Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Unconventional Resources

Hydraulic Fracturing Shale and Tight Rock: Technical Design and Analysis

Course Code: N646
Instructors:  Steve Hennings
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
2 days


Hydraulic fracturing has been applied in the oil & gas industry for more than fifty years and massive hydraulic fracturing has been applied for over thirty years. With the current focus on unconventional reservoirs, where hydraulic fracturing is essential to commercial success, the activity level and cost of hydraulic fracturing has grown dramatically in recent years.

Significant advancements have been made in monitoring, understanding and improving these treatments but unfortunately it is still not possible to precisely forecast fracture placement and performance using even the most advanced computer simulation models. However, a number of valuable and practical methods have emerged to integrate engineering and geologic information to optimize, and better understand, these essential and costly modern treatments.  

This two-day course explains the key elements of hydraulic fracturing and why the proper treatment varies as reservoir type and reservoir properties change. The course also outlines the most effective practical methods to design, monitor, evaluate and optimize the profitability of these treatments.

A number of short class problems, requiring a simple calculator, are included to reinforce evaluation and design concepts.

Duration and Training Method

Two classroom days providing 1.6 CEU (Continuing Education Credits) or 16 PDH (Professional Development Hours)

Course Overview

 Participants will learn to 
  1. Characterize and rank-order the key reservoir properties influencing hydraulic fracturing treatments.
  2. Define how production rates correlate to specific hydraulic fracturing options.
  3. Apply simple equations to design fracture treatments and outline the limitations of these equations.
  4. Define the symbols, slang and options associated with the hydraulic fracturing of horizontal wells.
  5. Construct a treatment plan, including quality checks, risk mitigation, monitoring and required equipment.
  6. Assess geologic factors creating variability in hydraulic fracturing mechanics, objectives and effectiveness
  7. Apply simple equations to quantify the appropriate fracture design and fracture spacing.
  8. Review the factors that define the appropriate interval to complete and stimulate.
  9. Apply simple equations and concepts to forecast hydraulic fracture geometry.
  10. List the recent and emerging technologies in hydraulic fracturing and their potential benefits.
Day One
1. Overview
        a. Source Rock
        b. Reservoir Characteristics
        c. Development Teams
2. Slang and Symbols
        a. Hydraulic Fracturing
        b. Five Objectives
        c. Mechanics
        d. Stages
        e. Stage Planning
3. Well Preparation
        a. Frac Terminology
4. Fracturing Equipment
        a. Fleet Layout
        b. Determining Horsepower
5. Insitu Stresses
        a. Calculating max stress
6. Sweet Spots
7. Oil & Gas Windows in Shale
        a. Geology Terminology
8. Horizontal Wells
        a. Fracs in Horizontals
        b. Eagle Ford Parameters
9. Calibration Field Tests
Day Two
10. Proppant Transport
        a. Settling Velocity
        b. Fluid Additives
11. Treatment Planning
       a. Procedures
        b. Onsite Inspection
12. Forecasting Rates
13. Gas Storage
        a. Adsorption Contribution
14. Design Options
        a. Simulation
        b. Field Trials
        c. Correlations
        d. Eagle Ford Correlations – 325

The course is intended for petroleum engineers, geoscientists and others involved in designing, evaluating or modifying hydraulic fracture treatments. Those involved in managing these activities would also be expected to benefit from this course.  

A more comprehensive review of the technologies involved in characterizing and evaluating these reservoirs, with less in-depth coverage of hydraulic fracturing, is provided in the three-day course titled "Shale Oil & Gas for Petroleum Engineers and Geologists". In addition, a more introductory review of shale development and fracturing is provided in the two-day "Introduction to Shale Oil and Gas" course.


Steve Hennings

Steve Hennings, M.S., P.E. is the owner and principal consultant at Source Rock Engineering in Littleton, Colorado, USA. He is a registered professional engineer with a Bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Engineering and a Master’s degree in Finance. Steve worked for a major energy company during his first 20 years in the oil & gas industry where he completed a wide variety of reservoir, well completion, and production engineering assignments. His very first assignment was to evaluate ways to optimize hydraulic fracturing treatments and improve forecasting methods, and Steve continues to focus attention on those issues. During his career he also led engineering and geoscience teams for: the largest U.S. oil field, the largest underground coal mine in Australia, and a prestigious petroleum laboratory and research center. For the past ten years Steve has focused exclusively on unconventional reservoirs in the United States, Canada, Australia, China, India and other countries. He also occasionally conducts private or public technical workshops to share lessons learned from his on-going participation in exploration and development efforts. Steve is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and the Society of Mining Engineers. In 2008 he shared the annual Stefanko Award for his technical presentations.

Courses Taught
N646 - Hydraulic Fracturing Shale and Tight Rock: Technical Design and Analysis
N645 - Introduction to Shale and Tight Oil & Gas
N647 - Shale and Tight Oil & Gas for Petroleum Engineers and Geologists
N652 - Shale Reservoir Criteria & Cut-offs

CEU: 1.6 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 16 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
RPS is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. We comply with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognised internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices.
We issue a Certificate of Attendance which verifies the number of training hours attended. Our courses are generally accepted by most professional licensing boards/associations towards continuing education credits. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the courses and certificate of attendance meet their specific criteria.