Hydraulic fracturing in naturally fractured reservoirs and the impact of geomechanics on microseismicity
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Hydraulic fracturing in tight gas and shale gas reservoirs is an essential stimulation technique for production enhancement. Often, hydraulic fracturing induces fracture patterns that are more complex than the planar geometry that has been assumed in the past models. These complex patterns arise as a result of the presence of planes of weakness, faults and/or natural fractures. In this thesis, two different 3D geomechanical models have been developed to simulate the interaction between the hydraulic fracture and the natural fractures, and to observe the impact of geomechanics on the potential microseismicity in these naturally fractured formations. Several cases were studied to observe the effects of natural fracture geometry, fracturing treatment, mechanical properties of the sealed fractures, etc. on the propagation path of the hydraulic fracture in these formations, and were found to be consistent with past experimental results. Moreover, the effects of several parameters including cohesiveness of the sealed natural fractures, mechanical properties of the formation, treatment parameters, etc. have been studied from the potential microseismicity standpoint. It is shown that the impact of geomechanics on potential microseismicity is significant and can influence the desired fracture spacing. In this thesis, the presented model quantifies the extent of potential microseismic volume (MSV) resulting from hydraulic fracturing in unconventional reservoirs. The model accounts for random geometries of the weak planes (with different dip and strike) observed in the field. The work presented here shows, for the first time, a fracture treatment can be designed to maximize the MSV, when the fractures form a complicated network of fractures, and in turn influence the desired fracture spacing in horizontal wells. Our work shows that by adjusting the fluid rheology and other treatment parameters, the spatial extent of MSV and the desired fracture spacing can be optimized for a given set of shale properties.