Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test (DFIT)

Obtain that illusive and ever important initial reservoir pressure during a horizontal multi-stage completion while gathering critical fracture information prior to the stimulation treatment.

Drilling and completion technologies have advanced over the past years into complex multi-stage fracture horizontal systems. This evolution has opened up enormous reserves in tight oil and gas reservoirs previously thought uneconomic to produce. Along with this advancement comes many new challenges from a completion, reservoir management and production optimization perspective. The stimulations required for multi-stage horizontal fracture treatments are so intrusive that reservoir data (such as initial reservoir pressure) are difficult to ascertain and in many cases not representative of the actual reservoir condition. For example, in many shale formations it could take as long as four (4) years for a regular flow and build-up to be sufficient to obtain reservoir parameters.

A viable option in the “tool belt” of a reservoir and/or operations person is a Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test (DFIT). A DFIT is an economical alternative to ascertain reservoir parameters such as initial pressure and effective permeability while also obtaining estimates of fracture gradient, closure pressure, and leak-off co-efficient.

A DFIT (commonly referred to as minifrac, Pre-Frac, Injection Fall-off or Data Frac test) is a small volume of fluid injected at a low test rate, in order to create a fracture, followed by an extended fall-off period. The fracture propagates out past any drilling damage and allows the pressure signal during the fall off to be in contact with the reservoir matrix. This test is essentially a pre-frac treatment, with the addition of the pressure fall off data, being recorded and analyzed with Pressure Transient Analysis software.

Since most low permeability sands usually require a pre-frac treatment prior to the main frac, a diagnostic fracture injection test adds very little cost to the completion and is an inexpensive method for estimating initial reservoir pressure and permeability. If the fluid density is known and the well does not go on a vacuum during the fall-off then surface gauges are the economical solution to obtaining the bottomhole pressure data. Lufkin – Pentagon real-time surface transducers can record the fall-off data and transmit the findings to your computer for analysis or you can send the data to the Lufkin – Pentagon for the interpretation of the engineering team.

Some typical results from DFIT Testing are:

  • Determine initial reservoir pressure and reservoir parameters (effective permeability)
  • Individual zone analysis if required
  • Analysis provides a method of estimating fracture efficiency, closure pressure, fracture dimensions and leak off coefficients prior to designing a full-scale fracture treatment. These types of analyses, as originally formulated by Nolte, quantify the fracturing process as estimated from the measured pressure decline data.
  • Reasonable estimates of well productivity are possible with multilayer reservoir simulation using the permeability and pore pressure estimates.


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Headquartered in Lufkin, Texas, Lufkin Industries, Inc. is a dynamic, energy-focused company operating in the Oilfield and Power Transmission segments. Our Oilfield division designs, manufactures and services a broad suite of innovative Artificial Lift equipment and Automation services to optimize and extend the production life of wells. In the Power Transmission division, we design, manufacture and service precision speed increasing gearboxes and specialized bearings for the energy industry and speed reducing gearboxes and couplings for other targeted industrial applications. Globally, we support our customers, through our network of manufacturing, design and service platforms on three continents, complemented by an array of regional support centers. For a complete list of our services, products and field locations, please visit our website www.lufkin.com