The natural fractures in mud or shale directly affect the quality and efficiency of shale gas reservoirs, and fracture identification and prediction play an important role in drilling shale gas wells and making plans for reservoir stimulation. We adopted ant tracking technology for 3D poststack reflective seismic waves to identify the size and distribution of high-angle structural fractures in the Zhangjiatan shale of the Yanchang Formation in the Ordos Basin, which is a typical continental shale. The parameters for ant tracking fractures are extracted from the investigation on outcrop, cores, and image logs. The prestack seismic diffractive wave imaging technique for the super-resolution identification of mid- and small-scale breakpoints can be used as the constraint conditions for ant tracking. The identified result of high-angle fractures was validated by the image logging and drilling gas logging results. The geologic and logging data indicate that the Zhangjiatan shale is mainly characterized by high-angle fractures and a smaller number of low-angle fractures. The fractures mainly trend in the near east–west direction, followed by the near north–south direction, and a small amount of fractures in the north–northeast and northwest–west directions. The average density of structural fractures is relatively low, but the cemented rate is only 15.7%, and most structural fractures maintain an open state. The identified and predicted structural fractures are mainly distributed in the southeast of well LP180 and south of well LP179. The higher gas shows from actual well drilling in shale directly correspond to the density and intensity of high-angle fractures rather than the matrix gas abundance in shale, which indicates that the sweet spot of gas production in shale is clearly controlled by structural fractures.

You do not currently have access to this article.