This paper focuses on optimizing future well landing zones and their corresponding hydraulic fracture treatments in the Eagle Ford shale play. The optimum landing zone and stimulation treatment were determined by analyzing multiple landing zone options, including the lower Austin Chalk, Eagle Ford, and Pepper Shale, with several hydraulic fracturing treatment possibilities. Fracturing fluids and their volume, proppant size, and cluster spacing were investigated to determine the optimum hydraulic fracturing treatment for the subject geologic area. Ranges of 75,000 to 300,000 gallons of pure gel, pure slickwater, and hybrid fracturing fluids along with 20/40, 30/50, 40/70, and 100 mesh proppant were tested. Cluster spacing of twenty feet to eighty feet were also sensitized in this study.
A fully three-dimensional hydraulic fracture modeling software was used to develop a geological and geomechanical model of the studied area. The generated model was calibrated with available field data to ensure that the model reflects the area's geological and geomechanical characteristics. The developed model was used to create fracture results for each sensitized parameter. Production analysis was performed for all fracture models to determine the optimum landing zone and fracturing treatment implications.
The study shows that the Eagle Ford had better production than the lower Austin Chalk in the subject area. The Pepper Shale had the highest potential hydrocarbon production, around 326 Mbbl cumulative, when fractured with a pure gel treatment. The analyses showed that a hybrid treatment with 70% gel and 30% slickwater yielded the optimum production due to the treatment economics even though the highest production was obtained using the pure gel. Treating the formation with larger proppant provided better production than smaller proppant due to conductivity concerns associated with damaging mechanisms in the studied area. Since increasing the volume above 175,000 gallons caused a negligible increase in the production, 175,000 gallons of fracturing fluid per stage appeared to be the optimum fracturing fluid volume. Thirty-foot cluster spacing was the optimum spacing in the study area. Overall, the study suggests that oil production can be improved in the Eagle Ford study area through a detailed workflow development and optimization process.
The hydraulic fracture treatment and landing zone optimization workflow ensures optimum hydrocarbon extraction from the study area. The developed workflow can be applied to new unconventional plays instead of using trial and error methods.