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Operating Under Pressure

Oilfield Technology, May 2018

Early in 2015, a Statoil R&D team decided to confront a decades-old challenge. Even though the industry had been fracking wells for nearly seven decades, understanding and mapping of fracture growth remained elusive, often preventing informed decisions about full-field development. The reason was simple: The existing fracture map technology could only be applied to a limited number of wells because the cost was prohibitive.

The team went to work knowing a digital transformation could address the cost issue that would, in turn, address the full-field necessity for a comprehensive insight into fracture growth and the mapping of the fracture network. If successful, the team would be able to offer the industry greater awareness into why all of this is vital in the first place: the issue of geologic variability that can cause wells even very close to produce vastly different amounts of oil.

The R&D work proceeded swiftly. By the second half of 2015, the team began internal validation studies of what was called an integrated modeling approach for geometric evaluation of fractures or IMAGE Frac™ technology. The technology is based on a pressure gauge on a monitor well to record the poroelastic pressure response from a nearby treatment well that was hydraulically fractured. The purpose, and the foundation of the new approach, was to create a pressure-based fracture map, an industry first.

Early in 2016, the team began what turned out to be successful pilot projects. Following this external technology validation, the venture capital group, Statoil Technology Invest, created a spin-out entity, Reveal Energy Services, in late 2016, with IMAGE Frac technology as the foundation of the company. This oilfield services company startup has an exclusive license to the pressure-based fracture map technology and the essential patents.

In addition to offering 3D fracture map of half-length, height, asymmetry, and azimuth, the pressure-based fracture map data support four other applications that allow operators to

  • -determine how far proppant has been placed within the fracture
  • -understand whether a diversion design is working
  • -know if fluid is distributed equally between multiple clusters
  • -identify the depletion boundary surrounding a parent well.

Improving Efficiency With Near Real-time Diversion Design Evaluation

Hart’s E&P, March 2018

If there is a word that describes the U.S. energy industry, “resiliency”—the ability to spring back or rebound quickly—certainly comes to mind. Since early 2016 at one of the industry’s lowest points to today’s footprint, oil and gas professionals have figured out how to do more with less.

The industry’s never-give-up mindset that is shifting the country from a net energy importer to a net energy exporter by 2026 or earlier, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is writing a new chapter in the industry’s history. This mindset is directed at producing a greater percentage of hydrocarbon using new methods that decrease geologic and financial risks in the greater efficiency scenario throughout the major U.S. shale plays.

As part of this scenario, a new, faster method of diversion design evaluation has been commercialized. DiverterSCAN technology offers near real-time evaluation to ensure hydraulic fracturing fluid stimulates multiple perforation clusters. LINN Energy, working in the Scoop/Stack, received the first near real-time results, increasing hydraulic fracturing efficiency.


New Technology Offers Completions Quality Control

Shale Technology Showcase, Hart’s E&P, July 2017

IMAGE Frac technology analyzes the recorded pressure data and determines the fracture attributes, including length, height, fracture growth rates and fracture asymmetry.