Hydraulic fracturing is an important method of reservoir stimulation in the exploitation of geothermal resources, and conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources. In this article, hydraulic fracturing experiments with shale, sandstone cores (from southern Sichuan Basin), and granite cores (from Inner Mongolia) were conducted to investigate the different hydraulic fracture extension patterns in these three reservoir rocks. The different reactions between reservoir lithology and pump pressure can be reflected by the pump pressure monitoring curves of hydraulic fracture experiments. An X-ray computer tomography (CT) scanner was employed to obtain the spatial distribution of hydraulic fractures in fractured shale, sandstone, and granite cores. From the microscopic and macroscopic observation of hydraulic fractures, different extension patterns of the hydraulic fracture can be analyzed. In fractured sandstone, symmetrical hydraulic fracture morphology could be formed, while some micro cracks were also induced near the injection hole. Although the macroscopic cracks in fractured granite cores are barely observed by naked eye, the results of X-ray CT scanning obviously show the morphology of hydraulic fractures. It is indicated that the typical bedding planes well developed in shale formation play an important role in the propagation of hydraulic fractures in shale cores. The results also demonstrated that heterogeneity influenced the pathway of the hydraulic fracture in granite cores.
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