GTI contributed to the industry’s understanding about how to increase the amount of cost-competitive gas recoverable from tight gas sands. While significant amounts of potentially recoverable natural gas exist in low-permeability sandstone formations in sedimentary basins throughout the U.S., a combination of technical and economic constraints had historically been preventing the widespread commercial exploitation of these resources.
An integrated research program led by GTI focused on improved geology and resource parameter quantification, enhanced stimulation techniques, and improved fracture diagnostics for determining fracture azimuth, fracture height, and overall fracture dimensions.
The research team designed and implemented open-hole data acquisition programs on a series of wells identified as the staged field experiments (SFEs) that worked to determine the most effective combination of formation evaluation (geological, petrophysical, and engineering), fracture diagnostics, hydraulic fracturing, and fracture modeling techniques to reduce the cost of producing gas from tight formations.
The SFEs were critical because of the need for field testing, interaction with producers, enhanced technology dissemination, and technology development. Though they were costly, dedicated research sites in the field were essential to move technology forward — a real-world laboratory that enabled model validation and optimization of fracture dimensions, and included coring, MWD logging, wireline logging, open-hole stress testing. Pre-fracture, mini-fracture, and post-fracture analysis were also conducted.