Numerical modeling of the simultaneous propagation of multiple hydraulic fractures with fluid lags

Qinglei Zeng (School of Aerospace Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Zhanli Liu (School of Aerospace Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Tao Wang (School of Aerospace Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Yue Gao (School of Aerospace Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Zhuo Zhuang (School of Aerospace Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Publication date: 19 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a numerical method to model the simultaneous propagation of multiple hydraulic fractures (HFs) with fluid lags driven from a horizontal wellbore.

Design/methodology/approach

Fracture propagation in solid medium is modeled with the extended finite element method and fluid flow is modeled with finite volume method. Three iteration loops are introduced to solve the nonlinear system within each time increment, i.e. a Newtonian iteration to solve the solid-fluid coupling system, a Picard iteration to determine fluid front positions and a secant iteration to update fracture lengths.

Findings

The propagation of one single HF with a fluid lag is simulated and agrees well with semi-analytical solutions or other numerical results in the literature. The simultaneous propagation of two HFs are then investigated, which demonstrates the ability of the proposed method in capturing the hydraulic fracturing process with multiple fractures and fluid lags.

Originality/value

With the proposed method, one can simulate the simultaneous propagation of multiple HFs with fluid lags, which play a significant role during early-time propagation or when the confinement stress is relatively low (shallow HFs). Solid deformation and fracturing, fluid flow in fractures and in the wellbore are fully coupled, and three iteration loops are introduced to solve the nonlinear system.

Keywords

Citation

Zeng, Q., Liu, Z., Wang, T., Gao, Y. and Zhuang, Z. (2019), "Numerical modeling of the simultaneous propagation of multiple hydraulic fractures with fluid lags", Engineering Computations, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EC-10-2018-0461

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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