Hydraulic fracturing is recognized as a successful stimulation technique for enhanced hydrocarbon recovery from unconventional tight reservoirs. Technological advancement in directional drilling has led the petroleum industry to drill arbitrarily oriented wellbores for exploitation of reservoirs, which otherwise could not be economically produced. Prediction of fracture initiation from such wellbores is therefore essential for petroleum industries to undertake efficient hydraulic fracturing stimulation tasks. In a hydraulic fracturing process, fluid is injected under pressure through the wellbore in order to overcome native stresses and to cause failure of rocks, thus creating fractures in a reservoir. These fractures create a passage through which hydrocarbon flows into the well from the shale formation. Based on the superposition principle and elasticity theory, a total stress field mathematical model while staged fracturing for horizontal well is abstractly presented in this paper, considering systematically influencing factors such as wellbore pressure, in-situ stress distribution, seepage effect of fracturing fluid, and induced stress produced by hydraulic fracture. The law of initial and subsequent fractures initiation is studied. The results show that the initial fracture initiation is affected by the wellbore azimuth angle, and it is easy for transverse fractures to form when the minimum in-situ horizontal stress along the wellbore direction. The stress distribution around wellbore is influenced by induced stress field, and when the initial fracture height is constant, the effect decreases gradually along wellbore direction until the combined stress field tends to the in-situ stress field. In a certain position from the initial fracture, the bigger the fracture height, the greater the induced stress, and in particular, the influence on induced stress along the wellbore direction is more obvious. Induced stress can increase subsequent fractures initiation pressure, whose level will reach 30% and increase as the fracture height increases. When fracture height is constant, the increase level of initiation pressure decreases rapidly with the increase of fracture spacing. There is well coincidence between computational solution and measured result. Results from the analytical and numerical models used in this study are interpreted with a particular effort to enlighten the causes of abnormally high treating pressures during hydraulic fracture treatments, as well as engineers study recovery techniques.


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