Microcomputer Analysis of Hydraulic Fracture Behavior with a Pseudo-Three-Dimensional Simulator

Morales, R.H. and Abou-Sayed, A.S.
Source: SPE 15305, SPEPE, p. 69, 1989.


The theory describing a pseudo-three-dimensional (pseudo-3D) hydraulic fracturing model that solves the coupled fluid-flow and elastic-rock-deformation problem associated with a fracture propagating into a zone composed of three or more layers is presented. The fracture is initiated in the center layer. Fracture growth is formulated from the critical-stress-intensity-factor criterion, and fracture width is obtained from plane-strain elasticity solutions. Fluid fronts and proppant settling during fracture closure are tracked during the treatment. Fracture parameters obtained by this model show excellent agreement (6% maximum difference) with the solution given by a 3D simulator. Also, designs of hydraulic fracturing treatments depicting ways to minimize fracture growth and to optimize proppant distribution are described. The explicit expressions developed for modeling the fracture growth and fracture opening have reduced the complexity of the formulation and the computational effort.