Interaction between hydraulic fractures and natural fractures: current status and prospective directions

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94 Scopus citations


Hydraulic fracturing treatment is one of the most efficient conventional matrix stimulation techniques currently utilized in the petroleum industry. However, due to the spatiotemporal complex nature of fracture propagation in a naturally- and often times systematically fractured media, the influence of natural fractures (NF) and in situ stresses on hydraulic fracture (HF) initiation and propagation within a reservoir during the hydrofracturing process remains an important issue. Over the past 50 years of advances in the understanding of HF–NF interactions, no comprehensive revision of the state of the knowledge exists. Here, we reviewed over 140 scientific articles on investigations of HF–NF interactions, published over the past 50 years. We highlight the most commonly observed HF–NF interactions and their implications for unconventional oil and gas production. Using observational and quantitative analyses, we find that numerical modeling and simulation is the most prominent method of approach, whereas there are less publications on the experimental approach, and analytical method is the least utilized approach. Further, we suggest how HF–NF interactions can be monitored in real time on the field during a pre-frac test. Lastly, based on the results of our literature review, we recommend promising areas of investigation that may provide more profound insights into HF–NF interactions in such a way that can be directly applied to the optimization of fracture-stimulation field operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1613-1634
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Energy


  • Fracture network
  • Fracture propagation
  • Hydraulic fracture
  • Interaction
  • Natural fracture


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