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Project Overview

Hydraulic fracturing is one of the major techniques of reservoir stimulation employed by the petroleum and gas industry. The essence of hydrofracturing is pumping fluid into a wellbore at a pressure high enough to create a crack with linear dimensions much greater than those of the wellbore. The greater surface provides greater fluid influx what notably increases the productivity. The importance of this technique has stimulated a lot of research for the last six decades. The latest findings show that two factors, which commonly are not accounted for in fracture propagation models, have crucial significance: (i) unsteady fracture propagation, which makes traditional fracture criteria in the form of equalities meaningless, and (ii) a lag between the fracture and liquid fronts, which requires new formulations of coupled problems. Moreover, the coupled problem represents a stiff dynamic system that provides an additional difficulty in its numerical simulation. All this shows that there is a need to enhance simulations of the coupled problem of fracture propagation and fluid flow. Another important feature of hydraulic fracturing is common to all geomechanical problems: insufficient, hard to obtain, uncertain and often unavailable geometrical and mechanical data on the in-situ structure, state (including in-situ stresses) and properties of rocks and on the changes induced by fracturing. Combined simulation of geomechanical and seismic processes, not employed so far, will serve to overcome the difficulty.

The project main objective is to enhance and develop numerical simulations of coupled geomechanical, hydrodynamic and microseismic processes for the better design of hydrofracture operations.

This objective will be reached by developing numerical simulation of coupled geomechanical, hydrodynamic and microseismic processes for proper choices of equipment, regimes and parameters of hydraulic fracturing. Simulation of microseismicity will also provide a unique means to improve the interpretation of microseismic data.