Where Does Water Go During Hydraulic Fracturing? (Englisch)

Blackwell Publ. , Malden, Mass.; 2016

During hydraulic fracturing millions of gallons of water are typically injected at high pressure into deep shale formations. This water can be housed in fractures, within the shale matrix, and can potentially migrate beyond the shale formation via fractures and/or faults raising environmental concerns. We describe a generic framework for producing estimates of the volume available in fractures and undamaged shale matrix where water injected into a representative shale site could reside during hydraulic fracturing, and apply it to a representative site that incorporates available field data. The amount of water that can be stored in the fractures is estimated by calculating the volume of all the fractures associated with a discrete fracture network ( DFN ) based on real data and using probability theory to estimate the volume of smaller fractures that are below the lower cutoff for the fracture radius in the DFN . The amount of water stored in the matrix is estimated utilizing two distinct methods—one using a two‐phase model at the pore‐scale and the other using a single‐phase model at the continuum scale. Based on these calculations, it appears that most of the water resides in the matrix with a lesser amount in the fractures.

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