Energies (Jan 2021)

A New Modeling Framework for Multi-Scale Simulation of Hydraulic Fracturing and Production from Unconventional Reservoirs

  • J. T. Birkholzer,
  • J. Morris,
  • J. R. Bargar,
  • F. Brondolo,
  • A. Cihan,
  • D. Crandall,
  • H. Deng,
  • W. Fan,
  • W. Fu,
  • P. Fu,
  • A. Hakala,
  • Y. Hao,
  • J. Huang,
  • A. D. Jew,
  • T. Kneafsey,
  • Z. Li,
  • C. Lopano,
  • J. Moore,
  • G. Moridis,
  • S. Nakagawa,
  • V. Noël,
  • M. Reagan,
  • C. S. Sherman,
  • R. Settgast,
  • C. Steefel,
  • M. Voltolini,
  • W. Xiong,
  • J. Ciezobka

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 3
p. 641


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This paper describes a new modeling framework for microscopic to reservoir-scale simulations of hydraulic fracturing and production. The approach builds upon a fusion of two existing high-performance simulators for reservoir-scale behavior: the GEOS code for hydromechanical evolution during stimulation and the TOUGH+ code for multi-phase flow during production. The reservoir-scale simulations are informed by experimental and modeling studies at the laboratory scale to incorporate important micro-scale mechanical processes and chemical reactions occurring within the fractures, the shale matrix, and at the fracture-fluid interfaces. These processes include, among others, changes in stimulated fracture permeability as a result of proppant behavior rearrangement or embedment, or mineral scale precipitation within pores and microfractures, at µm to cm scales. In our new modeling framework, such micro-scale testing and modeling provides upscaled hydromechanical parameters for the reservoir scale models. We are currently testing the new modeling framework using field data and core samples from the Hydraulic Fracturing Field Test (HFTS), a recent field-based joint research experiment with intense monitoring of hydraulic fracturing and shale production in the Wolfcamp Formation in the Permian Basin (USA). Below, we present our approach coupling the reservoir simulators GEOS and TOUGH+ informed by upscaled parameters from micro-scale experiments and modeling. We provide a brief overview of the HFTS and the available field data, and then discuss the ongoing application of our new workflow to the HFTS data set.