Complementary hydro-mechanical coupled finite/discrete element and microseismic modelling to predict hydraulic fracture propagation in tight shale reservoirs

Matthew Profit*, Martin Dutko, Jianguo Yu, Sarah Cole, Doug Angus, Alan Baird

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

This paper presents a novel approach to predict the propagation of hydraulic fractures in tight shale reservoirs. Many hydraulic fracture modelling schemes assume that the fracture direction is pre-seeded in the problem domain discretisation. This is a severe limitation as the reservoir often contains large numbers of pre-existing fractures that strongly influence the direction of the propagating fracture. To circumvent these shortcomings, a new fracture modelling treatment is proposed where the introduction of discrete fracture surfaces is based on new and dynamically updated geometrical entities rather than the topology of the underlying spatial discretisation. Hydraulic fracturing is an inherently coupled engineering problem with interactions between fluid flow and fracturing when the stress state of the reservoir rock attains a failure criterion. This work follows a staggered hydro-mechanical coupled finite/discrete element approach to capture the key interplay between fluid pressure and fracture growth. In field practice, the fracture growth is hidden from the design engineer and microseismicity is often used to infer hydraulic fracture lengths and directions. Microseismic output can also be computed from changes of the effective stress in the geomechanical model and compared against field microseismicity. A number of hydraulic fracture numerical examples are presented to illustrate the new technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-248
Number of pages20
JournalComputational Particle Mechanics
Volume3
Issue number2
Early online date02 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Coupled geomechanical
  • Finite/discrete element method
  • Hydraulic fracture
  • Microseismicity

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