Characterization of Small Scale Heterogeneity for Prediction of Acid Fracture Performance
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Recently developed models of the acid fracturing process have shown that the differential etching necessary to create lasting fracture conductivity is caused by the heterogeneous distributions of permeability and mineralogy along the fracture faces. To predict the conductivity that can be created by acid in a particular formation, the models require information about these formation properties. This research aims to quantify correlation lengths using a geostatistical description of small scale heterogeneity to ascertain the distribution of permeability and mineralogy in a carbonate formation. The correlation length parameters are a first step in being able to couple acid transport and rock dissolution models at reservoir scale with a model of fracture conductivity based on channels and roughness features caused by small scale heterogeneity. Geostatistical parameters of small scale heterogeneity affecting wells in the Hugoton Field are developed. Data leading to their derivation are obtained from a combination of well logs and cores. The permeability of slabbed core is measured to yield vertical correlation length. Well logs are used to estimate permeability via an empirical relationship between core plug permeability and well log data for calculation of horizontal correlation length. A fracture simulator computes the acid etched fracture width for known treatment conditions. The resulting geostatistical parameters and acid etched width are used to predict acid fracture performance for a well in the Hugoton Field. Application of new model conductivity correlations results in a unique prediction for the acid fracture case study that differs from the industry standard. Improvements in low cost stimulation treatments such as acid fracturing are the key to revitalizing production in mature carbonate reservoirs like the Hugoton Field. Planning and development of new wells in any carbonate formation necessarily must consider acid fracturing as a production stimulation technique. Reliable models that accurately predict acid fracture conductivity can be used to make an informed investment decision.
Beatty, Cassandra Vonne (2010). Characterization of Small Scale Heterogeneity for Prediction of Acid Fracture Performance. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from