Interpretation of logs from an exploration pilot well and a lateral drilled from the pilot in the Late Cretaceous Natih formation in the Sultanate of Oman was used for designing a multistage hydraulic fracturing treatment. A high-tier logging suite including borehole image, advanced dipole sonic, geochemical, and triple combo data was acquired in both wellbores. The objective of the pilot hole was to select the best landing point in terms of reservoir quality (RQ) and completion quality (CQ) so that a horizontal well could be drilled and multistage stimulations performed in the organic-rich Natih B source rock.

In contrast to much of North America, significant tectonic forces are frequently present in this region. The geomechanical setting might thus strongly affect hydraulic fracture initiation, propagation and proppant placement. It therefore plays an important role in lateral landing point selection. Borehole images, integrated with petrophysical and geomechanical log properties, were used to identify the optimum landing zone. Breakouts as well as longitudinal and transverse drilling-induced fractures were identified on the pilot borehole images over the Natih Formation, indicating a large horizontal stress anisotropy and a compressional tectonic setting. An interval from which vertical hydraulic fractures would initiate at low initiation pressure and grow vertically to contact intervals with good RQ was selected as the target lateral landing point. Image and dipole sonic data were acquired in the horizontal well, and both longitudinal and transverse induced fractures were identified. Those data were used to selectively place hydraulic fracturing stages. Diagnostic injection tests on each stimulation treatment confirmed low fracture initiation pressures and the creation of vertical hydraulic fractures, thus validating the selection of both the landing point and the location of the hydraulic fracture initiation points. All treatments were successfully placed to completion.

This paper demonstrates that a workflow based on the combination of image and dipole sonic logs in both a pilot well and a lateral drilled from the pilot enables the creation of vertical hydraulic fractures at moderately low initiation pressures and successful placement of stimulation treatments in the lateral. This technique shows promise for effective hydraulic fracturing in regions where significant tectonic forces are present.

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