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Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 491–511 | Cite as

Effect of Random Natural Fractures on Hydraulic Fracture Propagation Geometry in Fractured Carbonate Rocks

  • Zhiyuan Liu
  • Shijie Wang
  • Haiyang Zhao
  • Lei Wang
  • Wei Li
  • Yudi Geng
  • Shan Tao
  • Guangqing Zhang
  • Mian Chen
Original Paper

Abstract

Natural fractures have a significant influence on the propagation geometry of hydraulic fractures in fractured reservoirs. True triaxial volumetric fracturing experiments, in which random natural fractures are created by placing cement blocks of different dimensions in a cuboid mold and filling the mold with additional cement to create the final test specimen, were used to study the factors that influence the hydraulic fracture propagation geometry. These factors include the presence of natural fractures around the wellbore, the dimension and volumetric density of random natural fractures and the horizontal differential stress. The results show that volumetric fractures preferentially formed when natural fractures occurred around the wellbore, the natural fractures are medium to long and have a volumetric density of 6–9%, and the stress difference is less than 11 MPa. The volumetric fracture geometries are mainly major multi-branch fractures with fracture networks or major multi-branch fractures (2–4 fractures). The angles between the major fractures and the maximum horizontal in situ stress are 30°–45°, and fracture networks are located at the intersections of major multi-branch fractures. Short natural fractures rarely led to the formation of fracture networks. Thus, the interaction between hydraulic fractures and short natural fractures has little engineering significance. The conclusions are important for field applications and for gaining a deeper understanding of the formation process of volumetric fractures.

Keywords

Fractured reservoir Carbonate rock Natural fracture Volumetric fracturing Fracture propagation 

List of symbols

a

Fracture length

Cw

Cohesion strength of the natural fracture

\(C_{W}^{\text{NF}} (i)\)

Cohesion strength of the natural fracture in location i

h

Fracturing thickness

KI, KII

Stress intensity factors of mode-I and mode-II

KI C, KII C

Rock fracture toughness of mode-I and mode-II

pf

Fluid pressure in the hydraulic fracture

pm

Breakdown pressure of the rock matrix

pNF

Opening pressure of the natural fracture

\(p_{\text{NF}} \left( i \right)\)

Opening pressure of the natural fracture in location i

po

Formation pressure

pw

Bottom hole pressure

Q

Injection rate

r

Fracturing radius

St

Tensile strength of the rock matrix

V

Maximum injection volume of volumetric fracturing in single stage

α

Biot coefficient

β

Angle between the normal nature fracture and σ 1

γ

Component of the polar coordinates at the fracture tip

ΔσH

Horizontal differential stress

Δσmax

Maximum stress difference to overcome in the fracture area

η

Poroelastic stress coefficient

θ

Circumferential angle

μ

Fracturing fluid viscosity

σ1, σ3

Maximum and minimum principle stress at wellbore

σH

Maximum horizontal in situ stress

σh

Minimum horizontal in situ stress

σn

Normal stress acting on the natural fracture

\(\sigma_{n}^{\text{NF}}\)

Stresses induced by the pressurized hydraulic fracture

\(\sigma_{n}^{\text{NF}} (i)\)

Normal stress acting on the natural fracture in location i

\(\sigma_{n}^{\text{NFs}}\)

Stresses induced by the opening and sliding of natural fractures

\(\sigma_{n}^{\infty }\)

Far-field in situ stresses

σr, σθ, σz

Components of wellbore stress in the polar coordinates

σV

Overburden stress

τ

Shearing stress acting on the natural fracture

υ

Poisson’s ratio

ϕ

Angle between the hydraulic fracture and natural fracture

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the National Science and Technology Major Projects (No. 2016ZX05014-005-003).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhiyuan Liu
    • 1
  • Shijie Wang
    • 1
  • Haiyang Zhao
    • 1
  • Lei Wang
    • 1
  • Wei Li
    • 1
  • Yudi Geng
    • 1
  • Shan Tao
    • 1
  • Guangqing Zhang
    • 2
  • Mian Chen
    • 2
  1. 1.Sinopec Northwest Oilfield BranchResearch Institute of Petroleum EngineeringÜrümqiChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Petroleum Resources and ProspectingChina University of PetroleumBeijingChina

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