Our team has conducted electromagnetic (EM) surveys for the past six years to monitor hydraulic-fracture behavior at the Devine Fracture Pilot Site (DFPS). The sub-horizontal orientation of a shallow hydraulic fracture at the DFPS provides uniform access to the fracture area for interrogation and data collection. Ahmadian et al. (2023) suggested a possible correlation between spatiotemporal changes in the flow rate, bottomhole pressure (BHP), and the observed surface recorded electric field at the DFPS. In this paper, we present the development of poroelastic forward models and pressure transient analyses (PTAs) to support the development of a multiphysics inverse model for these EM surveys.
First, we conducted PTAs of the shut-in periods after six injections out of 10 to determine the fracture closure pressure (FCP) or the overburden pressure used in a poroelastic fracture reopening model. Second, we developed a finite-element poroelastic model throughout five injection cycles to include the effect of the cumulative injected volumes due to the previous injections on current fracture dilation in the presence of highly permeable unpropped and propped zones adjacent to the cohesive layer that models fracture reopening. Fracture reopening in this poroelastic model is based on a calibrated traction-separation response using the bottomhole pressure collected in two injection campaigns in 2020 and 2022. We used the outcomes of a previous simulation study of the primary hydraulic-fracturing stimulation to define the dimension of an unpropped fracture zone ahead of the propped fracture area.
The PTAs led to FCPs consistent with those obtained using the injection data collected at the DFPS in 2020. Further, these analyses showed that at later injections, the fracture closure occurred at a later time with respect to the shut-in time, inferring the effect of cumulative injected volumes in previous injections. The simulation results show that considering the propped and unpropped fracture zones improves our poroelastic model in predicting the injection-well BHP. The numerical simulation results demonstrate a significant excess pore pressure near the fracture because of the preceding formation loadings by the previous injections.
The obtained fracture dilation area and fluid pressure distribution provide a basis to improve the development of a multiphysics inverse model. Furthermore, in an iteratively coupled scheme, this pressure distribution can be introduced into EM models to render a holistic view of the causative mechanisms for the surface signal anomalies.