Modeling of hydraulic fracture network propagation in shale gas reservoirs

Chong Hyun Ahn, Robert Dilmore, John Yilin Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


The most effective method for stimulating shale gas reservoirs is horizontal drilling with successful multi-stage hydraulic fracture treatments. Recent fracture diagnostic technologies have shown that complex fracture networks are commonly created in the field. The interaction between preexisting natural fractures and the propagating hydraulic fracture is a critical factor affecting the complex fracture network. However, many existing numerical models simulate only planar hydraulic fractures without considering the pre-existing fractures in the formation. The shale formations already contain a large number of natural fractures, so an accurate fracture propagation model needs to be developed to optimize the fracturing process. In this paper, we first understood the interaction between hydraulic and natural fractures. We then developed a new, coupled numerical model that integrates dynamic fracture propagation, reservoir flow simulation, and the interactions between hydraulic fractures and pre-existing natural fractures. By using the developed model, we conducted parametric studies to quantify the effects of rock toughness, stress anisotropy, and natural fracture spacing on the geometry and conductivities of the hydraulic fracture network. Lastly, we introduced new parmeters Fracture Network Index (FNI) and Width Anistropy (Wani) which may describe the characteristics of the fracture network in shale gas reservoirs. This new knowledge helps one understand and optimize the stimulation of shale gas reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaterials Technology; Petroleum Technology
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791845455
StatePublished - 2014
EventASME 2014 33rd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, OMAE 2014 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jun 8 2014Jun 13 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering - OMAE


OtherASME 2014 33rd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, OMAE 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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