Summary

Multiple hydraulic fractures are often generated simultaneously from a wellbore to increase efficiency of reservoir stimulation. Numerical modeling of such a system of fractures is computationally costly, especially if the goal is to simulate numerous stages, each containing multiple fractures, on different wells, which is the current trend in the petroleum industry. To address the challenge, this study defines a method and a workflow to represent the simultaneous propagation of multiple fractures with a reduced number of equivalent fractures that accurately describes the overall fracture geometry, the created surface area, the propped surface area, the fluid leakoff, and the resulting induced stresses, as resulting from the original configuration. A hybrid approach is used, in which a combination of physical modeling and data science is involved. We first develop a database of numerical solutions using a fully coupled hydraulic fracturing simulator. The equivalent fracture representation is quantified for each set of problem parameters presented in the database. Then, the results of the database solutions are used to tackle more general cases with field pumping schedules and rock properties. Several numerical examples are presented to validate and illustrate the developed concept.

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