Water Blocks in Tight Formations: The Role of Matrix/Fracture Interaction in Hydrocarbon-Permeability Reduction and Its Implications in the Use of Enhanced Oil Recovery Techniques
- Rafael A. Longoria (University of Texas at Austin) | Tianbo Liang (University of Texas at Austin) | Uyen T. Huynh (University of Texas at Austin) | Quoc P. Nguyen (University of Texas at Austin) | David A. DiCarlo (University of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- October 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,393 - 1,401
- 2017.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- surfactants, Unconventional reservoirs, Water blocks
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 520 since 2007
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Hydraulic fracturing is used to obtain economical rates from tight and unconventional formations by increasing the surface area of the reservoir within the flowing distance to a high-conductivity pathway. However, a significant fraction of the fracturing fluid is never recovered, and thus may reduce the hydrocarbon permeability near the fracture. Here, we experimentally mimic the water-invasion process during fracturing, and measure the effective permeability changes in a low-permeability core. Measurements of water flowback and effective permeability as a function of interfacial tension (IFT), flow rate, and shut-in time suggest that water is being held at the fracture face because of the capillary discontinuity (i.e., when the water leaves the matrix and enters a space with minimal capillary pressure). This effect arises from the capillary interaction between the matrix and the fracture, and is akin to the capillary end effect in coreflood experiments. The results show that this effect, although only a laboratory experimental artifact for conventional reservoirs, can be a significant source of effective hydrocarbon-permeability reduction by fracturing-fluid invasion into the formation in unconventional and tight reservoirs.
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