Microcrack-based geomechanical modeling of rock-gas interaction during supercritical CO2 fracturing

Liyuan Liu, Wancheng Zhu, Chenhui Wei, Derek Elsworth, Jiehao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Relative to water-based fluids, non-aqueous fracturing fluids have the potential to increase production, reduce water requirements, and to minimize environmental impacts. Since the viscosity of supercritical CO2 is one-tenth that of water, its density is close to that of water, and is capable of promoting sorptive rejection of methane, it is an attractive substitute for water in the extraction of shale gas and coalbed methane. The following defines a geomechanical model accommodating the interaction of fluid flow, adsorption-induced swelling stress, solid deformation and damage to quantify rock-gas interactions during supercritical CO2 fracturing for shale gas production. The architecture of the shale is accommodated that includes both pore- and micro-crack-based porosity. According to the microcrack model representing shales with low porosity, both analytical and numerical results show that the effective stress coefficient is much smaller than unity. We analyze the potential advantages of fracturing using supercritical CO2 including enhanced fracturing and fracture propagation, increased desorption of methane adsorbed in organic-rich portions of the shale and the potential for partial carbon sequestration. Rock-gas interactions include both the linear poroelastic response and the chemo-mechanical interaction due to sorption. Simulation results demonstrate that supercritical CO2 fracturing indeed has a lower fracture initiation pressure and a significantly lower breakdown pressure, as observed in experiments, and that fractures with greater complexity than those developed with liquid CO2 and water fracturing result. With increasing dynamic viscosity of the fracturing fluids, the predicted breakdown pressure also increases, consistent with experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
StatePublished - May 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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