Formation Fracture Gradient

Definition - What does Formation Fracture Gradient mean?

Formation fracture gradient or simply fracture gradient is the amount of pressure required to cause fractures at a particular depth in the rock formation inside the earth. This gradient is essential in determining whether a formation will crack or not. Based on the formation fracture gradient, fissures can be induced inside the rock formation, which can extend into any direction. The pressure for causing the fractures is determined by carrying out tests such as limit test, leak-off test or a formation breakdown test.

Petropedia explains Formation Fracture Gradient

In the petroleum industry, hydraulic fracturing is done so as to reach to the potential oil and gas reservoir beneath the rock formations. For this, the rock formation needs to be fractured so that space can be made to access the reservoir. However, a well cannot be fractured without any prior analysis. Therefore, tests such as well testing, leak-off test, limit test or a formation breakdown test are conducted to determine the formation fracture gradient. This gradient is the total amount of pressure force that would be required to cause fractures in a rock formation.

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