Microseismic events associated with shale reservoir hydraulic fracturing stimulation (HFS) are interpreted to be reactivations of ubiquitous natural fractures (NFs). Despite adoption of discrete fracture network (DFN) models, accounting for NFs in fluid flow within shale reservoirs has remained a challenge. For an explicit account of NFs, this study introduced the use of seismology-based relations linking seismic moment, moment magnitude, fault rupture area, and stress drop. Microseismic data from HFS monitoring of Marcellus Shale horizontal wells had been used to derive planar hydraulic fracture geometry and source properties. The former was integrated with associated well production data found to exhibit transient linear flow. Analytical solutions led to linear flow parameters (LFPs) and system permeability for scenarios depicting flow through infinite and finite conductivity hydraulic fractures. Published core plug permeability was stress-corrected for in-situ conditions to estimate average matrix permeability. For comparison, the burial and thermal history for the study area was used in 1D Darcy-based modeling of steady and episodic expulsion of petroleum to account for geologic timescale persistence of abnormal pore pressure. Both evaluations resulted in matrix permeability in the same picodarcy (pD) range. Coupled with LFPs, reactivated NF surface area for stochastic DFNs was estimated. Subsequently, the aforementioned seismology-based relations were used for determining average stress drops needed to estimate NF rupture area matching flow-based DFN surface areas. Stress drops, comparable to values for tectonic events, were excluded. One of the determined values matched stress drops for HFS operations in past and recent seismological studies. In addition, calculated changes in pore pressure matched estimates in the aforementioned studies. This study unlocked the full potential of microseismic data beyond extraction of planar geometry attributes and stimulated reservoir volume (SRV). Here, microseismic events were explicitly used in the quantitative account of NFs in fluid flow within shale reservoirs.

You do not currently have access to this article.