Summary

“Fracture hit” was initially coined to refer to the phenomenon of an infill-well fracture interacting with an adjacent well during the hydraulic-fracturing process. However, over time, its use has been extended to any type of well interference or interaction in unconventional reservoirs. In this study, an exhaustive literature survey was performed on fracture hits to identify key factors affecting the fracture hits and suggest different strategies to manage fracture hits. The impact of fracture hits is dictated by a complex interplay of petrophysical properties (high-permeability streaks, mineralogy, matrix permeability, natural fractures), geomechanical properties (near-field and far-field stresses, tensile strength, Young’s modulus, Poisson’s ratio), completion parameters (stage length, cluster spacing, pumping rate, fluid and proppant amount), and development decisions (well spacing, well scheduling, fracture sequencing). It is difficult to predict the impact of fracture hits, and they affect both parent and child wells. The impact on the child wells is predominantly negative, whereas the effect on parent wells can be either positive or negative. The “child wells” in this context refer to the wells drilled with pre-existing active/inactive well(s) around. The “parent well” refers to any well drilled without any pre-existing well around. Overall, fracture hits tend to negatively affect both the production and economics of lease development. The optimal approach rests in identifying the reservoir properties and accordingly making field-development decisions that minimize the negative impact of fracture hits. The different strategies proposed to minimize the negative impact of fracture hits are simultaneous lease development, thus avoiding parent/child wells (i.e., rolling-, tank-, and cube-development methods); repressuring or refracturing parent wells; using far-field diverters and high-permeability plugging agents in the child-well fracturing fluid; and optimizing stage and cluster spacing through modeling studies and field tests. Finally, the study concludes with a recommended approach to manage fracture hits. There is no silver bullet, and the problem of fracture hits in each shale play is unique, but by using the available data and published knowledge to understand how fractures propagate downhole, measures can be taken to minimize or even completely avoid fracture hits.

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