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Energies 2018, 11(2), 286;

Numerical Simulation of Fluid Flow through Fractal-Based Discrete Fractured Network

School of Petroleum Engineering, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao 266580, China
Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N1N4, Canada
Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
Shengli Oil Field Exploration and Development Research Institute, Dongying 257000, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flow and Transport Properties of Unconventional Reservoirs)
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Abstract: In recent years, multi-stage hydraulic fracturing technologies have greatly facilitated the development of unconventional oil and gas resources. However, a quantitative description of the “complexity” of the fracture network created by the hydraulic fracturing is confronted with many unsolved challenges. Given the multiple scales and heterogeneity of the fracture system, this study proposes a “bifurcated fractal” model to quantitatively describe the distribution of induced hydraulic fracture networks. The construction theory is employed to generate hierarchical fracture patterns as a scaled numerical model. With the implementation of discrete fractal-fracture network modeling (DFFN), fluid flow characteristics in bifurcated fractal fracture networks are characterized. The effects of bifurcated fracture length, bifurcated tendency, and number of bifurcation stages are examined. A field example of the fractured horizontal well is introduced to calibrate the accuracy of the flow model. The proposed model can provide a more realistic representation of complex fracture networks around a fractured horizontal well, and offer the way to quantify the “complexity” of the fracture network in shale reservoirs. The simulation results indicate that the geometry of the bifurcated fractal fracture network model has a significant impact on production performance in the tight reservoir, and enhancing connectivity of each bifurcate fracture is the key to improve the stimulation performance. In practice, this work provides a novel and efficient workflow for complex fracture characterization and production prediction in naturally-fractured reservoirs of multi-stage fractured horizontal wells. View Full-Text
Keywords: numerical simulation; fractal theory; discrete fractal-fracture network; fractured horizontal well numerical simulation; fractal theory; discrete fractal-fracture network; fractured horizontal well

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Wang, W.; Su, Y.; Yuan, B.; Wang, K.; Cao, X. Numerical Simulation of Fluid Flow through Fractal-Based Discrete Fractured Network. Energies 2018, 11, 286.

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