Olorode, Olufemi Morounfopefoluwa (2011-12). Numerical Modeling of Fractured Shale-Gas and Tight-Gas Reservoirs Using Unstructured Grids. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Various models featuring horizontal wells with multiple induced fractures have been proposed to characterize flow behavior over time in tight gas and shale gas systems. Currently, there is little consensus regarding the effects of non-ideal fracture geometries and coupled primary-secondary fracture interactions on reservoir performance in these unconventional gas reservoirs.

    This thesis provides a grid construction tool to generate high-resolution unstructured meshes using Voronoi grids, which provides the flexibility required to accurately represent complex geologic domains and fractures in three dimensions. Using these Voronoi grids, the interaction between propped hydraulic fractures and secondary "stress-release" fractures were evaluated. Additionally, various primary fracture configurations were examined, where the fractures may be non-planar or non-orthogonal.

    For this study, a numerical model was developed to assess the potential performance of tight gas and shale gas reservoirs. These simulations utilized up to a half-million grid-blocks and consider a period of up to 3,000 years in some cases. The aim is to provide very high-definition reference numerical solutions that will exhibit virtually all flow regimes we can expect in these unconventional gas reservoirs. The simulation results are analyzed to identify production signatures and flow regimes using diagnostic plots, and these interpretations are confirmed using pressure maps where useful.

    The coupled primary-secondary fracture systems with the largest fracture surface areas are shown to give the highest production in the traditional "linear flow" regime (which occurs for very high conductivity vertical fracture cases). The non-ideal hydraulic fracture geometries are shown to yield progressively lower production as the angularity of these fractures increases. Hence, to design optimum fracture completions, we should endeavor to keep the fractures as orthogonal to the horizontal well as possible.

    This work expands the current understanding of flow behavior in fractured tight-gas and shale-gas systems and may be used to optimize fracture and completion design, to validate analytical models and to facilitate more accurate reserves estimation.

publication date

  • December 2011