Abstract:

Many unconventional plays exhibit low matrix permeability, which means accessing or generating surface area during hydraulic fracture stimulations is critical to the economic success of the wells. As a result, it is common to see 10s of frac stages per well (as many as 60 or more) and specific efforts to stimulate the natural fractures (to increase ‘complexity’). Changes in stage spacing or well configuration (such as simul-fracs or zipper-fracs) have been tried in order to alter either or both the stress field and the pore pressure field to enhance the shearing of natural fractures. In this paper, we present the results of several numerical studies to quantitatively evaluate the effects of both regular and irregular stage spacing and several different well configurations/completion techniques at Chicontepec in Mexico. Building upon the original theoretical work of Sneddon and others, multi-stage, single-well and multi-well completions were simulated in order to quantify the changes in the principal stresses and shear stresses causes by multiple, propped hydraulic fractures.

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