This paper describes the application for the first time of a novel channel fracturing technique combined with rod-shaped proppant in selected production targets in several fields in the Egyptian western desert. The channel fracturing technique introduces channels within the proppant pack that increase conductivity and effective half-length leading to increased productivity (Gillard et al. 2010). Rod-shaped proppant when used as tail-in in fracturing treatments increases near-wellbore fracture conductivity and prevents proppant flowback due to its particular geometry (McDaniel et al. 2010).
The western desert fields in the Qarun concession area in Egypt are characterized as complex, thin-bedded sequences with heterogeneous laminated sandstones producing mainly from the Abu Roash and Upper Bahariya formations. Hydraulic fracturing has traditionally been employed to produce hydrocarbons from these marginal reservoirs. The channel-fracturing technique was first introduced in the Amana fields in late 2012 combined with rod-shaped proppant for flowback control and conductivity enhancement. Early-time normalized production of the wells fractured with this technique increased by 89% over offset wells fractured conventionally, and the application of the channel fracturing technique eliminated the incidence of premature screen-outs in all fields.
The positive results from implementation of this combined stimulation technique have led to a vigorous expansion of its utilization throughout Egypt's western desert area, including a refracturing campaign for older wells where conventional fracturing techniques did not yield the desired results.