Hydraulic fracture extending into network in shale: reviewing influence factors and their mechanism.
ABSTRACT: Hydraulic fracture in shale reservoir presents complex network propagation, which has essential difference with traditional plane biwing fracture at forming mechanism. Based on the research results of experiments, field fracturing practice, theory analysis, and numerical simulation, the influence factors and their mechanism of hydraulic fracture extending into network in shale have been systematically analyzed and discussed. Research results show that the fracture propagation in shale reservoir is influenced by the geological and the engineering factors, which includes rock mineral composition, rock mechanical properties, horizontal stress field, natural fractures, treating net pressure, fracturing fluid viscosity, and fracturing scale. This study has important theoretical value and practical significance to understand fracture network propagation mechanism in shale reservoir and contributes to improving the science and efficiency of shale reservoir fracturing design.
Project description:The shearing of natural fractures is important in the permeability enhancement of shale gas reservoirs during hydraulic fracturing treatment. In this work, the shearing mechanisms of natural fractures are analyzed using a newly proposed numerical model based on the displacement discontinuities method. The fluid-rock coupling system of the model is carefully designed to calculate the shearing of fractures. Both a single fracture and a complex fracture network are used to investigate the shear mechanisms. The investigation based on a single fracture shows that the non-ignorable shearing length of a natural fracture could be formed before the natural fracture is filled by pressurized fluid. Therefore, for the hydraulic fracturing treatment of the naturally fractured shale gas reservoirs, the shear strength of shale is generally more important than the tensile strength. The fluid-rock coupling propagation processes of a complex fracture network are simulated under different crustal stress conditions and the results agree well with those of the single fracture. The propagation processes of complex fracture network show that a smaller crustal stress difference is unfavorable to the shearing of natural fractures, but is favorable to the formation of complex fracture network.
Project description:As an attractive renewable energy source, deep geothermal energy is increasingly explored. Granite is a typical geothermal reservoir rock type with low permeability, and hydraulic fracturing is a promising reservoir stimulation method which could obviously enhance the reservoir permeability. Previous hydraulic fracturing studies were mostly conducted on artificial samples and small cylindrical granites. The fracturing pressures of artificial samples and small real rock sample were much lower than that of field operation, and it was difficult to observe morphological changes in small rocks. Hence, this paper presents a hydraulic fracturing experimental study on large-scale granite with a sample size of 300 × 300 × 300 mm under high temperatures. Besides, injection flow rate is an important parameter for on-site hydraulic fracturing; previous studies usually only focused on breakdown pressure, and there is a lack of comprehensive analysis about fracturing pressure curves and fracturing characteristics caused by different injection flow rates. This study aims to investigate the influence of injection flow rate on different pressure curve characteristic parameters which are initiation pressure, propagation time, breakdown pressure, postfracturing pressure, fracture geometry, and fracture permeability. The mean injection power was proposed to roughly estimate the fracture total lengths. These results could provide some guidance for field-scale reservoir stimulation and heat extraction efficiency improvement.
Project description:Development of unconventional shale gas reservoirs (SGRs) has been boosted by the advancements in two key technologies: horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing. A large number of multi-stage fractured horizontal wells (MsFHW) have been drilled to enhance reservoir production performance. Gas flow in SGRs is a multi-mechanism process, including: desorption, diffusion, and non-Darcy flow. The productivity of the SGRs with MsFHW is influenced by both reservoir conditions and hydraulic fracture properties. However, rare simulation work has been conducted for multi-stage hydraulic fractured SGRs. Most of them use well testing methods, which have too many unrealistic simplifications and assumptions. Also, no systematical work has been conducted considering all reasonable transport mechanisms. And there are very few works on sensitivity studies of uncertain parameters using real parameter ranges. Hence, a detailed and systematic study of reservoir simulation with MsFHW is still necessary. In this paper, a dual porosity model was constructed to estimate the effect of parameters on shale gas production with MsFHW. The simulation model was verified with the available field data from the Barnett Shale. The following mechanisms have been considered in this model: viscous flow, slip flow, Knudsen diffusion, and gas desorption. Langmuir isotherm was used to simulate the gas desorption process. Sensitivity analysis on SGRs' production performance with MsFHW has been conducted. Parameters influencing shale gas production were classified into two categories: reservoir parameters including matrix permeability, matrix porosity; and hydraulic fracture parameters including hydraulic fracture spacing, and fracture half-length. Typical ranges of matrix parameters have been reviewed. Sensitivity analysis have been conducted to analyze the effect of the above factors on the production performance of SGRs. Through comparison, it can be found that hydraulic fracture parameters are more sensitive compared with reservoir parameters. And reservoirs parameters mainly affect the later production period. However, the hydraulic fracture parameters have a significant effect on gas production from the early period. The results of this study can be used to improve the efficiency of history matching process. Also, it can contribute to the design and optimization of hydraulic fracture treatment design in unconventional SGRs.
Project description:Involving the fluid-particle hydrodynamic process and hydraulically created fracture network, fracturing-fluid flowback in hydraulically fractured shale wells is a complex transport behavior. However, there is limited research on investigating the influence of proppant transport on the fracturing-fluid flowback behavior and flowback data analysis. In this paper, a flowback model is developed to simulate the flowback behaviors of the carrying fluid and proppant from the recompacted fracture system in shale wells. The development of fluid pressure and proppant concentration profiles of the fractured shale well are presented. The fluid and proppant fluxes among the hydraulic primary fracture and the induced fracture are also calculated. The influences of proppant consideration or not, proppant density, proppant size, fracturing-fluid viscosity, and fracturing-fluid density on the flowback behavior are investigated. The simulation results are useful for fracturing-fluid optimization in the design phase. Finally, two field cases from the Longmaxi Formation, Southern Sichuan Basin, China are used for matching the actual flowback data with the model results. The results prove that the proppant transport has influence on the flowback behavior to some degree and should be considered in the flowback model for a rather elaborate flowback analysis and post-treatment fracture evaluation.
Project description:Hydraulic fracturing can improve the permeability of coalbed methane (CBM) reservoirs effectively, which is of great significance to the commercial production of CBM. However, the efficiency of hydraulic fracturing is affected by multiple factors. The mechanism of fracture initiation, morphology and propagation in CBM reservoirs is not clear and need to be further explored. Hydraulic fracturing experiment is an accurate tool to explore these mechanisms. The quantity of experimental coal rock is large and processing method is complex, so specimen made of similar materials was applied to replace coal rock. The true triaxial hydraulic fracturing experimental apparatus, 3D scanning device for coal rock section were applied to carry out hydraulic fracturing experiment. The results show that the initiation pressure is inversely proportional to the horizontal stress difference (??) and positively related to fracturing fluid injection rate. When vertical stress (?v) is constant, the initiation pressure and fracture width decrease with the increasing of ??. Natural fractures can be connected by main fracture when propagates perpendicular to the direction of minimum horizontal stress (?h), then secondary fractures and fracture network form in CBM reservoirs. When two stresses of crustal stress are close and far different from the third one, the fracture morphology and propagation become complex. Influenced by perforations and filtration of fracturing fluid in specimen, fracturing fluid flows to downward easily after comparing horizontal well fracturing with vertical well fracturing. Fracture width increases with the decreasing of elastic modulus, the intensity of fracture is positively related with the elastic modulus of coal rock. The research results can provide theoretical basis and technical support for the efficient development of CBM.
Project description:Shale gas reservoirs can be divided into three regions, including hydraulic fracture regions, stimulating reservoir volume regions (SRV regions), and outer stimulating reservoir volume regions (OSRV regions). Due to the impact of hydraulic fracturing, induced fractures in SRV regions are often irregular. In addition, a precise description of secondary fractures in SRV regions is of critical importance for production analysis and prediction. In this work, the following work is achieved: (1) the complex fracture network in the SRV region is described with fractal theory; (2) a dual inter-porosity flow mechanism with sorption and diffusion behaviors is considered in both SRV and OSRV regions; and (3) both multi-rate and multi-pressure solutions are proposed for history matching based on fractal models and Duhamel convolution theory. Compared with previous numerical and analytic methods, the developed model can provide more accurate dynamic parameter estimates for production analysis in a computationally efficient manner. In this paper, type curves are also established to delineate flow characteristics of the system. It is found that the flow can be classified as six stages, including a bi-linear flow regime, a linear flow regime, a transition flow regime, an inter-porosity flow regime from the matrix to the fractures in the inner region, inter-porosity flow regime from matrix to fractures in the outer region, and a boundary dominant flow regime. The effects of the fracture and matrix properties, fractal parameters, inter-porosity flow coefficients, and sorption characteristics on type curves and production performance were studied in detail. Finally, production performance was analyzed for Marcellus and Fuling shale gas wells, in the U.S.A. and China, respectively.
Project description:In the last decade, extensive application of hydraulic fracturing technologies to unconventional low-permeability hydrocarbon-rich formations has significantly increased natural-gas production in the United States and abroad. The injection of surface-sourced fluids to generate fractures in the deep subsurface introduces microbial cells and substrates to low-permeability rock. A subset of injected organic additives has been investigated for their ability to support biological growth in shale microbial community members; however, to date, little is known on how complex xenobiotic organic compounds undergo biotransformations in this deep rock ecosystem. Here, high-resolution chemical, metagenomic, and proteomic analyses reveal that widely-used surfactants are degraded by the shale-associated taxa Halanaerobium, both in situ and under laboratory conditions. These halotolerant bacteria exhibit surfactant substrate specificities, preferring polymeric propoxylated glycols (PPGs) and longer alkyl polyethoxylates (AEOs) over polyethylene glycols (PEGs) and shorter AEOs. Enzymatic transformation occurs through repeated terminal-end polyglycol chain shortening during co-metabolic growth through the methylglyoxal bypass. This work provides the first evidence that shale microorganisms can transform xenobiotic surfactants in fracture fluid formulations, potentially affecting the efficiency of hydrocarbon recovery, and demonstrating an important association between injected substrates and microbial growth in an engineered subsurface ecosystem.
Project description:A complex fracture network is generally generated during the hydraulic fracturing treatment in shale gas reservoirs. Numerous efforts have been made to model the flow behavior of such fracture networks. However, it is still challenging to predict the impacts of various gas transport mechanisms on well performance with arbitrary fracture geometry in a computationally efficient manner. We develop a robust and comprehensive model for real gas transport in shales with complex non-planar fracture network. Contributions of gas transport mechanisms and fracture complexity to well productivity and rate transient behavior are systematically analyzed. The major findings are: simple planar fracture can overestimate gas production than non-planar fracture due to less fracture interference. A "hump" that occurs in the transition period and formation linear flow with a slope less than 1/2 can infer the appearance of natural fractures. The sharpness of the "hump" can indicate the complexity and irregularity of the fracture networks. Gas flow mechanisms can extend the transition flow period. The gas desorption could make the "hump" more profound. The Knudsen diffusion and slippage effect play a dominant role in the later production time. Maximizing the fracture complexity through generating large connected networks is an effective way to increase shale gas production.
Project description:Temporal changes in groundwater chemistry can reveal information about the evolution of flow path connectivity during crustal deformation. Here, we report transient helium and argon concentration anomalies monitored during a series of hydraulic reservoir stimulation experiments measured with an in situ gas equilibrium membrane inlet mass spectrometer. Geodetic and seismic analyses revealed that the applied stimulation treatments led to the formation of new fractures (hydraulic fracturing) and the reactivation of natural fractures (hydraulic shearing), both of which remobilized (He, Ar)-enriched fluids trapped in the rock mass. Our results demonstrate that integrating geochemical information with geodetic and seismic data provides critical insights to understanding dynamic changes in fracture network connectivity during reservoir stimulation. The results of this study also shed light on the linkages between fluid migration, rock deformation and seismicity at the decameter scale.
Project description:This paper presents a timely and detailed study of significant injection-induced seismicity recently observed in the Sichuan Basin, China, where shale-gas hydraulic fracturing has been initiated and the aggressive production of shale gas is planned for the coming years. Multiple lines of evidence, including an epidemic-type aftershock sequence model, relocated hypocenters, the mechanisms of 13 large events (M W ?>?3.5), and numerically calculated Coulomb failure stress results, convincingly suggest that a series of earthquakes with moment magnitudes up to M W 4.7 has been induced by "short-term" (several months at a single well pad) injections for hydraulic fracturing at depths of 2.3 to 3?km. This, in turn, supports the hypothesis that they represent examples of injection-induced fault reactivation. The geologic reasons why earthquake magnitudes associated with hydraulic fracturing operations are so high in this area are discussed. Because hydraulic fracturing operations are on the rise in the Sichuan Basin, it would be beneficial for the geoscience, gas operator, regulator, and academic communities to work collectively to elucidate the local factors governing the high level of injection-induced seismicity, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that shale gas fracking can be carried out effectively and safely.