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New book offers comprehensive look at fracturing horizontal wells

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Fracturing horizontal wells has had a profound impact on the U.S. oil and gas industry over the past 25 years, allowing production from fields once considered too marginal to produce. A new book, "Fracturing Horizontal Wells," translates that history and the lessons learned into a comprehensive look at the process, from planning to production.

Mohamed Soliman, chairman of the Department of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Houston, co-wrote the book with Ron Dusterhoft, technology fellow for Halliburton Energy Services.

"We look at the issues people worry about in fracturing and completion of horizontal wells," said Soliman, who joined the University this summer. "At the end, we address environmental issues, which have become very important, especially in areas plagued by drought."

Environmental issues weren't a factor when the first well was fractured in 1947. That was a vertical well, and the technique enjoyed a burst of popularity in the 1970s. But Soliman, who spent more than 30 years at Halliburton before entering academia in 2011, said even fractured vertical wells were unable to economically produce hydrocarbons from shale fields.

As chief reservoir engineer at Halliburton, Soliman was involved in the first fractured horizontal well, an experiment in the late 1980s that was funded by a number of oil companies interested in the research it yielded on drilling, logging, fracturing, cementing and other procedures. Soliman later published and presented the results at conferences around the world.

Oilman George Mitchell is credited with popularizing the technique in the Barnett Shale in North Texas several years later.

"Fracturing Horizontal Wells," published by McGraw Hill, is aimed at an industry audience, although Soliman said it is suitable for graduate petroleum engineering students who already have some knowledge of the technique. Among the topics covered are: fracture stimulation of horizontal wells, transitioning from vertical to horizontal wellbores, proppant and proppant transport, interval isolation, and horizontal completion fracturing methods and techniques.

Soliman, who holds 29 U.S. patents, has written a chapter in the textbook "Well Construction," chapters in World Oil's "Handbook of Horizontal Drilling and Completion Technology" and the Society of Petroleum Engineers monograph "Well Test Analysis of Hydraulically Fractured Wells," as well as serving as author or co-author of more than 200 papers.

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1 Comment
  1. Patsey says

    I think that science is going a little too far with itself when it actually does studies on how our planet earth is being used as a test subject for actually destroying the very planet on which we are living, and have absolutely no idea in which to fix the mess it has created. I never thought that I would live to see the day when people on this planet would have to actually buy water to drink, because we as a peoples or races have destroyed the very fabric of our own eco system. Man is the only creature on the face of this planet that systematically has destroyed everything that it touches in the name of progress. Progress to what??? I hazard to guess, but then we all already know the answer to that don’t we. Let’s kill a few more people, and destrong a few more species in the name of science. If there is life out there in this vast universe, which we all know that there is, why in the name of anything would they want to communicate with us. We are a selfish, and greedy species that actually think that if you have enough money, or power, or kill and destroy enough in the name of religion, power, money, control, etc. You name it, because we have done it all to ourselves, we have no one to blame but ourselves. It would be nice to see a little bit more humanitarian effort on the so called powers that be, a little more humility, and a little more respect for this once beautiful and sustaining planet that we have been fortunate to call home. Time is fleeting for all of us. It is time to stand up and be counted for. Let’s not spend any more of our resources on poking holes in our atmosphere so that solar flares can penetrate our perfectly created world, let’s use it wise enough to sustain life here. I mean all mankind, or we are not going to be here, and all of you know that. If you think that the little common man is stupid, think again. We do not need to be told what is going on. We really are alot smarter than we have been given credit for. Wake up, all of you. If you think for one minute that you are in control of anything in this life, think again. No one on this earth has ever been in control of anything. We never have been and we never will be. I think if anyone reads this, and I really do mean reads this, we just might have a chance, or not, as it is quite possible that it is already too late. LOVE IS THE GREATEST GIFT THAT WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO LOVE OF ALL THINGS??? PERHAPS YOU CAN ASK YOURSELVES THIS QUESTION. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWER THEN YOU ARE IN TROUBLE!!! I KNOW WHAT I AM, AND I KNOW WHERE I AM GOING, DO YOU? I am a creature of the univerise, I do not profess to any particular religion, they are all the same, however, I will refer you to a passage in the King James Bible for no other reason than I believe that it says it all, which I am sure that many religions on this earth have a common understanding as they basically all one in the same, please read Isiah 40, the entire text, as It says it all. We are as nothing.

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