This paper presents an integrated 3D workflow for multi-stage hydraulic fracture stimulation by embracing 3D geomechanics, with a view to help unlocking these reserves. In the proposed approach the geometry and orientation of the multiple hydraulic fractures are driven by the prevailing 3D stress state in the drainage zone in the vicinity of the stimulated well. A case study involving two-way geomechanical coupling approaches is used to carry out a Class C1 “prediction” of the performance of a horizontal well drilled in the Nikanassin naturally fractured tight gas formation (Western Canada Sedimentary Basin). The results of the computations demonstrate the benefits of including 3D geomechanics in dual porosity flow simulations, particularly in connection with closely matching the gas production history. Moreover, the ability of the method to estimate the unavoidable reduction in permeability of natural and hydraulic fractures associated with pressure depletion leads to more realistic production predictions when compared with cases when ignoring geomechanical effects. The telling conclusion is that the field of hydraulic fracture stimulation provides an object lesson in the need for coupled 3D geomechanical approaches. The method presented in this paper will help improve gas rates and recoveries from low-permeability reservoirs.


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