In cemented and cased wells, perforation cluster spacing is optimized based on the type of reservoir fluid, permeability, fracture conductivity, proppant distribution, and associated stresses to place multiple fractures along horizontal wellbores. Specifically, in very low-permeability reservoirs, the requirement for smaller perforation or fracture spacing might not be possible because of the geomechanical interference between fractures. In this case, the commonly used zipper-frac technique can provide a means to create fractures in projects with closer spacing.
The benefits of zipper fracs can be maximized by generating proper fracture geometry and properly staggering the perforation/fracture system. This paper reviews and discusses numerical reservoir-modeling results of zipper fracturing that demonstrate the individual or combined effects of the perforation/fracture staggering, comparing these to the fracture length, fracture overlap, fracture conductivity, and/or proppant distribution effects of a conventional completion that does not use the staggered zipper-frac approach. The simulation results are assessed over a wide range of unconventional reservoir permeabilities for both gas and light oil.