of Horizontal Wells
M.Y. Sollman, SPE, .James L. Hunt, SPE, and
A.M. EI Rabaa, SPE, Halliburton Services
Introduction
Interest in horizontal well drilling and completions has increased during the last few
years. The significant advances in drilling
and monitoring technology have made it
possible to drill, guide, and monitor horizontal holes, making horizontal drilling not only
possible but also consistently successful.
Most wells have been completed as drainholes. These drainholes have been used in
primary production and in EaR.
Papers on drilling, completion, well testing, and increased production of horizontal
vs. vertical wells have been presented in the
petroleum literature. 1 1O Many papers25
have dealt with steadystate production increase of horizontal wells over vertical
wells. Graphs and equations have been
presented for calculating steadystate ratios
for both fractured and unfractured wells.
Ref. 2 provides a recent review of this technology. Other authors 69 have studied the
transient behavior of pressure response during a drawdown or a buildup of a drainhole.
The literature lacks comprehensive studies
on fracturing horizontal wells, and none of
the studies cited above discussed this subject. Only Karcher et at. 10 studied production increase caused by multiple fractures
intercepting a horizontal hole. Using a numerical simulator, Karcher studied steadystate behavior of infiniteconductivity
fractures.
Stability of horizontal holes during drilling is another important aspect of horizontal well technology. It has been found 11
that the degree of stability of horizontal holes
depends on the relative magnitude of the
three principal stresses and the orientation
of the wellbore with respect to the minimum
horizontal stress.
Although productivity of horizontal wells
could be two to five times higher than
productivity of vertical wells, fracturing a
horizontal well may further enhance its
productivity, especially when formation permeability is low. Presence of shale streaks
or low vertical permeability that impedes
fluid flow in the vertical direction could
make fracturing a horizontal well a necessity.
Copyright 1990 Society of Petroleum Engineers
966
This paper discusses fracturing horizontal wells from both reservoir engineering
and fracture mechanics points of view. Our
goal is to shed some light on important
aspects of fracturing horizontal wells.
Stress Magnitude
and Orientation
The first parameter to be determined is the
fracture orientation with respect to the wellbore. Because fractures are always perpendicular to the least principal stress, the
questions actually concern wellbore and
stressorientation measurements.
In what direction will induced fractures
occur?
What is the anticipated fracture geometry?
What is the optimum length of the perforation interval?
What is the optimum treatment size?
What are the expected fracturing
pressures?
Data necessary for planning a fracturing
treatment are the mechanical properties of
the formation, the orientation and magnitude
of the least principal stress, the variation in
stresses above and below the target formation, and the leakoff characteristics of the
formation.
It is commonly accepted that, at depths
usually encountered in the oil field, the least
principal stress is a horizontal stress. It also
can be shown that the induced fracture will
be oriented perpendicular to the least principal stress. The result is that a fracture
created by a treatment will be in a vertical
plane. If the horizontal segment is drilled
in the direction of the least stress, several
vertical fractures may be spaced along its
axis wherever perforations are present. This
spacing is one of the design parameters to
be selected. Usually, this is investigated with
numerical simulators. If the horizontal segment is drilled perpendicular to the least
stress, one vertical fracture will be created
parallel to the well. Figs. 1 and 2 show fracture direction vs. well direction.
When the wellbore is not in one of these
two major directions, several scenarios may
occur, depending on the angle between the
wellbore and the stress direction and on the
perforation distribution and density. In this
paper, only the presence of fractures perAugust 1990 JPT
"
:','
Side View
KOP
Hydraulic Fracture
1st Microfrac
Core #1
A. Upper Zone
B. Target Zone
2nd Microfrac
Core #2
[:)
(JHMAJ(
lrd Microfrac
Core #3
(TIlMl,.
Determining Magnitude
and Orientation of
Least Principal Stress
If field history does not clearly reveal the
orientation and magnitude of the least principal stress, onsite tests should be performed to determine these parameters.
Three methods to determine stress magnitude and/or orientation exist. Microfracturing, described by Daneshy et at., 12 may be
used to measure the least principal stress and
fracture orientation directly. Longspaced
sonic logging may be used to estimate stress
magnitude; however, logging has the disadvantage of ignoring tectonic stresses.
Strain relaxation may also be used to estimate magnitude and orientation. 13 Because
the openhole microfracturing technique is a
direct measurement of stress magnitude and
orientation, it is recommended for new
reservoirs.
To collect the necessary data, it is recommended that, first, the well be drilled vertically through the pay zone and that tests to
measure stress magnitude and orientation be
performed. Drillstem tests and/or logging
can be performed on the vertical section to
determine other formation parameters.
At the end of these tests, the hole may be
plugged back and kickoff can be performed
in the direction determined by the microfracture test. In this manner, the most accurate
determinations are made in the actual target formation, as close as practically possible to the location in which fracturing
treatments will be performed, without drilling a new vertical well. Fig. 3 shows this
procedure.
Fracture Direction With
Respect to Wellbore
As mentioned earlier, deciding on fracture
orientation with respect to the wellbore is
JPT August 1990
RWD = 0.0003
10' CFD = 10.0
=
.::::::RADIALLINEAR CFD
10.0
HORIZONTAL WELL
TRANSVERSE FRACTURE
a:
~ 10'
a:
0
~
i!l10"
~
10"10'
10'
10'
10"
10'
10'
10"
DIMENSIONLESS TIME
967
Fa
= 0.5
RWD = 0.0003
10. CFD1 = 50.0
CFD2
= 10.0
~
F'=0'1
F.. = 0.3
~.
= 20
F. = 0.5
~CfD2
=20
10'
10'
F.=1.0~
(UNIFORM)
10'
m't,~..,.,~""'~"",~__~nmr~~
10"
10'
10"
105
10'"
DIMENSIONLESS TIME
10'
10'+=;:::.....,,,.,~""'~__~nmr~nmr~""'"
10~
10"
10.'
10"
10'
10"
DIMENSIONLESS TIME
10"
10~h~mr~""~"",~__~nmr~~
10"
10"
10'
10"
10'
10"
10'
10"'
DIMENSIONLESS TIME
Previous work 18 showed that high fracture conductivity was necessary to minimize
the cleanup effect following a fracturing
treatment. In the case of a horizontal well
intercepting a vertical fracture, cleanup becomes much more of a problem because of
the radial convergence of fluid near the wellbore. The presence of higher water saturation near the wellbore effectively reduces
fracture conductivity near the wellbore,
resulting in behavior similar to lowconductivity tailin. High fracture conductivity,
therefore, is extremely important for
horizontal wells.
This discussion agrees with conclusions
reached by Soliman,16,19 who stated that
fracture performance depends on the magnitude and the distribution of conductivity
and does not depend solely on the average
of fracture conductivities, as concluded by
Bennett et al. 20 Soliman showed that a conductivity distribution profile exists where a
fracture with declining conductivity performs as well as a uniform fracture conductivity,19 in spite of the difference in
average fracture conductivity.
FJ( = 0.5
10' RWD = 0.0003
10' F. = 0.1
CFD1 = 50
CFD2 = 10
10' RWD = 0.0003
ccFo1 = 1 CFD2 = 50
"'
a:
:::I
~ 10.c
'CFDl
=5
CFD2
= 50
0.
(/)
i!II
'CFD1 = 10 CFD2 = 50
"'~
~
~z
10'
ccFD1 = 50 CFD2 = 50
"'a:~
a:
10'
Io
"'::E
::E
::::::~
Fx =0.3
10'
___c::_::Fx = 0.1

10' +'~..,.,~""'~"",~__~nmr~nmI
10"
10'
10~
10!
10'"
103
10'
DIMENSIONLESS TIME
10'+'~""~"",~=r~nmr~nmr~"","
10"
10'
10"
10'1
10"
10"
10'
DIMENSIONLESS TIME
10'h~""~"",~=r~nmr~nmr~ornoI
10"
10'
10"
105
10'"
103
DIMENSIONLESS TIME
2400,,
2000
~ 1600
t;
LEASE WITH TWO FRACTURES
ui
I
I
I
I
I
TIME, MO.
1200
a:
____6
800
~~
LL
HORIZONTAL
WELL
400
I
I
I
I
Ol+.........~
4
5
6
7
8
NUMBER OF FRACTURES
Fig. 12Plan view schematic of 20 simulator run for the case of two fractures in
the horizontal well.
en
w
In
600
a:
500
~
<
a:
LL
::l
I
en
:IE
0
i=
(,) 400
::l
0
a:
a:
w
In
300
a..
w
> 200
fi
...J
::l
LL
:::iE
::l
Z
10
11
100
:IE
::l
(,)
10
12
14
16
18
20
22
24
TIME, MONTH
969
24
_ _ _ _ _   1 8
500
:E
_ _ _ _   1 2
Q 400
o
:J
0.10
13
272
4,000
150
50
170
50
136
1,381
0.19
~ 300
_ _ _     6
Q.
~ 200
!;(
..J
:J
100
TIME, MO.
4
5
6
7
8
NUMBER OF FRACTURES
10
11
zation may be achieved by studying parameters such as the net present value and the
benefit/cost ratio.
We use a loose definition of optimization
here. The optimum number of fractures is
the number of fractures at which the rate of
increased productivity diminishes.
Optimization of Horizontal
Wen Location
This section presents a technique to optimize
the placement of the horizontal section of
a well. The horizontal placement is designed
to give optimum fracture height.
A horizontal well location in a given field
may be investigated so that future fracturing treatment would expose most of the for
70o.~
TIME, MO.
kxlky
In
~0..::.10}24
600
Iii
z~
500
o
"It is commonly
accepted that, at
depths usually
encountered in the oil
field, the least principal
stress is a horizontal
stress."
t3
:J
400
oa:
no
w
>
..J
:J
:E
:J
100
10
11
12
NUMBER OF FRACTURES
Fig. i6Cumulative production vs. number of fractures for the effect of directional
horizontal permeabilities.
970
Location
Pay Zone 1
Shale
Pay Zone 2
Top
Bottom
.J!L
3,500
4,480
4,490
4,500
4,510
4,520
4,530
4,540
4,550
4,560
4,570
4,580
4,590
4,600
4,610
4,620
4,630
4,480
4,490
4,500
4,510
4,520
4,530
4,540
4,550
4,560
4,570
4,580
4,590
4,600
4,610
2,664.1
2,601.1
2,625.1
2,144.1
2,348.1
2,416.1
2,594.1
2,273.1
3,070.2
2,876.2
3,330.2
3,448.2
3,244.2
3,196.2
4,620
4,630
5,000
2,438.2
2,544.3
3,253.3
Conclusions
If a horizontal well is drilled parallel to the
minimum horizontal stress, mUltiple fractures may be created. Because of the convergence of streamlines inside the fracture
toward the wellbore, we would expect to observe a higher pressure drop than is usually
observed in a vertical well intercepting a
vertical fracture with similar conductivity.
Consequently, a very high CfD may be necJPT August 1990
Stress
(psi)
Ii:
Z
150
125
100
75
50
I25
w
z
0
W
Q.
25
0
04:
a: 50
II.
...J 75
100
I 125
~
a:
1 
_.
   . 
WELLBORE
CENTERLINE 
6
150
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
DEPTH OF HORIZONTAL WELL, FT.
Ko
KI =
L
Ln
=
=
P =
Pf =
Ph =
Pi =
PwD =
Nomenclature
a = variable defined by Eq. A26
A = area, acres
B = FVF, RBISTB
eft = total fracture compressibility,
psi I
c t = total system compressibility,
psi I
C = K[c/~[(l/Jhr)(I/VhJ)]
Cf = fracture conductivity, md ft
CfD = dimensionless fracture
conductivity
C Io C2 ,
C3 = variables in Laplace space
D = fracture spacing, ft
Fx = ratio of tailin length to total
fracture length
F(y,h t ) = rock properties function
h = formation thickness, ft
hj = thickness of jth layer with aj,
ft
h t = total fracture length, ft
10 = modified Bessel function of
first kind, zero order
II = modified Bessel function of
first kind, first order
k = formation permeability, md
kf = fracture permeability, md
kx,ky = directional horizontal
permeabilities, md
Pwf =
Llp =
q =
r
rw
s
Sw
=
=
=
=
t =
tD =
Tbh =
w =
xf =
xi =
x,y =
71 =
71f ':"
J1. =
aHmax =
aHmin =
.aJ
an =
Lla =
psi 'v'in:"
fracture toughness, psi'v'in:"
modified Bessel function of
second kind, zero order
modified Bessel function of
second kind, first order
variable defined by Eq. A27
variable defined by Eq. A24
formation pressure, psi
fracture pressure, psi
hydrostatic pressure caused
by fluid density, psi
initial pressure, psi
dimensionless wellbore
pressure
flowing wellbore pressure,
psi
pressure difference, psi
well flow rate, STB/D
radius, ft
wellbore radius, ft
Laplace transform variable
water saturation, percent
flowing time, hours
dimensionless time
bottomhole temperature, OF
fracture width, ft
fracture halflength, ft
length of tailin, ft
space coordinates, ft
formation hydraulic
diffusivity, md psi/cp
ratio of fracture/formation
hydraulic diffusivity
fluid viscosity, cp
maximum horizontal stress,
psi
minimum horizontal stress,
psi
closure stress at initiation
zone, psi
closure stress at fracture tip,
psi
an  aj, psi
971
I1Uj =
Subscripts
D
i
j
t
1
2
= dimensionless
=
=
=
=
=
initial
layer
total
tailin
fracture minus tailin
Superscript

= Laplace transform
Acknowledgment
We thank Halliburton Services for permission to prepare and present this paper. We
also acknowledge Jim Giddens' effort in
preparing this manuscript.
References
1. Giger, F.M., Reiss, L.H., and Jourdan,
A. P.: " The Reservoir Engineering Aspects
of Horizontal Drilling," paper SPE 13024
presented at the 1984 SPE Annual Technical
Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Sept.
1619.
2. Joshi, S.D.: "A Review of Horizontal Well
and Drainhole Technology," paper SPE
16868 presented at the 1987 SPE Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas,
Sept. 2730.
3. Ertekin, T., Sung, W., and Schwerer, F.C.:
"Production Performance Analysis of
Horizontal Drainage Wells for the Degasification of Coal Seams," JPT (May 1988)
62532.
4. Giger, F.M.: "LowPermeability Reservoir
Development Using Horizontal Wells," paper
SPE 16406 presented at the 1987 SPEIDOE
Low Permeability Reservoirs Symposium,
Denver, May 1819.
5. Joshi, S.D.: "Augmentation of Well Productivity With Slant and Horizontal Wells," JPT
(June 1988) 72939; Trans., AIME, 285.
6. Clonts, M.D. and Ramey, H.J. Jr.:
"PressureTransient Analysis for Wells With
Horizontal Drainholes," paper SPE 15116
presented at the 1986 SPE California Regional
Meeting, Oakland, April 24.
7. Ozkan, E., Raghavan, R., and Joshi, S.D.:
"HorizontalWell Pressure Analysis,"
SPEFE (Dec. 1989) 56775; Trans., AIME,
287.
8. Daviau, F. et al.: "Pressure Analysis for
Horizontal Wells," SPEFE (Dec. 1988)
71624.
9. Goode, P.A. and Thambynayagam, R.K.M.:
"Pressure Drawdown and Buildup Analysis
of Horizontal Wells in Anisotropic Media, "
SPEFE (Dec. 1987) 68397; Trans., AIME,
283.
10. Karcher, BJ., Giger, F.M., and Combe, J.:
"Some Practical Formulas To Predict
Horizontal Well Behavior," paper SPE 15430
presented at the 1986 SPE Annual Technical
Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans,
Oct. 58.
11. Hsiao, C.: "A Study of HorizontalWellbore
Failure," SPEPE (Nov. 1988) 48994.
12. Daneshy, A.A. etal.: "InSitu Stress Measurements During Drilling," JPT(Aug. 1986)
89198; Trans., AIME, 281.
972
apfDl
apfD2
CfDl=CfD2, rD=Fx '
arD
arD
.............. (A6)
.............. (AS)
with initial conditions of
PD=O, O<YD<oo, tD=O, ..... (A9)
YD
where PfD=kh(PiPf)/141.2qBp.,
.......... (A12)
and PD=kh(PiP)/141.2qBp. . ... (A13)
Eq. AlO indicates that formation pressure should be equal to fracture pressure at
points of contact. Definitions in Eqs. A12
and A13 use formation permeability to
achieve the dimensionless form given in Eq.
AI.
tD = 0.OOO264ktlip.CtXf 2 , .... (A14)
rD=rlxf' ................... (A15)
rWD=rwlxf, ................ (A16)
Fx=x/lxf' ................. (A17)
CfD=kfwlkxf , .............. (AIS)
and 'Y/f=kfic/kifCft . .......... (A19)
................. (AI)
.............. (A20)
. ................ (A2)
where C 1 =
1
.............. (A21)
C2 =
C3Kl (FxLl)Ko(FxLl)
............. (A22)
CfD 1 Ll Ko(Fx L 2)
C3 =   , .... (A23)
CfD2 L2 Kl (Fx L 2)
August 1990 JPT
and
Ln = [(2.,[; ICjDn ) + (SIT/jDn)] 'h.
(A24)
Authors
............... (B6)
C2 =
C 3KI (FxLI)Ko(FxLI)
10(FxLI) C311(FxLI)
KO(rwDL)
. . .. (A25)
sCjDLK I (rwDL)r wD
Appendix BSolutlon of
ConstantPressure Case
The procedure presented above can also be
used to solve equations for flow under constant wellbore pressure. Slight modifications, however, are required. First, the
dimensionless pressure is defined as
PD=(PiP)/(PiPwj) . ... ..... (B1)
CjDI LI Ko(Fx L 2)
and C3 =   
. . ... (B8)
CjD2 L2 K I (Fx L 2)
Appendix CCalculatlng
Fracture Pressure for
Propagation
The relationship between the total fracture
height, the surrounding stresses, and the
pressure inside the fracture is found by
manipulating Rice's equation 22 :
h,
K[=C
JhIp(y)F(y,h,)dy,
. . .. . . (Cl)
~p=C+~(7117r
~(7j
j=1
X
X
X
4.046873
1.589873
1.0'
3.048"
E+03
EOI
E03
EOI
2.54'
9.869233
6.894757
1.450377
E+OO
E04
E+OO
EOI
ft X
OF
( OF  32)/1.8
in.
md
psi
psi 1
X
X
X
X
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
m2
m3
Pas
m
C
em
Soliman
Hunt
Mohamed Y. 5011
man is a group
supervisor in the
Reservoir Research
& Engineering Dept.
at Halliburton Services in Duncan, OK.
He holds a BS degree from Cairo U.
and MS and PhD
degrees from StanEI Rabaa
ford U., all In petroleum engineering.
Soliman joined Halliburton In 1979 and
has worked In reservoir engineering,
fracturing, and numerical simulation. He
served on the Editorial Review Committee during 198486. As a development
engineer in the Reservoir & Fracture
Simulation Group at Halliburton ServIces Research Center, ..ames L. Hunt
works on welltest analysis, productlonsystems analySis, and fracturedwell
performance. He holds a SA degree in
chemistry from Texas A&M U. and an
MS degree In petroleum engineering
from the U. of Texas. A.M. EI Rabaa is
a development engineer in the Reservoir
Research & Engineering Dept. at Hal
IIburton Services. He holds a BS degree
from Cairo U. and an MS degree from
the Colorado School of Mines, both In
mining engineering, and has worked in
mining, hydraulic propagation, applica
tion of strain relaxation methods, and
rock mechanics.
/.1m2
kPa
kPa 1
orD
With these definitions, the governing partial differential equations can be solved for
a changingconductivity fracture, as presented in Eq. B5.
qD = CjD I CILI [C211(r wDL I )
KI(rwDLI)]rwD, . .. . ........ (B5)
Provenance
Original SPE manuscript, On Fracturing
Horizontal Wells, received for review Nov.
2, 1988. Paper accepted for publication May
9, 1990. Revised manuscript received April
19, 1990. Paper (SPE 18542) first presented at the 1988 SPE Eastern Regional Meeting held in Charleston, WV , Nov. 14.
JPT
973