This paper introduces a 3D hydraulic fracturing propagation model (3D-HFPM) for evaluating fracture extension, geometry, stress response, fracture spacing, and potential for refracturing. The model is illustrated with data of the Horn River shale of Canada.

The model is developed using a combination of finite element method (FEM) and boundary element method (BEM) for evaluating fluid-flow, fracture deformation, and stress change in the reservoir. The model is calibrated using a limited amount of microseismic observations and recreate the fracture network when microseismic data are unavailable.

An adapting meshing algorithm is incorporated to improve the capacity of the model to handle large and complex fracture networks such as the ones found in low permeability reservoirs.

The continuity of fracture propagation and fluid leak-off during stimulation may be high enough to connect different production intervals and to create interference between stages, especially in wells with small path fracture spacing and multi-level completions.

The comparison between the propagation model and microseismic data shows good agreement as the number of events increases as the fracture propagates into the reservoir. However, using only microseismic data to calculate the extension of the hydraulic fracture results in an overestimation of the fracture length.

The model quantifies the altered stress zone, which is helpful to determine possible fracture reorientation and spacing. The evaluation of stress shadow and fracture reorientation reveals the advantages of refracturing using new over old perforations. The operation restores fracture conductivity and increases the fracture network as well as the drainage areas leading to an economic operation.

The model improves the characterization of the Stimulated Reservoir Volume (SRV) in tight and shale reservoirs in those cases where microseismic data are scarce. Furthermore, the model is a viable tool for evaluating potential refracturing candidates.

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