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Thursday, March 16 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Poster: HPC Simulation of Hydraulic Fracturing in Three Dimensions

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We present a new high performance computing software solution, ARGOS, for three-dimensional, coupled multiphysics simulation of fractured rock mechanics, fluid dynamics, and proppant transport. The capabilities are illustrated by some case studies of hydraulic fracturing applications. In contrast to other simulators that make simplifications such as dimension reduction, isotropy, and structured grids, ARGOS makes general allowances for anistropy, unstructured grids, fracture networks, and arbitrary configurations of multiple wellbores, perforations, and fractures. The wellbore model includes deformable casing, and the fractures dynamically propagate and expand in aperture as the rock deforms. The dynamic simulation of these coupled models produces realistic behavior of the physical system, which cannot be attained with simpler simulators.

ARGOS is validated by its high accuracy in analytic tests, and it is also applicable to general settings where analytic solutions are not available. We show that single fractures in simple settings, without proppant transport, are relatively insensitive to increasing fidelity of the analysis, but proppant transport and interactions of multiple fractures exhibit complex behavior that cannot be captured with simpler models and solvers. Our results demonstrate the strong significance of effects such as anisotropic in situ stress fields, stress shadowing, near-wellbore friction, proppant bridging, and slurry rheology. Proppant transport has a significant impact on slurry viscosity and hence the pressure applied to the fracture surfaces, resulting in complex fluid-structure interaction. Simulations must represent these effects in order to accurately estimate stimulation, proppant distribution, and production.

Efficient parallel algorithms make it possible to simulate large problems with high fidelity, using fine mesh resolution to accurately represent input fracture networks and stress fields. For scalability, we use domain decomposition techniques to solve an implicit time integration of the Darcy fluid flow in fractures and wellbores, coupled with a fast explicit time integration of the solid mechanics model.

Investigations with a powerful HPC software tool such as ARGOS are essential in evaluating the effect of mesh resolution on accuracy, as well as the negative impact of simplifying model assumptions and weak couplings that are made in simpler tools. This insight can also guide the design of simpler, faster solvers that neglect certain aspects deemed insignificant, in some conditions, by high-fidelity experiments.


Thursday March 16, 2017 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Exhibit Hall BRC

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