Numerical analysis of the effects of bedded interfaces on hydraulic fracture propagation in tight multilayered reservoirs considering hydro-mechanical coupling

B. Xu, J. Chen, Y. Ju, Y. Wang, Y. Yang
Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Adaptive finite element-discrete element method, Bedded interfaces, hydraulic fractures, Hydro-mechanical coupling, Microseismicity analysis, Multilayered reservoirs

Tight multilayered hydrocarbon reservoirs are typical in unconventional oil and gas extraction, in which widespread bedded interfaces have crucial effects on hydraulic fracturing propagation behavior. However, because of the complex natural properties of bedded interfaces in natural layers, such as geometric structure, distribution, strength, and contact conditions, their effects on fracture propagation and governing mechanisms are not well understood. In particular, traditional theoretical models are not suitable for characterizing the propagation behavior of hydraulic fractures in multilayered reservoirs and conventional numerical methods cannot effectively simulate the interactions between hydraulic fractures and bedded interfaces. In this study, the adaptive finite element-discrete element method was introduced to probe the effects of bedded interfaces on hydraulic fracture propagation. Different numerical models of five deviation angles of representative bedded interfaces were established based on the geometric and physical parameters of natural multilayered reservoir rocks. Some novel techniques (local remeshing near the fracture tips to guarantee accurate fracture propagation path, mesh coarsening to improve the computation efficiency, characterization technology for bedded interfaces and contacts between layers, and hydro-mechanical coupling between fluid flow in fracture network and porous rock matrix in the fracturing process) were comprehensively utilized. Furthermore, the fracturing-induced microseismic damaged and contact slip events were identified based on the computed moment tensors to detect the interactions between the hydraulic fractures and bedded interfaces. The results of the cases with single and multiple perforations in horizontal wells show that the bedded interfaces disturb the stress continuity, reselect propagation direction of hydraulic fractures in multiple perforations, induce hydraulic fracture growth, and promote the occurrences of fracturing-induced damaged and contact slip events. The offset and deflection of hydraulic fractures increase with increasing deviation angles between hydraulic fractures and bedded interfaces and the offset vanishes when the deviation angle is 0°.

Keywords: Multilayered reservoirs, Bedded interfaces, Hydraulic fractures, Hydro-mechanical coupling,Microseismicity analysis, Adaptive finite element-discrete element method,

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