Initial hydraulic fracturing of shale oil reservoirs has often resulted in disappointing results, with low connected volumes and productivity degradation with depletion. To improve the single well production and oil recovery, re-fracturing techniques have received increased attention, but face the challenges of economy, applicability and feasibility.

In this paper, the propagation mechanism during re-fracturing operations is explored through laboratory experiments. Firstly, mechanical analysis and fracturing simulation experiments were performed using the formation cores. After the fracturing simulation experiment, the fractured core was soaked in supercritical CO2 to enhance the re-fracturing effect. Then a re-fracturing simulation experiment was performed to analyze the fracturing propagation mechanism. Meanwhile, some new cores are soaked into supercritical CO2 to explore the changes of mechanical properties under different soak time.

The mechanical analysis experiment showed that supercritical CO2 soak has a strong influence on the uniaxial compressive and tensile strength of shale. With an increase of soak time, both the compressive and tensile strength clearly decreased. During the first fracturing operation, fractures propagated only along the horizontal bedding and could not open the rock matrix. After supercritical CO2 soak, re-fracturing could open the horizontal bedding more easily as well as extend to the rock matrix, creating a more complex fractured system, enhancing oil recovery.

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