Spontaneous imbibition behavior in porous media with various hydraulic fracture propagations: A pore-scale perspective

Yan Zhou,Wei Guan,Changming Zhao, Xiaojing Zou,Zhennan He, Hongyang Zhao


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Hydraulic fracturing technology can improve the geologic structure of unconventional oil and gas reservoirs, yielding a complex fracture network resulting from the synergistic action of hydraulic and natural fractures. However, the impact of spontaneous imbibition associated with hydraulic fracture propagation on the reservoir matrix remains poorly understood. In this study, combining the Cahn-Hilliard phase field method with the Navier-Stokes equations, pore-scale modeling was employed to capture the evolution of the oil-water interface during dynamic spontaneous imbibition for hydraulic fracture propagation in a two-end open mode. This pore-scale modeling approach can effectively circumvent the challenges of conducting spontaneous imbibition experiments on specimens partitioned by hydraulic fractures. A direct correlation was established between the pressure difference curve and the morphology of discharged oil phase in the primary hydraulic fracture, providing valuable insights into the distribution of oil phase in spontaneous imbibition. Furthermore, it was shown that secondary hydraulic fracture propagation expands the longitudinal swept area and enhances the utilization of natural fractures in the transverse swept area during spontaneous imbibition. When secondary hydraulic fracture propagation results in the interconnection of upper and lower primary hydraulic fractures, competitive imbibition occurs in the matrix, leading to reduced oil recovery compared to the unconnected models. Our results shed light upon the spontaneous imbibition mechanism in porous media with hydraulic fracture propagation, contributing to the refinement and application of hydraulic fracturing techniques.
various hydraulic fracture propagations,porous media,pore-scale
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