In shale reservoirs, where permeabilities are low, additional stimulation is required to ensure economic production ( ). In the case of the Vaca Muerta shale in Argentina the mechanical behaviour of the rock as it relates to the ability of natural and induced fractures to sustain hydraulic conductivity pathways is considered the primary factor controlling play economics.

With limited well control and core data available for calibration, an analysis of natural fractures present in the Vaca Muerta Formation was performed on 5 wells. Borehole image logs were analysed to study the existence of natural fractures in the wells and identified fractures were classed by character, and modelled for their relative stability.

Results of the investigation show three sections of the Vaca Muerta. A lower section, rich in organic and siliciclastic content, an upper section where organic content is lowest and carbonate content highest, and a middle interval where the borehole image analysis identified the highest number of natural fractures present. Furthermore, the model results indicate that the identified fractures are highly likely to become reactivated during hydraulic stimulation.


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