Hydraulic fracture optimization using hydraulic fracture and reservoir modeling in the Piceance Basin, Colorado
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Hydraulic fracturing is an important stimulation method for producing unconventional gas reserves. Natural fractures are present in many low-permeability gas environments and often provide important production pathways for natural gas. The production benefit from natural fractures can be immense, but it is difficult to quantify. The Mesaverde Group in the Piceance Basin in Colorado is a gas producing reservoir that has low matrix permeability but is also highly naturally fractured. Wells in the Piceance Basin are hydraulically fractured, so the production enhancements due to natural fracturing and hydraulic fracturing are difficult to decouple. In this thesis, dipole sonic logs were used to quantify geomechanical properties by combining stress equations with critically-stressed faulting theory. The properties derived from this log-based evaluation were used to numerically model hydraulic fracture treatments that had previously been pumped in the basin. The results from these hydraulic fracture models, in addition to the log-derived reservoir properties were used to develop reservoir models. Several methods for simulating the reservoir were compared and evaluated, including layer cake models, geostatistical models, and models simulating the fracture treatment using water injection. The results from the reservoir models were compared to actual production data to quantify the effect of both hydraulic fractures and natural fractures on production. This modeling also provided a framework upon which completion techniques were economically evaluated.