INTEGRATED 3-DIMENSIONAL MODELING OF PROPPANT TRANSPORT THROUGH HYDRAULIC FRACTURE NETWORK IN SHALE GAS RESERVOIR

Open Access
Author:
Chang, Oliver Chih-young
Graduate Program:
Energy and Mineral Engineering
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
June 14, 2016
Committee Members:
  • John Yilin Wang, Dissertation Advisor
  • John Yilin Wang, Committee Chair
  • Turgay Ertekin, Committee Member
  • Eugene C Morgan, Committee Member
  • Virendra Puri, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • proppant transport
  • hydraulic fracturing
  • shale gas
  • fracture network
  • unconventional reservoir
Abstract:
Hydraulic fracturing is one of the most successful and widely applied techniques that ensure economic recovery from unconventional reservoirs. Oil and gas bearing formation has pre-existing natural fractures and possesses a large proportion in hydrocarbon resources. Distinct fracture propagational behavior and operational variation both affect the entire hydraulic fracturing treatment. Proppant transport and fracture network conductivity are the most significant factors determining the effectiveness of a treatment. The concept of stimulated reservoir volume (SRV) is used to characterize the efficiency of hydraulic fracturing treatment. However, the unpropped fracture will close after the well starts to produce without contributing hydrocarbon recovery. Only the propped open section of fracture contributes to the hydrocarbon recovery. Therefore, the concept of propped open stimulated reservoir volume (PSRV) is proposed to characterize the effectiveness of the treatment. Physics of proppant transport in a complex fracture network is unclear to the engineers. Most of the model simulates using simplified physics. In this work, we first identified the patterns of proppant transport and we developed equations to quantify the governing physics in each pattern, in order to capture the proppant transport process accurately. To quantify the PSRV, a dynamic 3-D, finite-difference, proppant transport model is developed and linked to a hydraulic fracture propagation model to simulate the process of proppant transport through the hydraulic fracture network. The actual propped open stimulated reservoir volume (PSRV) and fracture network conductivity can be quantified by utilizing the model. The goal of this study is to generate guidelines to maximize the effectiveness of the hydraulic fracturing treatment. Hence, a systematic parametric study was conducted to investigate the relation among engineering factors, geomechanical and reservoir properties. The effect of each parameter on PSRV, PSRV/SRV efficiency ratio, and average fracture conductivity during pressure pumping, flowback and shut-in is evaluate and quantified. Guidelines to optimize the effectiveness of hydraulic fracturing treatment for different scenarios are established based on the systematic parametric study.