A comprehensive geomechanical study was carried out to optimize stimulation for a fractured tight gas reservoir in the northwest Tarim Basin. Conventional gel fracturing and acidizing operations carried out in the field previously failed to yield the expected productivity. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of slickwater or low-viscosity stimulation of natural fractures by shear slippage, creating a conductive, complex fracture net-work. This type of stimulation is proven to successfully exploit shale gas resources in many fields in the United States.

A field-scale geomechanical model was built using core, well log, drilling data and experiences characterizing the in-situ stress, pore pressure and rock mechanical properties in both overburden and reservoir sections. Borehole image data collected in three offset wells were used to characterize the in-situ natural fracture system in the reservoir. The pressure required to stimulate the natural fracture systems by shear slippage in the current stress field was predicted. The injection of low-viscosity slickwater was simulated and the resulting shape of the stimulated reservoir volume was predicted using a dual-porosity, dual-permeability finite-difference flow simulator with anisotropic, pressure-sensitive reservoir proper-ties. A hydraulic fracturing design and evaluation simulator was used to model the geometry and conductivity of the principal hydraulic fracture filled with proppant. Fracture growth in the presence of the lithology-based stress contrast and rock properties was computed, taking into account leakage of the injected fluid into the stimulated reservoir volume predicted previously by reservoir simulation. It was found that four-stage fracturing was necessary to cover the entire reservoir thickness. Post-stimulation gas production was then predicted using the geometry and conductivity of the four propped fractures and the enhanced permeability in the simulated volume due to shear slippage of natural fractures, using a dual-porosity, dual-permeability reservoir simulator.

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