The success of shale development has inspired new technologies to economize the extensive fracturing treatments necessary to complete extremely low permeability commercial wells. While bi-wing fractures are typically achieved during conventional fracture stimulation applications, it is often necessary to generate a complex fracturing network for most formation types encountered in very low permeability unconventional wells. Therefore, for source shale formations, the emphasis is on connectivity to natural fractures to establish an adequate stimulated reservoir volume (SRV).
This paper discusses a new approach where improved initial wellbore-to-formation connections can be achieved by creating extended large diameter vertical cavities from the lateral as an effective fracture initiation point. This provides improved connectivity to the stimulated reservoir network both during stimulation and production. Additionally, this paper discusses the unique mechanics of the new procedure to generate a large connected SRV (CSRV) in unconventional formations, the technique, and the resulting benefits in fracture stimulation of resource shales or in ultra low permeability sandstones or carbonates as well as coal reservoirs. This new approach is fairly easy to implement, can be applied with limited hydraulic horsepower availability, and the impact could be substantial.