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Simulation of proppant transport and fracture plugging in the framework of a radial hydraulic fracturing model

  • Vasily N. Lapin EMAIL logo and Denis V. Esipov


Hydraulic fracturing technology is widely used in the oil and gas industry. A part of the technology consists in injecting a mixture of proppant and fluid into the fracture. Proppant significantly increases the viscosity of the injected mixture and can cause plugging of the fracture. In this paper we propose a numerical model of hydraulic fracture propagation within the framework of the radial geometry taking into account the proppant transport and possible plugging. The finite difference method and the singularity subtraction technique near the fracture tip are used in the numerical model. Based on the simulation results it was found that depending on the parameters of the rock, fluid, and fluid injection rate, the plugging can be caused by two reasons. A parameter was introduced to separate these two cases. If this parameter is large enough, then the plugging occurs due to reaching the maximum possible concentration of proppant far from the fracture tip. If its value is small, then the plugging is caused by the proppant reaching a narrow part of the fracture near its tip. The numerical experiments give an estimate of the radius of the filled with proppant part of the fracture for various injection rates and leakages into the rock.

MSC 2010: 65N06

Funding statement: The work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 17–71–20139)


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Received: 2020-05-05
Accepted: 2020-10-02
Published Online: 2020-12-09
Published in Print: 2020-12-16

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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