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Abstract

The Kuparuk River field on the North Slope of Alaska (Figure 1) is the second largest producing oil field in North America. Currently the production from the Lower Cretaceous Kuparuk formation exceeds 300,000 barrels of oil per day under waterflooding. This reservoir is overlain by the Colville, West Sak, and Ugnu reservoirs which contain an estimated 20 billion barrels of oil in place. These formations are unconsolidated, have widely varying fluid and rock properties, and will require waterflooding and enhanced oil recovery processes. Development options for all of these reservoirs include hydraulic fracturing of the injection and production wells; hence, characterization of the in-situ stress field is critical for optimizing field performance and recovery.

The regional crustal stress field on the North Slope is extensional with maximum principal horizontal stress oriented northwest-southeast. Previous work on fracture direction in Kuparuk, however, indicated that the in-situ stress field was more complex in its orientation. The Kuparuk reservoir occurs within a broad northwest to southeast-trending anticline which plunges to the southeast. Normal fault patterns within the Kuparuk River field show two dominant strike trends: (1) northwest-southeast and (2) north-south.

In this study the hydraulic fracture direction, at both shallow and deep horizons, was determined by integrating geologic, engineering, petrophysical and geophysical data. Dipmeter logs were processed and interpreted to determine wellbore breakout directions for both shallow and deep horizons. Formation microscanner (FMS) images were used to discriminate between incipient wellbore breakout zones and mechanical fracturing from drilling. Hydraulic fracture screenout data were correlated

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