ABSTRACT: Hydraulic fracturing is used by oil companies to stimulate reservoir production. It can also be used for determining in-situ stresses in rock masses. The first interpretation theory and the most often used one is that due to Hubbert and Willis (1957). Presently, most of the existing theories do not take into account the effect of fluid penetration into the cracks. This paper proposes a simple theory, based on the Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM) approach, which is able to take into account these effects. It shows in particular that the effect of pressurization rate on the breakdown pressure is closely related to the extent of fluid penetration into the cracks. It also shows that the effects of non-penetrating pressurizing fluid without internal membrane and those of pressure applied through an internal membrane, are not comparable. The theoretical predictions were found to compare favorably with test results on thick cylinders, published by Zoback et al., (1977), Medlin and Massé (1979) and Rummel (1987)

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