Advances in complex fracture modeling have provided multiple realizations of the development of fracture networks in unconventional reservoirs. This has allowed for calibrated fracture network geometry definition in reservoirs that are conducive to fracture network growth in multiple directions as a result of the presence of natural fractures and low horizontal stress anisotropy. The ability to predict fracture network creation has allowed for fracturing design that focuses on net pressure development to achieve the desired complexity. Increases in fracture complexity can result in increased production results in low permeability unconventional reservoirs with two-phase hydrocarbon production. While this capability has led to positive results, there is a desire within the unconventional arena to increase the collaborative development of assets for even greater improvement and increased understanding of optimized exploitation of these assets. For this reason, the ability to include the realizations of complex fracture networks in a three-dimensional (3D) asset description would prove invaluable to asset development and well planning and further increase understanding across various disciplines. The need to incorporate results of complex fracture modeling and geomechanical descriptions within an earth model led to the development of an analysis process combining the results of multi-disciplinary modeling techniques focused on unconventional assets.


1.1. Complex Fracture Modeling CapabilitiesWith advances in hydraulic fracture modeling aimed at describing the fracture development in unconventional plays, the ability to describe "non-typical" fracture network growth has improved significantly [3]. With this type of modeling, it is possible to observe fracture network patterns that include hydraulically induced fractures, which are induced and propagated in the direction of the maximum horizontal stress, as has been understood for some time. Additionally, fracture network growth that can be leakoff induced or stress induced and includes the development of fractures oblique to the maximum horizontal stress is now possible. Understanding fracture network growth and these patterns is becoming more important in unconventional plays having a geological setting conducive to this behavior, which often results in fracture networks that are much more complex than a simple bi-wing fracture. This modeling tool’s ability to map and describe these types of fracture networks allows for better completions optimization and the development of workflows that collaborate across geoscience and engineering disciplines to help maximize asset value.

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