Numerical simulation of near wellbore fracture propagation in interbedded continental shales with competing perforations

Yong Qin, Xian Shi, Qinglin Shan, Mukun Li, Songcai Han, Qi Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To reduce near wellbore fracture complexity in continental laminated shales, in-plane perforations completion technology is introduced. The global embedded cohesive elements are capable to simulating arbitrary fracture propagation growth while the laminae effects on fracture propagation path can be considered in established finite element model. Numerical simulations reflect that the existence of weak micro fractures only locally alter the fracture propagation path but laminae can change the fracture propagation path greatly. Furthermore, the in-situ stress anisotropy, pump rate, perforation intersection angle and perforation angle with laminae are critical factors for affecting the fracture propagation path and breakdown pressure. There is a great impact of laminae on the fracture branching at the contact interface and hydraulic fracture tends to cross laminae at high approaching angle but propagate horizontally along laminae at low approaching angle. In most cases, hydraulic fracture tends to propagate along the laminae rather than across the laminae. The adjustment of pump rate, fluid viscosity, perforation intersection angle and perforation angle with laminae can enhance the possibilities of hydraulic fracture across laminae. It was also found that hydraulic fractures induced from different perforations can interact and overlap with each other, resulting in different fracture geometry and pressure behavior for individual fracture. The fracture width of interior fracture is almost close at the near wellbore zone at the end of pumping, and exterior fractures generally deviated away from the perforation tunnel direction because of stress interference of neighboring fractures. Additionally, although a fracture initiated initially from a perforation tunnel to short distance, hydraulic fractures still finally would reorient itself to maximum principle in-situ stress direction, thus increase more chances of creating one large and main fracture along the maximum principle in-situ stress orientation with larger horizontal stress contrast. Therefore, the existence of laminae can enhance the potential of fracture complexity near wellbore but the selection of suitable perforation scenarios in one defining plane can increase the possibility of form a main fracture. The simulation results from this study offer some important insights to hydraulic fracturing design with multiple perforations on interbedded continental shales stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number80
JournalGeomechanics and Geophysics for Geo-Energy and Geo-Resources
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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