How will treatment parameters impact the optimization of hydraulic fracturing process in unconventional reservoirs?

Oladoyin Kolawole, Marshal Wigwe, Ion Ispas, Marshall Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Hydraulic fracturing is a very complex process that has not yet been fully understood. Furthermore, the number of stages, length of fracture clusters in each stage, proppant and fracturing fluid compatibilities, optimum spacing length, proppant transport and placement, proppant and frac-fluid compatibility, and optimum spacing are some of the challenges inhibiting successful application of this technique across the world. In this study, we present the impact of fracture-cluster lengths, proppant types and sizes, proppant densities, frac fluid types, fluid viscosities, and injection rates on hydraulic fracturing process. Firstly, we developed a stress profile to determine initiation location and orientation of the hydraulic fractures, and subsequently created the geological layering in the zone of interest. We grouped our investigations into 5 case studies, followed by developing an efficient hydraulic fracturing design approach, and we determined the optimal treatment to achieve maximum recovery. Our results show that fracture clusters with optimal lengths will provide optimized hydraulic fracture treatment. In addition, high-strength proppants is efficient for shale formations with closure stress exceeding 5000 psi to achieve optimum fracture conductivity and fracture half-length. Furthermore, we observed the high-density proppant produced greater fracture lengths and lower dimensionless fracture conductivity (CFD), while the low-density proppant produced greater effective propped-fracture lengths and higher CFD. In some of the cases investigated, we observed that stress shadowing and interference can hinder fracture growth, eventually led to a collapse of some fractures. Our results provide valuable critical decision-making insight for optimizing hydraulic fracturing process in unconventional reservoirs across the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1865
JournalSN Applied Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Eagle ford
  • Fracturing treatment
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Shale
  • Tight reservoir
  • Unconventional reservoir


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