Multidisciplinary Hydraulic Fracture Evaluation in the Mesaverde Group of the Piceance Basin, Colorado




Malayalam, Atif Mohammed

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The rising gas prices and the associated profit margins have driven a plethora of independent operators and even the majors now to exploit the tight gas reserves in the Piceance Basin which were once thought of as uneconomic. Every well drilled has to be hydraulically fractured to unlock the gas reserves and the cost of fracturing these wells nears the cost of the well itself. Thus efficient and economic hydraulic fracturing is the key for success in the Piceance Basin. The focus of this thesis is too look at three such operators in the Piceance basin (hence forth known as Company A, B and C) located in Northwestern Colorado and determine how effective they are in optimizing their hydraulic fracturing treatments. A substantial part of this thesis has focused on production and hydraulic fracturing data analysis, well economics and geostatistical analysis. An in depth analysis of Operator A’s wells was performed, estimating effective hydraulic fracture half lengths from production data and using a commercial 3-dimensional fracture simulator. Previous work showed better recovery from wells treated with slick versus gel however, on average, wells treated with slickwater have 1.6 times greater perforated thickness. To better evaluate completion method, we examined production per perforated ft, and with this criterion, wells treated with gel perform on average 2 times better.


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