This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper URTeC 3864861, “Geomechanics Modeling of Strain-Based Pressure Estimates: Insights From Distributed Fiber-Optic Strain Measurements,” by Wei Ma and Kan Wu, Texas A&M University, and Ge Jin, Colorado School of Mines. The paper has not been peer reviewed.


The combination of Rayleigh frequency shift distributed strain sensing (RFS-DSS) and pressure-gauge measurements has been reported recently in field applications. The main objective of the study detailed in the complete paper is to investigate the relationship between strain change and pressure change under various fractured reservoir conditions and provide guidelines for better using this novel strain/pressure relationship to estimate conductive fractures and pressure profiles.


With a spatial resolution of 20 cm and a sensitivity of less than 1 με, RFS-DSS can measure mechanical strain changes along the fiber with higher accuracy and sensitivity than low-frequency distributed acoustic sensing measurements. The field applications of RFS-DSS have improved the understanding of near-well and far-field fracture characteristics and the relationship between stimulation and production in unconventional reservoirs.

Although some numerical modeling works have been conducted to study the mechanisms of RFS-DSS data sets, the sensitivity, or influencing factors, of the relationship between strain change and pressure change along the fiber are still unclear.

In this work, the authors use a coupled geomechanics and fluid-flow simulator to simulate the strain change and pressure change measured along the producing and monitoring wells during both stable production and shut-in periods.


A 3D multilayer reservoir model with dimensions of 300×400×55.82 m was created using Permian Basin data sets. The reservoir was discretized into 553×129×5 gridblocks. To ensure accurate simulation of field RFS-DSS measurements, the mesh was refined around the fracture and wellbore. The fracture width was set to be the same as the RFS-DSS spatial resolution (0.2 m), and the grid size was set to 5 m except for the refined region. As shown in Fig. 1, the reservoir had 11 perforation clusters along the producing well and the monitoring well was 65 m away from the producing well. A fiber cable was installed on both wells to measure the RFS-DSS data set. The producing well was operated for 240 days before being shut in for 4 days, followed by a 1-day reopening and then continued production for 1 year. The pressure decline was 30–40 psi during the 1-day stable production period. Note that the moment after producing 239 days was taken as the reference time to calculate the strain change during the 1-day production (239–240 days) and the moment after 240 days as the reference time to calculate the strain change during the shut-in period (240–244 days).

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