The Effect of Hydraulic Fracture Geometry on Well Productivity in Shale Oil Plays with High Pore Pressure

Daniela Arias, Lukasz Klimkowski, Thomas Finkbeiner, Tadeusz Patzek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We propose three idealized hydraulic fracture geometries (“fracture scenarios”) likely to occur in shale oil reservoirs characterized by high pore pressure and low differential in situ stresses. We integrate these geometries into a commercial reservoir simulator (CMG-IMEX) and examine their effect on reservoir fluids production. Our first, reference fracture scenario includes only vertical, planar hydraulic fractures. The second scenario has stimulated vertical natural fractures oriented perpendicularly to the vertical hydraulic fractures. The third fracture scenario has stimulated horizontal bedding planes intersecting the vertical hydraulic fractures. This last scenario may occur in mudrock plays characterized by high pore pressure and transitional strike-slip to reverse faulting stress regimes. We demonstrate that the vertical and planar fractures are an oversimplification of the hydraulic fracture geometry in anisotropic shale plays. They fail to represent the stimulated volume geometric complexity in the reservoir simulations and may confuse hydrocarbon production forecast. We also show that stimulating mechanically weak bedding planes harms hydrocarbon production, while stimulated natural fractures may enhance initial production. Our findings reveal that stimulated horizontal bedding planes might decrease the cumulative hydrocarbon production by as much as 20%, and the initial hydrocarbon production by about 50% compared with the reference scenario. We present unique reservoir simulations that enable practical assessment of the impact of varied hydraulic fracture configurations on hydrocarbon production and highlight the importance of constraining present-day in situ stress state and pore pressure conditions to obtain a realistic hydrocarbon production forecast.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7727
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 18 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-23
Acknowledgements: Daniela Arias Ortiz (PhD student) and Lukasz Klimkowski (Postdoctoral Fellow) were supported by baseline research funding from KAUST to Professor Tadeusz Patzek.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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