Effects of Formation Properties and Treatment Parameters on Hydraulic Fracture Geometry in Poro-Viscoelasticity Shale Gas Reservoirs Using Cohesive Zone Method in a 3D Model

Suo, Yu (University of New South Wales) | Chen, Zhixi (University of New South Wales) | Rahman, Sheik (University of New South Wales) | Xu, Wenjun (University of New South Wales and Southwest Petroleum University)


Hydraulic fracturing is a significant way to improve the productivity of the unconventional reservoir with low permeability and porosity. Current hydraulic fracturing simulation models are mostly based on poro-elastic theory. However, for rocks such as shale, the viscoelastic feature has been observed in both field investigations and laboratory experiments. This paper presents a 3D numerical model for fracture propagation in viscoelastic shale gas formations using ABAQUS platform. The cohesive elements based on damage mechanics were adopted to simulate the initiation and propagation of hydraulic fractures. The model was used to investigate formation properties and treatment parameters on fracture geometry, especially the fracture behaviour when entering into the barrier formations. It is found that higher treatment pressure is required to initiate and propagate the hydraulic fracture and the fracture is wider but shorter in poroviscoelastic formation comparing to poro-elastic formation. The higher differential in-situ stress, tensile strength and Young modulus in barrier formations and lower fracturing fluid injection rate and lower fracturing fluid viscosity have positive effect on the controlling of fracture vertical growth and restricting hydraulic fracture within the pay zone. Results of this study will provide the industry a better understanding of hydraulic fracture behaviour in shale gas formations.