• 3-D modeling of interaction between a hydraulic fracture and multiple natural fractures using finite element analysis

      Talukder, Debashish; Awoleke, Obadare; Ahmadi, Mohabbat; Hanks, Catherine (2019-05)
      A three-layered, 3-D geo-mechanical model was developed using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software (ABAQUS) to simulate single stage hydraulic fracturing treatment in a synthetic fractured model based on available shale information from literature. The main objectives of this study were- (i) to investigate the interaction between a hydraulic fracture (HF) orthogonally intersecting two parallel natural fractures (NF) and (ii) to identify significant parameters and their 2-factor interactions that affect HF propagation in the presence of multiple NFs. Based on literature review, an initial set of 20 parameters (a combination of geologic and drilling parameters) was selected. Those parameters were believed to affect the hydraulic fracture propagation in a naturally fractured model. Experiments were conducted in two stages. First-order order numerical experiments were conducted under the Plackett-Burman experimental design. Central Composite Design (CCD) was used to check curvature and to take care of non-linearity existing in the dataset. A stepwise sensitivity analysis and parametric study were conducted to identify significant parameters and their interactions. When the HF interacted with NFs, there were three possible outcomes- the HF either got arrested, dilated or crossed the NF. The overall hydraulic fracture geometry depended on the type of interaction behavior occurring at the intersection. The NF leakoff coefficient was the most significant factor in the 1st order experiments that affected the HF propagation in the presence of multiple NFs. CCD results suggested that NF strength at the bottom shale layer and injection fluid viscosity significantly influenced the HF opening in the presence of the natural fractures. The most significant two-factor interaction was the interaction between stress contrast and Young's modulus of the overburden shale (Ytop). This study will help understand the interaction behavior between a HF and two pre-existing NFs. The parametric study will provide a valuable insight for hydraulic fracturing treatment in a naturally fractured formation.