Compositional &
Unconventional Simulator

Use of a CO2-Hybrid Fracturing Design To Enhance Production From Unpropped-Fracture Networks

This paper introduces an innovative CO2-hybrid-fracturing-fluid design that intends to improve production from ultratight reservoirs and reduces freshwater usage. The design consists of injecting pure CO2 as the pad fluid to generate a complex fracture network and injecting a gelled slurry (water- or foam-based) to generate near-wellbore conductivity. The motivation behind this design is that while current aqueous fluids provide sufficient primary hydraulic-fracture conductivity back to the wellbore, they understimulate the reservoir and leave behind damaged stimulated regions deeper in the fracture network. Much of that (unpropped) stimulated area is ineffective for production because of interfacial-tension effects, fines generation, and/or polymer damage. We present simulation work that demonstrates how CO2, with its low viscosity, can extend the bottomhole treating pressure deeper into the reservoir and generate a larger producible surface area. We also present experimental evidence that CO2 leaves behind higher unpropped-fracture conductivities than slickwater. This paper does not address the many operational and logistical challenges of using CO2 as a fracturing fluid. Rather, it intends to demonstrate the production-uplift potential of the proposed design, which seems particularly attractive in reservoirs capable of sustaining production from unpropped fractures (e.g., reservoirs with low horizontal-stress anisotropy, high Young’s modulus, and a pervasive set of natural fractures).


© Copyright 2017. Society of Petroleum Engineers
SPE Production & Operations, Volume 32, Issue 01, February 2017

SPE Paper #: 
Unconventional Oil & Gas