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Energies 2015, 8(10), 12061-12079; doi:10.3390/en81012061

Numerical Analysis on the Optimization of Hydraulic Fracture Networks

1
Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
2
School of Geology Engineering and Geomatics, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710064, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vasily Novozhilov
Received: 8 September 2015 / Revised: 15 October 2015 / Accepted: 20 October 2015 / Published: 23 October 2015
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Abstract

The clear understanding of hydraulic fracture network complexity and the optimization of fracture network configuration are important to the hydraulic fracturing treatment of shale gas reservoirs. For the prediction of hydraulic fracture network configuration, one of the problems is the accurate representation of natural fractures. In this work, a real natural fracture network is reconstructed from shale samples. Moreover, a virtual fracture system is proposed to simulate the large number of small fractures that are difficult to identify. A numerical model based on the displacement discontinuity method is developed to simulate the fluid-rock coupling system. A dimensionless stress difference that is normalized by rock strength is proposed to quantify the anisotropy of crustal stress. The hydraulic fracturing processes under different stress conditions are simulated. The most complex fracture configurations are obtained when the maximum principle stress direction is perpendicular to the principle natural fracture direction. In contrast, the worst results are obtained when these two directions are parallel to each other. Moreover, the side effects of the unfavorable geological conditions caused by crustal stress anisotropy can be partly suppressed by increasing the viscous effect of the fluid. View Full-Text
Keywords: complex fracture network; displacement discontinuity method; hydraulic fracturing; shale gas; stress anisotropy complex fracture network; displacement discontinuity method; hydraulic fracturing; shale gas; stress anisotropy
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhang, Z.; Li, X.; Yuan, W.; He, J.; Li, G.; Wu, Y. Numerical Analysis on the Optimization of Hydraulic Fracture Networks. Energies 2015, 8, 12061-12079.

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