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An Analytical Model for Hydraulic Fracturing in Shallow Bedrock Formations

Authors


Department of Civil Engineering, University of New Hampshire, 238 Gregg Hall, UNH, Durham, NH 03824; tom.ballestero@unh.edu

Abstract

A theoretical method is proposed to estimate post-fracturing fracture size and transmissivity, and as a test of the methodology, data collected from two wells were used for verification. This method can be employed before hydrofracturing in order to obtain estimates of the potential hydraulic benefits of hydraulic fracturing. Five different pumping test analysis methods were used to evaluate the well hydraulic data. The most effective methods were the Papadopulos-Cooper model (1967), which includes wellbore storage effects, and the Gringarten-Ramey model (1974), known as the single horizontal fracture model. The hydraulic parameters resulting from fitting these models to the field data revealed that as a result of hydraulic fracturing, the transmissivity increased more than 46 times in one well and increased 285 times in the other well. The model developed by dos Santos (2008), which considers horizontal radial fracture propagation from the hydraulically fractured well, was used to estimate potential fracture geometry after hydrofracturing. For the two studied wells, their fractures could have propagated to distances of almost 175 m or more and developed maximum apertures of about 2.20 mm and hydraulic apertures close to 0.30 mm. Fracturing at this site appears to have expanded and propagated existing fractures and not created new fractures. Hydraulic apertures calculated from pumping test analyses closely matched the results obtained from the hydraulic fracturing model. As a result of this model, post-fracturing geometry and resulting post-fracturing well yield can be estimated before the actual hydrofracturing.

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