Date of Graduation
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering
Ali Takbiri Borujeni
Hydraulic fracturing is a technique which is used to exploit geologic features and subsurface properties in an effort to increase production in low-permeability formations. The process of hydraulic fracturing provides a greater surface contact area between the producing formation and the wellbore and thus increases the amount of recoverable hydrocarbons from within the reservoir. The use of this stimulation technique has brought on massive applause from the industry due to its widespread success and effectiveness, however the dynamic processes that take part in the development of hydraulic fractures is a relatively new area of research with respect to the massive scale operations that are seen today.;The process of hydraulic fracturing relies upon understanding and exploiting the in-situ stress distribution throughout the area of study. These in-situ stress conditions are responsible for directing fracture orientation and propagation paths throughout the period of injection. The relative magnitude of these principle stresses is key in developing a successful stimulation plan. In horizontal well plan development the interpretation of stress within the reservoir is required for determining the azimuth of the horizontal well path. These horizontal laterals are typically oriented in a manner such that the well path lies parallel to the minimum horizontal stress. This allows for vertical fractures to develop transversely to the wellbore, or normal to the least principle stress without the theoretical possibility of fractures overlapping, creating the most efficient use of the fluid energy during injection.;The orientation and magnitude of these in-situ stress fields however can be dynamic, controlled by the subsequent fracture propagation and redistribution of the surrounding stresses. That is, that as the fracture propagates throughout the reservoir, the relative stress fields surrounding the fractures may see a shift and deviate from their original direction or magnitude. These types of shifts are of great concern because they can impact subsequent fracture development causing non-uniform fracture propagation and the potential overlapping of fracture paths as they extend from the wellbore at the point of injection.;The dynamics of stress variation that occur with respect to hydraulic fracturing is a somewhat new area of study. In order to accomplish the goals of this thesis and continue future research in this area a new transient model has been developed in order to asses these dynamic systems and determine their influence on fracture behavior. This applies the use of a fully coupled finite element method in 2-D using linear elastic fracture mechanics which is then expanded using displacement discontinuity to a cohesive zone model in 3-D. A static boundary element model was also used to determine stress fields surrounding static, predetermined fracture geometries. These models have been verified against analytical solutions for simple cases and are now being applied to more detailed case studies and analysis. These models have been briefly discussed throughout this thesis in order to give insight on their current capabilities and application as well as their future potential within this area of research.;The majority of this work introduces transient stress field prediction to cases of single and multiple hydraulic fractures. The static assessment of these stresses is determined for verification of results to those found in publication which leads into these transient stress field variations. A new method has been developed and applied to the stress state prediction for the first time in a transient fracture model which is partly based upon a critical distance theory. These dynamic interactions can provide useful insight to pertinent issues within the petroleum and natural gas industry such as those to hydraulic fracturing fluid loss and induced seismic events, as well as to applications of efficiency and optimization of the stimulation treatment plan.
Jenkins, Andrew, "Dynamic Response in Transient Stress-Field Behavior Induced by Hydraulic Fracturing" (2015). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 5885.