Hydraulic Fracture Optimization with a Pseudo-3D Model in Multi-layered Lithology
Hydraulic Fracturing is a technique to accelerate production and enhance ultimate recovery of oil and gas while fracture geometry is an important aspect in hydraulic fracturing design and optimization. Systematic design procedures are available based on the so-called two-dimensional models (2D) focus on the optimization of fracture length and width, assuming one can estimate a value for fracture height, while so-called pseudo three dimensional (p-3D) models suitable for multi-layered reservoirs aim to maximize well production by optimizing fracture geometry, including fracture height, half-length and width at the end of the stimulation treatment. The proposed p-3D approach to design integrates four parts: 1) containment layers discretization to allow for a range of plausible fracture heights, 2) the Unified Fracture Design (UFD) model to calculate the fracture half-length and width, 3) the PKN or KGD models to predict hydraulic fracture geometry and the associated net pressure and other treatment parameters, and, finally, 4) Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM) to calculate fracture height. The aim is to find convergence of fracture height and net pressure. Net pressure distribution plays an important role when the fracture is propagating in the reservoir. In multi-layered reservoirs, the net pressure of each layer varies as a result of different rock properties. This study considers the contributions of all layers to the stress intensity factor at the fracture tips to find the final equilibrium height defined by the condition where the fracture toughness equals the calculated stress intensity factor based on LEFM. Other than maximizing production, another obvious application of this research is to prevent the fracture from propagating into unintended layers (i.e. gas cap and/or aquifer). Therefore, this study can aid fracture design by pointing out: (1) Treating pressure needed to optimize fracture geometry, (2) The containment top and bottom layers of a multi-layered reservoir, (3) The upwards and downwards growth of the fracture tip from the crack center.
Yang, Mei (2011). Hydraulic Fracture Optimization with a Pseudo-3D Model in Multi-layered Lithology. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from