Development of shale gas reservoirs has become an integral part of the North American gas supply. The Marcellus shale reservoir contains large untapped natural gas resources and its proximity to high demand markets along the East Coast of the United State makes it an attractive target for energy development. The economic viability of such unconventional gas development hinges on the effective stimulation of extremely low permeability reservoir rocks. Horizontal wells with multistage hydraulic fracturing technique are the stimulation method of choice and have been successful in shale gas reservoirs. However, the fundamental science and engineering of the process are yet to be fully understood and hence the protocol that needs to be followed in the stimulation process needs to be optimized. There are several factors affecting the hydraulic fracture treatment and the postfracture gas production in shale gas reservoirs. In this paper, we used numerical reservoir simulation techniques and quantified the effect of the following pertinent factors: multiphase flow, proppant crushing, proppant diagenesis, reservoir compaction, and operating conditions on the performance of the designed multistage hydraulic fracturing process. The knowledge generated in this study is expected to enable engineers to better design fracture treatments and operators to better manage the wells in the Marcellus shale gas reservoir.

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