ABSTRACT:

Fracture treatments are critical for economic production from some low-permeability deepwater reservoirs. An example of this is the Julia field in the Gulf of Mexico where there is evidence that high drawdowns are damaging completions leading to an apparent loss of permeability. The aim of this study is to identify potential damage mechanisms causing this permeability loss. To this end a series of experiments was undertaken to measure the stress dependent permeability of the formation, proppant pack and formation/proppant pack interface. This testing identified that the formation and proppant are minimally stress dependent whereas the interface is strongly stress dependent. Characterization methods including petrographic analysis, micro-CT imaging and x-ray fluorescence were used to identify damage mechanisms including: grain/proppant cracking, fines migration and geometric loss of fracture surface area to flow. The interface displays evidence of all of these mechanisms and is more pervasively damaged than either the formation or proppant pack supporting the observation that the interface is the most stress sensitive system component.

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