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Adaptive finite element–discrete element analysis for stratal movement and microseismic behaviours induced by multistage propagation of three-dimensional multiple hydraulic fractures

Yongliang Wang (School of Mechanics and Civil Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing, China)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Article publication date: 4 January 2021

Issue publication date: 9 July 2021

303

Abstract

Purpose

Optimized three-dimensional (3D) fracture networks are crucial for multistage hydrofracturing. To better understand the mechanisms controlling potential disasters as well as to predict them in 3D multistage hydrofracturing, some governing factors, such as fluid injection-induced stratal movement, compression between multiple hydraulic fractures, fracturing fluid flow, fracturing-induced microseismic damaged and contact slip events, must be properly simulated via numerical models. This study aims to analyze the stratal movement and microseismic behaviours induced by multistage propagation of 3D multiple hydraulic fractures.

Design/methodology/approach

Adaptive finite element–discrete element method was used to overcome the limitations of conventional finite element methods in simulating 3D fracture propagation. This new approach uses a local remeshing and coarsening strategy to ensure the accuracy of solutions, reliability of fracture propagation path and computational efficiency. Engineering-scale numerical models were proposed that account for the hydro-mechanical coupling and fracturing fluid leak-off, to simulate multistage propagation of 3D multiple hydraulic fractures, by which the evolution of the displacement, porosity and fracture fields, as well as the fracturing-induced microseismic events were computed.

Findings

Stratal movement and compression between 3D multiple hydraulic fractures intensify with increasing proximity to the propagating fractures. When the perforation cluster spaces are very narrow, alternate fracturing can improve fracturing effects over those achieved via sequential or simultaneous fracturing. Furthermore, the number and magnitude of microseismic events are directly proportional to the stratal movement and compression induced by multistage propagation of fracturing fracture networks.

Originality/value

Microseismic events induced by multistage propagation of 3D multiple hydraulic fractures and perforation cluster spaces and fracturing scenarios that impact the deformation and compression among fractures in porous rock matrices are well predicted and analyzed.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 41877275 and 51608301), Yue Qi Young Scholar Project Foundation of China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing (grant 2019QN14), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, Ministry of Education of China (grant 2019QL02), Teaching Reform and Research Projects of Undergraduate Education of China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing (grant J200709 and J190701) and the Open Fund of Tianjin Key Lab of Soft Soil Characteristics and Engineering Environment (grant 2017SCEEKL003).

Citation

Wang, Y. (2021), "Adaptive finite element–discrete element analysis for stratal movement and microseismic behaviours induced by multistage propagation of three-dimensional multiple hydraulic fractures", Engineering Computations, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 2781-2809. https://doi.org/10.1108/EC-07-2020-0379

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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