ShutIn Decline.
Fig. 10.11  PumpIn/Flowback.
SHUTIN DECLINE
POSSIBILITIES
CLOSURE
PRESSURE
B
O
T
T
O
M
H
O
L
E
P
R
E
S
S
t
si
or t
i
+ t
si
t
si
= SHUTIN TIME
ti = INJECTION TIME
INTO FRACTURE
P*
START
RADIAL
B
O
T
T
O
M
H
O
L
E
P
R
E
S
S
LOG (t
si
+t
i
) / t
si
t
si
= SHUTIN TIME
t
i
= INJECTION TIME
= INTO FRACTURE
PUMP IN /
FLOWBACK
a
b
c
p
c
TIME
B
O
T
T
O
M
H
O
L
E
P
R
E
S
S
a  RATE TOO LOW
b  CORRECT RATE FOR
p
c
 CLOSURE PRESS AT
CURVATURE REVERSAL
FROM (+) TO ()
c  RATE TOO HIGH
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1016 September 1992
rial no. 280390) should be installed downstream of a 1inch and/or 2inch flowmeter(s). When
selecting a flowmeter for measuring the flowback rate, one must keep in mind the rate range of the
meter used. Service companies tend to recommend, and will usually supply, a 2inch turbine meter.
Experience has shown that it is difficult to impossible to measure flowback rates of 12 bpm with
meters of this size. The best choice seems to be a 11.5 inch turbine meter with digital readout in
bpm. Digital readout boxes, showing flowback rate, should be positioned near the valve or choke
for ease, accuracy, and quickness of adjustment. To minimize the adjustment of this valve or choke
from test to test, a full opening gate valve or LoTorque valve should also be placed between the
wellhead and flowmeter(s). This valve can be used to open and close the flowback system without
having to fully close the valve downstream of the flowmeter(s).
The following procedure is recommended for closure stress tests in low to moderate permeability
formations:
1. Since realtime data is necessary, either openended tubing or a downhole pressure recorder
with a surface readout is required to obtain BHP. In some cases, surface pressures may be suf
ficient. Pressures and rates should be monitored and recorded continuously throughout the
tests.
2. Perform steprate test to determine extension pressure and the minimum injection rate re
quired to fracture the formation. Utilize the steprate test as a pumpin/flowback test, flowing
the well back at a constant rate of 2 bpm. Note: In latter portion of pumpin, the injection rate
should be increased by an equivalent rate to the planned flowback rate. At the same time, the
flowback manifold should be opened and the flowback rate set prior to shutting down injection.
The shutdown should be slow, i.e., in 1015 seconds be pumping at 0.5 bpm, then shutdown
completely. This will prevent fluid hammer effects in the wellbore, which could distort test
results.
3. Flowback at a constant rate until the BHP approaches reservoir pressure. To keep the flowback
rate constant will require constant adjustment to the valve as the surface pressure decreases.
Fig. 10.12  PumpIn/Flowback.
WELLHEAD
FLOWBACK
LINE
GATE VALVE
OR LOTORQUE
VALVE
1
FLOWMETER
2
FLOWMETER
DIGITAL READOUT
DISPOSAL
PIT
ADJUSTABLE CHOKE
OR GATE VALUE
DIGITAL READOUT
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
1017 September 1992
4. Based on the required injection rate, perform pumpin/flowback test by injecting fluid for a
minimum of 10 minutes, e.g., if rate = 5 bpm, pump 50 bbls. Flowback using procedure in
Steps 2 and 3 above. Constant flowback rate may have to be increased or decreased from the
2 bpm in Step 2 depending on the results from Step 3. Fig. 10.11 shows examples of too high
and too low flowback rates.
5. Repeat Step 4 until a repeatable closure pressure is established.
6. Perform pumpin/shutin decline using the same volume and rate determined above. Record
pressure decline until pressure falls well below the closure pressure determined above. Do not
flowback during this step.
Note: In formations with relatively high permeability (>0.1 md), acid ISIPs may closely approxi
mate closure stress, if the acid jobs are small, pump rates are low (yet high enough to create a frac
ture), and nitrogen or CO
2
are not mixed with the acid.
14
This will yield a first estimate of closure
stress in most cases and will set an upper limit for closure stress.
Minifracs
Minifracs or Calibration Treatments are pumped to obtain information on the mechanics of frac
ture propagation during the small treatment (net fracture pressures, height growth or confinement,
etc.), and to collect data for determination of fracture geometry, time for the fracture to close, and
fluid loss coefficient.
15
This test consists of pumping a relatively small volume of fluid, i.e.,
1020% of the main fracture treatment depending on its size, using the main treatment fluid system
and pumping at the expected main treatment injection rate. During and after the minifrac, BHTP
and the shutin pressure decline is monitored and recorded.
The following procedure is recommended to perform the minifrac:
1. Batch mix the required amount of fracturing fluid. Batch mixing is required for gel consistency
and to minimize friction pressure variations throughout the test.
2. One of the BHP measurement techniques described previously on page 1011 should be used
for measuring pumping and shutin decline pressures. Tubing pressure and casing pressure
should be recorded by the fracturing service company. In addition, the wellhead should be
rigged with a lubricator as described under Temperature Profiles.
3. Pump minifrac at expected main treatment rate (constant rate throughout test). Record all pres
sures and rates continuously throughout the job.
4. Shut down and record pressure decline for as long as required until the pressure bleeds off to
well below the closure stress value previously determined by the closure stress test.
Fracture geometry can be evaluated from a NolteSmith LogLog plot of net fracturing pressure
(BHTP  closure pressure) vs. pump time as discussed previously in Chap 8. Design parameters,
including the fluid loss coefficient, can be determined using the pressure decline analysis which is
also presented in the Fracturing Pressure Analysis Section.
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1018 September 1992
Postfrac Logging Program
Temperature Decay Profiles
Temperature decay profile surveys should be run as soon as possible after a minifrac without in
terfering with the collection of pressure decline data. If bottomhole pressure is measured via a stat
ic tubing string, the lubricator can be rigged up on the wellhead ahead of time, and the closure
stress tests and minifrac can be pumped through a wing valve or Tconnection belowthe lubricator.
The temperature tool is run in the lubricator before the job and isolated from the wellbore with a
valve while pumping.
If a wireline pressure gauge is run during the prefrac tests, the pressure decline data collection
should be completed and the pressure gauge removed prior to installing and running the tempera
ture tool. If bottomhole pressure is measured via a static openended tubing string, the temperature
tool should not be run until after the pressure decline since running the tool will distort the pressure
data.
A minimum of three logging runs should be made at intervals of 45 minutes from the start of each
run. No backflow from the well should be allowed prior to or during temperature profiling. The
logs should be run from several hundred ft above the pay interval to several hundred ft below the
fracture bottom or plug back Total Depth (TD), logging down at a speed of about 20 ft/minute. It
is the Amoco engineer's responsibility to see that the logging company records the necessary data
on the log heading, including fluid type and volume pumped, total pump time, times minifrac start
ed and ended, and fluid surface temperature.
This same procedure also applies to temperature decay profile surveys run after the main fracture
treatment.
Postfrac Temperature Log Interpretation
After a minifrac or fracture treatment, heat transfer will occur above the treated zone by radial heat
conduction, while over the fracture faces, heat transfer will be by linear flow. Ideally, across these
two areas temperature will recover at different rates following the end of pumping, causing a tem
perature anomaly to develop which identifies the fractured zone. Unfortunately, this ideal situation
rarely occurs, making misinterpretation of postfrac temperature logs all too common.
As discussed earlier on page 108, a static base temperature log and cold water circulation survey
may be run to determine the temperature gradient and identify anomalies caused by formation
changes, the wellbore, and the completion. Fig. 10.13 shows the conductivity effects from differ
ent formations on both pre and postfrac logs.
11
Fig. 10.5, shown previously, shows how a washout
behind casing will create a cool anomaly which may be interpreted as a fractured zone. On the oth
er hand, a washout completely filled with cement will insulate the wellbore and create a hot nose
on the log. Also, a change in tubular diameter, such as the bottom of tubing or casing can cause an
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
1019 September 1992
offset in the log. All of the above anomalies can be detected with the base temperature log and
subtracted out of the postfrac log interpretation.
Fig. 10.14 shows a warm anomaly or hot nose above the fractured zone and the obvious prob
lems associated with picking the fracture top.
11
It has been theorized that this is caused by fluid
movement after shutin and that the hot nose is part of the fracture height.
Temperature crossovers are often seen below the perforated interval from one logging run to an
other. Below the perforations, the wellbore is filled with stagnant, hot fluid; and any downward
fracture growth will place cooler fluid outside the casing than inside. Thus, heat flow will be in the
opposite direction from that across and above the fractured zone and the wellbore may cool down
with time. This often results in a temperature crossover, as seen in Fig. 10.15, which can be a
good indicator of the bottom of the created fracture.
Since temperature logs are shallow investigative tools, they only see the fracture at or near the
wellbore. If the created fracture is not vertical, but dipping at an angle somewhere between true
vertical and true horizontal, temperature logs will not provide a meaningful interpretation of the
fractured interval as illustrated in Fig. 10.16. This same problem occurs when the fracture is ver
tical and the wellbore is deviated. Thus, under these circumstances temperature logs are, at best,
poor indicators of fracture growth.
Fig. 10.13  Pre and Postfrac Temperature
Logs Showing Thermal Conductivity
Effects.
Fig. 10.14  Temperature Log Showing
Warm Anomaly Above Treatment Zone.
8800
9000
9200
9400
9600
9800
10200
10400
PERFS
10000
80 93 108 121 135
175 200 225 250 275
F
TEMPERATURE
3170
3110
3050
2990
2930
2870
2810
2750
2690
STATIC
LOG
PRE FRAC
PROFILE
THERMAL
CONDUCTIVITY
EFFECTS
POST FRAC
PROFILE
FRACTURE TOP PROFILES
SEPARATE
H
O
L
E
D
E
P
T
H
(
f
t
)
H
O
L
E
D
E
P
T
H
(
m
e
t
e
r
s
)
TOP
POST FRAC
TEMP LOG
TOP?
TOP?
3750
3720
H
O
L
E
D
E
P
T
H
(
m
e
t
e
r
s
)
PERFS
190 200 210
TEMPERATURE
88 93 98
C
GR
SP
12200
12300
H
O
L
E
D
E
P
T
H
(
f
t
)
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1020 September 1992
In a well which goes on vacuum after a stimulation, the falling fluid level will continually carry
warm fluid down into the fractured zone, obscuring the temperature anomaly. This is possible in
injection well stimulations and on pumping wells with low reservoir pressure. In such cases, the
fluid level should be allowed to stabilize prior to running the logs.
Fig. 10.15  Crossover Below Perfs.
Fig. 10.16  Fracture  Wellbore Communication.
#1
#4
4
1
TOP
TEMP
LOG
GR
Fracture Communication
With Wellbore
Vertical Fracture
Straight Wellbore
Dipping Fracture
Or Deviated Wellbore
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
1021 September 1992
Postfrac Gamma Ray Logs
In addition to temperature logging, postfrac gamma ray logs are often run to evaluate fracture
height. Fracturing proppant is tagged with radioactivetraced proppant, the tracer concentrations,
shown in Table 9.1, have proven to give good results:
16
Noting the variation in halflives, a postfrac gamma ray log should be run early in the halflife of
the tracer used. Also, for the most definitive results with regard to fracture height, the tagged ma
terial should be added throughout the stimulation.
One advantage of gammaray over temperature logs is that they do not need to be run immediately
after a stimulation, allowing wellbore fill below perforations to be removed before logging. How
ever, the other restrictions on the temperature logs apply equally to radioactivity logs  that is they
are shallow investigative tools (shallower, even, than temperature logs), the response is propor
tional to fracture width, and the wellbore and completion can effect the resultant log profile. Thus
while the two logs are often used in combination, the potential exists for them to confirm one an
other and still not yield reliable results.
One disadvantage of radioactivity logs is their inability to distinguish between a fracture and a
small channel behind casing. The temperature response due to a small amount of flow in a channel
or annular space behind casing may not alter the radial flow heat conduction around unfractured
portions of the wellbore and does not affect the temperature logs. However, any material deposited
in a channel is indistinguishable from tagged material in a fracture.
Fig. 10.17a shows a good example of pre and postfrac gamma ray logs.
11
The radioactive material
indicates the top and bottom of the fracture and correlates well with the postfrac temperature log.
A second example, shown in Fig. 10.17b, utilized radioactive material in only the later pact of the
fracture treatment, thus radioactive material showed up only through a portion of the fracture.
11
In
this same figure, radioactive material shows up across the hot nose indicating this to be, in fact,
part of the fracture height.
Fracture Azimuth Determination
Currently, the four most common techniques available for determining fracture azimuth include
tiltmeters, borehole geophones, oriented core, and borehole geometry. The two most widely ac
Table 9.1  Tracer Concentrations.
Tracer HalfLife
Recommended
Concentration
Iodine 131 8 days 2 mc/10,000 lbs
Iridium 192 74 days 1 mc/10,000 lbs
Scandium 46 85 days 0.5 mc/10,000 lbs
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1022 September 1992
cepted techniques are tiltmeters and geophones, with increasing acceptance of oriented core anal
ysis generated through recent consistent results from strain relaxation measurements.
Tiltmeters
Tiltmeters are highly sophisticated, extremely accurate biaxial instruments which utilize bubble
sensors to measure the change in angle of a surface. These devices were originally developed to
aim intercontinental missiles, and were later employed by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in
the study of earth movements associated with earthquakes and volcanic activity. The use of tiltme
ters to monitor hydraulic fractures, at depths up to 10,000 ft, is based on the assumption that the
earth will respond in a more or less elastic manner to deformations caused by opening a hydrau
lic fracture. In that case, the surface of the earth will deform in a predictable manner and measure
ments of this deformation can be interpreted to obtain data with respect to fracture geometry.
17,18,19
Fig. 10.18 illustrates surface deformations associated with fractures of several orientations.
A typical tiltmeter array consists of 1216 instruments evenly spaced radially around the well, at a
distance of about 0.4 times the depth of the zone to be fractured. Each instrument is installed in a
shallow cased hole, usually 10 to 20 ft deep, and packed into position using sand to insulate the
device from surface weather and noise effects.
The tiltmeter instruments are capable of measuring changes in tilt of a surface with accuracy on
the order of 1 x 10
7
radians. Due to the sensitivity of the measurements, changes in the level of the
earth's crust due to solid earth tides cause changes in the surface angle which are orders of magni
Fig. 10.17  Comparison of Postfrac GammaRay and Temperature Logs.
POST
FRAC
TEMP
PROFILE
BASE
GR
POST FRAC
GAMMA RAY
FRAC ZONE
PERFS
9200
9300
9400
9500
9600
H
O
L
E
D
E
P
T
H
(
f
t
)
(a)
POST FRAC
GAMMA RAY
WARM
NOSE
RADIOACTIVE SAND
IN WARM NOSE
POST
FRAC
TEMP
PROFILE SP
9100
9200
9300
9400
9500
H
O
L
E
D
E
P
T
H
(
f
t
)
2780
2810
2840
2870
2900
H
O
L
E
D
E
P
T
H
(
m
e
t
e
r
s
)
(b)
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
1023 September 1992
tude greater than the fracture treatment. Fortunately, the period of the fracture event is much short
er than the tidal noise and can be separated by postanalysis using frequency domain filtering
and/or tidal filtering. The residual from this filtering is then used to measure the tilt signal related
to hydraulic fracturing. The signals from both channels of a tiltmeter are combined to form a tilt
vector which embodies direction and magnitude of the tilt measured at that site. Fig. 10.19 shows
the recorded response for one channel from a single site.
To analyze the data, observed tilts are compared with theoretical values for many possible combi
nations of fracture azimuth and dip; and thus, the azimuth and dip are determined which produce
the least error. An example shown in Fig. 10.20 shows theoretical tilt responses for vertical and
horizontal fractures and Fig. 10.21 shows a least error fit for observed vs. theoretical data.
Just as the pattern, or direction of the tilt vectors is related primarily to the fracture azimuth and
dip, the magnitude of the vectors is principally a function of fracture volume. Recent work has
been performed which combines fracturing pressure analysis with tilt vector magnitude to place
bounds on created fracture dimensions for wells shallower than 4000 ft, as seen in Fig. 10.22.
Fig. 10.18  Surface Tiltmeter Monitoring.
DIP = 90
DIP = 60
DIP = 30
DIP = 0
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1024 September 1992
Because extensive site preparation is required to install the tiltmeter array and a site aging period
is required, scheduling should begin far in advance of the hydraulic fracture treatment. Site prep
aration should begin a minimum of three weeks prior to the treatment. District personnel involved
in this testing should work closely with the Research Department in setting up and executing these
tests.
Borehole Geophones
Borehole geophones measure the sonic energy, or noise, produced while a formation is being frac
tured.
21,25
Aset of three geophones is typically installed in the wellbore on a single conductor wire
line prior to the well being fractured. Since a wireline is in the hole while fracturing, the treatment
is usually a small gelledwater minifrac without proppant. One geophone is vertical and the other
two are horizontal. The orientation of the geophone tool is determined using surface shots set off
in strategically located sites in an array with a radius equal to the depth of the tool. A minimum of
Fig. 10.19  Typical Tiltmeter Record for a Hydraulic Fracture.
CHANNEL 9  RAW DATA
1.7670
1.7537
1.7404
1.7270
1.7137
1.7004
1.6871
1.6738
1.6604
1.6471
1.6338
317.53 317.56 317.61 317.58 317.51 317.55 317.59 317.62 317.64
VOL1
Tilt Signal
11:12:11:58:05 TO 11:12:15:40:31
READING ARE FROM CHANNEL 9 PROJ: 8428
TOTAL OF 217 POINTS PLOTTED
STARTING TIME IS 11:12:11:58:05
ENDING TIME IS 11:12:15:40:31
STARTING TIME IN JULIAN UNIT IS 317.49867
ENDING TIME IN JULIAN UNIT IS 317.65314
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
1025 September 1992
Fig. 10.20  Theoretical Tilt Vectors.
Fig. 10.21  Observed vs. Theoretical.
VERTICAL FRACTURE
(mirror symmetry
relative to the strike
of the fracture)
HORIZONTAL FRACTURE
(radial symmetry relative
to the wellbore)
Theoretical
Observed
Well B DIP = 50 AZIMUTH=29
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1026 September 1992
four shots are detonated, one at a time, using dynamite. The sites are 20 ft deep and located at equal
intervals of 45. The recorded arrival time of the shock wave indicates the direction of the source
with respect to the geophones.
Fracture azimuth is determined by analyzing the arrival times of sonic waves being propagated
through the formation as the rock cracks and the fracture extends in length. The variation in arrival
times between the three geophones is analyzed to determine the direction of the source of the sonic
waves (the tip of the fracture) fromthe wellbore. Fig. 10.23 shows an example of the type of results
obtained.
Oriented Core Analysis
The use of oriented cores to predict fracture azimuth has been suggested for many years.
3,5
The
chief advantage of core analysis for fracture azimuth is its ease of application. During routine cor
ing operations, the additional work required to orient and analyze the core is small compared to
other azimuth measuring procedures. Also, since most coring is done early in the life of the field,
the azimuth data collection is very timely. The biggest disadvantage to common oriented core anal
ysis is the fact that this is an indirect measurement, and it is difficult to be certain that the answer
is correct. The most successful core analysis, which has only recently gained acceptance, is the di
rect onsite measurement of strain relaxation.
26
Fig. 10.22  Fracture Dimensions.
R = 330 ft
R = 1000 ft
R = 570 ft
Fracture Volume
E
r
r
o
r
i
n
F
i
l
(
%
)
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Fracturing Tests
1027 September 1992
The indirect oriented coring process uses a shoe on the bottom of the core barrel with three knives
to cut grooves in the core. One of these is the reference groove at a known orientation to an azimuth
lug attached to the inner core barrel. An orientation tool is mounted above the core barrel such that
the orientation lug is visible when the tool photographs the compass. The correction between the
reference knife and the orientation lug can be preset in the shop, but a preferred technique is to
hoist the barrel in the derrick and use an optical aligning device to determine their relative orien
tation; this is then recorded for future calculations.
27
Since this tying of orientation to depth is in
direct, the biggest sources of error come from incomplete core recovery, breaks in core, or a
spiraling reference groove.
The technique of direct onsite measurement of strain relaxation from cores to determine fracture
azimuth is based on laboratory observations that the stressstrain behavior of rocks is not purely
elastic, but is a function of loading rate and time.
28
In such a case, strains stored in the rock by the
insitu stresses will not be released instantly when the core is cut, but will relax over many hours.
If the core can be recovered and instrumented during this time, the orientation of stresses can be
determined by measuring relaxation in different directions.
The strain relaxation process involves selecting several core samples as soon as possible after the
core reaches the surface. The samples should be selected from intact core sections to ensure good
orientation data, then removed to a reasonably constant temperature environment, sealed to pre
vent moisture evaporation, and then tested by attaching the deformation gauges to the sample to
record strain relaxation (and temperature) data from 12 to 24 hours. These measurements are then
used to calculate the orientation of the insitu stresses.
29
Fig. 10.24 shows typical data taken from
strain relaxation measurements on a shale sample.
30
Fig. 10.23  Borehole Geophones.
X
Y
Z
S
I
G
N
A
L
A
M
P
L
I
T
U
D
E
Time
Typical microseismic event recorded on three
orthogonally mounted seismic detectors. The
time marks are 0.017 sec. apart.
N
E W
S
Polarization of singlephase events recorded with
threeaxis geophone package. downhole
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1028 September 1992
The strain relaxation technique has proven accurate in several tests where azimuth was also mea
sured with other procedures.
21,26,31,32
These include tests in a volcanic tuff in Nevada; a low perme
ability Mesa Verde Sandstone; a low permeability gas sand in the Cotton Valley Formation; and a
high porosity, high permeability sandstone in Oklahoma.
Borehole Geometry
The geometry of the borehole (ellipticity) may be affected by the stresses in the earth in the near
wellbore region. The fracture azimuth is also affected by these stresses.
15
Therefore, a simple cor
relation might be made between borehole ellipticity and azimuth if conclusive supporting data can
be obtained. As discussed earlier on page 105, borehole ellipticity measurements in two different
areas indicate that fracture azimuth is either parallel to or perpendicular to the long axis of the bore
hole. By combining the results of the azimuth measurements discussed above with borehole geom
etry, a correlation might be made for a given field which would greatly simplify fracture azimuth
determination. Borehole geometry must be obtained in openhole, and can be measured with a
Borehole Geometry Log as previously discussed on page 105, or from the oriented caliper incor
porated into the Dipmeter Log. The Dipmeter Log yields information useful in geologic interpre
tation, whereas the Borehole Geometry Log describes only the orientation and dimensions of the
borehole.
Fig. 10.24  Strain Relaxation.
Elastic Strain
TimeDependent Strain
C
C'
B
A
to t1 t2
TIME
S
T
R
A
I
N
Core Recovered and Instrumented at C'
De
t1  t2
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1029 September 1992
10.2Introduction To TerraFrac
TerraFrac is a three dimensional fracturing simulator that is probably the most advanced commer
cially available hydraulic fracturing simulator presently available. It has been in use by TRC since
1983 to address nonstandard fracture design problems. Fracturing design problems in wells in the
Valhall Field in the North Sea, as well as exploration wells all over the world, have been success
fully addressed using the TerraFrac Simulator.
TerraFrac is installed on the IBM mainframe computer at the Research Center; however it is not
yet released for general use because of the complexity and timeconsuming requirements of data
input, code execution, and the requirement of output analysis. The code is still undergoing devel
opment and possesses very advanced capabilities such as thermal and poroelastic effects. It can
also be applied in fracture designs where the fracture may migrate considerably up or down from
the point of initiation, to study the effects of perforation placement on resulting fracture geometry.
TerraFrac solves the fracturing problem, in a general sense, i.e., it determines the fracture geome
try as part of the solution process. A threedimensional simulator is a simulator that can predict
fracture shape (width and height at any point along the fractures length). However, this is a nu
merically demanding problem which is strongly nonlinear because of the coupling required be
tween the fluid pressure distribution in the fracture with the stiffness of the opening fracture. The
solution of the problem may lead to fracture shapes that are complex, like the one at the top of
Fig. 10.25, which are relatively realistic even though they employ certain simplifying assump
tions, e.g., planar fractures. The schematics in the lower part of Fig. 10.25 represent the simplest
models which are still used throughout the industry for simulating fracture treatment design. These
are idealistic versions of what may be happening downhole.
There is a category of fracturing simulators of intermediate complexity referred to as pseudo
threedimensional simulators. These simulators can also predict the shape of the fracture, however
they still apply some simplifying assumptions on fracture propagation derived from the simplest
models. The majority of practical fracture design simulators (e.g., STIMPLAN, MFRAC,
FRACHT, etc.) fall in this category and are widely used because of their computational efficien
cy. However, they do not replace the need for a 3D simulator, especially when estimation of frac
ture shape is crucial, e.g., for fractures near water bearing zones in the absence of strong confining
barriers, unconventional location of the perforations within adjacent layers to the pay zone, etc.
Therefore, depending on the fracture design problem, the engineer has a wide range of tools to use
and obtain the proper solution, the most important of which is sound judgment and understanding
of the governing physical phenomena.
General Description of the TerraFrac Simulator
The TerraFrac simulator assumes that the fracture is planar and symmetric with respect to the well
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1030 September 1992
bore. It determines fracture geometry fromthe solution of a complex nonlinear interaction problem
of:
3D Rock Deformation assuming Elastic Layered Formation;
Fluid flow in the Fracture with Proppant and Thermal Effects on Rheology;
Fracture Propagation using Linear Fracture Mechanics;
Leakoff;
Simplified (One Dimensional) Thermoporoelastic Effects;
etc.
In this sense TerraFrac is a fully threedimensional fracturing model. However, it is not the ulti
mate model! Our desire is for a super simulator which can determine the shape of nonplanar
fractures and account for other phenomena such as formation nonlinearity (plasticity) rigorous
Fig. 10.25  Models to Better Simulate Actual Fracture Behavior.
Actual?
R
w
f
Penny
Area of Largest
Approximately Ellipitical
Share of Fracture
Flow Resistance
w
f
w
f
x
f
x
f
h
f
Perkins & Kern Geertsma & deKlerk
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1031 September 1992
modeling of the formationfracture interaction (coupled thermoporoelastic interaction of the res
ervoir and the propagating fracture), etc. Although much work has been done in these areas, this
type of simulation capability is not yet available.
A short account of how the model works is as follows: TerraFrac determines the shape of the frac
ture in an iterative way. It starts from an assumed fracture shape which is small relative to the frac
ture dimensions after the treatment has ended. An initial pressure distribution is also assumed. It
is recommended to start the simulation with a small penny shaped fracture at the center of the per
forations. If the perforation interval is large with varying closure stresses, one would probably
choose to initiate the fracture at a point where the closure stress is minimized. The fluid pressure
is assumed (handled internally) initially to be constant. The fracture width is dependent on fluid
pressure distribution and fracture shape, and can be calculated from an elastic 3D rock deforma
tion solution. TerraFrac has the capability to calculate fracture width for a general shaped fracture
with arbitrary fluid pressure distribution. The widths from this solution stage are used to solve the
fluid flow problem in the plane of the fracture. The fracturing fluid is assumed to behave like a
power law fluid in laminar flow between parallel plates. The widths determined from the elastic
solution are used as the distance between the parallel plates. The fluid pressure distribution can be
calculated by satisfying the momentum and continuity equations with appropriate conditions at the
boundaries. Then the fracture widths can be derived using this pressure distribution from the elas
tic solution. In this way, an iteration can be performed to derive the pressures and widths which
are mutually consistent.
The tendency of the fracture to propagate can be quantified using the closure stress profile, elastic
constants, toughness, the fluid pressure distribution, and the preexisting fracture shape. A Critical
Fracture Width is calculated internally (Fracture Propagation Criterion), and, if the width of the
fracture at some given distance behind the front exceeds the critical fracture width, the fracture
propagates. The distance of propagation is calculated froma combination of mass balance enforce
ment and the amount by which the widths near the front exceed the critical fracture width.
During the propagation, leakoff is assumed to occur according to Carter's model. The enforcement
of the continuity equation dominates the propagation and is given priority. In this sense, the frac
ture Propagation Criterion is satisfied within broad tolerances, while continuity near the fracture
front is satisfied more accurately.
Input To Terrafrac
The downhole schematic of Fracturing Configuration of Fig. 10.26 gives a pictorial definition of
the input to TerraFrac. For each formation layer, it is required to define reservoir (porosity, perme
ability, thermal conductivity), and elastic (modulus, Poissons ratio, toughness) properties.
Input relative to model discretization, convergence limits, input, output, and plotting are also re
quired. The model uses a combination of finite element and boundary element methods to solve
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1032 September 1992
the coupled elasticfluid flow problems. The fractures boundary is subdivided into quadrilaterals
which are further subdivided into four triangles. All calculations are performed on the triangles in
terms of the pressures and widths at the nodes. A typical plot of the mesh is shown on Fig. 10.28.
A detailed explanation of the input and the numerical techniques employed are beyond the scope
of this manual.
Note that the original TerraFrac formulation required the elastic properties to be uniform in all lay
ers; however, an approximate way to account for the first order effects of modulus changes from
layer to layer has been recently implemented by TerraTek and has been installed on our IBMmain
frame computer.
Terrafrac Simulation Runs
Confined Fracture Growth
The TerraFrac model can be applied for confined fracture growth. However, it should be remem
bered that confined fracture growth is not the target of the TerraFrac capabilities. For confined
fracture growth, Perkins and Kern (PKN) type model programs are much more efficient than Ter
raFrac.
The confined height example of Fig. 10.27 was devised to demonstrate the influence of leakoff and
closure stress gradient during the initial stages of fracture evolution. Furthermore, it acquaints the
reader with typical plots of the TerraFrac results produced by the plotting postprocessor developed
Fig. 10.26  Schematic of the Hydraulic Fracturing Conguration.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1033 September 1992
by the Frac Group. The mesh used for this analysis is shown on Fig. 10.28.
The fracture shape evolution gives an appreciation of the delicate balance of the insitu parameters
and their influence on fracture shape. Note that steep closure stress gradients push the fracture
growth upwards, while low leakoff zones encourage fracture growth in them. This is clearly dem
onstrated in Fig. 10.29 which shows fracture evolution until the fracture reaches the lower confin
ing layer (layer 5). The fracture was initiated as a penny shaped fracture of 20 ft radius at 8025 ft
depth. The fracture initially propagates as a penny in layer 3. Later, the small leakoff of layer 4 is
attracting the fracture more than the closure stress gradient of 0.848 psi/ft of layer 2 and the frac
ture grows downwards until it reaches layer 5. The remainder of the fracture evolution is shown in
Fig. 10.30. The fracture, being confined below, grows upwards until it reaches layer 1. From then
on, we have confined fracture growth and the TerraFrac analysis does not offer anything additional
to a PKN program analysis.
Fig. 10.27  TerraFrac Example (Demo 2).
DepthFeet
LAYER 1
C = 0.0
LAYER 2
0.848 psi/ft
C = 0.0025 ft/min
LAYER 3 C = 0.0025 ft/min
C = 0.0005 ft/min
LAYER 5 C = 0.0
7200 7300 7400 7500 7600
1  2
2  3
3  4
4  5
PERFORATIONS
FORMATION PROPERTIES
E = 1.26x10
6
psi
= 0.35
FLUID VISCOSITY
= 90 cp
PUMPING RATE
Q = 16 bbl/min
CLOSURE PRESSURE  PSI
7900
8000
8100
8200
CLOSURE STRESS
LAYER 4
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1034 September 1992
Fig. 10.28  Step 50 Fracture Grid.
Fig. 10.29  Fracture Evolution Steps 040.
X (FEET)
Y
(
F
E
E
T
)
Y
(
F
E
E
T
)
X (FEET)
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1035 September 1992
Fig. 10.31 shows the plot of the step number vs. injected volume. From this plot we see that a great
amount of steps (and computing time) is spent during the initial propagation stages. During the first
40 steps only 23 barrels of treatment volume were injected. Consequently, a small amount of in
jected volume propagates the fracture rapidly to a confined mode of fracture extension; therefore,
a PKN analysis is essentially applicable for the entire fracturing propagation process.
Fig. 10.32, Fig. 10.33, and Fig. 10.34 show plots of the evolution of leakoff volume, fracture vol
ume, fracture width, and fracture dimensions. Fig. 10.35 shows the variation of fluid pressure dur
ing the fracture treatment. The kinks in the pressure are due to numerical reasons and should be
smoothed out (see next paragraph). The maximumpressure reflects the slightly increasing pressure
trend of confined fracture extension. The pressure at the perforations (depths are plotted with ref
erence to the center of perforations referred to as 0.0 ft) shows this increasing tendency to a lesser
degree. Note that hydrostatic head in the fracture forces the maximum pressure to occur below the
perforations.
Fig. 10.36 and Fig. 10.37 show the error distributions of the iteration scheme. Comparing these
figures with Fig. 10.35, we see that the pressure distribution is sensitive to these errors. This is ex
pected due to the strong nonlinearity of the problem. Consequently, despite the stringent conver
gence error of 1%, the TerraFrac user should be able to distinguish real behavior from spurious
numerical behavior of the solution. This is valid especially for pressures which are the most sen
sitive.
Fig. 10.30  Fracture Evolution Steps 4180.
Y
(
F
E
E
T
)
X (FEET)
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1036 September 1992
Fig. 10.31  Evolution of Leakoff Volume, Fracture Volume, Fracture Width, and Fracture
Dimensions.
Fig. 10.32  Evolution of Leakoff Volume, Fracture Volume, Fracture Width, and Fracture
Dimensions.
REFERENCE DEPTH (ft): 8.025000E+03
REFERENCE PRESSURE (psi): 7.300000E+03
100
80
60
40
20
0
0 200 400 600 800 1000
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
S
T
E
P
N
U
M
B
E
R
STEP NUMBER
REFERENCE DEPTH (ft): 8.025000E+03
REFERENCE PRESSURE (psi): 7.300000E+03
800
600
400
200
0
0
200 400 600 800 1000
B
A
R
R
E
L
S
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
TOT. FRACTURE VOL (bbl)
TOT. LEAKOFF VOL (bbl)
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1037 September 1992
Fig. 10.38 shows the efficiency of the treatment. We see that the efficiency of the treatment drops
to approximately 20% while 80% of the volume injected leaks into the formation.
Unconfined Fracture Growth
Two examples of unconfined fracture growth are briefly discussed in this section. They were taken
from a real case analysis of fracturing treatment for the Upper Hod formation of the 2/8A17 well
in Valhall. These examples illustrate the capabilities offered by TerraFrac and the opportunity it
offers to enhance understanding of the fracturing process for complicated insitu conditions.
Fig. 10.39 shows the two closure stress profiles considered; they were derived from our best esti
mates of the insitu conditions. Case A represents the base case; case B has a 200 psi lower closure
stress in the Tor relative to case A (due to reduced reservoir pressure after production) and a 50 psi
higher closure stress in the Dense zone to account for its higher confining capacity. The perfo
rations are located directly below the dense zone. A constant 15 bbl/min pumping rate and a 90 cp
downhole viscosity fracturing fluid were assumed. The reservoir pressure was taken as 6275 psi.
Completion experience in Valhall has established that the Tor should not be directly perforated be
cause it produces solids and plugs the well. The Upper Hod is perforated instead. Upper Hod treat
ments have the dual purpose of stimulating the poorer Hod formation and communicating with the
rich Tor formation. Fracture height growth is not confined and fracture shapes may be complex
dependent on the insitu conditions. It has been the practice to design such fracture treatments as
Fig. 10.33  Evolution of Leakoff Volume, Fracture Volume, Fracture Width, and Fracture
Dimensions.
REFERENCE DEPTH (ft): 8.025000E+03
REFERENCE PRESSURE (psi): 7.300000E+03
0.30
0.25
0.20
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00
0 200 400 600 800 1000
I
N
C
H
E
S
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
MAX FRAC WIDTH (in)
WIDTH (in) AT 0.0000C+00 ft
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1038 September 1992
Fig. 10.34  Evolution of Leakoff Volume, Fracture Volume, Fracture Width, and Fracture
Dimensions.
Fig. 10.35  Variation of Fluid Pressure During the Fracture Treatment.
REFERENCE DEPTH (ft): 8.025000E+03
REFERENCE PRESSURE (psi): 7.300000E+03
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
F
E
E
T
0 200 400 600 800 1000
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
MAX FRAC LENGTH (ft)
MAX FRAC HEIGHT (ft)
MAX HEIGHT ABOVE CNTR (ft)
MAX DEPTH BELOW CNTR (ft)
REFERENCE DEPTH (ft): 8.025000E+03
REFERENCE PRESSURE (psi): 7.300000E+03
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0 200 400 600 800 1000
P
S
I
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
MAX PRESSURE (psi)
PRES (psi) AT 0.0000F+00 ft
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1039 September 1992
penny shaped fractures for lack of a better alternative. However, using TerraFrac we can deter
mine fracture shape and study the effects of closure stress profile, actual closure stress gradient,
leakoff variation, and position of perforations. It is this capability that makes the TerraFrac simu
lator so useful for Valhall field and other fields where no significant confining barriers exist.
Fig. 10.40 shows the fracture evolution for case A. The fracture was initiated (for both A and B
cases) as a small penny (of 10 ft radius) located at the center of the perforations, which is the origin
of the Yaxis. Note that in case A the fracture essentially remains approximately a penny, although
some confinement can be observed at the shaleTor interface.
Fig. 10.41 shows the fracture evolution for case B. For this case the shape is drastically different.
It grows mainly in the Tor where closure stress is low. The lower part of the fracture simply con
nects the perforations. This type of behavior can only be quantified by numerical simulation and
represents a delicate balance of the insitu values of closure stress, closure gradients, and leakoff
as well as the location of the perforations and fluid rheology.
Fig. 10.42 compares the fracture width profiles along the wellbore for both A and B cases. In case
A, the maximum fracture width occurs close to the perforations (the origin of the Yaxis). In case
B, the fracture grows unsymmetrical with respect to the perforations and a pinching point devel
ops. Width pinching near the perforations may cause a screenout during the early stages of the
treatment.
Fig. 10.36  Error Distributions of the Iteration Scheme.
REFERENCE DEPTH (ft): 8.025000E+03
REFERENCE PRESSURE (psi): 7.300000E+03
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
C
O
N
V
E
R
G
E
N
C
E
E
R
R
O
R
(
%
)
0 200 400 600 800 1000
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
CONVERGENCE ERROR (%)
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1040 September 1992
Fig. 10.43 shows the fracture width history for both cases. The maximum fracture width and the
fracture width at the perforations (i.e., at 0.0 ft) are plotted vs. the total injected volume. In case A,
we see no significant difference between these two values, both of which increase with the volume
of the fracturing treatment. In case B, the max width occurs in Tor and increases with the volume
injected as expected. However, the width at the perforations initially increases (while the fracture
is still a penny) and subsequently decreases at about 200 bbl, to remain constant at approximately
0.10 inches for the remaining of the treatment. This pinching effect may be the reason for prema
ture screenout. For such a case, an increased pad volume does not diminish the danger of
screenout. More viscous fluid and small proppant may be required to pump the fracturing treat
ment successfully. Note that the width at perforations can actually decrease during pumping of the
treatment, especially when unconfined nonsymmetric fracture growth occurs. The width history
plot may by used to estimate the volumes of the pad and the total volume of the treatment, so that
proppant is introduced when the fracture attains sufficient width. The maximumproppant size may
also be estimated. For example, case B allows a 20/40 proppant to be pumped with a maximum
proppant diameter of 0.0331 inches.
The character of the pumping pressure behavior for the two cases is also different as shown in
Fig. 10.44. These pressure histories are sufficiently smooth to represent real pressure behavior.
The maximum pressure and the pressure at the perforations are plotted vs. the total injected vol
ume. Note that the pressures plotted are in addition to the reference pressure of 7084 psi. Due to
Fig. 10.37  Error Distributions of the Iteration Scheme.
REFERENCE DEPTH (ft): 8.025000E+03
REFERENCE PRESSURE (psi): 7.300000E+03
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
2
4
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
200 400 600 800
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
STEP VOLUME. BAL. ERROR (%)
TOTAL VOLUME BAL. ERROR (%)
CONVERGENCE ERROR (%)
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1041 September 1992
hydrostatic pressure the maximum pressure occurs below the perforations. Case A demonstrates a
typical pressure decrease during pumping which is characteristic of unconfined fracture growth of
a penny shaped fracture. Case B shows a complicated pressure behavior at the early pumping stag
es. This is due to the presence of the pressure barrier in the dense zone which temporarily confines
the fracture.
In some cases the pressure plot may be used as a closure stress diagnostic tool by comparing the
simulated pressure with the actual pumping pressure during a minifrac test.
Fig. 10.45 shows the evolution of the fracture dimensions. Maximum fracture length, fracture
height above perforations, fracture depth below perforations, and maximum fracture height are
plotted vs. the total volume injected. In case A, the fracture propagates in both the horizontal and
vertical directions. In case B, the fracture is essentially confined heightwise and grows
lengthwise in the Tor formation. An estimate of the total fracture treatment volume may be made
from this plot, based on the desired dimensions of the fracture.
Summary
TerraFrac is be a valuable simulation tool both for research and design of hydraulic fractures.
1. It can be used to determine the fracture shape for given insitu and pumping conditions.
Fig. 10.38  Efciency of Treatment.
REFERENCE DEPTH (ft): 8.025000E+03
REFERENCE PRESSURE (psi): 7.300000E+03
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0 200 400 600 800 1000
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
TOTAL FRAC VOL/VOL INJ
STEP LEAK VOL/INJ VOL
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1042 September 1992
2. It can be used to study the effect of the location of the perforations and the associated problems
of width pinching.
3. It may be used to diagnose insitu closure stress features by comparing the actual minifrac pres
sure with simulated pressure.
It is possible, however, to make some overall proppant scheduling judgements using the history
plots. For example, the proppant volume at screenout conditions should be less than the fracture
volume at any instant, and this leads to an upper limit for proppant loading per fluid gallon.
Fig. 10.39  Valhall A17 Cases A and B.
6700 6800 6900 7000 7100 7200
D
E
P
T
H
(
f
t
)
CLOSURE PRESSURE (psi)
min
8200
8300
8400
8500
8600
SHALE C=0 0.75 psi/ft
TOR
C=0.005 ft/
0.68 psi/ft
0.66 psi/ft
DENSE ZONE
C=0.002 ft/ min
PERFORATIONS
U. HOD min
C=0.002 ft/
L. HOD C=0.002 ft/ min
0.64 psi/ft
0.64 psi/ft
FORMATION PROP.
E = 1.26 X 10
6
psia
= 0.4
FLUID VISCOSITY
= 90 cp
PUMPING RATE
Q = 15 bbl/min
CLOSURE STRESS A
CLOSURE STRESS B
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1043 September 1992
Fig. 10.40  Fracture Evolution A17A.
1338 bbl
896 bbl
570 bbl
346 bbl
201 bbl
113 bbl
U HOD
DENSE ZONE
TOR
SHALE
0 50 100 150 200 250 300
150
125
100
75
50
25
0
25
50
75
100
125
150
X FEET
Y
F
E
E
T
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1044 September 1992
Fig. 10.41  Fracture Evolution A17B.
SHALE
631 bbl
442 bbl
298 bbl
128 bbl
TOR
DENSE ZONE
U HOD
138 bbl
87 bbl
0 40 80 120 160 200
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
20
40
60
80
X FEET
Y
F
E
E
T
SHALE
1424 bbl
1012 bbl
751 bbl
DENSE ZONE
U HOD
0 50 100 150 200 250
175
150
125
100
75
50
25
0
25
50
75
100
Y
F
E
E
T
X FEET
TOR
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1045 September 1992
Fig. 10.42  Fracture Width at the Wellbore.
A17A
A17B
150
125
100
75
50
25
0
25
50
75
100
125
150
140
120
100
80
60
40
0
20
40
60
80
20
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20
1338 bbl
631 bbl
WF IN
Y
F
E
E
T
WF IN
Y
F
E
E
T
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1046 September 1992
Fig. 10.43  Fracture Width, A17A and A17B.
A17A
A17B
0.25
0.20
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00
0
500 1000 1500 2000
I
N
C
H
E
S
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
0.30
0.25
0.20
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00
0 400 800 1200 1600
I
N
C
H
E
S
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
MAX FRAC WIDTH (in)
WIDTH (in) AT 0.0000E+00 ft X
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Introduction To TerraFrac
1047 September 1992
Fig. 10.44  Pumping Pressure.
AMOCO REPORT NO. A17A
500
400
300
200
100
0
0 500 1000 1500 2000
P
S
I
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
AMOCO REPORT NO. A17B
500
400
300
200
100
0
P
S
I
100
0 400 800 1200 1600
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
REFERENCE DEPTH (ft):
REFERENCE PRESSURE (psi):
7.084000E+03
8.366000E+03
MAX PRESSURE (psi)
PRES (psi) AT 0.0000E+00 ft X
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1048 September 1992
Fig. 10.45  Fracture Dimensions.
A17A
A17B
400
300
200
100
0
0
500 1000 1500 2000
F
E
E
T
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
600
400
200
0
0 400 800 1200 1600
F
E
E
T
TOTAL VOLUME INJECTED (bbl)
X
X MAX DEPTH BELOW CNTR (ft)
MAX HEIGHT ABOVE CNTR (ft)
MAX FRAC HEIGHT (ft)
MAX FRAC LENGTH (ft)
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
References
1049 September 1992
10.3References
1. Gough, D. I. and Bell, J. S.: Stress Orientations from Oil Well Fractures in Alberta and Texas, Cdn. J. Earth
Sci. (1981) 18, 638.
2. Thorpe, R. and Springer, J.: Relationship Between Borehole Elongation and In Situ Stress Orientation at the Ne
vada Test Site, paper presented at the 1982 U.S. Rock Mechanics Symposium, Berkley, CA, Aug. 2527.
3. Babcock, E. A.: Measurement of Subsurface Fractures from Dipmeter Logs, AAPGBull. (July 1978) 62, 1111.
4. Brown, R. O., Forgotson, J. M., and Forgotson, J. M. Jr.: Predicting the Orientation of Hydraulically Created
Fractures in the Cotton Valley Formation of East Texas, paper SPE 9269 presented at the 1980 SPE Technical
Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, TX, Sept. 2124.
5. Bell, J. S. and Gough, D. I.: NortheastSouthwest Compressive Stress in Alberta: Evidence from Oil Wells,
Earth and Planetary Sci. Letters, 45, 47582.
6. Dutton, R. E., Nolte, K. G., and Smith, M. G.: Use of the LongSpacedDigitalSonic Log to Determine Rela
tionships of Fracturing Pressure and Fracture Height for Wells in the East Texas, Cotton Valley Tight Gas Play,
Amoco Production Company Report F82P12 (February 15, 1982).
7. Beaudoin, G. J.: Interpretation and Use of 3D Sonic Data: A Preliminary Study, Amoco Production Company
Report F80E13 (September 1980).
8. Smith, M. G., Rosenberg, R. J., and Bowen, J. F.: Fracture Width: Design vs. Measurement, paper SPE 10965,
presented at the 1982 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, Sept. 2629.
9. Zamenek, J. et al.: The Borehole Televiewer  A New Logging Concept for Fracture Location and Other Types
of Borehole Inspection, JPT (June 1969) 76274; Trans., AIME, 246.
10. Bredehoeft, J. D., et al.: Hydraulic Fracturing to Determine the Regional In Situ Stress Field, Piceance Basin,
Colorado, Bull., GSA (Feb. 1976) 87, 25058.
11. Dobkins, T. A.: Improved Methods To Determine Hydraulic Fracture Height, JPT (April 1981) 71926.
12. Nolte, K. G.: Fracture Design Considerations Based on Pressure Analysis, paper SPE 10911 presented at the
1982 SPE Cotton Valley Symposium, Tyler, TX, May 20.
13. Nolte, K. G.: Analysis of PumpIn/ShutIn Tests for Closure Pressure, Amoco Document.
14. Rosepiler, J. M.: Determination of Principal Stresses and Confinement of Hydraulic Fractures in Cotton Val
ley, paper SPE 8405 presented at the 1979 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Las Vegas,
Sept. 2326.
15. Nolte, K. G.: Determination of Fracture Parameters fromFracturing Pressure Decline, paper SPE 8341 present
ed at the 1979 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Las Vegas, Sept. 2326.
16. Heidt, J. H., Nolte, K. G., and Smith, M. B.: Fracturing Field Research Programs, unpublished Amoco Re
search document, September 1981.
Special Topics
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
10
1050 September 1992
17. Wood, M. D., Pollard, D. D., and Raleigh, C. B.: Determination of InSitu Geometry of Hydraulically Generated
Fractures Using Tiltmeters, paper SPE 6091 presented at the 1976 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Ex
hibition, New Orleans, Oct. 36.
18. Wood, W. D.: Method of Determining Change in the Subsurface Structure Due to Application of Fluid Pressure
to the Earth, U.S. Patent No. 4,272,696, (1981).
19. Davis, P. M.: Surface Deformation Associated with Dipping Hydrofracture, J. Geophysical Res. (1983) 881,
No. 87, 5826.
20. Pollard, P. O. and Holzhausen, G.: On the Mechanical Interaction Between a FluidFilled Fracture and the Earth
Surface, Tectonophysics (1979) 53I, 27.
21. Lacy, L. L.: Comparison of HydraulicFracture Orientation Techniques, SPEFE (March 1987) 6676; Trans.,
AIME, 283.
22. Schuster, C. L.: Detection Within the Wellbore of Seismic Signals Created by Hydraulic Fracturing, paper SPE
7448 presented at the 1978 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Oct. 13.
23. Pearson, C.: The Relationship Between Microseismicity and High Pore Pressure During Hydraulic Stimulation
Experiments in Low Permeability Granite Rock, J. Geophysical Res. (Sept. 1981) 86, 785564.
24. Albright, J. N. and Pearson, C. F.: Acoustic Emissions as a Tool for Hydraulic Fracture Location: Experience
at the Fenton Hill Hot Dry Rock Site, SPEJ (Aug. 1982) 52330.
25. Dobecki, T. L.: Hydraulic Fracture Orientation by Use of Passive Borehole Seismics, paper SPE 12110 pre
sented at the 1983 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Francisco, Oct. 58.
26. Teufel, L. W.: Prediction of Hydraulic Fracture Azimuth from Anelastic Strain Recovery Measurements of Ori
ented Core, Proc., 23rd U.S. National Rock Mechanics Symposium (1982) 23846.
27. Rowley, D. S., Burk, C. A., and Manual, T.: Oriented Cores, Christensen Technical Report, Christensen Dia
mond Products (Feb. 1981).
28. Robertson, E. C.: Viscoelasticity of Rocks in State of Stress in the Earths Crust, W. Judd (ed.), (1964) 181224.
29. Blanton, T. L.: The Relation Between Recovery Deformation and InSitu Stress Magnitudes, paper SPE 11624
presented at the 1983 SPE/DOE LowPermeability Gas Reservoirs Symposium, Denver, March 1416.
30. Blanton, T. L. and Teufel, L. W.: A Field Test of the Strain Recovery Method of Stress Determination in Devo
nian Shales, paper SPE 12304 presented at the 1983 SPE Eastern Regional Meeting, Champion, PA, Nov. 911.
31. Teufel, L. W. et al.: Determination of Hydraulic Fracture Azimuth by Geophysical, Geological, and Orient
edCore Methods at the Multiwell Experiment Site, Rifle, Colorado, paper SPE 13226 presented at the 1984 An
nual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Sept. 1619.
32. Smith, M. B., Ren, N. K., Sorrels, G. G., and Teufel, L. W.: A Comprehensive Fracture Diagnostic Experiment.
Part II. Comparison of Seven Fracture Azimuth Measurements, paper SPE 13894 presented at the 1985 Sympo
sium on LowPermeability, Denver, May.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
111
Chapter
July 1999
11.1 Perforating
Proper selection and execution of a perforating program is essential to the success of a fracture
treatment completion. Consideration must be given to perforation diameter, shot density, phasing,
location and length of the perforation interval, and, in some special cases, perforation orientation.
While most of that presented in this section applies to both vertical and deviated wellbores, parts
also deal specifically with perforation patterns and procedures for deviated or horizontal well frac
turing.
Hole Diameter
Perforation hole diameter directly affects the proppant size and maximum concentration that can
be pumped during a fracturing treatment. Perforations must be large enough relative to the maxi
mum proppant diameter to prevent bridging. Fig. 11.1 shows the minimum recommended perfo
ration size necessary to inject various size proppants at different concentrations. For example, to
pump 20/40 mesh sand at 10 ppg, a minimum perforation diameter of 0.20 in. is recommended.
RULEOFTHUMB: Perforation diameter should be at least six times the maximum
proppant diameter to prevent bridging.
Another consideration in perforation sizing is fracturing fluid degradation. If perforation diameter
is too small, high shearrates in the perforation tunnel can irreversibly destroy gel structure. This
will result in a reduction in the gels ability to carry proppant and a screenout can ensue.
Entry hole diameter can be affected by several variables, including
casing grade
standoff of the perforation gun with the casing,
charge design (big hole versus deep penetrating),
charge alignment, and
casing thickness.
API charges are tested in casing from K55 to L80. When using P110 and harder casing, the
entrance hole size will be reduced by as much as 20%.
Fracture Stimulation Guidelines
and
Quality Control
11
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual 112 July 1999
11
Figure 11.1 Minimum Perforation Diameter v. Proppant Size and Concentration.
The ideal standoff to obtain maximum performance from a perforating gun is approximately
1/ 4 in. to 3/4 in., depending on gun size and charge design. If standoff is significantly greater
than this, hole diameter and penetration will be reduced. Also, if the jet charges do not exit the
port plugs of the gun through the near center of the plug, perforation performance can be
dramatically reduced. Following a perforation job, all guns should be inspected to determine
what percent of charges fired and any misalighned firing through the port plugs.
Table 11.1 provides a very approximate chart of gun type/size, casing/tubing size, and weight
charge versus perforation entry hole diameter. These diameters were generated by various service
companies using the API recommended cement target. Results from different service companies
can vary dramatically; thus, this chart should only be used as a rough reference. When
determining the most appropriate perforating gun and weight charge, the service company should
be consulted to obtain the most recent data and recommendations.
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
Perforating
113 July 1999
Number of Perforations
In addition to perforation size, the number of holes open affects the injection rate at which a frac
ture treatment can be pumped. To determine the number of perforations required for a specific
treatment design, the following equation can be used
(11.1)
where, is the specific injection rate per perforation (bpm/perf), is perforation friction
(psi), is perforation diameter (in.), is the perforation coefficient (usually 0.9), and is the
maximum fracturing fluid (slurry) density (lbs/gal). is an efficiency number that corrects for
the fact that all perforations are not perfectly circular or smooth orifices. Assuming minimal per
foration friction, a value of 100 psi is normally used in the equation.
Table 11.1  Approximate Chart of Gun and Casing/Tubing Sizes Versus Charge Size and Entry Hole
Diameter for Various Type Perforating Guns.
Gun Type
Gun OD
(in.)
Casing OD
(in.)
Entry Hole Diameter
(in.)
Charge Wt.
(grams)
Hollow
Steel Carrier
31/8
33/8
35/8
4
4
41/2
41/2
41/2
51/2
7
0.310.39
0.38
0.40
0.340.50
0.380.46
10
14
10
1022.7
1922.7
Expendable
Retrievable
Carrier
1
11/4
111/16
111/16
111/16
21/8
21/8
21/8
41/2
23/8
23/8
27/8
51/2
27/8
51/2
7
0.15
0.30
0.36
0.38
0.27
0.43
0.330.49
0.320.44
2
5
13
13
13
22.7
22.7
22.7
Expendable 11/4
111/16
111/16
111/16
21/8
21/8
21/8
33/4
33/4
33/4
23/8
27/8
41/2
51/2
27/8
51/2
7
41/2
51/2
7
0.30
0.36
0.51
0.30
0.44
0.41
0.42
0.66
0.67
0.71
5
13
13.5
13
22.7
22.7
22.7
90
90
90
NOTE: Entry hole diameters generated with API Concrete Target test.
i
pf
P
pf
( ) d
pf
( )
4
( )
2
0.2369 ( )

1/2
=
i
pf
P
pf
d
pf
i
pf
Hydraulic Fracturing Theory Manual
11
116 July 1999
turning sharply to followthe preferred azimuth, (3) a single fracture crossing the well, and (4) mul
tiple fractures crossing the well. In each of these cases, high apparent downhole friction may
be caused by nearwellbore fracture width restrictions (tortuosity).
For the most awful case, i.e., multiple fractures crossing the wellbore, a small clustered group
of perforations is often used as shown in Fig. 11.5, though this may not totally eliminate multiple
fractures. To totally eliminate the possibility of multiple fractures, a single plane of perfora
tions is desired, or even better a notched casing using abrasive techniques. Some perforation
patterns may maximize the chances of creating the preferred single fracture along the wellbore
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