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SPE 152509

A New Approach for Numerical Modeling of Hydraulic Fracture Propagation


in Naturally Fractured Reservoirs
R. Keshavarzi, Young Researchers Club, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran;
S. Mohammadi, School of Civil Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Copyright 2012, Society of Petroleum Engineers


This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE/EAGE European Unconventional Resources Conference and Exhibition held in Vienna, Austria, 20-22 March 2012.
This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

Abstract
Hydraulic fracturing of a naturally fractured reservoir is a challenge for petroleum industry, as fractures can have complex
growth patterns when propagating in systems of natural fractures that leads to significant diversion of hydraulic fracture paths
due to intersection with natural fractures which causes difficulties in proppant transport. In this study, an eXtended Finite
Element Method (XFEM) model has been developed to account for hydraulic fracture propagation and interaction with natural
fracture in naturally fractured reservoirs including fractures intersection criteria into the model. It is assumed that fractures are
propagating in an elastic medium under plane strain and quasi-static conditions. The results indicate that hydraulic fracture
diversion before and after intersecting with natural fracture is strongly controlled by the in-situ horizontal differential stress
and the orientation of the natural fractures as well as hydraulic fracture net pressure. It is observed that hydraulic fracture net
pressure increase leads to decreasing induced fracture diversion and in-situ horizontal differential stress decrease results in
increasing induced fracture diversion before intersecting with natural fracture. In addition, potential debonding of sealed
natural fracture in the near-tip region of a propagating hydraulic fracture before fractures intersection has been modeled which
is one of the phenomena that has been rarely taken into account, as debonding of natural fracture before fractures intersection
is of great importance that may lead to diverting the induced fracture into double-deflection in natural fracture and can explain
hydraulic fracture behaviors due to interaction with natural fracture at different conditions. Also, its been observed that at low
angles of approach with low to high differential stress, the induced hydraulic fracture opens the natural fracture while at high
to medium angles of approach, natural fracture opening and crossing both are observed depending on the differential stress.
Comparison of the numerical and experimental studies results has shown good agreement.
Introduction
Hydraulic fracture growth through naturally fractured reservoirs presents theoretical, design, and application challenges since
hydraulic and natural fracture interaction can significantly affect hydraulic fracturing propagation. Although hydraulic
fracturing has been used for decades for the stimulation of oil and gas reservoirs, a thorough understanding of the interaction
between induced hydraulic fractures and natural fractures is still lacking whereas the interaction between pre-existing natural
fractures and the advancing hydraulic fracture is a key challenge especially in unconventional gas reservoirs, because without
fractures, it is not possible to recover hydrocarbons from these reservoirs. Meanwhile, natural fracture systems are important
and should be considered for optimal stimulation. For naturally fractured formations under reservoir conditions, natural
fractures are narrow apertures which are around 10-5 to 10-3 m wide and have high length/width ratios (>1000:1) (Liu
2005).Typically natural fractures are partially or completely sealed but this does not mean that they can be ignored while
designing well completion processes since they act as planes of weakness reactivated during hydraulic fracturing treatments
that improves the efficiency of stimulation (Gale et al. 2007). The problem of hydraulic and natural fractures interaction has
been widely investigated both experimentally (Lammont and Jessen 1963; Blanton 1982; Warpinski and Teufel 1987; Zhou et
al. 2008; Athavale and Miskimins 2008) and numerically (Jeffrey and Zhang 2009; Rahman et al. 2009; Dahi Taleghani 2009;
Chuprakov et al. 2010; McLennan et al. 2010; Min et al. 2010; Akulich and Zvyagin 2008). Many field experiments also
demonstrated that encountering a propagating hydraulic fracture and natural fractures may lead to arrest of fracture
propagation, fluid flow into natural fracture, creation of multiple fractures and fracture offsets (Stadulis 1995; Britt and Hager
1994; Rodgerson 2000, Jeffrey et al. 2010) which will result in a reduced fracture width. This reduction in hydraulic fracture
width may cause proppant bridging and consequent premature blocking of proppant transport (so-called screenout)

SPE 152509

(Economides 1995; Potluri et al.2005) and finally treatment failure. Although various authors have provided fracture
interaction criteria (Blanton 1982; Warpinski and Teufel 1987; Renshaw and Pollard 1995) but still determining the induced
fracture growth path due to interaction with pre-existing fracture and getting a viewpoint about variable or variables which
have a decisive impact on hydraulic fracturing propagation in naturally fractured reservoirs is still unclear and highly
controversial. However, experimental studies have suggested that horizontal differential stress, angle of approach and
treatment pressure are the parameters affect hydraulic and natural fracture interaction (Blanton 1982; Warpinski and Teufel
1987; Zhou et al. 2008) but a comprehensive analysis of how different parameters influence the fracture behavior has not been
fully investigated to date. For the purpose of this study, an eXtended finite element method (XFEM) is applied to simulate
hydraulic fracture propagation and intersection. The motivations behind applying XFEM are the desire to avoid remeshing in
each step of the fracture propagation, being able to consider arbitrary varying geometry of natural fractures and the
insensitivity of fracture propagation to mesh geometry which improves the accuracy of the solution (Mohammadi 2008). The
main objective of this paper was to investigate hydraulic fracturing propagation in naturally fractured reservoirs and the
dominant factors governing the diversion of hydraulic fractures in the presence of natural fractures, debonding of natural
fracture before intersection with hydraulic fracture and hydraulic and natural fracture intersection through a 2D XFEM
numerical model.
Interaction between Hydraulic and Natural Fractures
The interaction between pre-existing natural fractures and the advancing hydraulic fracture is a key issue leading to complex
fracture patterns. Large populations of natural fractures are sealed by precipitated cements which are weakly bonded with
weak mineralization and adhesion that even if there is no porosity in the sealed fractures, they may still serve as weak paths for
the growing hydraulic fractures (Gale et al. 2007). In this way, experimental studies (Blanton 1982; Warpinski and Teufel
1987; Zhou et al. 2008) suggested several possibilities that may occur during hydraulic and natural fractures interaction.
Blanton (Blanton 1982) conducted some experiments on naturally fractured Devonian shale as well as blocks of hydrostone in
which the angle of approach and horizontal differential stress were varied to analyze hydraulic and natural fracture interaction
in various angles of approach and horizontal differential stresses. He concluded that any change in angle of approach and
horizontal differential stress can affect hydraulic fracture propagation behavior when it encounters a natural fracture which
will be referred to as opening, arresting and crossing. Warpinski and Teufel (Warpinski and Teufel 1987) investigated the
effect of geologic discontinuities on hydraulic fracture propagation by conducting mineback experiments and laboratory
studies on Coconino sandstone having pre-existing joints. They observed three modes of induced fracture propagation which
were crossing, arrest by opening the joint and arrest by shear slippage of the joint with no dilation and fluid flow along the
joint. In 2008 (Zhou et al. 2008) some laboratory experiments were performed to investigate the interaction between hydraulic
and natural fractures. They also observed three types of interactions between hydraulic and pre-existing fractures which were
the same as Warpinski and Teufels observations. The above referenced experimental studies have investigated the initial
interaction between the induced fracture and the natural fracture, however, in reality may be the hydraulic fracture is arrested
by natural fracture temporarily but with continued pumping of the fluid, the hydraulic fracture crosses at the intersection
(Fig.1a) or turns into the natural fracture and opens it (Fig.1b) depending on the fluid pressure distribution. In some cases the
hydraulic fracture may get arrested if the natural fracture is long enough and favorably oriented to accept and divert the fluid.
Also, potential debonding of sealed natural fracture in the near-tip region of a propagating hydraulic fracture before fractures
intersection is one of the phenomena that has been rarely taken into account which can somehow explain hydraulic and natural
fracture behaviors before and after intersection. Debonding of natural fracture prior to intersection with hydraulic fracture is
due to tensile stress exerted ahead of hydraulic fracture tip and if this stress is large enough, it debonds the sealed natural
fracture (Lawn, 2004).

Fig. 1 Schematic illustration for hydraulic and natural fracture interaction: (a) hydraulic fracture crosses the natural fracture and (b)
hydraulic fracture turns into natural fracture and opens it.

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Fracture Propagation and Interaction Criteria


Various authors (Blanton 1982; Warpinski and Teufel 1987) have provided analytical and empirical equations and gave
several relations for predicting the interaction between a natural fracture and hydraulic fracture based on experimental studies
but they only considered the initial interaction between the induced fracture and the natural fracture. In this study, a linear
elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) criteria has been applied for fracture propagation and interaction. Fracture propagation in
LEFM is a function of opening and shearing mode stress intensity factors (KI and KII, respectively), which are measures of
stress concentration at the tip of the crack. The two stress intensity factors are combined in the energy release rate fracture
propagation criterion used in this research. The energy release rate, G, is related to the stress intensity factors through Eq. 1
(Mohammadi 2008):

G=

1
( K I2 + K II2 )
E!

(1)

where E = E for plane stress (E is Young's modulus) and E = E/(1- !2) for plane strain (where ! is the Poisson's ratio). If the
energy release rate is greater than a critical value, Gc, the fracture will propagate critically. The direction of hydraulic fracture
propagation will be calculated by Eq. 2 (Sukumar and Prvost 2003):

&
&K
1 $ KI
' c = 2tan $
$$ I
4 $ K II
% K II
%
-1

2
#
#
!! + 8 !!
!
"
"

(2)

During hydraulic and natural fracture interaction at the intersection point the hydraulic fracture has more than one path to
follow which are opening or crossing. The most likely path is the one that has the maximum energy release rate. So, at the
intersection point energy release rate is calculated for both opening, Gopening , and crossing , Gcrossing, and if (Gopening /Gcrossing)>1
opening will occur and hydraulic fracture turns into natural fracture and opens it, while if (Gopening /Gcrossing)< 1 crossing takes
place and hydraulic fracture crosses the natural fracture.
Extended Finite Element Method Formulation
To model hydraulic fracture propagation and interaction with natural fracture, one of the most efficient and newest numerical
methods called extended finite element method (XFEM) has been applied. XFEM was developed in 1999 (Mos et al. 1999) to
help the shortcomings of the conventional finite element method and has been used to model the propagation of various
discontinuities such as cracks and fractures. The difficulties of conventional finite element method do not exist in simulations
modeled by the extended finite element since the crack is not modeled as a geometric entity and it does not need to conform to
element edges. Similarly, crack propagation can be modeled without any remeshing (Mohammadi 2008). This method was
originally developed to enrich the displacement field near a crack tip in the standard finite element method (Belytschko and
Black 1999), and later was extended to modeling discontinuities (such as fractures) and arbitrary branched and intersecting
fractures. Therefore, XFEM is particularly well-suited for modeling hydraulic fracture propagation and interaction with natural
fracture. In XFEM approximation, the displacement field at any point is divided into two parts as shown in Eq. 3 (Mohammadi
2008).
! ! ! ! !" ! ! !"#

(3)

Where uh, uFE and uENR are approximated displacement field, conventional (continuous) and enriched (discontinuous) parts of
the displacement approximation, respectively. Eq. 3 can be rewritten as below (Mohammadi 2008),

! ! !

!
!!!

!! ! !! !

!
!!!

!! ! ! ! !!

(4)

where uj is the vector of regular degrees of nodal freedom in the finite element method, N is a shape function, ak is the added
set of degrees of freedom to the standard finite element model and " (x) is the discontinuous enrichment function defined for
the set of nodes that the discontinuity has in its influence domain. Eq. 4 can be rearranged in order to model crack surfaces and
tips in the extended finite element method as below (Mohammadi 2008),

SPE 152509

! ! !

!! ! !! !

!!!
!"!

!!!
!"!

!!!

!! !
!! !

!!!
!"

!!!
!"

!!!

!! !

! ! !

! ! ! !!

!!

(5)

!!! ! !!! !! !!!!


!!! ! !!! !! !!!!

where m is the set of nodes that have the crack face (but not the crack tip) in their support domain, while mt1 and mt2 are the
sets of nodes associated with crack tips 1 and 2 in their influence domain, respectively; uj are the nodal displacements
(standard degrees of freedom). H(#) is crack face enrichment function and ah , !!! and !!! !are vectors of additional degrees of
nodal freedom for modeling crack faces and the two crack tips, respectively, and !!! (x), i =1, 2 represent mf crack tip
enrichment functions. So, after displacement approximation, strain and stress can be computed in a fractured body.
Numerical Results
Modeling hydraulic fracturing process by itself is a complicated phenomenon due to the heterogeneity of the earth structure,
in-situ stresses, rock behavior and the physical complexities of the problem, hence if natural fracture is added up to the
problem its getting much more complex in both field operation and numerical aspects. For simplicity, it is assumed that rock is
a homogeneous isotropic material and the fractures are propagating in an elastic medium under plane strain and quasi-static
conditions by a constant and uniform net pressure throughout the hydraulic fracture system. A schematic illustration for the
problem has been presented in Fig. 2 which shows that hydraulic fracture propagates toward the natural fracture and intersects
with it at a specific angle of approach, $, and in-situ horizontal differential stress, (%1 -%3).

Fig. 2 Schematic of hydraulic fracture intersecting pre-existing natural fracture.

So, a 2D XFEM code has been developed to model hydraulic fracture propagation in naturally fractured reservoirs and
interaction with natural fractures. For this purpose, firstly Warpinski and Teufels (Warpinski and Teufel 1987) experiments
have been modeled to see how much the results of the developed XFEM model for hydraulic and natural fracture interaction,
are compatible with them. Table. 1 presents the results of XFEM code which can be compared with Warpinski and Teufels
(Warpinski and Teufel 1987) experiments. As shown in Table. 1, the results of XFEM code indicate that at high to medium

SPE 152509

angles of approach, natural fracture opening and crossing both are observed depending on the differential stress while at low
angles of approach with low to high differential stress, the predominant case during hydraulic and natural fracture interaction
is opening which are in good agreement with Warpinski and Teufels (Warpinski and Teufel 1987) experiments.
TABLE 1 COMPARISON OF XFEM CODE RESULTS WITH WARPINSKI AND TEUFELS (WARPINSKI AND TEUFEL
1987) EXPERIMENTS
Angle of
approach
o
(! )
30
30
30
60
60
60
90
90
90

Max.
horizontal
stress
(psi)
1000
1500
2000
1000
1500
2000
1000
1500
2000

min.
horizontal
stress
(psi)
500
500
500
500
500
500
500
500
500

Horizontal
differential
stress
(psi)
500
1000
1500
500
1000
1500
500
1000
1500

Experiments results
(Warpinski and Teufel
1987)

Gopening/Gcrossing

XFEM results

Opening
Opening
Shear slippage
Opening
Opening
Crossing
Opening
Crossing
Crossing

3.46
2.05
1.29
1.948
1.201
0.785
1.013
0.833
0.598

Opening
Opening
Opening
Opening
Opening
Crossing
Opening
Crossing
Crossing

Meanwhile debonding of natural fracture prior to hydraulic and natural fracture intersection could also be modeled which is a
complicated and very interesting phenomena that has been rarely investigated. Fig. 3 presents pre-existing fracture debonding
before intersection with hydraulic fracture at approaching angles of 30o, 60o, 90o in Warpinski and Teufels (Warpinski and
Teufel 1987) experiments.

Fig. 3 Debonded zones of natural fracture before intersecting with hydraulic fracture at 30 (horizontal differential stress=1500 psi),
o
o
60 (horizontal differential stress=1000 psi), 90 (horizontal differential stress=1500 psi): the upper images show the coordinates of
hydraulic and natural fracture relative to each other where the debonded zones are highlighted in red and the images below them are
the numerical deformed configurations (magnified by 3).

SPE 152509

Also, it is clearly observed that as hydraulic fracture is advancing toward natural fracture, debonded zone in each step may
differ from the previous one. Fig. 4, shows the debonded zone at hydraulic and natural fracture intersecting point. As shown in
Fig. 4, at medium to low angles of approach the debonded zone at the intersecting point is in such a way that the most likely
case is hydraulic fracture diversion into natural fracture while the debonded zone at high angles of approach is much more
limited which makes crossing the most probable case.

Fig. 4 Debonded zones of natural fracture at the intersecting point with hydraulic fracture at 30 (horizontal differential stress=1500
o
o
psi), 60 (horizontal differential stress=1000 psi), 90 (horizontal differential stress=1500 psi): the upper images show the coordinates
of hydraulic and natural fracture relative to each other where the debonded zones are highlighted in red and the images below them
are the numerical deformed configurations (magnified by 3).

Fig. 5 shows opening or crossing of natural fracture by hydraulic fracture after intersection, for different natural fracture
orientations and horizontal differential stresses in Warpinski and Teufels (Warpinski and Teufel 1987) experiments.

Fig. 5 The results of hydraulic and natural fracture interaction after intersection: the left image is a natural fracture with the
o
o
orientation of 30 (horizontal differential stress=1500 psi), the middle image is a natural fracture with the orientation of 60 (horizontal
o
differential stress=1000 psi) and the right image shows a natural fracture with the orientation of 90 (horizontal differential
stress=1500 psi).

SPE 152509

So, it is clearly observed that how well hydraulic and natural fracture interaction can be demonstrated just by considering and
paying attention to the debonded zone in each step. Warpinski and Teufels (Warpinski and Teufel 1987) experiments were
performed just a few steps before hydraulic and natural fracture intersection but in reality hydraulic and natural fracture
interaction should be investigated in a reservoir scale model. For this purpose, a natural fracture which is 10m long and 10m
far from the wellbore with the orientation of the 30o, 60o, 90o has been modeled that interacts with advancing hydraulic
fracture. Differences in horizontal stresses are made by varying the maximum horizontal stress from 1159.4 to 2898.5 psi (8 to
20 MPa) and maintaining a constant minimum horizontal stress of 500 psi (3.45 MPa) and the fracturing fluid pressure is
2898.5 psi (20 MPa). Also, Table. 2 presents the properties of the reservoir rock used in the model.
TABLE 2 RESERVOIR ROCK PARAMETERS USED IN THE MODEL
6

Young!s modulus (E)

4*10 (psi )

Fracture toughness

0.75 (MPa.m )

Poisson!s ratio (")

0.25

1/2

The results from the developed XFEM model indicate that when the orientation of natural fracture is 30o debonding of natural
fracture due to hydraulic fracture propagation toward it, begins around 5m far from the natural fracture while for the
orientation of 60o and 90o, debonding starts about 2.5m far from the natural fracture (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6 Beginning of debonding (highlighted in red) in reservoir scale XFEM model for a natural fracture with orientation of 30
o
o
(horizontal differential stress=2173.9 psi), 60 (horizontal differential stress=1159.4 psi), 90 (horizontal differential stress=2173.9 psi).

As soon as debonding of natural fracture is getting started a diversion in hydraulic fracture propagation before intersecting
with natural fracture, begins which is a function of debonded zone length and position. Fig. 7 shows how hydraulic fracture
diversion occurs before intersecting with natural fracture. As shown in Fig. 7, some part of the natural fracture that has been
debonded in the previous step may become closed in the next step due to stresses exerted by hydraulic fracture and the
debonded zone is not necessarily symmetrical relative to hydraulic fracture tip. Fig. 8 presents opening or crossing of natural
fracture by hydraulic fracture after intersection, for different natural fracture orientations and horizontal differential stresses in
a reservoir scale XFEM model. In addition, it is clearly observed that in a specific horizontal differential stress, any increase in
hydraulic fracture net pressure (difference between fracturing fluid pressure and minimum horizontal stress) leads to
decreasing induced hydraulic fracture diversion before intersecting with natural fracture (Fig. 9). As shown in Fig. 9, there is a
60o oriented natural fracture in 2898.5 psi maximum horizontal stress and 724.6 psi minimum horizontal stress (2173.5 psi
horizontal differential stress), in case the fracturing fluid pressure is 2898.5 psi (2173.5 psi net pressure), the diversion of
hydraulic fracture is more than the case that the fracturing fluid pressure is 2173.5 psi (1449.2 psi net pressure) or 1449.2 psi
(724.6 psi net pressure). In other words, under a higher net pressure there is a higher driving force at the hydraulic fracture tip,
so perturbation of the stress field induced by the natural fracture and debonded zone appears to be less influential to divert the
hydraulic fracture. After hydraulic and natural fracture intersection, the hydraulic fracture may be diverted into natural fracture
and opens it or crosses the natural fracture without any significant diversion. Table. 3 presents the results of hydraulic and
natural fracture interaction after intersection, for the developed reservoir scale XFEM model. According to Table. 3 and
XFEM model results, hydraulic fracture tends to cross pre-existing natural fracture only under high differential stresses and
high angles of approach while at intermediate and low differential stresses and low angles of approach the hydraulic fracture
tends to open the pre-existing natural fracture.

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Fig. 7 Diversion of the hydraulic fracture before intersecting with the natural fracture in reservoir scale XFEM model: upper images
o
are related to a natural fracture with orientation of 30 (horizontal differential stress=2173.9 psi), middle images are related to a
o
natural fracture with orientation of 60 (horizontal differential stress=1159.4psi) and below them are the images related to a natural
o
fracture with orientation of 90 (horizontal differential stress=2173.9 psi).

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Fig. 8 The results of hydraulic and natural fracture interaction after intersection, in a reservoir scale XFEM model: the left
o
image is a natural fracture with the orientation of 30 (horizontal differential stress=2173.9 psi), the middle image is a natural fracture
o
with the orientation of 60 (horizontal differential stress=1159.4psi) and the right image shows a natural fracture with the orientation
of (horizontal differential stress=2173.9 psi).

Fig. 9 Comparing the diversion of hydraulic fracture before intersecting with a 60 oriented natural fracture in a different net
pressures and specific horizontal differential stress. Net pressures=2173.9 psi, 1449.2 psi and 724.6 psi for the left, middle and right
images respectively at 2173.9 psi horizontal differential stress.

TABLE 3 RESULTS OF HYDRAULIC AND NATURAL FRACTURE INTERACTION FOR THE


DEVELOPED RESERVOIR SCALE XFEM MODEL
Orientation of
natural fracture
o
(# )
30
30
30
60
60
60
90
90
90

Max.
horizontal
stress
(psi)
2898.5
1884
1159.4
2898.5
1884
1159.4
2898.5
1884
1159.4

min.
horizontal
stress
(psi)
724.6
724.6
724.6
724.6
724.6
724.6
724.6
724.6
724.6

Horizontal
differential
stress
(psi)
2173.9
1159.4
434.8
2173.9
1159.4
434.8
2173.9
1159.4
434.8

Gopening/Gcrossing

XFEM results

1.36
2.1
3.613
0.735
1.236
1.966
0.529
0.709
1.077

Opening
Opening
Opening
Crossing
Opening
Opening
Crossing
Crossing
Opening

10

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Conclusions
A new geomechanical approach has been proposed to demonstrate the hydraulic fracture propagation in naturally fractured
reservoirs through XFEM model. An energy criterion has been applied to predict hydraulic fracture path due to interaction
with natural fracture. To show the efficiency of the developed XFEM code, firstly the results obtained from XFEM model
have been compared with experimental studies which shows good agreement. Its been concluded that natural fracture most
probably will divert hydraulic fracture at low angles of approach while at high horizontal differential stress and angles of
approach of 60 or greater, the hydraulic fracture crosses the natural fracture. Meanwhile, the growing hydraulic fracture exerts
large tensile stress ahead of its tip which leads to debonding of sealed natural fracture before intersecting with hydraulic
fracture that is a key point to demonstrate hydraulic and natural fracture behaviors before and after intersection. Then, a
reservoir scale XFEM model has been developed to investigate the hydraulic fracture propagation and interaction with natural
fracture which indicates that debonding of natural fracture starts several meters before intersecting with hydraulic fracture and
also hydraulic fracture diversion takes place even before intersecting with natural fracture. Debonding of sealed natural
fracture and hydraulic fracture diversion are strongly controlled by the in-situ horizontal differential stress and the orientation
of the natural fracture as well as hydraulic fracture net pressure. It can also be concluded that higher net pressure decreases
hydraulic fracture diversion in a particular horizontal differential stress, hence higher net pressure is needed when fracturing
naturally fractured reservoirs since any abrupt change or diversion in hydraulic fracture propagation increases the risk of
premature screenout. The findings in this study can be used to explain different observed behaviors of hydraulic fracturing in
naturally fractured reservoirs as well as activation of natural fractures and the potential conditions that may lead to hydraulic
fracturing operation failure.

Nomenclature
" (x) = the discontinuous enrichment function defined for the set of nodes that the discontinuity has in its influence domain
! = Poisson's ratio
ak = the added set of degrees of freedom to the standard finite element model
E = Young's modulus
Fl = crack tip enrichment functions
G = strain energy release rate
H(#) = crack face enrichment function
KI = opening mode stress intensity factor
KII = shearing mode stress intensity factor
N = shape function
uENR = enriched (discontinuous) part of the displacement approximation
uFE = conventional (continuous) part of the displacement approximation
uh = approximated displacement field
uj = the vector of regular degrees of nodal freedom in the finite element method
XFEM = Extended Finite Element Method

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