Coupled Hydraulic Fracture and Proppant Transport Simulation

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • This paper focuses on the study of proppant transport mechanisms in fractures during
    frac-packing operation. A multi-module, numerical proppant, reservoir and geomechanics simulator
    has been developed, which improves the current numerical modeling techniques for proppant
    transport. The modules are linked together and tailored to capture the processes and mechanisms
    that are significant in frac-pack operations. The proposed approach takes advantage of a robust and
    sophisticated numerical smeared fracture simulator and incorporates an in-house proppant transport
    module to calculate propped fracture dimensions and concentration distribution. In the development
    of software capability, the propped fracture geometry and proppant concentration, which are the
    output of the proppant module, are imported to the hydraulic fracture simulator through mobility
    modification. Complex issues of proppant transport in fractures that are addressed in the literature
    and captured by the current model are: hindered settling velocity (terminal velocity of proppant
    in the injection fluid), the effect of fracture walls, proppant concentration and inertia on settling
    (due to extra drag forces applied on particles, compared to single-particle motion in Stokes regime
    in unbounded medium), possible propped fracture porosity and also mobility change due to the
    presence of proppant, and fracture closure or extension during proppant injection. A sensitivity
    analysis is conducted using realistic parameters to provide guidelines that allow more accurate
    predictions of the proppant concentration and fluid flow. The main objective of this study is to link a
    numerical hydraulic fracture model to a proppant transport model to study the fracturing response
    and proppant distribution and to investigate the effect of proppant injection on fracture propagation
    and fracture dimensions.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International