Effect of Fracture Pressure Depletion Regimes on the Dual-Porosity Shape Factor for Flow of Compressible Fluids in Fractured Porous Media

Ehsan Ranjbar, Hassan Hassanzadeh and Zhangxin Chen


A precise value of the matrix-fracture transfer shape factor is essential for modeling fluid flow in fractured porous media by a dual-porosity approach. The slightly compressible fluid shape factor has been widely investigated in the literature. In a recent study, we have developed a transfer function for flow of a compressible fluid using a constant fracture pressure boundary condition (Ranjbar and Hassanzadeh, 2011). However, for a compressible fluid, the consequence of a pressure depletion boundary condition on the shape factor has not been investigated in the previous studies. The main purpose of this paper is, therefore, to investigate the effect of the fracture pressure depletion regime on the shape factor for single-phase flow of a compressible fluid. In the current study, a model for evaluation of the shape factor is derived using solutions of a nonlinear diffusivity equation subject to different pressure depletion regimes. A combination of the heat integral method, the method of moments and Duhamel’s theorem is used to solve this nonlinear equation. The developed solution is validated by fine-grid numerical simulations. The presented model can recover the shape factor of slightly compressible fluids reported in the literature. This study demonstrates that in the case of a single-phase flow of compressible fluid, the shape factor is a function of the imposed boundary condition in the fracture and its variability with time. It is shown that such dependence can be described by an exponentially declining fracture pressure with different decline exponents. These findings improve our understanding of fluid flow in fractured porous media.