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10.11.2017 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 12/2017

Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering 12/2017

Hydraulic Fracturing and Production Optimization in Eagle Ford Shale Using Coupled Geomechanics and Fluid Flow Model

Zeitschrift:
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering > Ausgabe 12/2017
Autoren:
Theerapat Suppachoknirun, Azra N. Tutuncu

Abstract

With increasing production from shale gas and tight oil reservoirs, horizontal drilling and multistage hydraulic fracturing processes have become a routine procedure in unconventional field development efforts. Natural fractures play a critical role in hydraulic fracture growth, subsequently affecting stimulated reservoir volume and the production efficiency. Moreover, the existing fractures can also contribute to the pressure-dependent fluid leak-off during the operations. Hence, a reliable identification of the discrete fracture network covering the zone of interest prior to the hydraulic fracturing design needs to be incorporated into the hydraulic fracturing and reservoir simulations for realistic representation of the in situ reservoir conditions. In this research study, an integrated 3-D fracture and fluid flow model have been developed using a new approach to simulate the fluid flow and deliver reliable production forecasting in naturally fractured and hydraulically stimulated tight reservoirs. The model was created with three key modules. A complex 3-D discrete fracture network model introduces realistic natural fracture geometry with the associated fractured reservoir characteristics. A hydraulic fracturing model is created utilizing the discrete fracture network for simulation of the hydraulic fracture and flow in the complex discrete fracture network. Finally, a reservoir model with the production grid system is used allowing the user to efficiently perform the fluid flow simulation in tight formations with complex fracture networks. The complex discrete natural fracture model, the integrated discrete fracture model for the hydraulic fracturing, the fluid flow model, and the input dataset have been validated against microseismic fracture mapping and commingled production data obtained from a well pad with three horizontal production wells located in the Eagle Ford oil window in south Texas. Two other fracturing geometries were also evaluated to optimize the cumulative production and for the three wells individually. Significant reduction in the production rate in early production times is anticipated in tight reservoirs regardless of the fracturing techniques implemented. The simulations conducted using the alternating fracturing technique led to more oil production than when zipper fracturing was used for a 20-year production period. Yet, due to the decline experienced, the differences in cumulative production get smaller, and the alternating fracturing is not practically implementable while field application of zipper fracturing technique is more practical and widely used.

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