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Energies 2015, 8(9), 9860-9877;

Numerical Analysis on the Stability of Hydraulic Fracture Propagation

Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ånund Killingtveit
Received: 23 June 2015 / Revised: 13 August 2015 / Accepted: 25 August 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower)
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The formation of dense spacing fracture network is crucial to the hydraulic fracturing treatment of unconventional reservoir. However, one difficulty for fracturing treatment is the lack of clear understanding on the nature of fracture complexity created during the treatment. In this paper, fracture propagation is numerically investigated to find the conditions needed for the stable propagation of complex fracture network. Firstly, starting from a parallel fracture system, the stability of fracture propagation is analyzed and a dimensionless number M is obtained. Then, by developing a hydraulic fracturing simulation model based on displacement discontinuity method, the propagation of parallel fractures is simulated and a clear relation between M and the stability of parallel fractures is obtained. Finally, the investigation on parallel fractures is extended to complex fracture networks. The propagation of complex fracture networks is simulated and the results show that the effects of M on complex fracture networks is the same to that of parallel fractures. The clear relation between M and fracture propagation stability is important for the optimization of hydraulic fracturing operation. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydraulic fracturing; localization instability; fluid viscosity; complex fracture network hydraulic fracturing; localization instability; fluid viscosity; complex fracture network

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Zhang, Z.; Li, X.; He, J.; Wu, Y.; Zhang, B. Numerical Analysis on the Stability of Hydraulic Fracture Propagation. Energies 2015, 8, 9860-9877.

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