Predicting Fracture Growth and Ground Motion

NETL efforts focus on evaluating implications of fracture growth during hydraulic fracturing, and induced seismicity related to Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) development.

 
Generating the ability to evaluate geomechanical effects of fracturing and wastewater injection:

  • Validation of predictive models for fracture growth using field microseismic data
  • Understanding of causes behind ground motion induced by wastewater injection activities, and from hydraulic fracturing activities
Marcellus Shale Mapped Fracture Treatments (TVD)
fracture
Industry report showed that fractures do migrate out of zone during hydraulic fracturing, but remain deep enough that they do not encounter underground sources of drinking water. (Fisher, Kevin and Norm Warpinski, 2012, Hydraulic Fracture Height Growth: Real Data: SPE Production & Operations, Volume 27, Number 1 pp. 8-19, ISSN 1930-1855, (DOI 10.2118/145949-PA) Society of Petroleum Engineers, Richardson, TX.)


Problem:

Our ability to predict fracture growth outside of zone is limited, and affects our evaluation of leakage risks associated with hydraulic fracturing.

Solution:
NETL is developing means to evaluate whether fractures may intersect with existing natural fractures or wellbores that may serve as fluid and gas migration pathways to shallow systems.

 
Problem:
Induced seismicity due to fluid injection (e.g., wastewater disposal) has been observed and felt in recent events, but our current ability to predict such events is severely limited.

Solution:
NETL is evaluating the science base behind induced seismicity events due to fluid injection and developing probabilistic techniques for evaluating the likelihood of injection events to cause seismic activity of different magnitudes.

fracture
Induced seismic effects have been observed for various energy-related activities (NAS Report in Brief, 2012)
NETL’s modeling of fracture propagation in multilayer system (shale and overburden layers).