Experimental study of fracture permeability for stimulated reservoir volume (SRV) in shale formation

Tiankui Guo*, Shicheng Zhang, Jun Gao, Jingchen Zhang, Haiqing Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    49 Citations (Scopus)


    "Stimulated reservoir volume"(SRV) makes shale gas production economic through new completion techniques including horizontal wells and multiple hydraulic fractures. However, the mechanism behind these treatments that provide sufficient permeability is not well understood. The effects of different stimulation treatments need to be further explored. To understand the effects of fracture surface roughness, fracture registration, confining pressure, proppant type and distribution mode, fiber and acidizing treatment on fracture permeability, a series of laboratory permeability experiments were performed on fractured cores from shale formation of Shengli Oilfield. The results of this study demonstrate that sedimentary bedding of shale has important influence on matrix permeability. At 35 MPa confining pressure, the permeability of aligned fracture (unpropped and without fracture offset) can increase about 1-3 orders of magnitude over shale matrix. The permeability of displaced fracture can increase about 1-2 orders of magnitude over the aligned fracture. The permeability of fracture propped with proppant can increase about 2-4 orders of magnitude over unpropped fracture. The greater the fracture surface roughness, the higher the permeability. The increasing degree of displaced fracture permeability is not proportional to the amount of fracture offset. In the microfracture of shale, the effect of ceramic proppant is still better than that of quartz sand, and the permeability of a centralized fairway distribution of proppant is about 1.2 times better than an even monolayer distribution of proppant. Under high pressure, proppant is easy to cause the break of fracture faces of brittle shale, and increase local fracture permeability to some extent. However, quartz sand are more easily broken to embed and block microcracks just made, which results in fracture permeability lower than that of ceramic proppant. At the same time, the argillation phenomenon is easy to happen on propped fracture faces of shale, which is one of the main factors that leads to a substantial decline in fracture permeability. The permeability of displaced fracture propped with proppant is greater than that of aligned fracture propped with proppant. Because of added fiber presence, the permeability of microfractures presented in SRV is greatly reduced. The pressure dependence of aligned fractures in shale obeys Walsh's theory, but the pressure dependence of propped and displaced fractures in shale obeys Walsh's law over a limited range of pressures. Deviations reflect proppant seating, proppant embedding and breaking. For shale formation with the high carbonate content, acidizing treatment should be carefully implemented. Experimental results may provide more valuable information for effective design of hydraulic fracturing in shale reservoir.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)525-542
    Number of pages18
    JournalTransport in Porous Media
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


    • Shale
    • Hydraulic fracturing
    • Fracture permeability
    • Roughness
    • Displaced fracture
    • Proppant
    • ROCK
    • WHOLE


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