Hydraulic fracturing technology is relatively mature in North America, but under complex geological conditions, such as those in China, the application of this technology still faces great challenges. At present, techniques for the numerical simulation of hydraulic fracture networks are mainly based on the prediction of the fracture half-height and half-length, which cannot capture the heterogeneity of continental low-permeability sandstone reservoirs in China and the distribution of the asymmetric hydraulic fracture network present in them. Therefore, determining the asymmetric propagation mechanism of hydraulic fracture networks is very important for improving the recovery rates of continental reservoirs. In this paper, taking the Ordos Basin in China as an example, the spatial distribution of the stress field of a heterogeneous continental reservoir is precisely predicted by reservoir mechanical heterogeneity modeling. By using a microseismic monitoring method, the 3-D morphology of the hydraulic fracture network is determined. Through the coupling of multisource data, the frequency distributions of the determined in situ stress magnitudes in different hydraulic fracturing stages are obtained. The propagation direction of the hydraulic fracture network changes under the control of the horizontal stress difference (Δσ) and the presence of natural fractures. The smaller Δσ is, the greater the deflection of the hydraulic fracture propagation direction. The asymmetric propagation of these fractures is related to the frequency distribution of Δσ. As the frequency of Δσ approaches a normal distribution, the two wings of the hydraulic fracture network become basically equal in length, and as Δσ deviates more from a normal distribution, the difference between the two wings of the hydraulic fracture network increases. These research results will provide new insight for modeling, exploring, and developing continental reservoirs.

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