Investigation of pulse fracturing via peridynamics modeling and simulation

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Date

2017-01-10

Authors

Uppati, Sai Pranav

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Pulse fracturing is an alternative stimulation technology to enhance production from oil and gas wells, especially ones in fractured hydrocarbon reservoirs. This stimulation generates multiple radial fractures that initiate at the wellbore wall, via the application of pressure pulses at rates on the order of 10 MPa ms⁻¹ or more. These radial fractures act as conductive pathways for hydrocarbon flow into the bottom of the wellbore. Pulse fracturing has been tested via experiments and oil field implementations quite extensively in the 1970s and 1980s. The fracture mechanics of pulse stimulation, however, is not well understood. Computational efforts at modeling pulse fractures are relatively sparse in literature. Due to a recent renewal of interest in this form of stimulation, this computational study aims to develop a tool to simulate pulse fracturing. At the high loading rates experienced by rock during pulse stimulation, dynamic fracturing is expected to occur leading to the generation of a complex radial fracture network. A state-of-the-art continuum mechanics code called Peridigm is well equipped to handle dynamic fracture modeling. Peridigm's capabilities are explored to ascertain whether it can capture pulse fracture behavior accurately. Using concrete as the computational medium, the relevant modeling considerations are analyzed to determine the best approaches for modeling pulse fracturing in Peridigm. This tailored approach is then used for benchmarking Peridigm against published pulse fracturing experiments on sandstone core samples.

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