Weak bedding planes create a unique mechanism for hydraulic fracture height containment, providing one possible explanation for unusual patterns of height growth in shale formations. This paper describes an investigation into how bedding planes modify the interactions between multiple, simultaneously propagating hydraulic fractures in a formation with weak horizontal interfaces with laterally varying properties. The investigation used a 3-D simulator that fully coupled geomechanics, fracture mechanics, and fluid behavior. Three equally spaced fractures were simulated along a horizontal trajectory. Fluid was injected simultaneously into all three locations, and partitioned according to maintain a specified total injection rate. Variations in perforation spacing, fluid viscosity and injection rate are modeled. The four designs investigated were: 1) 10-cp fluid, 20b-pm injection rate with 30-m cluster spacing. 2) 100-cp fluid and 20-bpm fluid injection rate with 30-m cluster spacing. 3) 10-cp fluid and 40-bpm injection rate with 30-m cluster spacing. 4) 10-cp fluid, 20-bpm and 45-m cluster spacing. Results showed how these changes affected fracture area and shape. The propped surface area for each scenario was also estimated. The results suggested that the presence of laterally varying weak interfaces can significantly affect fracture interference.

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