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Energies 2016, 9(9), 699; doi:10.3390/en9090699

Numerical Modeling and Investigation of Fluid-Driven Fracture Propagation in Reservoirs Based on a Modified Fluid-Mechanically Coupled Model in Two-Dimensional Particle Flow Code

1
Key Laboratory of Shale Gas and Geoengineering, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100029, China
2
College of Earth Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ranjith Pathegama Gamage
Received: 17 June 2016 / Revised: 4 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 August 2016 / Published: 2 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unconventional Natural Gas (UNG) Recoveries)
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Abstract

Hydraulic fracturing is a useful tool for enhancing rock mass permeability for shale gas development, enhanced geothermal systems, and geological carbon sequestration by the high-pressure injection of a fracturing fluid into tight reservoir rocks. Although significant advances have been made in hydraulic fracturing theory, experiments, and numerical modeling, when it comes to the complexity of geological conditions knowledge is still limited. Mechanisms of fluid injection-induced fracture initiation and propagation should be better understood to take full advantage of hydraulic fracturing. This paper presents the development and application of discrete particle modeling based on two-dimensional particle flow code (PFC2D). Firstly, it is shown that the modeled value of the breakdown pressure for the hydraulic fracturing process is approximately equal to analytically calculated values under varied in situ stress conditions. Furthermore, a series of simulations for hydraulic fracturing in competent rock was performed to examine the influence of the in situ stress ratio, fluid injection rate, and fluid viscosity on the borehole pressure history, the geometry of hydraulic fractures, and the pore-pressure field, respectively. It was found that the hydraulic fractures in an isotropic medium always propagate parallel to the orientation of the maximum principal stress. When a high fluid injection rate is used, higher breakdown pressure is needed for fracture propagation and complex geometries of fractures can develop. When a low viscosity fluid is used, fluid can more easily penetrate from the borehole into the surrounding rock, which causes a reduction of the effective stress and leads to a lower breakdown pressure. Moreover, the geometry of the fractures is not particularly sensitive to the fluid viscosity in the approximate isotropic model. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydraulic fracturing; modified fluid-mechanical couple mechanism; particle flow method; fluid injection rate; in-situ stress ratio; fluid viscosity hydraulic fracturing; modified fluid-mechanical couple mechanism; particle flow method; fluid injection rate; in-situ stress ratio; fluid viscosity
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Zhou, J.; Zhang, L.; Braun, A.; Han, Z. Numerical Modeling and Investigation of Fluid-Driven Fracture Propagation in Reservoirs Based on a Modified Fluid-Mechanically Coupled Model in Two-Dimensional Particle Flow Code. Energies 2016, 9, 699.

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