Crack Extension in Hydraulic Fracturing of Shale Cores Using Viscous Oil, Water, and Liquid Carbon Dioxide
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© 2015, Springer-Verlag Wien. We performed hydraulic fracturing experiments on cylindrical cores of anisotropic shale obtained by drilling normal to the sedimentary plane. Experiments were conducted under ambient condition and uniaxial stresses, using three types of fracturing fluid: viscous oil, water, and liquid carbon dioxide (L-CO2). In the experiments using water and oil, cracks extended along the loading direction normal to the sedimentary plane under the uniaxial loading and extended along the sedimentary plane without loading. These results suggest that the direction of crack extension is strongly affected by in situ stress conditions. Fluorescent microscopy revealed that hydraulic fracturing with viscous oil produced linear cracks with few branches, whereas that with water produced cracks with many branches inclining from the loading axis. Statistical analysis of P wave polarity of acoustic emission waveforms showed that viscous oil tended to induce Mode I fracture, whereas both water and L-CO2 tended to induce Mode II fracture. Crack extension upon injection of L-CO2 was independent of loading condition unlike extension for the other two fluids. This result seemed attributable to the low viscosity of L-CO2 and was consistent with previous observations for granite specimens that low-viscosity fluids like CO2 tend to induce widely extending cracks with many branches, with Mode II fractures being dominant. These features are more advantageous for shale gas production than those induced by injection of conventional slick water.
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