Elastic-brittle-plastic behaviour of shale reservoirs and its implications on fracture permeability variation: an analytical approach

Masoudian, Mohsen S. and Hashemi, Amid and Tasalloti, Ali and Marshall, Alec M. (2017) Elastic-brittle-plastic behaviour of shale reservoirs and its implications on fracture permeability variation: an analytical approach. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering . ISSN 1434-453X (In Press)

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Shale gas has recently gained significant attention as one of the most important unconventional gas resources. Shales are fine-grained rocks formed from the compaction of silt and clay sized particles and are characterised by their fissured texture and very low permeability. Gas exists in an adsorbed state on the surface of the organic content of the rock and is freely available within the primary and secondary porosity. Geomechanical studies have indicated that, depending on the clay content of the rock, shales can exhibit a brittle failure mechanism. Brittle failure leads to the reduced strength of the plastic zone around a wellbore, which can potentially result in wellbore instability problems. Desorption of gas during production can cause shrinkage of the organic content of the rock. This becomes more important when considering the use of shales for CO2 sequestration purposes, where CO2 adsorption-induced swelling can play an important role. These phenomena lead to changes in the stress state within the rock mass, which then influence the permeability of the reservoir. Thus, rigorous simulation of material failure within coupled hydro-mechanical analyses is needed to achieve a more systematic and accurate representation of the wellbore. Despite numerous modelling efforts related to permeability, an adequate representation of the geomechanical behaviour of shale and its impact on permeability and gas production has not been achieved. In order to achieve this aim, novel coupled poro-elastoplastic analytical solutions are developed in this paper which take into account the sorption-induced swelling and the brittle failure mechanism. These models employ linear elasticity and a Mohr–Coulomb failure criterion in a plane-strain condition with boundary conditions corresponding to both open-hole and cased-hole completions. The post-failure brittle behaviour of the rock is defined using residual strength parameters and a non-associated flow rule. Swelling and shrinkage are considered to be elastic and are defined using a Langmuir-like curve, which is directly related to the reservoir pressure. The models are used to evaluate the stress distribution and the induced change in permeability within a reservoir. Results show that development of a plastic zone near the wellbore can significantly impact fracture permeability and gas production. The capabilities and limitations of the models are discussed and potential future developments related to modelling of permeability in brittle shales under elastoplastic deformations are identified.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: coupled geomechanics; fractured reservoir; shale gas; permeability modelling; poro-elasto-plasticity; analytical solution
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Civil Engineering
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2018 10:44
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2018 13:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/48910

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