Natural fractures have a significant influence on the propagation geometry of hydraulic fractures in fractured reservoirs. True triaxial volumetric fracturing experiments, in which random natural fractures are created by placing cement blocks of different dimensions in a cuboid mold and filling the mold with additional cement to create the final test specimen, were used to study the factors that influence the hydraulic fracture propagation geometry. These factors include the presence of natural fractures around the wellbore, the dimension and volumetric density of random natural fractures and the horizontal differential stress. The results show that volumetric fractures preferentially formed when natural fractures occurred around the wellbore, the natural fractures are medium to long and have a volumetric density of 6–9%, and the stress difference is less than 11 MPa. The volumetric fracture geometries are mainly major multi-branch fractures with fracture networks or major multi-branch fractures (2–4 fractures). The angles between the major fractures and the maximum horizontal in situ stress are 30°–45°, and fracture networks are located at the intersections of major multi-branch fractures. Short natural fractures rarely led to the formation of fracture networks. Thus, the interaction between hydraulic fractures and short natural fractures has little engineering significance. The conclusions are important for field applications and for gaining a deeper understanding of the formation process of volumetric fractures.
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 4, 2017
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