Fracturing from horizontal and highly deviated wells can often result in complex, non-planar fracture geometry. A two-dimensional model was developed to analyze the effects of non-planar fracture propagation for different in situ boundary conditions and hydraulic fracturing parameters. Numerical simulations show that curving fracture geometry reduces created fracture length compared to a planar fracture and causes a fracture width restriction at the wellbore. Reduction in fracture length can reduce expected well stimulation effects and jeopardize well economics. Near-wellbore width restrictions increase fracture treating pressure and may cause wellbore screen-out during the proppant stages of a fracturing treatment. The negative impact of non-planar geometry can be mitigated with short perforated intervals, high viscosity fracturing fluids, proper wellbore alignment and pre-pad proppant slugs for near-wellbore erosion.

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