Multi-frac treatments in tight oil and shale gas reservoirs : effect of hydraulic fracture geometry on production and rate transient

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Khan, Abdul Muqtadir

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The vast shale gas and tight oil reservoirs in North America cannot be economically developed without multi-stage hydraulic fracture treatments. Owing to the disparity in the density of natural fractures in addition to the disparate in-situ stress conditions in these kinds of formations, microseismic fracture mapping has shown that hydraulic fracture treatments develop a range of large-scale fracture networks in the shale plays. In this thesis, an approach is presented, where the fracture networks approximated with microseismic mapping are integrated with a commercial numerical production simulator that discretely models the network structure in both vertical and horizontal wells. A novel approach for reservoir simulation is used, where porosity (instead of permeability) is used as a scaling parameter for the fracture width. Two different fracture geometries have been broadly proposed for a multi stage horizontal well, orthogonal and transverse. The orthogonal pattern represents a complex network with cross cutting fractures orthogonal to each other; whereas transverse pattern maps uninterrupted fractures achieving maximum depth of penetration into the reservoir. The response for a vii single-stage fracture is further investigated by comparing the propagation of the stage to be dendritic versus planar. A dendritic propagation is bifurcation of the hydraulic fracture due to intersection with the natural fracture (failure along the plane of weakness). The impact of fracture spacing to optimize these fracture geometries is studied. A systematic optimization for designing the fracture length and width is also presented. The simulation is motivated by the oil window of Eagle Ford shale formation and the results of this work illustrate how different fracture network geometries impact well performance, which is critical for improving future horizontal well completions and fracturing strategies in low permeability shale and tight oil reservoirs. A rate transient analysis (RTA) technique employing a rate normalized pressure (RNP) vs. superposition time function (STF) plot is used for the linear flow analysis. The parameters that influence linear flow are analytically derived. It is found that picking a straight line on this curve can lead to erroneous results because multiple solutions exist. A new technique for linear flow analysis is used. The ratio of derivative of inverse production and derivative of square root time is plotted against square root time and the constant derivative region is seen to be indicative of linear flow. The analysis is found to be robust because different simulation cases are modeled and permeability and fracture half-length are estimated.



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