A Semianalytical Model for Production Simulation From Nonplanar Hydraulic-Fracture Geometry in Tight Oil Reservoirs Academic Article uri icon


  • Summary Two key technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have led to the economic production of unconventional resources such as shale gas and tight oil. In reality, a nonplanar hydraulic-fracture geometry with varying fracture width and fracture permeability is created during the hydraulic-fracturing process. However, it is challenging to simulate well performance from the nonplanar fracture geometry. For the sake of simplicity, the nonplanar fracture geometry is often represented by ideal planar fracture geometry with constant fracture width, which one can easily handle analytically, semianalytically, and numerically. However, such ideal fracture geometry is inadequate to capture the physics of the transient flow behavior of the nonplanar fracture geometry. Although significant efforts were made in recent years to numerically model well performance from the complex fracture geometry, these approaches are still challenging to model the nonplanar fracture geometry with varying width because of a large considerable fracture-gridding issues and an expensive computation cost. In addition, the effect of nonplanar fracture geometry on well productivity and transient flow behavior was not reported in the literature. Hence, a model to handle the nonplanar fracture geometry by considering varying fracture width and fracture permeability is still lacking in the petroleum industry. Zhou et al. (2014) proposed a semianalytical model to handle the complex fracture geometry with constant fracture width. However, the semianalytical model did not consider the effects of stress-dependent fracture conductivity and the nonplanar fracture geometry as well as planar fracture geometry with varying fracture width along the fracture. In this work, we extended the semianalytical model to simulate production from the nonplanar fracture geometry as well as planar fracture geometry with varying width. In addition, the effect of stress-dependent fracture conductivity was implemented in the model. We verified the semianalytical model against a numerical reservoir simulator for single planar fracture with constant width. We performed two case studies. The first case contains a comparison of two planar fractures, one with constant fracture width and another with varying fracture width. In the second study, we compared two fractures with different fracture geometries such as planar fracture geometry and nonplanar fracture geometry, which were generated from the fracture-propagation model. In addition, transient flow regimes were investigated on the basis of a log-log graph of the dimensionless pressure drop and pressure-drop derivative vs. the dimensionless time. This work can provide critical insights into understanding the well performance from tight oil reservoirs with the nonplanar hydraulic-fracture geometry.

author list (cited authors)

  • Yu, W., Wu, K., & Sepehrnoori, K

complete list of authors

  • Yu, Wei||Wu, Kan||Sepehrnoori, Kamy

publication date

  • January 1, 2016 11:11 AM