Thermal Single-Well Injection-Withdrawal Tracer Tests for Determining Fracture-Matrix Heat Transfer Area


Karsten Pruess and Christine Doughty

Key Words:

reservoir characterization; tracer injection and withdrawal; reactive tracers; fractures; heat transfer;


Stanford Geothermal Workshop







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Single-well injection-withdrawal (SWIW) tracer tests involve injection of traced fluid and subsequent tracer recovery from the same well, usually with some quiescent time between the injection and withdrawal periods. SWIW are insensitive to variations in advective processes that arise from formation heterogeneities, because upon withdrawal, fluid parcels tend to retrace the paths taken during injection. However, SWIW are sensitive to diffusive processes, such as diffusive exchange of conservative or reactive solutes between fractures and rock matrix. This paper focuses on SWIW tests in which temperature itself is used as a tracer. Numerical simulations demonstrate the sensitivity of temperature returns to fracture-matrix interaction. We consider thermal SWIW response to the two primary reservoir improvements targeted with stimulation, (1) making additional fractures accessible to injected fluids, and (2) increasing the aperture and permeability of pre-existing fractures. It is found that temperature returns in SWIW tests are insensitive to (2), while providing a strong signal of more rapid temperature recovery during the withdrawal phase for (1).

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