Improving the performance of hydraulic fracturing of unconventional reservoirs

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These two projects will address fundamental problems associated with this industrial process in order to improve its overall performance as well as its sustainability.

Unconventional hydrocarbon resources have dramatically changed oil and gas markets over the past ten years, resulting in the current low prices. The development of these previously uneconomic resources is based on the increase of the permeability of these rocks by hydraulic fracturing. Despite large R&D efforts, the process remains sub-optimal with a large number of the created fractures not contributing to the observed production increase.

The two projects sponsored by Total E&P at the Geo-Energy lab will address fundamental problems associated with this industrial process in order to improve its overall performance as well as its sustainability. These projects will investigate both sub-metric and reservoir scale (~100m scales) problems related to hydraulic fracture mechanics. We will notably look into the micro-mechanics of hydraulic fracture propagation in laminated anisotropic organic-rich shale via numerical modeling. Another important topic that we will address relates to the influence of the in-situ stress field (and its spatial variation in reservoirs) on the interactions between fractures and its relation to the overall performance of a hydraulic fracturing campaign.

The research interests of the Geo-Energy lab headed by Prof. Brice Lecampion cover the mechanics and physics of fluid saturated porous media. More specifically, the lab research can be applied to industrial applications requiring the injection and withdrawal of fluids from deep reservoirs (geothermal energy, gas production and storage, energy storage etc.). It is one of the few laboratories in the world combining industrial knowledge with theoretical, numerical and experimental expertise on hydraulic stimulation.

Principal investigator Prof. Brice Lecampion
Sponsor Total
Period 2017-2018
Laboratory GEL
Collaboration TRACE