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Research Objectives

This study will provide new knowledge for application by the oil and gas industry, including how to design
optimized production systems, the underlying relationship between changes in the pressure regime and
the geomechanical status of a tight gas system, the long-term behavior of the induced and natural fracture
systems and the effect on production, and the possible geophysical markers that can track the evolution of the
fow properties and fracture characteristics of the reservoir. This will allow enhanced system monitoring and
prediction of long-term behavior during production, provide improved well and well stimulation designs, and
generate improved pressure/production curves.
In this project, the team will: a) develop and implement an integrated methodology for constructing
geomechanical models of tight gas systems (shale); b) investigate by means of theoretical analysis, numerical
simulation, laboratory studies and feld experiments the interrelation between the geomechanical and
geophysical behavior of such systems in the course of well completion and stimulation; and c) develop models
of the coupled fow, geomechanical, geophysical, and geochemical behavior of fractured tight gas systems
from the earliest stages of well stimulation to long-term production. The results will be communicated to
industry through publications in high-visibility journals of interest to the oil and gas industry, and presentations
at industry-related conferences and events. Also, LBNL will work with RPSEA to organize training session for
industry representatives on the use of our codes and analysis tools.
Developed new simulation capabilities
To describe the non-isothermal Darcian and non-Darcian fow of (a) multi-component dry gas and
water through fractured media, including Knudsen diffusion (members of the TOUGH+ family of
To describe coupled fow and geomechanics in the TOUGH+ family of codes with both elastic and
plastic capabilities
To describe fracture development and evolution using mixed fnite element methods (PhD study)
To provide semi-analytical solutions to the problem of fow through shale systems using (a) the
Transformational Decomposition method and (b) fractal theory
Using these advanced codes and expanded grid generation capabilities
Analyzed the physics of fow through fractured media for shale gas production
Investigated compositional changes in production of gas from shales
Investigated the effects of fracture orientation on gas production from shales
Evaluated the performance of alternative stimulation and completion methods on shale gas
Developed a new earthquake relocation algorithm for improved microseismic modeling of hydrofracturing
Developed the underlying theory for the use of a new type of waves (Krauklis waves) to determine fracture
properties and characteristics, and conducted laboratory studies to confrm their existence and properties.
Refned the physical theory of Krauklis-wave propagation through fractures, and created a corresponding
mathematical model to describe wave behavior for a range of different boundary conditions and fracture
Applied the methods and discoveries derived from this research to a feld test in the Barnett shale with
industrial partner Anadarko Petroleum. The test includes relating microseismic data from 5 wells to
fracturing operation specifcs, the fow properties of the matrix and fractures, and characteristics of the
induced fractures, and the geomechanical.
Signifcant Findings
Stencil simulations provide a very accurate description of the behavior of the entire shale gas system
The angularity of nonplanar and nonorthogonal hydraulic fractures can signifcantly affect reservoir
Secondary fractures emanating from hydrofractures evolve very shortly after the onset of production
The standard stimulation method is consistently superior to the drill slot approach
Knudsen diffusion and non-Darcian fow can have considerable effects on predictions of gas production
from shales
The composition of the produced gas is affected by the pore size of the medium (as described by porosity
and permeability), and evolves over time
Microseismic events appear to be only a very small component of subsurface activities, with the bulk of
energy dispensed in aseismic (and non-detectable) phenomena
Confrmed existence of the Krauklis waves, and provided a basis for the design of a new method for
tracking fracture propagation during fracturing. The unique properties of such waves is that (a) they only
travel along fractures, (b) can be formed at any time (unlike micro-seismic events) using appropriate
excitation, and (c) can provide through inversion information on fracture properties and characteristics.
Coupled Flow-Geomechanical-Geophysical-Geochemical
(F3G) Analysis of Tight Gas Production
Project Fact Sheet
2008 Unconventional Resources
Project Number
Start Date
June 2010
39 Months
Cost Share
Prime Contractor
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Texas A&M University; Stanford
University; Baker Hughes Incorporated;
Unconventional Gas Resources Inc.,
Anadarko Petroleum (industrial partners)
Contact Information
Dr. Thomas Blasingame
Dr. Mark Zoback
Charlotte Schroeder
Reports and Publications
The project has, to date, sponsored
seven graduate students and resulted
in six journal articles, 17 conference
papers, and 21 presentations, with
additional papers in preparation.
See RPSEAs website for more info.