The objective of a hydraulic-fracture treatment is to stimulate production for a well, by injecting high-pressure fluids to stimulate a fracture network and enhance permeability and production (Montgomery and Smith, 2010). The first hydraulic-fracture treatment was performed in 1947 in the Hugoton field in Kansas, U.S.A. Since that time, technological advancements have transformed the process into a routine operation in most North American oil and gas well completions. Modern stimulations can involve injection of up to several thousand cubic meters of fluid (over a million gallons) using tens of thousands of pumping horsepower for high-rate injection. Depending on the total injection volume, individual hydraulic-fracture stimulations can cost anywhere between $10,000 (U. S. dollars) and several million. The current worldwide commercial fracturing market is estimated at nearly $30 billion per year — mainly in North America and consisting mostly of fracturing wells in unconventional reservoirs. Many modern wells are drilled horizontally and typically can be stimulated with 15 to 30 individual fracture treatments or stages at different positions along their length, although in some cases as many as 60 fracture stages have been performed.
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Microseismic Imaging of Hydraulic Fracturing: Improved Engineering of Unconventional Shale Reservoirs
Microseismic monitoring is the key technology to image hydraulic fractures. With the recent industry focus on unconventional resources and the associated need for effective hydraulic fracture treatments to stimulate flow, microseismic monitoring has become a commonplace technology in the geophysical community. Microseismic has long been a niche geophysical technology to image fracturing, but the expansion of the technology over the last decade is evident by the increasing number of workshops, papers in various publications, and the sheer number of papers and associated dedicated sessions at the SEG annual meeting. This work aims to provide a practical user guide for survey design, quality control, interpretation, and application of microseismic hydraulic fracture monitoring. The book is intended to provide a comprehensive educational resource for microseismic hydraulic fracture imaging, with a focus on practical tips for executing a successful microseismic project. Limitations of the data and potential pitfalls are emphasized throughout.