Numerical Analysis of Complex Fracture Propagation Under Temporary Plugging Condition in Natural Fractured Reservoir

Lu, Cong (Southwest Petroleum University) | Li, Junfeng (Southwest Petroleum University) | Luo, Yang (SINOPEC Southwest Oil & Gas field Company) | Chen, Chi (Southwest Petroleum University) | Xiao, Yongjun (Sichuan Changning Gas Development Co. Ltd) | Liu, Wang (Sichuan Changning Gas Development Co. Ltd) | Lu, Hongguang (Huayou Group Company Oilfied Chemistry Company of Southwest) | Guo, Jianchun (Southwest Petroleum University)



Temporary plugging during fracturing operation has become an efficient method to create complex fracture network in tight reservoirs with natural fractures. Accurate prediction of network propagation process plays a critical role in the plugging and fracturing parameters optimization. In this paper, the interaction between one single hydraulic fracture within temporary plugging segment and multiple natural fractures was simulated using a complex fracture development model. A new opening criterion for NF penetrated by non-orthogonal HF already was implemented to identify the dominate propagation direction of HF under plugging condition. Fracture displacements and induced stress field were determined by the three dimensional displacement discontinuity method, and the Gauss-Jordan and Levenberg-Marquardt methods were combined to handle the coupling between rock mechanics and fluid flow numerically. Numerical results demonstrate that the opening and development of NF are mainly dominated by its approaching angle and relative location. For a certain NF crossed by HF within plugging segment, HF tends to propagate along the relative upper part when the approaching angle is less than 90°, otherwise the lower part will be easier to open. The farther interaction position is away from HF tip, the easier NF with approaching angle less than 30° or larger than 150° can be open, and the outcome will be opposite if the approaching angle is larger than 45° or less than 135°. Higher approaching angle and plugging strength is necessary for expanding the position scope of NF that can be opened around HF. Under the impact of plugging, fluid pressure in HF plummets at the beginning of NF opening and keeps decreasing until NF extending for a certain distance or encountering secondary NFs. Fluid pressure drop occurs mainly in the unturned NF, together with the width of unturned NF is significantly lower than that of turned NF and HF. Sensitivity analysis shows that the main factors, such as geometry, aperture profile, and fluid pressure distribution, affecting the network progress under temporary plugging condition are the horizontal differential stress, NF position, approaching angle, plugging time, and plugging segment length. The simulation results provide critical insight into complex fracture propagation progress under temporary plugging condition, which should serve as guidelines for welling choosing and plugging optimization in temporary plugging fracturing.