Hydraulic Fracturing Best Practices
- Adnan A. Al-Kanaan (Saudi Aramco)
- Document ID
- World Petroleum Congress
- 21st World Petroleum Congress, 15-19 June, Moscow, Russia
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2014. World Petroleum Council
- 8 in the last 30 days
- 298 since 2007
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Despite increasing efficiency measures in many parts of the world, the demographic increase, dynamic work environment, and diversity in work type, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, are contributing to increased energy consumption. Although there are different sources of energy, in-depth assessment and analyses suggest that the world will rely heavily on fossil fuels for many decades to come, Fig. 1. A key resource in this energy equation is the natural gas. After the development and exploitation of the conventional gas resources, the more challenging unconventional resources have become a major target for future energy supply and are critically assessed and exploited to supplement in meeting the world energy demand. The primary mechanism to produce unconventional gas is the novel multistage hydraulic fracturing conducted in long horizontal wells.
The petroleum industry has been using hydraulic fracturing to commercially produce low to moderate permeability gas reservoirs. A successful fracturing treatment to achieve improved and sustained well productivity requires strategic planning from the very onset of the field development that includes geological and seismic study, well placement and trajectory, wellbore configuration, and optimal completion placement. The entire multidisciplinary team, from geoscience to petroleum engineering, needs to be fully involved for a successful completion of a tight gas field development project, Fig. 2.
Depending on the reservoir characteristics, wells are drilled so that multiple fractures can initiate independently and high contact area is achieved creating easy flow path for the hydrocarbon from the reservoir to the wellbore. The influx of hydrocarbon is directly proportional to the surface area open to the wellbore, Fig. 3. The surface area is increased when fractures propagate perpendicular to the wellbore and multiple independent fractures can be created without overlaps, Fig. 4.
The selection of appropriate completion techniques, such as open hole or plug & perf, is also critical and depends on reservoir and completion characteristics as well as operational logistics.
The selection of fracturing fluids, additives, and proppant types are major components when designing and implementing a hydraulic fracturing treatment. A viscous, unbroken fracture fluid that may remain after the treatment compounds the effects of fracture face skin and causes severe deterioration to proppant conductivity thereby shadowing fracturing benefits. The fracture fluid footprint must be reduced while not negatively impacting its proppant carrying characteristics.
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