ITF launches FRACGAS II JIP to improve recovery and profitability through improved understanding of the hydraulic fracturing process
Tuesday, Nov 08, 2016
The Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF), alongside Marathon Oil, Nexen and Repsol, has launched a joint industry project (JIP) to improve the planning, design and implementation of hydraulic fracturing to maximise the efficiency and profitability of unconventional resources globally.
The FRACGAS II JIP continues the development of the Elfen tgr (tight gas reservoirs) software suite pioneered by the geomechanics software solutions developer, Rockfield. The research aims to enhance the finite element (FE) based modelling technology and microseismic methodology.
FRACGAS I developed the Elfen tgr software that has the following capability and allows the simulation of:
(i)              3D hydraulic fracture propagation with curved paths
(ii)            multi-stage and multi-well fracture interference (with proppant transport, stress shadows, flow back, fracture closure/embedment and production)
(iii)           discrete fracture network (DFN) stimulation with synthetic microseismicity and hydraulic fracture interactions
(iv)           mixed mode discrete tensile and continuum shear formation damage
(v)            hydraulic fracture propagation under the influence of near wellbore stress field
The FRACGAS II project will further extend the capability of the Elfen tgr software to incorporate mixed mode fracturing; multiphase flow; hydraulic fracturing for oil reservoirs, and linking computational technology for assessment of current days stress, forward modelling, and hydro-fracture modelling.

Hydraulic fracturing is widely used to enhance recovery of hydrocarbons from very low porosity reservoirs. Significant challenges exist which could hamper the industry’s ability to optimise drilling, stimulation and work-over programmes in unconventional reservoirs. The software will be verified against experimental and operator supplied data and the modelling technology may then be used to enhance knowledge across a number of areas.
Dr Patrick O’Brien, CEO of ITF said: “This latest project adds to the successful track record of ITF member investment in Rockfield and ensures that leading edge modelling capabilities are tackling some of the key challenges in appraisal and development of unconventional assets.
“Hydraulic fracturing presents a range of technical challenges but the application of finite element and discrete element technology will ultimately improve stimulation designs and allow for better prediction of the hydraulic fracturing process. This phase also sees the expansion into tight oil shales which are of key interest to ITF members globally.”
John Cain, CEO of Rockfield, added: “The sponsorship of FRACGAS I enabled Rockfield to deliver a complete product in the shape of Elfen tgr that enables oil and gas operators and service companies alike to model both 2D and 3D fracture propagation in tight gas shale reservoirs. The software allows the simulation of full cycle of stimulation-production–re-fracturing-production operations including features such as fracture closure, proppant transport and multi-well interference.
“FRACGAS II consolidates on all of the work undertaken previously and allows the utilisation of further enhancements within both the analysis and user interface of the Elfen tgr software product.”
FRACGAS II brings substantial modelling capabilities and commercial benefits to the sponsoring organisations: Nexen, Marathon Oil and Repsol who are contributing around £240,000 in total to the project.
The FRACGAS II JIP follows the recent announcement of the third phase of ITF’s PETGAS III (Petrophysics of Tight Gas Sandstones) project. This brings together Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN), Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and the University of Leeds, to examine the petrophysical properties of tight gas sandstones. This will enable oil producers to reduce the time and costs associated with determining the economic viability of gas fields.

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