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Title: A Thermoelastic Hydraulic Fracture Design Tool for Geothermal Reservoir Development

Geothermal energy is recovered by circulating water through heat exchange areas within a hot rock mass. Geothermal reservoir rock masses generally consist of igneous and metamorphic rocks that have low matrix permeability. Therefore, cracks and fractures play a significant role in extraction of geothermal energy by providing the major pathways for fluid flow and heat exchange. Thus, knowledge of conditions leading to formation of fractures and fracture networks is of paramount importance. Furthermore, in the absence of natural fractures or adequate connectivity, artificial fracture are created in the reservoir using hydraulic fracturing. At times, the practice aims to create a number of parallel fractures connecting a pair of wells. Multiple fractures are preferred because of the large size necessary when using only a single fracture. Although the basic idea is rather simple, hydraulic fracturing is a complex process involving interactions of high pressure fluid injections with a stressed hot rock mass, mechanical interaction of induced fractures with existing natural fractures, and the spatial and temporal variations of in-situ stress. As a result it is necessary to develop tools that can be used to study these interactions as an integral part of a comprehensive approach to geothermal reservoir development, particularly enhancedmore » geothermal systems. In response to this need we have set out to develop advanced thermo-mechanical models for design of artificial fractures and rock fracture research in geothermal reservoirs. These models consider the significant hydraulic and thermo-mechanical processes and their interaction with the in-situ stress state. Wellbore failure and fracture initiation is studied using a model that fully couples poro-mechanical and thermo-mechanical effects. The fracture propagation model is based on a complex variable and regular displacement discontinuity formulations. In the complex variable approach the displacement discontinuities are defined from the numerical solution of a complex hypersingular integral equation written for a given fracture configuration and loading. The fracture propagation studies include modeling interaction of induced fractures with existing discontinuities such as faults and joints. In addition to the fracture propagation studies, two- and three-dimensional heat extraction solution algorithms have been developed and used to estimate heat extraction and the variations of the reservoir stress with cooling. The numerical models have been developed in a user-friendly environment to create a tool for improving fracture design and investigating single or multiple fracture propagation in rock.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
812201
Report Number(s):
DOE/ID/13855
TRN: US200313%%164
DOE Contract Number:
FG07-99ID13855
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 30 Jun 2003
Research Org:
University of North Dakota (US)
Sponsoring Org:
(US)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY; GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS; HEAT EXTRACTION; HYDRAULIC FRACTURES; HYDRAULIC FRACTURING; METAMORPHIC ROCKS; RESERVOIR ROCK; WELL INJECTION EQUIPMENT; DESIGN; RESERVOIR ENGINEERING; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; BOREHOLE LINKING Geothermal Legacy