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Title: Fracture-permeability behavior of shale

The fracture-permeability behavior of Utica shale, an important play for shale gas and oil, was investigated using a triaxial coreflood device and X-ray tomography in combination with finite-discrete element modeling (FDEM). Fractures generated in both compression and in a direct-shear configuration allowed permeability to be measured across the faces of cylindrical core. Shale with bedding planes perpendicular to direct-shear loading developed complex fracture networks and peak permeability of 30 mD that fell to 5 mD under hydrostatic conditions. Shale with bedding planes parallel to shear loading developed simple fractures with peak permeability as high as 900 mD. In addition to the large anisotropy in fracture permeability, the amount of deformation required to initiate fractures was greater for perpendicular layering (about 1% versus 0.4%), and in both cases activation of existing fractures are more likely sources of permeability in shale gas plays or damaged caprock in CO₂ sequestration because of the significant deformation required to form new fracture networks. FDEM numerical simulations were able to replicate the main features of the fracturing processes while showing the importance of fluid penetration into fractures as well as layering in determining fracture patterns.
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  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2213-3976; PII: S2213397615000208
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2213-3976
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES; 03 NATURAL GAS; 02 PETROLEUM; Hydraulic Fracturing; shale gas; caprock integrity; geomechanics; CO₂ sequestration
OSTI Identifier: