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Title: Extracting Hydrocarbon from Shale: An Investigation of the Factors That Influence the Decline and the Tail of the Production Curve

Understanding physical processes that control the long-term production of hydrocarbon from shale formations is important for both predicting the yield and increasing it. In this work, we explore the processes that could control the tail of the production curve by using a discrete fracture network method to calculate the total travel time from the rock matrix to small-scale fractures to the primary hydraulic fracture network. The factors investigated include matrix diffusion, extent of the small-scale fracture zone (or tributary fracture zone/TFZ) consisting of natural, reactivated and induced fractures, and the percentage of free hydrocarbon in the primary fracture network. Individual and combined parameter spaces are explored for each of these to understand the limits of these parameters as well as any systematic correlations between pairs of parameters. Although recent studies have shown that the matrix diffusion in virgin shale influences the production tail only after nearly 20 years, we demonstrate that matrix diffusion in the region of the TFZ significantly impacts production within the first year itself. Additionally, we found that the depth of TFZ fracturing region had no effect on the shape of the production curves although the total mass of the hydrocarbon produced increases with the depth. Wemore » also show that one can fit the production data using a site-specific set of parameters representing the diffusion in the TFZ, depth of the TFZ and the free hydrocarbon in the large-scale fractures.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-30119
Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; 20170103DR
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Water Resources Research; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC). Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
04 OIL SHALES AND TAR SANDS; Earth Sciences
OSTI Identifier:
1438117
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1438944