In this work, the effect of fracture network connectivity on hydraulic fracturing effectiveness was investigated using a discrete element numerical model. The simulation results show that natural fracture density can significantly affect the hydraulic fracturing effectiveness, which was characterized by either the ratio of stimulated natural fracture area to hydraulic fracture area or the leakoff ratio. The sparse DFN cases showed a flat microseismic distribution zone with few events, while the dense DFN cases showed a complex microseismic map which indicated significant interaction between the hydraulic fracture and natural fractures. Further, it was found that the initial natural fracture aperture affected the hydraulic fracturing effectiveness more for the dense natural fracture case than for the sparse (less dense) case. Overall, this work shows that fracture network connectivity plays a critical role in hydraulic fracturing effectiveness, which, in-turn, affects treating pressures, the created microseismicity and corresponding stimulated volume, and well production.

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