Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

A New Simulation Approach to Model Complex Fracture Networks in the Shale Formation Considering Gas Desorption

Version 1 : Received: 2 September 2016 / Approved: 3 September 2016 / Online: 3 September 2016 (11:16:08 CEST)

How to cite: Ma, X. A New Simulation Approach to Model Complex Fracture Networks in the Shale Formation Considering Gas Desorption. Preprints 2016, 2016090007. Ma, X. A New Simulation Approach to Model Complex Fracture Networks in the Shale Formation Considering Gas Desorption. Preprints 2016, 2016090007.


Hydraulic fracturing in shale gas reservoirs has usually resulted in complex fracture network. The results of micro-seismic monitoring showed that the nature and degree of fracture complexity must be clearly understood to optimize stimulation design and completion strategy. This is often called stimulated reservoir volume (SRV). In the oil & gas industry, stimulated reservoir volume has made the shale gas exploitation and development so successful, so it is a main technique in shale gas development. The successful exploitation and development of shale gas reservoir has mainly relied on some combined technologies such as horizontal drilling, multi-stage completions, innovative fracturing, and fracture mapping to engineer economic completions. Hydraulic fracturing with large volumes of proppant and fracturing fluids will not only create high conductivity primary fractures but also stimulate adjacent natural fractures. Fracture network forming around every hydraulic fracture yields a stimulated reservoir volume. A model of horizontal wells which was based on a shale gas reservoir after volume fracturing in China was established to analyze the effect of related parameters on the production of multi-fractured horizontal wells in this paper. The adsorbed gas in the shale gas reservoir is simulated by dissolved gas in the immobile oil. The key to simulate SRV is to accurately represent the hydraulic fractures and the induced complex natural fracture system. However, current numerical simulation methods, such as dual porosity modeling, discrete modeling, have the following limitations: 1) time-consuming to set up hydraulic and natural fracture system; 2) large computation time required. In this paper, the shape of the stimulated formation is described by an expanding ellipsoid. Simplified stimulated zones with higher permeability were used to model the hydraulic fracture and the induced complex natural fracture system. In other words, each primary fracture has an enhanced zone, namely SRV zone. This method saves much developing fine-grid time and computing time. Compared with the simulation results of fine-grid reference model, it has shown that this simplified model greatly decreases simulation time and provides accurate results. In order to analyze the impacts of related parameters on production, a series of simulation scenarios and corresponding production performance were designed. Optimal design and analyses of fracturing parameters and the formation parameters have been calculated in this model. Simulation results showed that the number of primary fractures, half length, SRV half-width and drop-down have great effects on the post-fracturing production. Formation anisotropies also control the production performance while the conductivity of the primary fractures and SRV permeability do not have much impact on production performance. The complexity of stimulated reservoir volume has strong effect on gas well productivity. Fracture number mainly affects the early time production performance. The increase of SRV width cannot enlarge the drainage area of the multi-fractured horizontal wells, but it can improve the recovery in its own drainage region. Permeability anisotropies have much effect on production rate, especially the late time production rate. The results prove that horizontal well with volume fracturing plays an irreplaceable role in the development of ultra-low permeability shale gas reservoir.


shale gas; stimulated reservoir volume; fracture parameters optimization; formation parameters


Engineering, Energy and Fuel Technology

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