Modeling fracture propagation and cleanup for dry nanoparticle-stabilized-foam fracturing fluids


A. Qajar, Xue, Z., Worthen, A. J., Johnston, K. P., Huh, C., Bryant, S. L., and Prodanović, M., “Modeling fracture propagation and cleanup for dry nanoparticle-stabilized-foam fracturing fluids,” Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, vol. 146, pp. 210-221, 2016.


Nanoparticle (NP)-stabilized foams can be generated at extreme water-deficient conditions (with quality as high as 95–99%) and yet with apparent viscosities >100 cP. This makes them greatly appealing for hydraulic fracturing applications, where minimal water consumption and leak-off to the reservoir are desired. Initial assessment of propensities of these novel fluids for fracturing applications requires field scale simulations. However, conventional fracturing models are difficult to employ because they do not consider true foam hydrodynamics. We have developed a mathematical model to simulate the transport of NP-stabilized foams for hydraulic fracturing. The model combines fluid transport in reservoir matrix and fracture with rock mechanics equations and thus allows for considering the effects of foam on fracture dynamics. Gas and water flow with mechanistic accounting of foam generation and coalescence are simulated using population balance models. Transport of nanoparticles through porous media was simulated using single site filtration model. The equations are discretized using finite-difference scheme. Settari’s approach is used to embed fracture’s moving boundary with the matrix to accordingly update transmissibility. Model’s capabilities are verified with examples on fracture growth and fracture clean up processes to illustrate the benefits of using the NP-stabilized high quality foams. Fracture propagation was simulated for water, a conventional viscous fracpad and NP-stabilized foams of different qualities and textures. The simulations confirmed that larger foam viscosity generated wider fractures with smaller fracture half-length. In addition, fracture cleanup simulations show that fracturing fluid cleanup for foam based fracturing fluids could take the order of 10 days as opposed to that of viscous fracpad which could take up to 1000 days; demonstrating the advantage of using dry foams


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