Interaction between injection points during hydraulic fracturing
We study the geomechanical stress interaction between two injection points during hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) and how this interaction in combination with disorder influences the fracturing process. To this end, we develop an effective continuum model of the hydrofracking of heterogeneous poroelastic media that captures the coupled dynamics of the fluid pressure and the fractured rock matrix and models both the tensile and shear failure of the rock. For injection points that are separated by less than a critical correlation length, our numerical simulations show that the fracturing process around each point is strongly correlated with the position of the neighboring point. The magnitude of the correlation length depends on the degree of heterogeneity of the rock and is on the order of 30–45 m for rocks with low permeabilities. In the strongly correlated regime, we predict a novel effective fracture force that attracts the fractures toward the neighboring injection point.