Step Rate Testing: Determining Fracture Pressure for Injection Wells 2016 UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL CONFERENCE DENVER, CO LEWIS WANDKE, PE

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1 1 Step Rate Testing: Determining Fracture Pressure for Injection Wells 2016 UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL CONFERENCE DENVER, CO LEWIS WANDKE, PE AND KEN COOPER, PE PETROTEK ENGINEERING CORPORATION

2 Overview 2 What is Fracture Pressure? Why is Fracture Pressure Important? How can we Best Estimate Fracture Pressure? Step Rate Testing Method and Analysis Potential for Error Best Practices to Minimize Error

3 What Is Fracture Pressure? 3 Consider the Basic Stresses Present in the Reservoir System: Overburden Stress The stress caused from weight of overlying rock. Matrix Stress The stress present in the reservoir rock matrix. Pore Pressure The pressure exerted by the compressed fluid in the reservoir pore spaces.

4 In-Situ Stress Model 4 The overburden stress acts as a downward force on the reservoir. Overburden Stress It is being countered by the formation matrix and the fluid within the pore spaces. Matrix Stress At the same time, the formation matrix is resisting the pore pressure. Pore Pressure Bourgoyne, Millhelm, Chenevert, Young, Applied Drilling Engineering, 1991

5 In-Situ Stress Balance 5 The system is held in balance, that is: Overburden Stress = Matrix Stress + Pore Pressure An increase in pore pressure (through injection) will decrease the matrix stress Matrix will be held less in compression and more in tension Eventually, the rock matrix will be unable to counter the pore pressure increase Initiation of a new fracture Opening of an existing fracture Fracture Pressure - The pressure at which a reservoir system shifts from matrix flow to fracture dominated flow

6 Matrix Flow vs. Fracture Dominated Flow Matrix Flow: Fracture Pressure has not yet been reached; Fluid flows through the pore network 6

7 Matrix Flow vs. Fracture Dominated Flow Fracture Dominated Flow: -Fracture Pressure has been reached; -Pressure has become high enough to create or open pre-existing fractures in the rock matrix 7

8 Why is Fracture Pressure So Important? 8 1) Operational Drilling: Will dictate the maximum mud densities and pump pressures that can be used Completion: Critical in designing effective fracture stimulations 2) Regulatory Class I injection wells are limited by law to operating pressures that do not fracture the injection zone Reduces the potential for injection fluids to enter an overlying formation (enhancing protection of USDWs)

9 How can we Estimate Fracture Pressure? 9 Step Rate Testing: Injection into the reservoir at progressively higher rates Record the pressure response seen in the reservoir Pressure response can be graphically analyzed to estimate fracture pressure Shift from matrix flow to fracture dominated flow

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12 Hydrostatic Pressure 12 SHP or WHP = 0 psi Static Well Conditions (No Flow): Hydrostatic Gradient A column of fresh water (SG =1.0) exerts psi/ft Ex. In a 6,000 ft well, the hydrostatic pressure at the bottom of the well (BHP) is 2,598 psi (6,000 ft * psi/ft * 1.0) Surface pressure (SHP) is zero. BHP = 2,598 psi

13 Friction Loss SHP or WHP = Pump Pressure 13 Dynamic Well Conditions (Flowing): Friction Loss Friction loss is dependent on flow rate, diameter of pipe, and the roughness coefficient of the tubing Roughness is an estimation and varies according to tubing wear Increases exponentially with increasing flow rate Bourgoyne, Millhelm, Chenevert, Young, Applied Drilling Engineering, 1991 BHP = SHP + Hydrostatic Pressure Friction Losses

14 14

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16 Felsenthal, Step Rate Tests Determine Safe Injection Pressures in Floods, The Oil and Gas Journal, Oct. 28,

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20 Implications of Previous Example 20 Actual Fracture Pressure = 4,500 psi (BHP) Equates to Surface Injection Pressure of 2,600 psi Class I Guidelines: Maximum Permitted Injection Pressure = 2,340 psi Will inject safely below formation fracture pressure Incorrect Estimate Fracture Pressure = 7,900 psi (BHP) Equates to Surface Injection Pressure of 5,200 psi Class I Guidelines: Maximum Permitted Injection Pressure = 4,680 psi Will be Fracturing the Formation through its Entire Operational Lifetime

21 Best Practices for Step Rate Testing 21 1) The well should be shut in for long enough to let bottomhole pressures and formation pressures equalize 2) Lower permeability reservoirs will require longer time steps 3) Begin at a very low rate ( BPM) so early steps do not exceed fracture pressure 4) Constant rates and equal time step durations are critical for an accurate test analysis 5) Use of a bottomhole pressure gauge is highly recommended

22 Conclusions 22 Failure to correctly account for tubing friction can have a dramatic impact on test results Much higher estimates or failure to identify fracture pressure Permitted pressures that may exceed regulatory guidelines Bottomhole gauges will increase test accuracy since friction loss at high injection rates in tubing of unknown condition can be difficult to predict

23 Contact 23 Lewis Wandke, PE Senior Project Engineer Petrotek Engineering Corporation 5935 South Zang Street, Suite 200 Littleton, CO (303) x30 All Rights Reserved

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