Influence of the Effective Vertical Stresses on Hydraulic Fracture Initiation Pressures in Shale and Engineered Geothermal Systems Explorations

  • Gayani GunarathnaEmail author
  • Bruno Gonçalves da Silva
Technical Note


In recent years, hydrocarbon extraction is relying progressively more on hydraulic fracturing stimulation of shale reservoirs to increase their permeability and, therefore, their productivity. Engineered geothermal systems (EGS) have also been using hydraulic fracturing to create and mobilize fractures in the hot rock through which water is circulated to subsequently recover its heat at the surface. Hydraulic fracturing consists of the injection of fluid into rock at an adequate pressure to create new fractures as well as to open, or mobilize, existing ones. These newly formed and mobilized fractures can serve as highly permeable pathways to enhance the reservoir productivity (Frash 2007). Taking advantage of the hydraulic fracturing technology, shale oil and gas production have grown considerably in the past decade (McClure 2012) and EGS have been increasingly used in pilot developments (Tester 2006). While hydraulic fracturing has been extensively used in field...


Hydraulic fracturing Shale stimulation Enhanced geothermal systems Breakdown pressure 



The authors would like to express their gratitude for the support from NSF, through award number 1,738,081, under which the present study was conducted.


  1. Agapito J, Hardy M (1982) Induced horizontal stress method of pillar design in oil shale. In: 15th oil shale symposium, Colorado School of Mines, pp. 191–197)Google Scholar
  2. ASTM (2004) Standard test method for determination of the in-situ stress in rock using the hydraulic fracturing method. Annual Book of ASTM Standards D4645:1–8. Google Scholar
  3. Badra, H. (2011). Fracture characterization and analog modeling of the woodford shale in the arbuckle mountains, Oklahoma, USA. In: AAPG international conference and exhibition. Milan, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  4. Baisch S, Voros R (2009) AP 3000 report—induced seismicity. Accessed 10 Nov 2017
  5. Bendall B, Hogarth R, Holl H, Mcmahon A, Larking A, Reid P (2014) Australian experiences in EGS permeability enhancement—a review of 3 case studies. In: Proceedings of 39th stanford geothermal workshop, pp 1–10Google Scholar
  6. Berryman JG (2005) Poroelastic fluid effects on shear for rocks with soft anisotropy. Geophys J Int 161(3):881–890. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Breit VS, Stright Jr DH, Dozzo JA (1992) Reservoir characterization of the bakken shale from modeling of horizontal well production interference data. In: SPE rocky mountain regional meeting. Casper, Wyoming: Society of Petroleum Engineers.
  8. Brown DW (2009) Hot dry rock geothermal energy: important lessons from Fenton Hill. In: Thirty-fourth workshop on geothermal reservoir engineering, 3–6Google Scholar
  9. Brown DW, Duchane DV, Heiken G, Hriscu VT, Kron A (2012) Mining the earth’s heat: hot dry rock geothermal energy. Mining the earth’s heat: hot dry rock geothermal energy. Springer, New York. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brudy M, Zoback MD, Fuchs K, Rummel F, Baumg’artner J (1997) Estimation of the complete stress tensor to 8 km depth in the KTB scientific drill holes’ Implications for crustal strength. J Geophys Res 102(B8):18453–18475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Charles W, Bob B, Mike E, Tom L (2004) Improved horizontal well stimulations in the bakken formation, williston basin, montana. In: Proceedings of SPE annual technical conference and exhibition.
  12. Charléty J, Cuenot N, Dorbath L, Dorbath C, Haessler H, Frogneux M (2007) Large earthquakes during hydraulic stimulations at the geothermal site of Soultz-sous-Forêts. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 44(8):1091–1105. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cramer DD (1986) Reservoir characteristics and stimulation techniques in the bakken formation and adjacent beds, billings nose area, Williston Basin. Soc Petrol Eng. Google Scholar
  14. Detournay E, Cheng AHD (1993) Fundamentals of poroelasticity. In: Fairhurst C (ed) Comprehensive rock engineering: principles, practice and projects. Analysis and design methods, vol 2. Pergamon, Oxford/New York, pp 113–171Google Scholar
  15. Dezayes C, Gentier S, Genter A (2005) Deep geothermal energy in Western Europe: the soultz project. BRGM/RP-54227-FRGoogle Scholar
  16. Doherty P, Harrison R, Wallroth T (1994) Sensitivity study of the economics of heat pump basedhot dry rock (HDR) heating in Sweden. Report Fj-13Google Scholar
  17. Eliasson T, Sundquist U, Wallroth T (1988) Rock mass characteristics at the HDR geothermal research site in the Bohus granite, SW SwedenGoogle Scholar
  18. Engelder T, Lash GG, Uzcátegui RS (2009) Joint sets that enhance production from middle and upper devonian gas shales of the Appalachian Basin. AAPG Bull 93(7):857–889. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fehler MC (1989) Stress control of seismicity patterns observed during hydraulic fracturing experiments at the Fenton Hill hot dry rock geothermal energy site, New Mexico. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech 26(3–4):211–219. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Feng Y, Gray KE (2017) Discussion on field injectivity tests during drilling. Rock Mech Rock Eng 50(2):493–498. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fonseca ER, Farinas MJ (2013) Hydraulic fracturing simulation case study and post frac analysis in the haynesville shale. In: SPE hydraulic fracturing technology conference, (Xl).
  22. Fontaine J, Johnson N, Schoen D (2008) Design, execution, and evaluation of a “Typical” marcellus shale slickwater stimulation: a case history. Soc Petrol Eng. Google Scholar
  23. Frash L (2007) Laboratory-scale study of hydraulic fracturing in heterogeneous media for enhanced geothermal systems and general well stimulation (Ph.D Thesis). Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado School of MinesGoogle Scholar
  24. Gale JFW, Reed RM, Holder J (2007) Natural fractures in the barnett shale and their importance for hydraulic fracture treatments. AAPG Bull 91(4):603–622. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gray I (2017) Effective stress in rock. In: Wesseloo J, Wesseloo J (eds), eighth international conference on deep and high stress mining. perth: australian centre for geomechanics PP—Perth.
  26. Grigsby CO, Tester JW (1989) Rock-water interactions in the Fenton Hill, New Mexico, hot dry rock geothermal systems. II. Modeling geochemical behavior. Geothermics 18(5–6):657–676. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Haimson B, Fairhurst C (1967) Initiation and extension of hydraulic fractures in rocks. Soc Petrol Eng 7(03):310–318. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Haimson B, Zhao Z (1991) Effect of borehole size and pressurization rate on hydraulic fracturing breakdown pressure. In: The 32nd U.S. symposium on rock mechanics (USRMS), 10–12 July.  American Rock Mechanics Association, pp 191–200Google Scholar
  29. Häring MO, Schanz U, Ladner F, Dyer BC (2008) Characterisation of the Basel 1 enhanced geothermal system. Geothermics 37(5):469–495. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hill AJ, Gravestock DI (1995) Cooper basin. Geolo South Australia 2:78–87Google Scholar
  31. Hirschmann G, Duyster J, Zulauf G, Kontny A, de Wall H, Lapp M, Harms U (2006) The KTB superdeep borehole: petrography and structure of a 9-km-deep crustal section. Geol Rundsch 86(S1):S3–S14. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hopkins CW, Holditch SA, Hill DG (1998) Characterization of an induced hydraulic fracture completion in a naturally fractured antrim shale reservoir, 177–185.
  33. Hubbert M, Willis D (1957) Mechanics of hydraulic fracturing. Soc Petrol Eng 9(6):153–166. Google Scholar
  34. O’Brien J, Duyster P, Grauert J, Schreyer W, Stockhert B, Weber K (1997) Crustal evolution of the KTB drill site: from oldest relies to the late Hercynian granites. J Geophys Res 102(B8):18203–18220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jin Z, Li W, Jin C, Hambleton J, Cusatis G (2017) Elastic, strength, and fracture properties of marcellus shale. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 109(17):124–137Google Scholar
  36. Jost ML, Büßelberg T, Jost Ö, Harjes H-P (1998) Source parameters of injection-induced microearthquakes at 9 km depth at the KTB deep drilling site, Germany. Bull Seismol Soc Am 88(3):815–832Google Scholar
  37. Jung R, Orzol J, Jatho R, Kehrer P, Tischner T (2005) The GeneSys-project: extraction of geothermal heat from tight sediments. In: Proceedings, 30th workshop on geothermal reservoir engineering, Stanford University, (April), 24–29Google Scholar
  38. Jupe AJ, Green ASP, Wallroth T (1992) Induced microseismicity and reservoir growth at the Fjällbacka hot dry rocks project, Sweden. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 29(4):343–354. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kaieda H, Sasaki S, Wyborn D (2010) Comparison of characteristics of micro-earthquakes observed during hydraulic stimulation operations in Ogachi, Hijiori and Cooper Basin HDR projects. World Geothermal Congress 2010(April):1–6Google Scholar
  40. Kitano K, Hori Y, Kaieda H (2000) Outline of the ogachi hdr project and character of the reservoirs. In: Proceedings of the world geothermal congress, Kyushu – Tohoku, Japan, pp 3773–3778Google Scholar
  41. Konstantinos P (2005) Petrographic characterization of the Barnett Shale, Fort Worth Basin, Texas (MS.c Thesis). University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TexasGoogle Scholar
  42. Kuhlman RD, Perez JI, Claiborne EB (1992) Microfracture stress tests, anelastic strain recovery, and differential strain analysis assist in bakken shale horizontal drilling program. SPE Rocky Mt Reg Meet. Google Scholar
  43. Laughlin AW, Eddy AC, Laney R, Aldrich MJ (1983) Geology of the Fenton Hill, New Mexico, hot dry rock site. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 15:21–41. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Matthew L, Ave B, Hall B, Timothy R (2009) Lithostratigraphy and petrophysics of the devonian marcellus interval in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. In: 9th annual GCSSEPM foundation Bob F. perkins research conference. Houston, TXGoogle Scholar
  45. Mayerhofer MJ, Stegent NA, Barth JO, Ryan KM (2011) Integrating fracture diagnostics and engineering data in the marcellus shale. In: SPE annual technical conference and exhibition, 30 October-2 November, Denver, Colorado, USA, 1–15.
  46. McClure, M. W. (2012). Modeling and characterization of hydraulic stimulation and induced seismicity in geothermal and shale gas reservoirs (Ph.D Thesis). Stanford UniversityGoogle Scholar
  47. McClure MW, Horne RN (2014) An investigation of stimulation mechanisms in enhanced geothermal systems. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 72:242–260. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Montgomery SL, Jarvie DM, Bowker KA, Pollastro RM (2005) Mississippian Barnett Shale, Fort Worth basin, north-central Texas: gas-shale play with multi-trillion cubic foot potential. Am Asso Petrol Geol Bull 89(2):155–175. Google Scholar
  49. Nunn J (2012) Burial and thermal history of the haynesville shale: implications for overpressure, gas generation, and natural hydrofracture. Gulf Coast Assoc Geol Soc 1(May):81–96Google Scholar
  50. Phillips Z, Halverson R, Strauss S, Layman J, Green T (2007) A case study in the bakken formation: changes to hydraulic fracture stimulation treatments result in improved oil production and reduced treatment costs. In: Rocky mountain oil & gas technology symposium. Society of Petroleum Engineers.
  51. Richards JA, Walter LM, Budai JM, Abriola LM (1994) Large and small scale structural controls on fluid migration in the Antrim Shale, Northern Michigan basin. Advances in Antrim Shale Technology, Workshop, sponsored by Gas Research Institute in Cooperation with the Michigan Section Society of Petroleum Engineers, Mt. Pleasant, MichiganGoogle Scholar
  52. Ryder RT (1990) Fracture patterns and their origin in the upper devonian antrim shale gas reservoir of the michigan basin: a reviewGoogle Scholar
  53. Scott PP Jr, Bearden W, Howard GC (1953) Rock rupture as affected by fluid properties. J Petrol Technol 5:111–124. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Shen B (2008) Borehole breakouts and in situ stresses. In: Potvin R, Carter Y, Dyskin J, Jeffrey A (ed) Proceedings of the first southern hemisphere international rock mechanics symposium, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp 407–418Google Scholar
  55. Shin K, Ito H, Oikawa Y (2000) Stress stae at the Ogachi site. In: Proceedings world geothermal congress. Kyushu—Tohoku, JapanGoogle Scholar
  56. Siebrits E, Elbel JL, Hoover RS, Diyashev IR, Griffin LG, Demetrius SL, Hill DG (2000) Refracture reorientation enhances gas production in barnett shale tight gas wells. Soc Petrol Eng. Google Scholar
  57. Tester JW (2006) The future of geothermal energy. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Accessed 10 Oct 2017
  58. Tischner T, Krug S, Hesshaus A, Jatho R, Bischoff M, Wonik T (2013) Massive fracturing in low permeable sedimentary rock in the GeneSys project. In: Proceedings of the thirty-eighth workshop on geothermal reservoir engineering geothermal reservoir engineering. Stanford University, Stanford, Califonia, USAGoogle Scholar
  59. U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2011). Review of Emerging Resources: U.S. Shale Gas and Shale Oil Plays. Accessed 12 Oct 2017
  60. Valley B, Evans KF (2007) Stress state at Soultz-Sous-Forets to 5 km depth from wellbore failure and hydraulic observations. In: Proceedings, thirty-second workshop on geothermal reservoir engineering stanford university, Stanford, California, SGP-TR-183Google Scholar
  61. Vidal J, Genter A, Duringer P, Schmittbuhl J, Strasbourg U, De, Descartes R, Cedex F-S (2015) Natural permeability in fractured triassic sediments of the upper rhine graben from deep geothermal boreholes. In: World geothermal congress 2015 Melbourne, Australia, 19–25 April 2015, (April), 1–13Google Scholar
  62. Wagner GA, Coyle DA, Duyster J, Peterek A, Schroder B, Wemmer K, Welzel B (1997) Post-variscan thermal and tectonic evolution of the KTB site and its surroundings. J Geophys Res 102(B8):18221–18232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wallroth T (1990) Rock stress measurements at the HDR research site at Fjallbacka, Sweden. In: Baria R (ed) Camborne school of mines international hot dry rock conference. Robertson Scientific Publications, London, pp 98–107Google Scholar
  64. Wallroth T, Eliasson T, Sundquist U (1999) Hot dry rock research experiments at Fjällbacka, Sweden. Geothermics 28(August):617–625. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wang C, Zeng Z (2011) Overview of Geomechanical Properties of Bakken Formation. In:Williston Basin, North Dakota. 45th U.S. Rock mechanics/geomechanics symposium. San Francisco, California: American Rock Mechanics AssociationGoogle Scholar
  66. Wyborn D, De Graaf L, Davidson S, Hann S (2005) Development of Australia’ s first hot fractured rock (HFR) underground heat exchanger, Cooper Basin, South Australia. Workshop Geothermal Congress 2005(April):24–29Google Scholar
  67. Xin T (2014) Experimental and numerical study on evolution of biots coefficient during failure process for brittle rocks. Rock Mech Rock Eng 48:1289–1296Google Scholar
  68. French S, Rodgerson J, Feik C (2014) Re-fracturing horizontal shale wells: case history of a woodford shale pilot project. Soc Petrol Eng. Google Scholar
  69. Yeager BB, Meyer BR (2010) Injection/fall-off testing in the marcellus shale: using reservoir knowledge to improve operational efficiency. SPE Eastern Regional Meeting, 13-15 October 2010, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, (1975), 1–19.
  70. You M (2015) Strength criterion for rocks under compressive-tensile stresses and its application. J Rock Mech Geotech Eng 7(4):434–439. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zagorski WA, Wrightsone GR, Bowman DC (2012) The appalachian basin marcellus gas play: its history of development, geologic controls on production, and future potential as a world-class reservoir. Am Assoc Petrol Geologists Bull 97:98–107Google Scholar
  72. Ziegler M, Valley B, Evans KF (2015) Characterisation of natural fractures an fracture zones of the basel EGS reservoir inferred from geophysical logging of the basel-1 well. In: World Geothermal Congress, April 19–25, Melbourne, Australia, (April), 19–25Google Scholar
  73. Zoback MD, Moos D, Mastin L, Anderson RN (1985) Well Bore Breakouts and in-Situ Stress. J Geophys Res 90(B7):5523–5530. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA

Personalised recommendations