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Technical Paper: 3D Modeling of Multistage Hydraulic Fractures and Two-Way Coupling Geomechanics: Fluid Flow Simulation of a Horizontal Well in the Nikanassin Tight Gas Formation, Western Canada Sedimentary Basin

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 159765
Presentation Date: 2012
 Download: 3D Modeling of Multistage Hydraulic Fractures and Two-Way Coupling Geomechanics: Fluid Flow Simulation of a Horizontal Well in the Nikanassin Tight Gas Formation, Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (2.14 MB PDF) Login | Register

 

Abstract

Unconventional gas is stored in extensive areas known as Basin Centered Continuous Gas Accumulations. While the estimated worldwide figures differ significantly, the consensus among the studies relating to unconventional gas resources is that the volumes are gigantic. However, the low permeability in these types of reservoirs usually results in a very low recovery factor.

To help unlock these resources, this paper presents a new and more accurate way of simulating multi-stage hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells in three dimensions (3D) using single and dual porosity reservoir models. In this approach, the geometry (not necessarily symmetric) and orientation of the multiple hydraulic fractures are driven by the prevailing stress state in the drainage volume of the horizontal well. Once the hydraulic fracturing job is accurately modeled in 3D, two-way geomechanical coupling is used to history match the produced gas from a horizontal well drilled in the Nikanassin naturally fractured tight gas formation (Western Canada Sedimentary Basin).

Traditionally, the most widely used approaches have their roots in semi-analytical calculations simplifying the fracturing system to a planar feature propagating symmetrically away from a line source of injection. In contrast, the computed results presented in this study show that the incorporation of geomechanical effects gives a more realistic representation of the orientation and geometry of hydraulic fractures. Reduction in permeability of the natural and hydraulic fractures due to pressure depletion results in more realistic production predictions when compared with the case where geomechanical effects are ignored.

The telling conclusion, in light of the computed results, is that the field of hydraulic fracturing provides an object lesson in the need for coupled 3D geomechanical approaches. The method presented in this paper will help to improve gas rates and recoveries from reservoirs with permeability values in the nano-Darcy scale.

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