Recently Saudi Aramco and international companies started an aggressive gas exploration campaign in tight gas sandstone formations. In most of the cases the prospective tight gas producing zones were discovered at a depth below 20,000 feet where the stress and temperature are extremely high and the reservoir permeability conditions are low; being necessary in all cases to fracture stimulate each horizon to define the fluid and evaluate productivity.
The extreme stress and temperature conditions are actually one of the main challenges to perform fracture stimulations on this type of formation, this because the fracturing fluid needs to be stable, induce minimum damage and have good proppant transport capabilities at high temperature conditions.
As a part of the referenced exploration activity in the first quarter of 2008 Saudi Aramco has the challenge to perform a proppant fracture stimulation in a deep tight gas on shore sandstone formation where the temperature and stress conditions (375° F and 1.1 psi/ft at 20,000 feet) exceeded the working pressure capability of the available equipment and the existing fracturing fluids application limits. To answer the referenced challenges and knowing that 20,000 psi fracturing equipment is not available in the area an extensive laboratory evaluation was done to design a new high density fracturing fluid. After a lengthy laboratory evaluation, we were able to select a regional supplier for the 1.48 specific gravity (12.3 lb/gal) heavy brine used as the base fluid and prepare a user friendly cross linked fluid for the referenced field application. The new fluid system was successfully mixed and pumped in the field enabled the treatment of the well through lower surface treating pressure with conventional 15,000 psi equipment, lower horsepower requirements, and a safer work environment.
The paper summarizes the well conditions, extensive fluid qualification testing, procedures, and specially learned lessons during the referenced first field application of the new fracturing fluid system.