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Over the past several years a considerable effort has been placed on improving the design and execution of
hydraulic fracturing treatments, It is evident that the mechanical properties of oil and gas reservoirs vaty
sigmficantly, both from reservoir to reservoir and from well to well within the same reservoir.

Recent improvements in well log analysis and three dimensional seismic techniques have proven helpful
in understanding reservoir properties. Their applicability to hydraulic fracture design, however, are limited. As a
result, the use of minifracs and microfracs have been developed to provide specific information, critical to
hydraulic fracture design.

Since these procedures involve the initiation of small fractures, the information obtained can be applied
directly to the design of larger hydraulic fracturing treatments. This section has been devoted to the use of
minifrac tests in hydraulic fracture design. Both analysis techniques and minifrac design procedures, to help get
the best information possible from minifrac procedures, are covered.

The following glossary contains some of the basic terminology associated with hydraulic fracturing and
minifrac analysis:

1) Breakdown Pressure: The pressure required to initiate a fracture in a well for the first time.

2) Bottom Hole Treating Pressure (BHTP):The pressure in the wellbore while conducting a hydraulic
fracturing treatment on the adjacent reservoir.

3) Closure Pressure: Equivalent to the least principal rock stress in the reservoir.

4) Closure Stress: The stress which is applied to the proppant bed after a hydraulic fracture has
healed. Its value is equal to the instantaneous shut-in pressure minus the bottom hole flowing
pressure. This value is time dependent.

5) Closure Time: The time measured from the point of shut-in required for a created hydraulic fracture
to close.

6) Fluid Efficiencv: The ratio of fluid volume within the fracture at shut-in to the total fluid volume

7) Fracture Entw Friction: The friction loss occurring between the casing and the fracture.
Consists of both perforation friction and flow restrictions in the immediate wellbore region.

8) Fracture Extension Pressure: The lowest pressure at which fluid can be pumped into a fracture
and maintain propagation.

9) Fracture Owning Pressure: The pressure required to open or dilate an existing fracture.

10) Fracture Gradient: A pressure over depth ratio that when multiplied by depth will yield the
minimum pressure required to propagate a fracture.

11) Instantaneous Shut-In Pressure (ISIP): The pressure observed immediately following shut-in
after a hydraulic fracturing treatment. The difference between this value and the fracture

extension pressure is equivalent to perforation and fracture entry friction, combined with the in-
fracture friction losses from the wellbore to the fracture tip.

12) Gross Fracture Height: The total height of the created fracture.

13) Leak Off The loss of fluid from a hydraulically created fracture to the matrix of the reservoir.

14) Matrix Flow: The flow of fluids through a permeable formation.

15) Net Fracture Height: The portion of the gross fracture height that covers a permeable zone where
fluid loss can occur. Also referred to as the fluid loss height.

16) Net Pressure (delta P): Is equal to the bottom hole treating pressure minus the formation closure
pressure. The net pressure is then the pressure responsible for propagating the fracture and
creating width.

17) Young's Modulus (E): The ratio of stress to strain of a material undergoing elastic deformation.
Also referred to as the modulus of elasticity.


There are basically three types of minifrac procedures: The step rate test, the pump-idflow-back test, and
the pump-idshut-in test. There are, however, several variations of these three tests commonly used when
conducting minifracs. Analysis techniques vary sigruficantly, but minifrac test procedures almost always fall
within one of these three general classifications.

A minifrac treatment may involve one, two or all three of these tests depending upon the required
information. Minifrac tests should always be designed specifically to obtain the information required to design the
main treatment for a particular well. Following is a brief description of the basic types of minifrac procedures and
how they can be used to obtain desired information about the subject well.

S t e Rate
~ Test:

The step rate test was developed as a means to determine the fracture extension pressure, which is the
pressure required to pump fluid into a propagating fracture. The injection rate at which this occurs can also be
very interesting, but may vary sigruficantly depending upon viscosity, fluid loss properties, and the production
history of the well.

To perform a successful step rate test, injection must be started at matrix rates and then increased in
incremental steps until a fracture has been created and extended. Rates should be held constant during each
increment until conditions have stabilized and maintained for approximately 2 minutes beyond this point.

NOTE: Stable condition does not necessarily mean constant pressures. It may be a situation of a
constant rate of increase or decrease in pressure at a constant injection rate.

A typical procedure for a step rate test in a low permeability well would be as follows:

a) Begin pumping at 0.1 m3/min and maintain this rate until the pressure conditions stabilize.
Pump for 2 additional minutes at this rate. Then increase the rate in incremental steps to 0.2

m3/min., 0.3 m3/min., 0.4 m3/min., 0.5 m3/min., 0.7 m3/min., 0.9 m3/min., 1.2 m3/min., and
1.5 m3/min., letting the pressure conditions stabilize for 2 minutes before increasing to the next
higher rate. The maximum pressure at each rate should be recorded and the bottom hole treating
pressure at that point calculated.

b) Make a plot of bottom hole treating pressure versus injection rate.

c) The fracture extension will appear as an inflection point on this curve since once the fracture has
opened and width has developed, the pressure required to extend it will not change excessively
with increasing injection rate. See figure 1.

A modified step rate test has been proposed to obtain more information about naturally fractured andor
high permeability wells. This procedure involves following a procedure similar to a standard step rate test except
pumping is stopped after each pumpin portion of the test to record the ISIP and pressure decline.

A complete analysis of this type of test has not yet been developed. There are, however, many
observations that can be made using this test that cannot be made using standard step rate procedures.

i) Friction losses during the pumpin portion of the tests can be backed out using the ISIP at
the end of each pumping stage.

ii) The presence of natural fractures or high matrix permeability may be detected during the
pumpin portion of the test by the presence of constant pressure increases during pumping.
See figure 2. It may also be possible to detect multiple inflection points on the pressure
versus rate plot, indicating the dilation of natural fractures creating excessive leak-off
followed by fracture extension,

iii) Sigtllficant variations in the ISIP and the pressure decline may indicate the presence of a
dual leak-off situation, caused by leak-off into natural fractures at higher net fracturing
pressures. See figure 3.

iv) Analysis of the pump in portion of each test can also be very helpful in evaluating the
fracture opening pressure and confirming the fracture extension pressure and closure

NOTE: This concept of dual leak-off has been proposed by Warpinski 13. A transformation was
noted when injection rates were increased to a point where there was a significant increase in the net
fracturing pressure. The resulting pressure declines showed three distinct fluid loss regimes. The
first portion showed rapid leak-off, which tends to indicate leak-off in the presence of open or dilated
natural fractures. The second regime shows sigtllficantly less leak-off from the main fracture after
the closure of dilated natural fractures. The third regime occurs after closure of the main fracture
and is essentially radial leak-off.

Some of our own results indicate that the point at which this transformation occurs is very dependent
upon both the injection rate and the treating fluid viscosity. Indications are that optimizing injection
rate and fluid viscosity through the use of a modified step rate test may provide an effective means to
reduce the leak-off into natural fractures. To date, results indicate that some wells will respond
better to high rate, low viscosity treatments, while others will respond more favorably to lllgh

viscosity treatments. The mechanism for this difference is not completely understood. Appendix A
contains a report which gives a possible account for this behavior.


The pumpidflow-back test is used to determine the closure pressure in low permeability formations. The
test involves pumping a volume of fluid into the formation at fracturing rates, as soon as pumping stops the well is
allowed to flow-back at a constant rate. The closure pressure is obtained from the inflection point on the pressure
versus time plot as the flow-back changes from fracture flow to radial flow. There are several interpretations of
closure on this plot. For the application of minifrac analysis the point of downward deviation should be viewed as
the first indication of closure.

This test is dependent upon the chosen flow-back rate. To get a well defined closure pressure it may be
necessary to repeat this test several times using different flow-back rates. In some cases, plotting pressure against
the square root of time may help identlfy an inflection point, if the flow-back rate chosen is too low to pick an
accurate inflection on a linear scale.

It is important to maintain a constant flow-back rate during a pumpidflow-back test. To do this it is

necessary to use a flowmeter in conjunction with an adjustable choke. (See figure 4.)


The pumpidshut-in test is a versatile minifrac test and, consequently, is probably the most common
minifrac test used. This test involves pumping a volume of fluid into the formation at fracturing rates, stopping
and monitoring the pressure decline.

Although the basic procedure for this test is simple, there are a number of modifications that can be used
to help define specific parameters. There are also many different techniques available to analyze the data recorded,
and the many observations that can be made to provide some very useful information.

Following is a summary of some of the information that can be obtained from using pumpidshut-in tests:

Fracture Gradient:

The value obtained for the ISIP on a pumpidshut-in test can be used to obtain an accurate value for the
static fracture gradient. This is equal to the pressure inside the created, open fracture immediately after pumping
has stopped. This value for the fracture gradient will be dependent upon the volume of the injection test and the
ammount of fluid loss into the formation. It is very common to see increases in the ISIP when multiple injections
are performed on a well.

Friction Pressure:

A good estimation of the friction pressure during the pumpin portion can be obtained by the pressure
dif€erence during pumping and the ISIP. It should be noted that this number will consist of both pipe friction and
fracture entry friction. Abnormally high values would be an indication of high fracture entry friction.

Closure Pressure:

Often the fluid leak-off rate will be high enough that the fracture will close in a relatively short time after
a pump-idshut-in test. If this is the case, a pumpidshut-in test can be used to determine closure pressure, thereby,
eliminating the need to conduct a pump-idflow-back test.

To determine closure pressure using a pumpidshut-in test, the pressure decline is usually plotted against
the square root of time. Closure pressure is indicated when the pressure decline deviates from a straight line on
this plot.

There are other techniques available to help c l w the point of closure. However, when it can be used,
the square root time method has proven to be most reliable. Over laying a plot of the first and second derivative of
the pressure decline on the square root time plot will help to identify possible straight line portions and inflections
on the curve.

Plotting the pressure against other functions such as the G function and the fourth root of time may be
helpful in some cases.

Fluid Leak-Off Parameters and Fracture Geometry

The analysis of pumpidshut-in tests makes it possible to obtain estimates of fracture geometry and fluid
loss properties under actual insitu-conditions. This can provide more accurate data to use in design programs and
help to optimize the subsequent fracture stimulation.

When using minifrac results it is important to know that the analysis incorporates several assumptions
whch may produce unrealistic results. For this reason, it is important to know the assumptions that are made and
how they may have an effect on the final results. In some special cases it may be necessary to use questionable
results, simply because more reliable information is not available with current technology.

The following assumptions are commonly mad during minifrac analysis. These assumptions may or may
not hold true depending upon specific conditions.

1) All fluid loss is in the form of matrix leak-off into the formation which can be defined
with a mathematical model.

ii) Fluid leak-off only occurs along the net fracture height interval.

iii) The created fracture follows a symmetrical two wing fracture geometry which can
be modelled using fracture simulation models.

iv) Fluid degradation due to time and temperature are neglected in most cases.

v) Fluid compressibility and expansion effects due to temperature require special

consideration in a minifrac analysis. (See Appendix B.)

vi) The created fracture closes freely without any interference.

vii) In some models the fluid viscosity is not considered in the calculation of the
fracture geometry.

Minifrac analysis is complicated by the fact that there are several different analysis methods available to
the industry. Choosing the proper minifrac analysis for a particular well can be a difficult problem if one does not
have a good understanding of the different methods that can be used. There are also several additional factors that
must be taken into account regardless of which minifrac analysis method is used.

Following is a quick overview of some of the most common analysis methods currently being used.

Method #1 - (M~nifracProgram - out dated)

This method utilizes two material balance equations during pumping and after shut-in, and employs a
curve matching technique to determine a match pressure (P*), which is then used to calculate the following
fracture parameters: fracture length, width, fluid loss coefficient, closure time, and fluid efficiency.

At its conception, type curves had only been developed for the PK geometry model, it has since been
expanded to include type curves for CZ, Vertical Penny, Horizontal Penny, and Ellipsoidal geometry models.

A major drawback with this analysis is that it assumes that the created fracture width is proportional to
the pressure difference between the ISIP and the closure pressure. If this difference is quite large (greater than 1.5
MPa), the calculated widths can be several times greater than those predicted by a fracture design program
employing the same geometry model. This result will also tend to predict excessively long closure times when
compared to the actual observed closure. When differences such as these are noted, the usefulness of the results
from the minifrac analysis are very questionable.

Fluid viscosity is not considered in the geometry calculations predicted by this method.

Method #2 (Fraceval - out dated)

This method uses the measured closure time to analytically determine the fluid efficiency. Once the fluid
efficiency has been determined, the geometry calculations can be completed using techniques similar to those used
in Method # 1.

This method can be used to calculate the same parameters using the same geometry models as Method #1.

Fluid viscosity is not considered in the geometry calculations predicted by this method.

Method #3 - (EFP)

This method is based on an energy balance equation used in conjunction with fluid rheological properties
to predict more realistic fracture geometries. The assumption of fracture width being proportional to the difference
between the ISIP and closure is not made in this analysis. Since the rheological properties of the fiac fluid are
important in this analysis, good quality control practices during the minifrac test are required to provide the
necessary information to conduct the analysis.

The energy balance method offers two procedures that can be used to conduct the analysis. The first
procedure involves using field measured closure pressure and closure time, while the second uses pressure decline
data to match type curves and determine P*. The type curve approach calculates a closure time. If this calculated
value differs considerably from the observed closure time, the reliability of this analysis will be in doubt. The
method using observed closure pressure and time should be used unless these values cannot be accurately
determined. The type curve procedure provides a method that should be used in cases where closure cannot be
accurately determined.
This analysis can also be used to calculate fracture parameters following a treatment which uses proppant.
In this case, only the method using field observed closure should be used. One reason for this is that the presence
of proppant in the fracture can distort the pressure decline making meaningful curve matching impossible. In a
situation where an analysis is being conducted after a main treatment, it is necessary to monitor the decline until
after closure has been detected, as the closure pressure after the main treatment will almost always be higher than
the value determined prior to the treatment.

The energy balance method will predict the fluid loss coefficient, fluid efficiency, closure time (when
applicable), created fracture length, and created fracture width. The geometry models currently available for this
analysis are: PK, CZ, Horizontal Penny, Vertical Penny and Ellipsoidal. Another option is available for both the
PK and CZ geometries to provide quick and accurate analysis. This procedure is outlined in Appendix C.

Method #I4 - 3 D modelling and matching

As the fracturing models have continued to improve with the development of better and faster computers,
other more reliable methods have been developed to analyize minifiac data. In many cases it would be preffered to
use the same model to analyize the minifiac data and to design the fracture treatment. One means of doing this
would be as follows:

1) Conduct pump-idshut-in test at design rates using the same fluid to be used for the fracture treatment
and monitor pressure decline until after closure has been detected.

2) Using dimensionless closure time go to figure 8 and determine the fluid efficiency. This can also be
done using the EFP program or similar analysis to determine the fluid efficiency based upon the
closure time.

3) Go to the desired design program (XTENT or Prop)and guess at a value for the fluid loss coefficient
(Cw). Compare the calculated fluid efficiency and closure time to the actual fluid efficiency and
closure time.

4) Interate using Merent values for Cw until the fluid efficiency and closure time have been matched.

5) If a 3-D model is being used, it is also possible to adjust the stresses and rock properties to match
actual conditions. In doing this it is also possible to match the injection pressures as well as the
pressure decline. When ever possible, it is recommended to complete a complete match such as this
in order to simulate actual conditions as close as possible.

This procedure makes it possible to conduct a 3-D minifrac analysis by using a 3-D model in the interative
process. It must be noted that good stress data is necessary to obtain good information from these models. It is
also desirable to pump larger fluid volumes in this type of analysis to help establish good and realistic results. A
good size for consideration would be a volume equivalent to the pad volume of the proposed treatment.

Many newer design models have been created to accomodate this procedure or one very similar to be used
for minifrac analysis. In many cased, the interative procedure may not be required.


This section will consist of a brief description of the geometry models that are available and ideas on when
they should or should not be use.

1. Perkins and Kern (PK) - The PK model is one of the two most common models used in two
dimensional fracture design programs. This geometry predicts no slippage along the bedding
planes yielding an oval type height profile with width and volume equations as shown in Figure 6 .

When using conventional minifrac techniques described in Methods 1 and 2, the PK geometry will
tend to predict very long, narrow fractures that result in extremely low values for the fluid loss
coefficient. This is especially true in cases w ere the gross fracture height is small since the fracture
volume term for this model is a function of H L (H= gross fracture height, L = fracture length).
The model tends to make more realistic predictions for larger gross heights of 30 m or greater. For
fracture heights of less than 30 m, the results tend to be quite unrealistic since a small error in the
gross height will have sigtllficant effects on the final outcome of the analysis.

The energy balance method will produce realistic results over a wide range of fracture heights. It is
very important to input the correct gross height for the program to make meaningful predictions
since it is a two dimensional model.

2. Christianovitch and Zheltov (CZ) - The CZ model is the other most common model used in two
dimensional fracture design programs. This geometry assumes that there is slippage along the bedding
plane and predicts a more rectangular width profile with width and volume equations as shown in
figure 7.

Conventional minifrac analysis explained in Methods 1 and 2 predict geometries which are short
with large fracture widths. The fracture volume term for t h s model is a function of HL2 and is less
sensitive to any errors in the estimation of gross fracture height than the PK model (H = gross
fracture height, L = fracture Length). Because the model tends to predict shorter and wider
fractures, the values for the fluid loss coefficient are often very high. Comparison of observed to
actual closure times can provide an indication of how good the predictions are. Sigmficant
differences between calculated and observed closure times are an indication that the predictions are
not a good representation of actual conditions.

The energy balance method will make more consistent predictions of fracture geometry than
conventional methods when using the CZ geometry. Meaningful results are dependent upon
inputting the correct gross fracture height as in any two dimensional model.

3. -
Horizontal Penny The horizontal geometry has a circular profile of height and length. It is assumed
that the fracture cannot propagate out of zone (the diameter will not exceed the net pay). As a result of
this, the entire fracture face is considered to be leak-off area which will tend to produce a low fluid loss

The horizontal penny model should be used in cases where a horizontal fracture is anticipated or in
a massive formation with only a small perforated interval.

4. Vertical Penny - The vertical penny geometry has a circular profile of length and height similar to the
horizontal geometry. The major difference is that the diameter may exceed the net pay. The leak-off is
restricted to the net pay height and not the entire fracture face, occurring in wells with a relatively
small net height interval and a very large gross height.

5. Elliusoidal - The ellipsoidal geometry was developed specifically for use in massive formations with
large perforated intervals. In this case the height, due to the large perforated interval, may exceed the
created length.

6. 3-D. Psuedo 3-D - More and more 3-D type programs are becoming available for fracture treatment
design. When ever it is possible it would be strongly recommended to use one of these models for
the fracture design and minifrac modeling. Even in cases where stresses are not known, it is
probably more reasonable to estimate stresses than it is to estimate the fracture height as in most 2-
D models.


The industry has not developed minifiac analysis techniques to the point where there is a right and a
wong way to conduct the analysis. There are, however, several pointers that can be used to establish the best
method for a particular application. Some of these pointers are described below:

A) Closure Time (Measured vs Calculated)

Most minifrac analysis programs that use a curve matching technique calculate a closure time based on
the predicted parameters. Should the calculated closure time vary significantly from the measured closure
time, it is an indication that the analysis results are unreliable. When this is detected it would be
preferable to use a technique which bases its calculations on measured closure pressure and time.

This demonstrates the importance of monitoring the pressure decline until after closure has been
established. It is important to obtain an accurate value for closure pressure and closure time.

B) Geometrv Predictions

In order to provide good results, the fracture parameters determined from the minifrac analysis must be
consistent with the parameters predicted by the design program. The fluid loss coefficient predicted by
the minifrac analysis is dependent upon the area of the fiacture face created in the minifrac test. If the
fracture geometries used for the minifrac analysis and the design programs are inconsistent, the fluid loss
coefficient predicted by the minifrac analysis will not be a reliable value for use in the particular design
program. When such inconsistencies are detected either a different minifrac model or a merent design
model should be considered.

To avoid these inconsistencies, it is strongly recommended to use the same model to complete the
minifrac analysis and then the treatment design.

cr) Size of Minifrac Test

When using a 2-D model to design and analyze a minifrac, it is important that the tests be large
enough to establish fracture height to the predicted barriers. A rule of thumb when designing minifrac
tests is that the predlcted length must be at least three times the gross fracture height, if the created
fracture height is to have any change of reaching the predicted barriers.

If a 3-D model is being used to design the minifrac and the job, several simulations can be
completed to determine an optimum volume which will establish sufficient geometry to be representative
for the main treatment.

Whenever possible it is recommended practice to obtain a measured value of the gross fracture height
by injecting radioactive isotopes and logging immediately after the test using a spectral gamma ray tool as
well as a temperature log. It is important to have a very good value for the gross fracture height in order
to obtain the most representative minifrac analysis possible and to confirm the geometry predictions by 3-
D models.


The most important thing to remember about minifrac design is that minifracs should be designed on an
individual well basis to obtain the specific information required to complete the design on that well. Due to highly
variable well conditions, there really is no standard procedure that can be used for all cases.

Formation closure pressure is a very important parameter that is used extensively in both minifrac analysis
and real time treating pressure analysis. It is, therefore, very important to obtain a good value for the closure
pressure. In most cases a pumpidshut-in test can be used to determine closure pressure. In some cases, however,
it may be necessary to use a pumpidflow-back test particularly in low permeability reservoirs.

Fluid choices are dependent upon the information desired from a particular test. For example, if a pump
idshut-in test is being conducted strictly for the determination of closure pressure, a lower viscosity, high leak-off
fluid should be considered to promote more rapid closure and give a more pronounced inflection indicating closure
on the pressure decline curve. When determining fluid loss parameters, however, the fluid used should be same
fluid proposed for the main treatment to provide meaningful design parameters to put into the design program.

Following is a summary of design parameters that should be considered when designing minifrac tests for
any particular well. The parameters are dependent upon the desired information and will also be influenced by
restrictions due to well configuration, pressure limitations, etc.


A. Desipn Considerationsfor Desired Information

1. Step Rate Test

Determine Fracture extension

- Use a friction reduced fluid.

- Begin test pumping below fracturing rates and pressures.
- Incrementally increase the rate maintaining each rate long enough to let conditions stabilize (3 to 10

-Extension pressure is found by identmng an inflection p i n t on a pressure versus injection rate plot
where the maximum pressure p i n t at each increment is plotted against its corresponding rate.

- The choice of injection rates can be optimized somewhat by the use of Darcy's law as follows:
dP = 0 (visc) In (r2h-l)
7.08 K H

Where: Q = flow rate (bpd)

K = darcies
H = height (ft)
P = pressure (psi)
Visc = viscosity (cy)
r = radius from wellbore
Detection of leak-off

- Consider a modified procedure into natural fractures, incorporating a shutdown and (complex
conditions) ISIP after each rate increment.

- Higher viscosity fluids may be looked at if excessive leak-off restricts fracture propagation.
-Plot the maximum pressure and the ISIP at each increment
against the rate.

- As rates are increased, look for the appearance of a dual leak-off system (multiple closures indicated on
pressure decline). This may be accompanied with an increase in net treating pressures.

2. Pump-mow-Back Test

Desired Information Desien Considerations

Determine formation Closure pressure

- Use a friction reduced fluid, base gel.

- Pump a volume of fluid at fracturing rates.
- As soon as pumping has stopped begin flowing the well back at a constant rate using an adjustable choke
and flowmeter to maintain constant rate.

- Monitor pressure until after the fracture has closed.

- Shut-in and monitor pressure recovery until it stabilizes.
- Plot the pressure decline versus time and square root

- If it is difficult to detect closure, consider conducting additional tests using flow-back rates.

3. Pump-Idshut-In Tests

Fracture gradient.

- Pump at fracturing rates and


- Shut down and record ISIP.

- Frac gradient =
ISIP + Hvdrostatic Pressure

Pipe friction pressure and fracture entry

- Use pad fluid.

- Inject at fracturing rates and pressures and allow conditions to stabilize.
- Shut down and record ISIP.
- The combination of pipe friction and fracture entry friction is the difference between the pressure while
pumping and the ISIP.

Closure pressure.

- Use pad fluid or base gel.

- Inject at fracturing pressures and rates until conditions stabilize.
- Shut down and record pressure

- Plot pressure decline against the square root of time and the the first and second derivative to determine
straight line protions and points of inflection. In some cases other functions may be plotted to help
determine closure. Most commonly the functions used will be either square root of time or G function.

Fluid loss parameters.

- Use pad fluid proposed for the main treatment.

- If possible conduct at design rates.
- Maintain constant rates while pumping.

- If using a 2-D model, use the EFP program with estimated Cw to design treatment so that the length
(one wing) is at least three times the gross fracture height. (i.e. make the treatment large enough to reach
the upper and lower barriers.)

- If using a 3-D model the minifrac test should be modelled ahead of time to ensure that the injected
volume is adequate to create the desired geometry.

Spurt losses:

Spurt losses are ignored in most common types of minifrac analysis. In some areas particularly in high
perm or over stressed, depleted reservoirs, the spurt losses can be very sigtllficant and result in very miss
leading results from standard minifrac analysis. The main reason for this is that the effective fluid loss
determined by minifrac analysis assumes a zero spurt. Depending upon the spurt time and volumes, this
number will be very dependent upon the volume pumped and the pumping time. In cases where spurt
times are high (over stressed reservoirs) the Ceff can vary sigtllfcantly with volume. Typically if a
smaller volume is used an artificially high fluid loss coefficientwill be calculated meaning more pad
would be used than actually needed.

If there is an indication that spurt losses are very high, then there are 2 alternatives for minifrac anaylsis
that could be used which are described as follows:

1. Shadow frac: A shadow frac is basically a minifrac where the treatment volume is very near the
total planned volume for the entire job planned for the well. By conducting a shadow frac, a
single point is defined for the effective fluid loss coefficient which assumes spurt losses to be
zero. As long as the volume of the main treatment is close to the same size of the shadow frac,
this value will be suitable for the design. This option is very expensive for large jobs and as a
result would have a very limited scope of use.

2. Dual Leak off Testing: Here a series of 2 minifrac tests are completed on the well using the
following procedure.

- The first minifrac is pumped using the proposed fracturing fluid at design rates. The
volume of this test should be relatively large and should not be less than the planned pad

-Following the first minifrac injection, monitor the pressure decline until after
formation closure has been confirmed. Conduct a quick analysis to determine the fluid
efficiency and the volume of the fracture at the end of pumping.

- Pump a second minifrac test using the same fluid and injection rates as for the first
test. The total volume of this test should be not greater than the fracture volume
determined from test 1.

- Since the entire fracture face exposed to the second test has been previously covered
during the first minifrac test it can be assumed that the spurt loss is equal to zero for the
second test. A standard minifrac analysis can than be completed to determine the
effective fluid loss coefftcent.

- Once the fluid loss coeffkent has been determined for the second test, it is possible to
use this value with the data from the first minifrac and iterate to determine a value for
the spurt losses.

This analysis can also be completed using the EFPS model, but in this case would be restricted to
a 2-D model. Using the iterative technique it is possible to complete the analysis with a 3-D

B. Design Considerations for Suecific Well Conditions

Specific well conditions should be considered when designing minifrac tests in order to obtain the
maximum benefit from the tests. Following is a summary of specific well conditions and the corresponding design

1. Poor Fracture HeiPht Containment:

In the case of poor fracture height containment, there are 2 basic design approaches that should be
considered. The first approach is to look at the interval and determine if there are barriers farther up and
down the hole. If there are, then it may be possible to conduct a very high rate treatment with a more
conventional design.

If the zone is very large and there are no likely barriers at all to control the height, then a moderate rate
tip screen out design should be considered. This design considers the probability that there are slight
stress variations throughout the zone and the width profile can be complex which will typically result in a
reduced over all with. By pumping lower proppant concentrations until a tip screen out has started,
proppant is transported more effectively throughout the fracture. By continuing to pump after the
initiation of the screen out, the net pressure increases will create U t i o n a l width and allow additional
proppant to be placed. To design this type of job, a model that will allow pumping to continue past the tip
screen out condition should be used such as the Fracpac I1 model.

Some possible minifrac considerations for this type of response would be as follows:

- Conduct modified step rate test consisting of a series of pumpidshut-in tests increasing rates from one
test to the next.

- Pump a minifrac of large enough volume to view a log/log plot to see the severity of the pressure
response. Determine closure pressure, closure time and Cw by conducting a complete minifrac analysis.

- Record ISIP's and pressure declines (a decrease in ISIP is an indication of propagation into a zone of
lower stress).

- Conduct temperature and radioactive surveys to establish height. A 3-D fracture design model should be
used for this type of well so that the design can be verified by comparing to observed results.

2. Hiph Fracture Gradient:


High fracture gradients are a direct result of high formation stresses. In some areas the presence of high
formation stresses can be coupled with relatively low reservior pressure which will often result in very
high fluid loss.

Another possible problem associated with high stresses is that complex tectonics may be the cause of high
stresses. In this case stress orientation may be complex resulting in complex fracture geometries.

In areas where high stresses are encountered minifrac tests should be considered to evaluate the following

- Accurately determine closure and evaluate net fracturing pressures. High net fracturing pressures are a
strong indication of complex geometry and special design considerations may apply.

- Check for abnormally high fluid loss.

- Check for high fracture entry friction.
- Check for dual leak-off behavior often accompanied by high net fracturing pressures. (modified step
rate test)

3. Presence of Natural Fractures:

If natural fractures are anticipated in a well that is to be fracture stimulated, there are a number of items
that must be considered before completing the design. Perhaps the biggest problem with naturally
fractured reservoirs is that conditions often vary significantlyfrom well to well making a simple design
quite f i c u l t . It is for this reason that it is recommended that a minifrac test be completed prior to each
design in such reservoirs.

The minifrac should be used to determine the effect that the natural fractures are having on the hydraulic
fracture treatment. In some cases there may only be minimal effects as a result of the natural fractures,
but in other cases, high treating pressures, complex geometries and excessive fluid loss are also
possibilities. The minifrac will make it possible to evaluate the well prior to the frac treatment so that the
design can be tailored to meet the conditions specific to that well.

Following are some points that should be considered when designing and analyzing the minifrac.

- Consider a modified step rate procedure to help establish if natural fractures are a possible source of
high fluid loss. Check for the presence of dual leak-off or multiple closures indicating leak-off into natural

- Identi@the static fracture gradient, fracture extension pressure and closure pressure.

- If possible, pump long enough to view a log/log plot of

net fracturing pressures versus time. A complete
minifrac anaylsis should be completed to evaluate closure pressure, closure time, the fluid efficiency and
the fluid loss coefficient.

- If it is determined that the natural fractures are a very significant source of fluid loss, it may be desirable
to look at changing the fliud system. In extreme leak off cases, some very significant improvements have
been noted by using a more viscous fluid.

4. HiPh Leak-Off:

High leak-off only poses a serious concern when you are not prepared to handle it. In wells where high
leak off is a concern, special consideration should be gtven to designing a screen out design. The purpose
of this is to first optimize the use of fluid and second to create a fracpac with maximum conductivity.

In a high perm, high leak off well the minifrac must have large enough volume to out weigh the effects of
spurt losses. If large spurt losses are expected, it should be recommended to conduct a series of 2 minifrac
tests. The first test is of large volume and is fully exposed to the spurt loses while the second test should
be kept smaller so that it stays within the first fracture where the spurt volume has already been
completely filled. The second test can be analyzed assumming zero spurt to determine the fluid loss
coefficient. This can then be used with the decline from the first test to determine a value for the spurt

- Sigtllficant increases in the ISIP from one test to the next is an indication of high leak-off causing
pressurization of the near wellbore region. This should be expected in low permeability formations or
depleted wells.

- The final design should be based upon the fluid efficiency, closure time, closure pressure and fluid loss
as determined from the minifrac. Large pad volumes will usually be required in cased where fluid loss is
very high.

- Examine the possibility of treating at higher rates to help offset the high rate of fluid leak-off.

5. Low Leak-Off:

- If closure cannot be easily defined, consider the use of pump-idflow-back test to help identi@closure.

- Check fracture entry friction to ensure that there are no restrictions near the wellbore causing this

- Fracture height containment may be a concern in very low leak-off wells due to high fluid efficiencies.
It may be desirable to consider a lower rate treatment or the use of a lower viscosity fluid for the Pad.
Net pressures during pumping can be used as a possible guideline for height containment. Typically
higher net pressures are an indication of better fracture height containment where low net pressures are an
indication of very poor fracture height containment.

- Anytime proppant is pumped into a low permeability well, inducing closure should be advised to
minimize proppant settling.

6. High Net Fracturing pressures

- When high net fracturing pressures are detected, it may be an indication of high perforation friction or
high fracture entry friction which is commonly reffered to as fracture tortuosity. The primary objective
here is to identa if it is perfortation friction which could be corrected by an acid treatment or re-
perforating or if it is a fracture entry problem which may require some special design considerations. The
best means to conclude if the high net pressures are caused by perforation friction or tortuosity is to inject
the same fluid into the formation at 3 or 4 Merent injection rates. Make a plot of net pressure vs
injection rate and if the problem is perforation related the net pressure will increase significantly with

injection rate with the curve accelerating as injection is increased. If it is a tortuosity problem the net
pressure increases will tend to level out as the injection rate is increased resulting in a flatter curve.

It must be noted that in some cases complex fracture geometry can cause similar high net pressures but
may be inconclusive when plotted as above. Some knowledge of the region can be very helpful if complex
conditions are expected. Some design ideas to help deal with this situation are described in the Real Time
Analysis section of this report.


Treating pressure analysis involves interpreting pressures during pumping to determine how a hydraulic
fracture is progressing during the treatment. There are many factors that may have an effect on the fracturing
pressures during a treatment. These factors include fracture propagation properties and geometry, as well as
treating rates, fluid viscosity, fluid leak-off, proppant concentration, and formation properties.

A common mistake made by many people is to restrict treating pressure analysis entirely to the
interpretation of a log/log net fracturing pressure (loglog delta P) plot.

In fact, there is a tremendous amount of information that can be obtained from plots of treating pressure,
injection rate, proppant concentration, viscosity, and in the case of crosslinked gels, the liquid additive rate. For
example, changes in pressure may result from changes in friction pressure due to variations in base gel viscosity, or
improper crosslinker addition, changes in treating rate, or variations in proppant concentration entering the
fracture. Pressure responses caused by any of the above factors may cause fluctuations on the log/log delta P plot
that can be misinterpreted very easily when treating pressure analysis is not coupled with a complete analysis of
treatment data.

Since meaningful interpretation of the log/log delta P plot is dependent upon several treatment variables,
treatment execution and quality control play a very important role in treating pressure analysis. The major goal in
treatment execution when pressure analysis is being conducted, is to minimize the number of variables in a
treatment by keeping treating rate, base gel viscosity, and additive additions constant during the treatment.
Changes in proppant concentration should be smooth to reduce the possibility of pressure fluctuations caused by
sudden variations in proppant concentration. Maintaining these values as constant as possible effectively reduces a
number of variables, and makes it feasible to conduct a more complete analysis of treating pressures and fracture


The use of the LogLog plot of net fracturi g pressure versus time to analyze treating pressure response
was initially developed by NOLTE AND SMITH 18. A mathematical solution was developed to predict how the
treating pressure should respond for the ideal situation of a hydraulic fracture propagating with constant height and
no fluid loss. To complete this solution, the following assumptions were made:

i) The fracture exhibits a Perkins and Kern fracture geometry. (Negligible slip of the bedding planes).

ii) The fracture has constant height.

iii) The fracture consists of two symmetrical wings.

iv) Injection of a Power-Low fluid at a constant rate.

By comparing the predictions of the mathematical solution to the pressure responses from several
fracturing treatments, an idealized log/log delta P plot was developed. This idealized plot consists of different
pressure responses that are commonly seen during fracturing treatments. These responses were then explained
either by the way they related to the predicted response or by considering specific assumptions that may not hold
true in a particular situation resulting in deviations from the predicted response. As a result, each portion of this
plot can be interpreted as a pressure response caused by the progression of the propagating hydraulic fracture.

Figure 1 shows an idealized log/log delta P plot which follows a logical progression of a fracture
treatment. Many fracturing treatments will follow a progression very similar to this idealized plot. There are,
however, several cases which may follow a different progression. For these cases, the plot may be broken down
differently, but the same basic rules regarding breakdown and analysis of the plot will still apply.

Nearly all treatments can be broken down into several portions which can be described or explained as

a. Fimre 1, Repion 1

This response is characterized by a positive slope typically between 0 . 1 I y d 0.33, which corresponds very
closely to the mathematical predictions for the idealized case proposed by Nolte . As a result, this response can
be interpreted as propagation with unrestricted length extension and little or no vertical height growth.

In general this condition is favorable since the fracture is propagating according to design assumptions.
This will result in efficient use of the fracturing fluid, combined with effective proppant placement over the zone of
interest, which should provide good post treatment results.

Despite the fact that a slight positive slopelp predlcted for the ideal case, the magnitude of this slope is
probably very dependent upon fluid loss. Nierode had found that net fracturing pressures tend to increase
throughout a treatment as a function of fluid loss.

Fracturing fluid invading the formation will tend to increase pore pressure and, consequently, increase the
stress level required to hold open the fracture. In many cases this pressure will increase throughout a treatment
until a critical pressure is reached. At this point the net fracturing pressure exceeds the strength of the barrier
rock, possibly causing the fiacture to propagate out of zone.

Higher leak-off will tend to result in a greater positive slope on the loglog delta P plot. Since this may
reduce the available pumping time, smaller volume, higher rate treatments may be more successful in wells that
exhibit more rapid pressure growth.

Lower leak-off will result in a smaller positive slope on the logAog delta P plot. In this response, very
large treatments can be placed with efficient use of fracturing fluids and effective proppant placement.

b. Figure 1, Repion II

This response is characterized by a near zero slope on the logAog delta P plot which may be very slightly
positive or very slightly negative in any particular case. This response had initially produced a great deal of
confusion due to contradicting data that was seen when evaluating the results of several wells.

Using an idealized mathematical solution for the P-k geometry, Nolte l4 speculated that this response
could only be the result of accelerated height growth or accelerated fluid loss, possibly into natural fractures. In
m y cases this appears to hold true, but in too many cases wells exhibited this response throughout the entire
tf-atment still allowing large quantities of proppant to be placed at high concentrations on a routine basis. Nolte's
speculation of accelerated height growth andor accelerated fluid loss did not seem to hold true under these

Work done by Conway l7 indicated that Nolte's l4 assumption that the propagating fiacture following a
Perkins and Kern geometry does not hold true in all cases. Solving for a Christianovitch and Zheltov model
resulted in an ideal case where a near zero slope or even sightly negative slope was predicted. A second
interpretation of this response could then be made assuming a Christianovitch and Zheltov fracture geometry. In
this case this response would be interpreted as nearly perfect height containment combined the good fracture width
development. In such a situation very large treatments can be placed making very efficient use of fracturing fluid
and effective proppant placement usually providing excellent post treatment results.

Nierode l5 explains the differences between the Perkins and Kernp-K) geometry and the Christianovitch
and Zheltov(C-Z) geometry very well. The major difference resulting in the noted pressure responses is that
extremely good width development in the C-Z model results in reduced in-fracture friction pressure losses, which
produces the slightly decreasing pressures as the fracture becomes longer and wider. The P-K model, however,
predicts sigtllfcant in fracture friction pressure due to less width development than the C-Z model. As a result, the
P-K model predicts increasing pressures as the fracture grows in length.

The problem then becomes determining which model best fits a particular well. The most effective means
of doing this is through knowledge of the area from previous jobs done. Unfortunately, in many cases this
information is not available, making it necessary to use other information to help make the decision. Following are
some rules of thumb that can be very helpful in determining the model which best suits the response of a particular

i) The K-Z model assumes slippage along the bedding plane. As a result, this response would be
more likely to occur in shallower formations with very good barriers and relatively low

ii) The C-Z response is indicative of almost perfect fiacture height containment. As a result, wells
exhibiting this response should only fail in a tip screen-out mode (i.e. they will not fail as a
result of excessive height growth).

iii) A well which follows the P-K model will tend to be difficult to identtfy. Some of the
following information can be used to help identi@ this response in Merent cases.

- treatment begins with a positive slope similar to that described in Figure 1, Region I
prior to exhibiting the zero slope response in Region 11.

- the treatment begins to go into a sharp negative slope indicating the initiation of excessive height grow

- the treatment screens-out very prematurely indicating excessive fluid loss.

iv) Minifrac analysis can be very helpful in making a decision regarding the best model to
describe the response. Treating pressure response during the pump-in portion of a pump-
idshut-in test combined with the pressure decline can be very helpful in identifylng high
leak-off and possibly height growth.

c. Fipure 1 - Repion III

This region is characterized by accelerated pressure growth while pumping at constant rate. On the
log/log delta P plot this will appear as a positive slope of 1: 1 or greater. When this response occurs it is an
indication that fracture growth has essentially stopped due to a screen-out at some point within the fracture.
Additional fluid injected into the fracture will tend to balloon the existing fracture (creating a storage volume) with

no additional fracture extension. The slope of this response is proportional to the percentage of the existing
fracture which is acting as the storage volume. This has been summarized in the following table.


1:1 (Tip Screen-out) 100%
2:1 5 0%
3: 1 33%
4:1 25%
5: 1 20%

Since this response indicates that fracture growth has stopped, it will usually be followed by treatment
termination due to an incomplete screen-out. The time from where this response is initiated and treatment
termination is dependent upon the length of the created fracture. In a small treatment with a short fracture length,
termination can occur very fast due to the small storage volume available. In a large treatment, however, the long
length can provide substantial storage volume, making it possible to pump for a considerable time before treatment
termination, due to a complete screen-out, is reached. As a result of this, it can be very difficult to determine the
proper time to end the treatment so as to not leave an excessive amount of proppant in the tubulars after a screen-
out has been reached. In general, small treatments will screen-out very fast making it desirable to end the
treatment soon after a 1:1 slope has been initiated. Larger fracs are much more difficult to call. Experience in an
area may be the best determiningfactor.

If there is any doubt on when to end a treatment, the treatment should probably be continued until screen-
out, to maximize the proppant placed into the fracture.

d. Figure 1 - Repion lV

This region is characterized by decreasing pressures at constant injection rates caused by the fracture
propagating out of the primary zone into a zone of lower stress. When this occurs the fracture will preferentially
propagate into the lower stress zone, resulting in excessive loss of pad volume and, consequently, the reduction of
fracture width in the primary zone. As a result, this response will usually be followed by a very rapid screen-out
mode after the pad has been depleted.

Since the idealized log/log delta P plot proposed by Nolte l4 does not cover all cases, Conway etal 17
developed a set of type curves which can be used to class@ pressure responses. These type curves have proven to
be particularly useful in post treatment analysis, making it possible to i d e n t e a well by its response and adjust
subsequent treatments performed in the area to improve the design based on pressure behavior typical to a given
area. Since in many areas adjacent wells respond very similarly, this procedure has helped to vastly improve the
results of fracture stimulations.

The five type curves proposed by Conway etal l7 to describe formation response are:

a) Christianovich
b) Perkins and Kern
c) penny
d) Medlin
e) Nolte

a) Christianovich

This type of well exhibits nearly constant BHTP plus or minus a slope of 0.05 on the lob/log delta
P plot until a tip screen-out mode is reached as shown in Figure 2.

This response follows very closely the mathematical predictions made using the Christianovitch -
Zheltov fracture geometry. Post treatment analysis has also demonstrated that the created
fracture length can be predicted with very good accuracy using the Christianovitch (Daneshy 20)
width equation.

For this case it appears that fracture height has been perfectly contained within the barriers. This
coupled with excellent fracture width development makes it possible to place high proppant
concentrations effectively over the zone of interest. This accounts for the fact that these wells
will usually show excellent post treatment results.

b) Perkins and Kern

As the name indicates, this type of well will respond very similar to the mathematical predictions
made using the PerY3s and Kern fracture geometry. As a result, the idealized logllog delta P
plot proposed Nolte will provide an excellent representation of this response. Since this has
already been covered in detail in the previous section, it will not be considered further at this
point. Two possible type curves for this response are shown in Figure 3.

c) Penny

A Penny type response will usually occur when there are no barriers available to restrict vertical
height growth. Under these conditions the fracture may exhibit height growth equal to or greater
than fracture length growth, resulting in a circular or elliptical lengtwheight profile.

Due to the fact that these fractures grow in height as fast as they grow in length, it is very
a c u l t to establish fracture width. As a result, the placement of large proppant volumes is very
a c u l t and in particular, placement of high proppant concentrations is almost impossible.

Another concern is that if stresses vary slightly within the zone, the resulting width profile will tend to be
slightly complex and the overall width will be further reduced.

A typical log/log delta P plot for this type of well is shown in Figure 4. Because of the excessive
height growth, the bottom hole treating pressure will decline steadily until a screen-out mode is
reached. Due to narrow fracture width, these wells will usually screen-out very quickly once a
screen-out mode has initiated. At this point, the proppant concentration exceeds the fracture
widths capability for accepting proppant, leaving very little area available for storage volume.
This usually results in a very rapid screen-out likely initiating at a slope in excess of 2: 1 on the
logllog plot.

d) Medlin

The Medlin type response is identified by large pressure increases during pumping. These

pressure increases can be continuous through ut the treatment or there may be several
unpredictable pressure fluctuations. Medlin found that fluid viscosity can determine if the

pressure follows a smooth increasing trend or an irregular increasing trend with several

Figure 5 shows an example of a log/log delta P plot that would be expected for a Medlin type
well. In many cases a screen-out mode may be initiated as soon as viscous fluid reaches the

This response most often occurs in formations that are highly jointed or faulted. It appears that
in areas where the second principle stress is moderately greater than the least principle stress, the
growth of the induced fracture can be restricted by these jointed patterns. This may be caused by
the interference of natural fractures and stress variations at the induced fracture tip or by
excessive leak-off into the jointed pattern resulting in the development of a complex fracture
network. This concept seems to be supported by post treatment analysis which consistently
shows much shorter than expected fractures in these wells.

Since hydraulic fracturing in heterogeneous or naturally fractured reservoirs is at best
unpredctable, recommendations must be made on a well to well basis. To do this effectively,
minifrac tests should be conducted prior to conducting any treatment in an area where this
response may be expected.

It is important to note that this response is in no way related to the work done by Nolte
covered earlier. This response is characterized by above normal fracture gradients, high net
fracturing pressures, near constant bottom hole treating pressures during pad, followed by the
initiation of a screen-out mode when proppant reaches the formation. An example of a log/log
delta P plot for this type of well is shown in Figure 6 .

This response usually occurs in highly stressed, highly naturally fractured formations. One
possible explanation of this response is a complex system of fractures in the near wellbore region
perhaps resulting in two or more fractures propagating parallel to each other. In such a case
fracture width development is restricted, resulting in the rapid screen-out mode. As a result,
deep proppant penetration away from the wellbore is difficult to obtain and the results of fracture
stimulations in these wells tend to be very disappointing.

There are some techniques which may improve stimulation results in a Nolte l4 type well, but
these recommendations will depend upon specific well conditions and should only be made on a
well to well basis. Minifracs should be recommended to help identify these conditions to allow
for special design considerations.

Desim Considerations Based on Treating Pressure Analysis

a) Christianovitch Tvpe Well

- High sand concentrations are possible.


- Leak-off will limit the job size so it is important to use a realistic value for fluid loss coefficient in the
design process.
- The design program chosen should utilize the Christianovitch - Zheltov (Daneshy ) or a 3-D geometry
to provide the most realistic estimate of fracture parameters.

b) Perkins and Kern Tvue Well

- For this type of well the rate of pressure increase will usually be a function of fluid loss. High fluid loss
wells will tend to produce more rapid pressure increases during pumping than low fluid loss wells.

- Since both the high fluid loss and the rapid pressure increase tend to limit job size and the pumping time
available, smaller treatments done at high treating rates should be considered in this case.

- The Perkins and Kern geometry will probably produce the most accurate simulation, provided the gross
fracture height can be closely approximated with little error.

c) Penny Tvue Well

- There are basically two methods to deal with a Penny type well. If there are no barriers available to
control the vertical height growth, the only option is to consider a controlled rate treatment with a large
pad, and a very conservative proppant schedule. Some very good success has been obtained using a tip
screen out design approach with the FRACPAC model for these wells. The approach has been to use very
conservative proppant concentrations early in the job until a tip screen out is initiated and followed by
higher concentrations as the net pressure increases due to the progressing screen out. It is not uncommon
to pump a significant quantity of proppant after the screen out has been initiated. This type of treatment
will help provide the best possible results given the large fiacture heights and narrow widths typical in a
Penny type well.

- Another option that may be considered if there are barriers at some large height or if a massive formation
is being treated, is to design a high rate high viscosity job. In this case, the rate and viscosity are used to
establish height to a point where fiacture containment can be obtained. Such a treatment would require a
large pad volume to first establish adequate width to place the proppant. This option must be ruled out,
however, if there is any possibility of fracturing into underlaying water or overlaying gas that could
destroy the success of the treatment if broken into.

d) Medlin Tvpe Well

- Since Medlin type wells are associated with heterogeneous formation conditions such as natural fractures,
faults and/or abnormal stress profiles, it is very diEcult to make general recommendations to improve
treatment design. When these conditions are anticipated it is important to conduct mimfrac tests designed
to show the type of well response and also provide information as to the most effective treatment design.

- One problem associated with conducting large minifiac tests on these wells is that the pressure increases
seen during pumping tend to coincide directly with increasing I S P s . In many of these wells the
increased ISIP's will not bleed down to values seen earlier in the treatment, even when left for an extended
period of time. Assuming that there is some critical pressure increase, conducting minifracs may
sigmficantly reduce the pumping time available for the main treatment. For this reason minifrac tests

should be conducted at least the day before the main treatment and the well allowed to flow-back as much
as possible in an attempt to relieve the stresses induced during the minifrac treatment.

- Minifrac tests proposed should include a modified step rate test that incorporates a short shut down after
each rate increment to record the ISIP and monitor pressure decline. This test should also incorporate at
least two different fluid viscosities to test the effects of both rate and viscosity. At least one pumpidshut-
in test should also be conducted using the fluid desired for the main treatment.

- Medlin l6 initially found that lower viscosity fluids reduced the rate of pressure increase and allowed
larger jobs to be pumped. Results in some wells, however, have shown that high viscosity fluids may
reduce the amount of leak-off into natural fractures and significantly reduce the rate of pressure increase
by establishing a single more dominant fracture. For this reason it is important to check the effects of
different fluid viscosities by using a m W e d step rate test combined with a pumpidshut-in test.

- There are a number of recommendations that can be made depending upon specific well condtions.
Following is a list of some of these recommendations that should be kept in mind when designing a
treatment for a Medlin 16 type well.

1) Maximize rate.

2) Try to optimize the fluid viscosity by using minifrac tests. Some wells will respond more
favorably to high viscosity fluids while others will respond more favorably to low viscosity

3) Use 100 mesh sand during the pad to reduce the fluid loss into natural fractures. Should
100 mesh sand bridge off the natural fractures, it will also have some propping capabilities
providing a more conductive natural fracture upon completion of the job.

4) Use a large pad volume and keep the proppant schedule conservative. Higher strength
proppants should be considered as they will provide better long term stability at low
concentrations than sand.

5) Smaller sized proppants can also help increase the size of the job since they can be
transported more easily down a narrow fracture.

6) In extreme cases the use of a reactive pre-pad of acid can prove to be very helpful in
reducing the rate of pressure growth, increasing the job size obtainable.

e) Nolte TvPe Well

- A Nolte type response is usually associated with high rock stresses and natural fractures. In many
cases, however, this response can be seen when there is very high fracture entry friction caused by
poor perforations or excessive formation damage in the near wellbore region.

- In acid soluble formations it has been found that the use of a gelled acid pre-pad ahead of the
propped fracture treatment can sigtllficantly reduce the fracture entry friction, resulting in a
sigtllficant drop in treating pressures, followed by a more normal PK or CZ response.

- In the case of a highly stressed, naturally fractured reservoir the solution is not simple. The
presence of high stresses combined with natural fractures tends to produce a combination of

high treating pressures and high leak-off, resulting in very poor fracture width development.
Consequently, these wells will often begin a screen-out mode the moment that proppant
reaches the formation. In this case, it is very M c u l t to make any major changes that will
fix the problem. The following recommendations should be considered in an attempt to
improve the proppant placement in these wells.

1) Large pad volumes.

2) Use 100 mesh sand to control fluid loss into natural fractures during the pad.

3) Consider the use of smaller proppant sizes which can be pleased more easily in a narrow fracture.

4) Use conservative proppant schedules and high strength proppants.

5) Conduct a modified step rate test in an attempt to determine the effects of both rate and
viscosity on pressure behavior.


Everyone will tend to develop their own procedure for conducting treating pressure analysis. This section
was formed to help people get off to a good start by providing some basic guidelines, which will help develop a
sound procedure to analyze jobs.

1) Always use a pressure, rate and sand concentration plot in conjunction with the log/log delta P
plot. This is important to ensure that pressure trends on the lob/log delta P plot are a result of
formation response and not a fluctuation of a treatment parameter.

In some cases other plots such as additive addition rates may also prove to be very useful when evaluating
a logllog delta P plot.

2) A good first step in a n a l v g any loglog delta P plot is to try to identlfy the type of response
as described by Conway . In many cases this description, provided with an explanation,
may prove to be an adequate analysis.

3) In any treatment that deviates from a standard type curve, a step by step analysis starting at
the beginning of the treatment and working through to the end of the treatment should be

When working through a step by step analysis, one should always seek a second opinion prior to writing
the report, to ensure that nothing has been missed. It is also important to note job parameters such as rate
fluctuations, proppant concentrations, and viscosity changes which may have direct effects on the treating

4) If you are ever uncertain about a pressure response it is important to consult with another
person who is knowledgeable in pressure analysis to help develop ideas. This can save a great
deal of time and frustration.


1. Nolte, K.G.: "Determination of Fracture Parameters from Fracturing Pressure Decline",

paper SPE 8341 presented at the 1979 A n
nd Technical Conference and Exhbition, Las
Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 23 - 26.

2. Nolte, K.G.: "Determination of Proppant and Fluid Schedules from Fracturing Pressure
Decline", paper SPE 13278 presented at the 1984 Annual Technical Conference and
Exhibition, Houston, Texas, Sept. 16 - 19.

3. Martins, J.P. and Harper, T.R.: "Minifrac Pressure Decline Analysis for Fractures
Evolving from Perforated Intervals UnaEected by Confirming Strata", paper SPE 13869
presented at the 1985 SPE/DOE Low Permeability Gas Symposium, Denver, Colorado,
May 19 22.

4. Lee, W.S.: Tressure Decline Analysis with the Christianovitch and Zheltov and Penny
Shaped Geometry Model of Fracturing", paper SPE 13 872 presented at the 1985 SPE/DOE
Low Permeability Gas Symposium, Denver, Colorado, May 19 - 22.

5. Lee, W.S.: "Minifrac Analysis Based on Ellipsoidal Geometry", paper SPE 15369
presented at the 1986 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans,
Louisiana, Oct. 5 - 8.

6. Lee, W.S.: "New Method of Minifrac Analysis Offers Greater Accuracy and Enhanced
Applicability", paper SPE 15941 presented at the 1986 Eastern Regional Meeting,
Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 12 - 14.

7. Lee, W.S.: "Study of the Effects of Fluid Rheology on Minifrac Analysis", paper SPE
16916 presented at the 1987 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, Texas,
Sept. 17 30.

8. Lee, W.S.: "Fracture Propagation Theory and Pressure Decline Analysis with
Lagrangian Formulation for Penny Shaped and Perkins and Kern Geometry
Models", paper SPE 17151 presented at the 1988 Formation Damage Control
Symposium, Bakersfield, California, Feb. 8 - 9.

9. Soliman, M.Y.: "Technique for Considering Fluid Compressibility and Temperature

Changes in Minifrac Analysis", paper SPE 15370 presented at the 1986 Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, Louisiana, Oct. 5 - 8.

10. Shelly, R.F. and McGowen, J.M.: Pump-in Test Correlation Predicts Proppant
Placement", paper SPE 15151 presented at the 1986 Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting,
Billings, Montana, May 19 - 21.

11. Tan, H.C. McGowan, J.M., Lee, W.S. and Soliman M.Y.: "Field Application of
Minifrac Analysis to Improve Fracture Treatment Design", paper SPE 17463 presented
at the 1988 SPE California Regional Meeting, Long Beach, California, March 23 25.

12. McLellan, P.J., Janz, H.J. : "Analysis of Minifrac Shut-in Pressures, LimestoneBurnt Timber
Area, Alberta", paper CMSPE 90-44 presented at 1990 The International Technical Meeting,
Calgary, Alberta, June 10 - 13.

13. Warpinski, N.R.: "Dual Leak-off Behavior in Hydraulic Fracturing of Tight, Lenticular
Gas Sands", paper SPE 18259 presented at the 1988 Annual Technical Conference and
Exhibition, Houston, Texas, Oct. 2 5.

14. Nolte, K.G.: "Fracture Design Consideration Based on Pressure Analysis", paper SPE
10911 presented at the 1982 Cotton Valley Symposium, Tyler, Texas, May 20.

15. Nierode, D.E.:"Comparison of Hydraulic Fracture Design Methods to Observed Field

Results", paper SPE 12059 presented at the 1983 Annual Technical Conference and
Exhibition, San Francisco, California, Oct. 5 8.

16. Medlin, W.L. and Fitch, J.L.: "Abnormal Treating Pressures in MHF Treatments",
paper SPE 12108 presented at the 1983 Annual T e c h c a l Conference and Exhibition,
San Francisco, California, Oct. 5 - 8.

17. Conway, M.W., McGowen, J.M., Gunderson, D.W. and King, D.G.: "Prediction of
Formation Response From Fracture Pressure Behavior", paper SPE 14263 presented at
the 1985 Annual T e c h c a l Conference and Exhibition, Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 22 -

18. Warpinski, N.R. and Teufel, L.W.: "Influence of Geological Discontinuities on

Hydraulic Fracture Propagation", paper SPE 13224 presented at the 1987 Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Texas, Sept. 16 - 19.

19. Rne, R.J. and Batchelor, A.S.: "In-Situ Stresses and Jointing in the Carnmenellis
Granite and The Implications for Hydraulic Behaviour", Camborne School of Mines
Journal (1982).

20. Daneshy, A.A.: "On the Design of Vertical Hydraulic Fractures", J. Pet. Tech (January,
1973) 83-97.