Abstract

The application of a new Material Point Method (MPM) approach to model the proppant distribution in a reservoir where hydraulic fractures interact with natural fractures is presented and validated with an Eagle Ford well. The new MPM approach uses particles to represent the slurry and its effects on the hydraulic and natural fractures. The particles are injected in the hydraulic fractures and their action causes the hydraulic fractures to propagate and interact with the natural fractures thus providing new pathways for the proppant to move away from the wellbore when optimal natural fracture orientations are encountered. Elementary tests, conducted with the new MPM approach show that fractures oriented in certain directions close to the hydraulic fracture orientation facilitate the proppant placement while other fracture orientations that are perpendicular to the hydraulic fracture or close to perpendicular direction appear to cause screen out. When using the new MPM approach on multiple interacting natural fractures with different orientations the same conclusions observed with one single fractures still hold and only those close to the orientation of the hydraulic fractures promote the placement of the proppant. The application of the new technology to an Eagle Ford well shows that the simulated proppant travels the farthest in the frac stage that is known from other methods and measurements to be the one with the best half fracture length. Furthermore, the examination of the simulated proppant concentration curve versus time shows striking similarities with the actual slurry concentration measured at the same well. These encouraging results show that the macroscopic modeling of proppant distribution using the new MPM technology could help improve our understanding of the complex hydraulic fracturing process and the resulting proppant distribution.

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