Numerical simulation of hydraulic fracture propagation in tight oil reservoirs by volumetric fracturing
Volumetric fracturing is a primary stimulation technology for economical and effective exploitation of tight oil reservoirs. The main mechanism is to connect natural fractures to generate a fracture network system which can enhance the stimulated reservoir volume.
By using the combined finite and discrete element method, a model was built to describe hydraulic fracture propagation in tight oil reservoirs. Considering the effect of horizontal stress difference, number and spacing of perforation clusters, injection rate, and the density of natural fractures on fracture propagation, we used this model to simulate the fracture propagation in a tight formation of a certain oilfield. Simulation results show that when the horizontal stress difference is lower than 5 MPa, it is beneficial to form a complex fracture network system.
If the horizontal stress difference is higher than 6 MPa, it is easy to form a planar fracture system; with high horizontal stress difference, increasing the number of perforation clusters is beneficial to open and connect more natural fractures, and to improve the complexity of fracture network and the stimulated reservoir volume (SRV). As the injection rate increases, the effect of volumetric fracturing may be improved; the density of natural fractures may only have a great influence on the effect of volume stimulation in a low horizontal stress difference.
Keywords: tight oil reservoir, volumetric fracturing, fracture propagation, horizontal stress difference, stimulated reservoir volume.