The Reservoir Geomechanics and Seismicity Research Group, led by MPGE Professor and alumnus Ahmad Ghassemi, has developed the first horizontal well stimulation model that takes into account shale anisotropy. Other developments to occur with this area include 3D hydraulic fracture propagation and analysis of re-fracturing.
Resultant fracture geometry and aperture distribution for simultaneous propagation of 6 hydraulic fractures from a horizontal well (top view) in a shale formation. In isotropic and anisotropic rocks with phi=0 degrees, the results are symmetrical. Asymmetrical fracture growth is observed in anisotropic rock with phi=45 degrees. In anisotropic-TA rock (phi=45 degrees and with fracture toughness anisotropy) asymmetry in fracture geometry has disappeared while asymmetry persists in the aperture distribution of the outer fractures. Phi denotes the orientation of rock elastic symmetry. These results correlate well with seismic data from a field case in Woodford shale.
3D fracture simulation in Niobrara chalk