hydraulic fracturing


  • By monitoring the temperature of the well, engineers can determine how much hydraulic fracturing fluid different parts of the well use as well as how much natural gas or oil
    they collect, during hydraulic fracturing operation and when the well is producing.

  • [69] Well types[edit] A distinction can be made between conventional, low-volume hydraulic fracturing, used to stimulate high-permeability reservoirs for a single well, and
    unconventional, high-volume hydraulic fracturing, used in the completion of tight gas and shale gas wells.

  • Associated equipment includes fracturing tanks, one or more units for storage and handling of proppant, high-pressure treating iron[clarification needed], a chemical additive
    unit (used to accurately monitor chemical addition), low-pressure flexible hoses, and many gauges and meters for flow rate, fluid density, and treating pressure.

  • Operators typically try to maintain “fracture width”, or slow its decline following treatment, by introducing a proppant into the injected fluid – a material such as grains
    of sand, ceramic, or other particulate, thus preventing the fractures from closing when injection is stopped and pressure removed.

  • The process involves the high-pressure injection of “fracking fluid” (primarily water, containing sand or other proppants suspended with the aid of thickening agents) into
    a wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum, and brine will flow more freely.

  • [67] Hydraulic-fracturing equipment used in oil and natural gas fields usually consists of a slurry blender, one or more high-pressure, high-volume fracturing pumps (typically
    powerful triplex or quintuplex pumps) and a monitoring unit.

  • The effect of high pore fluid pressure on the formation process of mineral vein systems is particularly evident in “crack-seal” veins, where the vein material is part of a
    series of discrete fracturing events, and extra vein material is deposited on each occasion.

  • [42] Since then, hydraulic fracturing has been used to stimulate approximately one million oil and gas wells[43] in various geologic regimes with good success.

  • [73] Example of high pressure manifold combining pump flows before injection into well Fluid is typically a slurry of water, proppant, and chemical additives.

  • In contrast with large-scale hydraulic fracturing used in low-permeability formations, small hydraulic fracturing treatments are commonly used in high-permeability formations
    to remedy “skin damage”, a low-permeability zone that sometimes forms at the rock-borehole interface.

  • [99] Non-oil/gas uses[edit] While the main industrial use of hydraulic fracturing is in stimulating production from oil and gas wells,[100][101][102] hydraulic fracturing
    is also applied: • To stimulate groundwater wells[103] • To precondition or induce rock cave-ins mining[104] • As a means of enhancing waste remediation, usually hydrocarbon waste or spills[105] • To dispose waste by injection deep into rock[106]
    • To measure stress in the Earth[107] • For electricity generation i

  • [45] Massive fracturing[edit] Well head where fluids are injected into the ground Well head after all the hydraulic fracturing equipment has been taken off location Massive
    hydraulic fracturing (also known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing) is a technique first applied by Pan American Petroleum in Stephens County, Oklahoma, US in 1968.

  • [34] Veins[edit] Most mineral vein systems are a result of repeated natural fracturing during periods of relatively high pore fluid pressure.

  • [87] The Nuclear Regulatory Commission publishes guidelines which list a wide range of radioactive materials in solid, liquid and gaseous forms that may be used as tracers
    and limit the amount that may be used per injection and per well of each radionuclide.

  • [85] At the end of the job, the well is commonly flushed with water under pressure (sometimes blended with a friction reducing chemical.)

  • [citation needed] Sleeves These completion techniques may allow for more than 30 stages to be pumped into the horizontal section of a single well if required, which is far
    more than would typically be pumped into a vertical well that had far fewer feet of producing zone exposed.

  • The increases in pore water pressure and in formation stress combine and affect weaknesses near the hydraulic fracture, like natural fractures, joints, and bedding planes.

  • Horizontal wells proved much more effective than vertical wells in producing oil from tight chalk;[49] sedimentary beds are usually nearly horizontal, so horizontal wells
    have much larger contact areas with the target formation.

  • At such depth, there may be insufficient permeability or reservoir pressure to allow natural gas and oil to flow from the rock into the wellbore at high economic return.

  • [65] Fracture monitoring[edit] Measurements of the pressure and rate during the growth of a hydraulic fracture, with knowledge of fluid properties and proppant being injected
    into the well, provides the most common and simplest method of monitoring a hydraulic fracture treatment.

  • [64] Method[edit] A hydraulic fracture is formed by pumping fracturing fluid into a wellbore at a rate sufficient to increase pressure at the target depth (determined by the
    location of the well casing perforations), to exceed that of the fracture gradient (pressure gradient) of the rock.

  • Hydraulic fracturing enables the extraction of natural gas and oil from rock formations deep below the earth’s surface (generally 2,000–6,000 m (5,000–20,000 ft)), which is
    greatly below typical groundwater reservoir levels.

  • Horizontal drilling reduces surface disruptions as fewer wells are required to access the same volume of rock.

  • [24] Increases in seismic activity following hydraulic fracturing along dormant or previously unknown faults are sometimes caused by the deep-injection disposal of hydraulic
    fracturing flowback (a byproduct of hydraulically fractured wells),[25] and produced formation brine (a byproduct of both fractured and nonfractured oil and gas wells).

  • So-called “super fracking,” creates cracks deeper in the rock formation to release more oil and gas, and increases efficiency.

  • Later still the same method was applied to water and gas wells.

  • Sometimes pH modifiers are used to break down the crosslink at the end of a hydraulic fracturing job, since many require a pH buffer system to stay viscous.

  • [35] One example of long-term repeated natural fracturing is in the effects of seismic activity.

  • Due to acid etching, fractures would not close completely resulting in further productivity increase.

  • None of the chemicals used will return to the surface.

  • Using the fiber optics, temperatures can be measured every foot along the well – even while the wells are being fracked and pumped.

  • The propped fracture is permeable enough to allow the flow of gas, oil, salt water and hydraulic fracturing fluids to the well.

  • High-volume hydraulic fracturing usually requires higher pressures than low-volume fracturing; the higher pressures are needed to push out larger volumes of fluid and proppant
    that extend farther from the borehole.

  • [54] In 1997, Nick Steinsberger, an engineer of Mitchell Energy (now part of Devon Energy), applied the slickwater fracturing technique, using more water and higher pump pressure
    than previous fracturing techniques, which was used in East Texas in the Barnett Shale of north Texas.

  • The EPA defines the broader process to include acquisition of source water, well construction, well stimulation, and waste disposal.

  • [65] Radionuclide monitoring[edit] Main article: Hydraulic fracturing and radionuclides Injection of radioactive tracers along with the fracturing fluid is sometimes used
    to determine the injection profile and location of created fractures.

  • [66] The location of one or more fractures along the length of the borehole is strictly controlled by various methods that create or seal holes in the side of the wellbore.

  • When the hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, small grains of hydraulic fracturing proppants (either sand or aluminium oxide) hold the fractures open.

  • [citation needed] The method by which the fractures are placed along the wellbore is most commonly achieved by one of two methods, known as “plug and perf” and “sliding sleeve”.

  • When the well is due to be fractured, the bottom sliding sleeve is opened using one of several activation techniques[citation needed] and the first stage gets pumped.

  • [50] Hydraulic fracturing operations have grown exponentially since the mid-1990s, when technologic advances and increases in the price of natural gas made this technique
    economically viable.

  • [31][32] Fractures formed in this way are generally oriented in a plane perpendicular to the minimum principal stress, and for this reason, hydraulic fractures in well bores
    can be used to determine the orientation of stresses.

  • Hydraulic fracturing, an increase in formation stress proportional to the net fracturing pressure, as well as an increase in pore pressure due to leakoff.

  • [96] Uses Hydraulic fracturing is used to increase the rate at which subtances such as petroleum or natural gas can be recovered from subterranean natural reservoirs.

  • [23] This leakage rate is considered representative of the hydraulic fracturing industry in the US generally.

  • The type of wellbore completion is used to determine how many times a formation is fractured, and at what locations along the horizontal section.

  • [37] History Precursors[edit] Halliburton fracturing operation in the Bakken Formation, North Dakota, United States Fracturing as a method to stimulate shallow, hard rock
    oil wells dates back to the 1860s.

  • As of 2012, 2.5 million “frac jobs” had been performed worldwide on oil and gas wells, over one million of those within the U.S.[3][4] Such treatment is generally necessary
    to achieve adequate flow rates in shale gas, tight gas, tight oil, and coal seam gas wells.

  • [76] • Polyacrylamide and other friction reducers decrease turbulence in fluid flow and pipe friction, thus allowing the pumps to pump at a higher rate without having greater
    pressure on the surface.

  • In some formations, where the pressure is great enough to crush grains of natural silica sand, higher-strength proppants such as bauxite or ceramics may be used.

  • After the fracturing job, the pH is reduced to 3–4 so that the cross-links are broken, and the gel is less viscous and can be pumped out.

  • Fracturing occurs when effective stress is overcome by the pressure of fluids within the rock.

  • The crosslinking mechanism is not reversible, so once the proppant is pumped down along with cross-linked gel, the fracturing part is done.

  • [80][81] The fracturing fluid varies depending on fracturing type desired, and the conditions of specific wells being fractured, and water characteristics.

  • [61][62][63] Process According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hydraulic fracturing is a process to stimulate a natural gas, oil, or geothermal
    well to maximize extraction.

  • [71] Fracturing fluids[edit] Water tanks preparing for hydraulic fracturing Main articles: Hydraulic fracturing proppants and List of additives for hydraulic fracturing The
    main purposes of fracturing fluid are to extend fractures, add lubrication, change gel strength, and to carry proppant into the formation.

  • The propane vapor and natural gas both return to the surface and can be collected, making it[clarification needed] easier to reuse and/or resale.

  • [46] American geologists gradually became aware that there were huge volumes of gas-saturated sandstones with permeability too low (generally less than 0.1 millidarcy) to
    recover the gas economically.

  • [citation needed] Microseismic monitoring[edit] For more advanced applications, microseismic monitoring is sometimes used to estimate the size and orientation of induced fractures.

  • High-viscosity fracturing tends to cause large dominant fractures, while high-rate (slickwater) fracturing causes small spread-out micro-fractures.

  • The main goal of hydraulic fracture monitoring is to completely characterize the induced fracture structure, and distribution of conductivity within a formation.

  • [65] Although there may be unconventional fracturing fluids, typical chemical additives can include one or more of the following: • Acids—hydrochloric acid or acetic acid
    is used in the pre-fracturing stage for cleaning the perforations and initiating fissure in the near-wellbore rock.

  • This can be monitored using multiple types of techniques to finally develop a reservoir model than accurately predicts well performance.

  • In sedimentary rocks with a significant water content, fluid at fracture tip will be steam.

  • This data along with knowledge of the underground geology can be used to model information such as length, width and conductivity of a propped fracture.


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