Currently, the closure stress is often predicted using the conventional tangent method (i.e., G-function) or the variable compliance method. Both methods use several restrictive assumptions such as a single planar fracture. However, the hydraulic fracture often intersects rock fabric features such as bedding planes and/or natural fractures causing the pressure transient behavior to become drastically different compared to that of a single planar hydraulic fracture. Closure of the intersected natural fractures might precede that of the created HF which impacts the interpretation of the pressure derivate plots and also the closure stress. In this paper we present and use an advanced fracture diagnostic model that can help recognize the signatures of rock fabric features and their impact on estimation of the closure stress. An example field data is used to illustrate the potential impact on closure stress.

The new DFIT model consists of a fully coupled 3D hydraulic fracture simulator with the ability to handle the opening, propagation, and closure of natural factures so that the pre- and post-closure stress/deformation of both the hydraulic and natural fractures can be captured. Fracture propagation, HF-NF interaction, fracture intersection, and DFIT model are integrated into one simulator to provide a more realistic view of HF propagation and fracture diagnostics in naturally fractured reservoirs. The current model is developed without any major assumptions concerning the fluid flow, fracture deformation, and propagation path. Rock/fracture deformation is calculated using a boundary element formulation whereas the transport processes are solved using finite elements method.

Our results indicate that natural fractures affect the pre- and post- shut-in response of the hydraulic fracture in a number of ways. For example, the fracture propagation path, the pumping pressure profile, and interfering with the post shut-in pressure response. These factors, indeed, impact the estimation of the minimum horizontal stress which is a key parameter obtained from DFIT. Moreover, our results show how the normal stiffness of the fracture surface asperities can impact the minimum stress estimation. Closure of natural fractures is reflected in the slope of the pressure derivative and G-function plots so that correct interpretation of these signatures is essential to accurate extraction of the Shmin.

Closure of natural fractures is often viewed as a pressure depdendent leakoff mechanism that is reflected on the Gdp/dG curve. The closure behavior of HF-NF sets is, however, not explicitly modeled in the context of pressure transient analysis. Therefore, it is our objective to study the closure behavior of HF-NF sets using a 3D coupled simulator. This novel model is applied to actual field data to illustrate the potential impact on closure stress and to shed light on the subject of fracture diagnostics in naturally fractured reservoirs. Our results indicate that the closure behavior of hydraulic and natural fractures in a HF-NF set differs from that of an isolated fracture due to the effect of stress shadowing. Although the system stiffness method results in distinct signatures on the diagnostic curves, these signatures are not commonly observed in the field data. The absence of stiffness signatures in the field cases could be interpreted in two ways: 1) the closure mechanism assumed in the stiffness/compliance method differs from the actual fracture closure mechanism or 2) the stiffness of the hydraulic fracture is too low to cause any significant changes in the system stiffness after closure.

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