"Stress shadowing," where the stress field around an induced hydraulic fracture reorients from its far field directions by up to 90 degrees, is a major factor in designing and executing multiple hydraulically fractured, horizontal well completions. This is especially true as the number of hydraulic fractures increase for a given lateral length. Often the number of fracture stages is determined by well analogues without considering how stress shadows alter fracture properties. In this paper, the main objective is to determine what properties are most important in determining the minimum distance needed between hydraulic fractures to avoid stress interference. A finite element model of a horizontal wellbore with a transverse hydraulic fracture is constructed in order to perform numerical simulations of the stress around the fracture. The model is used to perform sensitivities on various mechanical and reservoir properties to investigate how and why the stress field changed.

The simulation results show that the ratio of minimum to maximum horizontal stress is the most important parameter to know in order to determine the optimal fracture spacing. Changes in this ratio show an exponential change in fracture spacing, affecting spacing requirements by up to 81%. Poisson's ratio, Biot's parameter, and net fracture pressure were also important.

It can be concluded that fracture spacing cannot be determined by looking only at one or two properties. The fracture spacing must be determined by looking at all the important variables and identifying those that are most variable for the reservoir in question. The sensitivity of the "stress shadow" to various properties is an indication that obtaining good data is key to proper completion design.

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