Many tight sandstone, limestone, and shale reservoirs require hydraulic fracturing to provide pathways that allow hydrocarbons to reach the well bore. Most of these tight reservoirs are now produced using multiple stages of fracturing through horizontal wells drilled perpendicular to the present-day azimuth of maximum horizontal stress. In a homogeneous media, the induced fractures are thought to propagate perpendicularly to the well, parallel to the azimuth of maximum horizontal stress, thereby efficiently fracturing the rock and draining the reservoir. We evaluated what may be the first anisotropic analysis of a Barnett shale-gas reservoir after extensive hydraulic fracturing and focus on mapping the orientation and intensity of induced fractures and any preexisting factures, with the objective being the identification of reservoir compartmentalization and bypassed pay. The Barnett Shale we studied has near-zero permeability and few if any open natural fractures. We therefore hypothesized that anisotropy is therefore due to the regional northeast–southwest maximum horizontal stress and subsequent hydraulic fracturing. We found the anisotropy to be highly compartmentalized, with the compartment edges being defined by ridges and domes delineated by the most positive principal curvature . Microseismic work by others in the same survey indicates that these ridges contain healed natural fractures that form fracture barriers. Mapping such heterogeneous anisotropy field could be critical in planning the location and direction of any future horizontal wells to restimulate the reservoir as production drops.
- Received February 22, 2013.
- Revision received June 12, 2013.
- Accepted June 25, 2013.