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Energies 2016, 9(7), 556; doi:10.3390/en9070556

A Laboratory Study of the Effects of Interbeds on Hydraulic Fracture Propagation in Shale Formation

1,2
,
1,* , 1
,
1
and
1,2
1
Key Laboratory of Shale Gas and Geoengineering, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jacek Majorowicz
Received: 18 April 2016 / Revised: 24 June 2016 / Accepted: 12 July 2016 / Published: 19 July 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5667 KB, uploaded 19 July 2016]   |  

Abstract

To investigate how the characteristics of interbeds affect hydraulic fracture propagation in the continental shale formation, a series of 300 mm × 300 mm × 300 mm concrete blocks with varying interbeds, based on outcrop observation and core measurement of Chang 7-2 shale formation, were prepared to conduct the hydraulic fracturing experiments. The results reveal that the breakdown pressure increases with the rise of thickness and strength of interbeds under the same in-situ field stress and injection rate. In addition, for the model blocks with thick and high strength interbeds, the hydraulic fracture has difficulty crossing the interbeds and is prone to divert along the bedding faces, and the fracturing effectiveness is not good. However, for the model blocks with thin and low strength interbeds, more long branches are generated along the main fracture, which is beneficial to the formation of the fracture network. What is more, combining the macroscopic descriptions with microscopic observations, the blocks with thinner and lower strength interbeds tend to generate more micro-fractures, and the width of the fractures is relatively larger on the main fracture planes. Based on the experiments, it is indicated that the propagation of hydraulic fractures is strongly influenced by the characteristics of interbeds, and the results are instructive to the understanding and evaluation of the fracability in the continental shale formation. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydraulic fracturing; interbeds; fracture propagation; failure mechanism hydraulic fracturing; interbeds; fracture propagation; failure mechanism
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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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, Z.; Li, X.; Wang, Y.; Zheng, B.; Zhang, B. A Laboratory Study of the Effects of Interbeds on Hydraulic Fracture Propagation in Shale Formation. Energies 2016, 9, 556.

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