The hydraulic Channel Fracturing technique relies on the engineered creation of a network of open channels within the proppant pack, which provides for highly conductive paths for the flow of fluids from the reservoir to the wellbore. This paper provides a comprehensive summary of the implementation of this technique in ultra-low permeability, gas-bearing formations.
The Lance formation in the Jonah field near Pinedale, Wyoming was selected for this study. This formation comprises fluvial sand bodies with 0.0005 to 0.05 mD permeability and 35 to 55% gas saturation. The formation requires hydraulic fracturing for economic production. Key historical issues for the stimulation of this formation using gelled fluids and sand as proppant are limited fluid recovery and consequential formation and fracture conductivity impairments. Slick-water treatments have rendered moderate gains in production mainly in low-prospect zones with some occurrence of near-wellbore screen-outs. Moderate increases in production from using ceramic proppants have been gained at the expense of significant increase in stimulation costs.
Hydrocarbon production, treating pressure and fracturing fluid recovery data from a thirteen-well campaign in the Jonah field are summarized in the manuscript. Results indicate that the implementation of the channel fracturing technique increased initial gas production and estimated recovery over conventional fracturing methodologies. Positive features that were also observed during this campaign such as reduced net pressure increase estimates from pre- and post-frac shut-in pressure measurements, reduced tendency for vertical fracture growth and elimination of near-wellbore screen-outs are also reported and discussed.
It is concluded that the Channel Fracturing technique is a viable alternative to conventional fracturing methods for more efficient and effective stimulation of complex tight gas formations.