Bureau of Economic Geology

Utilization of Contrast Agents for Surface Based Tomographic Mapping of Hydraulically Fractured Network Extent and Properties

December 11, 2020 9:00 AM
Mohsen Ahmadian

Dr. Mohsen Ahmadian
Project Manager and Scientist
Bureau of Economic Geology

Hydraulic fracturing is a key technology for hydrocarbon production from unconventional reservoirs. Given the current oil-market instability due to COVID 19, reducing costs and optimizing production rates is imperative to keep domestic production at a competitive price while stimulating job growth and recovery for the vitally important energy sector. Key steps toward these goals are 1) optimizing the effectiveness of hydraulic fracturing by understanding the stimulated reservoir volume per fracture stage, and 2) prolonging production by mapping the dynamic changes that occur in the fracture network during resource recovery.

Over the past 8 years, through collaboration with Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC) researchers, we have demonstrated and validated a novel technique for remotely mapping hydraulic fracture networks using electromagnetic contrast agents, similar to those used in medical MRI imaging (Ahmadian et al. 2018 & 2019). We are currently working with the Department of Energy to demonstrate the use of this technique for deducing perturbations of in situ pressure and geochemistry inside a contrast agents-filled fracture in near- real time, using our field laboratory at the Devine test site.

A summary of these studies and the utility of contrast agents for fracture mapping and other subsurface sensing applications will be presented in this talk.

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