TitleCoupled Numerical Evaluations of the Geomechanical Interactions Between a Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation and a Natural Fracture System in Shale Formations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNagel N.B, Sanchez-Nagel M.A, Zhang F., Garcia X., Lee B.
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Date Publishedmar
KeywordsDiscrete element modeling, Horizontal well, Hydraulic fracturing, Multi-stage fracturing, Natural fractures, Numerical simulation, Stimulation, Stimulation optimization, Well completion
AbstractDue to the low permeability of many shale reservoirs, multi-stage hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells is used to increase the productive, stimulated reservoir volume. However, each created hydraulic fracture alters the stress field around it, and subsequent fractures are affected by the stress field from previous fractures. The results of a numerical evaluation of the effect of stress field changes (stress shadowing), as a function of natural fracture and geomechanical properties, are presented, including a detailed evaluation of natural fracture shear failure (and, by analogy, the generated microseismicity) due to a created hydraulic fracture. The numerical simulations were performed using continuum and discrete element modeling approaches in both mechanical-only and fully coupled, hydro-mechanical modes. The results show the critical impacts that the stress field changes from a created hydraulic fracture have on the shear of the natural fracture system, which in-turn, significantly affects the success of the hydraulic fracture stimulation. Furthermore, the results provide important insight into: the role of completion design (stage spacing) and operational parameters (rate, viscosity, etc.) on the possibility of enhancing the stimulation of the natural fracture network ('complexity'); the mechanisms that generate the microseismicity that occurs during a hydraulic fracture stimulation; and the interpretation of the generated microseismicity in relation to the volume of stimulated reservoir formation. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Wien.