Abstract

"When everything else fails, frac it" was the sentiment expressed by most engineers who were working on hydraulic fracturing during the late 1970s. This statement indicates how important the hydraulic fracturing technique is, not only in stimulating, and thus greatly increasing, the well's production, but also as a powerful tool to manage the field development. Hydraulic fracturing has become the most applicable and reliable reservoir stimulation technique in all reservoir rock types, even more than the matrix acidizing techniques. Starting from 1940s, when the first hydraulic fracture was performed, until now, the improvement in the hydraulic fracturing technology has never stopped. Currently, the state-of-the-art technology in hydraulic fracturing is the channel fracturing technology or, in other words, open channel fracturing. This is a unique technique of pumping a treatment that helps in forming channels within the proppant pack in the fracture, which improves the fracture conductivity and well productivity.

This study consists of two main parts. The first part is dedicated to the evaluation of the channel fracturing technique by comparing it to conventional fracturing. This comparison depends on three primary evaluation methods. First, well testing data obtained for conventionally fractured wells and wells in which the new technology was implemented were evaluated. Second, the actual production data for offset wells, which were fractured either by conventional technique or by the new channel fracturing one, were analyzed. Finally, an economic comparison of the techniques and an assessment of the gain that can be obtained from the new channel fracturing technique over the conventional one were performed.

After the evaluation and comparison, a statistical analysis was conducted based on a sample consisting of more than 50 wells that were fractured using the channel fracturing technique. This statistical analysis aims to attain the channel fracturing treatment parameters that lead to the best corresponding production results.

These two main parts represents a full evaluation and optimization process that gives a complete picture of the channel fracturing technique and an assessment of the new technique. The assessment considers how to achieve best performance based on a sound statistical analysis constructed by actual day-to-day data and well performance. The assessment proves the economic and production value of the new technique over the conventional fracturing technique, which failed to give the same values.

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