High-Resolution Numerical Modeling of Complex and Irregular Fracture Patterns in Shale-Gas Reservoirs and Tight Gas Reservoirs
- Olufemi Olorode (Texas A&M University) | Craig M. Freeman (Texas A&M University) | George Moridis (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) | Thomas A. Blasingame (Texas A&M University)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- August 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 443 - 455
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.8.1 Tight Gas, 5.8.2 Shale Gas, 5.8.6 Naturally-fractured reservoirs
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- 1,219 since 2007
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Various models featuring horizontal wells with multiple fractures have beenproposed to characterize flow behavior over time in tight gas systems andshale-gas systems. Currently, little is known about the effects of nonidealfracture patterns and coupled primary-/ secondary-fracture interactions onreservoir performance in unconventional gas reservoirs. We developed a 3DVoronoi mesh-generation application that provides the flexibility to accuratelyrepresent various complex and irregular fracture patterns. We also developed anumerical simulator of gas flow through tight porous media, and used severalVoronoi grids to assess the potential performance of such irregular fractureson gas production from unconventional gas reservoirs. Our simulations involvedup to a half-million cells, and we considered production periods that areorders of magnitude longer than the expected productive life of wells andreservoirs. Our aim was to describe a wide range of flow regimes that can beobserved in irregular fracture patterns, and to fully assess even nuances inflow behavior. We investigated coupled primary/secondary fractures, withmultiple/vertical hydraulic fractures intersecting horizontal secondary"stress-release" fractures. We studied irregular fracture patterns to show theeffect of fracture angularity and nonplanar fracture configurations onproduction. The results indicate that the presence of high-conductivitysecondary fractures results in the highest increase in production, whereas,contrary to expectations, strictly planar and orthogonal fractures yield betterproduction performance than nonplanar and nonorthogonal fractures withequivalent propped-fracture lengths.
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