Economic and engineering evaluation of hydraulic fracture completion practices in the Piceance Basin, Colorado, USA

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2007-08

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Since its commencement in 1947, hydraulic fracturing stimulation has been receiving a lot of interest in the hydrocarbon recovery world and is being improved continually. Representing as much as one-half of total well costs, it is no wonder that oil and gas companies want the most efficient and effective hydraulic fracture treatments. A hydraulic fracture can be affected by the amount and type of fluid and proppant used, pressure, reservoir quality, formation permeability, leakoff, etc. What makes a hydraulic fracture design perfect is still unknown but a lot of attention has been gathered around fracturing fluids and their impact on fracture geometry. This study attempts to identify the most important factors in hydraulic fracturing success for wells from two major natural gas producers in the Piceance Basin. We will look at some statistical test results to try to better understand the effectiveness of a treatment not only in terms of treatment design factors but also how the changes in a treatment design might impact the economics of a well in terms of commonly used financial evaluators. In addition to studying hydraulic fracture procedures and related production, an important aspect of geologic variation in the Piceance Basin was studied -- natural fracturing. Microfractures measured in cores from two Piceance Basin wells were quantified in an effort to assess the impact of natural fracturing on gas production.

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