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Monitoring directional fluid flow in shale gas hydraulic fracturing through electrically energized steel well casings



Electrical field measurement can be used to map the conductive fluid injected into the earth during hydraulic fracturing production. For deep reservoirs, this can be achieved by directly connecting the electric source to the steel cased wells. While the well depth of stimulated fractures is easily known, the fluid flow perpendicular to the well path is often a question. In this study, we examine the feasibility of monitoring the directional flow of the injected conductive fluid from the surface by utilizing the existing oilfield infrastructure, particularly the steel well casings. Using a realistic earth model, we show that multiple parallel wells can amplify signals from the fluid migration, and the surface data are most sensitive to the horizontal flows. The vertical movement of the fluid can only be detected when the strata above and below the target layer are of different resistivities. Our results serve as a reference for the instrument and survey design of electrical fracturing monitoring.