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Apparatus and method for monitoring underground fracturing

United States Patent

5,934,373
August 10, 1999
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
An apparatus and method for measuring deformation of a rock mass around the vicinity of a fracture, commonly induced by hydraulic fracturing is provided. To this end, a well is drilled offset from the proposed fracture region, if no existing well is present. Once the well is formed to a depth approximately equal or exceeding the depth of the proposed fracture, a plurality of inclinometers, for example tiltmeters, are inserted downhole in the well. The inclinometers are located both above and below the approximate depth of the proposed fracture. The plurality of inclinometers may be arranged on a wireline that may be retrieved from the downhole portion of the well and used again or, alternatively, the inclinometers may be cemented in place. In either event, the inclinometers are used to measure the deformation of the rock around the induced fracture.
Warpinski; Norman R. (Albuquerque, NM), Steinfort; Terry D. (Tijeras, NM), Branagan; Paul T. (Las Vegas, NV), Wilmer; Roy H. (Las Vegas, NV)
Gas Research Institute (Chicago, IL)
08/ 790,292
January 29, 1997
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Contract No. DE-F104-91AL65092 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.