Near Wellbore Hydraulic Fracture Propagation from Perforations in Tight Rocks: The Roles of Fracturing Fluid Viscosity and Injection Rate
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Hydraulic fracture initiation and near wellbore propagation is governed by complex failure mechanisms, especially in cased perforated wellbores. Various parameters affect such mechanisms, including fracturing fluid viscosity and injection rate. In this study, three different fracturing fluids with viscosities ranging from 20 to 600 Pa.s were used to investigate the effects of varying fracturing fluid viscosities and fluid injection rates on the fracturing mechanisms. Hydraulic fracturing tests were conducted in cased perforated boreholes made in tight 150mm synthetic cubic samples. A true tri-axial stress cell was used to simulate real far field stress conditions. In addition, dimensional analyses were performed to correspond the results of lab experiments to field-scale operations. The results indicated that by increasing the fracturing fluid viscosity and injection rate, the fracturing energy increased, and consequently, higher fracturing pressures were observed. However, when the fracturing energy was transferred to a borehole at a faster rate, the fracture initiation angle also increased. This resulted in more curved fracture planes. Accordingly, a new parameter, called fracturing power, was introduced to relate fracture geometry to fluid viscosity and injection rate. Furthermore, it was observed that the presence of casing in the wellbore impacted the stress distribution around the casing in such a way that the fracture propagation deviated from the wellbore vicinity.
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