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Model and Experimental Investigation for Using Micro Proppant Pillars for Uncertainty Analysis in the Fractures

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000248029D
Publication Date: 2016-Oct-19
Document File: 9 page(s) / 798K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The objective of this study is to provide a new model to simulate and observe the flow behavior through the micro-proppant mini-pillars formed within the microfractures in shale formations during a hydraulic fracturing treatment to keep them open. The experiment results are then used to verify the results obtained from the 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. The invention is (1) a new model for the fluid flow around deformable proppant pillars formed inside the flexible fractures (2) determining the most sensitive factors for permeability modification by comparing the numerical results with experiments for field scale matching. These factors are very useful for uncertainty analysis. The uniqueness of this invention is the CFD model and the determination of the critical factors for conductivity. This is the first time modeling and experiments were utilized for uncertainty analysis for micro proppant.

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Model and Experimental Investigation for Using Micro Proppant Pillars for Uncertainty Analysis in the Fractures

Abstract

The objective of this study is to provide a new model to simulate and observe the flow behavior through the micro-proppant mini-pillars formed within the microfractures in shale formations during a hydraulic fracturing treatment to keep them open. The experiment results are then used to verify the results obtained from the 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. The invention is (1) a new model for the fluid flow around deformable proppant pillars formed inside the flexible fractures (2) determining the most sensitive factors for permeability modification by comparing the numerical results with experiments for field scale matching. These factors are very useful for uncertainty analysis. The uniqueness of this invention is the CFD model and the determination of the critical factors for conductivity. This is the first time modeling and experiments were utilized for uncertainty analysis for micro proppant.

Introduction

Proppant conductivity in the fractures at closure is very important to determine the ultimate reservoir recovery of hydrocarbons in the reservoirs. The proppant distribution inside the fracture determines the conductivity. In this paper, one of the important proppant distributions patterns is considered. Proppant-free channel fracturing approach, which undergoes proppant agglomeration to form pillars that support the fracture and prevent it from closure, enhances the conductivity due to void spaces. The purpose of this study is to perform mathematical modeling of the permeability resulting from the proppant pillars and compare with the experimental data performed for validation using split cores of Eagle Ford outcrop sample. The numerical model estimates the proppant embedment due to the fracture deformation.

Micro-proppant mini-pillars (Fig. 1) are a set of bridges formed on a fracture surface to prevent the microfracture from closing, thus enhancing the conductivity. The bridges formed inside the microfracture are connecting together the fracture surfaces while supporting them to achieve the desired conductivity. This network of pillars trapped in the microfracture is deformable solids. It is through the support of these pillars that the liquids (or gas) flow inside the fractures.

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Fig. 1-Fracture geometry with proppant pillars.

Benefits

Modeling and Laboratory testing indicated a number of benefits to the system. These benefits include but are not limited to the following list.

• Enhanced conductivity of the proppant pack

• Better vertical proppant distribution in the fracture

• Mitigates embedment of proppant into fracture face or intrusion of formation material into proppant pack to maintain propped fracture width

Experiment

3D Model

The 3D flow modeling is performed using Multi-physics simulator. A new 3D mathematic model is developed coupling the solids and...