Research Papers: Petroleum Wells-Drilling/Production/Construction

An Analytical Solution of Fracture-Induced Stress and Its Application in Shale Gas Exploitation

[+] Author and Article Information
Jia Li, Boyun Guo

College of Engineering,
University of Louisiana at Lafayette,
P.O. Box 44690,
Lafayette, LA 70504

Yin Feng

Louisiana State University,
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 6, 2013; final manuscript received September 27, 2013; published online November 26, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Christopher J. Wajnikonis.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 136(2), 023102 (Nov 26, 2013) (6 pages) Paper No: JERT-13-1229; doi: 10.1115/1.4025714 History: Received August 06, 2013; Revised September 27, 2013

Natural gas and oil exploration and production from shale formations have gained a great momentum in many regions in the past five years. Producing hydrocarbons from shale is challenging because of low productivity of wells. Optimal design of transverse fractures is a key to achieving successful well completion and field economics. This paper presents a simple analytical method to determine the minimum fracture spacing required for preventing fracture-merging. Result of the analytical method has been verified by a Finite Element Method for a typical fracturing condition in a shale gas formation. Field performances of shale gas wells are found consistent with what suggested by this work. The analytical method presented in this paper can replace the sophisticated solutions and time-consuming numerical simulators in calculating stresses around hydraulic fractures and identifying the minimum required fracture spacing. The method can be applied to designing of multifrac completions in shale plays to optimize placement of transverse fractures for maximizing well productivity and hydrocarbon recovery. This work provides engineers a simple tool for optimizing their well completion design in shale gas reservoirs.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Comparison of fracture-induced stresses in the off-fracture trend direction

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Calculated stress profile in the off-fracture trend direction using Eq. (1) for the wide fracture

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Calculated minimum fracture spacing using Eq. (2) with Manchanda-Sharma's [15] data

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Sketch of a compressed rock region due to pressure-fracturing



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