Summary

Engineers commonly expect symmetric fracture wings in multiple‐transverse‐fracture horizontal wells. Microseismic surveys have shown that asymmetric hydraulic fractures grow away from the recent fractured wells and grow toward previously produced wells. This might be caused by the elevated stress around the recently fractured well and the reduced stress near the depleted wells. This paper presents the asymmetric fracture growth observed by the microseismic events, develops a simple model to simulate the fracture propagation, and discusses its effect on the well productivity.

Motivated by the microseismic observations, we developed a simple 2D fracture model to simulate asymmetric fracture wings that can capture the behavior of fracture hits between two adjacent horizontal fractured wells. Fluid leakoff during fracture propagation is considered in the model. The effect of asymmetric fractures on production is evaluated with numerical simulations.

The newly developed fracture model shows that the fracture can grow asymmetrically if the horizontal well is near where the stress field is different between its two sides. Numerical simulation is used to quantify the productivity reduction caused by asymmetric hydraulic fractures. Our results provide a reason for why asymmetric fractures occur and demonstrate that they do penalize well performance. Our model suggests the importance of fracturing under a balanced‐stress distribution that benefits long‐term production. Use of this model also suggested that an optimized hydraulic‐fracturing‐treatment design will improve the overall performance of multiple parallel wells, which minimizes or avoids asymmetric fracture wings.

The fracture‐propagation model and productivity model provide simple but profound guidelines for well‐pad management, including well spacing, stage planning and spacing, and completion and production order.

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