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Analysis of Pressure Communication between the Austin Chalk and Eagle Ford Reservoirs during a Zipper Fracturing Operation

Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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Energies 2019, 12(8), 1469; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12081469
Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
The recent interest in redeveloping the depleted Austin Chalk legacy field in Bryan (TX, USA) mandates that reservoir damage and subsurface trespassing between adjacent reservoirs be mitigated during hydraulic fracture treatments. Limiting unintended pressure communication across reservoir boundaries during hydraulic fracturing is important for operational efficiency. Our study presents field data collected in fall 2017 that measured the annular pressure changes that occurred in Austin Chalk wells during the zipper fracturing treatment of two new wells in the underlying Eagle Ford Formation. The data thereby obtained, along with associated Eagle Ford stimulation reports, was analyzed to establish the degree of pressure communication between the two reservoirs. A conceptual model for pressure communication is developed based on the pressure response pattern, duration, and intensity. Additionally, pressure depletion in the Austin Chalk reservoir is modeled based on historic production data. Pressure increases observed in the Austin Chalk wells were about 6% of the Eagle Ford injection pressures. The pressure communication during the fracture treatment was followed by a rapid decline of the pressure elevation in the Austin Chalk wells to pre-fracture reservoir pressure, once the Eagle Ford fracture operation ended. Significant production uplifts occurred in several offset Austin Chalk wells, coeval with the observed temporal pressure increase. Our study confirms that after the rapid pressure decline following the short-term pressure increase in the Austin Chalk, no residual pressure communication remained between the Austin Chalk and Eagle Ford reservoirs. Limiting pressure communication between adjacent reservoirs during hydraulic fracturing is important in order to minimize the loss of costly fracturing fluid and to avoid undue damage to the reservoir and nearby wells via unintended proppant pollution. We provide field data and a model that quantifies the degree of pressure communication between adjacent reservoirs (Austin Chalk and Eagle Ford) for the first time. View Full-Text
Keywords: Austin Chalk; Eagle Ford shale; hydraulic fracturing; pressure communication; production uplifts Austin Chalk; Eagle Ford shale; hydraulic fracturing; pressure communication; production uplifts
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Sukumar, S.; Weijermars, R.; Alves, I.; Noynaert, S. Analysis of Pressure Communication between the Austin Chalk and Eagle Ford Reservoirs during a Zipper Fracturing Operation. Energies 2019, 12, 1469.

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