How to Leverage What We’ve Learned About Hydraulic Fractures
Understanding how hydraulic fractures propagate, where the proppant ends up, and how they connect with the reservoir is fundamental to designing effective development strategies. While rock properties vary across basins, the physics of fracture mechanics is consistent, allowing learnings from one region to extend to others. In the last five years, the quality and quantity of subsurface diagnostics has driven a rapid increase in the industry’s understanding of hydraulic fracture geometry and proppant placement. Subsurface insights can largely be summarized into three themes: fractures are large planar features; near-wellbore effects may overprint far-field fracture geometries; and fractures predominantly produce from unaltered rock permeability. Armed with deeper understanding of hydraulic fracturing processes, completions teams are empowered to deviate from “manufacturing mode” development and instead employ prescriptive designs for specific geologic, geomechanical, and depletion environments. This talk integrates the latest learnings of hydraulic fracture characterization from case studies to present a cohesive summary of what fractures look like, where the proppant is placed, how fluids are produced through fractures, and why this knowledge informs better frac designs and better wells. If a particular topic is of interest to the section, emphasis may be given to one or more of: parent/child and depletion effects, refracturing, conductivity loss (proppant embedment, crushing), geomechanical property characterization, fracturing in geothermal, geomechanical considerations and fracturing for CO2 sequestration, or diagnostic technologies for unconventionals.
Garrett Fowler is Chief Operating Officer at ResFrac, responsible for overseeing client engagement, professional services, and software licensing. ResFrac is a software company whose primary product is a fully coupled hydraulic fracture, reservoir, and geomechanics simulator. Garrett has led modeling studies in every major shale basin, as well as geothermal and conventional projects. Prior to joining ResFrac, Garrett was the Principal Reservoir Engineer at Tachyus Corporation, where he worked with national oil companies, supermajors, and independents across the world on deploying data science solutions. Prior to Tachyus, Garrett worked as a Reservoir Engineer for Occidental Petroleum specializing in waterflood surveillance, piloting, and optimization. Garrett attended Stanford University, where he graduated with distinction, receiving a Master of Science degree in petroleum engineering and a Bachelor of Science in energy resources engineering. Garrett was awarded a 2022 SPE Regional Completions Optimization and Technology Award and authored or co-authored 18 technical papers. He is an Eagle Scout, multiple-time Ironman finisher, and a search and rescue diver.