In the News

Q&A: Ears go in the ground to aid fracturing

Date: 03/30/2014

Company: MicroSeismic

Source: FuelFix

Hydraulic fracturing has opened up a bonanza of new activity in oil and gas, but as natural gas prices have stayed low, the pressure has intensified to make sure that drilling produces results.

Companies that once focused on acquisitions are searching now for ways to get better performance from the wells they already have.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting fluids and sand under pressure into a reservoir to break shale or other dense rock and release trapped oil and gas.

Houston-based MicroSeismic uses instruments called geophones on the surface or buried underground to capture and analyze sounds from a well while it’s being fractured. The technology, called surface microseismic, allows operators to customize the fracturing while it’s in progress, improving the efficiency of the resulting hydrocarbon extraction.

Peter Duncan, founder and CEO of MicroSeismic, spoke with the Houston Chronicle about the technology and how the industry is using it. Edited excerpts:

Q: What challenge in hydraulic fracturing is MicroSeismic addressing?

A: In hydraulic fracturing, operators try to create flow by putting in fluid and cracking rock. You can think of the rock as being underground and in a vice, with certain zones of weakness in it. Thousands of feet below, you don’t know which parts of the rock broke when you pumped the water in. You have a long horizontal well and you pump the water in to create those fractures, but you are kind of blind as to what is going on down there.

When those faults and fractures open up and they split, it makes a snap, crackle and pop. The geophones we place allow us to hear those snaps and to locate where they took place in time and space. We can then translate that into an image where the engineer can see those fractures. From these sounds, we can make a picture of what is going on in the reservoir.

Read full story at FuelFix

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