Technical Paper: Fracture Network Development and Proppant Placement During Slickwater Fracturing Treatment of Barnett Shale Laterals

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 135484
Presentation Date: 2010
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This paper presents an application of the wiremesh hydraulic fracturing model to analyze slickwater fracturing stimulation treatments of three Barnett Shale horizontal gas wells. For each treatment stage, the created hydraulic fracture network (HFN) was characterized on the basis of associated microseismic events distribution, treatment data, and geomechanical properties of involved formation layers. A systematic analysis of all stages, such as the potential effect of earlier treatment stages on a later one, the relationship between HFN properties such as the fracture surface area and treatment parameters, etc, was also presented. The information obtained was then applied to examine proppant placement in each of the HFNs. Potential ways of treatment improvement and optimization for future jobs are discussed based on these analyses.

Slickwater fracturing stimulation has been applied to many shale gas plays to enhance gas production. However better understanding of how the induced HFN grows and where proppants are placed is still needed more than ever. A new model (Xu et al. 2009a, Xu et al. 2009b, Xu et al. 2010) was developed to represent a HFN on average by an increasing stimulated shale volume consisting of two perpendicular sets of vertical planar fractures in a vertically variable and horizontal anisotropic stress field quantified by the horizontal minimum principle stress σh and maximum principle stress σH for each of involved formation layers (Figure 1). The size of the stimulated formation is described by the major axis a, the minor axis b and the mean height h of an expanding ellipsoid. The HFN is further characterized by its fracture spacing parameters dx and dy. Mechanical interactions among fractures and between injected fluid and fracture walls are accounted for. HFN growth is constrained by the amount and rate of fluid injection.

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