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Uncertainty in the maximum principal stress estimated from hydraulic fracturing measurements due to the presence of the induced fracture

International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s1365-1609(99)00097-0


Abstract The classical theory for hydraulic fracturing stress measurements assumes an ideal case with a linear elastic, homogenous, and isotropic medium; and a fracture that reopens distinctly when the minimum tangential borehole stress is exceeded. The induced fracture disturbs this ideal picture in several aspects, which are important for the evaluation of the maximum horizontal principal stress using the fracture reopening pressure. This disturbance can be attributed to the fracture normal stiffness and the initial hydraulic fracture permeability. In this paper, the hydraulic fracturing reopening test is studied by coupled hydromechanical modeling that takes into account an induced fracture that is incompletely closed. The result shows that with realistic equipment compliance, the apparent fracture reopening evaluated from the well-pressure is close to the magnitude of the minimum horizontal principal stress with little or no correlation to the maximum horizontal principal stress. This observation suggests that the determination of maximum principal stress by hydraulic fracturing using the reopening pressure is very uncertain.

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