The existence of faults, pre-existing hydraulic fractures, and depleted areas can negatively impact the development of unconventional reservoirs using multifractured horizontal wells (MFHWs). For example, the triggering of fault slippage through hydraulic fracturing can create the environmental hazard known as induced seismicity (earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing). A premium has therefore been placed on the development of technologies that can be used to identify the locations of fault systems (particularly if they are subseismic) as well as pre-existing hydraulic fractures and depleted areas. The objective of this study is to develop a diagnostic tool to identify these conditions using DFIT-FBA, a modified diagnostic fracture injection test (DFIT) with flowback analysis (FBA). The time and cost efficiencies of the DFIT-FBA method in reservoir characterization provides an opportunity to conduct multiple field tests at a single point or along the lateral section of a horizontal well.

An analytical model that considers critical processes and mechanisms occurring during DFIT-FBA was first developed herein. The results of analytical modeling demonstrate that reservoir heterogeneities (i.e., faults) can be identified either by implementing multiple cycles of the DFIT-FBA method at a single point or by applying multiple DFIT-FBAs at different points along the lateral section of a horizontal well or at different wells. The analytical model is then verified using a fully coupled hydraulic fracture, reservoir, and wellbore simulator, and flowing pressure responses in the presence of a fault are illustrated. The practical application of the proposed method is demonstrated using DFIT-FBA field examples performed in a tight reservoir. Analysis of the field examples leads to the conclusion that a fault likely occurs near the toe of the horizontal lateral. This finding was confirmed by other field information and provides the opportunity to modify the main-stage hydraulic fracturing design to avoid induced seismicity events.

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