A design of hydraulic fracturing in variably-stressed zones is one of key components for an effective multi-zone, multi-horizontal well pad treatment. In the recent literature, optimum completion strategies catering for stimulation-induced in-situ stress changes are discussed, however, only few of these focus on vertical stress changes and its impact on multi-zone fracture geometries. In this paper, we present an approach to design contained hydraulic fractures in a high stress layers by studying the role of vertical stress shadowing on actual field data.

In modeling hydraulic fractures with pseudo-3D models, if fracture simulations are initiated in high stress zones, "artificially" unbounded height growth results in very limited lateral propagation. On the other hand, 3D hydraulic fracturing models are too computationally expensive to optimize large design jobs, for example, in multi-horizontal well pads. In this paper, we employ a Stacked Height Growth Model, whereby fractures are also discretized vertically yet retain the numerical formulation pseudo-3D models. Coupling with finite element stress solvers then allows to identify vertical stress changes in the vicinity of induced hydraulic fractures and to understand the interference between hydraulic fracture sequences and their respective microseismic signatures.

Considering a potential combination of fracturing sequences, it was revealed that stress perturbations from the neighboring well hydraulic fractures initiating from low stress layers can be used to increase stress within the same zone and also potentially reduce stresses in higher-stress layers above and below. By modeling and calibrating an actual multi-zone, multi-horizontal stimulation job, we elaborate on the benefits of increasing stress barriers before fracturing in higher-stress layer to avoid the chances of re-fracturing from high stress zones. Regarding hydraulic fracture geometries, we explain our results by analyzing actual microseismic observations with respect to simulated stress patterns after stimulation. We explore the notion of deliberately ordering hydraulic fracture to manage vertical interference and create more contained fractures in a multi-zone horizontal well pad.

Fracturing in a higher-stress zone will naturally divert the energy into low stress, potentially unproductive zones. In an effort to manage this phenomenon, this paper presents one of the few data-rich case studies on multi-zone, multi-well engineered stimulation design. The approach shown in this paper can be a helpful reference to understand fracture height growth in the presence of both vertical and horizontal stress shadowing.

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