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A Comparative Assessment of Quantitative Risk as Applied to Hydraulic Fracturing Operations
, Adittya Mane, Irin Paulson, Smitha Somarajan
Published in Society of Petroleum Engineers
Pages: 493 - 500
Shale gas is one of the most widely discussed unconventional gas resource with vast potential. With the United States having benefitted immensely from it, other countries are also venturing into it. Drilling horizontal wells and hydraulically fracturing them are two major components of developing a shale gas reservoir economically. With many countries in Europe looking at the possibility of producing gas from shale reservoirs, the practice of hydraulic fracturing (HF) is going to gain even more prominence. However, operationally the procedure to hydraulically fracture a well is very complex, and has many possible situations which can lead to an accident. Some of these accidents may lead to catastrophic consequences, leading to loss of lives. In the industry, there are multiple methods used to classify and quantify risk, based on certain parameters. This paper performs a comprehensive risk assessment for the entire hydraulic fracturing job, from an operational perspective. This is done using industry available techniques. The result of this work is to assess the risk factor achieved from each technique, and check whether each of the methods converges onto a single sub-operation, classifying it as the most risky, with the highest risk ranking. Based on the results, this paper recommends steps to counter the minor but risky situations that may arise due to negligence. The results are compared with an actual fracturing operation on the field. Hydraulic Fracturing Most of the reservoirs being explored today have good porosity but poor permeability. Poor permeability reservoirs do not allow oil and gas to reach the wellbore in sufficient volumes. To increase the flow of oil and gas from the reservoir rock to wellbore in poor permeable reservoirs, fracturing of the wells is deemed necessary. Fracturing may also be used in case of depleted reservoirs, where additional energy and surface area is required for fluids to flow to the wellbore. Fracturing is a complex operation, involving multiple equipments, as shown in Figure 1. Fracturing involves the pumping of fracturing fluid and proppant into a formation at a calculated, pre-defined rate and pressure. These defined conditions result in initiation and development of fractures in the rock formation. In shale gas reservoirs, the low permeability of the reservoir impedes the capacity of gas to flow freely within the formation. Poorer the reservoir, the more advanced the technology and. Copyright © 2014, Society of Petroleum Engineers.
About the journal
JournalSPE Middle East Health Safety Environment & Sustainable Development Conference and Exhibition
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers
Open AccessNo