Hydraulic fracture diagnostics have highlighted the potentially complex natural of hydraulic fracture geometry and propagation. This has been particularly true in the cases of hydraulic fracture growth in naturally fractured reservoirs, where the induced fractures interact with pre-existing natural fractures. A simplified numerical model has been developed to account for mechanical interaction between pressurized fractures, and to examine the simultaneous propagation of multiple (>2) hydraulic fracture segments. Fracture intersection is presumed to communicate the hydraulic fracturing fluid to the natural fracture, which then takes up the continued propagation. Simulations for multi-stage horizontal well treatments and single stage vertical well treatments show that fracture pattern complexity is strongly controlled by the magnitude of the hydraulic fracture net pressure relative to the in situ horizontal differential stress as well as the geometry of the natural fractures. Analysis of the neartip stress field around a hydraulic fracture also indicates that induced stresses may be high enough to debond sealed natural fractures ahead of the arrival of the hydraulic fracture tip.

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