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Minimizing environmental impacts and increasing recovery rates with the Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site program

The Permian Basin in West Texas is considered one of the largest hydrocarbon resources in the world, covering 86,000 square mile

GTI is leading a high-profile program on Hydraulic Fracturing Test Sites (HFTS) in the Permian Basin, bringing together government and industry to improve recovery, continue enhancing environmentally responsible methods of optimizing production, and lowering costs in the Midland and Delaware Basins.

HFTS2–Delaware Field Test Site

​Work will begin in late 2018 in ​the Delaware Basin, and other operators and service companies​ are being sought for ​participation.

In January 2018, GTI was awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL) for cost-shared research and development on hydraulic fracturing efficiency. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (Anadarko) and Shell Exploration and Production Company (Shell) plan to co-host a new field test site in the Delaware Basin, where multiple experiments to evaluate well completion, optimize design, and quantify environmental impact will be carried out. Work will commence in late 2018 at an Anadarko-operated location, and other industry partners are invited to join the project.

The new HFTS2–Delaware field test site located in Block 55 T1, Loving County, Texas will feature different depth, pressures, and permeability than the site of GTI’s first collaborative project, HFTS1–Midland. Each location requires specific techniques for optimal production based on local geologic complexity.

HFTS2–Delaware PartnersHydraulic Fracturing Test Site 2 (HFTS2) Delaware Partners sponsor logos of GTI, Shell, Anadarko, National Energy Technology Lab

​​Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site 1 unique core sample
Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site 1 well & tanks

HFTS1–Midland Field Test Site


This new work will build off HFTS1–Midland, which was also supported by DOE/NETL, along with cofunding from operators and service companies. Laredo Petroleum, Inc. hosted the test site and provided critical geological and reservoir data from many wells in the area.

In September 2015, 400+ fracture stages were completed in 11 Laredo wells in the Wolfcamp formation of the Midland portion of the Permian Basin. A first-of-a-kind through-fracture core sample was produced to document the physical properties of the fractures. Along with comprehensive data, it provided insight on how induced underground fractures spread, which is being used to assess the performance of individual fracture stages. It is the most meaningful data set to date for unconventional oil and gas production, providing ground truth evidence par​amount to understanding fractures, validating and developing models, and assessing how predictive analytics can improve the process.

Air and groundwater quality evaluations indicate the HFTS well pads had minimal impact on local air emissions concentrations, and analysis of water quality did not find any evidence of natural gas or produced water migration to the groundwater aquifer.

HFTS1–Midland PartnersHydraulic Fracturing Test Site 1 Midland Partners logos

Based on industry interest, Phase 2 has been added to HFTS1–Midland, with a focus on enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The effort will explore injection of natural gas into a well to pressure the formation up again and potentially recover another 2–4% of the oil in place. This increased recovery would reduce the number of wells that need to be drilled, resulting in a smaller environmental footprint.

Contact us: unconventionalgas@gastechnology.org​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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