The paper presents some important conclusions obtained by analysis of data from many hydraulic fracturing treatments monitored over the past five years. These conclusions involve some major changes from conventional concepts about hydraulic fracturing, many of which have been based on inadequate models of the process and a commensurate lack of adequate data or motivation to check those models. Recommendations are, therefore, also made about simple, low-cost procedures for adequate data collection, such as the use of flow-rate changes and/or multiple injection/shut-in cycles for stringent model evaluation. Our conclusions from such careful analysis include: shorter, wider fractures; relative insensitivity of fracture width to frac-fluid rheology; dangerously fast convection vs. settlement of proppant in imperfectly-contained fractures; and a potential role of natural fractures in explaining many phenomena formerly regarded as evidence for long contained fractures. Although serendipity may sometimes compensate for poor job design, we recommend that many existing approaches to fracture design and execution be re-considered and that more credible efforts at treatment optimization be achieved by more careful (on-site) analysis of properly monitored and more flexible field execution schedules.

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