Flowback fracture closure of multi-fractured horizontal wells in shale gas reservoirs

Fengyuan Zhang, Hamid Emami-Meybodi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In multi-fractured horizontal wells (MFHW), fracture properties such as permeability and fracture half-length significantly deteriorate during production, which negatively affects gas production from shale reservoirs. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate the temporal changes in fracture properties using production data. This paper presents two multiphase flowback models for gas and water phase under boundary dominated flow (BDF) condition by considering gas influx from matrix. In addition, a workflow is proposed to quantitatively evaluate hydraulic fracture closure and fracture properties using both water-phase and gas-phase flowback data. A material balance equation (MBE) is derived to obtain average pressure in the fracture by calculating gas influx from matrix under variable bottomhole pressure (BHP) condition based on Duhamel's principle. The flowback models, average pressure calculation method, and workflow are validated against numerical simulations and applied to an MFHW drilled in Marcellus Shale. The results show that the developed models are capable of predicting fracture properties, and MBE could accurately calculate average pressure in the fracture. Furthermore, the proposed workflow provides quantitative insights into the performance of stimulation jobs by accurately predicting fracture half-length, fracture permeability, and permeability modulus using flowback data. By reconciling flowback analysis with long-term production data analysis, a significant decrease in fracture properties due to fracture closure is observed in the Marcellus MFHW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106711
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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