Numerical modeling of thermal fracture development in unconventional reservoirs
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Rapid depletion of hydrocarbons in conventional reservoirs and the availability of abundant oil and gas resources in unconventional forms demand new technology to economically produce these energy resources. From exploration to consumption of hydrocarbons, a great number of complex physical, chemical, mechanical, electrical, and thermal phenomena occurs in reservoir from reservoir rock to surface facilities. In addition to good rock samples and cores which could represent the reservoir rock for laboratory experiments, numerical tools should always be used to provide predictive capability of reservoir rock and fluid behavior. A great number of numerical methods have been developed and used over the past decades for rock mechanics problems. In this research the main focus is on thermal fracturing, heat transfer in rock, flow in porous media and stress-deformation analysis. We use three numerical methods for thermal fracturing of reservoir rock and investigate their capabilities in providing a solution for fracture propagation in rock. We finally propose the best numerical method among the ones we used in this work. We finally show two applications of thermal rock fracturing for improvement of hydrocarbon recovery in tight formations.