Creating complex fracture network by hydraulic fracturing operation in unconventional reservoir development is the key factor of effective exploitation. The mechanism of creating a fracture network is not clear up to today. Conventional hydraulic fracturing theory is based on tensile failure of a rock, and a hydraulic fracture is widely accepted as propagating along the direction of in situ maximum horizontal principal stress in the industry. Based on rock elastic mechanics and fracture mechanics, considering combined tensile and shear failures, the maximum circumferential strain criterion and boundary element method (BEM), the paper studies the induced stress and its variation during a fracture propagation, the interaction between two or more hydraulic fractures, and the interaction between a hydraulic fracture and a natural crack. The paper shows that a propagating fracture will produce induced stresses on surrounding rock and form a stress shadow. Instead of propagation along the direction of maximum horizontal principal stress as a single fracture, the outside two fractures of two or more hydraulic fractures are exclusive and turning away from each other. A natural crack may be awaked and extend at its both tips by a propagating hydraulic fracture before their intersection, and the hydraulic fracture may deflect toward the natural crack. The interaction between a hydraulic fracture and a natural crack depends on the transverse distance between them and the initial length of the crack. The shorter the transverse distance and the longer the crack length are, the higher the possibility of the crack to be awaked is. The research results are helpful in understanding complex fracture network and may be used in determining hydraulic fracture places to create a complex fracture network.

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