Crucial effect of system compliance on the maximum stress estimation in the hydrofracturing method: Theoretical considerations and field-test verification
© The Society of Geomagnetism and Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences (SGEPSS); The Seismological Society of Japan; The Volcanological Society of Japan; The Geodetic Society of Japan; The Japanese Society for Planetary Sciences. 2006
Received: 22 November 2004
Accepted: 4 May 2006
Published: 16 September 2006
Why do the currently available data sets from field hydrofracturing tests indicate that the measured re-opening pressure lies close to the shut-in pressure far more often than can reasonably be expected? In order to explain such a strange phenomenon, it is necessary to take into consideration two additional factors, those of (1) a residual aperture of fracture and (2) hydraulic compliance of the test equipment, both of which are ignored in the conventional theory of hydraulic fracturing. The residual aperture causes pressure penetration into the fracture prior to opening, and its effect is to reduce the re-opening pressure by a factor of two from the value expected when the conventional theory is used. The conventional theory implies that the fracture always begins to open at a borehole pressure less than the shut-in pressure. However, due to the effect of large hydraulic compliance, the reopening pressure measured in the conventional manner becomes larger than the true reopening pressure and approaches the shut-in pressure. Contrary to this, the reopening pressure measured using the test equipment with sufficiently small compliance represents a good estimate of the true reopening pressure. This pressure is related to the maximum horizontal stress SH, and its measured value allows us to estimate the value of SH.