A geomechanical and fluid-flow coupled model was developed to simulate natural-fracture-network reactivation during hydraulic-fracturing treatments in shale gas reservoirs. The fractures were modelled using the continuum approach in a commercial finite-difference code, labeled the “softening ubiquitous joints” model, with randomly distributed strength parameters to describe heterogeneity along the fracture plane. The models allow for intersecting fractures to represent realistic scenarios. The permeability values in the fractures are dynamically updated during the simulations together with the reversible tensile opening because of elastic response and irreversible shear opening caused by plastic deformations. The reactivation of the fracture network resulted in high permeability along these fracture planes. The developed model can predict microseismic events caused by slip on the fracture planes. The magnitude levels of these microseismic events are comparable with the levels observed in events monitored by use of geophone arrays during hydraulic-fracturing treatments for different shale gas reservoirs.

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