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Title: Patterns in complex hydraulic fractures observed by true-triaxial experiments and implications for proppant placement and stimulated reservoir volumes

Abstract

Rocks are host to complex fracture networks that are difficult to locate in situ, and yet characterization of these fractures is crucial to predicting the effects of hydraulic stimulation. We view three-dimensional hydraulic fracture patterns among varied laboratory experiments to identify recurring geometries. Building on the constitutive tensile and shear fracture modes, we observe examples of offset fracture branching, traversing fracture coalescence, and smooth fracture reorientation as relatively simple structures within complex fracture networks. The evolution of fracture branching, also referred to as stranding, is revealed to be a fundamentally three-dimensional process, in which continued propagation can result in traversing fracture coalescence. Fracture branching, therefore, can create an illusion of unconnected, staggered, and offset hydraulic fracture growth when viewed from a single cross section; meanwhile, these fractures are likely connected through a common fracture surface elsewhere. The fractures are also investigated at a smaller scale, where similar fracture patterns are observed. In the field, these complex patterns are likely to hinder proppant settling, reduce open fracture permeability, create larger fracture surface areas, and lead to increased stimulated reservoir volumes. A balance of stimulation methods to prevent this complexity in some areas and exploit it in others could be key tomore » improving recovery from oil and gas resources, improving geothermal energy efficiency, and optimizing disposal of waste water or CO 2 via injection wells. Representation of these complex structures is crucial for accurate modeling predictions for reservoir management.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4];  [3];  [5];  [6];  [6]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States)
  2. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States); New England Research, White River Junction, VT (United States)
  3. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States)
  4. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  5. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States); Univ. of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA (United States)
  6. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
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 National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1544730
Report Number(s):
[LA-UR-18-30572]
[Journal ID: ISSN 2190-0558]
Grant/Contract Number:  
[89233218CNA000001; FE0002760; AC52-06NA25396]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 4]; Journal ID: ISSN 2190-0558
Publisher:
Springer Nature - Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
02 PETROLEUM; Branching; Coalescence; Fracture network; Mixed mode; Tortuosity

Citation Formats

Frash, Luke P., Hampton, Jesse, Gutierrez, Marte, Tutuncu, Azra, Carey, James William, Hood, John, Mokhtari, Mehdi, Huang, Hai, and Mattson, Earl. Patterns in complex hydraulic fractures observed by true-triaxial experiments and implications for proppant placement and stimulated reservoir volumes. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1007/s13202-019-0681-2.
Frash, Luke P., Hampton, Jesse, Gutierrez, Marte, Tutuncu, Azra, Carey, James William, Hood, John, Mokhtari, Mehdi, Huang, Hai, & Mattson, Earl. Patterns in complex hydraulic fractures observed by true-triaxial experiments and implications for proppant placement and stimulated reservoir volumes. United States. doi:10.1007/s13202-019-0681-2.
Frash, Luke P., Hampton, Jesse, Gutierrez, Marte, Tutuncu, Azra, Carey, James William, Hood, John, Mokhtari, Mehdi, Huang, Hai, and Mattson, Earl. Thu . "Patterns in complex hydraulic fractures observed by true-triaxial experiments and implications for proppant placement and stimulated reservoir volumes". United States. doi:10.1007/s13202-019-0681-2. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1544730.
@article{osti_1544730,
title = {Patterns in complex hydraulic fractures observed by true-triaxial experiments and implications for proppant placement and stimulated reservoir volumes},
author = {Frash, Luke P. and Hampton, Jesse and Gutierrez, Marte and Tutuncu, Azra and Carey, James William and Hood, John and Mokhtari, Mehdi and Huang, Hai and Mattson, Earl},
abstractNote = {Rocks are host to complex fracture networks that are difficult to locate in situ, and yet characterization of these fractures is crucial to predicting the effects of hydraulic stimulation. We view three-dimensional hydraulic fracture patterns among varied laboratory experiments to identify recurring geometries. Building on the constitutive tensile and shear fracture modes, we observe examples of offset fracture branching, traversing fracture coalescence, and smooth fracture reorientation as relatively simple structures within complex fracture networks. The evolution of fracture branching, also referred to as stranding, is revealed to be a fundamentally three-dimensional process, in which continued propagation can result in traversing fracture coalescence. Fracture branching, therefore, can create an illusion of unconnected, staggered, and offset hydraulic fracture growth when viewed from a single cross section; meanwhile, these fractures are likely connected through a common fracture surface elsewhere. The fractures are also investigated at a smaller scale, where similar fracture patterns are observed. In the field, these complex patterns are likely to hinder proppant settling, reduce open fracture permeability, create larger fracture surface areas, and lead to increased stimulated reservoir volumes. A balance of stimulation methods to prevent this complexity in some areas and exploit it in others could be key to improving recovery from oil and gas resources, improving geothermal energy efficiency, and optimizing disposal of waste water or CO2 via injection wells. Representation of these complex structures is crucial for accurate modeling predictions for reservoir management.},
doi = {10.1007/s13202-019-0681-2},
journal = {Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology},
number = [4],
volume = [9],
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {5}
}

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