Hydraulic fracturing is widely used for initiating and subsequently propagating fractures in reservoir strata by means of a pressurized fluid to release oil and gas or to store industry waste. Downhole or surface microseismic monitoring is commonly used to characterize the hydraulically induced fractures. However, in some cases, downhole microseismic monitoring can be difficult due to the limitation imposed by boreholes. Surface microseismic monitoring often faces difficulties acquiring high signal-to-noise ratio data because of the on-site noise from hydraulic fracturing process. Research and field observations indicate that injecting conductive slurry or water into a strata may generate distinct time-lapse electromagnetic anomalies between pre- and posthydraulic fracturing. These anomalies provide a means for characterizing the hydraulic fracturing using time-lapse electromagnetic methods. We examined the time-lapse variation over an hour, one day, one month, and two years of observed audio-magnetotellurics (AMT) resistivity and the 1D and 3D AMT modeling result of the variation pre- and posthydraulic fracturing. There is also a successful case history of applying the time-lapse AMT to map hydraulic fractures. Observed data indicate that the variation of AMT resistivity is normally less than 6% apart from the data of the dead band and some noisy data. Modeling results show the variation pre- and posthydraulic fracturing is larger than 30% at the frequency point lower than 100 Hz. The case history indicates that time-lapse magnetotelluric monitoring may form a new way to characterize the hydraulic fracture.

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